"Dear Joe"

The Greatest Living American

Dear Joe, “Who is the greatest American alive? Is it President Obama? Hugh Hefner? Donald Trump? Or Bill Gates?”  Edgar

Fascinating question, Edgar. “Greatest” is a relative term, of course. For boxers, the greatest is Mohammed Ali unless you live in the Philippines. See? Relative. President Obama is the greatest American black president, hands down. That one is absolute, the exception that proves the rule. Hugh Hefner is the greatest womanizer and peddler of women’s bodies for profit. “The Donald” is the greatest stuffed shirt. Bill Gates the greatest living philanthropist.  So you have certainly mentioned some superb top-notch greats for sure.

As you might guess, JoeAm goes outside of popular names for his top pick.  His standards are as follows: intelligent, good character, and extraordinary accomplishment for the betterment of mankind. Entertainers, businessmen and stuffed shirts don’t make the cut. The peddler of women’s bodies doesn’t either. The black president is wallowing in partisan muck, and it will take a few years for the wine of his accomplishment to age properly. Now Bill Gates is for sure in the top five, getting credit for computer operating systems, business achievement, philanthropy, plus bonus points for introducing casual attire into the whole American business scene.
But the greatest American alive is James Dewey Watson.
He’s the co-inventor of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, along with Briton’s Francis Crick. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962 along with Crick and Maurice Wilkins for their groundbreaking work on human DNA.
Beyond his science genius, Watson has been an ardent activist,  a protestor against the Viet Nam War and nuclear arms, and an outspoken advocate  for women’s choice. He has further argued that “stupidity is a disease” and can be cured. Boy howdy, I wish he’d do more of that work in the American legislature.
The significance of his work is astounding: (1) the framework for crop and livestock genetic enhancements giving us hope that perhaps we can indeed feed our overpopulating planet and have redder tomatoes along the way, (2) the release from jail of those shown to be innocent by DNA proof, and the jailing of thousands of very bad people with unquestionable assurance of guilt, (3) medical breakthroughs that will cure pains, prevent deaths and potentially end stupidity, not to mention rheumatism and gout, and (4) a great leap forward in the discussion of science and faith as the way to intelligent salvation.
Truly, this is a man of great intellect, character and accomplishment for the betterment of mankind.  He did nothing less than re-define life.
Dear Joe, “1. Why do Kanos hang a flag on their porch? 1.1 Do ya’all do it on Independence Day only? ?????? ” Anonymous
The citizens of warrior nations such as the United States have extraordinary patriotism. They know the sacrifices people make to serve their fellow countrymen. The flag is the symbol of that patriotism, of courage, of giving to the nation absolutely all that can be given. Of cheering in victory, or  holding onto unity and determination in defeat. Of knowing that other Americans are there for support, no matter the dangers. Of knowing that the nation stands for the best principles of mankind living as a community.
So people display the flag on the porch, or in the yard, or from the roof, or in the window to say “I’m for America”.
And, oddly enough, the flag is a symbol of freedom of speech for Americans who are used to loud and angry taunts. In the hands of the bitter or the jealous or those who don’t understand, those who would burn the flag or defile it, it becomes just a piece of cloth, stripped of its real meaning, saying more about the defiler than about America.
The flag is flown on Independence Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and in special circumstances (for example, to celebrate landing on the moon or at half mast upon the death of a president or people who served their nation with distinction, such as astronauts).
My father died when he was 91. He had served in the army in WW II from age 18 to 24. The army held a small ceremony at his funeral to express gratitude on behalf of all Americans for his service, formally presenting me with the flag that draped his coffin. I also have my uncle’s flag from that war.
That’s why Americans fly the flag.
Dear Honeybunch, What are your goals in blogging? Are you going to write blogs forever?” Your Darling Wife
Well, Sweetie Pie, that is a curious question, as I’ve been asking myself the same question. For the past year, I’ve been cranking out articles steadily and learning a lot along the way. I know the blogs have had some influence,  which is rewarding. Still, I think the blogging medium in the Philippines is rather scattered and only modestly influential. It is a little bizarre being an American in this conversational scene, and I know that American opinion-mongering arouses the hackles of tried and true homebound Filipino patriots. Overseas Filipinos are not so prickly, as they are also outside looking in. Yet, I look about and I don’t see homebound bloggers really calling it straight and striving for new ideas in quite the same constructively provocative way that JoeAm does. Mostly people report on what they see, or pursue their own narrow interests.
The discussions at the popular news sites, Inquirer or Rappler,are discouraging. Much of the comment is posturing and insult rather than crisp, succinct debate on the issues. Everybody is trying to prove they are teachers and winners rather than being open-minded listeners and willing learners. There is little bend in discussions.
 And now we see the apparent intrusion of those who are clearly out to damage the Philippines through on-line destruction propaganda. And I think the emotional audience is likely to be susceptible to that. The Philippines has very little patriotic glue because so many people are of the opinion that any way but their way is the wrong way.
So they easily find fault.
It’s a rather discouraging scene.
My goals remain the same, to learn and to advocate, to the limited extent possible, for development a modern, productive, upright democratic Philippines. I’ll write as long as I can find new ideas or turn a good phrase now and then. There’s an ebb and flow to it.
When it ebbs too low, I’ll quit.

Dear JoeAm, Is it true that the Senate candidates will determine if President Aquino’s good governance agenda will continue? If we go with UNA won’t we have better “checks and balances”? Renaldo

Good of you to inquire, Renaldo.

“Kumbaya, My Lord, Kumbaya,
Kumbaya, My Lord, Kumbaya . . .”

21 Responses to “"Dear Joe"”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. That’s interesting. The Atlantic places Watson as No 2, and Gates as No 1.1.1 I would not have known Watson on his own. I know him as a member of the team Crick and Watson.1.2 That number 2 achievement on DNA profiling is solid gold and has saved many an innocent man.1.3 But that number 3 achievement to cure stupidity would be godlike – and a godsend.2. For some reason, I’m not too interested in the flag question.3. Your reply on blogging relates to my questions yesterday, viz. Are we doing any good?3.1 Right now I’m at the ebb, but may soon go with the flow.3.2 Item 1.3 will render blogging unnecessary – except as an outlet for poems.4. My definitive answer: The scales are not properly balanced right now.

  2. brianitus says:

    Uncle Joe,"President Obama is the greatest American black president, hands down."LOL on this one. You can make it "…currently the greatest American black president." Exit strategy for the future. :PBrianitus

  3. 1. Maybe they gave more credit for the casual attire.1.1 I'da given Crick credit but he was disqualified for being a Brit. He is also not entitled to any election opinions in the Philippines. Neither is the greatest American, come to think about it.1.3 I hear you.2. Ha.3. I know ebb.4. Kumbaya etc.

  4. Ah, yes, I should hedge my bets on that. Thanks, young whippersnapper.

  5. Edgar Lores says:

    In terms of lives saved, perhaps Gates pips Watson at the post by a nose – until the cure for stupidity is released.But can one imagine a world with no stupidity? What would it be like?o The state would wither away to an operational core. There would be no need for politics. There would be little need for judges. Congress will mainly exist to pass budgets. The executive will only be there to develop and maintain infrastructure. o There may or may not be any religion but certainly people will be in greater touch with their spiritual side, and bigotry will die. o The discoveries in science will accelerate and the impact on our daily lives will be greater in terms of comfort and ease. o New economics and the solution to poverty will cure social inequality and all social ills. o And – with everybody acting from heart's center – the central questions will be (a) what's for dinner; (b) which basketball [substitute football, soccer, etc.] team will win; and (c) whether the Callas version of "Casta Diva" can ever be surpassed.

  6. "The world without stupidity is like a rose without thorns."Works for me!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear JoeAren't you flattered that they pass the Comelec resolution? Your blogsite is now in the consciousness of the mainstream politicians.Take a bow!Would an "aye" or a "nay" reply to the final question be a violation?Or you just love the song Kumbaya?

  8. If I replied either way, I'd be favoring one candidate over another, and in violation of Immigration's stern warning. So I sing Kumbaya rather than offering a comment that might be construed as trying to influence.The COMELEC directive was issued some time ago. But I can imagine one of the candidates who did not like my point of view whispering into Immigration's ear and suggesting something ought to be done to shut that Joe America guy up. For whatever reason. I certainly felt that the message was directed straight to me.

  9. Dear Joe, Aristotle said, "He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader". Filipinos are good follower that is why they remain good follower forever not a leader.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mariano,Anon said,"Jokes are never funny when you have to explain them."Frank

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Returning to the flag question. The flag is a symbol of a country. 1.1 Symbols are a nifty way of reducing something large to something small, something hard to grasp to something easy to understand.1.2 That is one view. The other view is that symbols are hard to grasp because sometimes they signify great things below the level of consciousness, such as the archetypes of our dreams. I had a dream about a unicorn? What was that all about?1.3 Symbolism is part of the larger field called semiotics, which is the “study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation”.2. Signs and symbols can be linguistic or non-linguistic or a combination of both.2.1 “The Cross” is linguistic and the swastika is non-linguistic. The Stop sign with its octagonal shape and the word “Stop” is both.3. To manipulators of behaviour and opinion – propagandists, columnists, bishops, bloggers, etc. – symbols are powerful. The one-second flash of a symbol conveys and encapsulates an idea that would take 100 pages or more of a treatise to fully explain. Symbols are the short shorthands of communication.3.1 The Stars and Stripes stands for all the preternatural ideas of the Founding Fathers and all the accumulated wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, Susan Anthony, Henry David Thoreau and many others. It stands for all the sweat, blood and tears spilled from the “halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”.4. So repeat: symbols are powerful.5. Which brings us to today’s lesson. In defence of the COMELEC ruling on the prohibition of foreigners from participating in national elections, the linguistic symbol of “national interests” was raised.5.1 Nobody questioned the use of the phrase. Nobody questioned what exactly is the national interests in the prohibition. Supporting arguments cited foreign ownership of media, dummy candidates and so forth.5.2 But is it really in the national interests for candidates not to be exposed to external scrutiny? Is it really in the national interests for opinions – whether valuable or not – to be suppressed in fear of the phantoms detailed in the supporting arguments?5.3 The idea of national interests has become so sacrosanct that its simple utterance evokes silence and brooks no disagreement. And we – and that includes me – are so easily bamboozled. 5.4 This linguistic deception allows Marcos to declare and foist a dictatorship. It allows China to trample the rights of the Tibetans and to commit cultural and actual genocide. It allows the Cheney’s of this world to wage war. 5.5 It is possible that the linguistic symbol of “freedom” used in counter-argument against “national interests” may also be a linguistic deception. 5.6 But if we refer to the Hierarchy of Loyalties, the freedom of expression is codified in the UDHR under the construct of World. So it trumps national interests which falls under the construct of Country.

  12. Amen on 5.6, Ed. Jesus Christ, a foreigner, should not be allowed to permeat in the Philippines because of its foreign construct.Did COMELEC acted on its own? Shouldn't it be run thru the congress? Why benign0 Aquino is silent? Well, as far as I am concerned, benign0 Aquino is silent because I do not read Filipino newspapers.

  13. Would I be considered a foreigner to COMELEC? I took an oath of alliagiance to America. Never hanged PHilippine flag in my porch nor a sticker on my car. But then again, "FOREIGNER" depends on how COMELEC define and redefine it to suit their needs.WONDERFUL PHILIPPINES. FUNNY FILIPINOS. AM I A FOREIGNER?

  14. Joe is more Filipino nationalist and patriot than my next-door neighbor Filipinos. Should Joe be deported than the Filipinos who wanted to go to America and give up their Filipno citizenship, language, culture and practices?Carlos Soriano of San Miguel is an American citizen. Should he be deported? Since COMELEC are run by Filipinos, therefore, anything goes.This is PROOF that Filipinos are not in the business of running government. I propose that Filipino governance should be outsourced … AND THEY CRITICIZE ME FOR NOT HAVING SOLUTION TO THE FILIPINO PROBLEM. Now I presented a solution.Another solution is to deport ALL 94,000,000 Filipinos to abroad. Because once Filipinos are abroad they know what STOP SIGNS means. They know "STAND BEFORE THE YELLOW LINE" means. They pee in the restroom not on electrical posts. BUT WHEN THEY COME HOME, they do not know what STOP SIGNS means. "STAND BEFORE THE YELLOW LINE" and "DO NOT PEE HERE"

  15. A goot follower without questioning orders are ROBOTS. Therefore, will not ever be a goot leader. – ANTI-ARISTOTLE 🙂

  16. Edgar, absolutely brilliant. Better than any Sunday sermon.I can't help but think a vibrant marketplace of ideas, no matter what nationality, or how unconventional, is better than an insecure, hide-in-the-blanket, go-away, I can't bear to hear you because you don't belong here mentality.Somehow you said that better. So did Mariano. ahahahaha. Thanks.

  17. Edgar Lores says:

    Mariano works out the details of principles. I am a universalist; he is a particularist. (I didn't know about Soriano.) Together we demonstrate the validity of the Aristotelian philosophy of universals and particulars.

  18. Attila says:

    My Ilonga wife tells me that if it was up to the Visiayan people the Philippines would be in a much better shape. She also believes that the anti American sentiment is the Tagalogs doing. She considers Tagalogs "high noise" (her words) and controlling and imposing. She tels me that even here in New York she prefers Visayan friends.

  19. Whoooa !!! HA! HA! HA! HA! I HAVE BEEN HIDING MY ETHNICITY afraid the Tagalog ethnic group might pounce on me. NOW OUT MYSELF BECAUSE what Attila just said is sooooo T-R-U-E !!!!!!Tagalogs are like Italians. They never elect a Pope that has no Italian blood running in their veins. And the Filipinos thought Francis is Argentinian. They are wrong. Well, what do I expect from them. Francis is Italian. 100% pure and unadulterated extra virgin Roman.Most BIG TIME CORRUPTIONS are done by Tagalogs. Tagalogs rule the Philippines when they are only the minority. They force their language on us despite spoken by only very few. Government are run by Tagalogs. Seems like Philippines is like Iraq. Shi'ite and that other crappy religion. Catholic versus Prostestant in Ireland.Filipinos could have been very goot. Where else they got their idea of sectarian divide and violence? Where else? Who else? Of course, RELIGION !!!!!!Thank gootness benign0 Aquino has no religious bias. RHBill approved!!! Big slap on puffy-round-face Filipino church.

  20. JUST IN CASE nobody noticed, Filipinos in the States are divided. Tagalogs and veterans flocks to American west. Sugar plantation slaves in Hawai'i most of them have not seen the mainland because they do not have money. Those who are lucky enough come out of their slavery as salesladies at ABC Stores. WWII Veterans children are also not doing goot at all. They are petitioned by their WWII Veteran parents. Come to America with limited skills and englischtzes. Work in Filipino grocery stores run by Filipinos like slaves. Gosh, they smoke like chimeneys and swim in alcohol. Jeeeez !!! Filipinos in Eastcoast are more Visayan variety. They did not go to the States because of Veteran petition. They go there without an iota of how they will survive. And they surivve. They are mostly "educated" and "skilled" than their western filipino counterparts. They are friendly and clannish, too!!!! And …. THEY ARE NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL AND HAS INNOCENT DEMEANOR WHICH I TRULY LIKE.

  21. Attila says:

    "They are friendly and clannish, too!!!! And …. THEY ARE NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL AND HAS INNOCENT DEMEANOR WHICH I TRULY LIKE."I agree. Illongas form a close bond. They help each other and sing together (karaoke) First time meetings often mean cooking together and singing together and sharing life stories. I'm amazed to witness the speed of opening up. They are polite and speak a soft melodic language that I enjoy hearing. They have Tagalog friends but they are not as close.

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