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In Other Words

"Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only if first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."
Plato, 427 BC - 347 BC

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945

"The highest office in the land is that of citizen."
Harry Truman, 1884 - 1972

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. You will be changed, events will change you, but you have to decide not to be reduced."
Maya Angelou, 1928 - present

"If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time."
Noam Chomsky, 1928 - present

Welcome! From throughout our country, these engaging blogs are authored by ordinary citizens with things to say about social, economic, environmental, human, or political conditions in our nation or world. We hope you will sign in and add your comments, too.

October 22, 2016

President Duterte, China, the United States and the Philippines

Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

...Duterte's economic planners, however, sought to clarify the President's statement.
"We will maintain relations with the West but we desire stronger integration with our neighbors," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement after Duterte's speech...

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

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

Read More Here ...

The Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner

Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 22, 2016

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

According to wikipedia:

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

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

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October 15, 2016

Civility and Political Discourse

Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 15, 2016

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

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

In 1860 as this nation stood on the brink of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln implored Americans and their political leaders to think of, “the better angels of our nature,” before committing totally to the dissolution of the Union.

To plea for civility during one of the most bitter and divisive periods of American history was an attempt to call on a cultural tenet of respect for those with whom you disagree. The value of civility was a necessary component of our culture at our founding because we are a union of different states, then led by people with different ideas of how a federal state should look, but all committed to the idea of the freedom of belief and expression. Such an entity created by people holding divergent views cannot exist without basic elements of civility and respect for your fellow politicians and citizens. We learned early on to disagree agreeably.

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

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

Read More Here ...

October 9, 2016

Liberals and the White Working Class

Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 9, 2016

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

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

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

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

Read More Here ...

September 30, 2016

The Trailer Reactions to the Upcoming Wonder Woman Movie

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 30, 2016

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

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

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

Read More Here ...

Watching the First Debate

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 30, 2016

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

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

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

Read More Here ...

September 9, 2016

Trump and Trickle Down Racism

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 9, 2016

During this election season, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made many provocative statements about illegal immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, women and other minorities. In the presidential debates in the Republican primaries, Trump dragged down the tone of the whole debates by using personal insults rather than talk about the specifics of issues. The Founding Fathers had hoped that the United States would be an enlightened republic where issues could be debated in a civil and serious manner by a well informed electorate. Trump has upended that hope. Many people worry that Trump's rhetoric would have a depressing effect on the electorate by exacerbating the divisions in our society and tearing at our social fabric.

We can see this by how Trump has sown divisions within the Republican Party. Several prominent Republicans will not vote for Trump, like George H.W. Bush, George Bush, Colin Powell, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, George Will, David Brooks, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Sally Bradshaw, Susan Collins, Brent Skowcroft, George Schultz, Paul Wolfowitz, Max Boot, and Meg Whitman. Mitt Romney voiced his concern that many Americans share that Trump would inspire trickle down racism in American society. Romney said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer:

I don't want to see trickle-down racism. I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.

Read More Here ...

September 4, 2016

Athletes for Social Justice

Posted by Angelo Lopez on September 4, 2016

Recently San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernik was in the news for his refusal to stand during the national anthem to protest the unjustified killings of young African Americans by police in the past few years. Kaepernik explained that he is not against all police officers, but that rogue police are making things more dangerous for both the African American community and for the good police officers who have tried to do their jobs the right way. If you look at American history in the twentieth century, certain athletes have used their fame as platforms in the fight for social justice. A few names that come to mind are Jackie Robinson, Billie Jean King, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Bill Walton, and Arthur Ashe. These athletes made significant contributions to the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, the anti-war movement and the LGBT rights movement.

Read More Here ...

August 25, 2016

Getting an Opinion on Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte

Posted by Angelo Lopez on August 25, 2016

In the past few weeks, many people have asked my opinion on the new Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte. At first, I was embarrassed to tell them that I didn't know much about Duterte. During the Philippine election season, I was more focused on learning more about the trials of the Lumad people in Mindanao who were struggling to keep their land from the encroachment of mining companies. So these past few weeks I've been doing all I can to read articles and talk to activists to learn all I can about President Duterte.

Many people have compared Duterte to Donald Trump. Both men have blunt and often vulgar language to express their political points. Duterte is a lot more complex a political figure than Trump though. While Trump has often scapegoated minority groups like Muslims and immigrants, Duterte has been a strong advocate for the rights of minority groups like Muslims and the LGBT community. Trump leans strongly towards the Right side of the political spectrum, while many of Duterte's economic policies lean strongly towards the Left.

Instead of comparing Duterte to Trump, I think a more apt comparison to an American political leader would be President Lyndon Johnson. Like Duterte, LBJ was a course and often vulgar politician. Johnson often used ruthless means to acquire power. Once he acquired that power, though, Johnson often used that power for noble ends. I have very mixed feelings towards Lyndon Johnson's presidency. If I was an adult in the 1960s, I would've supported Lyndon Johnson on civil rights and his Great Society programs to help the poor. But I would've opposed Johnson's policies on the Vietnam War.

Read More Here ...

July 30, 2016

More Republican Critics of Donald Trump

Posted by Angelo Lopez on July 30, 2016

Here are more Republican critics of Donald Trump

A youtube video of Mitt Romney suggesting that Donald Trump's election could legitimize racism and misogyny, ushering in a change in the moral fabric of American society.

A youtube video of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) joins MTP to discuss the shooting in an Orlando night club and Donald Trump's controversial candidacy for president.

A youtube video of John McCain talking about Donald Trump's comments on waterboarding.

A youtube video of Republican columnist David Brooks explaining why he doesn't support Donald Trump.

Read More Here ...

A Forum on the New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Posted by Angelo Lopez on July 30, 2016

Today I attended a forum in De Anza College for Filipino Americans to learn more about the new Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Sponsored by National Alliance For Filipino Concerns Northern California, the Brotherhood for Duterte USA Chapter, the Digong Duterte Supporters NorCal and the Migrante Northern California, the De Anza forum talked about details of President Duterte’s agenda: programs that seek to help Filipino workers, farmers and overseas workers; describe his agrarian reform proposals; strengthen overseas consulates so it can better protect overseas Filipino workers from exploitaiton; and shift the balance of power from 200 families that control most of the Philippines’ economic and political power to the vast majority of people with little power.

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July 29, 2016

Donald Trump and His Republican Critics

Posted by Angelo Lopez on July 29, 2016

I got a chance to watch bits and pieces of both the Democratic and the Republican Conventions these past two weeks. The Democratic Convention was better run, with better speeches and the speakers were a greater representation of the diverse population of this country. The Republican Convention, though, had more drama, as many of the Republican Party have great antipathy towards their Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump. The most dramatic part of the Republican Convention was when Ted Cruz spoke and wouldn't endorse Donald Trump for President. Watching Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell and many other leaders endorse Trump, in spite of their criticisms of his unsuitability for the office of the Presidency, I'm glad there was a speaker in the Convention who had the courage to take a stand against Trump. I just wish it wasn't Ted Cruz. I have to give grudging respect to Cruz, though, for being willing to take the criticism and hold firm in his beliefs.

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June 25, 2016

A Talk in Stanford University about the Lumad People in the Philippines

Posted by Angelo Lopez on June 25, 2016

On April 26, 2016 attended a talk in Stanford University by indigenous community leaders from Mindanao on a historic tour of the United States to raise public awareness about the struggle for their human rights and ancestral land. These 5 leaders are a part of the Lumad indigenous people in the Mindanao area of the Philippines.

Because Lumad land is rich with natural resources, multinational corporations have been taking their land to mine the area to get its valuable minerals. Government policies encourage these mining companies to exploit the land, and with the cooperation of paramilitary forces, these two groups have exploited the Lumad indigenous people and killed their leaders to intimidate the Lumad. Many Lumad find education as a powerful tool to help them defend themselves against exploitation, so many Lumad schools have been raided by company and paramilitary forces. Recently, indigenous people in several villages have been driven out by paramilitary forces and they live currently in substandard conditions in refugee camps.

Read More Here ...

A May Day Rally in Mountain View for Immigration Reform and Housing Justice

Posted by Angelo Lopez on June 25, 2016

On May 1, 2016, I went to Mountain View, California to walk in their May Day march for immigration reform and housing justice. In the past 6 months, many people in my apartment complex have had to move out due to rising rents, so I sympathize with both the immigrant activists and housing activists.

Read More Here ...

A Vigil for the Orlando Shootings - June 2016

Posted by Angelo Lopez on June 25, 2016

Two weeks ago I went to a City Hall in San Jose, California, to attend a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shootings. The vigil started at 6 p.m., but I came at around 7:30 p.m. so I missed a few speeches.

The crowd was in a very sad and somber mood. Many people were giving each other long hugs and pats on the back. In other rallies and protests, when I took people's photos, I'd often engage in conversations with them. But in this vigil, I'd take a photo and they'd smile and thank me but not want to say much.

I asked one person if there were any Muslims in the vigil who were there for solidarity. The person said that she saw quite a few Muslims who attended and gave speeches to the crowd to show that the Muslim community was there in solidarity with the LGBT community. There was no anger towards Muslims in this group, only a sense of deep hurt and anger towards the prevalence of homophobia that still affects their lives. A few speakers talked about how they still have to be careful at work about revealing their sexual orientation.

Read More Here ...

May 15, 2016

Two Awards For My Editorial Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on May 15, 2016

Over the past few weeks, I discovered that my editorial cartoons won two awards: the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism for Newspaper Under a Circulation of 100,000 and the Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Award. I'm honored and thrilled to receive both awards. When I create my editorial cartoons, I never know what effect they will have to the readers. I do a lot of research and talk to a lot of Filipino American activists to try to learn more about issues affecting the Filipino American community. I try to highlight issues that affect the poorest and most marginalized members of the community, those that are often voiceless and overlooked.

Read More Here ...

April 30, 2016

Old Timer's Ramblings

Posted by Ken Poland on April 30, 2016

It’s been awhile since I contributed to KFP or Citizens United. I’m submitting this to both venues.

Yep, I’m still a registered Democrat and identify with Christianity as my religious affiliation. I am actively interested and involved in both of those areas. Thus, I’m zealous. That doesn’t mean I’m a zealot. I try not to be belligerent, warlike or intolerant. I enjoy lively debate on the pros and cons of issues. I tune in on all the debates and town hall meetings, I have time for. I have studied many religions and try to understand their origin and basis. I research denominational variants of Christianity, and, believe me, there are many. I devote personal and group time to study the accepted Christian Bible and how it relates to our present times and issues.

We, in the United States. live in a diverse society that includes numerous religious groups and variants of all those groups. We have political and economic opinions that cover the spectrum from every conceivable extreme.

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April 24, 2016

Bible Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 24, 2016

When I attended an Episcopal Church in the late 2000s, I produced a weekly cartoon for the church bulletin to illustrate one of the weekly readings. Bible Cartoons is a collection of these cartoons, which are collected from the years 2009 to 2012. I would read the lectionary of the Episcopal Church on Monday and figure out which passage gave me an idea for a cartoon. Sometimes an idea would come from a book that I just read from the church library. At other times, I would free associate and come up with something that is a bit more humorous.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christianity right now. I've had some wonderful experiences in church and I've had some terrible experiences in church. But overall I think there are more good things about Christianity than bad. In spite of some bad experiences, I still find myself attracted to church and have persisted in trying to find the right church for me. I'm not really a great Christian. I don't love my enemy, or forgive easily anymore. But I do think those are good qualities to have. I like what Pope Francis said about church. The pope said that church is not just a sanctuary for saints, it's also a hospital for sinners. I do not take the Bible literally, but I do find value in the Bible and think it has important things to say about the Jewish and Christian experience with God.

There is a website called Createspace where anybody can self-publish their own book and sell it on Amazon. Just create a PDF file of your book and make sure it is under 400 MB and submit it to the website.

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April 16, 2016

Supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 16, 2016

These past few months many of my friends have contacted me to try to persuade me to support Bernie Sanders. It doesn't bother me. I'm a Hillary supporter, but I like Bernie. I have nothing bad to say about him. Bernie's more progressive in many issues than Hillary. I think Bernie should stay in the race and pressure Hillary to move to the left on more issues. If I thought the Democrats could have majorities in both houses of Congress, I'd support Bernie. But because of gerrymandering, the Republicans will probably retain their majorities in the House. I remember how the House Republicans have obstructed Obama these past 6 years, even though Obama is only moderately to the Left. Both a President Hillary or a President Bernie will have problems with an obstructionist House. I want a Democratic President who is a tough political strategist who can fight the Republican House. I think Hillary possesses that quality.

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April 6, 2016

Two Books Collections with my Editorial Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 6, 2016

Hi everyone. I just finished putting my editorial cartoons into 2 books that I am selling on Amazon. Amazon has a section called Createspace where anyone can publish their own books, so I thought I'd try it out. I was originally going to collect my editorial cartoons in one book, not two, but Createspace has a 400 MB limit for book submissions, and I didn't like how my cartoons looked. I am not the most technically proficient person on the computer, so I spent a month trying to figure out how to fix my mistakes on Adobe Illustrator.

I decided to create a third book collecting my Bible cartoons where I used InDesign instead of Adobe Illustrator and it was easier to create a PDF file that the Createspace website would accept. When I finish this I'll post this on my blog. In the meanwhile here are my two books of my editorial cartoons.

Read More Here ...

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