Life and Times of Alex Esguerra

Domestic and Foreign Priorities, 100 Days Shaping a Transitional Presidency and Beyond

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on

 


Culminating a speech on a joint session of Congress, US President Joseph R. Biden mark his first 100 days in  office with his new American Jobs Plan. The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race. As of this writing the President is now on a tour trying to sell this plan.

As any new President's 100 days, Joe Biden's Presidency has been successful with an approval rating way above the 50's than his predecessor. Although considered lower the Bush and Clinton in lieu of the factors of the 2020 elections still lingering lies created by his predecessor. He came to this presidential race with the main goal of the solving the greatest pandemic logistics in the USA for Covid-19. To date, we have about 220 million Americans vaccinated and were seeing the light of the freedom.

Yet, as we know towards the 100 days of this presidency, the biggest and probably the most important and non popular Presidential decision was "Afghanistan". We all know that Joe Biden's career was in the in the Foreign Relations and diplomacy. He was also clear that he wanted to unify and be a transitional President from the chaos of the last four years. We also know his empathy as well as his own losses and stories which I can just speculate in major decision like this, you really put what is best for the country first, 

Why may I say that? Britannica explains,  The development of foreign policy is influenced by domestic considerations, the policies or behavior of other states, or plans to advance specific geopolitical designs. Leopold von Ranke emphasized the primacy of geography and external threats in shaping foreign policy, but later writers emphasized domestic factors.  Diplomacy is the tool of foreign policy, and war, alliances, and international trade may all be manifestations of it.

As we discussed about this American Jobs Plan on trillions of dollars in the coming months then we talked about debt and America being the wealthiest nation on earth. Then we have this non ending debates between politicians while the low income people in America are still suffering to survive everyday and small businesses still trying to find working capital each day, these are prime examples of "domestic considerations" the policies of behavior right here in the United States of America.  The funds that we are spending overseas on the war on Afghanistan for example will help this domestic considerations.

On my take on Diplomacy, what the US needs to look into is the life after the US withdrawal in Afghanistan. We know that there could be some exodus to neighboring Pakistan as refuge.    Pakistan stays afloat on an IMF loan with strict conditionality should be a consideration as an example to look into. There should be on the ground efforts established within Afghanistan itself to protect human rights and women by funding agencies the the USAID missions. 

The human and financial costs of the two foreign ‘mis’adventures have been phenomenal: in Vietnam close to 59,000 American soldiers lost their lives; in Afghanistan it is pushing close to 2,500 fatalities and more than 20,000 wounded. In terms of US dollar value in 2019, both Vietnam and Afghanistan have cost US tax payers more than one trillion dollars each; with some independent estimates putting the figure for Afghanistan adventure close to two trillion dollars.

My take on this as this President moves beyond his 100 days there are still so many emergency domestic issues that needs to be address as his priority.  Like what he is now doing on India, he is sharing whatever we can to help but still the main focus is on the domestic front. 


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A Beginner's Guide to America's Culture Belief's on Race, Immigration, Equality and Views Nowadays

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Bestselling author, Roya Hakakian upcoming book describes the book as A stirring, witty, and poignant glimpse into the bewildering American immigrant experience from someone who has lived it. Also, a mirror held up to America.

Myself being middle age living half of my life in the USA, I can totally agree with her. I till this day still ask questions on inclusion. A good example was on a Friday afternoon in a downtown San Francisco's retail location men's restroom which was open for the public. Right after using it passed  walking pass  the stalls,  a middle age heavy set Caucasian man assumed I was headed to the walk out the door and yelled to me "washed your hands". I politely showed in my hands my sanitizers and uttered I had it. Most public restrooms in San Francisco's downtown area are not open due to the homeless problem and vandalism and also the lavatories are really extremely dirty and infected with bacteria. At any rate here's an example why I simply raise the statement of inclusion having live half of my life in America. For all you know the guy had good intentions of reminding me simply to wash my hands but here is where the culture's perspectives open up. 

In the San Francisco area, home to the nation's largest and oldest Chinatown, there were at least 18 attacks against Asians in February alone, TODAY previously reported. An 84-year-old Thai American, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was pushed to the ground in January and died from his injuries a few days later, NBC News reported. In 2020, New York City police recorded 28 hate crimes against Asian Americans, up from three in 2019, quoted from https://www.today.com/news/anti-asian-violence-history-anti-asian-racism-us-t210645  Another issue that came up during this Covid-19 is when the term "China Virus" was downplayed by no other than the 45th President of the United States. This has enabled an anti-Asian hate and violence campaign. 

Meanwhile, there's an influx of undocumented children on the southern border trying to enter after Biden rolled back a number of Trump-era immigration policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy that advocates say gutted the nation’s asylum system and the "zero tolerance" policy of separating families at the border.  It is extremely hard for politicians based on my personal experiences having dealt with them of their desire for power and wealth to understand the true meaning of "Asylum". If you make from $170,000 to $300,00 and have net worth's of $2M to $10B or more and ambitions to even be the President of the USA you will never need to know the meaning of what it stands or what the word "Immigration" is about in a real democracy.

Hakakian grew up in a Jewish family living in a middle-class neighborhood in Tehran in the 70's in her book and I remember my father serving in the US Army at the same time at the base. She mentioned about her scarf as part of her dress code and when she arrived in New York's subway in 1985 after her asylum she tried to reach for her scarf realizing she had none physically.   Here also shows as immigrants bring memories with us when we settle in the US. 

Just like a few months ago when we had these marches on the boarded windows on the  downtown streets in Portland, Or and San Francisco, CA it reminded me back in the Philippines when  then Ferdinand Marcos was about to declare Martial Law, those were the same pictures, and then again during the EDSA revolution when he again tried to hang on to power before fleeing for asylum and to where, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA through the help of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

In the case of the Iran empire itself, the Shah of Iran eventually went into asylum also in the United Sates for health reasons. This is is how politicians interrelates with the two words mentioned.  Hence for decades is also why this country has not enacted a real Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The topic is huge for discussion but where does one begin?

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As a New Global Hope After 2021 Awaits, What's In Store for the Youth Leaders

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I had the privileged to read the United Nations Youth Report today of 2018 

ISBN: 9789213632567, Copyright @2018 at the United Nations. All Rights Reserved. New York USA. 

It's Executive Summary focuses on the Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Advancing Youth Development, youth policies and the role of the youth.

Reading on Chapter 3: Youth Employment's Formal versus informal I'm happy to note that some of our initiative's then in my time with APEC has been followed through with this initiatives. 

Page 27 also touch on Entrepreneurship Education something which was really very close to me personally to this which is why I continue on to this day on a private capacity through bookselling. The report is very much accurate in describing about the necessity or subsistence entrepreneurs are those who are self employed because they cannot secure work elsewhere and are focused into self employment by "economic necessity". They are indeed making up a large share of the informal economy but lack the capacity to become true engines of "growth". 

This report is very comprehensive for the inter-agency and although I commend that I believe it will be a good blue print moving forward, I have to also note as a reader that some of the 2020 goals set especially for developing countries were not really or just partially met observing as a lay person no longer in policy initiative roles. At the same there were so many recent events alone since last year in a global perspective that affected every nation in the world.

We have a lot of soul searching, re-direction, re-focusing, questions to ask, and prioritization. There's so many high priorities that affects human existence of survival to education and economics. The global pandemic right now is taking much of our daily lives. As we await for the cure and vaccines for normal life to be back, it's also a time to plan. When I saw this report I got reminded myself on the focus alone in the USA. A new World Leader with more than a week in power almost 40 executive orders with a lot of global hope.

Yet, one thing I haven't seen with with this new Biden/Harris administration is somehow some focus on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Minorities, Disabled  Youth Involvement. Something I will be watching from a far if there will be some interest.


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I have a dream for freedom and for Anarchy, reflecting on two persons on democracy.

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on

As  we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King's  message by revisiting his celebrated I Have a Dream speech in its entirety delivered on August 28, 1963, part if the speech says "It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds". 

Another part of the speech continues, "This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring". 

 In October 30,2020 ALL NEWS from the White House articles quotes: 

Nearly 400 miles of new border wall system is now complete. Just as important, the Trump Administration is prosecuting and deporting violent criminals, stopping the flow of illegal drugs, and closing the loopholes that help human smugglers while hurting our own citizens, including legal immigrants". Illegal immigration hurts everyone. It empowers criminals, bankrolls human smugglers, and fuels transnational gangs. It costs both legal immigrants and U.S. citizens a shot at the American Dream. It endangers law enforcement officers, makes our communities less stable, and puts law-abiding workers and businesses at a disadvantage.

It is the same narrative, today we celebrate the heroism on Dr. King. He started the fight risking his own life for democracy. January 6, 2020 will be read by generations after our life time when the Supreme leader of White Supremacy led an unsuccessful insurrection to democracy and people of color in the United States of America. 

This hate extends to the undocumented immigrants mostly on the front lines of the dreaded pandemic a lot of which classified as essential workers. A lot of whom are hard working law abiding, tax paying members of the society who cannot even access unemployment or health care in this country. 

As the I have a dream speech mentioned I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. Martin Luther King continued. 

I believe that it is the right first direction to tackle an immigration reform in this country to show the insurrects that people of color are here to stay as part of the land of the free, the greatest democracy in the world and they have to accept we cannot be extinct. 

No one can compete with American workers when they’re given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades.

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Life moving forward 2020, a new hope out of the a year of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on

 
San Francisco, Ca 4 hours before the clock ticks to 2021 where the shelter in place about to expire on Monday just got extended indefinitely in lieu of the looming crisis in the State's almost out of ICU beds. Meanwhile, local authorities has been vocally strict tonight on private gatherings that might trigger more unforeseen infections. I had to appreciate watching John Meyer on CNN's special New Year's broadcast while he plays the piano and sings live from LA as replacement of the annual fireworks display at the waterfront at the Embarcadero Pier. I started with the Anti-Masking Meeting photo image courtesy of the  ©newspapers.com/aschultz138 From the San Francisco Chronical, 25th January 1919 to give a little history on "Restricting what people can do is always hotly debated, and the recent debate in the press on the need to wear masks while in public spaces and on public transport is not a modern concern. Historian Samuel Cohen has referred to the ‘anti-mask league’ of San Francisco in early 1919, which gained backing from several thousand people opposed to wearing a mask" https://microbiologysociety.org  As we know all the way back in March San Francisco was the first city to place a shelter in place and tonight out of caution again hence is why it extended it's shelter in place indefinitely until the State's Covid-19 crisis is over. If you are resident of San Francisco or are familiar with the city you understand why SF is indeed highly cautious on this. Notwithstanding on the 1919 history, similar to what Los Angeles is now undergoing, the city is heavily dense with a large homeless population and also a lot of communities of color and minorities. It's like a time bomb in laymen's terms that especially with the new discovered strain of covid-19, when an area like the tenderloin neighborhood area gets hits for example, that alone will already take the whole infrastructure beds of the city's San Francisco General Hospital. 


American Crisis, author Gov. Andrew Cuomo ells the riveting story of how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, offering hard-won lessons in leadership and his vision for the path forward.

When COVID-19 besieged the United States, New York State emerged as the global “ground zero” for a deadly contagion that threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions. Quickly, Governor Andrew Cuomo provided the leadership to address the threat, becoming the standard-bearer of the organized response the country desperately needed. With infection rates spiking and more people dying every day, the systems and functions necessary to combat the pandemic in New York—and America—did not exist. So Cuomo undertook the impossible. He unified people to rise to the challenge and was relentless in his pursuit of scientific facts and data. He quelled fear while implementing an extraordinary plan for flattening the curve of infection. He and his team worked day and night to protect the people of New York, despite roadblocks presented by a president incapable of leadership and addicted to transactional politics.

Cuomo, did what he had to do but we have to note also that prior to his actions, he did not think that Covid-19 was a problem. When he realized the problem and tackled it, he did his best as much of our state and local leaders. The pandemic response varied from state to state then. In California, for example Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first Governor to install the shelter in place and California had a good success in Spring to Summer of bending the pandemic curve on infections and hospitalizations.

As we end 2020. Newsom even has a recall battle due to the state restrictions on lockdowns and mask while the State of CA's had a total of 2,245,379 cases where there was  27,237 today and 428 deaths  out of a total death of 25,386.

One of the biggest challenge of the pandemic crisis  from acknowledgement, testing to now vaccinations really boils down to a  national body or response. It's been a pin pointing between the Federal and State levels of government. The promised 20 million vaccinations as end 2020 was only 2 million. Meanwhile Astra-Zeneca's vaccine in the Uk just got approved and might get the English vaccinated by half of 2021. One of the debatable discussions is that the United Kingdom has a National Health Service.

Looking at the incoming Biden-Harris administration's Covid-19 plan, it talk's about:

Establish and fund a U.S. Public Health Service Reserve Corps to activate former Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to expand medical and public health capacity. By creating the Reserve Corps, we will have a larger team of health professionals to deploy across the nation to help train health care systems in detection and response, educate the public, provide direct patient care as needed, and support the public health infrastructure in communities that are often under-resourced and struggling.

Looking at this plan, I found the paid sick leave for Covid-19 where California's paid sick leave tax incentive for employers expires tonight when the clock ticks to 2021. 

The Biden Plan calls for an emergency paid leave program that will ensure that all workers can take paid leave during the COVID-19 crisis. It calls for passage of the Healthy Families Act with the addition of an emergency plan that will require 14 days of paid leave for those who are sick, exposed, or subject to quarantines—while also ensuring that employers will not bear any additional costs for such additional leave in the midst of this crisis. 

So let's hope, watch and see moving forward for a new hope this 2021.


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