President Duterte, China, the United States and the Philippines

Yesterday morning I read news that Philippine President Duterte wants to cut economic and military ties to the U.S. and to strengthen ties with China and Russia. This adds to the worries that I have about President Duterte. I’m not against Duterte’s efforts to open up markets for Philippine business and agriculture in China and Russia. Duterte just recently finished a trip to China where $24 billion worth of trade deals were agreed to between China and the Philippines, which is a good accomplishment.

Countries like Vietnam and Japan, however, have pursued greater economic trade with China and Russia while also pursuing trade with the United States. About 43% of Overseas Filipino Worker remittances comes from the United States. Trade between the Philippines and the United States total $16.491 billion. When Duterte says that the Philippines has to cut ties to the U.S. in order to pursue greater trade with China and Russia, it’s a false choice that other countries don’t have to make.

Here is an excerpt of an article by Paterno Esmaquel II for Rappler:

Trade between Manila and Washington amounts to $16.491 billion favoring the Philippines, according to a fact sheet provided by the DFA in September.

The US also continues to host 5,997,330 Filipinos as Duterte vows to cut military and economic ties with Washington…

…Duterte’s economic planners, however, sought to clarify the President’s statement.

“We will maintain relations with the West but we desire stronger integration with our neighbors,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement after Duterte’s speech…

…Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario earlier called on the Duterte administration to count the economic cost of the country’s shift in foreign policy.

“In foreign affairs, you try to get as many friends as possible. You don’t get one friend at the expense of another friend,” he explained. “Playing a zero-sum game is illogical and we should get away from this.”

My big fear is that Duterte is trying to cut economic ties to the U.S. because the U.S. has been one of the biggest critics of the use of extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s war on drugs. If Duterte shifts the Philippines towards a closer relationship with China and Russia, it insulates Duterte from criticism over extrajudicial killings.

I notice a pattern when Duterte makes an incendiary remark. First Duterte makes a shocking remark. The people who hear the remark react with shock and confusion. Then a few days later either Duterte or someone in his administration has to give a detailed explanation to clear up the confusion or to backtrack from what Duterte initially said.

Here is an excerpt of an article by Pia Renada:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday, October 22, he would not sever his nation’s alliance with the United States, as he clarified his announcement that he planned to “separate.”

“It’s not severance of ties. Severance is to cut diplomatic relations. I cannot do that. Why? It’s for the best interests of my country that we maintain that relationship. Why? Because there are many Filipinos in the US, Americans of Filipino ancestry,” Duterte told reporters in his hometown of Davao after returning from China.

The firebrand leader signaled on Thursday, October 20, during his 4-day state visit to Beijing that he announced a “separation” from the United States in both military and economic aspects in favor of China and Russia.

He explained that this “separation” merely means to “chart another way” in terms of foreign policy from the Western power.

“Separation of my foreign policy, that it need not dovetail the foreign policy of America. That’s what I meant actually…Separate is just to chart another way of doing it,” he said.

“What I was really saying was, separation of a foreign policy. In the past, and until I became president, we always follow what the US would give the cue. What he would give, the cue, that we are there, we are there, we follow. Pasunod-sunod tayo. ‘Di ako magsunod (We always follow. I won’t follow),” said Duterte.

I’m against the Philippines cutting ties to the United States. But I commend Duterte for the economic agreement between the Philippines and China that will potentially help the Philippine economy. Here is an excerpt of an article by Pia Ranada:

President Rodrigo Duterte and the large business delegation that accompanied him to China may be bringing home around $24 billion worth of deals, said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

…The number is an increase from the $13.5 billion in deals he had announced Thursday night during a Philippines-China trade and investment forum.

Of the $24 billion, $15 billion accounts for company-to-company deals, while $9 billion pertains to loans from credit facilities to be made available to businesses, development projects, and infrastructure, among others.

The deals involved “cut across different industries – agriculture, energy, renewable energy, tourism, food, manufacturing, telecommunications, and infrastructure,” said Lopez.

The deals are expected to generate two million jobs, according to Department of Trade and Industry estimates.

I’m critical of America’s history of exploitation, but I’m not anti-American. I’m both proud of my Philippine heritage and I’m proud to be American. I’m hoping Duterte’s latest comment doesn’t strain Philippine/American relations.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner

For the past week I’ve been recovering from watching the last Presidential debate. The tenor of the entire presidential campaign has me worried about the great divisions in this country and how it’ll affect the health of the democratic republic. Then I was caught by surprise to see a video of Trump and Hillary together at a dinner laughing and making bad jokes. I had never heard of the Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner until a day or two ago, but I went on wikipedia to learn more about it. The Al Smith Memorial Foundation was founded by Francis Cardinal Spellman in 1946, to honor the memory of Alfred Emanuel Smith, New York’s renowned Governor and patron of the “Little People”. The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation serves neediest children of the Archdiocese of New York, regardless of race, creed, or color.

According to wikipedia:

The first dinner was in 1945, the year after Al Smith’s death. It is generally the last event at which the two U.S. presidential candidates share a stage before the election. Apart from presidential candidates, keynote speakers have included Clare Boothe Luce, Bob Hope, Henry Kissinger, Tom Brokaw, Tony Blair, and many other prominent figures in government, business, the media, and entertainment.

Since 1960 (when Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were speakers), it has been a stop for the two main presidential candidates during several U.S. election years. In 1976, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter spoke; in 1980, Carter and Ronald Reagan; in 1988, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Al Gore and George W. Bush; in 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama; in 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Since 1945, only two presidents have not spoken at the dinner: Harry Truman and Bill Clinton. Candidates have traditionally given humorous speeches poking fun at themselves and their opponents, making the event similar to a roast. The 2008 dinner raised $3.9 million.

I think this tradition is a great idea to bridge the partisan divide that forms during a heated presidential campaign. It is a good reminder to both Democrats and Republicans that in spite of our political differences, we’re all Americans. After the elections are over, we have to work together to find common ground and work to better our country.

I saw this nice article by Colin Campbell for Yahoo News. Campbell wrote:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ripped each other with scorching zingers Thursday night, but privately, they apparently took a softer approach.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Trump actually heaped praise on Clinton just before they took their seats at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.

“There were some very touching moments. When we were going in, I said, ‘Can we pray together?’” Dolan recalled on Friday during an appearance on “Today.”

He continued: “After the little prayer, Mr. Trump turned to Secretary Clinton and said, ‘You know, you are one tough and talented woman.’ And he said, ‘This has been a good experience, this whole campaign, as tough as it’s been.’”

Clinton reportedly then extended an olive branch to Trump.

“She said to him: ‘And Donald, whatever happens, we need to work together afterwards.’ Now I thought, ‘This is the evening at its best,’” Dolan said.

Here is a 1994 video to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the dinner. The video features quotes from Dwight D Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard M Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Bob Hope, Hubert H. Humphrey, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Barbara Bush, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole and others.

Here is a video of Al Gore and George Bush at the 2000 Al Smith Memorial Dinner.

Here is a video of John McCain and Barack Obama at the 2008 Al Smith Memorial Dinner.

Here is a video of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the 2012 Al Smith Memorial Dinner.

Here is a video of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Al Smith Memorial Dinner.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civility and the Political Discourse

When I watched the second Presidential debate, I couldn’t believe the depths that Trump went to in attacking Hillary Clinton. Trump has based his entire presidential campaign focused on personal attacks with little policy specifics.

I think civility is an important component in the political discourse of this country. In a democratic republic, one of the challenges is to get people of different opinions and outlooks to get involved in the political process to find common ground and decide on political decisions. Dan Glickman wrote a wonderful post for the Huffington Post titled Civility No More: Where Are the Better Angels In Politics?. He wrote:

In 1860 as this nation stood on the brink of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln implored Americans and their political leaders to think of, “the better angels of our nature,” before committing totally to the dissolution of the Union.
To plea for civility during one of the most bitter and divisive periods of American history was an attempt to call on a cultural tenet of respect for those with whom you disagree. The value of civility was a necessary component of our culture at our founding because we are a union of different states, then led by people with different ideas of how a federal state should look, but all committed to the idea of the freedom of belief and expression. Such an entity created by people holding divergent views cannot exist without basic elements of civility and respect for your fellow politicians and citizens. We learned early on to disagree agreeably.

Today, things are different. We have witnessed a substantial erosion of civility in political discourse in contemporary politics. In my view, the end of civility in our political system is a true loss for every American, Republican and Democrat alike…

…The state of contemporary politics is one in which bombast is met with approval. Extreme viewpoints are greeted with appreciative nods by a disturbingly large segment of the American electorate, and so the incentive for political leaders to make such comments is significant. Of course, there have always been and will always be people in a free and democratic country such as this who hold views that are extreme or unpopular, and it is their right to do so. But in this country politicians weren’t always so easily able to accrue benefit from being egomaniacal, indecent, uncivil and frankly just plain rude.

Yohuru Williams wrote a great article for the American Bar Association titled A Matter of Integrity: Civility and Political Discourse. Williams wrote in his article:

No one would deny that language is impor­tant and while the First Amendment protects speech, it does not remove the individuals’ responsibility to be respectful in their use of language. With a far greater means of amplifying their message, elected officials have an even greater responsibility to be judicious in their communication respecting the rules of debate and civil discourse for the benefit of the entire body politic and ensuring truthfulness.
A powerful recent example best illustrates this point. At a political ral­ly in Ohio in October of 2008, Arizona Senator John McCain responded to an attendee’s reference to then-candidate Barack Obama as a disloyal Muslim Arab with, “No, no ma’am he’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamen­tal issues, and that’s what this campaign is about.”

The televised exchange won praise for McCain, whose forthright decision to tackle the false allegations tran­scended his own political aspirations, a show of integrity that remains uncom­mon…

…Legal scholar Christopher Eis­gruber has observed that “American government aspires to be both demo­cratic and just. . . . To insist that justice and democracy coincide,” he continues “makes heavy, but we may hope, not impossible demands upon the Ameri­can people.” Those heavy demands call upon us individually and collectively to reflect on our own behavior and its impact on our life and government. If we collectively do not accept responsi­bility for the manner in which we care for our democracy, we will share the blame when it no longer functions as the Founders intended.

Civility is not always about what is lawful, but what is respectful. It is how the personal influences the politi­cal. The lesson to take away from pub­lic officials in their best moments from George Washington to John McCain is never to lose sight of the humanity of those with whom we disagree. To be honest and respectful in our discourse is as much a means of ensuring the golden rule as preserving our democ­racy, frail and imperfect, but far more desirable than the alternative.

Here is a youtube video of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump questioned whether John McCain is a “war hero” at an event in Iowa.

Donald Trump raised eyebrows by seemingly attacking Carly Fiorina’s looks. During the second GOP debate, she responded

In this youtube video Donald Trump mocks Jeb Bush as being “Low Energy”

In this video Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump campaigned in Warren, Mich., criticizing Marco Rubio as “Little Marco”

In this video Donald Trump made controversial comments claiming there is a connection between Ted Cruz’s father and Lee Harvey Oswald

In this video Donald Trump attacked Ted Cruz’s wife

In this video Donald Trump called Paul Ryan and John McCain as being weak and ineffective

In this video Donald Trump labeled Hillary Clinton as being “Crooked Hillary”

This video is a compilation of Donald Trump’s insults during the Republican primaries and the general campaign

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump, Lee Atwater and the Politics of Personal Attack

Watching the second Presidential debate was a very depressing experience. Trump’s campaign for the entire election season has been a mean spirited affair based on personal attacks with little policy specifics. He said John McCain wasn’t a war hero. He insulted Carly Fiorina’s looks. He labeled Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb”, Marco Rubio “Little Marco”, Ted Cruz “Lying Ted”. He insulted Ted Cruz’s wife’s looks and accused Cruz’s father of being involved in assassinating John F. Kennedy. Now Trump is branding Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” and saying Clinton has hate in her heart and is the devil.

I think there are legitimate criticisms of Hillary. During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders gave some legitimate criticisms of Hillary. Unlike Trump, though, Sanders mostly focused on policy differences and not personal attacks, and Sanders is well versed enough in government to give policy specifics to his own proposals. During last nights’ debate Hillary attacked Trump, but she also walked to the questioners and tried to give some policy specifics to answer the individual’s questions. I think Hillary studied the Republican debates closely, because she would criticize Trump but avoid getting caught up in the mud fights that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz got into with Trump.

I think Trump was more focused than the last debate in his attacks on Hillary, though Trump’s attacks were personal as compared to Bernie Sander’s policy criticisms.

I thought the best moment of the debate was the last question, when Clinton and Trump was asked to name a positive quality that they admire about the other person. After the debate there was a nice moment where Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump greeted each other with a smile.

Here is a PBS Newshour youtube video of the second debate

After watching the last debate, I wanted to watch past presidential debates to compare. All past candidates had worked out detailed policy positions on a wide variety of issues. Even the major third-party candidates, like Ralph Nader in 2000, Ross Perot in 1992, and John Anderson in 1980, had worked out detailed policy proposals. In 1992, for instance, Perot bought half hour blocks of television time to explain his proposals.

You can clearly see just how mean-spirited Trump was in last Sunday’s debate when you watch Presidential debates from other years. Even the most heated debates of the past had more civility than last Sunday’s.

Here is a video of the 1960 Presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. I like the Kennedy Nixon debate because of its civility, and their focus on policy differences.

Here is the 1992 Presidential Town Hall debate between George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. There are some personal attacks in the debate, but all 3 candidates offer policy proposals with some detail. The candidates rarely interrupted each other in the way Trump did, and they talked directly to the individuals asking the questions. There was some complaints about negative campaigning from the audience, but the 1992 debate was still a lot more civil than last Sunday’s debate.

Here is the 1980 Presidential debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Carter and Reagan offered contrasting political philosophies and detailed policy proposals. They had deep political differences, but they did not call each other devils or say that they had a heart full of hate. They kept their focus on policy differences.

Before this year, I always thought the most mean-spirited Presidential campaign was the 1988 campaign. That was because George Bush’s campaign manager Lee Atwater used racist ads to attack Michael Dukakis and used the Pledge of Allegiance to attack Dukakis’ patriotism. Years later, both Bush and Atwater regretted the way they ran that campaign. Lee Atwater apologized to Michael Dukakis and Atwater renounced the Southern strategy where the Republican Party used coded racist appeals to try to attract the white voters of the deep South.

In a January 13, 1991 New York Times article:

In a detailed and candid article about his career and his fight against an inoperable brain tumor, Lee Atwater has apologized to Michael S. Dukakis for the “naked cruelty” of a remark he made about the Democratic Presidential nominee in the 1988 campaign…

…As manager of Mr. Bush’s campaign, Mr. Atwater succeeded in making the case of Willie Horton, a convicted murderer, an issue against Mr. Dukakis.

Mr. Horton, who is black, raped a white woman and stabbed her husband while on a weekend furlough from a Massachusetts prison. The Bush campaign used the case to portray Mr. Dukakis, then Governor of Massachusetts, as a liberal who was soft on crime.

“In 1988,” Mr. Atwater said, “fighting Dukakis, I said that I would strip the bark off the little bastard’ and ‘make Willie Horton his running mate.’ I am sorry for both statements: the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not”…

…Since being stricken last year, the 39-year-old Mr. Atwater has apologized on several occasions for many of the campaign tactics he once employed and for which he was criticized…

…”While I didn’t invent negative politics,” he said, “I am one of its most ardent practitioners.”

Stefan Forbes produced a documentary titled “Boogie Man: the Lee Atwater Story” that describes how Lee Atwater introduced the personal attack politics that Donald Trump is employing to such devastating effect to both his Republican opponents and to Hillary Clinton. In the PBS website, it writes:

In the documentary “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story”, producer Stefan Forbes reveals new information about the meteoric rise and tragic demise of a man both admired and reviled for the controversial, sometimes racially-charged political tactics that helped elect George H.W. Bush president and inspired protégés such as Karl Rove…

…Boogie Man recounts how fellow South Carolinian Sen. Strom Thurmond took an interest in Atwater, tutoring him in the use of highly emotional wedge issues such as abortion and crime that would help Republicans win over disaffected working class voters to a largely pro-business agenda. Says Atwater intimate Tucker Eskew, “Resentment became the future of the Republican Party.” In the documentary, viewers hear from numerous journalists and politicians who say Atwater’s use of scurrilous rumors, push polls and other dirty tricks propelled him onto the national scene…

…Boogie Man takes viewers behind the scenes of the contentious 1988 campaign, remembered for the infamous “Willie Horton” ad, which portrayed Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis as soft on crime and easy on rapists and murderers…

…After Atwater was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1990, some of his closest friends say that, terrified he was going to hell, he embarked on a desperate search for redemption. “Lee really was confronting some very troubling facts,” says Eskew, “that in winning he had hurt people. Fear had been part of his toolkit. That fear came back on him.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberal Democrats and the White Working Class

Much has been made in the media about the white working class who make up the majority of Donald Trump’s electoral support. Trump has appealed to the fears of this group of Americans by stoking xenophobia, islamophobia and the worst forms of misogyny. This greatly worries me, as I see the divisions growing in the U.S. over race and class. Yet I have some hope as well. Watching the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns during the primaries, both are tapping into a tradition of liberal Democrats who reached out to both working class whites and minority communities to build bridges between the two communities and bring Americans together.

The eight hour work day, the forty hour work week, the minimum wage, Social Security, work safety standards, child labor laws, collective bargaining rights, and a whole host of laws protecting worker rights were championed in mainstream politics in the early twentieth century by progressive Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and Robert LaFollette, and later in the twentieth century by liberal Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, the Kennedys, Jesse Jackson and Paul Wellstone.

These progressives saw that the government has an important role in helping its most vulnerable citizens weather the worst effects of a free market system. I’m hoping that Hillary can look to these early examples to bring Americans together.

The Nation magazine has several articles about ways in which progressives can reach out to the white working class who are now supporting Donald Trump.

Barbara Ehrenreich wrote an article for The Nation titled What Happened to the White Working Class that describes the effects of economic anxiety on working class whites. She wrote:

The white working class, which usually inspires liberal concern only for its paradoxical, Republican-leaning voting habits, has recently become newsworthy for something else: according to economist Anne Case and Angus Deaton, the winner of the latest Nobel Prize in economics, its members in the 45- to 54-year-old age group are dying at an immoderate rate. While the lifespan of affluent whites continues to lengthen, the lifespan of poor whites has been shrinking. As a result, in just the last four years, the gap between poor white men and wealthier ones has widened by up to four years. The New York Times summed up the Deaton and Case study with this headline: “Income Gap, Meet the Longevity Gap.”

…Only whites, however, are now dying off in unexpectedly large numbers in middle age, their excess deaths accounted for by suicide, alcoholism, and drug (usually opiate) addiction.

There are some practical reasons why whites are likely to be more efficient than blacks at killing themselves. For one thing, they are more likely to be gun-owners, and white men favor gunshots as a means of suicide. For another, doctors, undoubtedly acting in part on stereotypes of non-whites as drug addicts, are more likely to prescribe powerful opiate painkillers to whites than to people of color. (I’ve been offered enough oxycodone prescriptions over the years to stock a small illegal business.)

Manual labor—from waitressing to construction work—tends to wear the body down quickly, from knees to back and rotator cuffs, and when Tylenol fails, the doctor may opt for an opiate just to get you through the day.

Joan Walsh wrote a good article for The Nation titled Can the Democrats Win Back White Working-Class Voters? Maybe- but first we need to understand why they left the party. Walsh noted in her article:

There are, of course, political and moral reasons to care about the pessimism and dislocation of the white working class. It’s been the proverbial canary in the coal mine, a formerly thriving group once buoyed by government investment and labor rights whose standard of living has fallen since Republicans (with the aid of some Democrats) turned their backs on the post–World War II consensus. Some of the economic trends that have hurt this group, like sluggish wage growth, are holding back African Americans and Latinos as well…

…In the end, though, the struggling white working class has a moral claim on progressives, as well as a political one. Whole pockets of the industrial Midwest and South have been left out of the 21st century, and pessimism and resentment can’t help but fester. Rising white mortality rates, largely due to addiction and mental illness, deserve attention. The resurgent populist, pro-opportunity, and anti-oligarchy left wing of the Democratic Party has pushed politicians, including Clinton, to embrace many policies—on trade, union rights, Social Security, and education—that many hope will win back this cohort

Steve Phillips wrote a more optimistic article for The Nation titled Actually Not All White Working Class Voters Are Conservative which reminds readers that a significant portion of the white working class voters support progressive causes. Phillips wrote:

 In reality, however, there are millions of white working-class voters who proudly cast their ballots for a black man running for president in 2008 and 2012, and millions have also expressed their preference for a white woman seeking the same office. In a country that held black people in chattel slavery for hundreds of years and refused to recognize any women’s rights separate from a relationship to a man until the 21st century, those votes by working-class whites are a big deal…

… Underappreciated, yet vitally important, is the historical role that the progressive white working class has played in supporting struggles for justice and equality throughout US history. Many, although certainly not all, white labor leaders and unions sided with the civil-rights movement in the 1960s and the struggles in Selma for democracy and equality. The success of those efforts led to the passage in 1965 of the Voting Rights Act and Immigration and Nationality Act. Those two revolutionary laws, which removed the racial restrictions from voting and immigration, have resulted in the demographic transformation of the American population and electorate, resulting in the percentage of people of color in the country tripling from 12 percent in 1965 to 38.2 percent today. With so many people of color now able to cast ballots, the strategic significance of the white workers who vote progressive is enhanced…

… Schultz’s story shows that the way for progressives to win over the majority of the white working class is by gaining political power and passing progressive public policies, not wasting time and money during an election season trying to persuade people predisposed not to agree. In order to get into a position where progressives can govern, we have to make smart and strategic decisions that secure 50 percent plus one of the people casting ballots. Then we can pass public policies that help everybody.

Here is a youtube video of Robert F. Kennedy visiting a white working class town in East Kentucky

Here is a youtube video of Senator Paul Wellstone retracing the steps of his hero, Robert Kennedy, through Appalachia, focusing in particular on eastern Kentucky. During the 1997 tour, Paul Wellstone spent several days visiting a Head Start classroom, touring a housing rehabilitation site, and hearing the concerns of working and disabled coal miners, their wives and widows. On August 30, 1997 Senator Wellstone held a Town Meeting at Appalshop where he listened for several hours as folks from all over central Appalachia expressed their concerns about the economy, community development, health care, education, poverty, workers’ rights, and social and environmental justice.

Here is a video of a speech of the Reverand Jesse Jackson speaking to the audience about helping farmers at the Farm Aid concert in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 7th, 1990. Reverand Jackson went to rural white communities to help people who were facing farm foreclosures.

A 2011 video of Senator Barbara Boxer speaking in front of thousands of nurses protesting in front of the steps of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calling on a fair tax system where Wall Street and Corporate America pay their fair share, and to use those funds to pay for programs like Medicare and Medicaid

A 2006 video of Senator Ted Kennedy speaking to the National Education Association and other Union Activists in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

A video of Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the SEIU Local 87 Union Rally in San Francisco on May 18, 2016

A 2015 video of SEIU Local 2015 member leader and home care provider, Regina Sutton, and her In-Home Supportive Services consumer, Karen Johnson, joining presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, at a round table discussion on the care giving crisis the US will face if it does not invest in its long term care workforce

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonder Woman Trailer Reactions

Ever since I followed the trailer reactions to the Batman Vs. Superman movie, I’ve been hooked on watching the trailer reactions of the movies I look forward to seeing. It’s fun following various people give their opinions and to see their reactions to the trailers. Many of them are comic book nerds or movie nerds like me. One movie that I really look forward to seeing is director Patty Jenkins 2017 movie Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot.

Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by Dr. William Moulton Marston, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, with a specific feminist agenda in mind. Jill Lepore wrote the book The Secret History of Wonder Woman that explores the influences of the woman’s suffragist movement and Margaret Sanger’s birth control movement on how Marston conceived of the Wonder Woman comic book. Lepore wrote in the New Yorker magazine:

Superman débuted in 1938, Batman in 1939, Wonder Woman in 1941. She was created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard. A press release explained, “ ‘Wonder Woman’ was conceived by Dr. Marston to set up a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men” because “the only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.” Marston put it this way: “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”

Wonder Woman succeeded in Marston’s hope of instilling feminist ideas in many young girls. Gloria Steinem, for instance, was a huge fan of Wonder Woman growing up, and she used Wonder Woman in the cover of the first issue of her feminist magazine Ms. Here is a video of Steinem talking about her love of Wonder Woman.

Here are some youtube videos of trailer reactions to the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.

Here is a youtube video of Jill Lepore giving a lecture on the influence of the woman’s suffragist movement on the creation of Wonder Woman

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watching the First Presidential Debate

Last Monday I went to a public viewing of the first Presidential debate hosted by CAIR-SFBA, a group that fights for the civil right of the Muslim American community. Since the viewing was only 10 minutes from my home, I decided to go.

I had a nice time meeting everyone and talking about the two candidates. The people who attended were very nice, and they were very welcoming. They served pizza, cookies and soft drinks, which were my dinner.

Needless to say, the crowd was not a Trump crowd. But there were a few individuals who voiced their ambivalence towards Hillary too.

I actually thought Trump started out strong at the beginning of the debates. Hillary seemed a little stiff at first, and a little nervous. Trump was echoing a lot of the Left’s criticisms of NAFTA, which I thought was effective. But as the debate went on, I was impressed by the depth of Hillary’s knowledge of policy. She was calm and thoughtful in many of her explanations. When Hillary saw that she could tough out Trump’s attacks, it looked like she began to relax.

I watched all of the Democratic and Republican debates in the primaries, and I think Bernie gave Hillary a tougher time than Trump did. I’ll have to watch those debates again on youtube to be sure I’m remembering this correctly. There was a lot more substance to Bernie’s attacks than Trump’s attacks, and Bernie put Hillary more on the defensive.

In the second part of the debate, Trump fell into the same pattern that he got in the Republican debates. Instead of fighting Hillary, Trump got caught up in defending himself against various media criticisms against him. I thought his answers to the moderators questions on race and the birther issue were terrible. When he started repeating “law and order”, I’m sure Lee Atwater was spinning in his grave.

It was interesting watching this debate with a group of Muslim Americans. When the moderator got to the subject of Muslims and the Middle East, one of the group said, “Uh oh, here we go”. At that segment, the group was very tense. They gave a collective moan at most of what Trump was saying. When Hillary gave a strong defense of our Muslim allies and the Muslim American community, a few individuals cheered.

It was a riveting debate. I thought Trump started out strong, but fell apart at the end. Hillary started out tentative, but grew stronger as the debate went along. Her smile seemed more sincere as the debates went along and Trump began to falter.

I look forward to the next two debates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment