A Dictator’s Last Straw in Review

Lets review the definition of a “Dictator”, A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship is a state ruled by one dictator or by a small clique. The word originated as the title of a magistrate in the Roman Republic appointed by the Senate to rule the republic in times of emergency. Wikipedia

For intents and purposes of authoritarian regimes, their Presidents and Prime Ministers overthrows their respective Senates and congress by way of arresting them. Unlike in the United States, there are 3 co-equal branches of government hence is why it is called a democratic United States of America.

Some of the most well-known dictators in history include Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il and Adolf Hitler. One thing all these dictators have in common is that they were able to maintain political power by using violence and propaganda. Dictators often manufacture an external threat in order to gain control over the state and appear as the people’s only salvation. For example, Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany’s problems and justified his actions during the Holocaust by using propaganda aimed at vilifying the Jews. Dictators also use their leadership skills to persuade the masses to believe their agendas. They use censorship to control the flow of information so as to maintain power. Dictators who remain in power usually do so until they are killed or removed through violent opposition.

Dictators use quite a bit of psychological sway to attract the attention of voters. They offer messages of hope and strength during hard times, and emerge confident and hopeful. Some may even create instances mail in voting fraud that does not exist so it is something for us to really be able to be vigilant to see such signs

In 1986, right before the The Philippines EDSA Revolution, Ferdinand Marcos and his family stood in the balcony of the Malacanang Palace waiving and declaring victory a rig and suppress election looking below his supporters with flags and chants. Two days after Filipinos storm the palace for a revolution while the first family fled into exile into Honolulu, Hawaii, Such was that glorious historically scene as the last stand holding to power reminisce of Imelda’s 5,000 pairs of shoe’s and the balcony to Evita Peron’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” days.

This is one one the most consequential times that has come fort in the history in the United States of America. As a Asian disabled minority of color, son of a United Stated World War II US Army World II Veteran, grand son of a World War I Veteran we need to vote America.

Alex Esguerra.

Racism and Equality Continued

San Francisco’s Market street tonight around 9 pm towards 10th St is chilly, quiet and calm. Walking by to stop by an ATM machine 2 blocks out I passed by about 6 people signifying it’s a quiet night. As I tried to grasp air on my face mask trying to scratch my nose over it, 3 of the 6 people I passed by were millennial white guys who look very fit and healthy. The only observation I notice was these men did not have even a sign that they had a face mask. The city for a while and the state a day ago has mandated facial coverings to be worn outside. I had to mentioned this as this wasn’t the first time in maybe the last week I’ve seen such guys who do not wear mask. Compared to Caucasian women I haven’t seen a single women who walked by me that did not have a face mask. They were all compliant as well as from Asians, Latino’s and Europeans that are seen walking on the same street. Even the homeless African american guys had some kind of face coverings from a bandanna, surgical mask or even a torn t-shirt. I started with this thought not to make a fuzz but to connect my train of thought today. Watching CNN news talking about the President’s executive order on protecting monuments, being on Mount Rushmore tomorrow to celebrate July 4 while I tried my brief pauses reading, https://affordablebookdeals.com/products/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-for-white-people-to-talk-about-racism

The book talks a lot about distinctions caused by racism itself. Robin Di Angelo talks about prejudices between whites and people of color. I completely agree that people of color have prejudices even tendencies or racism and also discriminating. But it is fact that since people of color are minorities in the positions of power and authority it lacks the social capacity and influence. A good example is culture and economics. My parents came from opposite equations of society, My father’s family came from a low income working class while my mother’s family and descendants were affluent and privilege from Spain. My parents brought me up well in a middle class setting. However, while I was growing up I was able to compare both sides of the families. In developing countries like the Philippines the societal division is a big gap between the rich and poor. The so called political dynasties prevail for centuries coupled with systemic corruption for one. As many would say, the ideology will never changed. The point I’m trying to make is the rich and politicians are forever in power and in positions of authority which is why I said the ideology, the culture and even the economics will never changed.

It is true that a lot of white people may not even know that at times they can be prejudicial and the like. As a person of color to this day I still get the question of “Where Am I From”. I don’t get as offended nowadays but the fact is that 97% of the time it will be a Caucasian guy that would ask me the question. There are times it would even be right when he starts a question for a job interview. There are many facets of correlation on this question alone. An example would be if your an immigrant of color who considers America as home for decades and you get ask this question, some would even feel conscious thinking it must be that they have an accent hence the question was asked during a job interview. What I’m trying to say is a simple question can insinuate a lot of thinking for a person of color. Likewise, will this question be a usual common question asked if the person being interviewed was white? I don’t believe so hence. What I’ve done after sometime when this question arises is I would respond, “Why do ask? there was a time I even continued, “Why is it important?…This is what the author meant that we people of color most of the time does not give feedback and just hide our feelings even if were offended of the action like with this question.

Having had a black president was a start but 8 years is not enough. What needs to happen is that in both the public and private sectors to the non-profits to sports, music and entertainment industries people of color needs to be assign or elected in positions of authority and policy making. White dominance thinking is rooted as being majority in society. This is the fact to start the long road to equality and race.

The Effective Execution of Making the Right Decisions Today

51MQqw2ffHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ The Effective Executive  I reference this book amidst starting this blog. As of this writing, Governor Gavin Newsom of California has now place a shelter in place order for the entire state of California. Gavin whom I personally remember back then as the first of Mayor of San Francisco who issued the first licenses in San Francisco for gay marriages. He was the first public official that took this drastic move and also the first hated one then. Decades after now recently elected as Governor of California, the prime example as exampled in this book, The Effective Executive. Added to this a week ago when San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed decisive action to enact this Shelter in place order first in the city of San Francisco.

Here lies examples of taking the bold steps, listening to the experts, standing at the models and numbers and artificial intelligence data scenarios.  Reading the online article from The Atlantic on March 3, 2020, The Coronavirus Is No 1918 Pandemic  

It’s been ages I left and told myself to stay away from being involved in public services but at times I can’t help it. I’m amaze how the differences between the global response to the Great Flu Pandemic and today’s COVID-19 outbreak could not be more striking. This article I quote, ” That year, as pandemic influenza ravaged communities as diverse as California and Kolkata, no one knew what was killing them. Theories abounded. Some suggested it was a misalignment of the planets. (That’s what gave us the name influenza, from the Italian word for “influence.”) Others believed the cause was tainted Russian oats, or volcanic eruptions. Microbiologists focused on a bacterium they had discovered decades earlier in the lungs of influenza victims, and called it Bacillus influenza. But they had merely recognized a bacterium that invades lungs already weakened from influenza. Not until 1933 did two British scientists demonstrate that the cause must be a new class of disease, which today we call viruses. Finally, in 1940, the newly invented electron microscope took a picture of the influenza virus, and for the first time in history we could not only name, but also see, the culprit”.

This is why I started commending the efforts of the Governor and Mayor based on this history notwithstanding waiting for federal government’s leadership.  We also have another class of drugs available today: antivirals, which directly target the virus responsible for a disease. However coronavirus still has no vaccine or anti-viral as of today with challenges on testing and protective gears. The FDA announced today drugs on clinical trials such as those use for Malaria but then again time is the essence and this pandemic infection and death toll numbers go up daily and hours.

Today we understand the importance of infection control and the need to isolate patients to prevent cross contamination. This is why such drastic measures on social distancing and shelter in place has been pioneered in the bay area and now California. In this onset of no anti-viral and vaccine, all you can do is what everyone uses” flattened the curve”. In common lay men term mainly to stop the spread and infection by isolating and prevent the influx of patients to hospitals resulting to no beds to treat patients.

As I write this blog at this moment and time all we can do better as we wait for the epidemic to abate, social distancing, hand-washing, covering our mouths when we cough, and staying home when we are sick are all important, low-tech measures that we can take to reduce the chances of spreading the infection—and the fear that increases its damage.

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A cure, vaccine or anti-viral will come and most likely sooner due to our great scientist and technological advancement. At times, spirituality and hope has to be between us as we come together as a nation.

God Bless.


The Last Straw in Avoiding Indictments

60 hours from now the mid term elections of 2018 concludes in the United States.

Not only this is the most expensive mid terms in decades, it has surpassed the initial number of voters that had already voted compared to recent years. it’s predominant that independents turn Democrat’s and the youth ages 18 to 21 had the most numbers ever seen for the first time. In past years both these categories would simply not vote.

As we recall history no incumbent President had enormously campaigned as much as President Trump. This is because no incumbent’s party in the past had won The majority in Congress. This non traditional president as reported will try to overturn history as he tirelessly campaigned till the day of the elections.

By that time, it could be 70% of the votes has been cast. But is it really about changing history or it’s a strategy in avoiding what lies ahead in terms of investigations in the 2016 Presidential elections. What lies beneath the conclusion of the Special Counsel investigations awaits the fate of this President.

It’s not a question anymore that Democrats will will the House of Representatives. Whether they win or not the Senate, the turn to completely stop the non democratic acts of this President is inevitable. If they do win the Senate, the days of this future lame duck President is doomed.

This will be the time that how much great a businessman President is with no traditional political experience, gets to realized the actual realities of politics.

There are such fates in politics and the baggage that it carries that if you don’t have the experience to swim on it, you can’t simply say, “I will deal with it”. I’m sorry it will take the turn and deal with you instead.

As we await the conclusion of this mid term elections, let us reflect as a country of what is really needed in our daily lives. Is it Immigration or the Economy or is it having a paycheck increase on our hourly wage and really getting affordable healthcare as the paycheck deductions on medical, vision and dental is already 30% of that check which we could have used to buy food on our table.Fear Trump in the White House

Fear Trump in the White House

GPDR and the Global Marketplace Change

51IBBUk4xWL._SX382_BO1_204_203_200_6483aedd-4177-43d5-bac7-f3880dbd01eeToday, May 25, 2018 marks the implementation of the The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  After four years of preparation and debate the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. Enforcement date: 25 May 2018 – at which time those organizations in non-compliance may face heavy fines.

At the same, I happened to see The Anti-Corruption Handbook on our Rare Business Book Section. This book written by William P. Olsen in 2010 touches then on the provisions of the Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA). The book gives an overview of reducing risk through technology and intellectual property theft. Chapter 11 is all about Document Retention. It discusses The value of stored date back then when  computers were becoming heavy on retaining information, backing them up and storing them. Hence, companies have then incorporated these are part of their intellectual properties.

Such intellectual properties which included personal information of website visitors and such may or may not be privileged information. With this new EU GDPR, The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. The key articles of the GDPR, as well as information on its business impact, can be found throughout the GDPR site.

A big change on this new law centers on “Consent”.
The conditions for consent have been strengthened, and companies will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese, as the request for consent must be given in an intelligible and easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent. Consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.​

Right to Access
Part of the expanded rights of data subjects outlined by the GDPR is the right for data subjects to obtain from the data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. Further, the controller shall provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. This change is a dramatic shift to data transparency and empowerment of data subjects.

So as an example, any website that transacts business with the EU must also post a Cookie Policy access and consent for example beginning today, May 25, 2018.  With the onset of mobile technology today as well as shared information over the web, a lot of times personal information is accessible without our knowledge. With this new law, it is expected to create the formation of relevant regulations also in the United States and the rest of the global marketplace’s day to day transactions.

If your in this global marketplace doing business with the EU, you need to mae sure your in compliance as the penalties are very steep.  “Penalties
Under GDPR organizations in breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). This is the maximum fine that can be imposed for the most serious infringements e.g.not having sufficient customer consent to process data or violating the core of Privacy by Design concepts. There is a tiered approach to fines e.g. a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order (article 28), not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment. It is important to note that these rules apply to both controllers and processors — meaning ‘clouds’ will not be exempt from GDPR enforcement” quoted from EGDPR.org

Alex Esguerra

ADLE International

Innovation and Tech Diplomacy

While listening through some of the speeches on the Rise of Techplomacy, it reminded me of the initial policy deliberations in 1996 while forming the then APEC Young Entrepreneurs Assn in line during the APEC ministerial meetings where we represented the Youth and Young Entrepreneurs in the Business Advisory Council.

At that time we talked about Innovation Centers for Young Entrepreneurs venturing then with the internet and it’s future. We wanted to develop a mechanism of sharing information and research which will benefit future business leaders.

Two decades after at the onset of the Millennium Age driven tech and business leaders, I’m amazed that the innovative Swiss and Expats in the Bay Area talks about Techplomacy. On the speakers dialogues explained the existence of the foreign consulates initiatives outside the typical passports and the like towards gearing focus on Techplomacy new research and innovations.

With our own branded websites at ADLE International for example were making sure we are in compliance with the EU Cookie policy. We have also seen the social media traffic fluctuations we got right after the recent Cambridge Analytica case scrutinized affecting online interactions.

I guess part of the Techplomacy involves also the discussions on Privacy as it affects diplomacy especially as this specific case involved a national election. Personally. I’m happy that this era has trended as I thought our initial discussions then in 1996 died through these years. However in today’s mobile news I believe I’m sort of still in touch if ever there’s something relative to the topic. After all these are the topics I’ve advocate through my young entrepreneur years then.

Even back then although we give a general consent when we give our personal data to then pledging internet companies, before its shared to a 3rd party for whatever purpose there should be another disclosure or consent before implementation. So for our websites for example like Affordable Book Deals the best is not to share any information outside of us and neither do we retain any information. Our merchant processors have to go through their extensive PCI compliance and their secured gateways channel any credit card information so it’s no where recorded in our websites.

Kudos to the efforts of this cause on Techplomacy as we watch the next steps in this evolution.

Dreams from My Father – A Revisit

51FOmnPzYmL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_  Dreams from My Father

I happened to see this book at the bookshelf corner while looking for the last copy of 2017-01-19 17.54.13Russian Roulette

During President Obama’s last few years in office, his book Dreams of My Father was an all time Bestseller deficting his growing up years in Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaii. It was the same time when then candidate Trump started his campaign about Obama not being an American. The question of citizenship kept popping up from this candidate throughout.

Through his book, Obama explores his heritage as a Black American and what it means to his life up to maintaining his heritage and yet be equal to everyone when he become President in 2008. Obama’s legacy as the first minority non caucasian President was a turning point of history.  Till this day, some people still try to question it happened hence is also part of the contention why America will take a while to even elect a Woman Madame President.

Obama’s journey from happy, race-less boy running barefoot through the muddy back streets of Jakarta to perplexed adolescent and student in Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York, and to eager but ignorant and, eventually, reasonably productive community organiser on Chicago’s South Side depicts life of immigrants who came to the US young or in their teenage years. The ability to adapt to change living in the US while keeping one’s heritage alive is what immigrants depict. The ability to blend with both cultures and lifestyles is really the most important structure to living at present in American society.

Someone who never gained such experience will never undertand the immigrant life in the USA. As such the superficial thinking of the bad criminals are more predominant to associate them with undocumented aliens. The reality is that crime is integrated to society and people who commits any crime can be anyone regardless of rare, culture, gender or identity.

Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego. This is an example of the same questions and realities of immigrants living in America.

With Russian Roulette, For more than a year now, journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have been devoted to covering the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.   On Trump’s interest in meeting Vladimir Putin during his 2013 trip to Moscow, On how the project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow influenced Trump’s views on Russia. Hence the book mostly talks on connecting the dots between Russian the 2016 Presidential elections.

Both books are bestsellers yet Obama’s book reprintedin 2007 and Russisn Roulette was just published a few weeks ago. I’ll leave it to the reader and book critics the comparison the historical perspectives of both books.

Alex Esguerra

ADLE International


Farewell to SF’s First Asian Mayor

Edwin Lee died at the San Francisco’s Zuckerberg General Hospital at 1:00 Am Pacific Standard Time.

On the few occassions, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Ed Lee, not only was I humbled by his great personality, he carried over both the the typical hardworking, loyalty and hospitalitbility in the Asian culture. He also is different from a any politician having work as a city employee all these years before rising to the position as Mayor.

The Asian Pacific Islander community, the homeless, the aging and  disabled, and low income San Franciscan’s just lost our fighter in San Francisco’s politics. We remember his tremendous fight for people living with HIV’s using the Ryan White Care Act funding. In the recent weeks and days, we saw him reiterate San Francisco as a “Sanctuary” city.

Edwin Mah Lee (李孟賢, born May 5, 1952)[1][2] is an American politician and attorney who is the 43rd and current Mayor of San Francisco, California. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on January 11, 2011[3] to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom’s term, after Newsom resigned to take office as Lieutenant Governor of California.[4] Lee won the election on November 8, 2011 to serve a full term as Mayor.[5] He was re-elected in 2015.

Prior to his employment with the City and County of San Francisco, Mayor Lee was the Managing Attorney for the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus, for which he worked from 1979 to 1989.  From 1989 to 1991, Lee worked as a Whistleblower Ordinance Investigator and the Deputy Director of Employment Relations in San Francisco as Wikipedia described his past.

A few years ago, Mayor Lee pushed for the landmark approval of the Housing Trust Fund which invested $1.5 billion in affordable housing production and housing programs until 2042. This also one of the controversial news these last few weeks on the BMR (Below Market Rate) Housing where the news media had an article on so called BMR owners sub leasing the said BMR properties they won through the BMR lottery.

Any part time employee is the City of San Francisco, we remember “In December 2013, Mayor Lee called for a major increase to San Francisco’s minimum wage. In 2014”  This was coincided with the Health Care Ordinance requiring employers operating in San Francisco to make contributions to part time employee’s without no health insurance by making contributions to the SF City Options and Wage Works program. As we know today’s $14.00 miminum wage in San Francisco has done a lot for low income and part time employee’s living in the most expensive city in the Western hemisphere in the United States.

Having live in Seattle, Washington I remember Mayor Lee’s hometown was from Beacon Hill ater his parents settled from China. He graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law which explains his his longtime commitment to bringing together varied special interests and agendas to address the greater needs of the community”

Thus I end with great thanks to San Francisco’s 43rd first likeable and first Asian American Mayor in the City and County of San Francisco.

Thus the Mayor’s Office slogan cites:

We Are a Sanctuary City

Since 1989, San Francisco has proudly been a Sanctuary City. We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our immigrant communities and fight for the progress we’ve achieved in this City. We are a sanctuary city, now, tomorrow and forever.

Alex Esguerra

Affordable Book Deals


Russia’s Tampering – Return of History

With the recent headlines in mind about Vladimir Putin’s maneuvering of the 2016 US Presidential elections reminds me of the book written by bestselling author, Jennifer Welsh

.  return

 The Return of History

Recalling the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 which I personally witness was very much similar to another political change in 1983 in a country like the Philippines when then Philippine President Marcos ended an era under a Martial Law regime by fleeing out the Malacanang Palace en-route to exile in Honolulu, Hawaii.

As author Welsh quoted American political commentator Francis Fukuyama about his famous essay, “The End of History”. The essay depicts the demise between communism and capitalism towards expanding the West Liberal Democracy towards the ideals of “progress”in history. In both of the above events, the breakdown of the wall during the Reagan years signified one of the greatest achievements of the divide between East and West Germany. Growing up in terms of living a couple of teenage years in Germany I can personally testify the mass disparity of income and inequality prior to that historic wall coming down.  At the same watching the news on the developments on the fall of the Marcos regime was very significant to the impoverished society living right at the wall of the Pacific Ocean in Manila.

The book illustrates the traditional barbaric and aristocratic way of a tyrant in this new millennium age by way of Vladimir Putin. The espionage and treason of course is local in Russia but the new cyber way and hacking which was seen in the recent US Presidential elections is a good example. Back in the cold war era it was of course more exemplified by warfare showing off military might. Today’s new tactics on spying, hacking, adware as well as internet viruses and attacks are just some of the most creative way of advance technology led infiltrations.

As Jennifer Welsh writes, ” Another way in which the West could re-examine its recent history and temper its triumphalism would be to look inward and reassess the health of its own political and economic model in this renewed era of competition with Russia”.

Indeed the  Soviet threat in arms takes a turn on a new form with regards to how the West should assess what goes on today and with the recent analysis on how Russia has played it’s cyber attacks during the recent US Presidential elections.

Alex Esguerra

Affordable Books







Affordable Books Mobile App now live with Google Play

Can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since we launched our first Mobile App “Affordable Books” with Apple ITunes.

A day after our 2nd Mobile App “Usedbooksworld” goes live on Apple ITunes, the Android version of “Affordable Books” goes live with Google Play Store.

With years of planning way right after Amazon kindle, the new roadmap of ecommerce with the emerging favorites of Shopify partners and the like just made bookselling finally going to the forefront of mobile ecommerce.

We are also happy to announced that our flagship Affordable Books On Line is finally getting mobile user friendly anytime now.

Books has not been a favorite years back by ecommerce platforms like Channel Advisor etc.  as for them there is no money made in the industry. With the domination of the mega book market places on selling penny books by the U.K. Third party drop shippers  the bookselling industry has been a non profit endeavor for pledging independent small booksellers. Such mega giants profit from their endless selling. Electronic fees and commissions. With that said even the so called antique and out of print next giants marketplaces followed through. Such places even reinforced themselves on controlling inventory and order management using FTP connection and the like where they would charge thousands merely listing 10000 books regardless if you made $25 of sales that month.

With this new mobile technology partnered with the emerging new ecommerce apps I am very optimistic that finally independent online booksellers can finally start to fight back and slowly gain back market share.

Hopefully, I am calling on the advocacy led by the American Bookselers Association to initiate these discussions on the upcoming Book Expo America at the end of this month at the Jacob Javits in New York.

To our fellow small independent booksellers, let’s grab the traction before the mega giants once again think of killing our growth.

Alex Esguerra