Tag Archives: politics

Emil Guillermo’s Amok PODCAST: Todd Endo calls in from Selma about being at the 50th anniversary of the historic marches

toddendomarchingAsian American activist Todd Endo was in Selma 50 years ago, just as he  was at the march on Washington in 1963 to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.  (I took this photo of him at the 50th anniversary of that march in 2015).

This weekend, Endo called in from Selma where he attended the big anniversary of the marches there.  We talked about what he felt then and now,  about what he saw, and the Asian Americans at the event, including a Chinese American who was also at Selma in 1965.

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Update: SF’s David Chiu beats David Campos in Assembly District 17; Midterm mugging: For first time in 8 years, GOP in charge. Nancy Pelosi still minority leader, but Mike Honda still in Congress.

UPDATED: In the hotly contested San Francisco Assembly District 17 race, David Chiu has issued this statement on Facebook that his opponent, David Campos, has conceded.

Close race between two colleagues that got nasty. But that’s politics.

 

Nov.5: People hate Congress, but they like their guy. How else do you describe the way Democratic Incumbent Mike Honda in CA-17 was able to beat back Ro Khanna, the disruptive Democrat who failed despite big money and endorsements.

Goes to show you, avuncular beats upstart. In politics, style counts for something.

But Honda’s victory is not enough to make Nancy Pelosi happy. She’s still in the minority, but even deeper in the hole now.

It rained at the Giants parade, and on Tuesday it poured. Two more years of political smiles.

Last week she had the Senate, now all she has is a lame duck president to lean on.

And an orange rally rag to remind her what it feels like to be a World Champion.

 

 

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S.F. Mayor Ed Lee works overtime for #SOTU: Maximum Asian, minimum wage in the land of inequality; updated 3:42PDT with preview excerpts

Some observers might think San Francisco must be on President Obama’s “Do Not Call” list after that embarrassing incident during his last visit. That’s when one of the handpicked invitees who stood behind Obama spoke out and disrupted the president’s speech.  ( http://aaldef.org/blog/yelling-stop-deportations-an-undocumented-asian-american-stands-up-and-obama-stands-down.html ).

But Obama is merely showing how you can’t let a little thing like that spoil your good attitude. We’re not talking Chris Christie here.

Obama is moving on, because Ed Lee can help him.

So instead of a “shunning,” the president is shining a light on the San Francisco mayor.

Lee fills a number of purposes for President Obama at the #SOTU.  If anyone asks,”Is there an Asian American in the house? ” Well, now there will be.  (They won’t be in the bomb shelter). As Michelle’s guest, Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants, the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco in the nation’s most Asian American state.

But Lee’s real purpose may be to be the bureaucratic face and prime working example of an elevated minimum wage. SeaTac in Washington has a $15 minimum. But SeaTac is not San Francisco, and Obama needs to show a major city example. That’s SF, with the next highest minimum wage at $10.55 an hour.

Obama wants to raise the fed minimum to $10.10, up from $7.25.

At a time when inequality has become Obama’s “here-and-now”  issue, having Lee there is critical to show everyone that $10.10 is do-able. SeaTac is struggling with $15. But new studies show SF’s businesses haven’t been hurt by years of an elevated minimum wage, well above $7. In fact, even conservatives like Bill O’Reilly are coming around to embrace the issue of raising the MW.

Maybe that’s because minimum wages mean conservatives can feel good about finally taxing the poor.

But really, what’s $10.10 an hour?  Multiply that by 30 hours (because then bosses wouldn’t have to pay benefits). Then work for 50 weeks and voila. You’re barely above $15,000 a year.

Shack up with another minimum wage earner, don’t have kids, and live in your parent’s trailer, and you can survive on $30,000 a year combined. Sure, why not. (You want to eat too? And have clothes? Wow, no one told O’Reilly that).

No, of course it’s do-able.

You won’t be among the One-percent though.

Maybe this is Obama’s way to discourage future immigration to the U.S.?  Land of opportunity?

No, America is the “new”  land of inequality.

UPDATE:

Preview excerpts from President Obama’s SOTU  address– (Second to last graph (bolded) is perhaps the most direct in terms of president’s intention to by-pass Congress if he needs to get things done).
“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together.  Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

 

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows.  Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

 

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better.  But average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Upward mobility has stalled.  The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

 

Our job is to reverse these tides.  It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you.  But America does not stand still – and neither will I.  So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” 

….

“Opportunity is who we are.  And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”

(End of excerpt).

 

 

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They could use a Mandela in Thailand, and just about everywhere else…even the U.S.

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” is a longtime political maxim.

But that phrase doesn’t express quite the boldness of the concept “loving one’s enemy.”

Who does that?

Winners do. Mandela did.

When we mourn Mandela, we mourn a special politician, one who is able to transcend all that and become a true leader. We sure don’t live in a one-size-fits all world, but wouldn’t it be nice if Mandela could be cloned and dropped into certain situations, right now. Continue reading They could use a Mandela in Thailand, and just about everywhere else…even the U.S.

Come on Straight Face America: Is it so hard to resist the incredible Mr. Weiner? We were great with Fukushima…

In the “new toys, new sins” department, we find Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who

doesn’t quite understand why people want him kicked out of the sandbox that is politics.

I mean sexless sex? Who cares?

Arrogant, confident, self-deluded guys tend to think that way.

Is that the kind of guy you want as a public servant?

It is public servant, last time I checked, not “Public Master.” Yet, once you get a bit of power and some of the limelight, you can begin to believe that you are untouchable. Especially if it’s just pix on a phone.

So where’s the line between public and private here?

We don’t need a saint. We just need people who can display good judgment, who we can trust, and who we can admire for the things they do in life.

What now would recommend Mr. Weiner?

If he’s not good enough for public office, private life awaits. Hey, there’s the spot next to Spitzer on CNN. The Public Deviants Hour would be great fun.

Weiner’s press conference, which I suppose was his acceptance of his weinerness, is a start for a way back to something.

That he doesn’t want to resign shows he’s not exactly remorseful for the things he perhaps needs to be remorseful about. So maybe it’s private life for him, then no one would care about his sexting.

He’s really left it up to the people of New York to decide whether to forgive the him. And if they want a guy who would sell them out for a hot sexting session, that is their business. 

It’s not for us to decide.

We are left to giggle about Mr. Weiner.  He’s not our rep.  Just think. We wouldn’t have a problem if he had a name like Johhnson…OK maybe not Johnson. But what if it were a Reid, as in Harry. (A Harry Weiner would be funny). Or Priebus as in Reince the GOP chair who insists he doesn’t find any joy in deriding Weiner.

I’d leave this alone, but even here in Intestinal, California, the reddest part of the bluest state, there’s Weiner talk.  

Come on, straight face, America.  Is it that hard …to resist? We didn’t go crazy when we were all saying Fukushima, now did we?

Jimmy Carter’s race statements are right, but at odds with Obama’s Plutonian race strategy

When Jimmy Carter says it’s about race, I believe him to be as true as his boiled peanut recipe.

But Carter’s bluntness in his comments to NBC that the animosity toward Obama is race-based, is much too direct for Obama’s current style, and could upset the president’s momentum.

Obama is too cool for direct. Apparently, his race politics are way too subtle for the country.

The way Barack Obama has become a winner in politics is by diffusing the race issue and making it seem irrelevant.

In the Obama universe, issues don’t revolve around race. In this political solar system, race isn’t at the center like the Sun.

It’s more like Pluto.

It really is the formula to Obama’s success, and his new politics of bringing the country together. That’s not to mean he’s a Clarence Thomas , or that he forgets the importance of ethnicity and race in public policy.

It’s just that he knows race bogs down everything . It’s polarizing. And it prevents him reaching the kinds of compromise that helps one effectively lead an entire country.

So he sidesteps it.

Obama’s compromise on race is to show up, make it obvious he’s a black president, but not to dwell on it. For Obama, race is more the subtle subtext and not the raging headline. It was his secret to his campaign and his success.

And it throws the GOP off-track. They don’t know how to deal with a 21st Century Race politician.

When the GOP can’t argue the facts, as in health care, or when it can’t stem the support for the president on real issues, then it goes ad hominem and race is the old standby. The whole birth certificate issue and the Islamic middle name issue are nothing more than racist attacks on Obama.

Of course, all the stumbling around on race is based on how most people don’t want to admit racism is happening or even in existence. It plays to the moral conscience of both the white perps and the white liberals, who think they are perfect. Aren’t we all better than that? We’ve gone beyond race, right?

Well, not exactly.

So when Maureen Dowd writes her NY Times column about essentially saying, “Damn, we got racism here;” And when Jimmy Carter, our Southern gentleman, starts talking from the heart about racism at play in the policy debate, well then, by gum, we have racism.
What are we going to do about it?

I’m starting to see the wisdom of the Obama strategy. He’s just figured out a way to deal with race so he can get things done. The answer. Don’t deal with it.

It’s a tad zen-like.

By comparison, those who know the old politics on race are like cold warriors. Maybe we should try to do as Obama and ignore all this and try to press on, hoping that policies and people can change, and that by focusing on the bigger picture we can all be led to a new place together. Does that sound too grandiose or Lincolnesque? So be it. To do otherwise, is to bog down in the past, polarize, and get no where. Didn’t Obama show us that?

Maybe this is another one of those times that race bubbles up in Obama’s path, like the Rev.Wright affair. That means one sure-fire prescription could work now: A little speech therapy to put everything back into order in the Obama political universe, where race is minor.

As I said, race is not the Sun, it’s more like Pluto, making the strategy absolutely Plutonian.