Monday, August 14, 2023

Immigrant's Still Continue to Hope, Biden then, - We Don't Know After 2024, yet the Problems remains the same

 For Decades as we all know Immigration Reform is just a thought but never a reality in the political process. None on both sides of the political sides of the political parties are really indeed serious on the plight of immigrants. They are serious on using immigrants in their political campaigns when they are running for office that's a fact.

Every Presidential Election especially a Democratic Presidential candidate gives so much hopes for the immigrant community up to the first year inauguration if they win but then that's it. Washington keeps talking about border security, asylum etc., so they can be always on the news and get up to speed on their fund raising and pork barrels.  It is all about money, money and power!

Meanwhile, Immigrants have low rates of medical insurance coverage and poor access to health care coverage. Policy changes have limited immigrants access to insurance and health care. The barriers range from financial limitations to discriminations and fear of deportations. This has contributed to immigrants participation in free healthcare.

Immigrants also face discrimination on the job. They face challenges on their assignments and being managed. At times they are excluded from safety and labor protection by Americans born citizens. Some who just arrived lack knowledge on the job market and lack foreign credentials recognition. 

Prejudice is also common. Many immigrants experience discrimination. In fact, there's been a mammoth sweep of increased anti-immigration prejudice. They can tend to be against minority ethnic and religious groups. 

Language can be also a disadvantage especially for new immigrants. Even access to health care sometimes is hard when accessing them or even getting insurance especially if the specific language is not supported. 

But the bottom line, if you look at the immigrants already in the mainstream supporting the different industries from agriculture, food service, manufacturing, hospitality, etc., and thinking that there is still a lot of unemployment in these sectors, the main conclusion is the system is indeed broken for decades. Will it be ever fix. Ask God. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Covid-19, Gun Violence, Unity, Abortion to Immigration - A Promise with so much hopes where is it now four months towards Mid Terms Elections

 Reading Efrén C. Olivares bestselling author's book release today "My Boy Will Die of Sorrow" reminded me to finally update my blog as I haven't had for some time. Honestly, I've been in a way discourage to write in lieu of the events I've been seeing vis a vis the hopes I had in the past year. 

Sadly, as everyone has been experiencing the harsh reality of life surviving the effects of inflation, still living through the fear of Covid-19, the daily news of gun violence and on and on. There's this issue of Roe vs. Wade which is another that opens up another saga of discussions. There's a lot to take what's happening around us but sometimes you just have to look at what is the first thing that is needed for today. For one, you have to eat buy food and groceries, are you able to afford them and you have to go to work and put gas on your car. If you live if San Francisco, Ca for example Premium gas can be as high as $5.99. Then in between you don't have enough money in the bank, you checking account get's overdrawn and you get charge the overdraft fees and then the finance fee from your credit card if you have credit card as back up for the overdraft protection. For lunch when you do not have enough money, you take your credit card out to pay for your lunch with your credit card with an APR 26% as your credit is not that great. Hopefully, you have medical and dental insurance in case you get sick. If not you'll be using that credit card again in case for medical bills and medicines.  

In the summer of 2018, Efrén C. Olivares found himself representing hundreds of immigrant families when Zero Tolerance separated thousands of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Twenty-five years earlier, he had been separated from his own father for several years when he migrated to the U.S. to work. Their family was eventually reunited in Texas, where Efrén and his brother went to high school and learned a new language and culture. I took this excerpt from this book of Efren Olivares to relate an example on when the new administration started with the vision of Immigration Reform.

From the looks of it, as in the past Democratic Presidents Immigration Reform is no longer a conversation as it looks like. It's unfortunate that even in both Houses of Congress there were discussions but it looks like now four months before mid term elections this topic is also muted. 

As an example when Covid-19 started in 2019 there were I-130 Immigrant Petitions from the USCIS that were approved already waiting for Interviews. Because the broken Immigration system, if your are in the United States the law requires if you have an approved petition such as these you have to leave the US and be interviewed in your home country. The corresponding Embassy abroad through the Dept. of State will arrange the Interview Date. So even if your petitioner has a medical need or hardship you still have to go to this process. It is now 2022 going 2023 and we can count the backlog that this has created and this particular process itself. The worst case scenario those that might have had medical need might have been too late by now. Yet in the interim between how many refugees had we allowed to be expedited to enter the USA from Afghanistan or Ukraine. This is not to be bias about them but just to make a point. And yes our Congressman knows about these issues. As a matter of fact if you write to some of them they simply to do not even send a auto reply.

We can't always say we have to go out and vote. We have to show we are doing something so people will see that they really need to support the cause.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

May 9 A Distinct Date to Remember in World Events

In the US News dominates the leaked draft opinion of the United States Supreme Court on Abortion Rights. The same court ruled on the famous Roe v. Wade case in 1973 to legalize Abortion rights for women in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right to abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and has reaffirmed that right in subsequent decisions.

Timeline 2010. Abortion rights has started to be restrictive in various States in the US. With this leaked draft opinion getting finalized in a month if ever signifies the pro-life movement seemed have to have won. The started with parental consent and notifications requiring counselling, waiting periods with a goal to dissuade abortion. It's also interesting to note that at some point some of these states where conservative states and religion played a big part, Catholics for example.  It is a common fact that there are other medical reasons why abortions are necessary in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest, etc. However, it maybe it should be a person choice of what they want to do with their body or their own decision. 

Politically, on this draft leaked opinion we know how we have arrived to this. The conservative justices that are presumed to be authors of this final opinion was appointed exactly for this purpose. This decision is just the beginning saga towards the series of what to expect. 

In one of the restrictive states, if this draft became final and went to effect, If a health care provider attempts to perform or induce an abortion in the state, they will be charged with a federal crime and could face up to five years in prison. Health care providers who attempt to perform or assist with an abortion could also have their licenses suspended for six months, upon the first offense, and revoked upon future offenses.  In another state according to the ACLU, The first time, the patient is given state-mandated counseling and information; and the second visit is for the actual procedure.  When did a pregnant mother dealing with so many things in daily life have to get permission going to counseling sessions on what they want to do with their health and their decisions?

The US Supreme Court has not change over the years. Its' the composition of the justices that has change followed by the last 4 years and then Jan. 6, 2020.  

Let me sidetrack in another part of world, Great Patriotic War, in which more than 20 million Soviet citizens died at home and abroad. Celebrations and parades take place in dozens of Russian cities on May 9. According to NPR, It appears Moscow's military display on Monday may be scaled down from those in previous years to reflect the fight in Ukraine, based on statements from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Still, Shoigu said the parade would include 11,000 soldiers and show off 77 aircraft and 131 vehicles, including Russia's newest rocket launchers. Victory will come until they defeat the Nazi's in Ukraine? This are their talking points in the disinformation propaganda in the state owned television and media.

We all know the facts on Russia and Ukraine these past months on the devastations and War Crimes that has been committed. In 1988, The Soviet Union had experienced internal stagnation and ethnic separatism. The USSR, although a highly centralized state, was made up of 15 Republics that served as homelands for different ethnicities. By 1991, there was a major political crisis where several of these republics departing from the Union dissolving it. This pave the way of a new Russia marking the end of the Cold War. The Belovezh Accords were signed on December 8 by President Boris Yeltsin of RussiaPresident Kravchuk of Ukraine, and Chairman Shushkevich of Belarus, recognising each other's independence and creating the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) instead of the Soviet Union, Ukraine ended its participation in CIS statutory bodies in 2018, due to prolonged tensions with Russia.[5]

President Vladimir Putin's grand plan to DE nazify Ukraine is the mere ambition of the making Ukraine once again as a sovereign state of Russia aka USSR. His main goal is to stay in power as Russia's dictator. 

Now as we go to Asia, May 9 polls closing in the Philippines as well as the regime of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. As of writing this article the ballots as being counted on 2 major contenders, Former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, son the late dictator's son and Vice President Leni Robredo. 

Maria Leonor "Leni" Gerona Robredo is a Filipina lawyer, politician, and social activist who is the 14th and incumbent vice president of the Philippines. Robredo was the wife of the late Jesse Robredo, who was interior secretary from 2010 to 2012.Robredo, who is running as an independent, is still perceived as an outsider, because she doesn’t come from one of the political dynasties that have dominated the Philippines for decades. Robredo was awarded by the government of Thailand in 2016 for her work and advocacy in women's empowerment and gender equality.

Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., commonly referred to as Bongbong Marcos, is a Filipino politician who served as a senator from 2010 to 2016. He is the second child and only son of former president, dictator, and kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.The Marcoses' remarkable return from pariahs to the peak of political power has been fuelled by public anger over corruption and poverty that persisted under governments that followed the dictatorship.Hundreds of thousands of red-clad Marcos supporters on Saturday amassed on a dusty wasteland overlooked by a gleaming luxury casino resort - a stark reminder of the country's vast income gap.

In February 22, 1986, "People Power" in the Philippines was the result of the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. An era also ending when Marcos declared Martial Law in Sept. 1971 where the military took over democracy and he ruled as an authoritarian dictator until the People Power revolution of 1986.  Does this sound familiar? As noted above, The USSR revolt also started in 1988 then in 1991, the Soviet Union fell making the new Russia. Today Putin's Russia has started to invade since 2014, and now Ukraine and what's next?

Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 took 3 decades over 50 years for changes in the US Supreme Court justices to be appointed by the US Presidents and confirmed by the US Senate.  Likewise, as we watch the news there's Ballistic missiles being tested on North Korea and worries on Taiwan. Then last but not the least as mentioned the Philippines is about to elect a new President. Whether it maybe a rebut of a new Marcos era which may be entirely different for the Marcos senior, there are some similarities on the 3 mentioned. 

The 3 similar traits are on propaganda. We all know how Russia and China can manipulate their state owned media. Jail, Alexei  Navalny for example and the others, shut down independent journalist, etc., In the last four years of Trump, we all know what "fake news" is all about in the United States and how devastating tweets  and ads can do to what people see on TV and online. And in the Philippines, the youth today, I guess are more on social media like Tik tok which of course was not there during the Marcos senior years. It was PTV channel 4, the government channel dedicated to President and Mrs. Marcos. Even as a kid, I already knew how to switch the channels clockwise of an old Zenith Black and White TV and it only plays the same propaganda over and over. Then on that February was the arrival of then Sen. Benigno Aquino was shot in the tarmac of the Manila International Airport after his return.

As I was watching the CNN special 2 Sundays ago on Navalny, it gave me the same memories. The good thing was Alexei was not shot but jailed, still was good and hopefully someday he has hope. Aquino was in exile in the US for years and made the same decision to come back. After people power history prevailed by having Aquino's widow sworn as President Corazon Aquino. Cory Aquino and then later their son Noynoy who also became President are both deceased. I'm writing this to give a little history to the Filipino youth of today.  

From the People Power Revolution in the Philippines also was the promise of depicting graft and corruption which was the central accusation about the Marcos dynasty and cronies. Yet today, the so called billions and gold has not been fully recovered and not all human rights victims has been awarded what is due to them. Likewise, the Marcos case also was during the regime their accomplishments on infrastructures and landmarks still stands today. They claim that following administrations did not accomplished as much. Some constitutional scholars are fearing that if Marcos Jr. wins there might be an attempt to restructure the 1987 constitution after the People Power Revolt to scrap the Presidency's one term limit. Does this sound familiar? Sara Duterte, Marcos running mate as Vice President  is the incumbent president’s daughter, who is currently a mayor of of the southern city of Davao.

What's my take on this. Culture and Religion are fundamental inherent traits in Filipinos that goes beyond deep. In retrospect you can also change someone's orientation towards the way they conduct their work, daily life routine and beliefs. But faith and how someone was raise will always prevail unfortunately. 

  • In the deeply religious nation, abortion is a taboo, a crime and a sin. Yet hundreds of thousands of unsafe procedures happen every year, with sometimes horrific results.. This is how Abortion is perceived for example in the majority Catholic Philippines. There has been numerous attempts and bills to decriminalize Abortion in the Philippines 
  • But conservatives continue to make it hard for debate to take place over whether women should be allowed the life-saving procedure.

Countries in which abortion is completely illegal/prohibited:

Abortion is completely illegal in the following countries: Andorra, Aruba (territory), Republic of the Congo, Curaçao (territory), Dominican RepublicEgyptEl SalvadorHaitiHondurasIraqJamaicaLaosMadagascarMaltaMauritaniaNicaraguaPalauPhilippinesSan MarinoSenegalSierra LeoneSurinameTonga, and West Bank & Gaza Strip (Palestinian territories).

If Roe v. Wade becomes overturn on a final decision next month, the US may join the list above like Philippines. Why am I explicit on this. In the Philippines, the Catholic Church hierarchy wields strong influence on society and on government officials. The church not only condemns abortion, but forbids the use of modern contraceptives. Despite this opposition, recent legislative developments have been supportive of reproductive health.5 In contrast to former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who opposed public provision of modern contraceptives in favor of promoting natural methods approved by the Vatican, the Fomer President, Benigno S. Aquino III, endorsed the highly debated Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (commonly known as the Reproductive Health Law),8 which provides modern contraceptive services, counseling and sex education, particularly for rural and poor Filipinos.9 This policy was (and still is) strongly opposed by the church hierarchy; however, it is generally supported by the Philippine public. In December 2012, lawmakers passed the bill and President Aquino signed it into law. As of early 2013, implementation of the law was delayed by the Philippines Supreme Court. Nonetheless, passage of the bill represents a historic milestone. Guttmacher is one the organizations in the US states that will be required for a pregnant woman to get counseling. 

IN spite of the above, Abortion is common in the Philippines. It is the same graft and corruption that is the hindrance to implementation. The same which is why I mentioned two things you cannot change - Culture and Religion. This is one reason why there are a lot of Filipinos immigrating to various countries around the world. Yes, Immigration for family reunification, economics but there's also this factor to have a better future for themselves and their families and how they can contribute.

In the United States, unfortunately, laws are decrees and followed, So if you look at the case examples above, it is clear that this Roe v. Wade draft should it be final being overturn next month is a golden key opening a chest of other rights being overturn. And from then on what's next.

On this administration, and what's going on, are we happy? Not really they have not really delivered to what we expected. They now have gone back to playing politics than when they started with the promise of hope. They have not even answered calls from us the common laymen. Yes, inflation is hard to fight yet were giving billions to the war. Yes, lives are suffering and they need help for asylum but what about the front line workers who are the remaining heroes that had been waiting for interviews of the US Embassies still closed overseas due to Covid-19 to get our green cards or those needing immigration exceptions. All we hear is Title 42 and exception from the Wars but none about the Millions waiting for decades contributing to the US economy.

So May 9 is such a distinct day. Time will tell what happens next.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Celebrating Martin Luther King, A Year After January 6 and A New President - What's The future

 It's been a while I've written and I apologize as some of my readers has been asking they haven't heard from me. Like most of all of you, I've been fighting I al lot of personal fires of survival. Life has been tough believe it of not. Yes, we we open the year with a high bar, high hopes with a new administration yet Covid-19 seem to proliferate our lives to the point that were all tired from it at this point,

I remember back then when it was Dr. King's special day I would write a blog remembering his fight on civil rights, remembering the march and his death. Well this year, right on the eve of this special holiday, I'm watching cable TV on a hostage situation in Texas on Jewish house of worship where the hostage taker took four (4) hostages. A law enforcement official earlier told the AP that the hostage-taker demanded the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida. The hostage-taker was heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida, the officials said. He also said he wanted to be able to speak with her, according to the officials. Siddiqui is in federal prison in Texas.  …Quoted from the Concho Valley News.. The event was livestream in Facebook initially so the worshippers was able to see it.

This story goes longer but in short, The Jewish community preys target in this case for this hostage taker as a reason and also as an exchange in is mind to release for this person stated above. January 6, is another story to tell that happen in regards to the republic and turn over of the new President.

I'm trying to remember the year but it's quite really hard to remember as there were so many things that happen. And much of them as I have mentioned at the start was mostly putting out fires which is one of the reasons I hardly had time myself to even write a blog. A lot of times is survival, stretching the wallet and time, fixing what needs to be fix as if there is always no time. 

There were so many calamities this year, I know they say unemployment numbers looks good in spite of the inflation we have never seen in decades. They also say that Americans had been quitting jobs in droves to look for new ones. There are also a lot of un-vaccinated dying of Covid-19 but do we know if all all of them are really non believers or because they do not have insurance and are not informed?  And if you are a real common lay person, you might agree you are just tired of fighting to survive everyday?

I know people sometimes get tired when I compare my destination visits but this is how I can see the changes that happen from time to time.

Last night, I decided to take the underground in San Francisco and explore the "Castro". I was hoping the grab a bite on a favorite Japanese restaurant I have not been to in about 7 months. The first thing I notice was on weekend the Castro looks like a Ghost Town even seeing some homeless by 18th St. Not only was favorite Japanese restaurant now closed so as some restaurant and shops that did not survive with this pandemic. From my qualified guess, either my favorite restaurant was not a recipient of the American Rescue Plan Package for Restaurants or they already exhausted it.  I know for a fact that even though you have received any kind of help before for the pandemic, it would have been exhausted by now.

When the pandemic started for example in California, one can file for Unemployment if you have lost half or part of you income. For example, in San Francisco, it is a convention and tourism city. So one can have multiple sources of income and employers. Nowadays, they have eliminated that option as a reason that you lost part of your income. So if your wondering why the unemployment numbers are looking good now and those that are filing for unemployment have gone down, here's one good reason why. Likewise, for some it's just complicated in reporting and they feel they make a mistake so might as well so forget it on filing.

Let me also touch a little on Immigration. I can't help but start on this with Afghanistan. I respect the fact that it was a necessary undertaking and that we needed to bring the refugees for relocation. At the same I was reading an online article last night a US resident stuck either in Europe or UAE with a wife about to have birth in 23 days. Luckily, he has news coverage trying to appeal to the State Dept. as the US Embassy where he was was still on locked down and he cannot be scheduled for interview so he can travel back to the US. What's my point here?  In the United States as we all know, Immigration Reform was on the list on the President's agenda when he took office. We now know that by now there is slim chances that this will pass through the US Senate. During the Covid-19 pandemic there are so many Approved I-130 Green Card Permanent Alien Petitions by US Citizens to their Immediate Families to be scheduled to US Embassies and Consulates Overseas that are on hold since 2019.

These petitions are from family members who have been waiting legally in the US to adjust their status as far 3o years. And since 2019 they still have to wait again due to covid-19 pandemic and all they get from the Dept. of State and USCIS are reminders that the interviews cannot be scheduled yet. 

New York (CNN Business)The US Chamber of Commerce is calling for doubling the number of legal immigrants into America as a way to ease inflation and the worker shortage.

"We need more workers. We should welcome people who want to come here, go to school and stay," Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday. "That is a place the government could be particularly helpful and we do believe it would be anti-inflationary."
Clark added that ramping up immigration would help to ease the supply chain disruptions that are at the heart of the inflation spike, including the shortage of truck drivers.
    "If we can alleviate the worker shortage, it might be the fastest thing to do to impact inflation," Clark said.

    Saturday, June 5, 2021

    National Immigrant and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Month Declaration from the White House as Pride Month Comes

     While the President calls for the Congress to pass the Equality Act, which will ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country. he recognizes  there is more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to all our people.  Nearly 11 million people in this country are undocumented — and it is time that the Congress acts by passing the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. 

    It's been a challenge in the last few months with a lot of foregoing issues domestic and overseas from voting rights, gun violence, cyber hacks, middle east crisis, the economy, infrastructure, to the 2022 primary elections, Trump, and so forth. And yes no President in history must have had such all of this together with the greatest pandemic in our lifetime Covid-19. 

    Yet. we know the President won and has the high popularity to the 60's because of the his biggest campaign focused which gave him the presidency, fighting Covid-19. It is a fact the organization and structure in place to this point has to be in Joe Biden's credit. So as discussed with all this underlying major issues on hand looking at the big picture whether it's 2024's Veto power with only one congress majority, let us focus on what may be good for the American people and democracy in the next 2-3 decades.

    With that in mind, we can look into population, what more demographic cultures will be in the different counties in our neighborhoods and more importantly who will be the working class from the low income wage earners to the agricultural to the factory and retail, hospitality workers that will be building the American economy in the next 20-30 years. 

    Immigrants and Equality are the biggest contributors to the factors of what I have just mentioned. In addition to this it's also a fact that there just some districts and counties that population wise there would be more black and brown communities contributing to the workforce, economy and yes voters. And in case people has not seen some data on essential workers of these recent covid-19 pandemic, health-care workers alone, contributed a big chunk of immigrants working day and night as heroes in the last 1 1/2 years and yes blended with the so called un-documented.

    Covid-19 was a success in a way that in just almost 2 years Americans are now about 63% vaccinated. They found the cure yet this month as we celebrate PRIDE, when in 1989 when we discovered the first tragedy of AIDS, we haven't still gotten a vaccine and it is 2021. Yes, HIV-AID's has now improve and people's live and survival is different but the stigma remains. We are happy of the new drugs and prep that have been developed to combat the disease but there are still a lot of issues in the LGBTQ and transgender community that needs help and advocacy.

    So as we celebrate Pride this month of June, we thank the President of the things he has done so far yet we remind ourselves the things we need to continue to fight for the Immigrant and LGBTQ community. Happy Pride to All.

    Sunday, May 2, 2021

    Domestic and Foreign Priorities, 100 Days Shaping a Transitional Presidency and Beyond


    Culminating a speech on a joint session of Congress, US President Joseph R. Biden mark his first 100 days in  office with his new American Jobs Plan. The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race. As of this writing the President is now on a tour trying to sell this plan.

    As any new President's 100 days, Joe Biden's Presidency has been successful with an approval rating way above the 50's than his predecessor. Although considered lower the Bush and Clinton in lieu of the factors of the 2020 elections still lingering lies created by his predecessor. He came to this presidential race with the main goal of the solving the greatest pandemic logistics in the USA for Covid-19. To date, we have about 220 million Americans vaccinated and were seeing the light of the freedom.

    Yet, as we know towards the 100 days of this presidency, the biggest and probably the most important and non popular Presidential decision was "Afghanistan". We all know that Joe Biden's career was in the in the Foreign Relations and diplomacy. He was also clear that he wanted to unify and be a transitional President from the chaos of the last four years. We also know his empathy as well as his own losses and stories which I can just speculate in major decision like this, you really put what is best for the country first, 

    Why may I say that? Britannica explains,  The development of foreign policy is influenced by domestic considerations, the policies or behavior of other states, or plans to advance specific geopolitical designs. Leopold von Ranke emphasized the primacy of geography and external threats in shaping foreign policy, but later writers emphasized domestic factors.  Diplomacy is the tool of foreign policy, and war, alliances, and international trade may all be manifestations of it.

    As we discussed about this American Jobs Plan on trillions of dollars in the coming months then we talked about debt and America being the wealthiest nation on earth. Then we have this non ending debates between politicians while the low income people in America are still suffering to survive everyday and small businesses still trying to find working capital each day, these are prime examples of "domestic considerations" the policies of behavior right here in the United States of America.  The funds that we are spending overseas on the war on Afghanistan for example will help this domestic considerations.

    On my take on Diplomacy, what the US needs to look into is the life after the US withdrawal in Afghanistan. We know that there could be some exodus to neighboring Pakistan as refuge.    Pakistan stays afloat on an IMF loan with strict conditionality should be a consideration as an example to look into. There should be on the ground efforts established within Afghanistan itself to protect human rights and women by funding agencies the the USAID missions. 

    The human and financial costs of the two foreign ‘mis’adventures have been phenomenal: in Vietnam close to 59,000 American soldiers lost their lives; in Afghanistan it is pushing close to 2,500 fatalities and more than 20,000 wounded. In terms of US dollar value in 2019, both Vietnam and Afghanistan have cost US tax payers more than one trillion dollars each; with some independent estimates putting the figure for Afghanistan adventure close to two trillion dollars.

    My take on this as this President moves beyond his 100 days there are still so many emergency domestic issues that needs to be address as his priority.  Like what he is now doing on India, he is sharing whatever we can to help but still the main focus is on the domestic front. 

    Sunday, March 14, 2021

    A Beginner's Guide to America's Culture Belief's on Race, Immigration, Equality and Views Nowadays


    Bestselling author, Roya Hakakian upcoming book describes the book as A stirring, witty, and poignant glimpse into the bewildering American immigrant experience from someone who has lived it. Also, a mirror held up to America.

    Myself being middle age living half of my life in the USA, I can totally agree with her. I till this day still ask questions on inclusion. A good example was on a Friday afternoon in a downtown San Francisco's retail location men's restroom which was open for the public. Right after using it passed  walking pass  the stalls,  a middle age heavy set Caucasian man assumed I was headed to the walk out the door and yelled to me "washed your hands". I politely showed in my hands my sanitizers and uttered I had it. Most public restrooms in San Francisco's downtown area are not open due to the homeless problem and vandalism and also the lavatories are really extremely dirty and infected with bacteria. At any rate here's an example why I simply raise the statement of inclusion having live half of my life in America. For all you know the guy had good intentions of reminding me simply to wash my hands but here is where the culture's perspectives open up. 

    In the San Francisco area, home to the nation's largest and oldest Chinatown, there were at least 18 attacks against Asians in February alone, TODAY previously reported. An 84-year-old Thai American, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was pushed to the ground in January and died from his injuries a few days later, NBC News reported. In 2020, New York City police recorded 28 hate crimes against Asian Americans, up from three in 2019, quoted from  Another issue that came up during this Covid-19 is when the term "China Virus" was downplayed by no other than the 45th President of the United States. This has enabled an anti-Asian hate and violence campaign. 

    Meanwhile, there's an influx of undocumented children on the southern border trying to enter after Biden rolled back a number of Trump-era immigration policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy that advocates say gutted the nation’s asylum system and the "zero tolerance" policy of separating families at the border.  It is extremely hard for politicians based on my personal experiences having dealt with them of their desire for power and wealth to understand the true meaning of "Asylum". If you make from $170,000 to $300,00 and have net worth's of $2M to $10B or more and ambitions to even be the President of the USA you will never need to know the meaning of what it stands or what the word "Immigration" is about in a real democracy.

    Hakakian grew up in a Jewish family living in a middle-class neighborhood in Tehran in the 70's in her book and I remember my father serving in the US Army at the same time at the base. She mentioned about her scarf as part of her dress code and when she arrived in New York's subway in 1985 after her asylum she tried to reach for her scarf realizing she had none physically.   Here also shows as immigrants bring memories with us when we settle in the US. 

    Just like a few months ago when we had these marches on the boarded windows on the  downtown streets in Portland, Or and San Francisco, CA it reminded me back in the Philippines when  then Ferdinand Marcos was about to declare Martial Law, those were the same pictures, and then again during the EDSA revolution when he again tried to hang on to power before fleeing for asylum and to where, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA through the help of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

    In the case of the Iran empire itself, the Shah of Iran eventually went into asylum also in the United Sates for health reasons. This is is how politicians interrelates with the two words mentioned.  Hence for decades is also why this country has not enacted a real Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

    The topic is huge for discussion but where does one begin?

    Saturday, January 30, 2021

    As a New Global Hope After 2021 Awaits, What's In Store for the Youth Leaders

    I had the privileged to read the United Nations Youth Report today of 2018 

    ISBN: 9789213632567, Copyright @2018 at the United Nations. All Rights Reserved. New York USA. 

    It's Executive Summary focuses on the Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Advancing Youth Development, youth policies and the role of the youth.

    Reading on Chapter 3: Youth Employment's Formal versus informal I'm happy to note that some of our initiative's then in my time with APEC has been followed through with this initiatives. 

    Page 27 also touch on Entrepreneurship Education something which was really very close to me personally to this which is why I continue on to this day on a private capacity through bookselling. The report is very much accurate in describing about the necessity or subsistence entrepreneurs are those who are self employed because they cannot secure work elsewhere and are focused into self employment by "economic necessity". They are indeed making up a large share of the informal economy but lack the capacity to become true engines of "growth". 

    This report is very comprehensive for the inter-agency and although I commend that I believe it will be a good blue print moving forward, I have to also note as a reader that some of the 2020 goals set especially for developing countries were not really or just partially met observing as a lay person no longer in policy initiative roles. At the same there were so many recent events alone since last year in a global perspective that affected every nation in the world.

    We have a lot of soul searching, re-direction, re-focusing, questions to ask, and prioritization. There's so many high priorities that affects human existence of survival to education and economics. The global pandemic right now is taking much of our daily lives. As we await for the cure and vaccines for normal life to be back, it's also a time to plan. When I saw this report I got reminded myself on the focus alone in the USA. A new World Leader with more than a week in power almost 40 executive orders with a lot of global hope.

    Yet, one thing I haven't seen with with this new Biden/Harris administration is somehow some focus on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Minorities, Disabled  Youth Involvement. Something I will be watching from a far if there will be some interest.

    Sunday, January 17, 2021

    I have a dream for freedom and for Anarchy, reflecting on two persons on democracy.

    As  we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King's  message by revisiting his celebrated I Have a Dream speech in its entirety delivered on August 28, 1963, part of the speech says "It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds". 

    Another part of the speech continues, "This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring". 

     In October 30,2020 ALL NEWS from the White House articles quotes: 

    Nearly 400 miles of new border wall system is now complete. Just as important, the Trump Administration is prosecuting and deporting violent criminals, stopping the flow of illegal drugs, and closing the loopholes that help human smugglers while hurting our own citizens, including legal immigrants". Illegal immigration hurts everyone. It empowers criminals, bankrolls human smugglers, and fuels transnational gangs. It costs both legal immigrants and U.S. citizens a shot at the American Dream. It endangers law enforcement officers, makes our communities less stable, and puts law-abiding workers and businesses at a disadvantage.

    It is the same narrative, today we celebrate the heroism on Dr. King. He started the fight risking his own life for democracy. January 6, 2020 will be read by generations after our life time when the Supreme leader of White Supremacy led an unsuccessful insurrection to democracy and people of color in the United States of America. 

    This hate extends to the undocumented immigrants mostly on the front lines of the dreaded pandemic a lot of which classified as essential workers. A lot of whom are hard working law abiding, tax paying members of the society who cannot even access unemployment or health care in this country. 

    As the I have a dream speech mentioned I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. Martin Luther King continued. 

    I believe that it is the right first direction to tackle an immigration reform in this country to show the insurrects that people of color are here to stay as part of the land of the free, the greatest democracy in the world and they have to accept we cannot be extinct. 

    No one can compete with American workers when they’re given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades.

    Thursday, December 31, 2020

    Life moving forward 2020, a new hope out of the a year of the Covid-19 Pandemic

    San Francisco, Ca 4 hours before the clock ticks to 2021 where the shelter in place is about to expire on Monday just got extended indefinitely in lieu of the looming crisis in the State's almost out of ICU beds. Meanwhile, local authorities has been vocally strict tonight on private gatherings that might trigger more unforeseen infections. I had to appreciate watching John Meyer on CNN's special New Year's broadcast while he plays the piano and sings live from LA as replacement of the annual fireworks display at the waterfront at the Embarcadero Pier. I started with the Anti-Masking Meeting photo image courtesy of the  © From the San Francisco Chronical, 25th January 1919 to give a little history on "Restricting what people can do is always hotly debated, and the recent debate in the press on the need to wear masks while in public spaces and on public transport is not a modern concern. Historian Samuel Cohen has referred to the ‘anti-mask league’ of San Francisco in early 1919, which gained backing from several thousand people opposed to wearing a mask"  As we know all the way back in March San Francisco was the first city to place a shelter in place and tonight out of caution again hence is why it extended it's shelter in place indefinitely until the State's Covid-19 crisis is over. If you are resident of San Francisco or are familiar with the city you understand why SF is indeed highly cautious on this. Notwithstanding on the 1919 history, similar to what Los Angeles is now undergoing, the city is heavily dense with a large homeless population and also a lot of communities of color and minorities. It's like a time bomb in laymen's terms that especially with the new discovered strain of covid-19, when an area like the tenderloin neighborhood area gets hits for example, that alone will already take the whole infrastructure beds of the city's San Francisco General Hospital. 

    American Crisis, author Gov. Andrew Cuomo ells the riveting story of how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, offering hard-won lessons in leadership and his vision for the path forward.

    When COVID-19 besieged the United States, New York State emerged as the global “ground zero” for a deadly contagion that threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions. Quickly, Governor Andrew Cuomo provided the leadership to address the threat, becoming the standard-bearer of the organized response the country desperately needed. With infection rates spiking and more people dying every day, the systems and functions necessary to combat the pandemic in New York—and America—did not exist. So Cuomo undertook the impossible. He unified people to rise to the challenge and was relentless in his pursuit of scientific facts and data. He quelled fear while implementing an extraordinary plan for flattening the curve of infection. He and his team worked day and night to protect the people of New York, despite roadblocks presented by a president incapable of leadership and addicted to transactional politics.

    Cuomo, did what he had to do but we have to note also that prior to his actions, he did not think that Covid-19 was a problem. When he realized the problem and tackled it, he did his best as much of our state and local leaders. The pandemic response varied from state to state then. In California, for example Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first Governor to install the shelter in place and California had a good success in Spring to Summer of bending the pandemic curve on infections and hospitalizations.

    As we end 2020. Newsom even has a recall battle due to the state restrictions on lockdowns and mask while the State of CA's had a total of 2,245,379 cases where there was  27,237 today and 428 deaths  out of a total death of 25,386.

    One of the biggest challenge of the pandemic crisis  from acknowledgement, testing to now vaccinations really boils down to a  national body or response. It's been a pin pointing between the Federal and State levels of government. The promised 20 million vaccinations as we end 2020 was only 2 million. Meanwhile Astra-Zeneca's vaccine in the Uk just got approved and might get the English vaccinated by half of 2021. One of the debatable discussions is that the United Kingdom has a National Health Service.

    Looking at the incoming Biden-Harris administration's Covid-19 plan, it talk's about:

    Establish and fund a U.S. Public Health Service Reserve Corps to activate former Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to expand medical and public health capacity. By creating the Reserve Corps, we will have a larger team of health professionals to deploy across the nation to help train health care systems in detection and response, educate the public, provide direct patient care as needed, and support the public health infrastructure in communities that are often under-resourced and struggling.

    Looking at this plan, I found the paid sick leave for Covid-19 where California's paid sick leave tax incentive for employers expires tonight when the clock ticks to 2021. 

    The Biden Plan calls for an emergency paid leave program that will ensure that all workers can take paid leave during the COVID-19 crisis. It calls for passage of the Healthy Families Act with the addition of an emergency plan that will require 14 days of paid leave for those who are sick, exposed, or subject to quarantines—while also ensuring that employers will not bear any additional costs for such additional leave in the midst of this crisis. 

    So let's hope, watch and see moving forward for a new hope this 2021.