Category Archives: Politics

Picture of the Day

Basim Elkarra at DNC 2012

“This picture was taken during Representative Wexler’s (pro) Israel, anti-Iran speech, I stood up & waived a peace sign & yelled we want peace now. Received lots of love from fellow Democrats” -My friend and community member, Basim Elkarra

San Francisco Elections – My Who, What & Why Votes!

I always get excited when I receive my absentee ballot in the mail! This years ballot for the City of San Francisco is quite intersting that I can’t pick just one or two initiatives to write about as I usually do. From the intense mayoral race to some of these propositions, it’s certainly an interesting election this year for San Francisco! This year is also the first year San Francisco is going on a ranking voting system similar to what Oakland used during it’s last election. You don’t have to vote for a 2nd or 3rd choice but it is recommended when we have so many candidates running in the same race.

Regardless of your thoughts, political party or voting decision, I urge you to go out and VOTE this November!! Seriously, if you aren’t going to vote, keep your mouth shut! Don’t complain, don’t whine and don’t wish for things to happen in your local community if you are not going to take the most basic initiative towards making a change! We need to remind ourselves of how many people have struggled and died for us to have this right today and those who are continuing the fight for this same right everywhere else across the globe.

San Francisco Mayor
1st Choice: Leland Yee
2nd Choice: David Chiu
3rd Choice: John Avalos

Since Gavin Newsom has left his mayoral seat, things have changed. A new leadership is needed to not only bring this city back up but to help usher in some major improvements. With that said, I’m confident in Leland Yee‘s expertise and commitment to the city he has served for over 20 years. I know he doesn’t have the most perfect political history but it takes a strong candidate to admit when he’s made bad calls and good calls. Yee is one of those candidates. Its also very rare to have someone who has been raised in San Francisco and serve it politically for as long as Yee has.

I’m also choosing David Chiu and John Avalos as my 2nd and 3rd choice respectively based on their work in the city in the last few years as well as their clean and positive campaigning. All three candidates support the Occupy San Francisco movement unlike Mayor Ed Lee who’s response isn’t helping his mayoral bid one bit.

San Francisco Sheriff
1st Choice: Ross Mirkarimi
2nd Choice: Paul Miyamota
3rd Choice: Chris Cunnie

Ross Mirkarimi gets my vote with his experience and decent work history as a San Francisco supervisor. Miyamota and Cunnie have my 2nd and 3rd choice respectively for their experience as well.

San Francisco District Attorney
1st Choice: Sharmin Bock

Does George Gascon really think he has a chance after his failed SFPD Chief tenure? I don’t know much about the other candidates to decide on a 2nd and 3rd choice but Sharmin Bock‘s work in Alameda is what’s encouraging my vote.

Proposition A – School Bonds

As someone who has attended San Francisco public schools from kindergarten through high school, I know what it is like to be in a good functioning campus and to be in one that isn’t. By the time I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, the renovations that took place throughout my time there was complete. The campus looked and felt beautiful that I was actually envious of those enjoying it. Public schools are losing students in large part due to low enrollment, budget cuts to programs, large classrooms and parents taking their children out of what they feel is a failing public school system.

With that said, I vote NO on this proposition because  this is the third time this proposition has been put forth after it was passed the first two times in 2003 and 2006! I’m assuming little was done with it those funds thus finding this proposition unnecessary. Funds can be brought forth through the rental of the many empty facilities currently in the city. I believe there is at least five to ten facilities available for rent, not including those for sale, including two right here in my district. Plus, the ridiculous salaries some of these administrators get versus what the teachers who are barely making it could use a revision.

Proposition B – Road Repaving and Street Safety Bonds

This proposition is decently drafted to help bring continued improvement throughout the city. It’s a long term investment in city improvements and local job creation without raising taxes. My neighborhood was recently repaved, alongside new medians, pothole fixes and greenery which has made it simply beautiful. I feel a YES will help bring these same improvements to all of San Francisco.

Proposition C – City Pension and Health Care Benefits
Proposition D – City Pension Benefits

Personally, the unions have drained many cities across this nation including San Francisco with some of these ridiculously drafted pension plans. Many of these city employees are making a lot of money and being paid almost as much after they’ve left or retired from their jobs with very little contribution towards their pensions. Remember Bell City a couple years back? I’m all for a good pension and health care plan for our hard working employees but it shouldn’t continuously raise my taxes to cover these costs and put my city in debt.

Proposition C was drafted poorly by Mayor Ed Lee and approved to be on the ballot unanimously by the Board of Supervisors… bad move! While Proposition D was being drafted by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Lee went ahead and made a deal with a few unions to exempt them from these changes should Proposition D pass over C… terrible move!

In my opinion, Proposition D is better drafted, better suited and will save the city a good $70-$80 million in the next fiscal year versus Proposition C which would only save the city approximately$40-$50 million. Proposition C gets a NO and Proposition D gets a YES from me.

Proposition E – Amending or Repealing Legislative Initiative Ordinances and Declarations of Policy

Dear Board of Supervisors, Don’t amend my vote! Should think twice about any initiative before you place it on the ballot just like the citizens do before they go out gathering signatures for theirs. Voting NO!

Proposition F – Campaign Consultant Ordinance

This law is not only stupid to begin with but this proposition doesn’t help make it any better… NO.

Proposition G – Sales Tax

Ummm… NO! The city already pays an arm and a leg for many of these community policing and safety programs to feel the need to increase my taxes to continue funding for them!

Proposition H – School District Student Assignment

When I was in middle school, my family moved from the Mission district to the Sunset district. I ended up going to three different middle schools because of SFUSD’s odd placement policies. It’s completely absurd and messed up to this day. My younger siblings didn’t get to go to the same high school as I did due to those same ridiculous placement and waiting list policies. I think the whole thing needs to be rewritten but I’m voting YES so that in the mean time, this will help the students in the next school year.

Absentee ballot sealed and sent! Your thoughts are welcomed.

OBL Dead… Justice Served?

Last night it was announced by President Obama that Osama bin Laden (OBL) was killed via a secret CIA mission. He got a bullet to the head, washed up and buried at sea. As I watched the people gather at the White House to rejoice over the news, I was a bit disturb.

Was justice served?

The president in his statement reminded us of the 3,000 plus lives lost on September 11, 2001 which was supposedly masterminded by OBL. He forgot to mention that many of them were not just Americans but individuals from around the world. I remind you that the majority of casualties died at the World Trade Center where several organizations from around the world were located.

He also reminded us that in response to this attack, we’ve lost many young men and women in uniform while many more are now learning to live with their injuries. May I remind you that many in the military now, including those who’ve lost their lives in the battle, may have been too young to remember this attack.

While our president mentioned that OBL was a mass murder who killed many citizens including Muslims. He forgot to mention that in response to this mass murderer, without the support of many in the world, the US went has been in longest running double war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This response murdered more citizens then OBL did in his lifetime. Theses wars has made several million people refugees who may or may not be able to one day return to their homes.

And since a person’s life may not be as valuable to all of us, the US has spent over $1.5 trillion dollars in this nine year long game of hide and seek.

May I remind you that the only beneficiary of these wars continue to be the oil companies that keep raising prices and companies with US military contracts such as Halliburton? You know, that one fat company owned by our previous fat VP?! Yea, that one!

Personally, I would have rather OBL be caught alive and tried for crimes against humanity… at least then, maybe this whole thing would be a bit more believable. I know many of us welcome the news but also wonder it came at a time when the people of the Middle East have risen loud and proud against their oppressors… Just saying!

Violence always begets violence, so let’s pray this news does not bring forth any OBL wanna-be’s. Let’s also pray this doesn’t bring forth any violent or hate responses as we’ve already got word of such thing happening against a mosque in Portland, Maine.

In the meantime, I’ll believe that justice was served when the president’s next statement is that we are FINALLY going to get out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq… I’m pushing it, right?

FREE AL-MOLOUHY NOW!!

In 2009, Syrian government arrested 17 year old Tal Al-Molouhy for posting “anti-government” sentiments on her blog. Later she was charged for spying for the USA for a post where she asks US President Barack Obama to do more in support of the Palestinean cause.

Today, now 19 years old, Al-Molouhy was taken to court in blindfolded and in chains to receive a 5 year sentence.

This is NOT acceptable!! Please sign this online petition to help voice your solidarity with Al-Molouhy and demand her release!

More information on Al-Molouhy’s case will be posted here as well as via Twitter.

Sources: Reuters Africa

Contagious Jasmine Revolution – ثورة الياسمين المعدية

Contagious Jasmine Revolution
ثورة الياسمين المعدية
By: Ms. Hala

 

It started with one youngMohamed ElBouazizi of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia man. Mohamed ElBouazizi.

It started with one town. Sidi Bouzid.

It started with one nation. Tunisia.

It started with one day. December 17, 2010.

Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, was an unemployed college graduate. With limited prospects for employment of any kind, he took what he had and bought a fruit cart. It was his only source of income. However, the police was not so understanding when they either fined him due to permits or requested a bribe he couldn’t afford (conflicting reports), they also humiliated him. His cart was confiscated, destroyed before his eyes and in front of his humble customers. When following procedures in making a government complaint went to no avail, ElBouazizi was not able to bare it all. Not knowing simply what to do, ElBouazizi self immolated himself in Sidi Bouzid’s public on December 17, 2010.

ElBouazizi died January 3, 2011.

Tunisia, a tightly run police state in North Africa, has had the same president for almost 25 years. Zine ElAbidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali – who’s first name ironically translates to “the best of the worshipers” – was the nation’s only second president since it’s independence from France. Like other neighboring Arab nations, it’s a given that once one obtains power, they stayed in power for life. Their family & friends reap the benefits while the people struggle to obtain simple basic needs.

After Bouazizi’s self immolation, many of the Tunisian youth asked themselves, “how much longer can they live with such humiliation? When was enough enough?”

Tunisian Fist c/o unknownAnd the Jasmine Revolution begins.

Before long, Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks were ablaze with the young people organizing to have their voices heard. They, alongside their elder and younger generations, took to the streets chanting, striking and doing whatever it took to have their voices amplified. Despite the lack of journalistic broadcasts of their demands for their inherited rights and freedom, their voices did not go on deaf ears.

It took 29 days, clashes with police, enforced curfews and support for the world over before Ben Ali finally “understood” and fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Today, there is an Interpol warrant out for his and his family’s arrest for courroption, theft and crimes against humanity. Protests remain to ensure that Ben Ali’s dictatorship does not continue through his circle still holding on to their government seats.

Before ElBouazizi, there was Khaled Said.

c/o www.elshaheed.co.uk

Said, a 28 year old young man of Alexandria, Egypt, was brutally killed by police in public for unknown reasons (conflicting reports have stated that it was either due to Said posting a video online of these same police offices in a corrupt deal after a drug sting or that he defended such an individual these officers were after). Eye witnesses and individuals who tried to intervene state that the police men dragged Said into a residential building lobby where they brutally beat him. Even as he begged them for mercy, the officers banged Said’s head several times against concrete steps, walls & floor of the building. A very graphic picture of Said after the incident can be found here.

Said died on June 6, 2010.

After the story spread across the nation via social mediablogs and the people’s uproar of the well known and feared police’s treatment of Egyptian citizens, authorities finally issued for an investigation of the policemen to take place. They were only charged with unlawful arrest & use of excessive force.

60 percent of Egypt’s population, like Said, are under the age of 35 and have only known one president, Hosni Mubarak. After President Anwar ElSadat’s assassination in 1981, Mubarak was sworn into office. Since then, Egypt has seen a rise in unemployment (now around 45%), extensive censorships and many living on survival mode as poverty reached the millions.

Since his swearing in 1981, Mubarak has put Egypt under an extended emergency law. Under this law persecutions, tortures, beatings, jailing without trail and/or of being taken “وراء الشمس” (“behind the sun” is what Egyptians refer to when one is arrested for unknown reasons and never seen again) was allowed; and the nation lived in fear.

After Said’s death, much of the Egyptian youth asked themselves, “how much longer can we live in such fear? When is enough enough?”

With a few unsuccessful protests, other forms of protests via the internet took place since. The story of ElBouazizi made it beyond the Tunisian borders. The young people of the Arab world watched Tunisia in amazement, mainly via social media, and took notes. (See “Thank You Tunisia” for images)

Ben Ali fled Tunisia on January 14, 2011.

Egyptian Voice c/o unknown

Social media networks were already ablaze with young people of Egypt organizing to have their voices heard as well. A “Day of Rage” was organized to take place on Egypt’s National Police Day for them, alongside their elder and younger generations, take to the streets and do whatever it takes to have their voices as amplified as those of Tunisia’s own.

Egypt was diagnosed with the Jasmine Revolution on January 25, 2011. The rest is history being written.

Egypt’s Day of Rage – يوم الغضب في مصر

Egypt’s Day of Rage
يوم الغضب في مصر
By: Ms. Hala

 

UPDATED 27 Jan 2011: Egyptian authorities are threatening to block social media during the planned Million March on Friday. If you are in Egypt and are block, I ask that you email your tweets, pictures and videos to <hala.abdoun@gmail.com> or to other Egyptians outside of Egypt so that information is sent out in real time! I can also be reached via BBM (if it’s not blocked) using pin 22FAF461.

UPDATED 26 Jan 2011: I’ve set up a Showcase of Digital Solidarity with THE REVOLUTION event on Facebook to showcase our support to the massive marches that will be taking place this Friday (January 28th). I’ve also set up a Twitter List to follow on those tweeting the latest with the Arab Revolution. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, both links public where you can be added, share it, repost it and retweet it!! If you are on the grounds in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon or elsewhere where a march is being organized, please msg me here or on Twitter.

Check below for updated videos and pictures…

In Egypt today, January 25th, (and ironically a national Police Day holiday) became the people’s Day of Rage. Egyptians took to the streets their rage and frustrations with President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year reign, his regime’s curroption and the governments lack of any relation to the people. This was of course an encouraged inspiration after the successful uprising that took place in Tunisia on January 14th bringing down the 23 year reign of Zeen ElAbideen Ben Ali.

Below are some links, videos and pictures of Egypt’s Day of Rage and will continuously be updated here and via Twitter.

They may have blocked it from the media, the internet and cell phones, but they can’t block the people’s voices!! HAVE A VOICE!! With pride and solidarity for my people of Egypt… it’s about time!!

Protest in Pictures, courtesy of Youm7.com

Day of Rage Timeline, courtesy the Huffington Post

Latest Breaking News on Egypt Protests, courtesy of BreakingNews.com

 

 

to continuously be updated…

A Public Letter to the State of Oklahoma

Dear State of Oklahoma,

Let me start off my sending you my congratulations on electing Mary Fallin, your first female governor who believed she’s more experienced then her opponent because she had children. Good luck with that one!

Now, as a Muslim American, I find it extremely laughable (as well as offensive) that you had a proposition in your ballot to prevent judges from using Islamic Law as well as not recognizing other international laws. I’m no law expert but if I remember correctly, the entire United States never has resorted to enforcing Islamic Law (aka Sharia). Even many “Muslim” countries don’t base their legal system on Islamic Law. What the United States has done however is giving everyone the freedom to practice their religion freely… you know, the First Amendment, freedom of speech, religion, press, etc. So, I’m a bit confused as to what your whole basis of this proposition was from the beginning.

I personally think that you are just that ignorant and arrogant about Muslims to have such a proposition in your ballot. Do you even know how many Muslim Americans you have living in your state? No…? I figured so I’ll tell you. You have about 25,000 Muslim Americans living in your state. FYI, you have a population of over 3 MILLION. Again, that’s 25,000 out of 3,450,654.

Now let’s put everything in perspective here… because you’re ignorant and arrogant about the Muslims in your state, you have now messed up how you’ll handle international business contracts, honoring marriages/divorces that happened out of the country and not recognizing international human rights agreements. That last one bothers me but then again you wouldn’t care… you just want to make sure those “mozlems” don’t make you follow that damned Sharia law in your state, right? Right.

I’m just glad as a “mozlem” that CAIR had something to say about it. Good luck with that one!

Not Yours,

Ms. Hala

UPDATE: CAIR did something about it! As of this week, a federal judge has blocked the ban against Islamic Law due to it being unconstitutional. Read more from the Huffington Post and Yahoo! News. Oklahoma, good luck with that one!