April 28, 2015

In Support of Phil

Editor’s Note: The views espoused below or in our blog are those of the writer & not that of the parent organization, the AAA-Fund.

We’ve linked to Angry Asian Man whose proprietor Phil Yu is a tireless, foremost advocate for so many causes in our community, many of which are ours here at the AAA-Fund and its Blogteam both. His leading in publicizing matters, writing credible posts & lending his name & time & energy to our causes is steady, reliable & much appreciated.

Thus when Lela Lee, the founder of Angry Little Asian Girls, threatened to sue Phil due to trademark (don’t say copyright, she’ll get you) infringement, the anger and backlash against her were unleashed. Internet bullying is deployed fully against her, not that I advocate it but namely that she brought it upon herself with her caustic attitude, sharp writing, snide sarcasm, personal attacks, and request to keep everything private.

My 2nd offense is at her attacking. I don’t mean to say the AAPI community has to act as 1 or is 1 happy family, that’s unrealistic and unhealthy, but her attitude is so poor by any measure that it must be called out.

My foremost offense is at her hijacking the community and moniker “Angry Asian” for herself. Who gave her that right? With the same arrogance of lawyer combined with businesswoman, she swoops in to belittle, chastise, and bump off an innocent person? Who said she could exclusively be the only Asian to give emphatic expression? What right does she have to own the whole idea of an angry Asian much less its trademark? But the harm to our community, our cause, no way, such damaging persons cannot be left to do their craft.

The solution is to publicly shame her by simply, innocently, merely re-posting her posts a.k.a. archiving her blog from which she already deleted past items (but nothing online is ever deleted). Her harming the community with her selfish act deserves commensurate action. All our official and unofficial cross-posting partners from 8Asians (excellent letter) to ReAppropriate (excellent coverage always & especially good writing) and FascinAsians and Phil‘s original post and our friend Jeff Yang all agree, Lela Lee is wrong.

DC Mar 25: An evening with Rep. Mark Takai

Asian American Action Fund
cordially invites you to
an evening with Rep. Mark Takai
with delicious food and delightful wine pairings

AAA-Fund kicks off 2015 with an intimate dinner with Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday, March 25th at 6:30p in downtown DC.
Rep. Mark Takai is a 2014 AAA-Fund Endorsee & Honorary Board member & represents Hawaii’s 1st Congressional district. Mark previously represented Hawaii’s 33rd House District in the State legislature 1994-2014 & currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 6:30p-8:30p

RSVP, tickets, info HERE
Queries, email RSVP to Sarah Jeong
Download our event flyer or hit “Attending” on our Facebook Event to spread the word.

Suggested Donations
Individuals: Friend $500 Sponsor $1000 PAC: Silver $2500 Gold $5000

Donations will go to the AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to elect Asian American Democrats and politically activate the Asian American community. The AAA-Fund is a progressive political organization dedicated to empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States.

The AAA-Fund accepts contributions only from individuals using their own personal funds of up to $5000 per calendar year and contributions will be used for federal elections. Under federal law, the AAA-Fund cannot accept contributions from Federal government contractors (note that employeees of federal contractors are free to contribute personal funds), foreign nationals who are not permanent residents; or those making donations using the general treasury funds of corporations, labor organizations, or national banks. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the full name, mailing address, occuption and employer of any individual whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund (www.aaa-fund.org) and authorized by Representative Mark Takai.

Why are Evangelicals Silent about Dead Egyptian Coptic Christians?

beheading Coptic Christians

Let’s jump right in, why are evangelicals silent about the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians? Or for that matter, any of the 1000s of Coptics killed for decades?

Some background, conservative pro-Christian media is usually very fast to promote news that makes evangelicals (that’s not the same as all Christians as they think they’re right & all other Christian sects are wrong, basically) look good. This time, their universe is silent. Here’s why:

  • Egyptians are all Arab and Muslim, right? what’s the difference anyways?
  • They’re dark so they’re not like us. We can’t care.
  • We’re comfortable in suburbia and that’s just too far.
  • Isn’t it normal in that part of the world?
  • Isn’t Libya also bad? Where’s Libya?

Extremist Christians are bad because religious extremism is the root of this whole problem. Using Christian extremism won’t solve the Muslim extremism.

I thought about doing this article as a split column with my reaction on the right, but likely your reactions to the Christians cited above is the same as mine. Explanations would kill the sarcastic joke.

Fresh off “Fresh Off the Boat”

First, why I’m writing about ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” here at the blog of a PAC whose mission is to increase AAPI involvement in US politics. Part of that is educating, identify, outing & resolving race issues in the US whether by political means or others (grassroots, education, public embarrassment, etc.). This show is an important step in that movement, a movement close in heart & action to those of our PAC.

There’re countless eloquent & well-written tributes to the show including

I add my own to the pile.

Constance Wu’s character Jessica Huang steals the show. At last, as the sentiment which underlies Asians Not Brainwashed By Media and this fan of On the Media yours truly is sharply aware, an Asian woman who is a real woman. Not some meaty object of desire, not some caricature, not some shell of a human being, not a moist stereotype, not just a generic “wife and mother” character as America is so apt to love, but a true human being with feelings, complexities, arguments, and growing pains.

Next, the father, wow a man of the house, haven’t we seen a lot of these on tv? Sarcasm, people, and now we add to the slowly growing list of responsible Asian men in American media, always a sore tender point.

And the kids, whoever casts for ABC with their many kids in many shows recently is great & I can only be so proud of them & their parents for raising such fine actors & aware people.

And my immediate reaction: wow, it’s my life on tv. At last, it’s like therapy.

Faith-based Deniers

Science Denial

What’s a term for faith-based psychos like birthers, deniers (climate & interrogation both), anti-vaxxers, truthers, etc.? Their main trait is using personal truth to refute truth. It’s reminiscent of religious folks, especially those I’ve long called GOP Christians who use the flag of Jesus and the US to self-justify personal flaws.

I don’t seek to write some long academic prose about how to carefully define such folks. We’re a blog & no one has that kind of attention span. Plus, peer citations are what those psychos use to justify themselves so peer citations are no assurance against psychos.

What is the most disparaging term for such folks? Comment below. I’ll use this such term in the future to better write against those psychos whose beliefs cause them to vote and be politically involved in ways which endanger our nation, rights & futures.

Out of Control Anger

Officer Rafael Ramos (left) and Wenjian Liu (right) were killed on Saturday in an ambush by a gunman in a Brooklyn neighborhood.

Endless political hate speech ensues. Let’s hope it’s dampened now that more died. All the causes are facing opposite directions compounding out-of-control anger.

Conservatives focus on the fact that both men died while resisting arrest & are responsible for their own demise, the risk to law enforcement by such folks, that blacks are the majority of violent criminals & thus risks to their & others’ well-being as well as an orderly peaceful society.

Liberals focus on how both criminals were victims of excessive law enforcement force, racial profiling and discrimination, blacks in the context of historical misdeeds, and decriminalization of “small” offenses.

Blacks focus on not being represented by 2 petty criminals, being generally hard-working law-abiding citizens, victims of persistent society-wide biases, how the system is gamed against them, and how disrespected they feel at all times.

Anarchists focus on hijacking the cause, openly calling for the execution of police, lionizing anarchistic assassins (including o called “civic” “leaders” advocating killing cops), and turning demonstrations into excuses for violence.

AAPIs focus on not being hijacked then overwritten for another’s cause, emphasizing safe communities (not anarchies), and educating each other about AAPI cases of police brutality.

Some are not for justice, they’re for hell on earth. Where are the sensible people? The overheated (hopelessly full of emotion) inane (excessively idiotic) discussion avoids the rational, intelligent & productive debate which a such thorny, ingrained controversy requires. Hope no more die in these so-called causes.

Tammy & Bryan welcome Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey

Editor’s Note: Duckworth is a 2-time AAA-Fund Endorsed Candidate.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. (H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

We congratulate Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey! Their statement:

My husband Bryan and I are thrilled to announce that we are the proud parents of a baby girl. Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey was born on November 18. Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name. We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives.”

More at HuffPo.

After the 2014 Elections: Event Report

Editor’s Note: We report on our event “” (Facebook Events) which we publicized extensively on our Facebook, Twitter & here.

Asian American Action Fund, Post-Election 2014 event

While the main thought on everyone’s mind in D.C. after the November 2014 election was how Democrats will cope with such massive losses, exit polls gathered by different organizations raised a different issue: the AAPI vote was slowly heading towards the Republican party. The AAA-Fund’s Young Professionals Initiative focused on exploring the reality of this conclusion. With over 70 people in attendance and a great panel, which included consultants and policy experts, the evening’s discussion spoke to issues of AAPI electability, voter turnout, and the engagement of the community in the elections. Panelists include: Joon Kim (New Partners) (@joonkim0123), Carrie Pugh (NEA) (@Carriepugh), Alissa Ko (Ready for Hillary) (@aliko03), and Raghu Devaguptapu (Adelstein Liston) (@DevaRags).

Event organizers also reminded the audience of the AAA-Fund’s work, as well as its young professional organizing efforts.

Plans were announced to host a Young Professionals Initiative planning meeting in December to further the AAA-Fund’s YP efforts and start planning events for the new year.

A huge thanks to all AAA-Fund Board members who made the event possible, the panelists, and Local 16 for providing a great space!

Post-Mortem #42

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Dale Edmondson last wrote “Why Do Both Parties Fare so Badly with the Public?” for us during the election.

A few observations (ok, maybe a bit obvious, but still an attempt to get beyond a Jim Carey in Ace Ventura II scream of “Yeeuuukkkkk”)

  1. Running against something rather than for something wins but lacks staying power. For quite a few cycles, elections seem characterized (oversimplistically but with some validity) as not a mandate for one, but rather a repudiation of the other. This election smacks of that. Rs don’t seem to have won because of a strong message on a widely approved policy agenda (by and large they didn’t offer one) but by running against the perceived status quo. Ds have done the same. That certainly wins elections. But it doesn’t give staying power – especially since the winner of last round becomes, in the public mind, the status quo. In this context, all victories look temporary, and lasting change proves elusive. Still…
  2. Running against something still beats running without any real message. In 2010 and 2014, Ds seemed not to stand for that much. They did not tout what accomplishments they had (possibly because their accomplishments don’t look that great when things overall remained unfixed). Instead they kind of cringed, didn’t really defend their work, didn’t really articulate why they were better alternatives, and hoped not to get slammed too much by the oncoming tide. There were reasons for this, but we saw how it worked out. In a lot of ways they’ve been seen as running not to lose (and when you play to not lose, too often, you do. Rather than offering a vision or a grand purpose, all they had was a “that guy is worse” narrative – one which they often didn’t even press very effectively (eg Braley). And when they did,
  3. “Even if you don’t like me, the other guy is worse” can work but has limits. Kay Hagan did about the best with this strategy and nearly pulled it out in a less blue state than CO or IA. But it only takes you so far, especially against an angry electorate that may feel that, Groundhog-day style, anything different is good, and has as its default “throw da bums out.” The negative approach has been disfavored at least in part out of fears of depressing turnout, and though it may be the best option (given that elections are in truth a choice between candidates far more so than anything else), it hardly inspires. On top of that..
  4. Ds can’t reliably count on Rs to scare away the center. For the last few cycles, Rs have shifted so far right as to frighten everyone not only conservative, but extremely conservative. That’s provided Ds a refuge of sorts, and an excuse not to really change their own side too much. Rs, however, saw this, and responded. With the arguable exception of Ernst (who won anyway given the tide, but by less and with a weaker opponent), the worst of teabaggery was harder to see. Whether newly reformed non-extremists like Gardner have moved to the center in truth (which would be a very good thing for a country that desperately needs a reasoned, compromising, more moderate while still right-side Republican option, but would also be a complication for Ds electorally) or whether their facial moderation was a smokescreen remains to be seen. But for election purposes, they succeeded in being seen as at least plausible/non-scary alternatives to the status quo. Which highlights the underlying problem that…
  5. When things suck, voters don’t seem to much care why. Here, the R attacks on things not being good resonated at least in part because they’re true. Things aren’t good for most people. Wages are falling, employment is low, the list goes on. Of course, the Rs offer little that shows promise of actually making things better, and show every sign of making things worse, as they did the last time they held power. But voters don’t seem to look that deeply. The Rs’ comparative lack of ways to do better, much less ways that have not been tried and failed before, didn’t seem to matter that much – at least, not to those who voted. Which underscores that
  6. Who shows up, wins – and Ds too often don’t. Turnout was down yet again. Maybe part of that is dispiritedness of the base due to scandals, lack of transformative change etc. Or maybe part is generally lower rates of participation -on average years. Regardless, Ds still haven’t found a way to crack this. That leaves Ds in a horrible place (although they did manage to do differently in 06). It also leaves decisions made by an increasingly small fraction of the electorate. (Of course that, compromises the force of any general themes directed at general voting public, including the ones here- but that’s a separate point). It’s hard to say democracy itself is failing when it’s voters’ own choices not to show up at all, and it’s hard to complain about something one has the power to fix but does not. Still, self-inflicted wound though it may be, the situation is a wound for the country, and one that results in decision-making that does not reflect the wills of most of the people. However,
  7. Low turnouts also highlight the prospect for change. Given how depressed turnout seems to be, it would take a correspondingly small shift in voter mobilization to dramatically swing outcomes. That would require shifts in individual desires to make such a change, as well as increased feeling that change would even matter or that either candidate is worth supporting. Such things may be daunting tasks, especially in an overall climate of disappointment on all sides and dislike of the other side being a prime motivator. Shifts like that do remain possible if the underlying factors prompting apathy can be addressed, and should be considered among the many other elements going into what to do next.

– Dale Edmondson

Last Weekend in VA, NC, CA

Proect the Vote Virginia This weekend is the last before the Tuesday election. If you’re reading, here’s what you can do this weekend. The stakes are high as, frankly, all the important races for us (Bera, Honda, Takai) are all within the margin of error or possible losses.

  1. Phone bank, canvass – either virtual (from home) or in person phone banking for critical Senatorial candidates like Kay Hagan of North Carolina (contact Jamie Maniscalco to volunteer) or Asian Pacific American candidates like our friends Mike Honda, Ami Bera, and Mark Takai. This phone banking is strictly for GOTV not for fundraising. Canvassing for critical VA races like John Foust in Virginia (contact Emil Trinidad to volunteer) or Kay Hagan in NC (closest key Senate race within driving distance). If interested in the APA candidates, contact Jian Zapata to volunteer.
  2. Protect the vote In VA: for my fellow lawyers, you could be especially helpful here but no need to be an attorney to do this. See training and details below from (contact Georgina to volunteer) and contact her above if you are interested. Also for more info on this, our resident expert since she has been leading several protect the vote efforts over the years is Erika Moritsugu.
  3. Protect the vote in VA for limited English proficient populations: for my bilingual speakers, you can help answer the voter hotline. No need to be a lawyer for this. Spanish speakers are especially needed and some Asian languages. Contact Georgina to volunteer.

For those of you who have helped in prior campaigns, you know the good feeling the day after the election knowing that we did all we could to fight for the candidates whose values and policies we support or that we protected the fundamental right of our fellow citizens to vote.

Find a way to use your weekend better!