Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Level Playing Field

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American workers and workers around the world ask for "A Level Playing Field". This would be the basic social equity, a natural right for all people in any country to establish a sustainable development in peace and prosperity.

This is the core value of democracy




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The Obama Administration Has Illuminated Stellar Leadership in an Austere Environment

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THE WHITE HOUSE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013







President Obama released his $3.8 Trillion 2013 budget proposal on Monday, Februrary 13. White House Acting Budget Director Jeffrey Zients and other Obama Administration economic and domestic policy advisers held a briefing to outline the details.

This plan includes $4 trillion in deficit cuts projected over decade. The blue print also aims to lower it to about $901 billion for 2013 with proposed tax increases on upper income Americans.

The President travels to Annandale, Virginia, Monday and unveiled his budget plan at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. He also released more details about the college affordability plan, part of the 2013 Budget Request.

House Republicans are likely to present their competing version of the budget request later this month.

The budget request serves as a baseline for budget negotiations in the coming months.

The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

After President Obama signed and released the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, Secretaries of the Obama Administration have been testifying before Congress to justify the budget proposed for their department.

Testimonies for Budget Requested

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on Feb 28/ 29 and commanded tremendous respect from all members of Congress. Energy Secretary Chu testified on Feb 28 (his birthday and wedding anniversary) for a "painfully thin budget" while taking on many important energy renewal projects. Dr. Chu also commanded overwhelmingly respect and appreciation. The Obama Administration illuminates exemplary leadership in an austere environment.



Genie Nguyen of VVA attended this hearing. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received tremendous respect and praises by all members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. There was significant concern of inadequate funding to support the US global leadership role. Sec Clinton has illustrated her leadership in an austere environment and skillful stewardship over many challenges.



Source: CSPAN.
Washington, DC
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu testified before the House Appropriations Committee about his department's $27.2 billion budget request Tuesday afternoon. This is a 3.2 percent increase over the department's enacted 2012 budget.

The request includes increases in funding for clean energy, research and development and advanced manufacturing. The $5 billion request for funding for the Office of Science is a more than 2 percent, or $118 million, increase over 2012 and promohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftes continued U.S. leadership in basic research.

Despite the overall increase, the budget cuts $4 billion annually by eliminating inefficient and outdated fuel subsidies. Additionally, the request focuses on fully utilizing existing facilities and infrastructure.

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Secretary-Chu-Explains-Energy-Department39s-27B-Budget-Request/10737428592-1/

Voice of Vietnamese Americans honors and deeply appreciates the service of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, an Asian American leader in the austere environment. Dr. Chu testified for a "painfully thin budget" on his birthday and his wedding anniversary. Happy Birthday, and Happy Anniversary, Dr. Chu. Energy has been the main focus for the US during this challenging time.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans deeply appreciates the long-term vision and stellar leadership or President Obama and the Obama Administration.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Voter Education Campaign Tomorrow, Feb. 29 in Springfield, Va.


VVA Invites Virginians to Participate in Local Voter
Education Campaign Wednesday, Feb. 29

Voice of Vietnamese Americans invites you to join us as we partner with several progressive groups in a voter education campaign tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 29. We will be providing information to voters about Delegate Dave Albo’s and Delegate Tim Hugo’s activities in the General Assembly.


“We are educating our community about issues and proposed policies that could detrimentally affect hardworking Virginians,”
Genie Nguyen, VVA President said. “Our fundamental freedom will be stripped from us if we do not speak up against attempts that suppress the vote."

As the state legislature session is nearing to an end, VVA is working to ensure constituents are informed on numerous bills of significance importance to residents of the 40th and 42nd House of Delegate districts. Issues include the right to vote, immigration and other issues.

Event:              Voter education outreach
Date:                Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Time:               5:00 p.m.
Location:        
6367 Rolling Mill Place
                        Suite 102
                        Springfield, Virginia 22152

Today, VVA issued a statement expressing disappointment about the voter suppression bill recently passed by the tie-breaking vote of Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.


VVA urges state lawmakers to make and protect smart investments in Virginia based on the voice of the people. Join us as we
educate and mobilize Fairfax County residents about advocating several issues, which include the protection of the fundamental right to vote.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Shares Virginians’ Concern on Voter Suppression Bill


Press Statement: February 28, 2012
Contact: Vel Hernandez (703) 362-7873

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Shares Virginians’ Concern on Voter Suppression Bill
“Lt. Gov. Bolling has served Virginians very badly
 by his tie-breaking vote to pass the voter ID bill”

Fairfax, Virginia – Voice of Vietnamese Americans (VVA) shares Virginians’ disappointment with Lieutenant Governor’s Bill Bolling’s tie-breaking vote on February 27 to pass the voter ID bill in the Senate
Lt. Gov. Bolling has served Virginians very badly by his vote to break the 20/20 tie in the Senate to pass SB 1, the bill that could ultimately suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, disabled and students.   

Voice of Vietnamese Americans, a Fairfax-based group that promotes civic engagement, has contacted thousands of voters in Fairfax County about this issue, and a majority of voters whom we have talked to have voiced their opinions in opposition to baseless voter suppression bills, such as the one passed yesterday.
VVA is urging Governor Bob McDonnell to veto the bill.

Proponents, including Lt. Gov. Bolling, of these voter suppression bills claim that they are addressing a problem of voter fraud in Virginia. But they have provided no evidence of it being an issue at all in our state. These bills are baseless, because they claim to be solutions to problems that do not exist in Virginia. Not only are these bills groundless, they also cost millions to maintain. It makes no sense to waste our money on things Virginia does not need.


VVA has received many hand-written post cards ready to be sent to Governor Bob McDonnell, signed personally by Fairfax County voters, with some saying, ‘Voting is a right not to be tampered with’ and ‘Please do not make it harder to vote. That is the wrong direction for Virginia.’ And we agree.
 

A growing number of fellow Virginians believe this would be the wrong direction for our commonwealth. Save our democracy. Do not make voting harder in Virginia. Veto the bill.

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The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Urges Vietnam to Improve its Human Rights, to Reform its SOEs, and to Protect the Environment in TPP Negotiation

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Voice of Vietnamese Americans Urges Vietnam to Improve its Human Rights, to Reform its SOEs, and to Protect the Environment in TPP Negotiation.

Vietnam should earnestly conform to its agreements and the regulations of the TPP. This would help Vietnam to make a smooth transition into a better future with sustainable development, prosperity, and democracy.


Voice of Vietnamese Americans applauds Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy USTR, for urging Vietnam to ensure a level playing field in the TPP negotiation by having its SOEs conform to the rule of law. Voice of Vietnamese Americans strongly recommends a level playing field for American workers by having Vietnam respecting labor laws and human rights of Vietnamese workers as part of the negotiation.




Phó đại diện thương mại Mỹ Demetrios Marantis. Ảnh: VA

Mỹ muốn Việt Nam cải cách doanh nghiệp nhà nước

Source: Vietnam Net

- Phó đại diện thương mại Mỹ Demetrios Marantis cho hay Mỹ muốn Việt Nam cải cách doanh nghiệp nhà nước, theo hướng đáp ứng những "tiêu chuẩn quốc tế", trong sân chơi thương mại khu vực rộng lớn của TPP - Hiệp định Thương mại xuyên Thái Bình Dương.

Có mặt tại Hà Nội từ 21 đến 25/2, phó đại diện thương mại Mỹ đã có các cuộc trao đổi, làm việc mang tính kỹ thuật về đàm phán TPP giữa Mỹ với Việt Nam, đề cập cải cách doanh nghiệp nhà nước, sửa đổi luật lao động, quyền sở hữu trí tuệ, phát triển các dịch vụ thương mại...

Thương mại công bằng

Cải cách doanh nghiệp nhà nước luôn là một trong những vấn đề trung tâm của đàm phán giữa hai bên mà theo ông Demetrios Marantis, Mỹ muốn có những quy định, tiêu chuẩn mang tính quốc tế đối với thành phần kinh tế quốc doanh này trong khuôn khổ TPP. Trong khi, xuất phát điểm đàm phán, Việt Nam muốn bảo lưu luật chơi của WTO, tức doanh nghiệp nhà nước tuân theo những luật lệ, quy định chung của tổ chức thương mại quốc tế toàn cầu này mà không cần đặt ra thêm những quy định mới trong TPP.

"Điều chúng tôi muốn đạt trong TPP, đó là tạo sân chơi công bằng. Chúng tôi muốn đảm bảo rằng doanh nghiệp tư nhân và nhà nước cạnh tranh trên sân chơi công bằng, không thể doanh nghiệp nhà nước được lợi hơn chỉ vì họ là doanh nghiệp nhà nước. Và điều này liên quan đến các cải cách doanh nghiệp nhà nước của Việt Nam" - ông Demetrios Marantis nói với báo giới tại Hà Nội sáng 24/2. Ông khẳng định TPP bao gồm các cam kết giúp Việt Nam cải cách nói chung, đạt tiêu chuẩn quốc tế trong các lĩnh vực khiến cho Việt Nam "trở nên hấp dẫn hơn".

Việt Nam và Mỹ cùng các thành viên đàm phán TPP là Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia đang trong giai đoạn đàm phán nước rút để tiến tới việc ký kết chính thức Hiệp định Thương mại xuyên Thái Bình Dương - TPP trong năm nay như ý chí của nguyên thủ cấp cao 9 nước đồng thuận tại hội nghị ở Hololunu - Mỹ năm ngoái.

Xét tổng thể về đàm phán TPP, phó đại diện thương mại Mỹ nói ông lạc quan về lộ trình đàm phán và hy vọng vòng đàm phán tiếp theo tại Melbourne sắp tới sẽ có bước đột phá quan trọng, bất chấp một số khó khăn mới nảy sinh liên quan đến những vấn đề lợi ích thực chất, cốt lõi giữa các bên liên quan.

Ông Demetrios Marantis cũng khẳng định, giữa 9 nước thành viên đàm phán TPP, những vấn đề lợi ích đặt lên bàn đối thoại không phải là "gây ngạc nhiên" lẫn nhau. Với Việt Nam, ông hy vọng Mỹ sẽ dàn xếp ổn thỏa trong đàm phán về những vấn đề lợi ích cốt lõi để đạt được thỏa thuận chấp nhận được cho cả hai bên.

Nếu như Hiệp định Thương mại song phương (BTA) đi vào lịch sử bởi tạo ra kỳ tích thương mại khởi sự từ 400 triệu USD kim ngạch vào năm 1994 lên 21,8 tỷ USD vào năm 2011, thì TPP sẽ đẩy nhanh hơn nữa tốc độ tăng trưởng thương mại, đầu tư giữa Việt Nam và Mỹ. Ông Demetrios Marantis khẳng định chắc nịch điều này khi cho hay đàm phán TPP đang tiến triển rất nhanh, chuẩn bị kết thúc để đi đến ký kết chính thức.

Song song với đàm phán, 9 nước cũng đang tiến hành tham vấn nội bộ riêng ý tưởng ba nước Nhật Bản, Canada, Mexico ngỏ ý muốn gia nhập TPP. Sau khi TPP chính thức ký kết, việc tiếp nạp 3 nước mới gia nhập đàm phán sẽ khiến TPP trở nên mạnh mẽ với việc thiết lập một vành đai kinh tế, thương mại xuyên vùng Thái Bình Dương.

25 đại diện doanh nghiệp Hoa Kỳ với những tên tuổi lớn như Omnicom, Medtronic Asia Pacific, Food Industry Asia... đã có chuyến thăm và làm việc tại TP.HCM và Hà Nội từ 21-24/2 để tìm hiểu cơ hội hợp tác, đầu tư trong các lĩnh vực như y tế, giáo dục, giao thông, truyền thông, công nghệ thông tin, thực phẩm...

Chuyến đi do Phòng Thương mại Hoa Kỳ (AmCham) tại Singapore tổ chức. Đoàn do Đại sứ Hoa Kỳ tại Singapore David Adelman dẫn đầu đã gặp phó Thủ tướng Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, lãnh đạo các Bộ Công Thương, Tài chính, Y tế và Kế hoạch - Đầu tư. Đại sứ Adelman đánh giá các cuộc gặp này hữu ích, mở ra nhiều cơ hội hợp tác đầu tư cho hai bên.

Giám đốc điều hành AmCham Singapore Josie Tulipano cho biết đây chỉ là 25 đại diện cho một số lượng lớn hơn nhiều các doanh nghiệp Mỹ đăng ký tham gia chuyến đi, "minh chứng cho sức hấp dẫn của Việt Nam, một điểm đến cho đầu tư và kinh doanh".

Đại sứ Mỹ tại Việt Nam David Shear nhận định: "Khi Việt Nam tiếp tục phát triển, ngày càng có nhiều cơ hội cho các công ty Mỹ". Ông hy vọng các công ty này sẽ tạo ra nhiều việc làm và thịnh vượng cho cả hai nước.

Đại sứ Shear cũng mong kết thúc thành công các cuộc đàm phán TPP để Việt Nam, Mỹ, Singapore cùng sáu quốc gia khác gia nhập một thoả thuận thương mại tự do tiêu chuẩn cao.

X.Linh - T.Chung
Vietnam Net
24/02/2012 03:18:26 PM (GMT+7)

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Footwear, garment exporters put high hope on TPP
Source: Vietnam Net Bridge
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/business/17976/footwear--garment-exporters-put-high-hope-on-tpp.html

VietNamNet Bridge – The enterprises in garment and footwear industries – the two biggest exporters of Vietnam – are expecting the opportunities to penetrate more deeply into the US market, when the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP is signed.



With TPP, the tariffs imposed on the goods that Vietnam and TPP-member countries export to the US would decrease gradually before they are absolutely removed.

This means that when Vietnam’s garment and footwear products can be exempted from tax, it would have great competitiveness on the US market in comparison with other rivals.

However, sources have said that a new problem has arisen after the latest TPP negotiation round. The US trade representative has asked to apply the “yarn forward” principle, with which, Vietnamese garment products can only enjoy preferential tariffs when yarn and post-yarn production stages (fabric, cutting and tailoring) are done in the countries that join TPP, and only fiber could be sourced from the countries that are not the members of TPP.

Dang Phuong Dung, Secretary General of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association Vitas, said that if the above said principle is applied, not only Vietnamese, but the US investors in Vietnam will also not be able to get benefits from the TPP, because they only make the cutting and tailoring.

Eric Emerson, a Lawyer from the US, also told VietNamNet that changing or relaxing the “yarn forward” rule could substantially increase Vietnam’s access to the U.S. market.

The US is the biggest market for Vietnamese footwear and garment exporters which decides the development of the two important industries of Vietnam. Therefore, economists have urged the negotiation team to suggest the solutions to harmonize the interests of the involving parties and avoid disadvantages for the two Vietnamese industries.

Tran Quang Nghi, General Director of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group Vinatex, the biggest garment producer in Vietnam, also said that the US market consumes more than 50 percent of the total export turnover of the industry.

When TPP officially takes effect, garment seems to be the industry which can most clearly enjoy the benefits from the agreement. If the negotiations succeed, up to 95 product lines of Vietnam to be exported to the US would be able to enjoy the zero tariffs.

Footwear producers also hope to boost exports to the US, once TPP takes effect. According to Nguyen Duc Thuan, President of Thai Binh Footwear Company, with TPP, it is very likely that the tariffs on Vietnamese shoes would be halved.

When commenting about TPP, experts all agree that this is for first time Vietnam joins the negotiations for multilateral FTA (free trade agreement) with such a fast pace, broad scope of issues to be touched, and a high level of commitment and complexity.

TPP is also believed to set up many stricter requirements on the environment, labor and intellectual property. However, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association Lefaso, these requirements can be well satisfied by Vietnamese companies.

Ha Duy Hung, Chair of the HCM City Leather and Footwear Association, said that TPP would bring a golden opportunity for the Vietnam’s footwear and handbag production. In 2011, Vietnam’s garment export turnover to the US reached 7.1 billion dollars, accounting for 50 percent of the total garment export turnover, an increase of 13 percent over 2010. Meanwhile, the footwear export turnover to the market reached 2 billion dollars, and handbag exports brought 700 million dollars.

Source: TBKTVN

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Voice of Vietnamese Americans congratulates the New National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Voice of Vietname Americans congratulates the New National Museum of African American History and Culture, to be located on the Mall in Washington.


Washington, DC
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

President Obama joined other dignitaries at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, to be located on the http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifMall in Washington.

In addition to the President, other speakers included former first lady Laura Bush, U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia and the museum’s director Lonnie Bunch. Actress and singer Phylicia Rashad serves as the emcee of the ceremony.

The National African American Museum is scheduled to open in 2015 and will be the only national museum dedicated exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture.

Congress has already pledged to provide half of the 500 million museum project cost.

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Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks on Youth in Tunisia

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Voice of Vietnamese Americans congratulates Tunisia and its people for the new found freedom and hard-earned democracy. May the lesson be repeated in Vietnam, North Korea, and China.



U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks on youth followed by a Q&A session in Tunis, Tunisia on February 25, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Uploaded by statevideo on Feb 25, 2012


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks on youth followed by a Q&A session in Tunis, Tunisia on February 25, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Friday, February 24, 2012

New State Voter ID Laws Debated

Voice of Vietnamese Americans advocates for Voter's Rights.



Source: C-Span
Washington, DC
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two voices on opposite sides of the voter ID debate spoke at the National Press Club. Hans Von Spakovsky served on the Federal Election Commission during the Bush Administration. Laura Murphy is Washington Legislative Office Director for the ACLU. They talked about the impact of laws requiring voters to have state-issued ID cards. Mr. Spakovsky said the laws do not suppress voter turnout and help address the problem of voter fraud, while Ms. Murphy said the laws amount to a poll tax that disproportionately impacts minority groups and the poor.

Thirty-one states have laws requiring voter identification, but some are more strict than others. Of those states, 8 have strengthened or enacted their laws within the past year. In the past in many states, voters could show a voter registration card or a utility bill at the polls to cast their vote, but now more states are making laws that require a photo ID.

Supporters of the law say that the photo ID requirement prevents fraud, but opponents say the laws single out minority groups less likely to have photo IDs. Civil liberties groups and the Justice Dept. are currently challenging voter ID laws in South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Updated: 11 hr., 52 min. ago

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Check it Out: Two Voter ID Bills that We Don't Need

February 15, 2012

Prepared and provided by Virginia New Majority, the chart below compares two voter ID bills, one from the Senate and one from the House, that passed their respective chambers a few weeks ago. These should have been defeated. Both of them do away with official ballots for people who cannot show ID and allow them to only cast provisional ballots, which are less likely to be counted.

Current law allows voters who do not show ID to sign a sworn statement to cast official ballots. But both laws, as seen below, will seek to change that, claiming that they are solving a problem that doesn't exist in Virginia

(Click the graphic for an enlarged version.)





Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine - MỘT CUỘC HỌP MẶT DÂN CHỦ KHÔNG CHÍNH THỨC NHƯNG ĐÔNG ĐẢO



Ngày 10 tháng 02 năm 2012, tại số 2 – Hoa Lư – Hà Nội đã hình thành một cuộc Họp mặt Dân chủ nhân tiệc cưới con trai tiến sỹ Nguyễn Thanh Giang. Cuộc họp mặt không chính thức nhưng đông đảo ( trong ảnh còn thiếu 6 người ). Những người đã công khai đương đầu có: đại tá Phạm Quế Dương, bà Trần thị Lệ, luật sư Lê thị Công Nhân ( và cháu bé ), ông Nguyễn Duy Quyền, luật sư Nguyễn văn Đài ( và phu nhân ), luật sư Lê Chí Quang, luật sư Lê Quốc Quân, kỹ sư Nguyễn Phương Anh, ông J.B. Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, doanh gia Phan Trọng Khang, blogger Nguyễn Tường Thụy … Những nhà- dân – chủ- tuyến –sau có: giáo sư Lê Mai Đậu, đại tá Thế Kỷ, lão thành cách mạng Đỗ Việt Sơn, tiến sỹ Bùi Đức Nùng, kiến trúc sư Hoàng Đạt, giáo sư âm nhạc Đào Quang Tiến …

Sau đây là một số nhận định tình hình xã hội và ý kiến đã được trao đổi trong bàn tiệc:

- Đoàn văn Vươn là tiếng nổ của phẫn nộ xã hội gây nên do những sai lầm trong chủ trương, chính sách của ĐCSVN chứ không phải chỉ do các cán bộ ở Tiên Lãng hay Hải Phòng..

- Cách xử lý vụ việc này như dự kiến của Thủ tướng chỉ là cách tắm từ hạ bộ trở xuống. Việc thí thân một vài con tốt may ra chỉ như láng qua một phần hạ bộ chứ không rửa được mặt cho Đảng.

- Do ngoan cố quanh co, lừa người dối mình, chỉ sửa “lỗi hệ thống” theo cách dật gấu vá vai, chằng chằng đụp đụp thì hậu quả rách bung, nguy cơ sụp đổ Đảng là không tránh khỏi.

- Từ phong trào chống Trung Quốc xâm lấn, xã hội công dân đang trỗi dậy mạnh mẽ, nhiều nhóm-dân –chủ đã hình thành với những mầu sắc, những hình thái hoạt động thiên hình vạn trạng theo phương thức tổ chức mà không tuyên bố tổ chức.

- Tôn trọng tính độc lập của các nhóm-dân-chủ nhưng lưu ý tạo nhiều phương thức liên kết dần dần (ngày 6 tháng 02 vừa rồi doanh gia Phan Trọng Khang đã rủ tiến sỹ Nguyễn Thanh Giang, biểu tình viên Phương Bích và một vài nhà trí thức lên Sóc Sơn thắp hương tượng thờ Đức Thánh Giống).

Cuộc họp mặt dân chủ này nằm trong chủ trương tạo mối liên kết như thế. Hy vọng rồi đây những cuộc họp mặt không chính thức dưới nhiều hình thức phong phú sẽ góp phần tạo nên cao trào đấu tranh vì sự nghiệp dân chủ hóa nước nhà.

PVDC

Friday, February 10, 2012

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Urges the US to Lend Stronger Supports to the Vietnamese People While Condemning the CPV for Violating Human Rights

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'Time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit'
President Obama Inauguration Speech 2008 as 44th president


Vietnam's increasing violations of human rights have been of great concern for Vietnamese Americans. Many Vietnamese Americans now are pushing to have Vietnam put back in the CPC list.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans condemns the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) for its violations of human rights in Vietnam, and urges the US Government to take a stronger position in supporting the Vietnamese People. However, Voice of Vietnamese Americans opposes the choice of putting Vietnam back to the CPC list due to the serious consequential impacts of this action.

CPC is the abbreviation of "Country of Particular Concern", designated for countries with poor records in human rights. By US law, the US government can NOT support the country listed in the CPC list, but can only offer aids for humanitarian reasons, i.e, disasters, ... This would push Vietnam right back into the influence of China, for funding needed to rescue its currently troublesome economy.

The rise of China, its aggressions in the South China Sea, and its surplus funding offering to the CPV have created a very different situation for Vietnam,the Vietnamese People, Vietnamese Americans, the United States, and the World. China would like the US to back out of Vietnam. And the CPV would still have the surplus funding from the Communist Party of China. Only the people of Vietnam suffer, as they have been suffering for decades while the CPV members are getting richer and richer.

Vietnam needs to see the big picture and need to explain that to the Vietnamese people, to have more strategic actions. Vietnam needs to align with the US and the World. Most importantly, Vietnam needs the US Congress to approve of US intervention in Vietnam and the South China Sea. More than social justice, sovereignty of Vietnam is seriously at risks.

Vietnamese Americans can help to improve human rights in Vietnam by promoting US- Vietnam Relations, supporting dialogue about human rights issues, and educating the Vietnamese of our own rights that the government cannot violate. After 15 years of US-Vietnam normalized relationship, the people of Vietnam have enjoyed much better living standards and have exercised their human rights, civil rights at much more assertive, expressive ways. We should continue to support this approach.

Anyone who violates human rights should be punished accordingly.It is very wrong to put Vietnam in the CPC list for the actions of some members of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Rather, the CPV should be held accountable for its actions. If the CPV leaders are unable to follow the rules of the law, it is time for serious changes in the governing system. A party is not the nation. Three million members of the CPV, in all aspects, have no rights to represent nor oppress 90 millions of Vietnamese.

We should not punish the whole nation, with 90 million people, for the actions of a few. Putting Vietnam back to CPC list is not the strategic choice the US should take. Having Vietnam sanctioned by the US is NOT the best solution for the Vietnamese People. Vietnamese Americans should oppose this approach. Unable to receive support from the US can push Vietnam into the influence of China, which can affect Vietnam’s sovereignty and may lead to serious consequences to the future of Vietnam as well as the power of the US in the Pacific Ocean.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans condemns the CPV for its violations of human rights in Vietnam. Voice of Vietnamese Americans advocates for the US to lend stronger supports to the people of Vietnam, in education, human development, trading, better governance and better social justice system.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans supports the current approach of President Obama, as he has made it very clear in the Presidential Inauguration Speech 2008:

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. - (Excerpt from President Obama Inauguration Speech 2008) *
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Voice of Vietnamese Americans


* President Obama Inauguration Speech 2008
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thúc đẩy Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ đưa Việt Nam vào CPC là tiếp tay Trung Cộng bán rẻ đất nước



Kính thưa quý đồng hương Mỹ gốc Việt,

Gần đây, vì nóng lòng với các vi phạm nhân quyền của CSVN, một số người đang cố gắng vận động đưa Việt Nam vào CPC.

Điều này có nghĩa là Hoa Kỳ không thể trực tiếp hỗ trợ VN về quân sự, chính trị, kinh tế, giáo dục... nữa, mà chỉ được Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ cho phép giúp khi có thiên tai, vì lý do nhân đạo.

Điều này có nghĩa là chúng ta giận cá chém thớt, đánh chuột mà đập vỡ bình quý, vì thiểu số cầm quyền trong chính trị bộ đảng CSVN thân Tàu cố tình tạo vấn đề cho người Việt, mà chúng ta thúc đẩy Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ ngưng hỗ trợ toàn dân tộc đất nước Việt trong lúc bị Trung Cộng đe dọa, lăm le nuốt chửng Việt Nam để có cả vùng biển Đông.

Chúng ta cần biết là Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ một khi đã quyết định, Hành Pháp không thể trái lệnh. Đó là lý do mà Hoa Kỳ phải khoanh tay nhìn Trung Cộng chiếm Hoàng Sa ngày 19 tháng 01 năm 1974, mà không thể can thiệp.

Xin suy nghĩ lại và đừng tiếp tay thúc đẩy Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ đưa VN vào CPC, cắt đứt viện trợ cho VN, không cho phép Hoa Kỳ có mặt trong vùng biển của chúng ta để đẩy lui Trung Cộng. Hiện nay, đây là điều Trung Cộng mong muốn hơn hết. Đừng làm tay sai cho Trung Cộng.

Hãy hỗ trợ việc Hoa Kỳ bang giao với Việt Nam, hỗ trợ và tiếp viện dân tộc đất nước Việt, cùng lúc thúc đẩy tiến trình dân chủ, đẩy mạnh nhân quyền, dân quyền, và đòi hỏi thay đổi thể chế, bầu cử đa đảng với sự giám sát của Quốc Tế. Chúng ta chỉ có thể đưa các điều kiện này ra với Việt Nam khi Hoa Kỳ chính thức có ngân quỹ do Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ chuẩn nhận để giúp Việt Nam trong nhiều khía cạnh khác khía cạnh nhân đạo. Đây là lựa chọn cần thiết và là bổn phận của người Mỹ gốc Việt.

Đây là vấn đề hệ trọng sống chết của dân tộc Việt, xin đừng xem thuờng

Thúc đẩy Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ đưa Việt Nam vào CPC là tiếp tay Trung Cộng bán rẻ đất nước, lập lại bài học thời Ngô Đình Diệm, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, khiến Mỹ phải bỏ rơi Việt Nam vì áp lực của dân Hoa Kỳ lên Quốc Hội. Hãy đừng tiếp tay cho Trung Cộng.

Ngày hôm nay tiến trình dân chủ tại Việt Nam đã chín mùi, chúng ta cần có sự đối tác chiến lược giữa Việt Nam và Hoa Kỳ để đối phó với Trung Cộng, giữ vững bờ cõi bên ngoài, cho phép chúng ta làm các thay đổi cần thiết bên trong.

Yêu cầu Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ tiếp tục thúc đẩy bang giao với Việt Nam và các nước Á Châu, chuẩn nhận UNCLOS, trở thành đối tác chiến lược với Việt Nam, cùng hợp tác với Việt Nam để phát triển kinh tế, giáo dục, thay đổi guồng máy hành chánh sang đa đảng, minh bạch, xây dựng xã hội dân sự, là điều quan trọng cần làm.

Thúc đẩy Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ đưa Việt Nam vào CPC là tiếp tay Trung Cộng bán rẻ đất nước, lập lại bài học thời Ngô Đình Diệm, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, khiến Mỹ phải bỏ rơi Việt Nam vì áp lực của dân Hoa Kỳ lên Quốc Hội. Hãy đừng tiếp tay cho Trung Cộng.

Hãy nhìn sự hợp tác giữa Hoa Kỳ và Việt Nam là với dân tộc đất nước Viêt. Hãy đừng vì một thiểu số Cộng Nô trong chính trị bộ đảng Cộng Sản mà làm mất cơ hội cho dân tộc Việt thoát ách kiềm chế của Trung Cộng. Đừng vì nóng lòng mà xô đẩy đất nước vào ngàn năm nô lệ giặc Tàu thêm lần thứ hai.

Đây là vấn đề hệ trọng sống chết của dân tộc Việt, xin đừng xem thuờng

Xin vui lòng phổ biến các điều tâm huyết này.

Kính mến,

Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Giao


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

VVA Urges for Safe, Sustainable Measures for Virginia

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Voice of Vietnamese Americans expresses disappointment with the state of several issues that have recently come before the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Voting rights   Just last week, our commonwealth witnessed strong attempts to put obstacles to our fundamental freedom of voting. The House and Senate passed bills that would create new laws that make it harder for registered voters to cast a ballot. VVA stands in solidarity with those who strongly oppose these attacks on our right to vote. Proponents of these voter suppression bills claim that they are addressing a problem of voter fraud in Virginia. But they have provided no evidence of it being an issue at all in our state. The truth is, voter fraud is not an issue in the state of Virginia. Not only are these bills groundless, they also cost millions to maintain. It makes no sense to waste our money on things Virginia does not need.
Gun safety       In the case of public safety, both chambers also recently passed bills that make it easier for people to purchase and store guns. As we remember several tragic incidences that have happened in our state and across our nation, our society has seen enough of the real dangers that easy access to guns, or guns at all, can have. Some lawmakers are following extreme measures that are putting our Commonwealth on a backwards, dangerous path – and not forwards to a more safe and sustainable future. 

The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.

 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

VVA Congratulates Dr. Quyen Nguyen for her Innovative Color-coded surgery

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Voice of Vietnamese Americans congratulates Dr. Quyen Nguyen for her breakthrough in molecular marker, resulting in color-coded surgery, which will have significant impact in cancer treatment and more successful surgical procedures.










Một khám phá mới của một Giáo Sư Bác Sĩ Giải Phẫu rất trẻ người VN, Nguyễn Quyên, hiện ở Đại Học San Diego (UCSD).

Đây là một phương pháp mổ lấy tế bào ung thư hoàn toàn mới và có một áp dụng tầm mức rất lớn. Hiện nay chỉ là thành công lúc ban đầu, chưa bào đảm sẽ được thành công trên bình diện lớn, điều này còn phải đợi nhiều BS giải phẫu khác nhúng tay vào và chấp nhận. Cái quan trong của phương pháp mổ này là chỉ có tề bào ung thư mới phát quang (fluorescence) (do proteases hiện diện trong tế bào ung thư thủy giải fluorescent probe và phát huỳnh quang, còn tế bào thường không có enzyme này và sẽ không phát ra anh sáng này). Phương pháp này giúp surgeon nhìn thấy một cách khá chắc chắn chỗ cần mổ ngay tức khắc và sẽ không bỏ sót. Nếu được kiểm tra và công nhận thì chắc có thể là được giải thưởng Nobel prize in Medicine, như là GS Roger Tsien, người đã phát minh ra technique này và đã được lãnh giải thưởng Nobel prize in chemistry cách đây ba năm.

Ông này cũng làm việc tại UCSD và cộng tác với BS VN này.

Một cô bác sĩ trẻ gốc VN đã nghiên cứu được Molecular marker để có thể nhuộm mầu các tế bào ung thư (hay tế bào bệnh khác) để bác sĩ có thể cắt bỏ mà không bỏ sót những tế bào bị bệnh lại trong người.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Applauds President Obama 's Ways to Help Home Owners

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Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/01/president-obama-talks-about-ways-help-homeowners

Today, in Falls Church, Virginia, President Obama expanded on the ideas he first presented in the State of the Union on ways to help responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages.

Falls Church is the home of many Vietnamese Americans. Many Vietnamese American Community Leaders attended this special event. Voice of Vietnamese Americans thanks President Obama for the unique opportunity.

The message was clear and strong in building an America to last. Voice of Vietnamese Americans would like to express our deep appreciation to President Obama's long term vision.

VVA urges Congress to pass the bill proposed by President Obama with the bi-partisanship putting the people first.

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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 01, 2012
FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners and Heal the Housing Market

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a Blueprint for an America Built to Last, calling for action to help responsible borrowers and support a housing market recovery. While the government cannot fix the housing market on its own, the President believes that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief when there are measures at hand that can make a meaningful difference, including allowing these homeowners to save thousands of dollars by refinancing at today’s low interest rates. That’s why the President is putting forward a plan that uses the broad range of tools to help homeowners, supporting middle-class families and the economy.

Key Aspects of the President’s Plan

• Broad Based Refinancing to Help Responsible Borrowers Save an Average of $3,000 per Year: The President’s plan will provide borrowers who are current on their payments with an opportunity to refinance and take advantage of historically low interest rates, cutting through the red tape that prevents these borrowers from saving hundreds of dollars a month and thousands of dollars a year. This plan, which is paid for by a financial fee so that it does not add a dime to the deficit, will:

o Provide access to refinancing for all non-GSE borrowers who are current on their payments and meet a set of simple criteria.
o Streamline the refinancing process for all GSE borrowers who are current on their loans.
o Give borrowers the chance to rebuild equity through refinancing.

• Homeowner Bill of Rights: The President is putting forward a single set of standards to make sure borrowers and lenders play by the same rules, including:

o Access to a simple mortgage disclosure form, so borrowers understand the loans they are taking out.
o Full disclosure of fees and penalties.
o Guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest that end up hurting homeowners.
o Support to keep responsible families in their homes and out of foreclosure.
o Protection for families against inappropriate foreclosure, including right of appeal.

• First Pilot Sale to Transition Foreclosed Property into Rental Housing to Help Stabilize Neighborhoods and Improve Home Prices: The FHFA, in conjunction with Treasury and HUD, is announcing a pilot sale of foreclosed properties to be transitioned into rental housing.

• Moving the Market to Provide a Full Year of Forbearance for Borrowers Looking for Work: Following the Administration’s lead, major banks and the GSEs are now providing up to 12 months of forbearance to unemployed borrowers.

• Pursuing a Joint Investigation into Mortgage Origination and Servicing Abuses: This effort marshals new resources to investigate misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis under the leadership of federal and state co-chairs.

• Rehabilitating Neighborhoods and Reducing Foreclosures: In addition to the steps outlined above, the Administration is expanding eligibility for HAMP to reduce additional foreclosures, increasing incentives for modifications that help borrowers rebuild equity, and is proposing to put people back to work rehabilitating neighborhoods through Project Rebuild.

1. Broad Based Refinancing Plan

Millions of homeowners who are current on their mortgages and could benefit from today’s low interest rates face substantial barriers to refinancing through no fault of their own. Sometimes homeowners with good credit and clean payment histories are rejected because their mortgages are underwater. In other cases, they are rejected because the banks are worried that they will be left taking losses, even where Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac insure these new mortgages. In the end, these responsible homeowners are stuck paying higher interest rates, costing them thousands of dollars a year.

To address this challenge, the President worked with housing regulators this fall to take action without Congress to make millions of Americans eligible for lower interest rates. However, there are still millions of responsible Americans who continue to face steep barriers to low-cost, streamlined refinancing. So the President is now calling on Congress to open up opportunities to refinancing for responsible borrowers who are current on their payments.

Under the proposal, borrowers with loans insured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (i.e. GSE-insured loans) will have access to streamlined refinancing through the GSEs. Borrowers with standard non-GSE loans will have access to refinancing through a new program run through the FHA. For responsible borrowers, there will be no more barriers and no more excuses.

Key components of the President’s plan include:

• Providing Non-GSE Borrowers Access to Simple, Low-Cost Refinancing: President Obama is calling on Congress to pass legislation to establish a streamlined refinancing program. The refinancing program will be open to all non-GSE borrowers with standard (non-jumbo) loans who have been keeping up with their mortgage payments. The program will be operated through the FHA.

Simple and straightforward eligibility criteria: Any borrower with a loan that is not currently guaranteed by the GSEs can qualify if they meet the following criteria:

• They are current on their mortgage: Borrowers will need to have been current on their loan for the past 6 months and have missed no more than one payment in the 6 months prior.
• They meet a minimum credit score. Borrowers must have a current FICO score of 580 to be eligible. Approximately 9 in 10 borrowers have a credit score adequate to meet that requirement.
• They have a loan that is no larger than the current FHA conforming loan limits in their area: Currently, FHA limits vary geographically with the median area home price – set at $271,050 in lowest cost areas and as high as $729,750 in the highest cost areas
• The loan they are refinancing is for a single family, owner-occupied principal residence. This will ensure that the program is focused on responsible homeowners trying to stay in their homes.

Streamlined application process: Borrowers will apply through a streamlined process designed to make it simpler and less expensive for borrowers and lenders to refinance. Borrowers will not be required to submit a new appraisal or tax return. To determine a borrower’s eligibility, a lender need only confirm that the borrower is employed. (Those who are not employed may still be eligible if they meet the other requirements and present limited credit risk. However, a lender will need to perform a full underwriting of these borrowers to determine whether they are a good fit for the program.)

Program parameters to reduce program cost: The President’s plan includes additional steps to reduce program costs, including:

• Establishing loan-to-value limits for these loans. The Administration will work with Congress to establish risk-mitigation measures which could include requiring lenders interested in refinancing deeply underwater loans (e.g. greater than 140 LTV) to write down the balance of these loans before they qualify. This would reduce the risk associated with the program and relieve the strain of negative equity on the borrower.
• Creating a separate fund for new streamlined refinancing program. This will help the FHA better track and manage the risk involved and ensure that it has no effect on the operation of the existing Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) fund.

EXAMPLE: How Refinancing Can Benefit a Borrower With a Non-GSE Loan

 A borrower has a non-GSE mortgage originated in 2005 with a 6 percent rate and an initial balance of $300,000 – resulting in monthly payments of about $1,800.

 The outstanding balance is now about $272,000 and the borrower’s home is now worth $225,000, leaving the borrower underwater (with a loan-to-value ratio of about 120%).

 Though the borrower has been paying his mortgage on time, he cannot refinance at today’s historically low rates.

 Under the President’s legislative plan, the borrower would be eligible to refinance into a 4.25% percent 30-year loan, which would reduce monthly payments by about $460 a month.

• Refinancing Plan Will Be Fully Paid For By a Portion of Fee on Largest Financial Institutions: The Administration estimates the cost of its refinancing plan will be in the range of $5 to $10 billion, depending on exact parameters and take-up. This cost will be fully offset by using a portion of the President’s proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee, which imposes a fee on the largest financial institutions based on their size and the riskiness of their activities – ensuring that the program does not add a dime to the deficit.

• Fully Streamlining Refinancing for All GSE Borrowers: The Administration has worked with the FHFA to streamline the GSEs’ refinancing program for all responsible, current GSE borrowers. The FHFA has made important progress to-date, including eliminating the restriction on allowing deeply underwater borrowers to access refinancing, lowering fees associated with refinancing, and making it easier to access refinancing with lower closing costs.

To build on this progress, the Administration is calling on Congress to enact additional changes that will benefit homeowners and save taxpayers money by reducing the number of defaults on GSE loans. We believe these steps are within the existing authority of the FHFA. However, to date, the GSEs have not acted, so the Administration is calling on Congress to do what is in the taxpayer’s interest, by:

a. Eliminating appraisal costs for all borrowers: Borrowers who happen to live in communities without a significant number of recent home sales often have to get a manual appraisal to determine whether they are eligible for refinancing into a GSE guaranteed loan, even under the HARP program. Under the Administration’s proposal, the GSEs would be directed to use mark-to-market accounting or other alternatives to manual appraisals for any loans for which the loan-to-value cannot be determined with the GSE’s Automated Valuation Model. This will eliminate a significant barrier that will reduce cost and time for borrowers and lenders alike.

b. Increasing competition so borrowers get the best possible deal: Today, lenders looking to compete with the current servicer of a borrower’s loan for that borrower’s refinancing business continue to face barriers to participating in HARP. This lack of competition means higher prices and less favorable terms for the borrower. The President’s legislative plan would direct the GSEs to require the same streamlined underwriting for new servicers as they do for current servicers, leveling the playing field and unlocking competition between banks for borrowers’ business.

c. Extending streamlined refinancing for all GSE borrowers: The President’s plan would extend these steps to streamline refinancing for homeowners to all GSE borrowers. Those who have significant equity in their home – and thus present less credit risk – should benefit fully from all streamlining, including lower fees and fewer barriers. This will allow more borrowers to take advantage of a program that provides streamlined, low-cost access to today’s low interest rates – and make it easier and more automatic for servicers to market and promote this program for all GSE borrowers.

• Giving Borrowers the Chance to Rebuild Equity in their Homes Through Refinancing: All underwater borrowers who decide to participate in either HARP or the refinancing program through the FHA outlined above will have a choice: they can take the benefit of the reduced interest rate in the form of lower monthly payments, or they can apply that savings to rebuilding equity in their homes. The latter course, when combined with a shorter loan term of 20 years, will give the majority of underwater borrowers the chance to get back above water within five years, or less.

To encourage borrowers to make the decision to rebuild equity in their homes, we are proposing that the legislation provide for the GSEs and FHA to cover the closing costs of borrowers who chose this option – a benefit averaging about $3,000 per homeowner. To be eligible, a participant in either program must agree to refinance into a loan with a no more than 20 year term with monthly payments roughly equal to those they make under their current loan. For those who agree to these terms, the lender will receive payment for all closing costs directly from the GSEs or the FHA, depending on the entity involved.

EXAMPLE: How Rebuilding Equity Can Benefit a Borrower

 A borrower has a 6.5 percent $214,000 30-year mortgage originated in 2006. It now has an outstanding balance of $200,000, but the house is worth $160,000 (a loan-to-value ratio of 125). The monthly payment on this mortgage is $1,350.

 While this borrower is responsibly paying her monthly mortgage, she is locked out of refinancing.

 By refinancing into a 4.25 percent 30-year mortgage loan, this borrower will reduce her monthly payment by $370. However, after five years her mortgage balance will remain at $182,000.

 Under the rebuilding equity program, the borrower would refinance into a 20-year mortgage at 3.75 percent and commit her monthly savings to paying down principal. After five years, her mortgage balance would decline to $152,000, bringing the borrower above water.

 If the borrower took this option, the GSEs or FHA would also cover her closing costs – potentially saving her about $3,000.

• Streamlined Refinancing for Rural America: The Agriculture Department, which supports mortgage financing for thousands of rural families a year, is taking steps to further streamline its USDA-to-USDA refinancing program. This program is designed to provide those who currently have loans insured by the Department of Agriculture with a low-cost, streamlined process for refinancing into today’s low rates. The Administration is announcing that the Agriculture Department will further streamline this program by eliminating the requirement for a new appraisal, a new credit report and other documentation normally required in a refinancing. To be eligible, a borrower need only demonstrate that he or she has been current on their loan.

• Streamlined Refinancing for FHA Borrowers: Like the Agriculture Department, the Federal Housing Authority is taking steps to make it easier for borrowers with loans insured by their agency to obtain access to low-cost, streamlined refinancing. The current FHA-to-FHA streamlined refinance program allows FHA borrowers who are current on their mortgage to refinance into a new FHA-insured loan at today’s lower interest rates without requiring a full re-underwrite of the loan, thereby providing a simple way for borrowers to reduce their mortgage payments.

However, some borrowers who would be eligible for low-cost refinancing through this program are being denied by lenders reticent to make loans that may compromise their status as FHA-approved lenders. To resolve this issue, the FHA is removing these loans from their “Compare Ratio”, the process by which the performance of these lenders is reviewed. This will open the program up to many more families with FHA-insured loans.

2. Homeowner Bill of Rights

The Administration believes that the mortgage servicing system is badly broken and would benefit from a single set of strong federal standards As we have learned over the past few years, the nation is not well served by the inconsistent patchwork of standards in place today, which fails to provide the needed support for both homeowners and investors. The Administration believes that there should be one set of rules that borrowers and lenders alike can follow. A fair set of rules will allow lenders to be transparent about options and allow borrowers to meet their responsibilities to understand the terms of their commitments.

The Administration will therefore work closely with regulators, Congress and stakeholders to create a more robust and comprehensive set of rules that better serves borrowers, investors, and the overall housing market. These rules will be driven by the following set of core principles:

• Simple, Easy to Understand Mortgage Forms: Every prospective homeowner should have access to clear, straightforward forms that help inform rather than confuse them when making what is for most families their most consequential financial purchase. To help fulfill this objective, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is in the process of developing a simple mortgage disclosure form to be used in all home loans, replacing overlapping and complex forms that include hidden clauses and opaque terms that families cannot understand.

• No Hidden Fees and Penalties: Servicers must disclose to homeowners all known fees and penalties in a timely manner and in understandable language, with any changes disclosed before they go into effect.

• No Conflicts of Interest: Servicers and investors must implement standards that minimize conflicts of interest and facilitate coordination and communication, including those between multiple investors and junior lien holders, such that loss mitigation efforts are not hindered for borrowers.

• Assistance For At-Risk Homeowners:

o Early Intervention: Servicers must make reasonable efforts to contact every homeowner who has either demonstrated hardship or fallen delinquent and provide them with a comprehensive set of options to help them avoid foreclosure. Every such homeowner must be given a reasonable time to apply for a modification.

o Continuity of Contact: Servicers must provide all homeowners who have requested assistance or fallen delinquent on their mortgage with access to a customer service employee with 1) a complete record of previous communications with that homeowner; 2) access to all documentation and payments submitted by the homeowner; and 3) access to personnel with decision-making authority on loss mitigation options.

o Time and Options to Avoid Foreclosure: Servicers must not initiate a foreclosure action unless they are unable to establish contact with the homeowner after reasonable efforts, or the homeowner has shown a clear inability or lack of interest in pursuing alternatives to foreclosure. Any foreclosure action already under way must stop prior to sale once the servicer has received the required documentation and cannot be restarted unless and until the homeowner fails to complete an application for a modification within a reasonable period, their application for a modification has been denied or the homeowner fails to comply with the terms of the modification received.

• Safeguards Against Inappropriate Foreclosure

o Right of Appeal: Servicers must explain to all homeowners any decision to take action based on a failure by the homeowner to meet their payment obligations and provide a reasonable opportunity to appeal that decision in a formal review process.
o Certification of Proper Process: Prior to a foreclosure sale, servicers must certify in writing to the foreclosure attorney or trustee that appropriate loss mitigation alternatives have been considered and that proceeding to foreclosure sale is consistent with applicable law. A copy of this certification must be provided to the borrower.

The agencies of the executive branch with oversight or other authority over servicing practices –the FHA, the USDA, the VA, and Treasury, through the HAMP program – will each take the steps needed in the coming months to implement rules for their programs that are consistent with these standards.

3. Announcement of Initial Pilot Sale in Initiative to Transition Real Estate Owned (REO) Property to Rental Housing to Stabilize Neighborhoods and Improve Housing Prices

When there are vacant and foreclosed homes in neighborhoods, it undermines home prices and stalls the housing recovery. As part of the Administration’s effort to help lay the foundation for a stronger housing recovery, the Department of Treasury and HUD have been working with the FHFA on a strategy to transition REO properties into rental housing. Repurposing foreclosed and vacant homes will reduce the inventory of unsold homes, help stabilize housing prices, support neighborhoods, and provide sustainable rental housing for American families.

Today, the FHFA is announcing the first major pilot sale of foreclosed properties into rental housing. This marks the first of a series of steps that the FHFA and the Administration will take to develop a smart national program to help manage REO properties, easing the pressure of these distressed properties on communities and the housing market.

4. Moving the Market to Provide a Full Year of Forbearance for Borrowers Looking for Work

Last summer, the Administration announced that it was extending the minimum forbearance period that unemployed borrowers in FHA and HAMP would receive on their mortgages to a full year, up from four months in FHA and three months in HAMP. This forbearance period allows borrowers to stay in their homes while they look for jobs, which gives these families a better chance of avoiding default and helps the housing market by reducing the number of foreclosures. Extending this period makes good economic sense as the time it takes the average unemployed American to find work has grown through the course of the housing crisis: nearly 60 percent of unemployed Americans are now out of work for more than four months.
These extensions went into effect for HAMP and the FHA in October. Today the Administration is announcing that the market has followed our lead, finally giving millions of families the time needed to find work before going into default.

• 12-Month Forbearance for Mortgages Owned by the GSEs: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced that lenders servicing their loans can provide up to a year of forbearance for unemployed borrowers, up from 3 months. Between them, Fannie and Freddie cover nearly half of the market, so this alone will extend the relief available for a considerable portion of the nation’s unemployed homeowners.

• Move by Major Servicers to Use 12-Month Forbearance as Default Approach: Key servicers have also followed the Administration’s lead in extending forbearance for the unemployed to a year. Wells Fargo and Bank of America, two of the nation’s largest lenders, have begun to offer this longer period to customers whose loans they hold on their own books, recognizing that it is not just helpful for these struggling families, but it makes good economic sense for their lenders as well.

• A New Industry Norm: With these steps, the industry is gradually moving to a norm of providing 12 months of forbearance for those looking for work. This is a significant shift worthy of note, as only a few months ago unemployed borrowers simply were not being given a fighting chance to find work before being faced with the added burden of a monthly mortgage payment.

5. Joint Investigation into Mortgage Origination and Servicing Abuses

The Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Securities and Exchange Commission and state Attorneys General have formed a Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group under President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force that will be responsible for investigating misconduct contributing to the financial crisis through the pooling and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. The Department of Justice has announced that this working group will consist of at least 55 DOJ attorneys, analysts, agents and investigators from around the country, joining existing state and federal resources investigating similar misconduct under those authorities.

The working group will be co-chaired by senior officials at the Department of Justice and SEC, including Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, DOJ; Robert Khuzami, Director of Enforcement, SEC; John Walsh, U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado; and Tony West, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, DOJ. The working group will also be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Schneiderman, who will lead the effort from the state level. Other state Attorneys General have been and will be joining this effort.

6. Putting People Back to Work Rehabilitating Homes, Businesses and Communities Through Project Rebuild

Consistent with a proposal he first put forward in the American Jobs Act, the President will propose in his Budget to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Building on proven approaches to stabilizing neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures – including those piloted through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program – Project Rebuild will bring in expertise and capital from the private sector, focus on commercial and residential property improvements, and expand innovative property solutions like land banks.

In addition, the Budget will provide $1 billion in mandatory funding in 2013 for the Housing Trust Fund to finance the development, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable housing for extremely low income families. These approaches will not only create construction jobs but will help reduce blight and crime and stabilize housing prices in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis.

7. Expanding HAMP Eligibility to Reduce Additional Foreclosures and Help Stabilize Neighborhoods

To date, the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) has helped more than 900,000 families permanently modify their loans, providing them with savings of about $500 a month on average. Combined with measures taken by the FHA and private sector modifications, public and private efforts have helped more than 4.6 million Americans get mortgage aid to prevent avoidable foreclosures. Along with extending the HAMP program by one year to December 31, 2013, the Administration is expanding the eligibility for the program so that it reaches a broader pool of distressed borrowers. Additional borrowers will now have an opportunity to receive modification assistance that provides the same homeowner protections and clear rules for servicers established by HAMP. This includes:

• Ensuring that Borrowers Struggling to Make Ends Meet Because of Debt Beyond Their Mortgage Can Participate in the Program: To date, if a borrower’s first-lien mortgage debt-to-income ratio is below 31% they are ineligible for a HAMP modification. Yet many homeowners who have an affordable first mortgage payment – below that 31% threshold – still struggle beneath the weight of other debt such as second liens and medical bills. Therefore, we are expanding the program to those who struggle with this secondary debt by offering an alternative evaluation opportunity with more flexible debt-to-income criteria.

• Preventing Additional Foreclosures to Support Renters and Stabilize Communities: We will also expand eligibility to include properties that are currently occupied by a tenant or which the borrower intends to rent. This will provide critical relief to both renters and those who rent their homes, while further stabilizing communities from the blight of vacant and foreclosed properties. Single-family homes are an important source of affordable rental housing, and foreclosure of non-owner occupied homes has disproportionate negative effects on low-and moderate-income renters.

8. Increasing Incentives for Modifications that Help Borrowers Rebuild Equity
Currently, HAMP includes an option for servicers to provide homeowners with a modification that includes a write-down of the borrower’s principal balance when a borrower owes significantly more on their mortgage than their home is worth. These principal reduction modifications help both reduce a borrower’s monthly payment and rebuild equity in their homes. While not appropriate in all circumstances, principal reduction modifications are an important tool in the overall effort to help homeowners achieve affordable and sustainable mortgages. To further encourage investors to consider or expand use of principal reduction modifications, the Administration will:

o Triple the Incentives Provided to Encourage the Reduction of Principal for Underwater Borrowers: To date, the owner of a loan that qualifies for HAMP receives between 6 and 21 cents on the dollar to write down principal on that loan, depending on the degree of change in the loan-to-value ratio. To increase the amount of principal that is written down, Treasury will triple those incentives, paying from 18 to 63 cents on the dollar.

o Offer Principal Reduction Incentives for Loans Insured or Owned by the GSEs: HAMP borrowers who have loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac do not currently benefit from principal reduction loan modifications. To encourage the GSEs to offer this assistance to its underwater borrowers, Treasury has notified the GSE’s regulator, FHFA, that it will pay principal reduction incentives to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if they allow servicers to forgive principal in conjunction with a HAMP modification.



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Kính Mời Quý Đồng Hương Mỹ Gốc Việt Tham Dự Biểu Tình 2 tháng 2 nhằm Bảo Vệ Quyền Cử Tri của Người Việt Tỵ Nạn.

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Đi bỏ phiếu là yêu nước

Tiếng Nói Người Mỹ Gốc Việt trân trọng kính mời đồng hương tại Virginia tham dự buổi lên tiếng phản đối các luật mới tại Quốc Hội Tiểu Bang Virginia nhằm ngăn chặn lá phiểu của người già, thanh niên sinh viên, và người di dân không nói thạo Anh Ngữ.

Người Việt tỵ nạn liều chết để có quyền tự do, và lá phiếu tại Hoa Kỳ có giá trị rất lớn với cộng đồng Việt tỵ nạn.

Lá phiếu giúp chúng ta bảo vệ quyền lợi tại đây, và góp phần thúc đẩy tiến trình dân chủ tại Việt Nam. Xin cùng góp tay tranh đấu bảo vệ cho quyền lợi này.

Kính mời quý đồng hương tham dự buổi biểu tình ngày mai,

Ngày: Thứ Năm 2 tháng 2,
Lúc: 04:30 chiều,
Tại: Cardinal Forest Plaza
8316 Old Keene Mill Rd
Springfield, VA 22152

(Góc đường Old Keene Mill / Rolling Road)

Xin gọi Vel Hernandez (703) 362-7873 để biết thêm chi tiết.

Trân trọng,

Tiếng Nói Người Mỹ Gốc Việt


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Voice of Vietnamese Americans Advocates for Voting Rights

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Media Advisory
February 1, 2012
Contact: Vel Hernandez (703) 362-7873

Voice of Vietnamese Americans Advocates for Voter Rights
VVA Joins Civic Groups to Rally Against Vote Suppression Bills in Virginia

FAIRFAX, Va. (Feb. 1) – Voice of Vietnamese Americans invites Virginians to join forces in a rally on February 2 in West Springfield to oppose vote suppression bills being introduced in the General Assembly of the Commonwealth by Delegate Dave Albo and Delegate Tim Hugo.

“Our fundamental freedom will be stripped from us if we do not speak up against these attempts that suppress the vote,” Genie Nguyen, VVA President stated. This rally is part of a statewide fight to protect the fundamental right to vote, as well as the fight to secure access to affordable healthcare and other basic services for Virginia residents

Event: Day of Action
Date: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Cardinal Forest Plaza
8316 Old Keene Mill Rd
Springfield, VA 22152


“We are educating our community about issues and proposed policies that could detrimentally affect hardworking Virginians and their families,” Ms. Nguyen said. “Within days since our campaign launch, we have heard from and received the support of hundreds of Fairfax County residents, and we are gaining more momentum each day.”

VVA has been educating Fairfax County residents about its advocacy of several issues.

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The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.


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