Impact of TPP

We use user-generated contents such as Facebook and Youtube to share news, videos, and our daily lives. Sometimes, we put music to the video that we made by ourselves or look for pictures using Google search and use them just for personal blogs, non-commercial activities in other words, without any citations.

Even though most of us have experienced using pictures from a website without permission or downloading music or films for free, we usually don’t get into any troubles by doing it. However, what happens to the Internet freedom and its regulation if TPP is passed in the U.S. TPP impacts on not only trade but also Internet freedom.

Under TPP, Internet Service Providers will be encouraged to monitor their users’ activities to increase more censorship measures such as filtering the online contents based on copyright enforcement.

Because of this system which turns copyright law into powerful institutions, we may lose freedom of speech or innovation of the Internet in the future.

The U.S. is attempting to criminalize anyone  publishing works in a commercial scale with penalties including prison and fines. Also, TPP could potentially impose Internet users for non-commercial activities like file sharing.

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According to TPP, downloading music or movies for free may be regarded as the same as large-scale, for-profit copyright violations, and creating a Youtube video with clips from other videos or copyrighted music can be a reason for being imposed mandatory fines, even if it is for personal or educational purposes. Moreover, there is no exception for individual’s non-commercial copies of copyrighted stuffs.

TPP says that copyright terms will be extended for six of 12 negotiated countries by another 20 years. Therefore, monopoly copyrights would be extended and sharing user-generated contents would be more regulated and have new barriers.

One of the Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders is against TPP. “Make no mistake: if TPP passes, it will further hurt consumers and cost American jobs. So we must stop it, together,” he says. He regards TPP expands failed free trade policies, because it has already led to cost millions of jobs and shutter tens of thousands of factories across the United States, and it will curtail the Internet freedom. Plus, Trump and Hillary also agree to keep the Internet freedom.

People have already realized that our freedom of speech on the Internet is threaten by TPP. When I interviewed some classmates about what they think about losing Internet freedom, all of interviewees did not understand why TPP tries to regulate the Internet, and they think it is too extreme, so they all oppose it.

As my personal opinion, to regulate the Internet and  its tracking system sound scary because it means that our privacy is threaten and we are under the surveillance of the U.S. society. However, some people it is okay that someone always checks which website I visited or what I typed on Google search because we do not know each other’s face. If the system works well without leaking privacy, I would agree with those who say it is okay.

The other thing that I concern is that now we can download music and movies for free and no one complains if we use a picture from an official website without permission, but to regulate the Internet freedom means that we could be imposed by doing it. Probably, all of us who use the Internet would be criminalized because of the regulation.

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Farmer’s Market on Staten Island

 

On every Saturday morning, Saint George Green Market is held by the organization called Grow NYC on St. Mark’s Place and Hyatt St on Staten Island. Local farmers on Staten Island and from New Jersey come to sell their fresh products such as vegetables, cheese, bread, and fruits and people in the community come to buy the flavorful foods.

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I saw a little kid running to a bakery section in the Green Market and saying “Can I have a blueberry muffin?” It made me smile because I can rarely see this heartwarming scene at a big-chain supermarket.

Why is it important to shop at Green Market?

Green Markets are producer-only markets. Everything that is sold here is grown, raised, caught, processed or baked by the farmers selling it. You can buy their product before it gets bad, because it is not the product that is imported from far away, and also you can get to know who grew the food or ask them how they made it.

Moreover, purchasing local foods means that you are supporting local farms and families. If they sell their products to a big supermarket, they cannot get full retail price for their products, and wholesale price is very low comparing to selling the foods directly to customers. Therefore, you can build your community and help the farmers’ families to keep their business by shopping at Green Market.

There is another point of building a community by going to Green Market, because it can be an opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Seeing people in a community and exploring local foods together at Green Market are the best way to built a good connection with your neighbors.

What is the current issues facing farmer’s market?

Even though Green Markets offer us fresh, healthy and flavorful foods, they don’t give everything that we need. Instead, we heavily depend on big supermarkets to get groceries, such as sugar, paper towel, chocolate chip, oil etc. Supermarket is our reality. Even if the quality of food in supermarket is not as good as farmer’s market, we are still satisfied with its price and convenience and even appreciate them.

In fact, the mass-produced imported vegetables in supermarket, tomatoes for example, are usually picked up before they are ripe to avoid them going bad, and it takes one month the color of the tomatoes turns red. Since they are harvested too early and not ripen naturally, these foods are not fresh and lack lots of nutrition.

One of Grow NYC stuffs talked about how hard for local farmers to compete with big supermarket during interview. Since supermarket use cheap labors to produce goods in large quantities (mass production), they can sell foods and other groceries cheaper and most people tend to buy those stuffs because of the price.

Also, Farmer’s market is not always available in the community since it is held once in a week. Therefore, it is not familiar with all the people in the community and not as convenient as big supermarket  because of its limited time.

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Farmer’s market is one of important opportunities to get locally grown foods. If it disappeared, it would be getting hard to eat fresh local products especially in the city. In addition, not only it becomes difficult to get the local foods, but also it would affect the business of small farms. If they cannot run the business by selling the local products, it would be getting hard for them to keep their farmlands and they might have to give up their properties for development. And finally, no one can get fresh local foods, and what we can get is only mass-produced, a less nutritious foods.

Selling directly to customers and buying their local foods from them mean supporting your regional economy and being proactive each other. If farmers could get paid more by running their business locally, they would not need to sell their farmland for development, also we can continue to get fresh delicious foods. Purchasing locally grown food leads you to reinvest in your community and helps preserve the agricultural landscape.

THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a global free trade agreement negotiated by Pacific Rim countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand.

This agreement enable to make the exports of Made-in-America goods and services easier by eliminating over 18,000 different taxes and other trade barriers. It will help support American jobs and grow the American economy.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was entered into force on January 1, 1994. The agreement is negotiated by the United States, Canada and Mexico, which is one of the largest free trade zone in the world. It is the same idea as TPP, NAFTA has eliminated trade tariffs and  barriers to create strong economic growth for those three countries and the strategy has succeeded as a result. It has brought strong economic growth, job creation and better prices and selections in consumer goods.

However, there are some controversies about TPP, and I picked up three key issues.

First of all, the agreement allows companies and countries to challenge another nation’s rules and laws that have the effect of regulating overseas companies from competing in their market.

In Japan, for example, all of medical care are controlled by the government, so if you have a citizenship in Japan, you have to take out one of official medical insurances that the government designate. In addition, the government set all the prices of any medicines and medical equipment.

However, the TPP agreement will abolish those regulations because it will allow to trade medical materials, which means the government in Japan cannot control medical care anymore due to those products imported from overseas. It will make increase the price of medical care and equipment, and some of Japanese citizens, such as low-income people, would not be able to take out the medical insurance because of its high expense.

The other issues are also related to a U.S.-made drug trade.The United States tries to make it harder to pirate U.S.-made drugs and software. During the deal, the United States claimed to last the protection for 12 years. Eventually, the final deal gave five years of protection, but it can be changed depending on the circumstances. However, the multi-year monopolies will drive up the price of life-saving medicine.

Finally, the U.S. labor critics’ questioning that “Is it actually enforced that labor protections for workers in every country?” which suggests that some low wage jobs are lost overseas in the process, for example, if the deal means that manufacture here can use cheaper imported parts, they will be more competitive.

Therefore, organized labor, environmental groups and public health experts strongly oppose the agreement. It will encourage corporate deregulation and send jobs to low-wage countries with poor human rights records including Asian countries.

However, on the one hand, President Obama expects that the TPP agreement will prevent overseas companies from using child labor, improve bad working conditions and set minimum standards for workplaces in the 11 other countries.

On the other hand, Hillary ClintonBernie Sanders, and Donald Trump all those strongest candidates oppose the trade agreement.

“I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement,” Hillary Clinton argue. “But I’m worried. I’m worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement. We’ve lost American jobs to the manipulations that countries, particularly in Asia, have engaged in. I’m worried the pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits — and patients and consumers fewer. I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”

“This trade agreement would continue the race to the bottom for American workers,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate.

As I looked for tweets related to #AntiTPP, I found so many tweets and news about anti-TPP and demonstration against the agreement written in other languages such as Japanese, which implies that TPP is a big issue for all of those 11 countries citizens and so many people still strongly protest the agreement.

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This tweet says that the United States is trying to invade not only Japanese agricultural market but also medical care and insurance.

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Outfit of The Day

  

  • Sweater (Forever 21) from China
  • Coat (Forever 21) from China
  • Jeans (LOWRYS FARM *Japanese brand) from  China

I found that all of my today’s outfits came from one country, China.

I checked some of my other clothes as well, and all of them are also produced in China. All of those items are from cheap-price store, including Forever 21 and H&M.

My mother used to care about where clothes came from when she purchase her clothes, because she loves the items made in Japan due to the good quality of Japanese products. And if I wear clothes made in China or the other countries, she always complains about it even if I really do not care where they came from.

Because of my mother’s habit, I  always have awareness of where goods are being made. Therefore, I could expect the result of this investigation. But, I had also expected those products might come from the other countries in South East Asia, such as Indonesia , because usually cheap clothes are produced in developing countries.

Even though some of those countries in Asia or East-Asia are developed, there are some regions that have not been industrialized yet in the countries. In addition, to keep the lower prices, the fast fashion productions heavily rely on low wage, overseas labors.

Here is the reasons why Forever 21 can produce such cheap products. One of the reasons is related to sweatshop conditions of its factories and unfair practices in its shops in America. 

Labors, including immigrants from East Asia and Latin America in the factories and American workers in the stores have complained of their worst work conditions and  low wages, because some of those work under the unfair practices, such as unable to take a meal break, changed their time card to reduce hours and unpaid wages or overtime pay. 

Due to the unfair labor practices, the retailers of Forever 21 has been sued by the United States Department of Labor for ignoring a subpoena requesting information on how much the company’s suppliers pays the workers who make its clothes.

The United States Department of Labor said “Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions.”

Even though Forever 21 is a big worldwide company and now sell an estimated $3 dollar from 500 stores in the world, it does not mean that the garment workers also can gain good payment from the company because their wages are based on how many pieces they cut or sew. 

Therefore, their pay can be blow minimum wage unless they work six or seven days in a week without overtime pay. 

And there is another fact, even if the factory is in America, most of the labors are immigrants from other countries such as Asia. 

While we enjoy a trendy fashion with cheap prices and throw them away when the trend is over, someone in the other country keeps working so hard under harsh condition with little wages to make the new trendy clothes. 

Presidential Primary – New Hampshire

On February 9th, the Presidential Primary took place in the state of New Hampshire. It was the first primary vote after the Iowa Caucuses.

And this time, Democrat Bernie Sanders led Clinton 60% to 38%, and finally he won the primary by the wide margin from Clinton.

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People responded to Bernie’s winning and showed their happy feelings and expectations for what he will work for the United Sates on social media.

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On the other hand, Donald Trump also won the primary at the Republican party but…

 

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Some people were unhappy with the result and they showed completely different responses from Bernie’s winning…

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Blotter

Case #1

Police look for the suspect of a grand larceny that occurred in Staten Island on Wednesday November 4 around 1:00pm. The 34-year-old female lost her wallet, including 50.00 dollars and credit card. 30 minutes later, the suspect purchased an electric heater with the victim’s credit card at The Home Depot located in 545 Target Street, police said. The suspect is regarded as a 20-30 years male with short dark hair and a beard, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, light colored pants and brown shoes at the last time he was seen, according to officials. There are no injuries in this incident.

Case #2

On Monday, October 5, 2015 at 11:01, a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian stuck took place at Hylan Boulevard and Arden Avenue, police reported. An injured 31-year-old victim lying on the roadway was unconscious and unresponsive according to officers. After EMS transported the aided female to Staten Island University Hospital South, she was deceased at the hospital. As the pedestrian was crossing Hylan Boulevard southbound, a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis was traveling westbound on Hylan Boulevard at the same time, and the vehicle approaching the intersection of Arden Avenue stuck the pedestrian who was walking mid-block, according to the investigation. The 54-year-old driver of the car was not injured and there are no arrests in this incident.

Case #3

Investigators released photos of two suspects who are wanted for a robbery to seek the public’s assistance. On Wednesday, August 21, 2015 around 12:45am, in front of 6345 Amboy Road, one of the suspects approached a 22-year-old male victim who got off the train at the Pleasant Plains Station. While suspect #1 demanded his property, suspect #2 pushed the victim to the ground and took the victim’s cell phone, and the duo run away to an unknown direction. The suspect #1 is identified as a 20-30 year-old white male with heavy set wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The suspect #2 is also regarded as a 20-30 year-old white male covering his head with a hood, police reporting.

Christmas in Richmond Town and Traditional Tree Lighting

Traditional Tree Lighting Event in Historic Richmond Town

Traditional Tree Lighting Event began at 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 6 at Historic Richmond Town located on 441 Clarke Avenue. The venue was filled with a lot of people, including families and couples. Everyone was holding a cup of hot apple cider served by The Women’s Auxiliary to keep themselves warm. Kids were running around while waiting for the time of the tree lighting. The choir was singing on the main stage. Shortly after it passed 5:00 pm, Santa Claus showed up. Everyone clapped their hands and started singing some Christmas songs. And then, finally the countdown for the tree lighting began “…5 …4 …3 …2 …1!!!” At the moment, the tree lit up and the community was filled with a lot of smiles, joy and love.

“I really love this community because American historic traditions are preserved here and people can enjoy and experience those traditions through the events we hold like this tree lighting,” a member of The Women’s Auxiliary talked about this community. “I want more people to feel it’s important to preserve the tradition of America.” (*It was not allowed to take a video of the interview.)

 

 

The Tree Lighting event was hosted by The Women’s Auxiliary of Historic Richmond Town, which is the volunteer fundraising organization that aims to support and render useful service to Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island. They work on to preserve historic records and relics connected with the early history of Staten Island. The devotion to Staten Island Historic Society makes all their efforts successful.

Historic Richmond Town is a community representing America’s historic town. The town including a museum is divided into four sites with over thirty original historic structures and more than 130,000 historic artifacts, photographs and archival collections dating back to 17th century.

“They are authentic time travelers that carry memories of people, place and lives.”

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The purpose of those collections of the historic artifacts are described as “discovery” to show the history of America and to give new insight into one’s life. Those artifacts were found in many hundreds of New York areas over the past hundred years. Each collection of artifacts and structures represents “America” and has its own great true story.There are many ways to enjoy the historic town besides visiting the museum and those sites. They also hold events and programs for guests to show traditional America’s life. Check the event calendar to join their program!

 

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There is an upcoming event called Candlelight Tours in Historic Richmond Town on this weekend, December 12. Candlelight Tours has been presented for decades in this community. People can journey from house to house decorated  with candles and oil lamps and enlivened by holiday sweets. Through walking tours of an illuminated Historic Town at night, people can experience as if they visit the people from days of old and feel the holiday mood. The opportunity would bring the people closer to the traditions and nostalgic days of America.