All posts by Eric Huang

I’m Asian American, and this weekend’s Peter Liang’s protests show that Asian Americans too are marginalized against whites and majority

This weekend, New York cop Peter Liang was convicted for killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, while on duty, which carries a possible 5-15 year prison sentence. As a result, many Asian-American groups have gone out to the streets of NYC and Philadelphia to protest in solidarity with Peter Liang. The issue at stand is that while Peter Liang was convicted of murdering an unarmed person while on duty, while  white policemen, like Daniel Pantaleo, veteran police who killed Eric Gardner with a chokehold, Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, or Ryan Zimmerman, in the infamous Trayvon Martin case, are regularly acquitted of these killings.While many may say that the bigger issue is racial discrimination and racial profiling, as well as the disproportionate amount of people of color who are often targeted by police and also often serve longer sentences than whites for nonviolent crimes, one must note that it does not answer the fact that why Peter was convicted and the other white cops weren’t for their killings. The issue of racial profiling is an issue that all cops in America face, which lends itself to the side conversation of gun control, racial tolerance, and criminal justice reform as a whole. For it is with the vast proliferation of guns in America that threaten the safety of not only cops but also anyone when on duty and investigating cases.

However, one must also understand that Asian-Americans stand at a unique and somewhat awkward position in the US. With cultural stereotypes of Asians as “tributes to hard work, strong families and passion for education” and Asian-Americans as on the upper-echelons of the economic strata, Asian-Americans have been viewed as the “model minority” and thus looked upon with different lenses–Characterized as ‘privileged’ and not really considered minority, yet with unique Asian-American cultures, are not considered exactly mainstream as white Americans.)

Aside from the sheer disparity and competition that Asian students have to score on SATs (which in itself is already unfair to Asian students versus students of other races), the facts are still facts: Asian-Americans still only make up about 5.4% of the US population. Thus, many have certainly overlooked the struggles of Asian-Americans. For instance, Southeast Asian-Americans drop out of high school at an alarming rate: nearly 40% of Hmong-Americans, 38% Laotian-Americans, and 35% Cambodian-Americans do not finish high school. These groups, along with Vietnamese-Americans, earn below the national average. “Sweeping generalizations of Asian-Americans as the ‘privileged’ and ‘successful’ minority cannot replace unnerving disaggregated data that bring truth to the inequalities that many Asian-Americans face daily.” [2]

In addition, because of such “model minority” stereotypes overlooking the real struggles of Asian-Americans as well as other generic Asian-American stereotypes often not as the ‘toughest’ but rather more passive group, the US too is a new, unfamiliar, and daunting place for Asian-Americans. So with these stereotypes, in the midst of the “Black Lives Matter” and the racism/violence between whites and blacks, Asian-Americans have often been seen as not a minority. And as a first-generation Asian-American to Taiwanese immigrant parents myself, such violence and racial instability lately certainly keeps me on my toes and threatening of my well-being. In essence, as Asian-Americans with foreign culture and our parents often with language barriers, we too are victims of indirect racism and discrimination yet are not recognized nor our voices heard as much.

According to investigation sources, Peter Liang discharged his weapon in a “dark stairway” while “the bullet [merely] bounced off the wall” to hit the unarmed father and son, Akai Gurley. Meanwhile, for instance, Daniel Pantaleo with the chokehold of Eric Gardner had done it in broad daylight. Similarly, the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina also in broad daylight. Same with Darren Wilson. Clearly, he can see their “suspects” more clearly, presenting less of a threat to their lives than if it were done at night, as in Peter Liang’s case. Yet Daniel Pantaleo has yet to be tried, and Darren Wilson acquitted? While that contributes to the 2nd-degree nature of the murder than 1st-degree, Peter Liang was threatened, both as a police on duty conducting investigation as well as being an Asian-American amid the recent racially-charged climate of the US. He had to act in self-defense.

I stand in solidarity with both Peter Liang and Akai Gurley. Both were simply at the wrong place, wrong time. Both Asian-Americans and African-Americans experience racism and discrimination. Both are minorities with different struggles to overcome in the US. Therefore, what we should focus on is not to use Peter as a punishment, a precedent to cops killing unarmed people. Rather, we should focus on reaching out and even the playing field for all races, religious groups, for all people in general. We should focus on tackling criminal justice reform, dealing with the issue of urban and minority poverty (that is a significant cause of the disproportionate amount of people of color behind bars and their disproportionately longer sentences) through extra funding in education and welfare.

We are at a crossroads of 2016. We have had too much shootings and racial-profiling around the country. We’ve seemed to have forgotten the progress that we had built during the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans have most definitely come a long way. But while there is still a long way for them to go, let us remember that there are others as well who are also in the void, beneath the shadows. While incidents like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, while heinous and racially-charged which certainly requires the unity of the African-American community to protest, the same should be with Asian-Americans as well. Our voices too should be heard, and heard loudly across the nation. The US is a land of diversity, we must accept each and every racial group in America, and treat each and every one of the same. I hope that through this entire experience (and, the protests), my fellow Asian-American friends would start to challenge our silence and call attention to our struggles. 亞裔美人萬歲!華人萬嵗!正義何在!

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/998175980272526/?pnref=story

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/10/16/the-effects-of-seeing-asian-americans-as-a-model-minority/model-minority-seems-like-a-compliment-but-it-does-great-harm

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steph-yin/peter-liang-protests_b_9289990.html

Is this what society has come to? Or does economics prevail?

So the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association (DHPA) claims that by opening up a market for pony meat, we save them from the “tragedy of the commons.” According to DHPA, pony populations have declined from 25000 in the 1930s to less than 800 today. Ponies have been seen as common pool resource goods, meaning they have low excludability and high rivalry among consumers. As a result, no one values them as much as they should be valued. By opening up the pony market, DHPA claims, that consumers will value them more and thereby setting a price on ponies. And assuming a perfectly competitive market, it could help allocate the pony market more efficiently.

However, this is now a question, and one that many animal welfare groups like the ASPCA and other animal-lovers like some of you may be asking. Do ponies hold sentimental value? Is this an ethical market? What is the true cost that man is paying for ponies? Well, put it simply, all these questions simply fall under the same umbrella of Economics. The study of choices, the study of scarcity–limited resources but unlimited wants. That just by considering the true cost of paying for ponies, trying to efficiently allocate the pony market from its current situation as a common pool resource good, is no more different than, say, deciding when and how much to produce and when to stop.

Economics is ubiquitous. We are simply driven by our own self-interests, and that in the long run, markets tend toward equilibrium. So, when the market is allocated inefficiently, it is our responsibilities to bring it back to the efficient allocation.

Sources:

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11119194/Eat-ponies-to-save-them-says-charity.html

Road to 2016 so far…

election-2016

From the news recently, many probably have began to hear about candidates from both parties, well maybe more from one side, announcing their bids for the presidency, to represent the US in the way they and their parties want to represent the US coming 2016. There are divergent opinions on the past two terms of President Obama, from his response of the 2008 recession or the implementation of so-called universal healthcare otherwise known “Obamacare” to his response to the rise of Middle-Eastern insurgents and impending issue of free trade and fast track with TPP and TTIP. Furthermore, as we hear of the fragile crisis in Greece, panic in Chinese stocks, and a rising Chinese military power, we are now in a different world than we were in before. A new world order awaits, and the US must learn to cooperate and deal with its new rival power China. Domestically, gun violence is still a grave issue and has proliferated to 26,046 incidents during this year so far! And so are religious freedom laws yet a liberalizing community. 2016 will be a momentous year for all of us, both in the US and in the world. Thus, the race is on for the 45th US President – a president that must step up to the challenge in such a watershed of American history.

Democrats

DEMS

Starting with the defending party, so far five candidates from the Democratic side have officially announced their bid for the presidency.

Hillary Clinton: As former Secretary of State, she is the front-runner of the Democrat nomination right now with almost 100% name recognition, no doubt about it. But she must still maintain her lead within her party and potentially among the US by securing the Hispanic, young, white working class women, and college-educated women voters. Ohio again will be key swing state, along with Virginia and Florida (FL especially if Jeb Bush wins the Republican nomination), but changing demographics have put several other states into play – Colorado, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. In addition, she must convey the message of a better America for future generations by addressing income inequality and connect with the middle-class. She must also espouse the views of a higher minimum wage, paid family/medical leave, early childhood education, and affordable child care, essentially improving America’s welfare status.

Bernie Sanders:  As an independent senator from Vermont, and a socialist as he calls himself, Bernie has certainly captured the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Though he will pose a significant force to Hillary and may force her to swing left on certain issues, however, to win the Democratic nomination, he still has a long way to go. He must expand his base from the predominantly white, college-educated voters to the Hispanic, female, and African-American voters. He must also be willing to let loose on some of his fiery populism, or “Democratic socialistic” feel of his campaign, in order to win over the moderate part of the party.

Lincoln Chafee: Former Rhode Island governor and senator and a Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat, Lincoln already has a good shot with upscale white liberals, those who are passionate with environmental issues and restraining with America’s military involvement in the Middle East. While he will certainly help highlight Hillary’s hawkish tendencies (her vote to authorize Bush’s Iraqi war and that he was the only Republican to have voted against the vote), as said on his website with his “aversion to foreign entanglements,” with some financial problems to raise money for the campaign and the fact that he is up against a fundraising power house Hillary, he will, like Bernie Sanders, influence the nomination and Hillary as to pose resistance to the party, but his chance at the nomination and the White House is a long shot.

Martin O’Malley: Former governor of Maryland, right now among the other challengers to Hillary, he has the best chance against her. Assuming the nation wants a new face, a younger generation (with O’Malley, 52) and his strong grasp on working class whites, he hopes to gain steam with Iowa where the electorate is mainly working class whites and build from there.

Jim Webb: Former senator of Virginia, Jim Webb offers economic fairness and a non-interventionist attitude to the table. However, his past propensity with Confederate valor and uneasiness to address climate challenge, may otherwise impede his opportunities. Webb may find more probability as a third-party candidate or as a potential running mate.

Republicans

GOP

On the “red” side, we have a list that looks more like a “Republican party” than a list for the Republican nomination. Hyped up by their November midterm victory over the Democrats, a once questioned demise of the “traditional” Republican conservatism is back on the rise. They hope to garner the devout, the traditional, and the corporate interests, along with hopes of the Hispanic and the youth vote to take back the White House that they have lost for the past 8 years. (And, to complete their takeover of both the Legislative and Executive branches.) As a result of this long-list of candidates, 14 of them, to list them out one-by-one like how I did for the Democrats, would most certainly bore you out, and probably, discourage you from voting Republican in 2016. Hmm…or should I? Do you see my intentions? No, I do not want to discourage you the Republican vote. Moreover, I hope you actually go out to vote this year (improve America’s turnout rate from 36.6% last November, please!), and do vote for who you think would actually be fit for America. America is at a crossroads, America needs your vote.

So, for the Republican side, instead of a “line-item” explanation and biographical descriptions of each candidate, as well as maybe “vetoing” each candidate over the Democrats (see what I did there?), I will rank the top few I see probable….so an early good luck with your decision 🙂

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, and Donald Trump (just for the laughs)

Sadly, the possibility of history repeating itself, a Bush again, or a Bush-Clinton election is highly probable with Jeb Bush leading his GOP nomination “party”. However, the Republicans have certainly a strong competition that could otherwise capture the White House. Bush, Rubio, and Cruz certainly have a high chance in capturing the Hispanic vote, if they change the Republican immigration stance. Rand Paul, who, if does not win the nomination, would at least bring moderate issues to the question and gain traction with both moderate Republicans and Democrats. And Donald Trump, well, good luck on your campaign and getting sacked by corporations cutting ties with you. And maybe I should support your endeavors, to further my own political interests? Nah…well, that’s the Republican-side! Again, PLEASE LET YOUR VOTE BE SEEN, WHEN COME TWENTY-SIXTEEN! (other words, get out and vote!)

Source

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/2016-presidential-candidates.html

Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast track…America’s global future at stake?!?

There recently have been negotiation for a free trade agreement among several Pacific rim nations known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But before we discuss about the details and logistics of the TPP, let me briefly explain what a free trade agreement is. A free trade agreement (short for FTA) is, as what its name says, promotes “free trade,” typically through reduced or elimination of protective tariffs and special investment incentives for member nations to invest and trade within one another. Members who are not in the agreement would thus be at a disadvantage. Such agreements have been a way for nations of similar aims to collectively strengthen themselves as a group. Many of these agreements arise out of means such as desires to expand and trade with different nations or to strengthen its own region with its neighboring nations. Some of the largest agreements now include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and much more. However recently, with China’s rise in economic and political prominence, Beijing has begun to exert its influence within agreements like APEC, ASEAN, and through their newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The US and several other nations, have in essence, began negotiating for this TPP agreement.

The agreement first started negotiations in 2005 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4). It is a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty among 12 nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US. The nations aimed the agreement to “enhance trade and investment among TPP partners and to promote innovation, economic growth, development, and the creation and retention of jobs. But that’s all talk until it’s set forth on writing and into action. The nations had planned to wrap up negotiations in 2012 when concerns with agriculture, intellectual property, services and investment agreements drew controversy and inhibited negotiations. Some of the contention that have been brought up have recently raged divisions within Congress, and even within the Democratic party themselves as well, as many of the leftist, progressives have raised questions and opposition to the TPP, one key goal on President Obama’s agenda.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, to oppose fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Senators like Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have been prominent with their oppositions, especially with the negotiation process known as fast-track that has been given to the president since Nixon and the Free Trade Act of 1974. In essence, “fast track” gives the President the power to bypass much of congressional oversight (congress may only approve or disapprove, but cannot amend or filibuster) to negotiate international agreements. This practice of fast track has especially been contentious with the concerns of the controversial clauses of the agreement, the expansive of the agreement, and the secrecy–lack of transparency–of the agreements. The oppositions led by Warren and Sanders, along with other progressive Democrats are concerned that fast-track will bypass many crucial oversight functions of Congress. In addition, there are also fears of infringements onto Internet privacy and use, such as violations of fair use, whistleblowers, and safeguards in US law.

Also, fast tracking and TPP would make easier for corporations to offshore jobs and force workers to compete with those in nations like Vietnam making less than 60-cents an hour, thus driving down wages and standards of living. NAFTA, they claim,  is an example of exactly just that! After NAFTA, while trade did increase among US, Canada, and Mexico, at the same time many American jobs have also been displaced due to increased foreign competition and outsourcing offshore.

On the other side of the political spectrum, though, are Republicans working with President Obama, supporting the bill, since Republicans have always supported such free trade agreements. As a result, while in the past when Democrats controlled the Senate, the Senate majority leader had never passed the bill, the Republican controls in both Houses could change the tide.

This rift between Obama and the Democrats could be dangerous for the Democrats in the future, especially as 2016 nears. Some have asked Hillary Clinton on her stance with TPP since she had always supported similar pieces of legislation as Obama’s former Secretary of State, but she has not spoke definitively with her stance on the issue. But one thing we do know is that many of her progressive counterparts, Warren, Sanders, and Maryland Gov. O’Malley, who has announced Democratic candidacy, have moved to her left, against the agreement.

While the stances of Senate minority leader Nancy Pelosi and minority WHIP Steny Hoyer are still uncertain, this issue has made its way to the forefront of a significant political, economic, and national battleground, between both Democrats and Republicans. Such large-scale trade agreements affect everyone as a nation, the good and the bad. Understanding and following the issue is crucial for us to safeguard our self-interests and the country’s interests for generations to come.

Sources:

Ubiquitous Shortage of Dihydrogen Monoxide

Record-high levels of snow for Boston. Unusually slow start of spring for eastern US. Bare-capped mountains in the West. Lakes, streams, and reservoirs running dry in California, Taiwan, and the rest of the world.

Recently, similar to Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) who had called for mandatory water rationing to combat one of the worst drought in California history, legislators from New Taipei City, Taipei, Taoyuan, and other major cities in Taiwan have also ordered similar rationing. Taiwan, if one does not know, is an island-nation of about 14000 square miles off the coast of Mainland China in the East China Sea. Its isolated geographic location and small size pits the 23 million living on the island a serious dilemma–to rain or not to rain, that is the question. Because it is so small, the rivers and streams need rain, and more so, monsoon or typhoon-esque rain to stay flowing and to provide adequate water supply for the 23 million living there. However, with typhoons come damage, and frequently, billions of dollars and hundreds of lives of damage. So when it comes a year when Mother Nature “cooperates” and gives Taiwan a break, water shortages and devastating rationing laws come into effect the next year. But when a strong typhoon comes, it causes expensive damage but brings a year of water to the island. So it’s question for Taiwan: Are the opportunity costs of typhoon damages worth a year without water shortage?

However, this also brings up the issue of water-conservation to the rest of the world. We are at a crossroads. Global warming and climate change has made its mark on Earth already (receding glaciers in the North Pole and Antarctica, growing ozone hole, more terrifying natural disasters across the globe, erratic tornado seasons for the American Midwest, and unusually cold winters and warm summers). Nations are fighting over precious resources, religion, nuclear arms race, and more. Economic recessions have also spanned throughout nations with the gap between rich and poor widening. Yet our desires for the best technology and greed have been unending.

So is this what our future holds? Desires and greed fueling an infinite fight for necessary resources and spoiling our finite planet Earth. Therefore, we must act now.  We must begin to learn to control our desires before it is too late. We must re-define our needs and wants. Do we really need that new iPhone? Or check our phones 24/7? Or is it time to slow down our lives and reevaluate our lifestyles, appreciating more of what we have than craving for more? It’s up to us to decide.

Map

Religion v. Civil Rights—Controversial religious freedom law passed in several states

A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by several states, most recently Indiana and Arkansas, has been aimed to protect religious freedom. As read in the exact words from the law, it will compel courts to subject religious discrimination to strict scrutiny standards, since currently religious discrimination has been only subjected to rational basis standards, the lowest standard to prove discrimination. With this consideration, it would potentially allow religious business owners, such as bakers or florists, an easier way to defend themselves from turning away a customer because he/she is gay or transgender.

This, as a result, brings up the discussion of religion and business–to what extent can religion extend in public and the line between freedom of religion and discrimination in public accommodations. Since, the debates and questions with this act hinges predominantly on the religious aversion to same-sex marriage and therefore maintains that those believers should not be compelled to provide for services for same-sex couples.

With same-sex marriage becoming more and more accepted, “winning the battle,” such law shows the considerable opposition to this issue. It also shows that despite America’s being known as a “melting pot” of different cultures, ethnicities, and just people in general, there’s still a strong traditionalist movement deeply rooted in religion and largely in the American Midwest, the Great Plains.

Republicans 2015: How McConnell and Boehner plan to rock the next 2 years

Bicameral Meeting

We all know that after the Republican takeover last November, we now have a Republican Congress of both houses with the House led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the Senate led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). And much of the credit given to many big business and conservative lobbyists, along with super PACs shelling money into their Republican candidates and demonizing their Democratic “socialists,” as many call them. However, K Street isn’t just about winning. It is about pushing through legislation favorable for the interests that each group represents. It is about utilizing the so-called “revolving door,” “Iron Triangle,”  and pluralistic theories.

Before I go on, let me define some of the terms aforementioned for probably not all of you have been studying American Government through CNN and Andrew Boufford as extensively as I have been.

Mini lesson on Interest Groups

“Revolving Door”– where government officials leave federal government for lucrative positions in private companies thereby providing those private companies with conflicts of interest in public policy

“Iron Triangle”– the theory of “subgovernment” where legislative committees, bureaucratic agencies, and interest groups interact in ways that benefit one another

Pluralism– theory in favor of interest groups that interest group activity brings representation to all and its processes contribute fully to democratic processes

Back to the topic, K Street hopes through the new one-party Congressional rule that it can help push through some patent, trade, and tax reform laws. The healthcare lobbies, in particular, may now look to repeal and/or amend parts of Obamacare, such as the medical devices tax. And the banking/finance lobbies may try to reform parts of the Dodd-Frank law.

While a one-party Congress may seem to help Republicans push through agenda easier than before, there have already been several issues facing contention between Republicans in Congress and President Obama. One thing is the re-definition of a workweek from 30-hour to 40-hour, something that President Obama had threatened to use veto power. Another, is the Keystone XL pipeline.

So while the face of Congress is changing, one cannot be sure of what the future holds. Would Republicans really come out as the be-all-end-all savior to the congressional dysfunction of the 113th Congress? Would K Street push through their own reforms? Or would the Democrats prove to Americans (once again!) that all Republicans do is create deadlock and significant obstacles in our political process?

To quote Marty DePoy, spokesman for Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism, “We came so close last time we are not taking any chances this time.”

—Eric Huang, Edison NJ

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/k-street-republican-congress-114064.html

Political Realignment on the Island of Taiwan

Background

This past Saturday, Taiwan held one of its largest turnout mayoral elections. Historically, Taiwan’s always been controversial and heated, with the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) which is pro-China and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who advocates for independence. As many may know, Taiwan’s political status in the world is still shaky, with the ominous presence of People’s Republic of China claiming Taiwan as their 23rd province. Yet many Taiwanese have began to swing to a more pro-independence stance.

Around March of this year, Taiwanese students had launched a peaceful protest in the Taiwanese assembly against the new economic agreements that the mainland-friendly President Ma (KMT) had pushed for. Along with many other factors, the incumbent has fared so poorly among the people in Taiwan that his approval rating has and is currently in the single-digits (9.2% or less). As a result, the Democratic Progressive Party has begun to gain traction among the young voters who aspire for change and more development of Taiwanese identities.

Political Realignment

In last week’s elections, with six of Taiwan’s directly controlled municipalities (similar to PRC’s direct municipalities and the United States’ District of Columbia), the DPP took down 5 out of 6 municipalities, nearly crushing the KMT. Such certainly proves the Taiwanese peoples’ dissatisfaction with the ruling KMT that had reigned over Taiwan for the majority of Taiwanese history. (They were the party that founded the so-called “Republic of China.”)

The political realignment, however, does not stop at political dissatisfaction; it also broke geographic barriers. Previously, Taiwan had largely been shaped by a phenomenon, similar to the American situation in the 1890s referred to as the “Republican North and Democratic South.” Nevertheless, in this current election, the DPP broke free into the north and claimed the capital with an independent candidate with ties to the DPP.

So does the KMT serve as a harbinger for the upcoming 2016 presidential election for Taiwan? Would the DPP truly begin a new era for Taiwan? One would have to see…

Lessons to be learned

The overall turnout rate for this election was about 70-80%, an overwhelmingly high number compared to the recent midterm election turnout of 36.6% in the United States. Some cite mistrust in government as the reason for such a low voter turnout rate. Others blame the unreasonable regulations and burdens like complicated voter registration processes and voter-ID laws inhibiting mass participation. But currently, as seen with Taiwan’s example, the people have been extremely disappointed with their president and the KMT party. And so they did the opposite from America. They voted. If the United States utilizes our burgeoning youth, involving them in politics and the government, then the election turnout would not be as low as it is now.

Politics over People’s opinions…Gov. Christie vetoes pig bill

Governor Christie (R-NJ) has just vetoed a controversial pig bill.

Governor Christie of New Jersey is back on the news! And this time it’s with pigs and and their possible freedom from confinement in gestation crates. So apparently he did was not involved in with the George Washington Bridge, “Bridgegate”, scandal? Probably because many think that the reason Gov. Christie vetoed the controversial pig bill that would have prohibited confinement of pigs in small “gestation crate” cages that humane societies have protested it as evidence of “factory farming” is that there’s about 20 million pigs in Iowa, the first presidential caucus state. So in this case, had Governor Christie signed the bill, he would probably be antagonizing with the more ideological, conservative-wing of the Republican party. But by vetoing the bill, he is alienating the Democrats and majority of New Jerseyans. So here is the question. Which is more important: politics or state representation?

President Obama’s Plan for Immigration

A warm message from the President of the United States tonight to the American people–a reaffirmation of the roots with what the United States had been borne and sprouted from. President Obama said that “America is a nation of immigrants.” Indeed, much of American history consisted of immigrants from around the world seeking a better place to live, a place where they have the freedom to worship, freedom to express their feelings, and freedom to pursue their dreams. That is the American Dream. Along with the rising minority-immigrant population, America and its people must learn to accept diversity of culture. Americans must learn to reap the benefits of the endurance and persistence of immigrants.

President Obama addresses that he wants to pursue a bipartisan effort to create a more permanent solution for immigration. However, due to the tenacity of many House of Representatives congressmen, he cannot pursue such approach. Yet he must do something to protect those immigrant families from becoming divided just because one of the parents do not have proper identification or the necessary papers. One has heard too much stories about children like us who have to lose their parents due to their parents’ undocumented status. They are children too. Children who want to learn. Children who work in school. Children who may even be our friends or our neighbors. One has seen the blood-and-sweat that the parents put in everyday, working multiple low-paying jobs, who “don’t even pay a dime to the government,” just to provide their families with a better life.

Those who criticize President Obama’s executive action plan do not realize his point. He is not offering amnesty. Nowhere does his plan delineate “amnesty” or “permanent legalization.” Amnesty is something of Congress’ authority, which he addresses as well. Therefore, detractors, stop claiming this plan as “amnesty.”

Despite those parents who work hard for their families, they still broke America’s immigration laws. As a result, they are not granted immediate protection. President Obama is simply granting them more security of status in the nation so they can continue to provide for their families while feeling more patriotism and confidence in America, possibly start giving back to America. Once they move on the path of legalization, they will eventually be able to pay taxes and perform other necessary American duties. With the 11 million undocumented immigrants eventually paying taxes, America will have 11 million more people to help stave off our astounding deficit.

In the end, President Obama emphasizes:

“America is a nation of immigrants. We were once strangers too.”