Sunday, April 9, 2017

Foreign Policy, Global Security and Target Outcome

While starting my Sunday reading the,
reminds me of the years following through the various travails of different political administrations, the news media and current events.

Reminiscing back a few months prior to the November 2016 Presidential elections in the few times I've overhead topics being discussed by both Hillary and Donald, I've sort of expected today as forthcoming when regards to Foreign Policy. While I do recognize the deeper thought on putting America first and focusing more domestically, never in the history of the world that Foreign diplomacy and policy has been put aside considerably as what the initial speeches stated.  Given the recent developments in Syria, the chemical attack and the missiles deployment, admittedly brings the realization for the new commander in chief that there's no such thing as domestic focused Foreign Diplomacy and Policy. 

The Obama administration for sure had deliberated on the same type of missile firing yet only went that far with sanctions and over involvement in foreign diplomacy. Contrary to what this new president thought about Obama's too much involvement with Syria he had to use military force to retaliate. Exercising military force is another discussion point but the shift now has tremendously change on vital importance of Foreign diplomacy as a leading World Power.

Now the whole world watches as to what will be the next steps to the current scenario on Syria, maybe to the  extent of finally ousting President Assad of Syria now that Generals are back in the core of the Inner Security Council planning strategies together with the president. Hence with these deliberations on security goes hand in hand with foreign policy strategy recommendations needed which this president might exercise or not.

So I'm going to end this short blog with Richard Haass latest bestselling book, A World in Disarray where he writes about  "The United States remains the world’s strongest country, but American foreign policy has at times made matters worse, both by what the U.S. has done and by what it has failed to do. 
As Richard Haass explains, the election of Donald Trump and the unexpected vote for “Brexit” signals that many in modern democracies reject important aspects of globalization, including borders open to trade and immigrants."

Alex Esguerra
ADLE International
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Immigration,Religion and Faith on the Undocumented - "Migration Miracle"

" In her magnificent book, Migration Miracle, Jacqueline Hagan shows that religion has not consigned to the dustbin of history, but is vital and dynamic feature of contemporary social life. It constitutes essential reading for people interested in immigration and religion alike". - Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University.

Last night as I open my News App on my phone and saw some of the recent days topics, I thought that this bestseller published in time when Barack Obama took office in 2008 was a good reference book at this time when anti-immigrant feelings are once again on the rise among Americans. It is a book casting economics and humanities towards immigration, the undocumented while exploring the harsh realities of the migrants desperate journeys especially from Mexico and Central America.

The introduction pages starts with validating Central Americans and Mexicans comprising a sizeable proportion of the growing number of unauthorized entrants in the US borders each year. In 2000, the number rose to 850.000 a year from 500,000 in 1990. This book touches on while migrants do cross the border, some of their travels are very dangerous engaging with the desert heat and such. When in the US, the desperate journey continues in working at low wage jobs on manufacturing, construction and service industries. When the book was written it described on how these migrants earn about $21000 a little more than the poverty level. Today, as we know in a lot of states this income level is the poverty level. 

The book also described underlying researches on whether migrants make use of and rely more strongly on religion when they feel little control over the situations they are confronted with and when there is high risks. It looks about how Theology differences and local cultural practices may also influence the nature and extent to how these migrants uses their religious practices and beliefs in regards to the migration process.  

This book concludes on faith affirmation where at each stage of the migration process, many migrants practice familiar cultural and religious acts to cope with the "Traumas" of the "Undocumented Journey". If you haven't read this great book you should as the interrelation with religion indeed touches on being human regardless if he or she is undocumented.

I will end this chapter by quoting from the book, "Faith and the construction and reproduction of familiar cultural and religious practices help many migrant believers not only endure their journeys but also face challenges and overcome misfortunes as they struggle forward in the United States".

Alex Esguerra

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Preventing the Century's Great Depression - Obama's Legacy

When our 44th President Barack H. Obama took office in 2008, I believe his legacy that will always be remembered is on how he prevented the second great depression. In the book 
Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics by Jonathan Chait,  Chapter 2 touches broadly on the narrative case  on how the world's financial system was on the way to a disastrous plunge. As Chait was quoted that "Presidents get credit for responding to disasters such as the case of George W. Bush right after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Obama is the first to prevent that kept them from happening".

One of the fast sweeping actions then of the Obama administration was the economic stimulus program an old idea dating back to the first great depression. An idea developed by British Economist John Maynard Keynes as stated in this book. As in any financial stress or bubble even through the housing crisis etc.., consumers technically respond to the markets to cut cost across the board. Hence, job cuts to the tune of loss income and each person's spending power is affected. Central banks would then reduce interest rates convincing people to borrow than save. Through Keynes theory, the government needs to inject money directly into the economy, either way by giving money to the people or spending money worthwhile in a mere showdown of simply spending. Hence in the first depression, government made massive expenditures during World War II which is known as the "Stimulus" ending the depression that time.

As Jonathan Chait explains further on his book, the fall of Lehman Brothers was so vast that monetary policy was not enough in addressing it. In spite of this, the Republic house was against Keynes theory. I guess for some the question was that if a stimulus was necessary then on Obama's actions. I remember reading reports in the last days of the Bush administration predicting the budget deficit in 2009 to be a trillion dollars which we know eventually cause the economic crisis right when Obama was sworned as President.

Chapter 2 of this book was lengthy on the facts as well as the political personalities on both parties as well as touching on the bank bail outs that President Bush signed earlier and so forth. The fact is that the economic stimulus enacted when Obama took office was a success that prevented the second worst depression in this era. Bill Clinton who was known for also a sluggish economy when he took office in 1993 had a $19 Billion stimulus versus $168 Billion in 2009. Even Franklin Roosevelt today would have been amazed on the gravity of this problem. As the book title mentions, How Obama Defied His Critics as with this massive undertaking Barack Obama had to deal with the political system, it's repercussions, it's various responses as he was the first American President to enact such an enormous too aggressive for some anti-depression program.

With Obama signing the enactment of the "Recovery Act" in February 2009 barely a month after being sworn in as President,  this stimulus practically healed the financial distress, the stock market collapse and fixed the bad unemployment numbers then. A lot of discussions preceded on this action till today including the initial banking turmoils right after yet the program succeeded as the case may be. 

General Motors was on the center of this as it added to the problem then over and above the financial and banking collapse. So in March 2009, government had to inject and infuse the final stimulus of the auto industry with the clause that the industry undertake sweeping reforms itself. Likewise, the small unheard parts of this stimulus which is easier to remember is during tax time. It has a tax credit for workers at the bottom of the income scale. The idea was derived on getting more cash back into the hands of the people who could spend it back to the economy. 

Obama hence continuously worked on recovery throughout his administration while comparing it with past administrations like Reagan and Clinton whose administrations then also swift prosperity back to the imperil economic systems when they took office. History will write so many things about this as well as the political debates so forth as the legacy and history of the 45th President is now being studied, reviewed and written. Gauging whether Obama's measures and enactment was an enormous success will take time as it's always time until a President's legacy is fully understood in fact years after.

Alex Esguerra
ADLE International

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Glimpse on "The Making of Donald Trump" by David Cay Johnston

A New York Times Bestseller in 2016 right before the US Presidential elections was "The Making of Donald Trump" by David Cay Johnston.

After months contemplating whether to finally read this book, I did so while awaiting Coretta King's new book. After all, it makes sense to more understand who Donald Trump was a person, his history and ascension to the highest political office in America. Quoting from David Cay Johnston who claimed to have amassed a storage unit to keep records about his long 3 decades of interactions with the 45th President Donald Trump. Hence, it is also surprising to note that sequential recollections of the author that indeed Trump has been eyeing for this highest position for a long time contrary to what's said that he did not have political aspirations in the past hence to rise to the presidency.

The book starts on stories on syndicated media news and by the author prior to the election asking a false question about a Casino. As what we see nowadays on Mr. Trump's tweets' he is very much in touch with current events through the main stream media and will ultimately react to the news regardless of content and context. This is very typical of us laymen as well as business people as current events does affect the economics affecting the world. If this inherent culture should be the same with he finally takes office as President, we'll leave this open for now.

Chapter 1 starts about the family history from Germany as immigrants raising the future question to the newly elected president about his deportation of illegal immigrants. Ending with his great grandfather Frederick's fortune was not able to buy him more time to live dying on the pandemic influenza outbreak.  Donald Trump followed his father's footsteps, Fred Christ Trump which is typical of rich business families after the great depression of teaching their children the family business to prepare them to take the reign someday. In college, which is common of entrepreneurs and which whom like myself branded as young entrepreneur, Donald Trump started on his real estate business deals. In 1968, Mr. Trump earned his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. The author continues on a lawsuit that Mr. Trump filed about his net worth when asked about NPV (Net Present Value) and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) where he answered very irrelevant as a major in economics.

The book also touches about Taj Mahal in the spring of 1990 when Mr. Trump cannot pay contractors as it opens it's doors in April 5, 1990. With the thousands of lawyers, the DGE and liens that resulted still the Trump empire was saved as the government deem he was big to fail. Yet in 1991, the Taj Mahal entered into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy a story I finally remembered through this book. I remember this started the 1st of 4 bankruptcies.

Another recollection through this book was Adnan Khashoggi's "The Flying Saucer" massive boat renamed and bought by Donald Trump to "Trump Princess". In the early 1980's while reading a book called "Waltzing with the Dictator" about the then ill-gotten Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos affiliation with Khashoggi. I remember the boat was sold to Trump almost at auction when Khashoggi lost the boat seized by collectors. Hence in 1990 as the book recalled was a talked about a prank on both these two of whom was the cheapest rich person in New York. 

As the book continues on Mr. Trumps engagements on being constantly being wealthy, inconsistencies on his claims on his net worth as billionaire etc., and his business dealings,  we should note that typical businessmen after the Great Depression, World War II and after the Industrial Age have similar traits to Mr. Trump. There's a lot of fact findings deeper that will discredit someone who has just been elected to the highest office of the land. Whether, we like it or not and given the various facts written on this book, Mr. Trump still has a fresh new start to a new position as President of the United States.

Thus, it is still too early to tell if the history we have seen on the business person within Donald Trump will be the same as the 45th President of the United States. After all, it is President Barack Obama who said as a word of advice to the incoming President Trump what you'll learn the moment you take the oath of office. During my time way back as Young Entrepreneur paving my way to the APEC Youth Representative community then and today as a private small business owner, I have seen the phenomenal science of politics. Though personally I have personal reservations of the outcome of the 2016 elections, I also know that the science of politics does wonders you'll never  know happens by the time it comes. I do know that there are certain entrepreneurial qualities that Mr. Trump might possess that can turn things around in terms of jobs, economic growth and investment's. Hence, I leave my resevations to myself and go with the flow while being vigilant in watching the 
"The Making of Donald J. Trump as President".

May the force be with him and more success to the land of the free.

Alex Esguerra
Affordable Books on Line
ADLE International

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Look into "A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama" by Michael D'Antonio

A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama Hardcover – January 3, 2017 by Michael D'Antonio 

A Consequential President   is an indeed generous overview of the Obama administration about Obama's message of change in 2008.

Pulitzer Prize winning author MICHAEL D'ANTONIO delivered of Obama as an individualist who prior to 2008 was certainly an unlikely presidential candidate but his change campaign led to his nomination as the 44th President of the United States. D'Antonio hails from the vibrant journalist team at Newsday who happen to also write "The truth About Trump" where he put together years and decades of interviews and coverage of incoming newly elected President Donald J. Trump.

Obama's change message gave a sign of "hope" which is similar to the new message of "Making America Great Again" by incoming President Trump. Obama's first signature as President was the Economic Recovery Act in 2008 to save the Auto Industry. The events that followed gave economic stability on the stock market and unemployment's reduction at 5%. Yet came with this were challenges on opposition from the US Congress and controversies such as the question of American citizenship.

As Obama winds down his last few days amidst a visit to Capitol Hill yesterday in trying to save his latest signature of the "Affordable Care Act", exchanges between the two major parties as to repealing it or saving this act. It is a true fact that today about 20 million Americans uses the Affordable Care Act which earlier on pave the way to ending the inadequate access of medical treatment by not having medical insurance.

This book also touches on Obama's energy policies in cutting cost of generated power from the sun, wind and even fossil fuels. It continues on Obama's efforts on climate change on global warming and nuclear weapons in Iran. D'Antonio not only writes on the major accomplishments of this presidency but also those not heard or much publicized contributing to the legacy of Barack Obama as President.

D'Antonio noted Obama the first African American minority president as an inspirational leader who had to function and navigate race relations of being black while delivering the promise of hope and change.

As any outgoing presidents in the past, books, memoirs are written  as they leave the office on their life, tribulations and legacy. The past developments on the last few days in office, staying in Washington for a while and the recent Capitol Hill visit yesterday somehow gave speculations of what and how Citizen Obama will be in the coming days and years after his presidency.

For now a salute to Michael D'Antonio for writing this great book and till we meet again the 44th President Barack Obama.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Barack Obama's Legacy as he winds down his "Yes We Can"

Obama's Legacy: What He Accomplished as President hardcover book was released right after 9/11's historic day on 9/13/2016. Written by Michael I. Days who is an editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia was one of the turn around states on the recent US presidential elections which Obama won in 2008 and again Hillary's magnanimous campaign did not persist seeing high wins of newly elected US President Donald Trump.

Michael Days showed how Obama surpassed the Greatest Recession of Modern Time in 2008. President Obama the first African American in US Presidents is credited as having the biggest lifeline of job growth in all US Presidents, two thirds reduction in the federal budget deficit and how he revitalized the greatest slow and record numbers of the stock market.

As any sitting president, the greatest challenge is the lack of cooperation of the US Congress, a scenario that President Elect Donald Trump has not seen yet. After his inauguration this January 20, 2017 starts his new life as president politician entirely different from the scope of doing business as an business person. 

This book on Obama writes " Through it all, the President who campaigned a slogan of "Yes We Can!" has persevered in his determination to make a difference and left an indelible mark on American politics and the world". Days continued is stating LEGACY is a commemoration of his eight years in the White House.

One of the remarkable things Obama started off after taking office was implementing the auto industry rescue plan that saved almost 1 million jobs in GM and the like. General Motors in turn retrieved it's glory as the premier car company in the globe.  Hence this year, GM reach enormous profits it gave one share of profits to every GM worker with individual checks to a tune of US$11,000. 

Obama also signed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, closing many of the loopholes that allowed corporations to send jobs overseas and avoidance in paying US taxes by moving money overseas/offshore. This is one particular policy that is going to be scrutinized by the new incoming administration when the new president starts his slogan of "Making America Great Again".  Another on the watch list is the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" where the health sectors inflation had tremendous ceiling drops in 50 years. Nevertheless, Trump and the Republican controlled Congress vowed  this to be repealed.

In August of 2011, the NLRB or National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule under Obama's directive requiring employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act of Nov. 14, 2011.  The notice states that employees have a right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, to join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. Examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.

Thus, the current White House has the historical library of policies and enactments of Obama. It is fair to note that Obama had also repealed some of the policies of then George W. Bush when he took office. So it just justifies the plans for newly elected President Trump that he plans to revisit and repeal some of Obama's policies.

Over the years in business, seeing politicians and or working through inter government projects of an ensuing administration, I can say that politicians always have a signature policy they want to accomplish, be known for, leave history and may or not continue the previous policies of the former administration. But it is also fair to say that every political figure including US Presidents that their main goal is to improve the lives of the citizens they were elected by.

Hence on January 20, 2017 as we watched the traditional setting off of US President Barack Obama, the first black president in US history in Marine One, we can simply say, "Thank you President Obama" till we meet Citizen Obama.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Trump's Tax Reform bracket, will it benefit small independent booksellers?

It seems a plan on reducing the tax bracket and income tax to 15%. S Corp's and LLC's seem to be the most benefactor from the said plan. 

Through the years, deductions and the like played a big part during tax time. Though reducing the tax bill and more money coming back to an individual and a business helps, it also benefits those having huge corporate profits as well.

The question and reality lies again on the regulations and business climate to operate a small business operation.  Taxes are just a segment of the long list of needs every small independent businesses lived through each day to exist.

"The National Federation of Independent Business, say 45% of business owners consider regulations a very serious business problem today. That is up from 17% in 2001. "

In addition, access to working capital continues to be a major obstacle of a small business owner. This is an area where needed regulations can be futile where the incoming Trump administration can also looked into. 

Per the NFIB November report, "Four percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, unchanged from October. Thirty percent reported all credit needs met (up 1 point), and 52 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan, down 1 point. Only 2 percent reported that financing was their top business problem. Thirty-one percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis (up 3 points). The average rate paid on short maturity loans rose 40 basis points to 5.6 percent. Overall, loan demand remains historically weak, owners can’t find many good reasons to borrow and invest, even with abundantly cheap money."

In such operational structures, liquidity and personal cash flow are the main funding sources for COGS - Cost of Goods Sold, etc., especially in the bookselling industry whom had been over the years continues to automate and slowly update their technology systems.

Hopefully the new SBA - Small Business Administration new chief, Linda McMahon and Trump, together, will have the ability to help revive American small business through actual government assistance (SBA loans, training and federal contract opportunities), but also through something that is even more important: building entrepreneurial confidence.- quoted from Fox News.

Entrepreneurial confidence and the essence of entrepreneurship were some of the basic principles I focused then at APEC Young Entrepreneurs Association and as APEC Youth Representative on the Young Leaders declaration in 1997.

Truly indeed it's back to basics of entrepreneurship access to capital, minimum wage, competitive and profitability structures, and coming together to address policy and regulations affecting each industry.

So my take for other fellow small business owners is that although we have our individual struggles, we have to be strong and united when it comes to policies and regulations which may affect us with the new administration. The key is "Vigilance".

Alex Esguerra

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Economy in 2017 and where we stand!

Amidst the slow growth in the past 2 years globally being long term. economist projects that in the initial part of 2017, the US economy will rebound in lieu of 3-8 % increase in consumer spending since the holiday season started.

It is said the projected GDP growth in 2017 will be around 2% contrary to the projections of 4% of the incoming US President Donald Trump. Inflation was greatly controlled in 2016 due to the low price of oil and crude.  The strong US dollar partly is credited to the lower oil price in the markets around  a target of $50/barrel next year.

The Bureau of Labor projects that Healthcare jobs will play an increased significantly next year especially those with occupational merits having Masters Degrees. These jobs with be followed by computer related job growths as well as educators.

As the legacy of outgoing President Barack Obama in establishing the economic recovery after the financial crisis in 2008, we should focus on educating ourselves on our careers by learning more adaptive skills towards our jobs. Another area is looking at the stock market improvement towards reclassifying retirement and 401 k plans.

The initial uncertainty of a new administration on the White House will trigger an increase in interest rate and inflation on the early part of 2017 as new rules and ammedaments like the Affordable Care Act may or may not be a huge effect on the new state of the US economy.

The markets for sure will have a wait and see attitude towards new regulations and administrative orders from the new executives in the Trump administration.

As of this writing, we consumer spending towards the christmas and new year continue to revitalized the GDP.

Where we go from here in 2017 again will be a next chapter.

Happy Holidays and a more prosperous 2017.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Slogan, "Making America Great Again"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A "Let's Make America Great Again" pin button from Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign Donald Trump wearing a Make America Great Again hat in 2016. "Make America Great Again" is a campaign slogan used in American politics that originated with the Ronald Reagan campaign of 1980. Donald Trump subsequently received a U.S. Service Mark.[1]. 

Reading through, the incoming Trump administration focuses heavily on Regulatory reform as cornerstone of the Trump Administration, and the effort will include a temporary moratorium on all new regulation, canceling overarching executive orders and a thorough review to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that kill jobs and bloat government.

This reminds me a few years ago about the outsourcing of jobs during the Bush administration like call centers being routed to third world countries. As everything nowadays talks about the then Billionaire Mr. Trump cons and pros which might either make America great or worse we don't really know. 

What we do know that each person has their own style and business entrepreneurship ideas might be an essential tool on regulatory analysis of the impediments to job creation. The only difference having seen both sides of regulation and moratorium that not all the greatest entrepreneurial approaches to the global mighty economist might work. 

Why? It's simply because running a business is entirely much easier to control and manage the outcomes that political governance where even the greatest strategist cannot really conclude if the strategy will work 100%. Thus, back in the days when there was was an enormous doors being open for me from the business socio-civic endeavours to moved to the political arena, I made the decision to simply stay as a private citizen engaged in community and public service. 

There were the economist, the entrepreneur moguls in developing countries whom became president that history writes were thought to have done great strides yet who had the same balance of governance failures. Of course, the main difference in politics there's always the pointing game rather than if your a small business owner, then you and yourself is the only one to blame. Quoting from " The regulatory bureaucracy is enormous and its impact on our economy, communities and individual Americans from coast to coast is even larger". With such underlying statement, can we really gauge outcomes on the first 100 days? It validates the complexity of governance yet the incoming administration talks about sensible regulations. 

When Barack Obama took the baton in 2008, it talks about the greatest recession in ages where stimulus had to be infused to the economy dealing with the stock market chaos, the auto industry, etc.., Yet as I've heard people from the midwest talking about why they needed a change for steel, plant workers and or the middle class which is why Pres. Donald Trump won in big numbers on these states. Looking at this arguments, brings my historical picture of what politics is about anywhere in the world. The bottom line as I've noted over and over through the years, what is there for "Mainstream America"? 

 It's too early to pre-judged yet it's not too early to constantly watch the next steps and react in proper decorum. Civil rights, equality, and respect will be a good trend gauging arena as after all these were all the rhetoric focus on this election.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Expo America 2016 continues to grow and what's new

May is almost around the corner as this year's biggest bookseller meet-ups happen at Book Expo America 2016 This year the BEA will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago. BEA is still mid-week and compact with three days for you to maximize your experience in an efficient time frame. BookCon will continue to be adjacent to BEA and take place Saturday, May 14. A bit of history about Book Expo America: BookExpo America (BEA) is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, conduct business and network, and learn the latest trends. BEA is the largest gathering of booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights, licensing, and book industry professionals in North America. One of the new things that I look forward to is that BookExpo America (BEA) To Debut New Digital Platform Tools At Annual Event Enhancing Networking Opportunities For All Attendees. From what I heard this is the real networking as BEA will debut the BEA Network at the show to the approximately 10,000 industry professionals attending the event, giving them a chance create more connections than ever before Hence am looking forward to this followed by BookCon which is the ultimate fan event where storytelling and pop culture collide – offering fans unprecedented access to authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see. As independent Indie booksellers continue to grow comes the growing pains and operational challenges. Hopefully new ideas, new friends and support from the American Booksellers Association as we anticipate BEA 2016