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Heidi M. Pascual
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2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin

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Editor's Corner/Over a Cup of Tea
                                 The Fight for South China Sea

Several Southeast Asian countries have claims over parts of South China Sea, which the People’s Republic of
China has claimed and occupied as its own. The claimant countries are, of course, interested in their rights over
lands and water located in their territories. Fishing is a main industry of the region, there are potential areas for
exploitation of oil and gas, and control of shipping lanes must be ensured. Claimants include the Philippines,
Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan, PRC and Vietnam. While the main reason for these claims is economic, the
more important issue to consider is military and potential for China’s future dominance over a strategic location in
the Pacific.
Since 2013, China has been island-building in the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands region. Reclamation has been done and by 2018,
reclaimed islands have been completed, as well as three airports therein. These recent Chinese actions have met strong opposition from many
countries, including the United States.

The Philippines lodged a formal complaint against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), questioning the legality of China’s “Nine-dash line” argument (a historical ownership of the SCS). The Philippines
argued that it is invalid because it violates the UNCLOS agreements about exclusive economic zones and territorial seas. China refused to
participate in the court hearings, stressing that bilateral negotiation to resolve border disputes must be used. When the arbitration court ruled
against China in 2016, China did not honor the decision, rejecting it as “null” and emphasizing it is sovereignty issue instead. Several countries
including France, Germany and the United Kingdom recognized the PCA decision.

Modern David and Goliath
The Philippines couldn’t do anything since then, because it has no military capability to fight China. However, it was still a victory for my native
country, as the international tribunal ruled in its favor. In 2019, China’s president Xi Jinping made it clear to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that
China does not recognize nor will abide by the court’s ruling. The Goliath kept on bullying David and/or offering financial assistance for infrastructure
projects and other economic ventures.

This year, however, is different. The superpowers have been conducting freedom of navigation exercises in South China Sea. The power-flexing is
evident and all eyes are drawn in the region because we don’t want war to happen. But we’re looking at China against many countries opposed to
its Goliath stance. The United States recently sent two battle-ready nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (The USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz)
in the region, In an apparent sow of military force. This move of the United States has emboldened several countries opposed to China’s aggressive
behavior. --
Francesca Hong Runs for the
76th Assembly District:
The Home Stretch
Part 1 of 2
By Jonathan Gramling
Women Have Paid the
Price for Trump’s
Regulatory Agenda
By Osub Ahmed, Shilpa Phadke, and Diana Boesch

From the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency, his administration has used
every tool in its arsenal to chip away at women’s health, employment,
economic security, and rights overall. One of the administration’s most
effective, and at times less noticed, tools to crafting this harmful agenda
against women has been to use the standard agency rule-making process as
a political weapon. Frequently ignoring relevant data and research, the
Trump administration has used the rule-making process to issue guidance,
interpret public policy, and implement statutes in ways that are
fundamentally harmful to women, often pushing beyond the limits of its legal
authority while consistently underestimating the financial costs and
dismissing the human impact of its rules.

The administration’s harmful regulatory agenda is part of a larger and
unfortunately all-too-familiar agenda to strip women of their fundamental
rights to control their own bodies and economic futures, while catering to
social and religious conservatives and big-business interests. These efforts
often have reflected a narrow worldview—rooted in racism and misogyny—
that treats women, and specifically women of color, as objects to be
controlled rather than full participants in a society that still has work to do to
become more inclusive, fairer, and responsive to women’s needs. Women’s
real-world experiences—as caregivers, as breadwinners, and as health
care decision-makers—are dismissed as peripheral and thus are nowhere to
be found in the administration’s policies. Indeed, these rules negatively
affect every facet of women’s lives in the United States, including their
ability to control their bodies, demand equal pay, and protect themselves
against sexual violence. The rules are also consistent with President Trump’
s own harmful and disrespectful rhetoric about women and women’s rights.3
Only by identifying and understanding these dangerous rules can we begin to
dismantle and mitigate their harms. .  --
The Chaos of Repealing
the Affordable Care Act
During the Coronavirus
By Nicole Rapfogel, Maura
Calsyn, and Colin Seeberger
Growing Awareness
of the
Larger Nature
By Jonathan Gramling
Conspiracy theories, misinformation, COVID-19, and the 2020 election
Francesca Hong, running as a Democrat for the 76th Assembly District in
November, is a virtual shoo-in to be the next representative from the
area although she has a Republican challenger due to the demographic
and political makeup of the district, which covers much of the isthmus
Hong is not a politician. She is a worker and a small business owner
who defeated a field of six other candidates, two of whom are elected
office holders. Hong won in spite of living outside of the district,
although the business she and her partner own, Morris Ramen on King
Street is within the district.

Hong was born and raised in Madison, a second generation Korean
American. And although she is college-educated, at heart, she is a

“I started my first service-industry job hosting at a small restaurant on
the near west side called Mystic Grill,” Hong said. “I went to Macalester
College briefly in St. Paul and then transferred back to UW-Madison. And
while I was in school, I always worked restaurant jobs to help pay for
school. One day, a line cook didn’t show up for his gig on the salad line
and I jumped on and fell in love with it. I felt like I belonged. I felt very
much like I was in solidarity with this new community of workers. And I
just started working my way through tons of restaurants downtown and
eventually became the executive chef at 43 North Restaurant and that’s
where I met my partner. And he and I in 2016 partnered with Shinji
Muramoto and opened our ramen shop at a restaurant space on King
Street that I thought if I ever opened a restaurant, it would be there. I
think the size is perfect. I loved the location and it is a gallery space, so
you walk in, it’s cozy and it’s perfect for a ramen shop. In 2016, we
opened and it was also the same year I had my son. I felt like my family
expanded by 24 people that year.” --
With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before the
Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the latest health care repeal
lawsuit, the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is completely uncertain.
Repealing the ACA at any point since its passage would have been
disastrous to the health and economic security of millions of Americans.
But repealing the ACA in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that has
infected more than 7 million Americans and killed more than 200,000
Americans is morally reprehensible.

More than 20 million people would lose their health coverage, and more
than 135 million people would lose protections for their preexisting
conditions, including millions of COVID-19 survivors. Repealing the ACA in
the middle of an unprecedented pandemic would create chaos across the
entire health care system; weaken the country’s public health and economy
recovery; and rip affordable health care coverage from millions of people at
a time when access to health care services is absolutely essential. --
Kai Lin Brito grew up in Southern California, born in Cypress, but raised
in Corona. While his family struggled financially, his mother always kept
beautiful things in their lives, even if they weren’t necessarily

“My mom really liked gardens,” Brito said. “Flowers were big things that
she would plant in the yard. When I was young, I was trying to kill the
bees because I thought they were trying to hurt the flowers. Now, of
course, I understand they are pollinators in a wider necessary role.”

When he was 14-years-old, Brito’s family moved to Ft. Atkinson. And like
other children coming out of financially struggling homes, Brito’s future
career aspirations were informed by economics and he was interested
in pursuing a career in medicine. And ironically, it was his enrollment in
a Summer Medical Education Program in Seattle that began his road
toward a career in environmentalism and sustainability. --
By Daniel A. Cox and John Halpin

One month from the election, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by a sizable margin among registered voters. Fifty percent of Americans who are registered to
vote plan to vote for Biden in the fall election, and 40 percent say they will vote for President Trump, with 4 percent backing another candidate and 5
percent planning not to vote this cycle.

Partisan commitments are solid but not fully consolidated at this stage, with 92 percent of Democrats planning to back Biden and 87 percent of Republicans
planning to support the president.  A relatively small, but perhaps important, percentage of partisan defections are possible and currently favor the former
vice president: Six percent of Republicans plan to vote for Biden, compared to 4 percent of Democrats who plan to vote for Trump. --
All Eyes are on Texas.
Is Texas finally turning blue in 2020?
By Gus Mercado

“Trump and Biden are tied in Texas 48-48%
with 4% undecided,” declares the most recent
polls in the traditionally Republican Lone Star
state. This came as a surprise to most national
political pundits who did not think that Texas
could one day be a big battleground and turn
into a blue state. If Texas, a state that is
geographically bigger than California with 38
electoral votes indeed votes for Biden, the
elections are over, regardless of what happens
in the other battleground states.
Reasons why Texas could possibly turn blue this year and role of the Filipino vote:
The traditional Republican firewall of suburban and rural whites is showing signs of cracking. Biden is now
leading by a large margin with the suburban white women while still losing with the white men. Suburban
families in Texas are starting to feel the economic pain of the pandemic and blaming Trump for mishandling
the crisis. Filipino families, along with other minority families have also started to feel the results of COVID-19.
Texas Filipinos who in the past were almost untouched by unemployment woes are now joining the welfare
ranks and many small businesses are floundering. And lastly, the ongoing migration of workers from
democratic West Coast to Texas and the young people in rural Texas moving to larger counties that are
sharply leaning to the left and becoming more politically active brings on increasing electoral importance to
large cities such as Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. Texas’ growing economy and
booming cities backed by technology, real estate, oil and gas are all magnets. These will all be a significant
factor in the potential obituary of the Republican Party in the state. --