By Raphael Blet
On Tuesday, Justice Thomas Au gave his verdict on the fate of Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung, the two mavericks who were disqualified from taking their oath after not following their scripts and using derogatory terms to describe China.
In an unsurprising move, the High Court decided to ban the two pro-independence lawmakers from taking a second oath, ordered them to vacate their LegCo’s premises and requested them to fully reimburse their salary.
This comes a week after Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law’s article 104.
The Basic Law’s interpretation has sparked concern amongst members of the judicial profession who saw it as a threat to Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
For some, the High Court’s decision might be seen as influenced by the NPC’s interpretation although the final verdict would probably not have been different even without an interpretation.
Many put the blame on the Chinese government and see in this interpretation a way for them to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs.
WRONG: the basic law’s interpretation was in fact done on Hong Kong’s request, as it always did.
The chaos amplified when the Chief Executive decided to challenge the two lawmakers’ oath at the court while this matter could be resolved within the LegCo.
By taking this action, the Chief Executive brought the separation of powers into a vicious circle which has led to more divisions, uncertainties and anger amongst the population.
At first, Beijing did probably not give a toss about those the two young people who probably had an overdose of testosterone at the time… Only when the Chief Executive triggered Beijing’s nerves did Beijing decide to interpret article 104.
While Hong Kong’s rule of law hasn’t changed, the public’s level of trust towards local institutions might be at its lowest.
On the other hand, the Western press currently feasts itself at having another occasion to portray Hong Kong in a negative angle.
Yet, it is indeed laborious to understand who is in charge of the matters given that the three powers have been ingested by what can be labelled as “political greed”.
To sweeten the whole chaos, Hong Kong might now have to deal with by-elections and angry voters who felt betrayed by the two excited young politicians.
On both sides, political greed and dishonesty are to blame.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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Over the past couple of days one of the top trending hashtags on twitter has been #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou.
Using the hashtag, women online have been able to share their experiences of past emotionally and mentally abusive relationships, helping to break the stigma that a relationship has to be physically violent to be considered abusive.
In only 140 characters women from around the world have told the horrifying and true reality that some must face every day.
For such a long time many people believed that in order to be considered an abusive relationship, there has to be a physical element to it.
Women who were in mentally and emotionally abusive relationships genuinely believed that if they did not have bruises or marks to show for it, that they weren’t being abused.
This idea is what for years kept women with the men who would insult, degrade, and humiliate them on a regular basis.
But using the hashtag women are banding together and taking a stand. These tweets are bringing to light elements of abuse that thousands of women always considered to just be typical parts of being in a relationship.
They want to redefine what it means to be abused. Be called degrading names, being manipulated and controlled, and broken down by someone that “loves you” isn’t normal. It isn’t something any one should have to take.
Being made to feel lesser or not good enough by a significant other is not being loved. It is abuse.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Post Views: 43
What Do You Think?
By James Kardys
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been considered the sole superpower in international affairs.
It has taken advantage of this status many times over, particularly through what many have maligned as its “wars of democratization” in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as so-called “proxy wars of democratization” in Syria and Ukraine.
These military and pseudo-military adventures have, unsurprisingly, led to much resentment of the United States and its perceived hegemony over global affairs.
So much resentment, that as of 2014, 24% of the entire world views the United States as the greatest threat to peace.
It is easy to understand the basis behind the grievances that this 24% possesses.
It can be laid out in layman’s terms as follows:
“The United States, through its irresponsible, if not malicious foreign policy, has caused death and destruction wherever it goes. The foundation of its power lies entirely on the assumption that moral values must be thrown out the window, if they exist at all. This is unacceptable in the eyes of the international community, which must work to change it.”
While it is common sense to recognize that with great power comes great responsibility, and while it is always wise to look back on past policies and take note on what is a responsible policy and what isn’t, is it accurate to call American hegemony immoral?
Not if you are a realist.
Read More: Why We Shouldn’t Fear A China Hegemony
Take note that when I make reference to “realists” or “realism,” I am not writing in the context of the arts, where realism is a described as a “realistic portrayal” of a person or object.
Rather, I am writing in the context of geopolitics, where realism is described as a philosophy that places emphasis on national interests.
Geopolitical realists view international relations as a competition for power between various nation-states.
They also assume that all nation-states aside from their own to be seeking power by taking it from others, and that their nation-state must, out of defensive impulses, play along.
It must eat in order to avoid being eaten.
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This philosophy has been discussed, in one form or another, for millennia.
It had appeared in the works of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rosseau, and even Shakespeare, before taking off as a solid political theory in the nineteenth century following the rise of nationalism in Europe.
That being said, there is now an important question that needs to be answered.
Why would the United States, the world’s sole superpower, feel threatened by tenth-tier nations such as Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, to where it would be necessary to overthrow their governments to “spread democracy?”
Well, if you apply one theory that is sometimes discussed by American realists when attempting to formulate future policy, which I call “regional hegemon theory,” the United States has very good cause to see these countries as threats.
Why? Because they are, in one way or another, capable of being used as tools to prop up a regional hegemon on the Eurasian supercontinent.
Now, why is a regional hegemon on the Eurasian supercontinent bad? For this answer, we ought to turn to John Mearsheimer, one of the most well-known (and most notorious) contemporary American geopolitical realists.
He sums up the threat of regional hegemons well in a 2015 interview with The National Interest:
“Regional hegemons are dangerous to the United States, because dominating their own neighborhood would give them freedom to intervene elsewhere, just as the American military is free to roam the planet today. The great danger is that a distant hegemon would eventually start to meddle in the Western Hemisphere, which could present a serious threat to the United States.”
According to Mearsheimer, this idea was used to justify American policies against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and the Axis powers during World War II.
And according to Joseph Parent, who was one of my International Studies professors at the University of Miami, this idea was also applied, abeit to a much smaller extent extent, prior to World War II (particularly towards France, which, between the end of World War I and the rise of Hitler, was seen by some American political scientists as a, if not the, main potential hegemonic threat against American interests).
Although which countries could pose a potential threat to the United States via “regional hegemon theory” is often hotly disputed (for example, Mearsheimer, who sees China as the only country that currently has the potential to become a regional hegemon, would get into an interesting debate with someone who would portray Iran as a regional hegemon due to its alleged ability to project influence into South America via Hezbollah), that is a different debate that is beside the point I’m trying to make.
That point is that because even a weak country (such as Syria relative to Iran and Ukraine relative to Russia) can play a role in propping up a regional hegemon that can project power into the United States’ neighborhood, even a weak country can be a serious threat to American national security.
Therefore, it is at best moral (because you are acting to protect your citizens, which is the chief duty of all governments), and at worst amoral (because you are justifying your means with your ends and are, presumably, not acting out of sadism, malice, or greed, but out of defense) to make sure that friendly governments are in power in other countries, if you wish to protect your own nation-state from being changed by outside forces.
It’s eat or be eaten.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but other countries have made it this way. Is that our fault?
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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What Do You Think?
By Jordan Patterson
“The Game knows.”
Throughout my career as a college softball player at the University of Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times.
From teammates, from coaches, and even from family.
There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know.
That it saw all of the extra work I put in.
That it appreciated my genuine happiness for the teammates who played over me.
That it sensed just how badly I wanted to succeed. And because of that, my time would eventually come.
On the day that my collegiate career came to an end, if you had asked me whether I believed that the Game knows, I probably would have said yes.
It wouldn’t have been a lie, but my words would have lacked conviction.
Throughout my career, I worked hard. Very hard.
I tried to do things the right way and be a good teammate. And yet, things never really clicked for me on the field. So yes, I thought that “the Game knows” was a nice idea to cling to, but it didn’t ring true for me at the time.
Ask me that question today, however, and I will look you dead in the eyes and tell you with an unwavering voice that the Game really does know. You can’t fool it- it sees your heart. It knows who deserves to be rewarded, and it will do so accordingly.
So what changed? Why am I now a believer? Well, let me tell you a story.
I arrived on Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2010, making the 10 minute drive from my parents’ house down the road.
This was what I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember- to wear the script A on my chest. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope. My classmates quickly became my best friends (#SS forever). I was working my butt off in the weight room, coming to practice early, staying late, and loving every minute of it.
I was a catcher, and there were two junior catchers on the team who were both wonderful players and even better people.
They taught me so much, and I truly loved getting to learn from them (shout out to Kendall Dawson and Olivia Gibson- BS da best).
I didn’t play much at all during those first two years- a few pinch hit opportunities here and there. The two of them handled almost all of the catching responsibilities.
I missed being on the field every day, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to play at Alabama.
I knew that catching time would be limited in the first two years. It didn’t matter to me- I just wanted to WIN.
I figured that I would spend those first two years learning, getting stronger, and improving all aspects of my game.
By junior year, I would be ready. Ready to lead the infield, ready to manage the pitchers, ready to get the job done at the plate.
I have never worked as hard as I did during those two years. I improved, but not as much as I hoped that I would. As I said, I didn’t play much, but I stayed the course.
I tried to be a great teammate and contribute from the bench through positive energy and enthusiasm.
We ended up winning the National Championship my sophomore year, and it was the most rewarding experience of my life.
That team was truly something special. So special that one of my dearest teammates wrote a book about our journey that year- Finish It by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. READ IT. You won’t regret it.
Coming off of the National Championship, I was more determined than ever.
We had two catchers coming back- myself and a sophomore, Chaunsey Bell. I knew that both of us would be given opportunities to prove ourselves early on, and I was going to give it everything that I had.
I had played the role of supportive teammate for two years and really took pride in that. It’s so important. Every team needs role-players who take pride in their job on the bench.
But now, I wanted to be on the field more than ever. The Game knew, right? It had seen all of the hard work over the past two years. It knew my heart. In the back of my mind, that little phrase gave me hope that it was finally my time.
I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember getting a call from my coach the summer before my junior year.
“We are adding a transfer to your class. We know that y’all are very close, but we trust you to take her in and make her a part of your family.”
Absolutely. No-brainer. I had full trust in our coaches and knew that they would not bring anyone into our family that didn’t belong there. I wasn’t sure who the transfer was, but I was excited to find out.
A couple of weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my summer internship when I got a text from coach Patrick Murphy or as we affectionally call him, Murph.
“Molly Fichtner is going to be a part of our family! Here is her number. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome.”
I excitedly got onand read the article about Molly’s transfer, and my heart sunk.
While Molly had played shortstop at her old school, the press release said that she would probably be working at catcher here.
I can’t explain the feeling that I got- I just remember thinking that this was going to change everything.
It was such a selfish reaction, and it is the moment that I am most ashamed of from my four years at Bama.
Well, it did change everything. Molly arrived on campus that fall and I immediately knew that she was special. She fit in perfectly with our team and quickly became one of my best friends.
On the field, she was stellar. She swung a great bat and consistently threw baserunners out stealing. She beat me out, plain and simple.
That year was a roller coaster of emotions.
I was so happy that Molly had ended up at Bama. She belonged on the big stage. She was one of the best people I had ever met, with a heart bigger than her home state of Texas.
On the other hand, I was heartbroken. While no spots in the lineup are ever set in stone, and I kept working hard, I simply knew that my next two years were going to be much like my first two.
If coaches read this, they will probably cringe at that statement, and they would be right in doing so.
You never want your players to give up on themselves. There are so many stories of players who turn it around their senior year and are basically a completely different player.
If I was a coach, I would preach that to all of my non-starters. You are never stuck in that role. There is always something you can do to get better, and don’t ever stop trying.
I knew that Murph still believed in me.
However, looking back, I think that there was a reason that I got the “feeling” that I was going to remain a role-player. W
hen I began to accept that my job as an upperclassmen was going to be leading from the bench, I was able to truly commit to it.
I kept working hard, still came early and stayed late, but my motivations for doing so began to change. Instead of being motivated by the desire for personal success, I was motivated by the desire for team success.
I needed to work my butt off so that I could demand that others do the same. I needed to keep getting better at blocking and framing so that the other catchers were pushed to get better.
While I had always been a “team player” on the surface, I had finally morphed into a “team player” at heart.
There were still times during those two years that were hard. As an athlete, you always want to be on the field.
It’s something that’s inside of you- a burning desire that doesn’t just go away.
Tears fell on occasion.
It didn’t happen often, but sometimes I would wonder why it just never clicked for me on the field, even though I tried so hard and cared so deeply.
Now, I’m two years removed from the game, and I wouldn’t trade those moments of sadness and frustration for anything.
You know what? That’s life.
Sometimes, you are going to put every ounce of your being into something, and it’s not going to work out exactly the way you wanted it to.
Get over it.
No, I never became a starter. But I did have the best experience of my life.
I learned lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.
When I walked off the field at the Women’s College World Series in 2014 after Florida beat us in the championship series, I had no regrets. I was truly thankful to the Game for everything it gave me, and I didn’t expect anything else from it.
I had experienced so much team success at Bama, and that truly was enough for me.
Little did I know, the Game would give me the biggest personal reward of all two years after I walked off the field.
I chose to go to law school after I got done playing. The legal market is pretty tough right now, and jobs can be hard to come by.
If you want to work in a law firm, the best way to secure a job for after graduation is to get a Summer Associate position.
Most firms hire law students the summer after their second year of school, with the intention of extending a full-time offer after the summer is over if you do a good job. Competition for these positions is fierce and the interview process is lengthy.
After living in Tuscaloosa for my whole life, I have been itching to move to a big city.
When it came time to start applying for Summer Associate positions, I knew that Washington, D.C. was my top choice geographically.
The problem was that it can be pretty hard to get your foot in the door at D.C. law firms.
They do not typically recruit students from Alabama, tending to get their Summer Associates from more “prestigious” schools. Side note: I would put my school up against any in the country and am so thankful that I ended up there. But I digress.
A family friend of my family is a partner at arguably one of the best law firms in the world, and I expressed my desire to end up in D.C. to her.
She graciously offered to set me up with another partner at her firm who knew a lot about the D.C. market.
I was thankful for any help that I could get, and booked a flight up to go meet with him. I had nothing to lose- I wasn’t even thinking about asking this man for an interview.
He was just going to give me some advice on how I should go about applying to smaller D.C. firms that might be willing to interview a student from Alabama who was not at the top of her class.
As it turned out, he ended up being the Hiring Partner- in charge of hiring all of the firm’s Summer Associates.
Well, lucky for me, he happened to Google my name before meeting me for breakfast. When he did, he found a Tuscaloosa News feature article that was written about me during my senior year.
The article basically told the story that I’ve been telling you here: that I was a hard worker and always tried to be a good teammate.
The Hiring Partner brought it up at breakfast, saying that those are the qualities he looks for when hiring law students and that it’s not often that he has tangible proof that someone possesses them.
He then proceeded to ask me “if I was opposed to interviewing with them.”
The firm flew me back up to D.C. the next week.
I had five 30 minute interviews with different attorneys.
The first four went very well. I walked into my last interview with one of the attorneys that was on the recruiting committee (so it was really important that this one went well).
He was a big sports fan, so we immediately started talking about softball.
He asked me if I had played much, and I truthfully answered no. Then I got THE question: “What did you learn from that?”
There is not a single interview question in the world that is more suited for me than that one.
I proceeded to explain to him for over 45 minutes precisely what I learned from being a role-player throughout my four years at Bama, rather than a starter. Resiliency. Selflessness.
How to take pride in your role, whatever it may be. What it really means to put the team first. I walked out of his office knowing that it was the best I had ever done in an interview.
Two days later, the Hiring Partner called and offered me a job. I lived in D.C. for the summer, working at the firm, and loved every minute of the experience. I was surrounded by former Supreme Court clerks, attorneys at the very top of their fields, and genuinely wonderful people.
On paper, I had no business being here. I do not have the same level of qualifications that my fellow Summer Associates had. Yet, there I was. All because I chose to keep working hard even though I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.
My coaches and teammates noticed.
A reporter chose to care about a story that almost no one else would. And then, of all things, someone Google’d me.
Do not tell me that the Game doesn’t know.
So, to any players out there struggling with being a role-player: keep working hard. Keep putting the team above yourself.
Keep trusting your coaches. Believe me, I know that it hurts at times. But the Game sees you, and it will reward you.
It won’t always be in the way that you wanted or pictured it, though. Sometimes the reward will come years later, in a way that will have a much greater impact on the course of your life than getting more playing time ever will.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jordan Patterson is a former University of Alabama softball player. She is currently in law school at Alabama.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Patterson/ Facebook
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