Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Contradiction, Systemic Inequality to American Democracy, Why Minorities need to Vote

"The inability to fully participate in the democratic process translates into a lack of political power—the power to elect candidates with shared values and the power to enact public policy priorities. As a result, people of color, especially Black people, continue to endure exclusion and discrimination in the electoral process, more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery". quoted from the American Progress Organization. 

                               The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration can end census field operations early, in a blow to efforts to make sure minorities and hard-to-enumerate communities are properly counted in the crucial once-a-decade tally. The decision was not a total loss for plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to end the count early. They managed to get nearly two extra weeks of counting people as the case made its way through the courts. 

At issue was a request by the Trump administration that the Supreme Court suspend a lower court’s order extending the 2020 census through the end of October following delays caused by the pandemic. The Trump administration argued that the head count needed to end immediately to give the bureau time to meet a year-end deadline. Congress requires the bureau to turn in by Dec. 31 the figures used to decide the states’ congressional seats — a process known as apportionment.

Apportionment is the process of dividing the 435 memberships, or seats, in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states based on the apportionment population counts from the decennial census.  The apportionment population count for each of the 50 states includes the state’s total resident population (citizens and non-citizens) plus a count of the overseas federal employees (and dependents) who have that state listed as their home state in their employers’ administrative records.

The resident population counts include all people (citizens and non-citizens) who are living in 

the United States at the time of the census. People are counted at their usual residence, which is the place where they live and sleep most of the time.

The resident population also includes military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are deployed outside the United States (while stationed or assigned in the United States) and can be allocated to a usual residence address in the United States based on administrative records from the Department of Defense.

The resident population counts for the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Island Areas are not included in apportionment calculations (because those areas do not have voting seats in the U.S. House of Representatives), but they are included in other data products.

Note: The resident population counts are available down to the lowest levels of geography (i.e. census block), but only the state totals are used for apportionment. The more detailed resident population data are included in other census data products that are used for redistricting and many other purposes.

Are undocumented residents included in the apportionment population counts?

Yes, all people (citizens and noncitizens) with a usual residence in the 50 states are included in the resident population for the census, which means they are all included in the apportionment counts.

How is the apportionment calculated?

The apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is calculated every ten years using the method of equal proportions, according to the provisions of Title 2, U.S. Code. Congress decides the method used to calculate the apportionment. This method has been used in every census since the 1940 census. The method computes "priority values" based on each state's apportionment population.as quoted from census.gov.

On July 21, the White House released a memorandum regarding the 2020 Census with the subject line, “Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census.” In the memo, signed by the president, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is ordered, after the census is completed this fall, to remove from each state’s count the number of “illegal aliens” living there. Only then will the census numbers be presented to congress for the reapportionment of the House.

One target in specific is California. “Current estimates suggest that one state is home to more than 2.2 million illegal aliens, constituting more than 6% of the State’s entire population.  Including these illegal aliens in the population of the state for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated.” The president is relying on a 2016 Pew Research Center study that stated there was 2.2 million undocumented residents in California. The same study reported that there are 725,000 undocumented residents in New York State.

So let us now focus now on the recent events. From the debates where we have heard  the words, "Stand by and Stand back",, " I'm Speaking", " Ka,,mam,,la, Ka,ba,,la", "Monster", to we have turn the corner. Such words that the only answer would be "democracy requires the full participation of its citizens"

In 2018, The United States Supreme Court gave the approval stamp for voter suppression Husted v. A. Philip Randolph when people skip elections. This is the same tactics being used today in this pandemic to prevent prevent from voting.

The 44th President was the opening for people of color, having the first black Asian minority woman vice presidential candidate can eventually create that opening that will be here to stay which is why it is such a threat unfortunately, But embracing it especially if it leads to victory will start a process of healing. It will not eradicate the persistent problem immediately. The structural reforms and conversations can be started for policies for the future generations not to be also victims.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Remembering RBG, her fight , the history, the relevance, the review, why both sides are fighting for her seat for generations to come.

 Let us start from the Fundamental Rights Federalism after the civil war. The Republicans in the 38th Congress enacted the 38th Amendment, eliminating the power of states to enforce slavery within their borders. But Southern states almost immediately used the rest of their vast police powers to enact Black Codes to oppress the newly freed slaves. Their aim was to come as closely as possible to restoring slavery in everything but name.

In response to this, the Republicans in the 39th Congress used their 13th Amendment enforcement power to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Although they overrode the veto of President Johnson by super-majorities in both houses, some in Congress saw the need to write these protections into the Constitution lest courts question Congress’s power to enact the Civil Rights Act.

The Republicans thus created the Fourteenth Amendment. Section 1 forbade states from violating the fundamental rights of their own citizens, placing new federal constraints on all three branches of state governments. Section 5 granted Congress the power to enforce those constraints. With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the federal government could now prevent states from violating the privileges and immunities of their citizens; depriving anyone of life, liberty, or property without due process; and denying anyone equal protection. Following on its heels, a similar provision was enacted to prevent states from denying citizens the right to vote based on their race. The Reconstruction Amendments, taken together, thus ushered in what we can call “Fundamental Rights Federalism.”

Soon after its enactment, however, the Supreme Court systematically neutered the Fundamental Rights Federalism of the Reconstruction Amendments through such cases as The Slaughter-House Cases (1873),U.S. v. Cruikshank (1875), The Civil Rights Cases (1883), Plessy v. Ferguson(1896), and Giles v. Harris (1903). As a result, the powers accorded to the federal government lay dormant until the Court and Congress took them up again in the early Twentieth Century to protect economic liberties in cases like Lochner v. New York (1905) andBuchanan v. Warley (1917). Eventually, beginning in the 1930s until today, the Court largely withdrew from this area in favor of to protecting so-called “fundamental rights” and the civil rights of “suspect classes” like racial minorities.

 Courtesy of Constitution Center Org 

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg built her career on the fight for women’s rights. Before her days as a judge, she acted as general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she argued over 300 gender discrimination cases—six before the Supreme Court—and cofounded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. As a civilian, Ginsburg earned a reputation as a dogged advocate for gender equality. As a judge, first during 13 years as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, then during 27 years as a Supreme Court Justice, she built upon that legacy.

“Equal Protection” for women and men means males cannot be preferred to females.

Ginsburg took advantage of prior civil rights rulings on race—and male plaintiffs—to help illustrate why the Supreme Court should end gender discrimination. Many of her cases hinged on the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which provides that people shall be equally protected by U.S. laws. Through a barrage of smaller cases, she chipped away at discriminatory laws.

But it was Reed v. Reed, a 1971 case for which Ginsburg wrote the plaintiff’s brief, that relied on the 14th Amendment. A minor, Richard Lynn Reed, known as “Skip,” died and his mother wanted to be designated as administrator of his estate. Sally and her husband, Cecil Reed, had separated. Despite Sally filing a petition first, Cecil’s application was automatically approved because of an Idaho statute that stated that “males must be preferred to females” when there was more than one qualified person available to administer someone’s estate.

Ginsburg argued that this violated the Equal Protection Clause. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed and struck down the Idaho statute. It was the first time the Court had ever applied the Equal Protection Clause to a law that discriminated on the basis of gender.

Gender-based discrimination hurts men too—Ginsburg argues her first case before the Supreme Court.

Another case that hinged on gender discrimination and government benefits was Frontiero v. Richardson. The 1973 case was the first Ginsburg argued before the Supreme Court. When a woman in the U.S. Air Force applied for benefits for her dependent husband, she was told she’d have to prove he was a dependent, even though men in the Air Force didn’t have to prove that their wives were dependent on them.

Courtesy of History.com/news

I cited some of these relevant articles to make more sense to in explaining the importance of what is at stake on this issue. Why suddenly the focus one politics of this elections suddenly change. Why when there's about 200,000 deaths and rising on Covid-19 without a vaccine, still with failed testing and no plan, and every single prescriptions now has a co-pay and even now is in danger of perhaps not even being covered due to pre-existing condition.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments on two cases challenging the Affordable Care Act a week after Election Day in November. This is the seventh challenge to the landmark health care bill in eight years, and if it is successful, it could have far-reaching consequences for health care in the United States.

This is the most priority issue at this point at this current Trump administration's ultimate goal from the very beginning is to struck and eradicate the Affordable Care Act's Protection to people with pre-existing conditions. This is nothing different to Trump's plan of Herd mentality of inoculation by contamination instead of a vaccine and using mask. 

From the Affordable Care Act, to Equal Pay, Voting Rights, Reproductive Rights, Immigration, Police Reform and so the next nominee who takes over Justice Ginsberg will be in this court after my lifetime in the next generations to come. This is why this fight is such a high stake for all of us. We all know how democracy works in America. It is up to us to act together and unify to make it happen.

May God Bless Us All in This Fight.

Alex Esguerra

Monday, July 6, 2020

Racism, Identify, Giving Feedback and Take Action



I totally agree with Ibram Kendi's book when he states that the only way to undo racism is consistently identify it. Those who are in constant denial or are ignorant about racism of course will continuously resist, deny or counter the word as aggressiveness or resistance, Thus every single person has the power to resist racism regardless of color of the skin.

Let's start with some basic current examples like the PPP - Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program created to help small and micro businesses as a result of the still problematic Covid-19 pandemic. Like the thousands of small and micro businesses who applied since it was announced in March-April, the question lies why is still there funds unused. The program expiration of June 30 was just extended as of this writing. It is a program design to small businesses having 100 employees or less. Based on the data out, the majority of black and people of color small businesses that have applied and still at a limbo are those having 10 employees or less or even 1-3 employees. As we have seen at first when the program started, the major big businesses where even recipients some of whom were asked to return the money. 

I'm not gonna explore much of who and why the recipients are. But what I've found out is that when the program started where the first bank respondents where the big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.., So the big banks who are typically designed to deal with the same big businesses who were somehow first recipients had been task to  administer these loans thereby to be the initial or even final  evaluators whether the individuals or businesses applying are worthy of this PPP loan, And wallah, when this author talked about institutional and organizational policies here is one good example. The training set up of the people evaluating these loans in these banks are created to big businesses. Well of course they can claim they have focus on small businesses. The reality is that there so called small businesses maybe 100 or even 50 employees but these are businesses making millions of revenues. The majority of the borrowers trying to apply are those that earn from $2000 to $35,000 a month, those businesses that are in dire need of constant cash flow and working capital.

So cutting the story short after months of going and back forth on threads of emails with attachments. Attachments that can't be open as they are digitally automatically encrypted for some reason on the bank recipients, faxing documents that banks claims they have so many back logs. actual mails that never get to the right person and calls that are never return it'a useless endeavor and so much wasted time and effort on those that really needed the funds, Added to these are the constant emails etc.., asking for the same documents either already submitted and not making sense especially for sole proprietors that do not have have payroll tax records but independent contractors and services.

I've been in a micro cottage small business in most of my adult life and what is new to this scene as I tell myself. Even the richest and most powerful country in the world, this is the reality and yet when the discussion of racism opens we try to deeply contradict what the bounds of this topic. On  a side note, a lot of the recipients in the last month coming from  those 1-10 employee minority impacted businesses got their loan from the micro lending efforts of small banks some of them even unheard.


Looking at this picture, we know that these institutions employ are a lot of people of color. The repeated question would be although some of them know the true realities that exist of the real small businesses, do they have the power to change the rules or sometimes can they even voice their opinion without fear that they can be identified as a threat?  This is what the topic of racism talks on the white privilege having the power to change things. The real change will happen when we start empowering the minority and people of color to be able to sit and hold major positions on these institutions. The caveat here lies is ensuring that the chosen people of color are actually the real idealistic ones and not those still behind the shadows of the white privilege culture. I say these as it is true that there are indeed some people of color on those high positions but they are a tiny fraction they won't even say anything so they can protect their job, position or financial security.

A good example of this lies on the highest echelons of government. When politicians run for office, you will hear much of the idealism of change. Then defeat comes, yet they are identified especially if they are a person of color with such idealism, Some take what position that may come their way for their own reasons. What surprises me is that when they are working for an administration, the idealism mellows down. Then the breaking points come into picture when they are face with the realities on making their voice heard or taking a position. For the courageous that left, I salute them but for some they that pride and take a position with an administration to show loyalty and solidarity. The fastest way of fixing this is through an election. With 4 months on the way to a presidential election, a new administration starting with the right mixture having a big contingent of people of color with the ideological perspective to eradicating racism is a big factor. Although a Woman Vice-President candidate is a step, not until a big majority of an administration from the top up down who have a big contingent of minority people of color, healing cannot start to happen. 

The major private sector institutions who are somewhat in denial on racism and following the ideals of white power can change. But they won't drastically as they go side by side with politics. Until they see the government's initiatives they wont; make such significant major changes, They can make all their public relation announcements of changing names, changing their advertising policies but not until they deeply study their organizational policies and structures and really employ and promote the real minorities don't expect the eradicate the problem of racism. 


This issue on racism has been going on for decades, the hard part of the battle is we deal with it in bits and pieces. We have to use the best time right now to make the best out of it by talking about it and gaining the most we can in continuing the battle of racism.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Where Do We Go From Here, How Can We Breathe Going Forward in America


As we remember George Floyd's inevitable tragedy, once again it open the discussions buried through the years on racism and equality. If one search for books all related to the topic today, there are hundreds maybe even thousands written though the years. Hence is why it surprising  to hear and see those still on denial or simply lying that there is no systemic racial divide in America. 

As the protest marches dwindle or grow today it is clear that people need change. Whether it comes now or may in some time, the key is to ensure that the foundations we need to going forward starts today. The last two days there were significant symbolic gestures like the NASCAR on banning confederate flags, curating the Gone in the Wind movie for now, and moves on some cities about statues being removed. Yet having both experiences in business and politics, I personally have high regards on CEO's and Board Members of important organizations stepping down and giving their cherished sits and positions to African Americans and minorities, If you've been on both sectors like me I know that this move is huge and big as it signifies acknowledgement and affirmative action to do something in respect to the movement.

We also saw the last two days the voting issues in Georgia noting that the majority of the problems came from the marginalized black and minority communities. This shows moreover the continuing disparities that between all races that we need to stay vigilant in this coming November elections if we are indeed for the Black Lives Matter cause. In the midst of a pandemic, it is a known fact that more cases are expected to go up and more deaths. As we all know 46% of these cases and deaths will affect the so called essential workers under privilege low income blacks and minorities. For states that have already started mail in votes it's one way we can support this by sending in ballots way early. Even with the onset of social media and technology, one way to get connected is educating ourselves through word of mouth even local newspapers if they still exist on the real issues we need to focus instead of getting influence by what we see on social media as this is where the paid political advertisements come in notwithstanding how the 2016 elections were infiltrated by foreign adversaries.

When Minorities Lead  While browsing our book shelf today, I found When Minorities Lead in America. When we look way forward to the future I believe that a  complete healing on racism can culminate when we finally see a lot of minorities in America as leaders in the most important sectors of society. Having had a black president for 8 years cannot fixed the systemic ongoing racial disparities. The 44th President's administration had laid important foundations that needs to be continued as this will be an ongoing process for years as the problem is so deep. And as I've mentioned, we need leaders in business, science, technology, politics and such that are minority led and whom truly understand the plight of the under privileged.  It's easy to say we understand but unless we've been there and gone through the problems itself, we won't really completely understand the problems inherent.

I'm gonna end up this post by quoting from the Black Lives Matter movement website where they posted what they are about. 
"

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation."


Friday, June 5, 2020

Antidemocractic tactics of deceit, lies and confusion for media domination



Famous authoritarian rulers historically can be remembered as the greatest manipulator of the media, the air waves on tv, newspaper print and now in this century, "the social media" It's surprising to note that common laymen like all of us have to go to so much verification and scrutiny to create a username, handle, page or even an ad on the this platforms if they think it has some kind of relation to politics or political views and opinions. Yet those, in the highest places of power are the exceptions to all of us that they can say or advertise anything they want. Of course this is a debate-table statement however this is based on my own personal views and experience. 

I highlighted, "Antidemocracy in America" as a reference point. This book written in 2019 made a statement on how there could be a unsettling turn toward authoritarian rule. It warn from the social impact of tweets, the breaking news stories using political drama as a strategy. The /fake news/ statements has gotten so much dominance on psychological reverse mentality aiding with the daily shows for everyone to watch.

George Packer of the Atlantic wrote in April 2020, "But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible.

In page 136 of this book "How We Got Here" it talks on the roots of our current criminal justice system in the 1960's. The debates and need for legislation already started then. Sad to say during the Nixon presidency the US Federal government withdrew resources from the cities where these debates started. It expanded support for law enforcement and design a more punitive criminal justice system.  Hence, in the on-going street protest a big part of the battle cry is start the change way down from the local governments.

The calls for overall of the criminal justice system was fortified by the Black Lives Matter movement and books like The New Jim Crow. On the book's page 140, it writes, "President Trump's repeated calls for "law and order" represent a clear turn backward to the rhetoric used by Richard Nixon in 1968". The last few days we know what law and order means "Domination"  

Certain TV  networks that promoted Trump and is still is; the primary voters who elevated him; the party and politicians who eventually surrendered and glorified him, the so-called intellectuals who argued for him, and the donors who, however grudgingly, wrote checks to him—all of them knew, by the time they made their decisions, that Trump lied all the time, about everything. They knew that Trump was ignorant, and coarse, and boastful, and cruel.

After all it is a show and the higher the ratings are means, the road to re-election. There are so many ways we can act and fight for the cause of equality. One big part  is to continue correcting the propaganda,

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Under the Color of Law, the onset de jure segregation, from civil rights to Covid-19

                     
The Color of Law
     The Color of Law  one of my bestseller favorites book is back in the lime light since it was published in 2017. Written by bestselling author, Richard Rothstein this book One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award. This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

In United States law, the term color of law denotes the "mere semblance of legal right", the "pretense or appearance of" right; hence, an action done under color of law adjusts the law to the circumstance, yet said apparently legal action contravenes the law. Wikipedia

Back when this book published Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. 

2017 also saw some of the continuance of massive shootings and White Supremacist propaganda's everywhere. As to how this movement got more motivated is another topic for discussion. On the other side of this was the great wall or immigration's racial divide.

The last 3 months in hiatus of the Corona virus Covid-19 pandemic, what was common was the health disparities on getting the deadly virus with the African Americans, Latino's minorities who are low income, sufferers of immune compromised due to health issues, and no health insurance. In addition, most of the essential low paid jobs exposed daily to this virus which does not have cure as of today are done by these minority groups. Not to forget this Wuhan virus was initially called "Chinese Virus" which motivated the racial tension towards Chinese and Asian Americans. Wearing a mask when you cannot social distance to prevent contamination of the no cure virus is even mock.

George Floyd
A few days ago, out of all the chaos, 
in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a forty-six-year-old black man named George Floyd died in a way that highlighted the implications that calls such as the one Amy Cooper placed can have; George Floyd is who Christian Cooper might have been. (The police made no arrests and filed no summons in Central Park. Amy Cooper has apologized for her actions; she was also fired from her job.) Police responding to a call from a shopkeeper, about someone trying to pass a potentially counterfeit bill, arrested Floyd. Surveillance video shows a compliant man being led away in handcuffs. But cellphone video later shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, despite protests from onlookers that his life is in jeopardy.

In 2015, police responding to calls of a dispute between a man and a woman in north Minneapolis fatally shot a twenty-four-year-old African-American man named Jamar Clark. Police and paramedics on the scene claimed that Clark had resisted arrest and had attempted to grab an officer’s gun; bystanders claimed that he was handcuffed and on the ground when the shot was fired. Clark’s death was followed by more than two weeks of demonstrations outside the Fourth Police Precinct in Minneapolis, led by Black Lives Matter; an attempt to disrupt holiday shopping at the Mall of America, in protest; and cascading contempt from black residents that, two years later, factored into Mayor Betsy Hodges losing her reĆ«lection bid. In light of that history, Frey has been unequivocal about police culpability in Floyd’s death. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said on Tuesday.

One of the reviews of this book, "“Rothstein’s work should make everyone, all across the political spectrum, reconsider what it is we allow those in power to do in the name of 'social harmony' and 'progress' with more skepticism…The Color of Law shows what happens when Americans lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or in the case of African-Americans, when there are those still waiting to receive them in full.”
Carl Paulus, American Conservative"


These last few years in America reminds me of the past histories in third world developing countries with poverty, corruption, authoritarian rule and economic divide of the rich and poor. Can't imagine it's almost the 22nd century, that America the greatest, wealthiest most powerful country, has the most deaths in this virus now passing 100,000, there's no general testing policies, no vaccines, 40 million unemployed

We have not had time to grief for the loss souls in Covid-19 and now we have George Floyd. It truly hurts to think about these disparities.  The best most important thing to remember is in-spite of all these events we have to remain calm, we have to think about the future and get this democracy back.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Writing Personal Histories on Covid-19 for future generations - Part 1


Heroes of a Pandemic Heroes of a Pandemic is a good start on writing personal histories and experiences on this pandemic called Corona virus. I'll link this together with Differential Effects of Intervention Timing on COVID-19 Spread in the United States This study gives weight to one theory — and cautions against reopening the country without adequate ability to control new outbreaks. Researchers said 54,000 deaths could have been prevented in the U.S. had states implemented social-distancing guidelines earlier. And they warn tens of thousands more could perish as the country begins to reopen.

January 2020 news started to spread over the Corona virus in different context in the US. In San Francisco's bustling convention business for example, The Fancy Food Show, Intersolar-Photonics conferences that month had shown signs on the impact of conference attendees and exhibitors. Exhibition halls were drastically getting changed real time as show management had to fill and move exhibitors around. The issue that time was International Exhibitors like from China, Korea, Germany, the UK called off last minute that the shows had empty booths. 

Mid February 2020, San Francisco's big RSA Security conference took a toll when traditionally the long lines in Registration didn't turn out all these years. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed declares an Emergency for the City, the first one which raise eyebrows in all facets. Today, this step in history will be recorded as the first intervention which we could have turn the alarms as a nation. Kudos to San Francisco having suffered all the disparities of HIV and the 1918 pandemic notwithstanding economics to the most vulnerable that will eradicate a big part of the city's population if the tides were turned and it became the epi-center like New York.

Social distancing as the best intimidation for this virus then and now is a huge challenge to a bustling metropolitan cities like San Francisco and New York where everyone takes public transit, walks to work. San Francisco's huge housing problem and disparity having so many homeless and SRO's added to the low income minorities sharing an a one bedroom apartment with 4 people. So in March, San Francisco's mayor realized the nightmare at hand and again San Francisco became the first city to order a "Shelter in Place". This followed with 6 cities establishing a county effort and which immediately followed by Gavin Newsome, declaring the State of California to have a shelter in place order.  

These efforts where culminated with the Heroes on our public health sector, the epidemiologist, the scientist, immunologist science and data. As Governor Newsome of California mentioned the state is also blessed having some of the most advanced teaching hospitals and laboratories which is now heavily involved in the finding the cure and testing.

In March, a week and a half after the shelter in place order, with reservations I rode the bus. In pre-pandemic days the underground muni was the best method moving around the downtown area. The underground as a preventive measure after an operator turn positive for covid-19. Where I took the bus, there was an ambassador to ensure social distancing. Boarding was only through the rear side, I tried just to stand but concerned I might slip and fall standing and not trying to hold a rail, I took out a cleaning wipes for s chair and sat down. Half-way people had mask and where trying to distance. Another stop came the influx of vulnerable population, no mask standing and sitting. As we also know some of the city's vulnerable suffered on mental health challenges, so the way San Franciscan's deal with them is just let them have their own space. 

I went down on Market Street's Union Square shopping area with the plywood panels on Gap, Levis, etc., This Monday San Francisco finally allowed curbside pickup and delivery for retail stores. The Mayor says she is planning on Phase 2B in 2 weeks time.

Researchers expected to see a surge in new cases and deaths spiking in early to mid-June, even if social-distancing measures are put back into place. Even a one-week delay in reinstating social distancing could result in another 23,000 deaths by July 1. The Bay area and California did an aggressive step on the onset beginning with it's tech companies having their employees work from home even before there was a shelter in place program. This made a huge difference in mitigating as otherwise it would have been the epi=center.

The first days were crucial. “During the initial growth of a pandemic, infections increase exponentially. As a consequence, early intervention and fast response are critical,” the researchers wrote.A report in The New York Times, citing the analysis said that if the US had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than when most people started staying indoors, about 83 per cent of the people who died so far from the virus could have been saved.

This is the part where historians are now looks like debating on writing history for the history books timeline and analysis. Presidential historians will have to make a fact finding aside from the TV clips on how the administration handed this pandemic since it's first reported case in the State of Washington. As preliminary reports come up it even narrates that the first case originated from the bay area. Density and contamination are culprits in exposure. The question now lies on what happens should be be a rise on cases and deaths again since the 50 states have now reopened. 

More to come in writing this personal history series on Covid-19. Stay safe. Social distance and wear a mask to save someone.




Monday, May 18, 2020

Pandemic recession on an election year


Strolling down Market St. in San Francisco at 10 am today on it's Phase 2 re-opening not really seeing a lot of changes. Aside from a Cafe with huge sign on the window they are open May 5, a dollar store, a few mini liquor convenience store, the plywood's are still on the windows from brown to black. Phase 2 allows retail for curbside pickup or delivery but one of the things unaccounted is that the city since a few months ago had banned private cars along Market and 10th /St. all the way through Union Square. It's a very common sense to understand that of course curbside and pick-up cannot happen in this regard. However, my guess is that really the consideration is that are these businesses along Market St. have the confidence to really open in the absence of a vaccine or maybe will it be even financial feasible to make money to pay for the cost of being open with limited operations.

Bank of America warned that the next three months will be "brutal" as the economy falls into a recession. It will be a very hard challenge to go to Phase 4 in this city due to it's density while at present their is a corralled tent area at the Civic center where some of the city's homeless are temporary clustered. 

San Francisco  is just an example of a bustling metropolitan city that has disparities on health, income, housing etc.., So regardless how we paint the picture that everything will be back to normal as before, the effects of this pandemic recession will take along time to recover. San Franciscans should expect that some city and state services and benefits will effect life more while living in this city.

The realities we see today as a common layman doesn't need any politicizing or sugar coating  as were the ones experiencing the consequences. Feelings of confidence may have been the critical issue for the last U.S. president who was denied a second term, George H.W. Bush. A recession in late 1990 and early 1991 had long been over by Election Day, a fact the Bush team kept trying to drive home. But the downturn was worse and more persistent in some critical swing states, and its hangover (including relatively high unemployment into the second quarter of 1992) haunted the Bush campaign all year.

The on-set of finding a vaccine platform in November in time for the presidential election is a far stretch assumption as without a cure and containment of this virus will not make this economy recover. The corona virus could hurt the president, then, by making health care a defining issue in the 2020 campaign. However, that would happen only if the virus is not contained come fall. So instead of flowery statements, the key should be focused on containment and cure at all cost.

Thus then, this plywood windows will literally go down and open all business crucial to curing economic deprivation.




Saturday, March 28, 2020

Curing a Viral Pandemic, the Impact on the Economy and Lessons from Past Pandemics


I'll start the blog remembering the HIV/AID's epidemic as a graduating health professional then involved in the testing and seeing 2 of my former classmates then and after succumbing demise due to infection. This was a time pre-technology in my own terms that our team can get infected easily on the clinical side by either getting accidentally poke when we are drawing blood specimens from patients, or accidentally swallowing serum or plasma as we try to separate them for testing through pi petting and last when accidentally the auto-clave then for some reason explodes.

Today with the onset of the great viral pandemic, COVID-19, Coronavirus technology has been greatly changed the  laboratory settings and respiratory clinicians practices from way back. We can't accidentally swallow the hazard. But like any other health professional in the front lines, a future careful review of OSHA rules and the right adequate most talked about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment's) are eminent. Our front lines in hospital settings starts from the EMT's,  Admissions coordinators, Triage and Trauma staff, ER, Infectious disease to include bio-hazard teams, maintenance, janitorial, ICU/Acute Care, Nurses, doctors, food and canteen staff, the staff that we don't see much, Medical Assistants, Phlebotomist, Medical Technologist/Technician, Lab and Hospital Aides and our Clinical Laboratory Scientist,

I open the TV this morning alarmed to remember that one of the HIV patients stigma's then was the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, CA. Laguna Honda, the biggest nursing home in the USA also played and is playing a great service to the patients that have outlive the HIV epidemic. I'm alarm due to the fact the most vulnerable from COVID-19 are in this facility and the last I'd like to see is these patients who had so many years fighting HIV may succumb to this new viral disease if it spreads. As of today, the public health officials have started the best measures to protect the patients by locking down the facility and starting to test the more than 100 staff in the facility. This will at least start the identification and isolation's needed.

I'll continue by way of hovering on the concern on the national level on the economic impact this is causing the US and World economy. While reading through, Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic by Thomas Garrett, where he quotes on his abstract, "The possibility of a worldwide influenza pandemic in the near future is of growing concern for many countries around the globe".

As the medical professionals cited the 1918 pandemic came in 3 waves where they based the mortality rates. This is why we hear a lot in the news when officials and medical people talking on making assumptions as to density and apex which somehow touch bases on population, geography, ratio and percentage rank. Garrett continues, " The greatest disadvantage of studying the economic effects of the 1918 influenza is the lack of economic data. There are some academic studies that have looked at the economic effects of the pandemic using available data, and these studies are reviewed later. Given the general lack of economic data, however, a remaining source for information on (some) economic effects of the 1918 pandemic is print media". I mentioned this as this is the reality in "viral economics" Hence is why the economist zeroes on the point that the first step is deal with the virus on test and cure. 

In summary, let the scientist take the lead towards the date and assumptions. Let's focused on what we can do individually in terms of isolation, mitigation, being responsible from staying away from the vulnerable. We don't need to be in the front lines to be susceptible being exposed or being a carrier. The harsh effects will be great but were talking about lives and mortality.

I recommend reading this great article by Thomas Garrett. I will end on a paragraph on this article. 
"The influenza of 1918 was short-lived and “had a permanent influence not on the collectivist but on the atoms of human society – individuals.”31 Society as a whole recovered from the 1918 influenza quickly, but individuals who were affected by the influenza had their lives changed forever. Given our highly mobile and connected society, any future influenza pandemic is likely to be more severe in its reach, and perhaps in its virulence, than the 1918 influenza despite improvements in health care over the past 90 years. Perhaps lessons learned from the past can help".

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Nowadays, Fighting for Housing in America is a pandemic plaque in the modern technology era

With the onset of the tech boom, today's lifestyle focus on apps, smart devices and lights, siri, social media practically on automation. An presidential election coming, absurd political parties bickering with candidates laying on platforms. Yet in the America, the richest and greatest country on earth thrives two of the worst problems typical in a 3rd world country - Homelessness and Access to Affordable Housing. 


In 1998, when the  tech boom started and the markets crash, one of the reasons I founded, ADLE International was focus on continuing my outreach for people with low income, the elderly, the disabled, the marginalized youth, veterans and societies most vulnerable to disparity, discrimination and inequality due to having limited financial means and resources. Two decades after I can't just tell myself I can't believe  the problem is still here and for all you know has gotten worst.

Part of the culprit lies on the severe income brackets of the so called rich, very rich and low income nowadays extreme poverty level. The State Medical and Medicaid systems for example classify lower income needing extra help if monthly personal cash reserves are below $2000 in San Francisco, CA when even an SRO (Standing Room Only aka Single Room Occupancy) in it's poor Tenderloin neighborhood range from $800 to $1300 and a typical Studio cost $1400 to $2,000 a month. It does not do the math as if you held $2001 anticipating just your rent, your no longer qualify for extra help and Medical/Medicaid might even cancel your enrollment.

The biggest challenge on top of this complication is if you just move to the city of San Francisco, there are no low income housing unless you want to go on to this massive wait list on the properties considered low income and affordable from 9 months to 5 years. If you have a parent on SSI (Social Security Income) that can no longer live alone and needs assisted living do the math = $900/month income and a typical shared assisted living which 95% only accepts private pay require $5000/month the cheapest shared room. Hence, is why part of the homeless population in the city are the vulnerable very elderly and even veterans who serve as there is no housing!

So when we were listing a book on our website today I said I have to write a blog even though it's been a while I haven't done one. Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America
Conor Dougherty (Author) I believe made a good case presentation on this book  as he writes. "A stunning, deeply reported investigation into the housing crisis

Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties where the homeless make their homes. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation's future has become a cautionary tale."

Indeed San Francisco has won the title of the most expensive city in the West and at times now have gone over New York becoming the most expensive city in the US. Oracle's OOW - Oracle Oracle Openworld Conference one of the biggest technology conferences in the last decade and a half this year finally left San Francisco to Las Vegas losing millions of tourist revenues for the city. Some of the conference attendee feedback received were of the so exuberant high cost of hotel rooms, the city has gotten dirty and a resounding majority stated homelessness. The cities Moscone Center perimeter for the yearly event has the various surrounding hotels in the union square shopping center as well the tenderloin neighborhood where the cities homeless are visible.

Dr. Sonja Trauss story in the book is the exact case scenarios by so many people living in the San Francisco Bay area. I really recommend spending some time reading this book so you can get a real store glimpse of why?