Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jo Koy: Journey of a FilAm comedian leads to Netflix special

FILIPINO/AMERICAN COMEDIANS are a rare breed. One comedian is breaking the stereotypes of AAPI men as shy or not out-going with his laugh-filled performances, often focusing on his mixed racial heritage.

BE SURE to tune in to Netflix beginning March 28 to watch Filipino/American comedian Jo Koy's special.

The Tacoma,Washington standup comedian credits his Filipino mother for his comedic and acting talents. She encouraged him to take part in school talent shows and like many Filipino children, do impromptu performances for family and friends.

The comedian is known for mining his Filipino/American heritage for his material, telling stories about his colorful stage mother and updating audiences on his son. He's got the Filipino accent down pat. 

This is the third TV special for the comedian. He did two highly acclaimed specials for Comedy Central.

He was selling women's shoes for Nordstroms to supplement his career as a comedian, when he got the break that changed his life - an appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight show.

From there, he was able to quit that job and pick up gigs across the country, including Las Vegas.


NY Times: When a president says, 'I'll kill you.'

NT TIMES/Screen capture
One of the men who is part of the killing spree of alleged drug dealers in the Philippines.

The New York Times issued a new video about the thousands of vigilante killings of people alleged to be drug dealers in the Philippines. Thousands have been killed without the benefit of trial with a jury. Police, military and paramilitary groups have all been given permission to conduct extrajudicial killings for the sake of safety and security.

Photojournalist Raffy Lerma's 'Philippines Pieta.'

It follows photographer Raffy Lerma of the Philippine Daily Inquirer whose photo of one of the drug war victims could be titled the "Philippines' Pieta" and brought the world's attention to what's occurring in the Philippines.

In the bone-chilling 15-minute video, Duterte says, "Hitler e massacred 3 million Jews ... now there are 3 million criminals (inaudible) ... I'd be happy to slaughter them."

Watch the video here. WARNING: graphic scenes.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte:"I'd be happy to slaughter them."
The U.S., which used to have more influencel in the way the Philippines conducted its affairs, has lost its higher moral ground with the selection of Donald Trump as its Chief Executive. But even before Trump's electoral college victory, Duterte had already cursed out President Obama and his human rights advocacy; and pivoted away from the U.S. and sought China's assistance, shifting the delicate balance of power in Asia with the needle moving towards China.
Duterte, whom some have called as the Trump of the Philippines, is an early frontrunner for Time Magazine's Man of the Year. The poll, which opened on Friday (March 24), saw Duterte at the top spot with 4 percent of the votes as of Sunday (March 26).

On his heels was Pope Francis with 3 percent of the votes.


Poll: Millennials believe Trump presidency is illegitimate

Young people are leading many of the protests against Donald Trump and his policies.

AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE generally don't like or trust No. 45, Donald Trump. That distrust and dislike is even greater among young people of color.

A majority of young adults, 57 percent, see Trump's presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of blacks and large majorities of Asians and Latinos, according to a poll conducted by GenForward poll.

GenForward is a poll of adults age 18 to 30 conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The findings about the opinions of Millennials, an increasingly diverse generation, could spell trouble for the Republican Party down the line. By around 2020, half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group, the Census Bureau projects. Non-Hispanic whites are expected to be a minority by 2044.

The distrust and dislike for the policies of this president has manifested into activism among young people, who use social media, their preferred medium of communication, to successfully organize and respond quickly to every policy misstep taken by Trump, such as the failed attempts to install a Muslim ban and to repeal Obamacare. 

Other highlights of the poll:
  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group disapprove of President Trump’s performance in office. 
  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group also think that the country today is off on the wrong track, not headed in the right direction. 
  • Young adults express considerable concern about Donald Trump’s relations with Russia. Young people of color are especially worried. For example, 54 percent of Asian/Americans, 53 percent of Latino/as, and 49 percent of African Americans believe that the 2016 election was hampered by the Russians. Only 39 percent of whites share this view. 
  • Young people differ across race and ethnicity in whether they believe Donald Trump is a legitimate president. While a majority of whites (53 percent)  views Donald Trump as a legitimate president, considerably smaller proportions of African Americans (25 percent , Asian/Americans (36 percent), and Latino/as (28 percent)  share this belief— instead, most say Trump is not a legitimate president. 
  • Large numbers of Millennials report having been politically active during the first 50 days of the Trump administrations. Political engagement has taken place largely online and in opposition to—rather than in support of—President Trump. For example, most contacts with public officials (61 percent) among African Americans, 65 percent of Asian/Americans, 59 percent of Latino/as, and 62 percent of whites) have been to express opposition to President Trump and his policies. 
  • There continue to be large differences across race and ethnicity in perceptions about the most important problem in America. For example, young people of color list racism as one of the three most important problems in the country, but this issue is not one of the top three issues for young whites. 
  • Health care and immigration are among the other top issues listed by Millennials, suggesting a response to Trump’s current policy agenda.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Study: Overwhelming majority of AsAm men say they've been harassed

By Louis Chan

A  SURVEY of nearly 500 mostly young Asian American men has found 85 percent of the respondents have experienced some form of harassment at school and 35 percent experienced similar harassment in the work place.

The Asian American Man Survey was conducted in October and the results were just recently released.

While not scientific, The Asian American Man Survey provides a glimpse into the lives of an often underrepresented demographic.

Jason Shen who is a product manager in New York City started the survey in 2015. East, Southeast, and South Asian men were asked 40 questions. Shen says the respondents are heavily weighted on both coasts and among those in the tech industry. The majority were between the ages of 25 and 34.

“Up through my mid-twenties, I didn’t spend much time thinking about how my race/ethnicity affected the way others perceived me or interacted with me,” Shen writes about himself. 

“I had close friends who were Asian and those who were not. But over time, through conversations with many Asian/American men, I’ve come to realize that our ethnicity cannot be ignored. And running this study is one small way I hope to add to the conversation on race in this country.”

Eighty-five percent feel they are strongly American, but just 61 percent feel others feel the same way about them.

Nearly two-thirds say they’ve encountered someone who has told them they don’t date Asian men, yet 70 percent say they’ve dated someone who’s white versus 75 percent who have dated someone Asian.

The stereotypes encountered by these men varied among the various Asian/American subgroups. East Asian men say they were stereotyped being good at math, being good with computers, having a small penis, having slanted eyes, and having kung fu / martial arts skills.

Southeast Asian men say they are stereotyped as having a small penis, being good at math, being quiet / shy, being good at computers, and having kung fu / martial arts skills.

South Asian men face stereotypes of being good with computers, being labeled a terrorist, not being a “real” American, and being undesirable as a romantic partner​.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Report documents increase in hate vs. South Asian/Americans

SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS Leading Together (SAALT) held a Congressional briefing Thursday (March 23) to address the uptick in hate violence nationwide and highlight recommendations for change, as outlined in its recent report, “Power, Pain, Potential.”

a national South Asian civil rights organization, was joined by eight members of Congressional leadership and community partners in an urgent discussion on combatting the surge in hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans across the country.

“As President Trump continues to test-fire Muslim bans, this administration appears intent on intensifying efforts to ignore and provoke hate violence,” stated Suman Raghunathan, SAALT's Executive Director. 

 “The President has a sworn duty to protect the rights and safety of all Americans. Today’s briefing with Congressional leaders is an important step in making sure President Trump doesn’t escape his responsibilities.”

The South Asian/American communities have experienced devastating violence in recent months, including deadly shootings in Kansas and Washington State, numerous arson attacks and vandalism of mosques, businesses, and homes nationwide, and mounting fear by our communities across the country.

"It remains critical for elected officials to speak out early, loudly, and often against hate violence and policies that fan the flames," said Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY.

These tragedies are building upon the historically divisive Presidential elections, which, as documented in “Power, Pain, Potential,” saw over 200 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against our communities nationwide. Notably, 95 percent of incidents were animated by anti-Muslim sentiment and 1 out of 5 xenophobic comments emanated from then-candidate Trump. This is a 34 percent increase in these incidents in less than a third of the time covered in our 2014 report, “Under Suspicion, Under Attack.”

Members of Congress who joined the briefing include: Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; 
Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Ami Bera (CA-7); Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41); Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6); Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7); Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8); and Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17).

Trumpcare thwarted; AAPI leaders credit resistance; Obamacare remains in place

Fox News
Donald Trump and Rep. Paul Ryan appear chagrined in the failure of the American Health Care Act.
TRUMPCARE, the American Health Care Act authored by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and strongly supported by the Trump White House, was pulled from a House vote this afternoon (12:40 p.m., PST), according to CNN.

After a hastily called meeting between Donald Trump and Ryan, during which Ryan let the Chief Executive know he didn't have enough GOP support to pass the act, it was decided to pull the bill that would have repealed and replace Obamacare.

What killed the AHCA was not the Democrats, who are in the minority in the House, but the infighting in Trump's own party. Ryan and Trump could not negotiate the balancing act of appeasing the so-called Freedom Caucus, formerly the Tea Party, wanted to take away more of what they considered "entitlements" from Obamacare (such as mental health and maternity care); and as the entitlements were taken away, moderate Republicans rebelled because they couldn't support a bill that would take away health care from their constituents.

“If this bill comes to the House floor again, we will organize and defeat it," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. "We know when we organize, we win. We cannot be complacent. This is just another fight in a series of battles. But today, we can say that we protected care for tens of millions of Americans across the country.”


The  Affordable Care Act  known as Obamacare, one of President Obama's prime accomplishments during his eight years in office, will remain in place providing healthcare for millions of Americans. 

While the Democrats celebrated, there was concern that the hard work of fixing the Affordable Care Act will likely be opposed by the White House and the GOP majority. According to his book The Art of the Deal, Trump's philosophy when he feels attacked, is to strike back 10 times harder. 

“I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” said Trump at a press conference after the AHCA was pulled. Would
 he  place his personal need for revenge above doing what's necessary to make Obamacare work for millions of Americans?

Even President Obama acknowledged that his signature legislation would need some tinkering. "Just because a lot of the Republican criticism has proven to be false doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate concerns," said Obama in October 2016.

Millions of people are unhappy with their coverage under Obamacare, and in some states, newly regulated insurance markets have struggled ― with premiums rising for a few and insurers, stung by financial losses, pulling up stakes. And there are still a number of states - mostly those with GOP governors - where the ACA never was allowed to take root preferring to allow their own constituents remain uninsured.

"Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to come together, because the job isn’t over until every American has affordable and accessible healthcare," said Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif. "Real lives are at stake here and I’m ready to get to work." Bera is one of two medical doctors in the House of Representatives.

An energized citizenry

Spurred by a bad measure that would have repealed the ACA and leave 24 million Americans uninsured, voters were inspired by the anti-Trump movement by contacting their congressional representatives.

“Today, Congressional leadership did not bring the repeal bill for a vote. This is a testament to the power of collective community action around the nation, as the very people who would be impacted by Congress’ actions have spoken up loud and clear: protect our care,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum.

Hawaiian judge who blocked Muslim ban receiving threats

THE JUDGE who ruled against Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, is receiving additional protection because of threats against him.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson
The FBI declined to provide additional details Wednesday, (March 22) on the investigation on the threats against U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson. 

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is spearheading the investigation, said it does not discuss specific security measures.

U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for the protection of federal judicial officials, including judges and prosecutors, and we take that responsibility very seriously," the agency said in a statement.

"While we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the security measures in place for all federal judges and take appropriate steps to provide additional protection when it is warranted."

The U.S. Marshals Service has flown in about a dozen deputies from the mainland to provide 24-hour protection to Watson, whose order blocked the president's travel ban from taking effect.

Former federal agent Tommy Aiu told CNN it's not unusual for additional deputies to be brought in to help the local U.S. Marshals office with protection needs.

RELATED: Two AAPI judges block Trump's Muslim ban
"The U.S. Marshals service will do a critical risk assessment, look at the threat, make an analysis, and determine the level of protection needed," he said.

Watson issued the order last Wednesday to temporarily block enforcement of the ban, just hours before it was to take effect. The ban would have frozen immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

Watson's ruling thrust Hawaii into the center of a polarizing debate over immigration reform, which have spurred nationwide protests against the Muslim ban.

Conservative social media activists tried to launch #BoycottHawaii, but considering that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million, the boycott attempt might be backfiring.

Last week, Watson ordered a stop to Trump's 90-day ban on travel into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day pause on refugee resettlement from any country. The Hawaii-born judge also stopped the government's attempt to cap refugee resettlement and the compiling of a series of government studies and reports on how refugees and foreign visitors to the U.S. are vetted.

On Sunday, Watson told federal lawyers upheld his ruling despite a request from federal lawyers to scale back his decision that found the travel ban to discriminate against Muslims to match a narrower ruling against it issued by a federal court in Maryland. The DOJ attorneys said the judge should limit his ruling to the six-country ban. 

Watson responded on Sunday: "The motion, in other words, asks the court to make a distinction that the federal defendants' previous briefs and arguments never did. As important, there is nothing unclear about the scope of the court's order…. The federal defendants' motion is denied." 

Hawaii lawmaker quits Republicans because of Trump

Hawaii Rep. Beth Fukumoto explains why she leaving the Republican Party.

ONCE CONSIDERED a "rising star" in the Republican Party, Beth Fukumoto, a representative in Hawaii’s House, announced that she is quitting the Republicans and intends to join the Democratic Party.

On Wednesday (March 22), Fukumoto wrote a letter to the Republican Party announcing her intentions. She based her decision after receiving criticism from the GOP for remarks she made at the Women's March in Honolulu last month. In the speech she criticized Trump's controversial remarks about women, immigrants and minorities. She also cited complacency toward racism and sexism from other GOP lawmakers.

“No ethnic group in our state is a majority, and more than 70 percent of the population isn't white. But our Hawaii Republican Party leaders wanted us to adopt ‘middle American’ values instead of holding on to Republican principles that also reflect our own local values, such as responsible stewardship over things like wealth and power,” she wrote in her resignation letter.

Just a few months ago, she was being hailed as the future of the Republican Party. She was young, a member of an ethnic group and a woman. But she also held fairly progressive views touting issues affecting women and minorities. Her Japanese/American grandparents were interned during World War II.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

AAPI Congressmembers vow to fight Trumpcare

SUPPOSEDLY, the American Health Care Act known as Trumpcare, will be voted on Friday (March 24). Despite pressure from the White House, a number of Republicans will be voting against it. They will be joined by Democrats in the House of Representatives, including the AAPI lawmakers below.

The House was scheduled to vote on the act Thursday (March 23) but it was apparent that there were not enough votes for its passage so the GOP leadership postponed the vote until for Friday. 
RELATED: Trumpcare vote postponed
A last minute meeting with the radical conservatives who want to eliminate parts of Trumpcare and moderates, who pushed for keeping elements of Obamacare, apparently failed to change any minds as of late Thursday night.

The promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act instituted during President Obama's tenure, was a major plank during Trump's presidential campaign. The pending defeat of Trumpcare will be seen as a major defeat for the White House resident and puts into question the leadership of Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, who crafted and introduced the AHCA.

On the anniversary of Obamacare, California's Sen. Kamala Harris delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate even though the Senate is not voting on this version of Trumpcare.

“Ultimately, I believe this bill isn’t just about medicine or math— I believe this is about morals," said Harris, the first Indian/American woman elected to the Senate. "The plan that the House is voting on today is a value statement. And it’s not a good one. As our former President said about the ACA, ‘This is more than just about health care. It’s about the character of our country. And it’s about whether or not we look out for one another.’ So I think we need to take a good and hard look in the mirror and ask: who are we as a country? Are we a country that cuts the deficit by cutting care for our most vulnerable? Let’s look in the mirror and ask - are we a country that gives tax breaks to insurers while giving higher medical bills to patients? Are we a country that tells seniors, and cancer patients, and women—‘you’re on your own?’ Are we a country that sees healthcare as a privilege for a few or a right for all? And I believe that’s what we have to decide.”

Others used social media to convey their views. (If links don't work, copy and paste and Google.)

Fate of Trumpcare in limbo after GOP infighting postpones vote

On the 7th anniversary of Obamacare, House and Senate members gathered outside the capitol Tuesday to show their support for the Affordable Care Act.
WITH THE WHITE HOUSE's foot on the pedal down to the floorboard, it looks like a vote on the GOP-sponsored American Health Care Act will occur sometime later today, the 7th anniversary of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
UPDATE March 23, 12:30 p.m. PST - House vote has been postponed. It won't happen today. GOP House members to meet tonight to try and hammer out differences. Therefore, there's more time for you to contact your representative.

Despite Donald Trump's threat to "go after" members of the GOP who are thinking of voting "no" on the measure, and a lot of arm-twisting, many Republicans are still wavering between their loyalty to their party or to their country, between a complete rejection of the Affordable Care Act or simply a fix. 

RELATED: AAPI Congressmembers vow to fight Trumpcare
"Thanks to this law, more than 20 million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance," said President Obama in a statement released this morning. "Thanks to this law, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured — the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past," Obama wrote. "America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act."

For whatever reason, there is enough uncertainty whether or not there are enough votes to pass Trumpcare that the GOP leadership has delayed the vote that was supposed to have taken place this morning (March 23). The more the White House tries to appease the conservative Republicans, who want a complete repeal of Obamacare,  moderate GOPers who think the bill is becoming too extreme and harmful to their constituents, are switching their pearlier support of the Paul Ryan's Trumpcare.

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, national nurses' organizations and AARP have opposed the Paul Ryan proposal saying it would be disastrous for patients and the American public - costs would go up and more people will be left without affordable health care.
RELATED: CBO says new version of Trumpcare is even worse than before
Also included in Trumpcare, for reasons that are difficult to justify: a tax break for the wealthy. Essentially, it doesn't promise health care for all, only "access" to health care.

Please forward this letter from Republican Jeff Jeans, who is alive today because of Obamacare, to your representatives, especially if your congressmember is one of those Republicans sitting on the fence.

Every vote counts and you can still be a factor in defeating Trumpcare.

Obamacare saved my life 

Friend --

I was a lifelong Republican and worked on Ronald Reagan and George Bush's campaigns. My grandparents were even invited to Reagan's inauguration. I vehemently opposed Obamacare when it became law, as I recently shared during my question to Paul Ryan during a televised CNN Town Hall.

But then Obamacare saved my life.

I took a new job and moved my family across the country -- but due to a glitch, my employer was unable to offer health care coverage. I lost my voice and ignored it for quite some time, thinking it was an allergy. My voice never returned, and I was having difficulty breathing, so my wife made an appointment with the doctor. I was diagnosed with stage III, borderline stage IV vocal cord cancer, and I had no health insurance. We offered cash upfront to pay for my treatments but were denied over and over again. We had always assumed that if you had money that you could get treatment. We were wrong -- six weeks away from being dead wrong!

Although I had cancer, Obamacare gave me access to an insurance card, and I began receiving life-saving treatments the day my insurance plan took effect. I would be dead if it weren't for Obamacare, the same law I had so loathed.

People across the country have received life-saving care, thanks to Obamacare. But that isn't stopping the House from moving forward with a vote to repeal the law, tomorrow.

Now it is my time to give back and work on behalf of the legislation that saved my life, helping others to avoid the same pitfalls I had fallen into. Health care should not change with every new administration, and we should be able to rely on steady, affordable care with guaranteed patient protections.

Access to timely treatment, affordable medication, and regular doctor visits are essential for every American.

Obamacare allows people to take responsibility for themselves, purchase insurance, and pay for their own care. Repealing it with no adequate and immediate replacement will destabilize the health care market and leave millions of my fellow cancers survivors at risk in the future. Constant worry about having affordable care is an added stress that no patient needs.

After my experience gaining health care through the Affordable Care Act, I began a Facebook page called "Obamacare Saved My Life." It has given me the opportunity to meet thousands of others who are reliant on Obamacare for coverage -- and they are terrified about the future. My wife and I share that same anxiety, even though I've been cured of cancer and am one of the lucky ones. It would only take one incident of cancer, one heart attack, one stroke, one bad car wreck, or a bad fall to join the ranks of those labeled as "pre-existing." It only takes one test to show that you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure to be thrown into that group with us.

Americans now know what better health care is, and we should all demand it -- for the well-being of our citizens and our economy -- for America. Anything less is simply not an option.

If you agree, make your voice heard now:


Jeff Jeans

Filipina American fencer is No. 1 in the world

Lee Kiefer is the world's top woman fencer.

A FILIPINO/AMERICAN fencer made history when she achieved the No. 1 ranking in the world.

When Lee Kiefer, 22, became the best woman foil fencer in the world, it was the first time an American woman was ranked that high and, certainly, the only person of Filipino descent to win that title.

Kiefer, who was a member of the U.S. Olympic fencing team in 2016 and 2012 won gold on Saturday (March 20) at the Absolute Fencing Gear® FIE Grand Prix Long Beach – her fourth consecutive Grand Prix medal and third straight international podium finish, 
according to USA Fencing. Kiefer’s win makes her the first U.S. women’s foil fencer to win two Grand Prix titles.
At the event, Kiefer defeated two-time Olympic gold medalist Russian Inna Deriglazova and earned her fourth consecutive Grand Prix medal.
RELATED: Asian/American fencers go to Rio to make a point
"I had a really good season. It kind of snuck up on me. I wasn't expecting it because these past few weeks, and even months, I've geared all my preparation towards NCAA competitions," Kiefer told NBC News. Kiefer is in her senior year at University of Notre Dame, where she competes at a collegiate level and is a three-time NCAA champion.
Kiefer wasn't the only Asian/American celebrating at the competition. She was joined by  Taiwanese/American Alex Massialas (also 22), who earned a silver medal.

Massialas from San Francisco, Calif. is also ranked No. 1 in the world and earned a silver medal and team bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Besides an Olympic medal, obtaining a world number one ranking has always been my dream,” said Kiefer, who hails from Lexington, Kentucky.

Calfiornia, Maryland move towards sanctuary; suit filed vs. Trump

Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies have spurred massive demonstrations in California.
CALIFORNIA STATE Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra late Wednesday (March 22) filed a brief in support of a Santa Clara County lawsuit versus Donald Trump's executive order targeting "sanctuary" cities that refuse to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws.

The amicus brief cites Trump's threat to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities and counties as well as the state's effort to become a sanctuary state citing state laws and policies that promote public safety and protect the constitutional rights of residents, Becerra said.

“Any attempt by Donald Trump to hijack state and local resources to do the Trump administration’s bidding raises serious constitutional questions and threatens the safety of our communities,” Becerra said. “California has a sovereign right and responsibility to protect the safety and the constitutional rights of its residents, and that is what we will continue to do.”

"We're not looking for a fight, a fight has been brought to our doorstep…and we're not backing down,” said Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland, who co-authored Senate Bill 54, sponsored in the Senate by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.
Bonta, the only Filipino/American Assemblymember, was one of several legislators to sponsor the measure in the State Assembly in January.

In an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox, Donald Trump said, "California, in many ways, is out of control," and threatened to stop federal funds from going to the state.
RELATED: California - State of Resistance
The bill cleared the state Senate’s appropriations committee earlier this month, and is headed to a floor vote some time next week.

Asssemblyman Rob Bonta
Senate Bill 54 originally would have had a sweeping prohibition on state and local law enforcement using their resources to assist federal authorities with immigration enforcement.

“The approach of the sanctuary state has a simple proposition — it says ICE (Immigration and Customers Enforcement) , you should do your job. Local law enforcement should not do your job for you.” 

Under the bill, ICE would still be allowed to do their work in the state, including raids and deportations but a clause in SB54 would forbid them from entering the courts, schools and other public places where people seek assistance.

In an attempt to mollify critics, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who authored SB 54, introduced an amendment that would require state prisons and county jails to notify the FBI 60 days before releasing an undocumented immigrant with a violent felony conviction.
Last week, Maryland followed California's lead and took steps to become a sanctuary state. The Democratically-controlled House of Delegates voted 83-55 to OK the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act. Similar to California's SB 54, the Maryland legislation would bar state and local law enforcement from helping federal immigration officials seeking illegals, including requests to detain inmates for deportation.

The bill introduced by Delegate Marice Morales drew an angry response from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who vows to veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

Senate Bill 54 is perhaps the California Legislature’s highest-profile act of defiance against the Trump administration, which is seeking to enlist the help of local police to carry out its promised crackdown on illegal immigration. The proposal would prohibit local and state agencies from using state resources to communicate with federal agents, with a few exceptions — such as task forces involving federal and local agencies.

A handful of cities in California and elsewhere have declared themselves as sanctuary cities. San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on his threats.

“It’s not a matter of ideology. It’s a matter of common sense,” said de León. “Our communities will become more and not less dangerous when local police officers are pulled from their duties to pull otherwise law-abiding maids, bus boys, gardeners and day laborers for immigration violations.”

Trump is the latest Republican to use fear and hate to target a bogeyman. In the past, African/Americans and Willie Horton filled that role. Today, Trump is pushing the picture of immigrants, not just undocumented immigrants, as "rapists," "drug dealers," and "bad dudes," even though immigrants have been shown to be the most law-abiding members of society.
Numerous studies have shown that cities whose police departments have good relations with immigrant communities -- something that takes years to develop and nurture -- crime has actually gone down.

Supporters of the SB 54 say that if local law enforcement officers are seen as an extension of ICE, that trust and relationship will go down the tubes and crime will likely rise.

"We want victims and witnesses to know with confidence that they can come forward and report crimes and when that happens without fear of retaliation or fear of potentially being deported," Bonta told FOX40.
Despite threats from Trump that he would withhold money from cities and states that provide sanctuary to immigrants, Bonta insists, “Our values are not for sale in California, and doing the right thing is not always free.”

Political experts say it would be difficult for President Trump to withhold funds from California. Court rulings have limited the power of the President to punish states by taking away money.  Besides, most funding appropriations come from the Congress, not the Executive Branch.

President Obama found out the limits of presidential power when the Affordable Care Act had threatened to cut off all medicaid funding to states should they fail to expand the program. South Dakota challenged Obama and won in the Supreme Court where Chief Justice John Roberts, on behalf of the conservative majority, wrote that Obama's threat was "a gun to the head" of the states. That precedence can be used against Trump's threats.

There is also the 10th Amendment that says, the "federal government can't come and commandeer or conscript states and localities and make them use resources the way the federal government wishes,” said Bonta.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stephen Yeun and wife welcome baby boy

Steven Yeun and his wife Joanna Pak show off her baby bump.


NEWLYWEDS Steve Yeun and his wife Joanna Pak are new parents.

E News reports their baby boy arrived in the world on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

The couple has been silent on social media about their new arrival. No announcement has been made about the child’s name or weight and height.

Yeun is not active on Twitter, but has posted a photo of a very pregnant Joanna five weeks ago on Instagram.

Yeun and Joanna were married in December before friends and family, including several cast members from The Walking Dead.

A few days after the wedding, the couple announced that Joanna was expecting.