Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Indian American CEO of Democratic Party bats for working class.

Seema Nanda takes over CEO post for the Democrats.

INDIAN AMERICAN Seema Nanda, who took over as the CEO of the opposition Democratic National Committee (DNC) on July 23, has vowed to fight for the “soul of the country.”

"Our party is strong because it's built on forging positive solutions that include everyone. I'm proud to be the first Asian American in recent memory to lead the DNC. Democrats are leading with our values and empowering people from diverse backgrounds to speak up and make our voices heard," Nanda said.

She takes her new position in the midst of the critical mid-term elections in November when Democrats hope to take over the House of Representatives and/or the U.S. Senate.

RELATED: Seema Nanda named CEO for Democrats
“We are fighting now for the soul of our country — for our democracy and for opportunity,” she said. Ms. Nanda is the first Indian American ever to be the Chief Executive Officer of national committee of either of the two parties.

“Democrats are offering the positive solutions so desperately needed right now — solutions forged by the strength of our diversity, the rigour of our ideas, and the decency of our values,” she said. “Since (Donald) Trump took office, it’s been clear that the number one best way for us to set our country back on track is to elect Democrats in every corner of our country. That’s why I took this job,” said Nanda, in her first message to Democratic supporters.

Nanda said supporting the Democratic party is synonymous with building a future for the children that they can be proud of.

“My promise to my two teenage boys is to do all I can to create an America that is bright, fair, and that works for everyone — where opportunity for all means something,” she said.


Chen stands by her husband; CBS punts on Les Moonves allegations

'The Talk' host Julie Chen briefly addressed the allegations against her husband.

JULIE CHEN, host of the CBS show The Talk, didn't say much today (July 30) about the allegations against her husband, CBS CEO Les Moonves.

At the beginning of the show, after walking out on the stage to applause, Chen, one of the promienent Asian Americans on American television, addressed the elephant in the room head-on. She said that her previous statement is her only comment on the matter.

“Some of you may be aware of what’s been going on in my life for the past few days,” she said at the opening of the show. “I issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter. I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever.”
RELATED: Julie Chen's statement
The audience broke out in applause and Chen said, "That's it," then continued with the rest of her show, the first episode since last Friday when a story from The New Yorker was published saying six women had come forward to accuse the CBS head of sexual misconduct.

Today was the first workday after the New Yorker story was published.

CBS told media it was “in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.” But after a regularly scheduled call with the board of directors, CBS had not taken any action against Moonves. “No other action was taken on this matter at today’s board meeting,” they said in a statement.

Moonves makes more than $69 million annually, according to the New York Times. If he was to be fired without being found guilty of these accusations, the company would owe him an exit package of $184 million.

One of the accusers, actress Illeana Douglas, alleged he violently kissed her. "You think, how long is this going to go on? I couldn't get him off me," she said.

All of the women say they believe their careers suffered because they rejected his advances.

Moonves said in a statement he regretted "immensely" having "made some women uncomfortable" in the past.

Chen issued a statement Friday defending her husband.'

CBS star Chen, who also hosts Big Brother, and Moonves have been married 14 years. He is largely credited for CBS success in the last decade.

Hold federal officials responsible for chaotic family separation policy


IT'S OFFICIAL: The Trump administration has failed to meet the July 26 deadline to reunite the families it separated at the border. Hundreds of children are still locked up in detention centers, and the government has deported hundreds of parents without their children.

More than 700 children forcibly removed from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border still have not been reunited with their families, U.S. officials said today (July 26).
Federal authorities called the remaining children as "ineligible" for reunification, as if it was their fault or the fault of their parents. Most of the parents were deported without their children and the U.S. doesn't have any plan to reunite the parents, who might be in Central America already, with their children, still detained in the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who is overseeing the reunification of some 2,500 immigrant children with their parents has given the Trump administration until Wednesday (August 1) to provide information to locate hundreds of parents, after the federal government failed to meet a July 26 deadline to reunite all families.

The ACLU, meanwhile, claims that dozens of immigrant parents were duped or coerced into waiving their reunification rights. In a 120-page filing submitted last week, attorneys for the civil rights group recounted dozens of stories of parents who were misled into waiving their rights and agreeing to deportation.

Sabraw had earlier ordered all kids under 5 to be reunited with their parents by July 10, and those from ages five to 17 to be reunited by July 26. But the government’s efforts have been marked by chaos; agencies were only able to reunite about half of young children by the first deadline. Forty-six children under age 5 still have not been reunited.

We need to hold the officials responsible for this crisis accountable: Attorney General Jeff Sessions devised the "zero tolerance" immigration policy that created this nightmare, and Kirstjen Nielsen and Kevin McAleenan head the agencies – Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection – that are doing the dirty work of tearing families apart at the border. And now they're out of time to reunite the families they've torn apart.

This isn't the first time the government missed a court-ordered deadline – they already failed to reunite children under age five with their families. Almost 1,000 children – including many under age five – are still missing their parents. And with reports that hundreds of parents have already been deported, it's tragically unlikely that many of those children will see their parents anytime soon.

Share this graphic to to shame Sessions, Nielsen, and McAleenan for the cruel family separation crisis that they have failed to fix.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sen. Kamala Harris' book deal prompts talk about 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris got national attention with her aggressive questioning of AG Jeff Sessions.


CALIFORNIA Sen. Kamala Harris is set to release a new book about her life and her solutions for the country.

The California Democrat's book, titled "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey," is scheduled to be published by Penguin Press on January 9, 2019,

If you will recall, Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney released books about the same time before they launched their runs at the U.S. Presidency.

The Indian American senator has moved from two years ago when she denied any presidential aspirations, to jiu-jitsu-like deflections a year ago in saying she was too busy learning the ropes in the Senate, to two months ago when she said that the possibility of presidential run hasn't been ruled out.

There are better known Democrats that might run for president in 2020: Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden for starters. Harris, formerly California's Attorney General, is not as well known outside of her home state, but she has an appeal that may be broader than the others. 

The first-term senator from California has surged into a tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) as the betting favorite among potential Democratic candidates to win the 2020 presidential election.

Betting site Oddshark lists Donald Trump as the runaway favorite to win in 2020, with betting odds of +140. However, Harris and Sanders each hold the second-best odds at +1,200, as of Aug. 7.

Oddschecker, a site that averages odds across different betting platforms, gives Harris the best odds to win the Democratic nomination, followed by Biden, who has emerged as the favored candidate among Democrats in a number of recent polls.

Another key sign that she might be a serious contender for the presidency is that her candor and her obvious contempt for Donald Trump has drawn the attention of the White House tweeters, conservative media outlets like the Fox News network, Brietbart News and the Washington Times are featuring more articles critical of Harris, and GOP-funded conservative researchers and think-tanks are beginning their search for dirt.

“America Rising PAC, which at the time of its founding five years ago focused exclusively on researching, tracking and deploying rapid-response against Hillary Clinton, is well into a beneath-the-radar effort to define — and ultimately derail — the Democrats preparing to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. The oppo-research carpet-bombing has commenced against Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, among others. ... " wrote Politico's Christopher Cadelago in his article titled "Inside the mission to blow up the 2020 Democratic field."

As a cautionary warning to Democrats, Cadelago says the groups are also pursuing a strategy intended to pit Democrats against each other. The rise of so-called Democratic Socialists within the Democratic party probably has the GOP rubbing their hands in glee. They have already branding the Democratic ideological split as the  “#RaceToTheLeft.”

“They are sitting back and building up their ammunition stockpile,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who is not involved in this current effort to dig up dirt against Harris. He adds that Rising has proven to be among the best at “exploiting a candidate’s weaknesses.”

In listing her presidential attributes in mainstream media, they usually start out something like, "she's young, female and black." even though his father is from Jamaica. For some reason MSM always forget that she's half-Asian American (Her mother was an immigrant from India.) or that her mother brought her and her sister to India frequently.

Her atypical upbringing hasn't turned off any of her black supporters in the way Barack  Obama's Hawaii and Indonesian upbringing created an initial suspicion among African Americans as he set the foundation for his eventual presidential campaign.

Harris wouldn't even be the first Asian American to declare a run for the presidency. That honor goes to entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a long shot for sure, but he has some interesting ideas that might garner wide appeal.

Her rousing performance at the Netroots Nation gathering in New Orleans earlier this month had the progressive wing of the Democrats buzzing despite the presence of other presidential hopefuls Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.

If she chooses to be a candidate, Harris could be a formidable opponent. In the two years since she's been a senator, some observers say she has taken the strategic steps to raise her profile nationally:
  • She has adopted Bernie Sanders' healthcare plank, "medicare for all," pleasing the legions of devout Bernie supporters; 
  • raised tons of money for other lesser known Democratic candidates across the country, building up a wad of political IOUs which she can call upon; 
  • during this primary season, her endorsement has been sought across the nation; 
  • as the daughter of immigrants, she has taken head-on Trump's immigration policies from the Muslim ban to family reunification and she's not afraid to call the policies for what they are -- racist; 
  • her background as a prosecutor makes her almost immune from the law-&-order types who attack candidates with lesser credentials as soft on crime; and 
  • she comes from a deep-blue state that has the most electoral votes (55) and has battled Washington on a host of fronts, including the environment, immigration, and healthcare.
Sen. Kamala Harris often gets the rock-star reception among voters.

In addition, since the day after Trump won, she has been relentless in developing an online presence and following.
Harris has insisted she is focused on the 2018 midterm elections, raising $3 million for Democratic senators up for reelection this year.

But that same digital infrastructure can be used for fundraising which allows her to forgo  contributions from corporations and special interests, the traditional source of campaign financing. She has built up a small-donor base

Perhaps, Harris' most attractive attribute might be her ability to talk like a moderate on issues popular with traditional politicians such as law-and-order, foreign policy and the economy, but also she has the ability to inspire like an idealistic socialist when she talks about civil rights, equality and justice. 

She might be able to bridge the ideological divide raging within the Democratic Party between those moderates who want to win back the white voters who defected to Trump to voters of color and #MeToo voters who abhor the Republican agenda on right to choose, race relations, immigration and trickle-down tax plan and the far left margin, tired of the same ol', same ol', which includes the rabid Bernie supporters who still feel they were cheated out of the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Harris might not be a official presidential candidate yet, but everything she's doing sure makes her look like one, act like one and talk like one.

UPDATED: May 9 to include oddsmaker results.

Searching for things Filipino? There's an app for that

EVER FIND YOURSELF in a strange city and hungering for a good aromatic, stick-to-your-ribs pork adobo? A new app designed to connect you to everything Filipino will help you fill that craving.

Mick Riego, a New Yorker who recently transplanted to Los Angeles found himself in that position and a lightbulb turned on. Why isn't there an app that at a tap of a button can find all things Filipino in your vicinity?

Rego developed the Flipstop app allows its users to connect to everything Filipino nearby no matter where you happen to be.

The app works by detecting Filipino-owned or Filipino-focused businesses, service providers, community groups, activities, personalities and upcoming events in the vicinity based on your current location and displays them to you as interactive TILES.

There are already more than 2,000 Filipino businesses, community groups and notable personalities that appear on the app, and Riego hopes many more Filipino establishments will put themselves on the app so it can be the one stop for finding everything Filipino nationwide.
Besides restaurants, interesting “finds” on the app include Filipino vloggers, bloggers, online stores, actors and entertainment industry professionals.

“Yet there are many creative Filipino entrepreneurs in a variety of other industries providing great products and services, too. Our mission is to help shine a light on them by providing a single, innovative platform where they can easily be found,” Riego told The Filipino Reporter.
All Filipino establishments found on Flipstop benefit through free exposure, and it is particularly beneficial for those businesses without a website, as their tile on the app can serve as their first digital presence with little to no effort required.

Mick Riego, founder of Flipstop
Filipino businesses on the app are also able to see and measure all the interactions users have with their tiles, including how many people see their tile, open their tile, share their tile, “Bucket List” their tile, call their establishment, get directions to their location and more.
The free app is also good for businesses that want to penetrate the Filipino market. Any type of business who wishes to reach a Filipino audience should be found on the platform, as well.
Nonprofit Filipino community groups (including professional associations, Fil-Am Chambers of Commerce, foundations, charities, student associations and all 501(c)(3) organizations) enjoy a free Smart Tile for life.
A couple of Flipstop’s unique features include:
• Bucket List — the app sends a reminder alert to the user’s phone or smart watch when she gets within a mile of a business that’s in her “Bucket List”
• Friends — users can add friends on Flipstop and can chat and easily share tiles with each other
Forthcoming features include: the ability to send money to relatives overseas and a feature dubbed “Love Life,” which aims to help single Filipinos find their future significant other through the app. Riego also plans to expand Flipstop's availability beyond the U.S.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Read: Hawaiian candidate hopes to repeat Ocasio-Cortez upset victory

Hawaii State Rep. Kaniela Ing with his wife and child at a rally protesting Donald Trump's refugee policies.

COME AUGUST 11, will the media and political establishment sing the praises of Kaniela Ing in the same way surprised pundits across the country did when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in New York City?

Like Ocasio-Cortez, Ing is a newcomer and running to represent the Democrats in the crowded November primary race for Congressional District 1. He is seen as long shot against Lt. Gov. Doug Chin and former Congressman Ed Case.

As a a member of the Democratic Socialists of America,  Ing makes it clear that not only is he running against the Republican Party and Donald Trump, he's also running against the big corporate donors to the Democratic machine.

Hawaii's Primary:
August 11,
7 a.m.-6 p.m.

“It’s easy to blame Republicans, to blame Trump for our problems, but we have to look in the mirror,” Ing says in a new ad as images of luxury hotel and condo development in Hawaii flash across the screen. “Who controls our state? Who controls our party?”

Means of Production, the Detroit-based media company that produced the ad is the same one that produced the beautiful and inspirational video ad that went viral and propelled  Ocasio-Cortez to her victory produced Ing's new ad, which he hopes will produced similar surprising results.

Ing's platform is very similar to Ocasio-Cortez's: "Medicare for all, free college and bold action on climate change."

His ad, 
“A New Possible,” also dips into the growing independence movement among Native Hawaiians and the racial diversity that is the hallmark of the island state by NOT ignoring the darker side of Hawaii's historic legacy of colonialism and farm worker strikes against the giant pineapple and sugar cane plantations.

“I just had to get in Hawaii’s history and share our vision,” Ing told Mic. “You grow up in Hawaii and you’re taught to be nostalgic of the simpler time of the plantation. It’s revisionist history. ... People were shot and killed during the workers uprisings and we should really be nostalgic for that history of struggle.”

“When you’re Hawaiian in politics, they tell you to avoid that part of your identity … Hawaiians aren’t reliable voters," Ing told Mic. "Folks who are reliable voters do not really empathize with indigenous struggles here. So, they say, ‘Don’t use your Hawaiian name. Don’t talk about Hawaiian issues.’ But you know, I’m defying that. I’m gonna do me. Throughout my career, it’s been refreshing for a lot of folks that I’m not running from [my] identity.”

"Our family stems from Hawaiian, Filipino, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, and Swedish roots," Ing posted on Facebook.

"My Native Hawaiian ancestors were whipped for simply speaking their language and praying to their gods. This goes for my Buddhist and Christian ancestors too. It was the modern American promise -- that people should be judged on merit, hard work, and heart rather than race, creed, and religion -- that ultimately gave my mixed-race son, Laguna, a shot at life."

Ing faces an uphill battle ahead of Hawaii’s Aug. 11 Democratic primary. A May poll found him running in fourth place in a crowded field of five candidates, despite coming in first with voters under the age of 50. Since then, Case, threw his hat in the ring..

Nevertheless, Ing is not afraid of going against the oddsmakers. Political prognosticators were saying the same things when he first ran for Hawaii's House of Representatives six years ago. "We were outspent about 10-to-1, but still won by a huge 26 percent," says Ing.
“I feel really good about the movement we’ve built,” Ing said of his grass-roots campaign.

“We have, by far, the most volunteers. We have people knocking on doors every single day, making phone calls and texts,” he said. “We have over 9,000 individual donors. The previous record for this district was 1,700. It’s unprecedentedly grassroots.”

The odds might be against Ing's chances, but that was the same scenario that Ocasio-Cortez was in before her election. He hopes to surprise some people.

Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans could reshape Congress


REPUBLICANS could be in trouble going into the 2018 Midterm elections in just 13 weeks and people of color might play a crucial role in their downfall.

A new poll of 2,045 voters from Latino Decisions finds the majority of those polled would vote for the Democratic candidate in 61 battleground districts that could determine if the House and Senate flips to the Democrats.

Findings indicate a majority of Blacks, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans would vote for the Democratic candidate if the election were held today.

Forty-eight percent of Whites say they would vote for the Republican candidate versus 41 percent for the Democrats. Overall, 51 percent would vote for the Democrats.

The poll has a margin of error of 2.1 percent and was conducted July 5 -14.

Seventy-nine percent overall, including 77 percent of Whites, support passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who came as children to earn a path to citizenship.

Sixty-four percent overall, including 73 percent of Asians, think building a wall along the Mexican border, is a bad idea. Opposition is lowest among Whites, 59 percent.

The separation of children from their parents makes 73 percent of those polled angry, including 79 percent of Asian voters and 69 percent of Whites. An overwhelming majority associate the policy with Republicans and the Trump administration.

When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 their likeliness to vote in the midterm elections, with 10 being the most likely, Asians on average rate their likeliness to vote at an 8.

“In 2012, an election that demobilized many voters, 1.14 million Asian American voters mobilized. Going into these midterms, AAPI voter turnout will increase further. As the data shows, AAPI voters find it much more important to vote in 2018 when compared to 2014," said 
Taeku Lee, Principal, Asian American Decisions.

"Minority voters are the reason for the strong presence of democratic votes because of both the issues and the ways in which the Trump administration has affected them specifically. The poll shows upwards of 70% of AAPI voters are likely to support issues of democratic candidates, and this constituency believes that Trump is increasing hate and racism against them and other minorities.”

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Japanese American researcher whose work led to reparations dies, age 93



Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, the Japanese American activist whose research resulted in the financial and symbolic reparations to Japanese incarceration camp survivors, died in Torrance, California at the age of 93.

Herzig-Yoshinaga is notable for uncovering evidence that proved that the U.S. government’s decision to force Japanese Americans behind barbed wire during World War II was driven by racist intent rather than the protection of national security.

“Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga was the quintessential example that one person can change the course of history,” Mitch Maki, president of the nonprofit Go For Broke National Education Center, states. “As a self-trained researcher and archivist, she had the keen ability to identify key documents and draw the connections between them” — reports the Huffington Post.

Growing up in California, she recalled the hostility she faced by authorities after former President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order in 1942 forcing Japanese Americans into camps. According to the New York Times, she vividly remembers the time when her high school principal assembled the 15 Japanese students in her graduating class to tell them that “You don’t deserve to get your high school diplomas because your people bombed Pearl Harbor”.

At the age of 17, Herzig-Yoshinaga, alongside 120,000 other Japanese Americans, were evicted from their homes and forced to relocate to the prisons. After residing in the Manzanar prison camp in California, she was eventually relocated to those in Arkansas: Jerome and subsequently, Rohwer.

Herzig-Yoshinaga recollects the squalid living conditions. Receiving the bare minimum, she spent her war days in cramped quarters, sleeping on metal beds where her mattress was a bag stuffed with hay.

According to the Huffington Post, Herzig-Yoshinaga described, in an NPR interview, having “No chest of drawers, no nothing, no curtains on the windows. It was the barest of the bare.”

As much as Herzig-Yoshinaga wanted to forget her war years, her political involvement with various anti-war organizations inspired her to delve back into her past. Moving to Washington D.C. with her third-husband John Herzig in 1978, she dedicated her days scouring the National Archives to research the executive order.

It wasn’t until the 1980s when she finally made a breakthrough. Sitting on an archivist’s table was a red bound volume that held the original draft, supposedly the last copy in existence, of a 1943 government report — according to the Washington Post.

The report debunked the Pentagon’s claim that imprisonment was a “military necessity”. The report, written by Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, states that incarceration wasn’t because the separation of the “good” Japanese Americans from the “bad” ones was time-costly, but because “an exact separation of the ‘sheep from the goats’ was unfeasible” — reports the Washington Post. In other words, the document indicates a perceived deficiency in the Japanese race.

Her findings were instrumental to Congress’s decision to pass the 1988 Civil Liberties Act. This federal law granted $20,000 in reparations to every survivor from the camps and an official apology from former President Ronald Reagan — according to the NY Times.

Herzig-Yoshinaga, with her research partner and lawyer Peter H. Irons, also discovered a certificate stating that all copies of the report were burned. This document, alongside a 467-page report — written by lawyer Angus C. Macbeth– that consisted of Herzig-Yoshinaga’s research, was later on utilized to repeal the conviction of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who was arrested in 1942 for refusing to live in a camp. Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui, additional challengers to wartime policies, also had their convictions overturned.

Despite Herzig-Yoshinaga’s significant discoveries that made achieving social justice for the Japanese American community a reality, she remained humble in her accomplishments.

“She never sought public recognition,” Lorraine Bannai, a law professor who worked on the Korematsu case states. “She would say, “It’s all these young people who did all of this work, and I’m privileged to be a part of it” — reports the LA Times.

Julie Chen's career may be affected by allegations against her husband

Julie Chen and husband Les Moonves.

THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT allegations against CBS CEO Les Moonves might impact the future of television host Julie Chen.

After the bombshell revelations from a new New Yorker report written by Ronan Farrow, Chen released a statement Friday (July 27) defending Moonves, her husband of 14 years.

In the New Yorker article, Moonves, CBS' head honcho, was accused by six women who said he forcibly touched or kissed them in the workplace and when they rejected him, their careers were negatively affected.

“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company,” Moonves told the New Yorker in a statement. 

“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

Chen, as host for The Talk and Big Brother, is one of the most prominent Asian American TV personalities. No doubt the situation will get awkward at work. The Monday (July 30) episode of The Talk will likely be one of the most watched shows in the program's history if she shows up as co-host.

On Friday afternoon, a new New Yorker report written by Ronan Farrow revealed allegations of sexual harassment against CBS CEO Les Moonves, spanning from the 1980s into the early 2000s. Six women say the network chairman forcibly touched or kissed them in the workplace, physically intimidated them and/or threatened their careers. After rejecting him, all allege their careers were negatively affected. Moonves issued a statement denying their claims that he had “misused” his “position,” while admitting that “there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.” Said Moonves, “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.” Now, Julie Chen, Moonves’s wife and host of Big Brother on CBShas tweeted a statement of support for her husband.

Missouri man sentenced to two years for threatening Muslims

Services at Islamic Society of Augusta (Georgia).

ANOTHER ISLAMAPHOBE will spend the next two years in prison because of his intolerance towards Muslims.

Preston Q. Howard, 50, of Wright City, Missouri, was sentenced July 24 by Chief United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to two years in prison for threatening to blow up a mosque and kill its members. 
The judge enhanced the sentence because Mr. Howard chose his victims based on their religion, thereby committing a hate crime. 

According to court documents, between June 22, 2017, and Aug. 8, 2017, Howard made dozens of early morning telephone calls to the Islamic Society of Augusta (ISA), during which he threatened to “kill,” “bomb,” “shoot,” “behead,” “slaughter,” “execute,” “light on fire,” and “murder” members of the mosque, to “hunt down” and “zone in” on Muslims, and to “blow up the mosque.” 

Howard pleaded guilty to these acts and obstructing or attempting to obstruct the mosque members’ free exercise of their religious beliefs.

When imposing the sentence, Hall noted Howard’s “disturbing pattern of intolerance of many groups of people,” and the Court’s intent to afford a deterrent to similar criminal conduct by Howard and others who may believe and act as he did.

During his sentencing, Howard said he has spent his time studying Islam and no longer has the hatred towards that religion that spurred his previous actions.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Oregon GOP politician switches parties because of Trump, mysogyny, racism

Commissioner Lori Stegmann: ' if you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing.'

A LIFELONG Republican, Oregon's Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann has left the party to become a Democrat.

Stegmann, 58, told the Oregonian she can sum up the reason for the change with one word: Trump. In a statement on her Facebook page, she said, "As a woman, a business owner, a mother, an immigrant, and a minority I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration. I fear for the safety of our country, for human rights, for women’s rights, the environment, and the uncertainty of our future.

"I have not changed but the Republican Party most certainly has," she added.
Stegmann joins other prominent Republicans -- like Washington Post columnist George Will and GOP strategist Steve Schmidt -- who have changed their party affiliation.
Lori Stegmann added, “I came to this country without parents. In July of 1960, I immigrated to the U.S. as an undocumented baby. After the Korean War, hundreds of orphans like me were starving to death. Had I not been adopted by a loving family, I most likely would have died. That is something that weighs upon me every day of my life.
“I cannot stand by silently while hateful and divisive policies are implemented in our country," stated Stegmann, who considers herself a moderate. "America is a place with liberty and freedom for all, not just for some. The effects of these human rights violations are shameful and quite frankly un-American.”

Her statement continued, "For me this was a very personal decision. This decision is about who I am, what I believe in, and my core values. And if you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing. I prefer to stand for our country, for what is right and just, and for the social change we so urgently need."

TGIF Feature: Henry Golding discusses controversial casting in 'Crazy Rich Asians'


HENRY GOLDING of Crazy Rich Asians addressed his own whiteness with the hosts of The View, amidst claims of whitewashing, reports ABC News.

His casting has received backlash since he is partially Malaysian and partially White, with critics claiming that a fully Asian actor should have played the lead role.

“For me, being sort of half British, I’ve always struggled with my identity,” Golding said on The View. “And the one thing that I learned very young was to own my identity.”

Despite the criticisms, Crazy Rich Asians. directed by Jon Chu, has also been heavily lauded for its all-Asian cast.

Golding plays the wealthy Chinese Singaporean Nick Young, who invites his girlfriend Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) to take a glimpse into his family’s lavish lifestyle in Singapore. Some familiar faces in the movie include actors Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong.

Golding expressed to the hosts that he doesn’t harbor any hatred towards his critics. He thinks the conversation on whitewashing should continue “because it kind of just shows the studios that we’re watching; we’re very aware of how we want our films to tell authentic stories now.”

“I knew I’m Asian, through and through,” said Golding. “There’s nothing that I needed to prove.”

In 2017, Golding also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his controversial casting. “I’ve lived 16, 17 years of my life in Asia, and that’s most of my life. I was born in Asia, I’ve lived cultures that are synonymous with Asian culture, but it’s still not Asian enough for some people. Where are the boundaries? Where are the lines drawn for saying that you cannot play this character because you’re not fully Asian?”

The movie Crazy Rich Asians, based on the Kevin Kwan best-selling novel, is scheduled to be released in U.S. theaters on August 15.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

New Jersey borough rejects mayor's mother's racist Facebook posts

Palisades Park Korean Americans protested recent online racist comments.


THE PALISADES PARK Borough Council in New Jersey approved a resolution rejecting racism on July 24, in response to two recent Facebook posts targeting Koreans running for borough office positions, reports NorthJersey.com.

Mayor James Rotundo and Councilman Christopher Chung wrote the resolution; Rotundo’s mother was responsible for one of the racist posts, claiming that Koreans were illegally voting and ruining her son’s chances of being reelected mayor.

“Go to hell PALISADES PARK, let the GD KOREANS have this F’n town,” Lorraine Rotundo wrote in a Facebook post in June. “All of us AMERICANS are so done. I am going to suggest that only English be spoken in our Boro Hall at least while an AMERICAN is still the mayor.”

The post was made during the recount for the primary election, which ended up putting Christopher Chung on the ballot for mayor in November. Anti-bigotry protests have been held in the borough since.

“We need to come out and make a statement on the current climate in Palisades Park since the election,” Rotundo said. “It’s been reported that there are feelings of resentment or racism being mentioned out there. I understand the feeling people have when it’s mentioned.”

“The mayor and council profoundly acknowledges and condemns all racially motivated, discriminatory, or exclusionary hate speech, and deeply regrets the pain or suffering such statements have caused any person,” the resolution states.

In the second incident, Anthony Sambogna, an independent candidate for mayor, accused Chung of making the election about “Korean power” in a Facebook post.

“This is not the year to vote for any Korean candidate,” wrote Sambogna. “None of them have the vision or knowledge to be serving on our town council.”

Sambogna has tried to defend himself by saying his comments weren’t about race, telling the public at Tuesday’s meeting that he hopes to revitalize the business district, which is Korean dominated. “It’s most disturbing to me that two Korean Americans sat idly by on the council doing nothing while the business community is failing,” said Sambogna.

“We must stand up and speak out, regardless of how subtle or overt it is,” said Chung. “It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem. We all have work to do, and for every single person it begins with doing something.”

About 50% of Palisades Park's population of 19,000 is of Korean descent. It has the highest concentration of Korean residents in of any community in the U.S., 

'Absolutely horrifying,' says Jayapal upon visiting immigrant detention centers

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: criticizes Donald Trump immigration policies that separated children and parents.

CORRECTION: July 26, 9:30 a.m. to correct deadline date. 

VISITS by congressional delegations of detention centers in Texas and California confirmed the worst fears of the House members.

“I witnessed the full consequences of President Trump’s zero-humanity, zero-tolerance policy at the border and it was absolutely horrifying," 
said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

"In the courtrooms, we saw mass prosecutions of over 70 people at once. This assembly-line justice has no place in our democracy and must end immediately. And make no mistake – family separation is still occurring and young children are still being held in cages,” said Jayapal, who was born in India and raised in Indonesia and Singapore. She immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager in 1982,

The zero-tolerance policy towards asylum seekers instigated by the Trump administration that separated 2,500 children from their parents was shoved off the front pages last week because of the diplomatic snafus of Donald Trump.

It appears that the government will fail to meet the court-ordered deadline to reunite the children - including infants - with their parents continues to show that the government had no plan for reunification. Government employees and their private for-profit contractors are scrambling to meet the July 26 deadline issued by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego.

The government concedes that the deadline will not be met for all the families. Only 1,012 families have been reunited as of this writing. 

The chaos surrounding this callous policy is evident and makes one wonder if there was any advance planning or any intention to reunited the families. More than half of the children will not be reunited with their parents or guardians. Over 460 parents have been deported without their children and 260 cases await further investigation. 

"Tthis visit was important to highlight the absolute lack of planning by this administration before they started separating and detaining children," said Rep. Judy Chu, who visited the California facility. "It’s clear that innocent children are being punished for the administration’s lack of planning". 

Jayapal and seven other members of Congress visited the Texas border Saturday. On their visit the members observed court proceedings of those who crossed the border, and visited the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, the Port Isabel Detention Center and the Brownsville Port of Entry.

“After visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, I am filled with sadness, despair, and anger that the Trump Administration has created a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude on American soil,” said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier D, CA. “This crisis, created by President Trump and Republican Leaders in Congress, is politically motivated and manufactured to divide Americans. If every American could witness what we experienced and hear the cries of sobbing mothers, fathers, and grandparents broken by what our government has done, people would understand firsthand the cruelty of this Administration’s policies.”

In California, another congressional delegation visited the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services Facility, an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-funded facility in Los Angeles County, which houses immigrant children who have been separated from their parents.

The four Democrats included Congress members Judy Chu, Mark Takano, Grace Napolitano and Raul Ruiz. 

While the facilities were better than the centers in Texas, the delegation were still worried about the traumatic impact the separation may have caused with the family members.

According to the Los Angeles Times, at one Customs and Border Protection facility in El Centro, Calif., "families with children as young as 3 were sleeping on cold, concrete floors with no padding, according to the case filings. Detainees, including juveniles, were not given adequate access to drinking water and basic hygiene products."

"This visit was important to highlight the absolute lack of planning by this administration before they started separating and detaining children," said Rep. Judy Chu, who visited the California facility. "It’s clear that innocent children are being punished for the administration’s lack of planning." 

For instance, she said, nobody knows why the children are being sent all over the country. Nor is there any assurance that they will meet the court ordered deadline to reunify these children with their families. In fact, it looks like reunification will be a long and difficult process. And it is clear that there is no plan at all to follow the Flores settlement, which prohibits the detention of children once these children are reunified. 

The inhumane treatment of the families crossing the U.S. border will go down in history as one of the shameful periods of America at a similar level as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The policy goes against the Christian values espoused by Trump and his supporters and goes against the values we share as Americans.

"This is government-sanctioned child abuse and it must stop now," said Jayapal. "Congress needs to act immediately and bring forward an immigration solution that’s reflective of who we are as a country. This crisis, which will go down as a stain on our nation’s history, is far from over.”