EDD Wants Its Unemployment Money Back — Clawback Program Requires People Who Got Unemployment Assistance To Prove They Were Working Or Seeking Work

A musician who lost all her unemployment documents when her home burned in a wildfire. An arborist who filed for unemployment assistance a year before the pandemic began. A tattoo artist who can’t prove he was working because he ran a cash operation.

These are just a few Californians caught in a state dragnet to recover money from fraudulent unemployment claims.

Late last year, California’s Employment Development Department launched a clawback program, requiring some 1.4 million people who received federal pandemic unemployment assistance to retroactively prove they were working or seeking work. That program, which ended in September, was aimed at helping people who don’t usually qualify for unemployment benefits because they are freelancers or small-business owners.

As of Jan. 4, one out of five recipients who received the notice has responded. The state says a majority have been deemed eligible and won’t have to repay, but some are unable to provide documentation, leaving them on the hook to repay benefits that could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. If they can’t pay, the state could collect the money in a variety of ways, such as wage garnishments or taking them to court.

“They are going to want money back from me that I don’t have,” said Donna Casey, a musician who could owe EDD more than $30,000 after losing her home in the August Complex fire in 2020. “What are they going to do to me, put me in jail? At least I’ll have a place to live.”

Policy experts had warned against the clawback program, noting it would hurt poor Californians who were already disproportionately sidelined from the job market by the pandemic.

Even former federal prosecutor McGregor Scott, hired by the state to lead a separate investigation into large-scale unemployment fraud, expressed skepticism that the effort would recoup much of some $20 billion lost to fraudulent claims, including millions of dollars of state-approved payments to prison inmates. Advocates suggested letting claimants like Casey keep the money regardless of proof, but the state is holding firm.

That’s left many Californians in a bind.

Some who were contacted by EDD said they are terrified of losing their homes. Many are furious that the responsibility fell on them after they already received the money. And others simply don’t know where to turn for help.

Casey had lost gigs and stopped selling homemade jewelry at festivals when the lockdown began. Then she lost all her documentation when her house in Trinity County burned in a wildfire, just after her daughter died of a lung infection.

Unemployment was a lifesaver as Casey searched for work throughout the pandemic, including applying to an Amazon warehouse. But, at 67-years-old, she couldn’t lift enough to qualify for the job.

Casey, however, never thought she might have to pay back her benefits.

Now living in Berkeley with one of her daughters, Casey has some photos of her old business cards that she’ll send to the agency. She also hopes EDD will speak with the music groups she played with – but she worries that won’t cut it.

Similarly, at the start of the pandemic, Sasha Emery was living in an RV partly paid for by federal emergency funds after her Paradise home burned down. After finally getting into affordable housing during the pandemic, she signed up for unemployment when the few available jobs didn’t pan out.

When the notice arrived asking for proof or repayment, shock turned into tears. All Emery has to offer are records of her dire situation: food stamps, Medi-Cal documentation and potentially the federal assistance she received after the fire.

If a recipient can’t offer the necessary proof, and cannot repay the funds at once or in installments that could include 3% interest, EDD may seek the money in a number of ways. The agency could put a lien on property, take up to 25% of a recipient’s wages, withhold state and federal tax refunds or lottery winnings, deduct benefits from future unemployment or state disability insurance benefits, or file a lawsuit.

Source: The OC Register

People Are Sharing Things People Say That Are Biiig Red Flags, Usually To Trick Or Deceive You

On Tuesday, Reddit user u/neilnelly asked people, “What is something subtle people say that is a red flag to you?” People came through with some truly useful examples of things people will say that are usually to trick, manipulate, or deceive you.

Here’s what they shared:

1. “When they never ask a question when you’re telling them something. My husband realized his father never does this, and now I can’t stop listening for this.” —u/foofoofoobears

2. “When they say, ‘But you’re so good at it!’ That’s them saying, ‘I’ll compliment you in the hope that you’ll take this task off my hands.'” —u/amelie_v

3. “When they say, ‘OK, fine. I’m sorry. Happy?’ That’s not an apology.” —u/Celq124

4. “Or, if they say, ‘I’m the worst person ever’ in their apology. Then their ‘apology’ turns into you assuring them and ignoring whatever they did that hurt you.” —u/lissalissa3

5. “When a mom says, ‘I try to be more like my kids’ friend than their mom.’ You need to wait around 20 years to do the best friend thing. My mom made sure I was home on time, went to school, got good grades, didn’t swear, went to university, and all the other great mom stuff that was annoying when I was young. Now, she is my absolute best friend by far.” —u/holyurushiol, u/bugbugladybug

6. “Non-apologies: ‘I’m sorry you got offended by what I said.'” —u/SelfDiagnosedUnicorn

7. “When people say things like, ‘I can say and do whatever I want. It’s a free country. Ever hear of freedom of speech?’ in order to justify shitty things they say or do. Like sure, you have the right to speak your mind, but people also have the right to judge you for what you say.” —u/87319496

8. “When they say, ‘I’m brutally honest’ or some other excuse to be an unbearable person.” —u/mywifemademegetthis

9. “When somebody says something about themselves when it’s not prompted or necessary. Like randomly saying, ‘I’m an honest person,’ or ‘I’m a hard worker.'” —u/jrhawk42

10. “When someone says, ‘It’s just a joke.’ It’s called ‘Shrodinger’s Douchebag’ — deciding on whether what you said was a joke or not depending on people’s reactions.” —u/Drprim83

11. “Someone who frequently, in response to you telling them about a bad or inconvenient thing that happened to you, start with ‘Well what you SHOULD have done…’ or ‘What I would have done…’ These people tend to be very opinionated and stubborn, even in situations they don’t really know anything about.” —u/solaris_eclipse

12. “Anything that exposes poor morals or tricks others. For example, ‘I’ll just say I never got it so they send me another one.’ When people show you who they really are, believe them. Love this quote.” —u/emik7133

13. “When people say shit like, ‘clearly,’ ‘obviously,’ etc. If someone has to reassure you or themselves that something is real, it’s dangerous. Relationships, politics, academia. Never trust someone who thinks their opinion is an absolute.” —u/dirtyhippie62

14. “When they say, ‘Oh, it’s ok. It doesn’t matter” in attempt to calm me down, as in it’s silly that I’m upset by something not too important. It doesn’t matter to whom??? Because obviously it does matter to me.” —u/cherry_tiddy

Source: BuzzFeed

Ex-BLM Leader Rashad Turner Says He Quit After Learning ‘Ugly Truth’ About Organization And Claims They Have ‘Little Concern For Rebuilding Black Families’; Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Steps Down After Purchasing $1.4 Million Home

A former Black Lives Matter leader in Minnesota who quit after 18 months says he learned the ‘ugly truth’ about the organization’s stance on family and education after working on the inside.

Rashad Turner, who founded the local BLM chapter in St. Paul in 2015, released a video last week titled ‘The Truth Revealed about BLM’.

In the video, the 35-year-old said he eventually came to the realization that BLM had ‘little concern for rebuilding black families’.

Speaking about becoming the founder of the local BLM chapter, Turner said: ‘I believed the organization stood for exactly what the name implies – black lives do matter. 

‘However, after a year on the inside, I learned they had little concern for rebuilding black families and they cared even less about improving the quality of education for students in Minneapolis.’

Turner, who now campaigns heavily for education, said his stance on BLM became clear when the organization called for a freeze on the growth of charter schools and further investment in public schools in 2016.

‘I was an insider in Black Lives Matter and I learned the ugly truth… 

‘The moratorium on charter schools does not support rebuilding the black family but it does create barriers to a better education for black children. 

‘I resigned from Black Lives Matter after a year and a half but I didn’t quit working to improve black lives and access to a great education.’  

His video also highlighted how BLM’s website once stated that it wanted to ‘disrupt the nuclear family structure’. 

That phrase was removed from the national website last year.  

The video was published online by an organization called TakeCharge Minnesota.  

It serves as a promotion for Turner’s new role as with the Minnesota Parent Union, which he says is dedicated to helping black parents find successful schools for their children. 

He said that in his new role he was ‘up against forces that don’t want us to succeed’ but didn’t not elaborate further. 

Turner, who ran as a Democrat for the state legislature back in 2016, was born and raised in St. Paul.  

Turner’s comments about the BLM organization come less than a week after its national co-founder Patrisse Cullors revealed she was stepping down.

Cullors, who has been at the helm of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years, had faced criticism in recent weeks after it emerged she had amassed a $3 million property portfolio despite describing herself as a ‘trained Marxist’. 

The 37-year-old activist told The Associated Press that she is leaving to focus on other projects, including the upcoming release of her second book and a multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros. 

‘I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,’ Cullors stated. ‘It feels like the time is right.’  

Cullors faced fierce backlash over revelations about her personal spending – including the recent purchase of a $1.4 million home in a ritzy L.A. neighborhood. 

It prompted many to question what percentage of BLM donations were actually going towards social justice programs. 

She insisted, however, that her resignation was in the works for more than a year and had nothing to do with the personal attacks she has faced. 

‘Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,’ Cullors told the Associated Press. 

Last month, she described the criticism as ‘racist and sexist’ smears deliberately put out by the ‘right-wing media’. 

But it wasn’t just conservatives who pressed Cullors over her finances. 

The head of New York City’s BLM chapter called for an independent investigation into the organization’s finances after revelations about the property portfolio surfaced.  

Source: DailyMail

Mexico’s President Apologizes For The 1911 Massacre That Killed Over 300 Chinese People

Mexico’s president made a public apology on Monday for the killing of over 300 Chinese people by the revolutionary forces of Francisco I. Madero in the city of Torreón over a century ago.

Gruesome history: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he wants to ensure the 1911 massacre, in which Chinese nationals were mutilated or hung from telegraph poles, “never, ever happens again,” reported the Associated Press

  • Obrador said the discrimination was based on the “most vile and offensive stereotypes,” adding “these stupid ideas were transferred to Mexico, where extermination was added to exclusion and mistreatment.”
  • His apology was part of Obrador’s efforts to atone for the past mistreatment of Indigenous and minority people in Mexico. 
  • “We will never forget the brotherhood of the Chinese during the bitter and anguishing months of the pandemic,” he added.
  • Chinese Ambassador Zhu Qingqiao was present during Obrador’s apology ceremony.

Hate born of envy: The racial killings of 303 Chinese men, women and children happened after revolutionary troops overran Torreón in 1911, during the early parts of the Mexican Revolution.

  • The victims were descendants of Chinese laborers who migrated to Mexico in the 1800s to work on the expansion of the nation’s rail network, setting up businesses, farms and other establishments.
  • During this period, some Mexican people reportedly grew envious of the success of some Chinese immigrants, with others blaming them for taking jobs or depressing wage rates in Torreón.
  • When revolutionary troops took over the city from May 13-15 in 1911, they killed many of the Chinese people living there. Some managed to survive by hiding or were rescued by local residents.
  • Following the massacre, the Chinese government demanded an apology and indemnity of 12 million pesos ($605,000) from Mexico.
  • Reparations for the killings were promised for the massacre following the success of the revolutionary government but no payment was ever made.

Source: NextShark

Charts That Dismantle The Trope Of Asian Americans As The ‘Model Minority’

“Smart.” “Hard-working.” “Nice.” Those were among the adjectives that respondents offered up in a recent poll when asked to describe Asian Americans.

The poll, conducted by the nonprofit Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH), was another all-too-familiar reminder that Asian Americans are still perceived as the “model minority.”

Since the end of World War II, this myth about Asian Americans and their perceived collective success has been used as a racial wedge — to minimize the role racism plays in the struggles of other minority groups, such as Black Americans.

Characterizing Asian Americans as a model minority flattens the diverse experiences of Asian Americans into a singular, narrow narrative. And it paints a misleading picture about the community that doesn’t align with current statistics.

Here’s a look at some common misconceptions driven by the model minority myth.

Myth: Asian Americans are a single monolithic group

Currently, more than 22 million people of Asian descent live in the U.S., making up approximately 7% of the nation’s population. They trace their heritage to different regions around the world, with people of East Asian and Southeast Asian descent making up the largest shares, though no group makes up a majority. More than 1.5 million Pacific Islanders, who descend from Micronesia, Melanesia or Polynesia, live in the U.S. as well.

Academics and activists trace the term “Asian American” to 1968, when students at the University of California, Berkeley, founded the Asian American Political Alliance. At the time, the group sought to unite students of Japanese, Chinese and Filipino descent to fight for political and social recognition.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” (AAPI) is a term that has its roots in the 1980s and ’90s, when the U.S. Census Bureau used the “Asian Pacific American” classification to group Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders together. In 1997, the bureau disaggregated the categories into “Asian” and “Pacific Islander.”

Myth: Asian Americans are high earning and well educated

Asian Americans have a median household income of around $78,000 a year, which is higher than the national median of about $66,000. However, that overall statistic obscures large differences among different Asian-origin groups.

These economic disparities are partially driven by similar disparities in education levels among Asian Americans. The highest-earning groups — Indian American and Taiwanese American households — also have the highest levels of education, while the lowest-earning groups have comparatively lower levels of education.

In fact, a 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Asian Americans were the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S., with Asian Americans in the top 10th of the income distribution making 10.7 times more than those in the bottom 10th.

Myth: Asian Americans immigrate to the U.S. in the “right” way

The Asian American community has the highest proportion of immigrants of any ethnic or racial group in the United States. Yet, Asian Americans are often overlooked in debates about immigration reform.

Asians have a wide range of reasons for immigrating to the U.S., including those coming as refugees or asylum-seekers. Out of the almost 11 million estimated undocumented immigrants in the U.S., around 1.5 million (14%) are from Asia, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Heightened immigration enforcement has also impacted Asian Americans. From 2015 to 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested about 15,000 immigrants from Asia, according to a report by the nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

The report also found that Southeast Asian immigrants were three to four times more likely to be deported for old criminal convictions compared with other immigrant groups. Out of the approximately 16,000 Southeast Asians with final removal orders in that period, more than 13,000 had removal orders that were based on old criminal convictions.

Myth: Asian Americans face less systemic racism and discrimination

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans have increased. In an April survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 32% of Asian American adults — a greater percentage than any other racial or ethnic group — said that they feared someone might threaten or physically attack them.

But anti-Asian bias and discrimination are not new to the pandemic. To understand the current climate, it’s important to look at historical context. In past periods of national tension, especially during times when the U.S. has been at war with Asian countries, anti-Asian racism has similarly risen.

Myth: Asian Americans are fairly represented in leadership positions

Asian Americans are underrepresented in these positions of power, holding about 3% of these positions in comparison with composing 7% of the U.S. population, a report from The New York Times found last year.

More specifically, Asian Americans have the lowest degree of representation in political office compared with any other racial or ethnic group.

Asian Americans are even underrepresented in states with a high concentration of Asian American residents, like New York and California, according to a report by the Reflective Democracy Campaign.

Especially since the start of collective activism among Asian Americans in the 1960s, Asian Americans have had a rich history of political activism and involvement. But that history has not always translated to greater representation in political leadership.

Source: NPR

California To Pay $116 Million In Cash To Those Who Get COVID Vaccinations

In the latest and most extraordinary effort yet to boost California’s flagging COVID-19 vaccination rates, state officials on Thursday announced what appears to be the largest inoculation incentive in the nation: the chance for 10 residents to win $1.5 million apiece.

The goal of the multimillion-dollar giveaway is simple: Give residents every possible motivation to finally roll up their sleeves as the state’s vaccine rollout enters its crucial next phase.

Those prizes — along with 30 additional awards of $50,000 each — are open to Californians who have gotten at least one dose. Those who have previously received their shots will be entered into the drawings automatically, and there is no need to register, according to state officials.

“These are real incentives. These are an opportunity to say thank you to those not only seeking to get vaccinated as we move forward, but also those that have been vaccinated since we first availed those opportunities a number of months ago,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The grand prize recipients will be chosen June 15, the date the state is set to fully reopen its economy. The $50,000 winners will be selected in two batches, half on June 4 and the rest on June 11.

Should someone under 18 win, the prize will be put in a savings account until they come of age.

Additionally, starting Thursday, the next 2 million people who begin and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series will automatically be eligible for either a $50 prepaid gift card or a $50 grocery card that can be used at supermarkets such as Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Safeway and Andronico’s.

Prospective winners can decline the award, or they can accept and remain anonymous, though they are permitted to make their award public, Newsom said. All California residents are eligible, regardless of immigration status, with some exceptions, such as people who are incarcerated and some government employees, including workers for public health departments and the California State Lottery.

2019 – George Takei On His Memoir, “They Called Us Enemy”

2019 – Veteran actor George Takei may be best known as Sulu from “Star Trek,” but he also has a darker story to tell. During World War II, thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were forced from their homes and sent to internment camps, Takei among them. Now at 82 years old, he says that the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants motivated him to speak out and revisit this in a new memoir.

George Takei: ‘We Were Terrorized. That’s The History Of America As I Know It’

Actor George Takei became a sci-fi legend when he starred as Mr. Sulu in “Star Trek.” But his road to success was not a sure thing in the America he grew up in. As a young Japanese-American boy during World War II, he was imprisoned with his family in the now infamous U.S. internment camps. He tells our Hari Sreenivasan about the history behind today’s anti-Asian attacks as part of “Exploring Hate,” our ongoing series of reports on antisemitism, racism, and extremism.