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Memoirs of Former APEC Youth Representative, Alex Esguerra

  • Stalin and The Psychology Behind North Korea, Why It Is A Country Hard to Understand for many

    The Real North Korea

    The Real North Korea by Andrei Lankov published in 2013 talks about the birth of the regime in 1947 after the election of Kim Il Sung known as "Liberator of Small Nations Generalissimo Stalin!"

    Thus, the book describes that since 1972, all North Koreans above 16 years old are required to patch a badge showing Kim Il Sung's visage when they leave their homes. Likewise Kim Il Sung's portraits were to be placed at every office and house. As it goes by 1980 portraits of his successor son Kim Jong Il were displayed side by side his father. By the 90's Kim chng-suk, Kim Il Sung's wife and Kim Jong Il's mother were added. There were special instructions on hoe such images were supposed to be maintained in pristine condition as one would be punishable should they be missing or damaged. 

    Parts of the book describes how Kim Il Sung spent some years in the Soviet Union while the complete media control of the regime. This book authored by Andrei Lankov is so far I've seen as one of the most in depth so far in the last few years. The author a history professor in South Korea a native of Leningrad carefully studied the North while as an exchange student and has written tow bestselling books previously related to the topic. 

    Reviews such as: "The Real North Korea is one of the best books about this isolated republic to appear in years. Andrei Lankov draws on three decades of experience to write a deeply informed, thoughtful, fair-minded and highly readable account of 'life and politics' in North Korea, from day one to the present. His policy recommendations for dealing with the nuclear problem, for a South Korea waiting impatiently to inherit the North, and for the eventual end of this regime as we know it, are cogent and full of something rare in discussions about this irascible country: common sense." 


    -Bruce Cumings, Chair of the History Department at the University of Chicago, and author of Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History 


    As the book's introduction started on how Westerners think about North Korea when mentioned? "A Mad Country", "Stalinist Regime" and of course "Nuclear Brinkmanship".  The logic behind is that North Korea  and it's regime is still living from the past world yet it completely controls the country and it's citizens. It trails back in 1990 ending the Soviet Union's status of world power when the Kim family decided they are preserving what they had during that time and not do anything in terms of reforms. The repercussions after can be a long list to discuss yet the outcome is that is that it is still in power today. This is why as mentioned it's still continuing what is was since the fall of the Soviet Union.  

    As such Andrei Lankov writes,  A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world. Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy-including nuclear threats-to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence.

    Hence, with this in mind hopefully it gives a more clearer overview of the present North Korean regime.Some simply thinks it was predominantly because it has a mad leader but yet the above situations and tactics gives a better understanding of the regime and the country actions and thinking plus way of life.

    Diplomacy is at it's best for the regime using the nuclear propaganda in attaining leverage on it's preset goals. We do know however as with the current US administration and past administrations quoting that everything is on the table including use of force. Nevertheless, reality check we know North Korea is face with limited resources especially on the biggest economic sanctions vested to it today. As when it boils down even use of force entails money which is heavily dependent on the state of a country's economy.

    This book is great read with the few remaining copies in print today.

    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • America's Dreyus Nixon's Case to Trump's Present Scenario

    America's Dreyfus written by Bestselling Author Joan Brady author of the Theory of War writes on the trial of the century during the Nixon years. Similar to incumbent Donald Trump, Richard Nixon also had a single aim in life, "Win".

    In 2016 this book had so many reviews about the real story of Alger Hiss. Joan Brady believes that Hiss was innocent but thinks, as did many of his friends at the time, that he was suicidally naive about what he faced. Chambers had appeared before HUAC in 1948 and, in the fashion of the day, had produced a list of alleged communists in government service. 

    The main summary of this book is that it is about the dirty tricks employed by Richard Nixon and his allies in the late 1940s and early 1950s to secure the conviction of Alger Hiss, a former government official, on a trumped-up charge of perjury. 

    Thus, the start of the discussion on the statements of conversations could have been taped, was just a strategy to ensure the loyalty of Former FBI Director James Comey. Trump admits: 'I did not make, and do not have' tapes of Comey conversations.

    The referencing of this book is not about Alger Hiss or Joan Brady. It's mostly to look into the present scenarios depicted on the case of whether President Trump does have a case for impeachment or are we just not used to the Trump ways of someone who has never held a public office prior to becoming President. Likewise, the new era of a President being pro-active on the social limelight of "Twitter" is also new to the world of political science.

    As of this writing, the travel ban case being withheld to certain muslim countries for the last few months has finally been lifted by the Supreme Court. Stricter port of entry laws in the US had been announced and a celebrated case about an undocumented immigrant arrested in a sanctuary city as San Francisco, CA.

    Since January's Presidential inauguration, a lot has happen, a lot of issues are on the table including the Senate version of the Trump Care Act replacing the Affordable Care Act.

    Right now, there are pros and cons about how the administration is performing but at the same they are the sitting administration. We should continue to be vigilant watchdogs yet to some let us let history pave it's way.

    Alex Esguerra
    Life and Times
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  • Affordable Books and Gifts on line



    Affordable Books and Gifts on line



    How should we understand the makings and action of President Trump?



    Is the book, Understanding Trump a viable explanation on his actions and or why "Obstruction" might have been construed?



    Even during the pre-elections, the business person actions signify the personality but yet does it fit for the position of President.



    Let's look at the pros and cons and get a more in depth understanding.

    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • New Book Reveals Hillary Clinton Spied on Campaign Staff Emails

    New Book Reveals Hillary Clinton Spied on Campaign Staff Emails



    Touching on Hillary's campaign rift with the Democratic party and talking about the reluctance of supporters of Bernie Sanders in supporting Clinton as front runner sort of explained initially why people then thought they had a flawed presidential candidate.



    The book discusses on Clinton's winning the popular vote yet was not really successful in getting a lot of Senator Sanders supporters. Although Sec. Clinton's campaign staff are her deep loyalist, she spent enormous amounts of time asking existential questions to them.



    Yet in summary although the book centers around on the ultimate failure of Hillary, the problematic circumstances and fiasco has nothing to do with her.

    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • Affordable Books and Gifts on line


    Affordable Books and Gifts on line



    Shattered, a new bestselling book on the failed Campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, discusses a lot of angles detrimental to the her losing the Presidential elections. It also centers around bottom line to herself as the prime reason she lost the 2016 elections.

    Part of it was micro-managing on campaign strategist, data analytics, her continuous quest to find the reasons behind her lost way back in 2008 as the standard bearer of the Democratic party which got Obama got elected.

    Instead of focusing more on grassroot campaign eering and meeting more directly with supporters, constituents and detractors it was more on  online metrics, data gathering, social media which is the signature part  strategy that led to the election of then President Barack Obama.

    There's a lot to read, expand and deeply understand as outlined in this new bestseller but over and over it boils down to the main cause of defeat, the candidate herself which allowed it.

    Alex Esguerra



    ADLE International
    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • America's Global Environment Crisis or Not, Is it really important

    Wikipedia on climate change says, "The United States is the second largest emitter, after China, of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The energy policy of the United States is widely debated; many call on the country to take a leading role in fighting global warming.ARTICLEURL

      

    Red Sky at Morning by James Gustavo Speth is a great read about this topic.

     James writes, "Pollution.Pollutants of many varieties threaten biodiversity.
    Toxic substances; oxygen-demanding wastes; nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and 
    phosphorous overfertilization; acidification; and photochemical oxidants (ozone)
    all degrade the structure and functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems."



    In the US alone the Gulf of Mexico is toxic with oil, we've caused earthquakes in the midwest when Fracking for natural gas, and 
    we've blasted the tops off mountains in Virginia looking for coal.
    When we turn non-renewable resources into energy we're releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere, driving climate change and creating a hazardous issues around for all living beings.

    Red Sky at Morning talks about the Eight Steps to Sustainability by having citizens engage and individuals doing things to promote each of these eight steps towards sustainability. Transition 5 on Sustainable Consumption is already an on-going effort today where it focuses on greening consumer purchases.It also touches on Center for a New American Dream an organization giving useful resources on "lifestyle shifts" including guides on how to buy green, parent in a consumer society and they advocate for changes that support more sustainable consumption as the author wrote.

    So with recent executive order directing the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency  to withdraw the Clean Power Plan  although concerning as far environment activist are, inn lieu of all the organizations and work in place through the years, "The Trump administration has to go through the same process of putting in a regulation as the Obama administration [did]," Orts noted.
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/trumps-executive-order-means-environment/

    In conclusion, the threat on America and the Global Environment is real. Hence, we have to be pro-active as citizens on protecting the environment and working towards sustainability.  The US however has been a leader on environment science, and any action to damage this would risk climate science so it is imperative we continue to advocate for environmental issues.

    Alex Esguerra

    ADLE International

    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • The Economy as 2016 winds up to a close and Obama's leaves a legacy

    2016 started strong with it's ups and downs on the economy. As we wind down the year amidst a change in the administration on January 20, 2017, ARTICLEURL

    It has been said that the election of President elect Trump gave a good economic indicator boost from the investments and banking industry in lieu of his plans on taxes, jobs and the like, the future still lies beneath.

    Such boost as economists' stated would have not made an impact if Hillary Clinton had won as the markets transcends Clinton was a carry over of the Obama policies.

    Yet economist noted that the US economy has been stable and strong with Barack Obama's legacy of job creation and turning around the biggest recession in modern time after taking over the reign from George W. Bush in 2008.

    With an average of 180,000 monthly jobs created from January 2016 to the elections in November 2016, the labor market had been growing in the last 74 months.

    In Spite of this, the business investments and new productivity efforts did not turn out a lot as expected for the year. Hence, the quality of life of US workers was one the main drawback with Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Obama administration. It is said the a lot of mainstream workers in the midwest and where industrial zones gave a hefty approval and vote for newly elected Donald Trump.

    Consumer confidence soared after 15 years this holiday season hence 20,000 point benchmark from the Dow Jones index which Trump twitted as a vote of confidence for his election.

    The question lies on how a sitting president will be able to pass policy legislations with congress as after all this is where the divides on opinions was always the challenge of any sitting president. Trump talks about a 4% growth on the economy when he officially takes over, a goal we have to watch and see.

    As of the writing of this article, outgoing President Obama had just signed an executive order with sanctions on Russia. Diplomats in Washington and San Francisco were given a 72 hour notice to depart the US while Trump acclaims he will lift the said sanctions as soon as he takes the oath of office. The great divide is with this signing today, the US Congress vowed to make their own independent investigation of the Russian hacking of the US Presidential elections of 2016 with a promise of more harsh sanctions.

    As investments and productivity played a big factor in this turn around of the outcome of US elections being said that the declines were compared to the Great Recession and which started to improve right after the elections, this is where we can come back a year from now if this was indeed worth for the outcome.

    The maybe's are there as what Obama mentioned that until you get to officially take the helm of the Office of the President is when you indeed will get to know what to do next. Credit goes to Trump as a billionaire business expert on managing the economic aspects needed but until he gets to sit on the chair will he realized what the position entails.

    While the strong US dollar right now enjoys a rise in exports, domestic US companies which have international operations had been hurt as their goods and services became more expensive overseas. Hence, Trump's lessening the taxation in order to pushed local operations instead of international, has been one of the battlecry of this incoming administration.

    Although the job growth in 2016 was exquisite, a lot of the growth factored on retail and fast foods for example which unequal opportunity factors as these jobs are low paying and minimum wage jobs.
    So far economist viewed this neither positive or negative as this were not really good jobs per se.

    Another factor affecting investments and productivity especially for small independent businesses are still lacked of working and access to capital. As an example, on the bookselling industry, booksellers were extremely hurt pre and post elections on book sales. The dominance of leading Amazon still continues to hold market share and the price stability of the actual book market value continues to be a challenge to be profitable as an independent small bookseller.

    Connecting all of this in 2016 predicts 2017 to be a big working year to get back on track, be "positive" and after all we just have to wait and see how the new incoming administration will deliver their campaign promises to the detriment of the working class Americans.

    As I continue my philanthropy in writing in behalf of the small independent businesses, the young entrepreneurs and low income families, my staff at ADLE International and http://www.affordable-booksonline.com contiuues our efforts on books which I thanked greatly.

    Alex Esguerra




    Thanks for your comments for http://www.alex-esguerra.com

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis Data - What's in for the New Administration


    ARTICLEURL

    On December 22, 1016 comes a new data release from the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) from the last revision last Nov. 22, 2016.

    On our particular industry on books retail line 31 S4 Book, periodical, and music stores - the 4th quarter of 2015 had 4,065 from 2015's 3rd quarter of 3,937 vs. 2014's 4th/3rd quarter of 3,865 and 3,876. This year 2016 - 3rd quarter was 3,964 and 2nd quarter was 4,044.

    Then looking at line 35 S4 on Used Merchandise Stores, the 4th quarter had 4,037 and 4,154 on the 3rd quarter of 2015. 2014's 4th quarter was 3,820 and the 3rd quarter was 3,907. 2016's 3rd quarter is 3,976 and 2nd quarter is 3,940.

    On line 37 S2 Electronic Shopping and mail order houses (Nonstore retailers) 2015's 4th quarter was 112,187, 3rd quarter for 2015 was 109,582 versus 2014's 4th and 3rd quarter of 100,752 and 97,741. 2016's 3rd quarter is 124,191 and 2nd quarter is 121,019.

    Hovering at this data, the true facts over the years are that the 2nd quarter is the back to school time and the 4th quarter is the holidays. Hence, the 3rd quarter is usually a drop in between for bookselling. Used merchandise had a growth in the 3rd quarter of 2016 as this category is general meaning it embodies all used merchandise where clothing plays a big factor as well.

    Although line 38 S2  Electronic Shopping is also general in category, it is said that since 2012 to 2016, books online shopping has been a growing trend in this category. Although, a typical traditional book buyer still goes to a book retail store front, it is a fact that online book sales has consistently grown over the years.

    So from traditional big book online marketplaces also comes the typical brand big box retailers like Sears.com or even technology websites like Newegg.com now augmenting a lot of accessory sales on what they carry with new release books.

    Textbooks still plays a big chunk online for students but new release books has been growing more and more than used books. This is especially true with fiction, juvenile fictions, and bestsellers like Harry Potter's "Fantastic Beasts".

    As the online space continous to grow in the bookselling industry, still the typical challenges are there for independent bookstores and online book sellers. From the dominance of mighty Amazon, minimum wage, health care for employees to "Still" lack of working capital and expansion for warehousing and home offices.

    Thus, this is what faces the upcoming Trump administration's slogan of making America Great Again. Now that a billionaire businessman takes over the US Presidency, lies the question of how this administration will role out it's economic policies fitted for small business in industries that had grown over the years.

    Come 2017, the data speaks as well as the problems faced by independent booksellers. 

    Affordable Books







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  • Thanksgiving Inspiration



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  • BOOKSHELF TOUR | 2016



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