What Yang Gang Can Do To Expand Reach On Facebook

Hey #YangGang! This is important. We need to raise our Facebook game because most of adult Americans are on Facebook (69% as compared with Twitter for example at 22%). This will also allow us to reach the older and female demographic.

Around 103 million Americans are on Facebook aged 45 to 65+ (35.4M for 45-54 y/o; 26.5M for 55-64 y/o; 21.1M for 65+ y/0).

Meanwhile, 75% of American women use Facebook compared with 63% for men.

Also, 43% (4/10) of U.S. Adults use Facebook as their news source compared with 21% for YouTube, & just 12% for Twitter.

All these stats mean that we need to get out frequently of our Twitter & YouTube bubbles and put more effort in spreading Andrew’s message on Facebook.

So here are my suggestions (I’m from the Philippines, & we’re Facebook crazy, so you can consider me a semi-expert.):

1) All of us Twitter Yangsters — 1.2M following Andrew — MUST have a Facebook account. If you don’t have one, create one now! (If you have issues with Facebook’s corporate practices, let us concern ourselves with it later when Andrew’s already president, as he has promised to create policies about social media platforms working for us.)

2) Once you have an FB account, look for your relatives (immediate, distant) & friends (childhood, high school, college, etc.) and add them as contacts. Facebook will also prompt you to find your contacts via your digital phone book.

3) Like the official Andrew Yang for President 2020 FB page. Right now, it has only 266,000 followers. That number should be 1.2M as well, or more, just like our Andrew’s Twitter account.

Once you liked Andrew’s official page, click the “Following” pull down menu & select “See First,” and set “Notification” to On, so you can immediately share any posts from the page to our timelines.

Share, as well, the official page’s posts on your various FB groups (post slowly — around 10 minutes in between posts — or FB will block you from posting for days) or send it via FB messenger to your FB friends. Please make this Andrew Yang / Yang Gang related posts public, so others can easily find and share them.

4) Join either or both of these FB groups: Andrew Yang for President 2020 Public Fan Base (12K+ members for now) or the Americans for Andrew Yang (2K members). As you can see, we need to increase the membership of both groups. The great thing about these groups is that they are both public, so you can easily share all the posts from the group. The posts in the Public Fan base is moderated while Americans for Andrew Yang posts are automatically published, which is great because for time-sensitive posts like streaming, people should be able to see them immediately. If the admins of the Public Fan Base can make the posts unmoderated (published immediately; unwanted posts can be deleted immediately), that would also be great.).

I also suggest that the admin of the these and other public groups or pages start streaming Andrew Yang & Yang Gang events or hosting Watch Parties of Andrew Yang & Yang Gang related videos.

5) You can also join the Andrew Yang for President Basecamp 2020 (53K members), but it is private, so you need to copy paste any post or link before you can share them.

6) Speaking of streaming, please like The Zach And Matt Show FB page, so you can share their streams on Facebook. They only have 147 followers right now!

7) Create your own FB pages or FB groups dedicated to Andrew Yang. These may be for your own localities or your own circle of friends.

8) If you can create ads/boost posts on your Facebook pages to target certain areas and demographics, that would help Andrew’s campaign a lot. Try experimenting with various content to see what creates the most engagement.

9) If you do not have a budget for boosting posts, tag your friends in the comment section of your posts about Andrew, to either educate them about Andrew and/or his policies, or to alert them so they can also share your posts. This tactic is not as intrusive as tagging them directly on your posts.

That’s it for now, Yang Gang! We have definitely experienced bumps along the road, but this is great because we have gotten tougher and smarter. And one of the major online battlefields is Facebook, and we will also win that one! Forward!


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

The Yang Gang Family: A Guide for Newbies

Like I said in the past, the Yang Gang phenomenon reminded me of the ALDUB phenomenon, albeit showbiz, here in the Philippines in 2015 (and onwards) that touched a chord with millions of Filipinos & made the Twitterverse explode. (We also used it as a platform for causes like helping the indigenous people of Mindanao). The same explosion is happening with the Yang Gang, the collective name for Andrew Yang‘s passionate supporters, this time dominating both Twitter and YouTube. Because of the solutions-based campaign of Yang and the intelligence, kindness and authenticity of the man himself, a lot of people from all backgrounds, even those previously politically disengaged, have taken it upon themselves to use all their time, talent and skills to get their hero/idol elected.

Screen Cap of #YangGang from Paget Kagy’s Livestream of L.A. #YangGang Car Wash

And from these talented and avid collection of supporters — just like ALDUB — quite a number of “Yangsters” have emerged as influencers via the content that they create and or the role they play in the Yang Gang universe. This post is an attempt — hardly conclusive or authoritative — to introduce these lovely people to the uninitiated, and to the new Yang Gang members who are just joining and will be joining the Yang Gang due to the Yang Gang’s active Yanging (yes, it’s a verb) & Andrew Yang’s continuing ascent in the polls (as I revise this, Yang just got a surge in popularity and preference post-December 19 debate, & raised $16.5 milliom in the fourth quarter of 2019). Without further ado, here’s the #YangGangFamily!

Andrew Yang

Of course, there’s the man himself. An underdog when he was a child himself, bullied and tormented by older kids, Andrew didn’t forget the experience, and throughout his life would stick up for the lone person in the corner, the marginalized. This is the reason why he decided to run for president. He saw the growing inequality and that many people living paycheck-to-paycheck will be affected by automation, and concluded that there was no time to waste, and government must act. When no one in Washington D.C. would lift a finger about it, he decided to do it himself.

Evelyn Yang

Andrew’s supportive wife. She left her job to take care of their two children (one of whom is autistic). It takes an extraordinary woman to support her husband’s decision to be mostly away from home for a little more than two years now. The saying “Behind every man’s success is a woman,” has never been truer in this case.

Zach Graumann

Andrew’s young campaign manager. He and Andrew Yang met at the non-profit SuitUp, which Zach co-founded and Andrew advised. His right-hand man. Dedicated and loyal, the 31-year old sees to it that all the wheels are turning smoothly. The Yang Gang also affectionately calls him “Big Coat Guy” after Stephen Colbert endorsed him at the height of #WhippedCreamGate, one of Andrew Yang’s “meme-able” moments.

Scott Santens

Some call him Andrew Yang’s Jedi. The Obi-Wan Kenobi (or UBI-Yang Kenobi?) to Yang’s Luke Skywalker. Long before Andrew taught of running for president, Scott Santens has been advocating for Universal/Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) since 2013. In 2016, they met as Basic Income advocates, and a year later Andrew told him that he will run for president, and the rest was history.

Scott is most active on Twitter, sharing his knowledge and articles on Basic Income. He is also well-known for documenting mainstream media (MSM)’s #YangMediaBlackout, MSM’s exclusion of Andrew Yang in their coverage.

Scott Santens (right) interviewed by Nerds for Yang’s Tom Leung

Steve Marchand

Former mayor of Portsmouth, NH, and two-time gubernatorial candidate of New Hampshire is Andrew Yang’s senior advisor, another of Andrew’s right-hand men. After following Yang for a while, he finally met him in early 2019, and they immediately hit it off.

Paget Kagy

This beautiful and intelligent actor and writer from California, who just learned about Yang in June, became the first go-to source of all things Yang and Yang Gang when she started to produce regular YouTube video updates & opinions, interviews, and livestreams. Her #YangGang adventures — often hilarious and sometimes suspenseful — with her British fiance Steven “Steve” Butler is must-watch. Yang Gang members and Paget herself have often commented how the Yang Gang is like a reality show. And they are right. But it’s better than a reality show because everything is unedited and unfiltered, mediated only by Paget’s adorable personality and her interaction with the Yang Gang via the chat section. Although she doesn’t want to be called “mom” (Mother of Dragons was the latest iteration/incarnation) by the rest of the Yang Gang, she, in a sense, nurtures the gang with her constant uploads and updates, keeping everyone motivated and engaged with her optimistic — but determined & feisty — outlook.

Steven “Steve” Butler

Paget’s fiance. Also called “Poor Steve” teasingly by the Yang Gang when he and Paget have a mini-fight. But how fateful is it that Paget’s boyfriend is a Tax Consultant and Value Added Tax (VAT) expert? Steve recently explained on Paget’s channel how a VAT works and how it can fund Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend.

Kai Watson

This 19-year old film major and bundle of energy is a sight to behold with his regular vlog posts on Youtube and Twitter video updates (he has also started podcasting). A former Bernie supporter, he discovered Andrew Yang as an assignment in their high school class. When he researched Yang and met him in person, there was no turning back. Fast-talking Kai is so amped that you can’t help but be infected by his energy. He is so insightful and seldom doubts himself, and just goes for it. For example, this #YangGang moment — when he almost dragged Paget to run after the newly-arrived Andrew just before the start of Yangapalooza — is now a classic. Thank god for his parents and for his mom who regularly “cyberstalks” him with her Youtube pseudonym and donates in his livestreams.

Nerds for Yang’s Tom Leung

Speaking of insightful, itinerant (he is usually overseas working) and chart-loving Tom Leung of Nerds for Yang is the first stop if you want to learn how Andrew is doing in the polls, searches, and gambling odds. I think he is the only vlogger on this list who has interviewed Andrew by himself, holding fundraising challenges for the YangGang so Yang can appear on his show. The latest was the $50K challenge where a dozen or so content-creators were in a competition to raise the most donations via their act blue link so that three of them can interview Andrew Yang — Tom, Paget, Kai, and Aaron of Humanity films won, with Tom moderating (the latest $50K challenge this time is hosted by Paget so the top fundraisers can interview Evelyn.) Speaking of interviews, Tom’s interviews of fellow Yangsters are one of the best out there. He listens well, and knows which questions to ask next.

Fred “the Felon” Ramey

An ex-con, with a very “interesting personality” — an adorable gung-ho attitude with a dash of political incorrectness — Fred Ramey, a former Trump supporter and staunch Republican/conservative, met Andrew Yang in March of 2019, and since then has become an avid Yang Gang member, attending and streaming/recording most of Andrew’s talks, rallies and events. He has also co-founded the PAC Truckers for Yang — with Digital Marketer Sola Obayanwhose goal is to wrap 16 Trucks with Yang material by December and these trucks would travel across the U.S. visiting and going through rural and hard to reach communities. This idea is the outgrowth of the now famous Yang-wrapped trailer driven by Fred himself.

Ted of Yangstream

Wherever Andrew Yang goes, there goes Ted Mclean with his Twitch livestream (YangStream.com redirects to the Twitch channel), which he also simultaneously livestreams on his YouTube channel Humanity for Yang. Because of his omniprescence in the Yang campaign, this I.T & mass communications guy usually collaborates with other Yang Gang content creators. For example, a few weeks ago, he travelled with Fred in South Carolina and had an encounter with this 14-year old whiz kid and Andrew Yang fan & college sophomore (there are lots of young people — even those of non-voting age — who are Yang fans). He also livestreamed remotely different #HonkForYang efforts across the U.S. Most recently, he collaborated with the Zach and Matt show (in particular, Matt, because Zach had to go to school) and Fred to livestream Andrew Yang’s Iowa bus tour.

The Zach and Matt Show

If you missed any of Andrew Yang’s appearances on TV shows, podcasts, rallies, or even videos and appearances of Andrew Yang when he wasn’t yet running for president, childhood friends Zach and Matt are your guys. Hardly has an event finished when its video is already up on their YouTube channel. This chill duo started covering the Democratic primary — with Zach as the UBI advocate and trying-to-be-unbiased Yang supporter — but discovered that they had more engagement when they covered Yang, so they focused instead on his campaign. Recently, they started to collaborate with Ted MacLean’s Yangstream to bring Andrew Yang events live.

Problem Solver Politics

Cardon Ellis and Cody The Oracle (the latter doesn’t want to let the public know about his last name, but I think Cardon outed him in this episode when they interviewed Paget) started as a radio show on FM 98.1 in Los Angeles, with Cardon as the host, and Cody as the board operator. Frustrated that they could not express themselves more in a Sundays-only show, they decided to found their current political podcast channel.

Like Zach and Matt, they started out covering the Democratic primaries, and all the candidates and their policies, but noticed that although the coverage of Andrew Yang was few and far between, the number of views when they talked about Andrew was exponential, so they decided to focus on Andrew — especially his policies and ideas — and his fast-growing grass movement called the Yang Gang. As, Tom Leung of Nerds for Yang described PSP, Cardon and Cody were one of the OG’s. If you watch their first video on Yang, it is interesting to note how their relationship has evolved (e.g. Cody now more assertive) and how Cardon’s opinion of Andrew and his Freedom Dividend/UBI started as skeptical.

Mindful Skeptics

The channel created by physical therapy assistant, veteran, and avowed skeptic & atheist Boyce Littlefield, has become the watercooler-cum-town hall of YangGang. This is the default Yang Gang hub, where you can meet and chat with other Yangsters from across the U.S. and even the world, like Sun the Yangstralian, maker of limited-edition MATH hats, artist Ryan Odagawa of WhoIsAndrewYang.com, Burke Andersson who does Ride Shares for Yang, Crystal Fleischman of Minessota’ JGiddins The Father, Dancer & K-pop enthusiast Alyssa Monet Mason, psychiatrist Doctor A, Read my LipsRonnie, Scott Garibay, and many more, including other Yangsters mentioned on this page.

Boyce — who’s known to moderate the channel for as long as 5 hours without going to the bathroom — invite diverse voices, and guide the topics to all things #YangGang including Andrew Yang’s policies, but the conversation is so free-flowing that it can go on other interesting tangents. Now and then, Boyce would upload shorter videos like updates, and has even featured my article 11 Reasons Why I Support Andrew Yang! Indeed the channel’s title may as well be: Boyce Gathers and Welcomes All Voices.

Shaving with Tully

Described by some as intense, content creator and Tully of New Hampshire walks his talk. He also has some really awesome interviews like his interview with veteran and bio-engineer Russell Toll at Yangapalooza (the lady who spoke later beside him, Heidi, is now part of the campaign) , these young Beto supporters who converted to Yang after the former dropped out during Yangapalooza, and senior cab driver Dennis from Iowa. You can say that Tully is all over the place, as in, literally. He has co-organized the protest against MSNBC (after the network ignored Andrew Yang for 30 minutes after the debate) where he was interviewed by, of all channels, Breitbart. Recently, he’s been travelling between Iowa and New Hampshire, sharing his thoughts about the campaign, and rallying everyone to work hard.

Grassroots for Yang

Grassroots for Yang is an entire family following Yang wherever he goes. Russell, Elasa (and their cute Little #YangGang Zephania) are lifelong conservatives and former Trump supporters who, left their jobs, and now dedicate all of their time to covering Andrew Yang. One of Russell’s early videos sharing why he and his family supports Yang is so heart-wrenching. This video shows you why Andrew Yang, indeed has a passionate and robust grassroots support. (I experienced this too, while campaigning for the opposition candidates here in the Philippines last May, and explaining Universal Basic Income.) Those who have less know their situation the best, and that’s why they totally understand Andrew’s Freedom Dividend policy.

James Treakle

Speaking of James Treakle, the release of his supporter-created videos for Andrew Yang are always a big event in Yang Gang and online community, e.g., #WomenForYang, #BlacksForYang, #TimeForYang, etc.

Aaron of Humanity Films

Aaron is a filmmaker who covers Andrew Yang-related events, does interviews with Yang supporters, and also regularly livestreams his thoughts on Andew’s policies. He loves to answer or react to everyone’s questions and comments on the live chat. He was one of the content creators who was able to interview Andrew Yang via the $50,000 fundraising challenge, and asked excellent policy questions.

Brooke Lea Wood and Stuart “Stu” “Ghosts for Yang” Arbury

Brooke is Universal Basic Income advocate & a designer from Arizona and Stu “Ghosts for Yang” (got his name from a comment by Paget about his skin color) is a filmmaker/producer who reviews books of different candidates on his YouTube channel. The two artists teamed up to create YangDaily10.com, which gives daily tasks for the Yang Gang to help with the campaign.

William Lex Ham

Actor William Lex Ham, more popularly known as Will is an actor and an active Yang Gang member in the South California (So Cal) scene. He is one of the founders of the L.A. Yang Armory together with Loren Tripp & other artists, and also collaborated with fellow actor David Arquette to paint the Andrew Yang mural in Korea town. Always present in big Yang Gang events like Yangapalooza, the Bet on Yang rally in Las Vegas, or the debate party during the Los Angeles debate, he is one of the most cool & enthusiastic Yang Gang members with his trademark “Yeah!” to applaud Andrew Yang — watch this video by Matt of the Zach and Matt Show or Will’s recorded video of Andrew’s post-debate speech himself. One of his most recent posts showed where he got his enthusiastic personality.

Aarika Samone

Aarika, a kindergarten teacher who prioritizes and loves her students, gained popularity because of her very interesting and high-energy video clips on Twitter where she Yangs not just voters in her community, but shops as well! Her favorite “nemesis” is James the security guard, who is still skeptical about the whole system and Andrew Yang, but will acknowledge that he is wrong if Andrew wins.

Aarika recently appeared on Paget’s livestream, and you can see her creativity and enthusiasm at work when she and Paget and the rest of the Yang Gang came up “on stream,” as it were, with National Cookie Day, on January 13, on Andrew’s birthday (they are still looking for volunteer bakeries in different cities, so you may want to help them, especially because Evelyn Yang has agreed to promote the cookies when she and Andrew appear on The View in January). She also appeared on the #BlacksForYang video created by James Treakle in cooperation with the Yang Gang. Her appearance on Paget’s stream also helped her tremendously with her fundraising to canvass in Iowa and the early primary states — so to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, get ready to welcome the Aarika #YangForce!

That’s it for now, Yang Gang! I’m sure I missed a lot of other popular Yangsters — it’s a huge and diverse family after all — but I’m sure the rest of the Yang Gang will point them out to you in the comments section. This is just to give you an idea of how fun it is to be a part of this life-changing gang. But who knows, I might be able to feature them in the future. For now, what’s important to note is that each of us has an important role to play in this amazing movement, and we will have an awesome and wonderful time doing it!


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

Help Fund My Basic Income Advocacy

One of the risks of being an advocate/activist is that once your eyes are opened, it is so hard to unsee what you’ve seen, and all you want, henceforth, is to find solutions. In my case, one of the heartbreaking situations that I and my fellow advocates encountered was the plight of the families of victims of extrajudicial killings related to the brutal and deadly war on drugs. There are two main concerns that need added help. First, is the livelihood aspect, that is, the economic devastation suffered by the families because of the loss of one — sometimes two — breadwinners, and how to address it. Although many organizations and groups are doing their best, a lot more need to be done. Second, are the orphans/children traumatized by the killing of their parents and loved ones. We need more resources and more manpower to attend to their psycho-social needs.

When I first came across the concept of Unconditional/Universal Basic Income (UBI) and started studying it, I realized that the concept could be applied to assisting the EJK families as well. I did a preliminary consultation with some of the families, and they immediately appreciated the concept of an Unconditional Basic Income. Basically, I learned what I intuitively knew: that each family is unique, and that a certain amount of cash will go a long way in meeting their needs — some will spend it on basic needs like food/groceries, on emergencies, on the needs of the children (school allowance/supplies, etc.), further education or skills training of family members, and then livelihood. In short, a Basic Income will address most of the economic needs of the families, and thus help with their psycho-social/mental well-being as well.

In this regard, I would like to seek your help in making the piloting of Unconditional Basic Income among EJK families a reality. In order to focus, I need to free up my mind of my own financial worry. Every month, I am always scrambling to come up with a little less than 15,000 pesos for rent and electricity. If I could only meet this basic need for even just THREE MONTHS, I’m sure I will be able to eventually launch a UBI project in one parish, and then if successful, expand the project later to other communities. I’ve already talked to leaders and priests in at least two parishes, and they are willing to give the UBI experiment a try.

I am, therefore, asking for donations of 500 pesos (10 USD) or 1,000 pesos (20 USD), or whatever you can afford, to help me support myself myself for at least three months (45,000 pesos or 900 USD), while I come up with a more long-term sustainable situation. My main plan is to apply for Basic Income grants and seek donations so I can pay myself and other volunteers, and then fund the pilot. Meanwhile, one NGO ally has indicated that they are willing to help out in terms of grant-seeking and provide the organizational/legal structure while my fellow advocates and I try to found our own non-profit.

Moreover, I will also continue to do the following:

1)Studying/researching UBI, and sharing my findings and experiences in my blog. For the long term, I would like Basic Income to be piloted/implemented in municipalities, and eventually all throughout the country. Aside from reading books and perusing research studies, I will also interview economists, governance advocates, and other specialists on how to best implement UBI in the Philippines and how it can help solve our country’s long-standing problem of poverty and inequality.

2) Supporting Andrew Yang’s run for the U.S. presidency, whose flagship policy is the Freedom Dividend, a Universal Basic Income of 1,000 US dollars per month. If he gets elected in 2020 — and signs are pointing to a rising popularity and growing candidacy — UBI will be mainstreamed not just in the U.S., but the rest of the world as well, especially because of international support for his UBI and other policies, and what he represents: a new administration with a solutions-based and abundance mindset. But even now, Andrew Yang has helped tremendously in bringing basic income to the forefront of possible and effective solutions to a growing worldwide concern of inequality.

The personal growth coach Barbara Sher has said in her talks and her books that one of the keys to realizing our wishes and dreams is to reach out to others and ask their help. My family, friends, fellow advocates and global citizens, I am now asking for your help. That said, I am deeply grateful for your taking the time to read this. If you cannot help with monetary donations, forwarding this to a friend will be greatly appreciated as well.

If you want to donate, you can help me via the following platforms:

Paypal: paypal.me/filipinowriter

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/filipinowriter

Bank:

Landbank

Account Name: Medardo M. Manrique Jr.

Account Number: 3076015537

G-Cash / Paymaya : 09215482622

Other: Or pls e-mail me at filipinocreative@gmail.com for other arrangements.

Again, thank you, and wishing that your own wishes come true and may you be showered with more blessings.


UPDATE: After initially sending this post out to friends and contacts, I have so far received 5,000 pesos in actual donations and pledges. Others have indicated that they will be donating soon. Thank you very much for your generosity! And thanks to all who shared this post!


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

A #YangGang Story: Billy & Gretchen Morgan

Billy and Gretchen Morgan

So I was scanning the Andrew Yang For President 2020 Basecamp FB group a couple of days ago, and saw this post by a #YangGang member of a #MyYangStory YouTube video by Billy Morgan, another Yang Gang member.
In the video, posted on August 26, 2019, Billy introduces us to his wife of 26 1/2 years, Gretchen, who is bedridden because of multiple sclerosis (MS). Billy explains that he is an Andrew Yang supporter because of what the Freedom Dividend of a 1,000 dollars, a Universal Basic Income, can do for their family: they won’t have to think so much of their bills while he takes care of his wife.

Billy and Gretchen Morgan’s #MyYangStory video

In the video, he addresses the Yang Gang folks on Twitter, so I looked him up on the social media platform, but sadly found out from his most recent posts that Gretchen had died. In a YouTube video dated November 16, a distraught and tired-looking Billy explained that Gretchen passed away peacefully in her sleep on November 4. However, because of all the expenses, they haven’t kept up with their rent payments and were in danger of being evicted. He sought help — although with hesitation because of their previous generosity — from the Yang Gang via the GoFundMe page for Gretchen.

Billy Morgan’s latest video where he tells us the passing away of his wife Gretchen.


Billy Morgan’s situation is typical of why a lot of people are fighting for Andrew Yang to be president. They see him as their final hope. Somehow, the system has failed them, or has not sufficiently addressed their needs. In the GoFundMe page for Gretchen,  it says that “Gretchen lost her disability due to an error on her paperwork,” and that it has left them “struggling ever since.” This is why the Freedom Dividend, Andrew Yang’s flagship policy, is important for a lot of Americans. Every individual or situation is unique, and the Freedom Dividend gives them the freedom and power to address their financial and other concerns. It is also a way around or a better alternative to the “errors” and failings of government bureaucracy.

In short, many in the Yang Gang are fighting not just for Andrew Yang, but for themselves and for the rest of the Americans. This election is the fight of /for their lives.


Billy is still seeking the help of Yang Gang, and doing everything he can for his family — aside from the concern about the rent, both of his daughters are pregnant, according to his latest video.


One of the reasons I’m writing this blog post because I’m assuming that there are still members of the Yang Gang (and even non-members) who haven’t heard of his story, and maybe would like to help. The power of our community is that aside from our sense of mission of bringing Andrew Yang to the White House, we are all guided by his campaign slogan, “Humanity First.” We are not just a movementwe are also a family, and we take care of one another. Thank you, in advance, Yang Gang!


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

11 Reasons Why I Support Andrew Yang

If you are my friend or follower on social media, you may have noticed — and perhaps found it curious, if not weird, since I am a Filipino and not a U.S. citizen — that most of my posts are about the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. This post is where I explain why.

You may already know that I first became aware of Andrew Yang’s run for the presidency after watching historian Rutger Bregman’s talk on Universal Basic Income (UBI). It wasn’t long before YouTube’s (thanks YouTube!) algorithm recommended to me an interview of Andrew Yang. And that was the start of my journey into the Andrew Yang rabbit hole. (Once you fall through, it’s very hard to climb back up.)

Next stop in the adventures, as people in the comment section recommended, was Joe Rogan’s podcast. For members of the #YangGang — the collective monicker for Yang’s supporters, and the campaign’s de facto hashtagthe Rogan podcast with Andrew Yang is usually the point of no return. Yang’s strength is the long-form interview, and once you hear one, especially this now iconic conversation, you are hooked for life. It was the same for me, and members of the Yang Gang can relate to this.

When you wake up, you want to watch the latest video or news or interview of Andrew Yang. Before you go to bed, you need to have your fill of Yang content. You have this urge to tell friends and family about this guy who is “the opposite of Donald Trump, the Asian guy who likes MATH.” MATH connotes love for facts and evidence-based solutions. It’s also the acronym for Make America Think Harder, the answer and/or antidote to Trump’s MAGA or Make America Great Again.

But going back to the purpose of this article, here are the reasons why I, a non-U.S. citizen — and there are many of us from all continents — am #YangGang.

Andrew Yang on a recent cover of Newsweek.

1.

If Andrew Yang wins, it will mainstream Basic Income. Yang’s flagship policy is Universal Basic Income (UBI) which he has named the Freedom Dividend (because, according to him, it polls better with conservatives). Watching Rutger Bregman’s TED talk about Basic Income, and researching more about it, convinced me that Basic Income is a major solution to the problem of inequality and poverty, empowering & giving economic freedom to individuals and communities.

In Bregman’s book Utopia for Realists, he included a graph showing how inequality and social ills (and health) are interrelated. The greater your nation’s inequality, the more you are plagued by social problems. It doesn’t matter if you are a developed or developing country.

Here in the Philippines, where poverty rate is around 20%, it would be easier to advocate for an unconditional (emphasis on this word) Basic Income, if one of the leading economies in the world — the U.S. — adopts it. And even if your goals are not overly ambitious, e.g. providing regular incomes (which may be time-bound) to survivors of natural (typhoons and earthquakes) and man-made (extrajudicial killings related to the brutal War on Drugs & suppression of dissent) disasters, implementing and gathering resources for these unconditional cash transfer programs would be easier.

2.

Andrew Yang is an authentic human being who truly cares. Yang is a graduate of two Ivy League schools, a lawyer, and entrepreneur, and he could have gotten filthy rich (his net worth is estimated to be just around 1 million USD) but he chose to pursue the path of helping new graduates and would-be entrepreneurs via his non-profit Venture for America.

He saw the need to create more jobs throughout rest of America and he did something about it. And when he found out that the loss of jobs because of automation was faster than he and the rest of America could create employment, he decided to run for president when he saw the government would not do anything about it. He truly cares for his country and for his family. In this clip of his interview with the lawyer/political activist Lawrence Lessig, his voice breaks at the the end when explained why he was running.

Andrew Yang’s voice break when he explains why he is running for U.S. president.

And the greatest proof of his authenticity is when he interacts with his supporters. For example, Yang prevented this guy from getting hurt while the latter was taking a video with his smart phone.

In other words, Andrew Yang walks his talk. During his campaign, he has given 1,000 USD a month for 1 year to more than 10 recipients, just to show that the Freedom Dividend works, improving lives.

Andrew Yang talks to four new recipients of his 1,000 USD Freedom Dividend.

3.

Andrew Yang is extremely intelligent. He is well-read, and up to date about the newest evidence and data about the issues. He now has more than 160 policies (and growing) on his website Yang2020.com, ranging from big issues like Universal Basic Income, Healthcare/Medicare For All, Climate Change, Gun Safety, Harm Reduction and Decriminalization of drug use, to relatively smaller ones like paying student athletes, banning robo-calls, having a White House psychologist, etc. His intelligence also shines through in the way he has conducted this campaign, treating it like a start-up, and making it as organic as possible.

4.

Andrew Yang is an excellent communicator. He stays on message in his interviews and speeches. He has mastered the art of the call and response in his rallies which has solidified his bond with the #YangGang. He is so good with this strategy of repetition that one supporter has even memorized his stump speech.

5.

Andrew Yang is an optimist. One cannot fake one’s personality and character. And Andrew Yang’s positive energy oozes from his person and is infectious. Although he paints a dystopic future, he believes that we can do something about it with the right and creative solutions.

6.

Andrew Yang will be a great leader for the 4th Industrial Revolution. Automation will displace millions of jobs, and Universal Basic income will provide the floor from which the displaced, or what the economist and Basic Income advocate Guy Standing has called the precariat, can navigate and survive this next great disruption. Yang knows technology, and is the best-equipped candidate to provide the solutions.

7.

Andrew Yang unites. Andrew Yang has started a movement called the Yang Gang. And this movement is not just national, but international in composition. Domestically, it is highly diverse, made up of broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans, progressives, conservatives, independents, libertarians, disaffected Trump supporters, and very significantly, the politically disengaged. Internationally, you can find people in social media and the chat groups supporting him from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, etc.

Moreover, this powerhouse support is technologically-savvy, spreading the #Yang2020 message on platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. The latter streaming and video platform is the bailiwick of the Yang Gang, with supporters who have organically become major influencers in the Yang Universe: e.g. actor Paget Kagy, 18-year old, film major, Kai Watson, Mindful Skeptics’ Boyce Littlefield, and graph-loving Nerds for Yang Youtuber, Tom Leung. Twitter meanwhile is the second major stronghold of the Yang Gang, where Andrew Yang’s followers has recently reached the 1 million milestone, and growing fast as we speak.

Actor Paget Kagy in one of her video posts after the fourth Democratic debate.

8.

Andrew Yang is a loving family man who wants a better future for his children (one of whom is autistic) and the rest of the youth. His love for his family shines through during his speeches when he says he misses his wife and kids. In one instance, after a woman asking about gun safety told how one of her children accidentally shot the other, Yang couldn’t help but cry, remembering his two children. He has a beautiful, intelligent, and supportive wife, Evelyn, who has left her job to take care of their two children. This love and dedication to his family I think is so genuine and expansive, that his supporters cannot help but feel that they are part of Yang’s extended family. Thus, the aforementioned passionate support.

Andrew Yang’s wife Evelyn Yang introduced in one of the campaign’s first digital ads.

9.

Andrew Yang is cool and has a great sense of humor. He is literally cool — he is level-headed, and doesn’t get flustered in interviews and in debates, and sticks to the issue at hand. He skateboards, crowdsurfs, plays the piano, shoots hoops, has awesome dance moves, and was once a goth.

He is funny and has tons of fun. Even his fundraisings are fun. See him and his campaign manager Zach Graumann wear silly headwear during their Halloween fundraising. Because of this calm and positive disposition, he will be a president who can think and decide calmly when faced with momentous decisions and in times of crisis.

10.

All of these traits make Andrew Yang an excellent leader. A military veteran (and bioengineer), Russel Toll, gave an excellent impromptu speech during #Yangapalooza rally in Iowa, comparing him to the best leaders he has known in the military.

11.

For all these reasons, Andrew Yang inspires. Andrew Yang is a man with a vision, believes in that vision, and communicates that vision effectively. He has made not just millions of Americans believe in that vision, but the rest of world as well. The poor, the precariat, the workers, the middle class, the artists, the scientists, and the entrepreneurs, have seen that this man speaks the truth, and are now passing on that message with passion.

A supporter-created video of Andrew Yang’s vision for America.

Personally speaking, Andrew Yang has helped show me the way. For a while now, I have been financially challenged, and am at a crossroads on how to go on about living life, whether I should prioritize earning a living (freelance writing), or pursuing my art (creative writing), or helping others especially my countrymen/women living in poverty and suffering injustice. Basic Income has shown me that pursuing all these choices is possible — that is, if we all take care of each other via a regular stipend, living a life of purpose and meaning will not be a hard choice.

Andrew Yang has also shown me that anything is possible if everyone of us just starts to act. Yang saw the future, and he did not like it. No one was willing to confront the challenges in Washington D.C., so he did what all true leaders do: take it on himself. He has also proven to me that one person’s action can lead others to take action as well. The life counsel “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” has never been more true in Yang’s case. He is living proof that one’s generosity of spirit can make others be generous as well, in spirit and in kind. Andrew Yang’s example has empowered and enabled me to make up my mind: I will dedicate my time, however long it takes, to making Basic Income — in the U.S., my country the Philippines, and the rest of the world — a reality.


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

Crowdfunding My Historical Mystery Novel Set in 1930s Manila

Dear friends, family, & fans of literature,

After a decade or so, I have decided to revive my creative writing project: a historical mystery novel set in Manila during the American Colonial Period, specifically during the 1930s or Comonwealth Era. It’s been a long dream of mine, and come to think of it, its genesis may be traced to more than two decades ago when I started reading & becoming interested in historical mysteries in the mid-90s, a couple of years after graduating from college in 1993 — I’ve been a mystery fan ever since I discovered the stories of Sherlock Holmes in my high school library.

The novel would be a perfect project to work on since it will be a point of convergence — invoking the Japanese spirit/concept of Ikigai — of some of my passions and interests: writing, mystery, history, heritage, and social issues. By writing a historical mystery novel, I hope to both entertain and educate, to help us learn more about our past in an interesting way so that we can understand ourselves better today, and perhaps aid us in our task of nation-building. (I have finished before a similar project: an unproduced historical screenplay about Aguinaldo & Bonifacio called “Ang Heneral at ang Supremo.”)

However, I cannot do this alone. Such a project would require investing a significant amount of time for research and the writing itself. I want to be focused in finishing the project while sustaining myself.

I have therefore decided to crowdfund the writing of this dream of mine. With your help, my goal is to come up with a finished book after one year. A 250-peso (5 US dollars) donation — but feel free to be generous! — from each of you will go a long way in sustaining me while I work on the project. I am aiming for 100 to 120 donors a month, or 1200-1440 donors in one year. In return for your help, I will reward you, in a year’s time, with an E-BOOK of my finished work.

The funds will go, specifically, to paying my monthly rent & other bills, expenses for research, and food for myself, and the five stray cats I have adopted: Cato, Robin, Marvel, Wolverine, & Storm. ☺ I also have to buy either a new or secondhand laptop since my decade-old computer notebook died on me more than a week ago. (Thankfully, the hard drive and data — photos & videos of advocacies and personal ones — were safe. I am seeking a second opinion from a reputable repair shop, but not really holding my breath. Right now, I’m writing this on my 2nd-gen iPhone).

That’s about it! If you want to come along with me on this exciting journey, you may send your donations via the following accounts or payment platforms. After sending the money, pls. write me an e-mail at filipinocreative@gmail.com with the subject: Historical Mystery, and include the following in the message:
-your name
-the amount you sent,
-a photo of the deposit slip (or transaction, if possible)
and
-your e-mail address, if you would like me to include you in a mailing list for regular updates.

Banco De Oro (Katipunan Branch-Regis Center, Loyola Heights, Quezon City)
Account number: 007640061501
Account name: Medardo M. Manrique Jr.

Landbank (University of the Philippines)
Account number: 3076015537
Account name: Medardo M. Manrique Jr.

G-Cash/Paymaya: 09215482622

Paypal: filipinowriter@gmail.com

Pls feel free to spread the word and share this blog post via e-mail, social media, and various messaging platforms, including SMS.

Thank you very much, in advance, for your generosity.

With Love, Light, & Gratitude,

Dino Manrique

 

The 5 Second Rule: How to Gain Courage & Confidence

I think the first time it really sank in was when the facilitator of our iDEFEND General Assembly approached me to ask if I would talk instead to the speaker later who at that point was answering her last set of questions, and I said, without hesitation, “No, I want everyone to hear this.” Three months ago, I most probably wouldn’t have done that. But that was before I came across Mel Robbins‘ book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage (5SR).

How Does the 5 Second Rule Work?

So what is the 5SR? It is a personal growth tool to force yourself to stop worrying or being indecisive and to take action instead. How exactly does it work? All you have to do is say 5-4-3-2-1, and Go! Take action! 

In the first part of book, Mel Robbins tells us how she came upon the idea of the 5SR. It was a very difficult part of her life. She was drinking too much, had trouble at work, and was having problems with her marriage. In the mornings, when the alarm would ring — so she can begin her day, take care of breakfast, and the kids — she would repeatedly press the snooze button. She was caught in a vicious cycle of worrying and dread.

One night, in bed while watching TV, she saw a NASA rocket blast off after the usual countdown, and that’s when the idea struck her. She would countdown herself to take action. The following morning, when the alarm rang, she 5-4-3-2-1 herself to get up without pressing the snooze button. And the rest was history. It completely changed her life. In all aspects of her life, she chose to use the 5SR to stop drinking, fix her relationship with her husband, help her husband get out of his business debt, find her passion as a life coach and speaker, and help hundreds of thousands of people with their lives. And, recently, it helped mine.

It was as if there was a personality change. Now, not to toot my own horn (magbuhat ng sariling bangko), I already was comfortable talking to people, and found my role as a connector among individuals and organizations in my advocacies. I was already comfortable as well in my own skin. During meetings and forums, I would share my thoughts at opportune moments. However, during this particular general assembly, it was different. It was as if, I added another level to my powers — “lumevel-up,” in Filipino slang. I did not hesitate to share my thoughts, question assumptions, etc. Kung walanghiya ako noon, mas naging walanghiya pa ako ngayon. (If I was shameless then, I was even “more shameless” now).

So why does the 5SR work? According to Robbins, the 5SR is a metacognition tool — metacognition refers to the state of being aware of what’s happening to your mind or thought processes — to force yourself to access your prefrontal cortex where rational processes/thoughts and conscious decisions occur. Instead of thinking of excuses or being caught in a loop of worry, you are forced — by counting 5-4-3-2-1 to take action, GO! Our brain doesn’t want the unfamiliar — its primitive way of keeping us safe. However, our brain doesn’t know that we already live in a different context. The 5SR is our way of short-circuiting, as it were, that evolutionary impulse to survive.

Activation Energy

In the book, Robbins explains that activation energy — coined by the legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience — is the reason why making change is so hard, and that the 5SR starts the process of breaking down this obstacle. She says:

Activation Energy is that “initial huge push of energy that’s required to change, — whether it’s to get a stalled car to move forward or yourself out of a warm bed in the morning.

When you start to count 5 4 3 2 1, it is the beginning of a chain of reaction that not only awakens the prefrontal cortex, but also gets you ready to make that physical “initial huge push” that’s required to change.

Locus of control 

Robbins also alludes to the concept called Locus of Control in psychology put forth by Julian Rotter in 1954:

The more that you believe that you are in control of your life, your actions and your future, the happier and more successful you’ll be. A bias towards action which the 5SR develops is guaranteed to increase your feelings of control over your life.


The 5SR can help you improve and achieve your goals in all aspects of your life. Mel Robbins happened to mention the 5SR in passing — not even the subject of her talk — in her TED talk about careers, and suddenly, people were writing and messaging her, telling her how the 5SR changed their lives:

At 18:57, Mel Robbins mentions the 5 Second Rule in her TEDx Talk

Health

Physical Health

If you have been putting off exercising for some time now, just 5-4-3-2-1, put on your shoes, go to the gym or take that first step, and start brisk walking or start jogging. Just 5SR, and put one foot forward in front of the other!

Or if you are tempted to eat that large slice of cake, just 5-4-3-2-1, and grab that banana or apple instead.

Mental Health

You can use 5SR as well to stop worrying. And if you have anxiety attacks you can try 5SR to conquer it. All you have to do is reframe it. According to Robbins who suffer from the condition, when you have panic attacks, you experience the same physical or biological reactions — you heart beats faster, your palms and armpits get sweaty, etc. It’s the same feeling you get when you just had a near-accident, except that you didn’t have one. Robbins says that when she experiences this, she tells herself that she’s just getting excited. By doing so, her brain now has an explanation of what’s happening to the body, and the mind will begin to calm down.

Robbins says you can also use anchor thoughts to fight off worrying and anxiety. If you’re worrying about giving a speech, for example, just tell yourself the satisfaction the audience members will feel when you’ve shared your knowledge. Or when travelling, and you are worrying about getting into an accident, just start thinking of something positive that you will do once you reach your destination, such as enjoying your time with family or experiencing a new adventure.

Relationships

In relationships, say what you have to say to your family or your relatives. Tell them how much they mean to you. Or just be present when they need you. You may not be given the opportunity to do so again. Just 5SR, and say it or do it!

Career

You can use the 5SR to explore what you want to do with your life. Use your curiosity to start researching or Googling that hobby or skill you have wanted to try for a long time. Then 5-4-3-2-1 yourself to attend that seminar or workshop to explore that hobby.

This is what Ryder Carroll in his book The Bullet Journal Method means to honor your curiosity. You don’t have to go all out, leave your job, etc. You just have to make one small step at a time, dip your foot in the water, so to speak, and find out if something is meant for you.

Going back to my iDEFEND GA, it was not only me who noticed my more confident self. There was a female advocate (from the parish community who helps relatives of drug war/extrajudicial killings) who told me “Natutuwa ako sa iyo.” (“You amuse me.”) I asked why. She told me I was so hyper. I told her it must be the Zykast I was taking for my coughing (hyperactive airways condition). Her male companion joked that whatever it was, that I should continue taking it. I told them briefly about the 5 Second Rule. (Just to make sure, that it was indeed the 5SR, I Googled and it was not the Zykast. 🙂 )

Reporting at the iDEFEND GA. (Photo by Jenny Linares)

My iDEFEND colleagues also noticed my active participation during the discussion. I told them about the Bullet Journaling I was doing — which I shared in my first post — but not about the 5 Second Rule.  So I’m telling everybody now. (Speaking of journaling, just learned that Mel Robbins also designed a 5 Second Journal to help you become “the most productive, confident, and happiest you.”)

If you want a massive shift or change in your life, and if there’s only one book you would read this year (but better to read more!), you should buy the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. You won’t regret it. You will be inspired by: how an employee mustered the courage to talk to their CEO after being given another chance, and consequently the chance to move up the corporate ladder; how a teenager who unexpectedly passed away inspired others to seize the day and celebrate relationships; how a college student up and walked out of his law class, and enrolled as a Physical Education student in another university; and more stories of taking risks and overcoming self-doubt: people from all walks of life finally taking steps to achieve their dreams.

The 5SR is all about gaining, as Robbins says time and again, a bias towards action, it is about taking small steps — what Anne Lamott calls taking it Bird by Bird, in her eponymous book — to gain courage. Over time, these small moments will make you gain confidence, empower you, and will embolden you in other aspects of your life. So try the 5 Second Rule, if there’s something that you’ve been putting off for some time now that has the potential to change or improve your life, just 5-4-3-2-1 and Act! Would love to know how it goes.


If you have enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter) or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income 🙂 — so that I may continue to research and write more such articles.

Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The Activist Historian: Rutger Bregman

It all started when I saw one night historian Rutger Bregman’s Ted talk called Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash. And boy, was I blown away. I thought that it was one of the best Ted talks I’ve ever seen. What Bregman was proposing, a Universal Basic Income or UBI was intriguing, and seemed to be backed up by evidence, and was notable for mentioning the Mincome Experiment in Dauphin, Canada in the 1970s.


I researched him some more, and learned that Bregman earned notoriety when he said in the Davos World Economic Forum that everyone should be talking about tax avoidance and the rich not giving their fair share. In his own words, “…taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit…

His unaired interview with Fox conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson also became viral when he agitated the host enough for the latter to swear at him. You can see the unaired interview in Bregman’s Facebook page.

I also found out that he had written a book called Utopia for Realists. I bought the book, and it was so riveting that I read it in less than two days. It was like reading an activist Malcolm Gladwell, replete with fascinating anecdotes and data/evidence-based stories. The book actually discussed three topics: Universal Basic Income, 15-Hour Workweek, and Open Borders (advocating for passport/visa-less employment in another country, as opposed to the prevailing practice now which started during World War I to keep spies out). In this interview with Trevor Noah, Bregman talks more about the 15-Hour workweek, aside from his book and Basic Income. He also mentions the bullshit jobs that millions of people find meaningless.



UBI in Utopia for Realists

In the book Utopia for Realists, I learned that UBI or a fixed income to be received monthly by everyone — without any conditions — to meet his basic needs (this 10-minute Youtube video by our dear friends from Kurzgezagt explains the concept well), was proposed in some form by Thomas More in his book Utopia, Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King, the conservative economist Milton Friedman, and was even almost passed by the U.S. Congress during the time of President Nixon, if not for the objection of the Democrats in the Senate who said that the amount was not enough.

The story about how Pres. Nixon was also persuaded to amend the bill because his adviser Martin Anderson showed him a six-page report about the Speenhamland system in England at the end of the 18th century and the start of 19th century. The report was based on sociologist Karl Polanyi‘s classic book The Great Transformation, in which Polanyi described the system as a failure. The report made Nixon amend the bill which eventually led to its demise. The twist was that, later on, historians found out that Polanyi had based his assessment on erroneous and falsified data. Such stories left you wondering about the roads not taken in the history of humanity.

MLK & Universal Basic Income | Guaranteed Income (5 Reasons)

Here are 5 reasons why Martin Luther King supported a universal basic income…Credit: Matt Orfalea

Posted by Sustainable Human on Monday, January 21, 2019


One important assertion by Bregman is how the poor make poor decisions because of the scarcity mentality. When one is pressed for time, money, etc., his or her ability to make wise decisions diminishes. For example, a study by behavioral scientist Eldar Shafir of sugarcane workers in India who harvested their crops only half of the year, showed that their IQ diminished by 14 points before harvest time.

On the other hand, when an individual is given a regular income so he can meet his basic needs, his overall well-being improves. The Mincome experiment of Dauphin, Canada from 1973-1977 proved this. But it wasn’t until 2009, when Dr. Evelyn Forget a professor at the University of Manitoba, finally found the 2,000 boxes of records of the experiment, that it was shown that it was a resounding success. As Bregman narrated in his Ted talk, the residents of Dauphin didn’t stop working except for the mothers who took care of family members, the number of children going to school increased, hospitalization decreased, and mental health improved. In other words, the basic income gave the recipients the freedom to choose, and what we learned is that people, even the poor, know what’s best for them. The Huffington Post wonderfully narrates the story of Dauphin, Canada in the article A Canadian City Once Eliminated Poverty And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It.

An excellent video explanation by Kurzgesagt about Universal Basic Income (UBI)

UBI Addresses Inequality

Bregman also showed two graphs. One graph showed per capita GDP in the x axis, and index of social problems in the y axis. In this graph, there was no correlation between how wealthy a country collectively is and the amount of social problems it has. But when the x axis was replaced with inequality or the difference in income between the rich and the poor, there was a straight line which clearly showed the link. You can see the graph in this article Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights. In other words, if we help reduce inequality with UBI, the effort would be worth it, as we would be addressing not just poverty, but a host of other societal problems.

The Presidential Candidate: Andrew Yang & UBI

On YouTube, I was also surprised to learn that in the U.S., a Democrat named Andrew Yang is running for president, has UBI as his main platform. He has also written a book called The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. He is an entrepreneur and the founder of Venture for America, a New York City based non-profit whose mission is “to revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship” by training recent graduates and young professionals to work for startups in emerging cities throughout the United States.

He says that his friends in Silicon Valley all say that in 10 years, a lot of jobs will be lost to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and automation. In particular, the jobs of truck drivers, people in retail, accountants, etc., will be endangered, and will cause social breakdown. He says that Universal Basic Income or what he calls the Freedom Dividend will provide a buffer to absorb the shock of job losses. The great thing is that his message is resonating even with Trump supporters and Republicans — just look at the comments section of his YouTube videos, and you will seldom see a negative comment. It seems that he is uniting the country with his message. It is, as he put it, not about moving Left or Right, but moving Forward.

This interview with The Atlantic will give you an excellent overview of presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s background and Universal Basic Income platform. This is also my first encounter with him, and the first video I saw of him.

In his own words, the Democrats have focused too much on other themes such as race and identity politics — nothing wrong with that according to him — but they have forgotten why a lot of people voted for Trump: job insecurity. Like many people, I believe Yang will be the next U.S. president, a man, again in his own words, who is the opposite of Trump: “an Asian who knows Math.” If you’re an American/U.S. Citizen or just someone curious about the details of his policies, Yang’s almost two-hour interview with Joe Rogan is must-watch/listen.

Andrew Yang explains to Joe Rogan how he will implement his Universal Basic Income policy once he becomes U.S. President

Just Do UBI!

I also came across a Basic Income documentary on Youtube called Free Money produced by the Dutch broadcasting company VPRO which featured, among others, Mein Grundeinkommen (My Basic Income) a crowdfunded basic income raffle started by startup entrepreneur/web developer Michael Bohmeyer who quit his job and opted to receive 1,000 euros monthly from his former company; the story of the economist Guy Standing‘s experiments in Basic Income in India and elsewhere, and the U.S. state of Alaska, which has solved the problem of poverty because of dividends from its oil earnings, called the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. I urge you to watch the documentary from start to finish. It’s both fascinating and inspiring.

Fascinating stories of the leading advocates of Basic Income who did not wait for government, and went ahead with their UBI/BI experiments/initiatives.

The Economist & UBI: Guy Standing

And because of the docu, I learned, as I mentioned, about the work of Guy Standing. Please watch Standing’s TedXKlagenfurt video, and learn how their experiments in India has improved the lives of the poor, and emancipated them, especially the women. It is really must-watch.

Economist Guy Standing explains Universal Basic Income, how it should be a right that people should be given, and how their Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) / experiments have shown how Basic Income has improved the lives of people, and emancipated them.


I am now reading Guy Standing’s book, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. From the initial chapters, it seems that it is more comprehensive in its treatment of Universal Basic Income, including UBI’s long history, how to implement it, etc. For Guy Standing, UBI is a right because everyone must benefit from the commons.

UBI in the Philippines

Because of UBI, I started reviewing the TRAIN Law, how UBI can fit into our current tax schemes, and how we can modify our tax system to accommodate it, and found something appalling, or at the very least disturbing, from JC Punongbayan’s Rappler series of articles about the TRAIN Law. It seems that our lawmakers and our leaders knew that the Train Law would hit the very rich and the very poor. For the very poor or the 4Ps beneficiaries, around 4.1M Filipinos, they allocated an Unconditional Cash Transfer of 200 pesos per family per month on top of what they are already receiving, from the 4Ps without regard for how many children each family has. What can 200 pesos do in this time of high prices? But aside from that, as JC pointed out, the  disbursement might be delayed because of bureaucracy.

My point is imagine if we crafted our taxes with the UBI in mind — everyone wouldn’t be left behind. It would be fair to everyone, with each person — even children and dependents — benefiting from the earnings/production of the commons. For now, this is a simplistic summary of what can be done, but I think you are getting my drift of an alternative vision of the future.

Speaking of 4P’s or the Philippine government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which started during the Arroyo presidency, it does seem to help the poor according to World Bank, but wouldn’t it be better with UBI, when it’s unconditional? Perhaps we can raise the amount, or remove the conditionalities and the bureaucracy so that the poor will have the freedom to do what’s best for them? Some things to consider. Will also include this in my future research.

As I continued studying UBI, I became more and more convinced that this is one of the main programs that we’re looking for to address the inequality — 21.6% of our kababayans live below the poverty line, as of 2015 according to the World Bank — and thus, reduce the social ills in our country. UBI will reduce criminality, improve our general health, and improve our general well-being.

UBI is also an advocacy which will touch on other advocacies: labor issues; women’s emancipation — they wouldn’t be dependent on their husbands anymore, or they wouldn’t resort to prostitution; ecology/environment, e.g., tax those contributing to climate change, and distribute the revenues to the people; corruption — where are we losing money in our budget process, e.g. the pork barrel and sums? — if we can save the money from the corruption, then we can direct it to UBI.

It had me thinking also of the livelihood programs we put together for the poor. For example, uniform livelihood programs may not fit the skills of all of the recipients. I was reminded of the families of the extrajudicial killing (EJK) victims we are helping. Their financial needs were different. Some stopped their food delivery service. Others were more concerned with the schooling of their children. If we can just give them cash, then they themselves know what to do best with the money. In the near future, I’m thinking of implementing a basic income or at least an unconditional cash transfer for these psychologically and financially devastated families, and see if this is indeed a better way to help them. A footnote, by the way: livelihood and psycho-social support for the children are among the main needs of these families victimized by the government’s brutal war on drugs (in future posts, will also share my learnings about alternative and evidenced-based drug policies that really work).

Speaking of the drugs, I was reminded when reading about the capability of the poor to wisely decide for themselves when given the chance. In the book High Price by neuropharmacologist Dr. Carl Hart, harm reduction advocate, his experiments with drug dependence showed that given the choice between drugs and money, the person would always choose cash. This validates the findings cited in Bregman’s book that as a rule, people do not spend their money on alcohol and drugs. They spend it on their basic needs, and activities or things which will improve their well-being.

Going back to how artificial intelligence will cause unemployment, the book by Kaifu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order which discusses job displacement in China and the U.S. among other things, said we must focus on jobs which will be valuable in the future, like caring jobs, caretaking, nursing, teaching, etc. For UBI advocates like Bregman, Yang, and Standing, we must start replacing indicators like GDP with measurements which measure our general well-being: health, happiness, etc., This is because activities like volunteering, taking care of the elderly and the children, which are extremely valuable to society, are things not measured by the GDP. For Bregman and Yang, GDP is an outdated measurement meant to address the challenges of The Great Depression. A measurement akin to the Happiness Index will be more appropriate,

UBI From My POV

Personally, I can relate to UBI. As an advocate, I have long seen myself with ambivalence. Am fulfilled and happy, but often find myself financially challenged. This has been a problem that me and my fellow Filipino Cultural Creative (FCC) friends have been grappling with. How can we continue our work which we know is of great value to society? I think a Universal Basic Income is an excellent solution. We can work continuously without worrying where our next rent (as I’m worrying now 🙂 ) or food allowance would come from.

A few days ago, our writers group Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) co-organized with UNI Global Union ASIA & Pacific (UNI Apro) a forum re the opportunities and current challenges facing freelance writers right now. Aimee Morales, the main founder of FWGP, at one point said that it’s hard to organize writers because they are trying to address their basic needs. I said that it was a chicken and egg situation, but if indeed we had a UBI, then that part of the problem of organizing would be taken care of somehow.

UBI & Work

Indeed. in a UBI society, we need to re-think our concept of work. Bregman has touched on this with his chapter on the 15-Hour Workweek. He tells about John Maynard Keynes who in 1930, just at the doorstep of the Great Depression, delivered a brief lecture called “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren,” which predicted a hundred years hence, in 2030, we are going to work less hours because of our collective wealth.

Still researching UBI, I came across an article titled Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture by a US Citizen who lived in Switzerland, and you can see the difference between our way of living which we patterned after the U.S. In Switzerland — and in other European countries, for that matter — rest and vacation are valued so much that you can be flexible with your working hours and still get paid handsomely.

Thus, UBI will make us think of how to redesign our society. Our country today has been drawn to the ideology of authoritarianism and the mishmash appeal of populism. I think what Filipinos are looking for right now is a vision of the future which can inspire them, give them hope. Their pains and frustrations — see my thoughts on an FB post here –have attracted them to populism/authoritarianism/fascism. As expected, many are now disillusioned with Duterte, and the rest will get dismayed — they will find out that Duterte is nothing but the same old trapo, but in wolf’s clothing, and is all about greed in power, manipulating and gaslighting them with fake news, misogyny, and threats of violence.

But in order to bring back to our fold those who are still clinging to what is now an illiberal democracy, we must give them an alternative vision: a rights-based, participative (not just representative) society/system, a new way of working and of appreciating work; a society where the citizens value one another, know how to rest, and take a breath; a society which knows that in order to develop as a nation, we need a happy citizenry — less anxious, well-rested, compassionate, abundance-minded. And I think UBI is one of the major ways to get there.

UBI & The Dream of a Better Society

In the following days, I will post more about how we can achieve this society and implement UBI. Will do more reading and consult economists, etc. and will blog about it. I’m also thinking of starting a non-profit to advocate for UBI.

And it seems that I’m not the one only looking into Basic Income. In an event last week — a talk by Nathan Quimpo of the Rise and Decline of the Left in Southeast Asia — Sen. Risa Hontiveros, when I asked her if she has heard about UBI, said that the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is about to study it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rene E. Ofreneo Onforio, dean of the U.P. School of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (UP SOLAIR), where we held our FWGP forum, said that he’s aware of UBI and Guy Standing’s work, and Michelle Belino of UNI-Apro said that UBI is one of their advocacies, and their Singaporean colleague and Regional Secretary Christopher Ng regularly gives talks about it.

And just before I posted this, a fellow advocate shared with me this Manila Times article by Malou Tiquia explaing well UBI, and suggesting it is an alternative to the 4P’s.

I have also started evangelizing some of my fellow advocates, and some are inspired, or at the very least, see merit in the idea. Indeed, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is already upon us, where we will face a multitude of challenges, and UBI might well be one of the major solutions.

Make the Dream a Reality

The challenge, as articulated by Rutger Bregman, is how to bring this dream/vision into reality. He appeals for a strong will. In Utopia for Realists, he says “a worldview is not a Lego set where a block is added here, removed there. It’s a fortress that is defended tooth and nail, with all possible reinforcements, until the pressure becomes so overpowering that the walls cave in.”

He says that radical ideas start at the fringes, but become mainstream, not gradually, but in times of crisis. Moments of crisis for him, are instances of opportunities. He reminds us that the word “crisis” comes from the Greek word which means to “separate” or “sieve.” A crisis then “should be a moment of truth, the juncture at which a fundamental choice is made.” And the only way for us to make a wise choice is when we have long prepared for that crossroads.

Today, we are facing such a moment of truth. What’s happening to our country is a symptom of the systemic ills that we must overhaul. We should muster our collective will, and act deliberately and mindfully. UBI can serve as a catalyst. All we have to do now is educate ourselves, organize, and remain steadfast.


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

The Magic of Bullet Journaling

How I Came Upon Bullet Journaling

I came across bullet journaling when I had just decided to focus again on writing. I have heard about it before (I think from author and entrepreneur Joanna Pen), and decided to to check out a couple of videos after YouTube recommended — around the first week of January — a video about it. The impression I got was that bullet journaling was a bit elaborate, and you needed artistic skills to do it. But when the second video mentioned the inventor of bullet journaling, Ryder Carroll, and I checked out his introduction to bullet journaling, that’s when I finally got it. Bullet journaling is actually minimalist, and is not really about the stickers or the washi tapes or the calligraphy, and the rest of the frills (it’s okay though if these things motivate you to bullet journal), but it is about organizing your thoughts in a mindful manner.

The more I watched Ryder’s videos including his TedX talk, the more I understood the system. I also bought the e-book version of his book The Bullet Journal Method (TBJM), and I swiftly read through the first chapters, and felt a surge of excitement, especially when he said that as you got deeper into the practice, you would see the interconnectedness of things. I have since finished reading the book, and learned a lot from the practice of bullet journaling, and its accompanying philosophy as laid out by Ryder.

So What is a Bullet Journal?

Ryder Carroll says, in his book, that bullet journaling is an analog way of organizing to “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”

It is many things, including: decluttering the mind, cultivating your curiosity, and keeping you focused.

It declutters the mind by putting down your thoughts — we have as much as 500 thousand thoughts a day — on paper. As one thought crosses your mind like a task, or an event, or a note, you write it on your Daily Log putting a symbol or bullet before each entry — thus the term “bullet journal” — to indicate what kind of thought or note it is.

You can also add other symbols called signifiers to further describe what kind of a thought it is, You aim to be as concise as possible. Hopefully, the act of writing down improves your memory and forces you to prioritize and ask why you want to do something, and then decide whether it is something worth doing or just distracts you from your priority goals.

How Do You Bullet Journal?

Ryder Carroll’s book The Bullet Journal Method is an excellent guide on how to bullet journal since it is written from the man who invented bullet journaling himself. Carroll, who has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), developed his system of organizing over time to address his disability. In his TedX Talk, he explained that ADD is not about not being able to focus, but about focusing on too many things. Bullet Journaling is a way of prioritizing your goals, and focusing on things that matter to you the most.

It is a process of unloading your mind of your thoughts, decluttering it so you may have more space and energy to devote your brain to other tasks.

You put whatever important thought or note in a Daily Log in a process called Rapid Logging. You use bullets to indicate whether these thoughts/ are tasks, events, or notes, whether they have been completed, scheduled on your calendar or migrated to another collecton (more on collections and migration later) or whether you have decided to cancel a task or an event because you decided that that particular item is a distraction.

You can also use signifiers to further describe or categorize these Daily Log items. There are signifiers to indicate if these items are important, has a fast-approaching deadline, are ideas, something to explore, or whether you love an item or are inspired by it.

You can see the bullets and signifiers — collectively called as Key — in Matthew Kent’s video (3:06) of his Bullet Journal Walkthrough:

Aside from a daily log, your Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) contains Collections. A Monthly Log (or Monthly Calendar) and A Future Log are examples of collections. A task or a goal which is composed of many tasks can be gathered in a single project. One project is an example of a collection. Other forms of collections could be Habit Trackers, Lists (e.g. reading list, movie list, etc), Progress Trackers, etc. Only your imagination or your objectives/goals limit the kind of collections you may include in your bullet journal pages. Some of your entries can be transferred to these collections in a process called migration, which you can do daily, weekly, or monthly.

Indexing

Speaking of pages, one of the brilliant ideas of bullet journaling, and a key feature, is the way you keep track of your collections. For easy access, you put page numbers in your BuJo pages, and then indicate the location of your Topics — that is, the titles of your collections — in your Index, which is actually your Table of Contents.

Flexibility

As you may have inferred by now, one strength of bullet journaling is it’s flexibility. The form and nature of your bullet journaling will depend on your needs and what works for you.

My Bullet Journaling So Far

I have been bullet journaling for more than a month now (I started January 9), and I can attest that it has made a huge impact in my life. Even after just a couple of days of bullet journaling, I already felt the difference. I was more calm, more focused (my BuJo’s word for the year is FOCUS), and more organized. Now, I rarely watch the news, limited my time on social media, especially Facebook, regularly meditate 10-minutes daily, and brisk walk daily. I have also clarified my goals and have read at least a book a week on writing and self-growth. I now watch more personal development and writing videos than sports videos on youtube, eat healthier, have started this blog, and have started outlining a novel. I have also started taking care of the plants, watering them daily, and the wilted ones have started to thrive again.

If you are experiencing some sort of life challenge, embarking on a new project, or want to reinvent yourself, I highly suggest you start bullet journaling, and/or buy Ryder Carroll’s book. Dotted notebooks are preferred, but any old-fashioned ruled notebook will do. You will discover that bullet journaling is not just about organizing, but is about a philosophy of life: it is about intentionality and mindfulness, it is also about minimalism (for me, at least), and about gratitude, and how to achieve happiness and fulfillment. It is about being able to review your life regularly, reminding you of the lessons, and what is important, and thus how to move forward. It is also about going offline and analog, to discover the power and magic of your handwriting and/or writing in cursive. It is about seeing the connections in your daily actions and interactions, thus enhancing your creativity. It’s like watering the plants in front of my house — concrete, specific, and the nurturing of a habit — so that the plant’s stem may rise up once more, straightening towards the sun, the leaves opening up again.


If you have enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter) or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income 🙂 — so that I may continue to research and write more such articles.