The Future of the Society of Honor


Artist: Abecedarian Jameson

We grow, therefore we change. So it is important to consider from time to time what this blog is, and what it might become.

What this blog is . . .

The blog covers a wide range of topics dealing with Philippine politics, culture and social dynamics. It’s strength is that it is not affiliated with any group or institution. The only affiliation is with the two ideas that: (1) we should promote a Philippines that is healthy, wealthy and wise, and (2) we ought to learn from one another.

What is distinctive about the blog is the literary style of the main author, Joe America, the variety, quality and insights brought to the blog by guest writers, and the information, alternative views and wisdom offered by readers – they build depth, bring insight, and provoke additional thought. The blog is a respectful place where smart people gather to learn and to teach.

The blog has some limitations. It is primarily written in English by an American, although in truth he is today more engaged with the Philippines than America. And the greater share of the contributors live overseas and seem to share a common understanding of the differences between Philippine character and that of western nations.

The blog rubs some home-bound Filipinos the wrong way. It carries itself with the removed arrogance of analysis by armchair quarterbacks not here dealing with the real world. Also, it is possible that people without a highly developed grasp of English are hesitant to put their views into the mix. So we miss some important viewpoints.

The number of readers fluctuates from article to article, from a few hundred reads a day to several thousand. Without question, readership has increased the past few months. Some articles gain the interest of the socially linked crowd of Filipino patriots, and the articles get passed around on Facebook and Twitter.

The most read articles to date are:

They are all recent articles, standing as testament to the new and growing platform of socially connected readers who find the blog worthwhile.

We also know the blog is from time to time read by people connected to the highest levels of government. As in highest . . .

What this blog might become . . .

There are three paths for the blog:

  • To move to an end-game, having played its small part in the development of the Philippines.
  • To continue as it now comprised, substantially a one-man show supported by occasional articles from other contributors.
  • To push to become a bigger, stronger voice with more Filipino writers and Joe stepping to the background.

In any scenario, the tenor of the current blog should be maintained, thought-provoking core articles supported by insightful commentary that avoids the personal insults and child’s play that is found on some other blogs.

If there were an end-game path, I think it would occur at the beginning of the 2016 election period. That election will establish the way forward for the Philippines: honest, pragmatic and broadly democratic, or a continuation of the old mechanics of power-playing and favor-trading.

The current mode can continue forever, until God issues forth his lightning bolt for good ol’ Joe. Or is that Thor, I forget . . . For sure, there is no lack of subject material. Joe gets an expressive kick from writing the articles, learns a lot, and is enriched by the numerous collegial friendships he enjoys.

The most intriguing path would be for the blog to be built into a stronger and more certified Filipino voice. In thinking about that, we have to be realists. It would take a commitment from others to contribute regularly.

Perhaps you have noticed that when guest articles appear, the discussion is invigorated. Fresh ideas. Fresh perspectives. A different style. It’s very healthy.

Without question, cranking out regular articles is demanding, as is sitting at the computer to grant people who comment the respect they deserve, a bounce-back response or discussion. JoeAm can commit for himself, but not for others. To build a bigger and better blog, others would also have to make a commitment.

There is no question that the “middle class”, the bridge between the rich and powerful and the poor and powerless, is crucially important to the Philippines. It can moderate between the excesses of the imperial lords and the ineffectiveness of the masses.

Perhaps a bigger, better blog, keyed to social networking and aspiring to invigorate the thinking of the influential middle, could become a very important voice in the continuing development of the Philippines.

What do you think?

87 Responses to “The Future of the Society of Honor”
  1. sonny says:

    Joe, as a newcomer the most obvious characteristic of this blog is the spirit of solidarity that for me comes from both your style and luck. I would suggest to leverage the gathering power that has come about in this blogpatch. The present “constituency” of the people who come here will come to a head in the form of commonality of interest among its diverse respondents. I hope to see us to not become fractious but play to our strength, namely well-informed, logical, and sane outlook. I for one will always look for the true, the beautiful and the good that each contributor puts to the fore.


  2. joe, i felt bad that have discovered this blog only just recently but it echoes everything that i feel and pray for my beloved country….am not very articulate but your words and insightful commentaries and sensitive perspective on everything Filipino reflects my own sentiments….go on writing please…and i will continue to share your blog to all my students and to all who are willing to listen….and maybe, one generation removed, the Philippines will finally reach its full potential

    • Joe America says:

      There is grammatical-articulate and idea-articulate, and it is ideas that count. And, frankly I have no problem with your grammatical expressions, either. Perhaps you are better than you think you are. 🙂 I appreciate your feedback, for sure.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. I like the definition of a blog on my handy Wordweb:
    1.1. Noun: A shared on-line journal where people can post daily entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.
    1.2. Verb: Read, write, or edit a shared on-line journal.

    2. To me the best of blogs is a lens: a microscope, a magnifying glass, a telescope.
    2.1. It is an instrument to examine people, events, and places, and invite reflection on them.
    2.2. We would use the microscope to examine the past, the magnifying glass to look at the present, and the telescope to peer into the future.
    2.3. I like it when the lens is a distorting mirror. In this mirror, I see myself as short and fat. and when I look at a real mirror, the effect is the same. Perception trumps reality.

    3. Strangely enough, the three most read articles reveal the pertinence of this analogy. Estrada, the past; Aquino, the present; and the Dangers facing the Land, the future.
    3.1. If Estrada represents the thesis of corruption, Aquino the antithesis of corruption, what synthesis might the future hold? The desired synthesis would be a change in the balance wherein corruption ceases to have the upper hand and is diminished to a great degree. To expect corruption to be totally eradicated is unrealistic. Men are not angels though some may be. Perhaps, some women as well.

    3.2. We think of time as an irreversible arrow, with the past configuring the present, and the present configuring the future. We should also think of time as reversible. The past can be erased, sometimes by the sorry word. And nothing in the future is inevitable. What we expect the probability of the future to be should affect the configuring of the present moment.
    3.3. And if certain candidates are deemed to be great dangers for the future of the Land, then we must examine the present with the help of the magnifying glass to avoid that future.

    4. Must there be an end game? I don’t think so. The game just goes on… and on.
    4.1. We all journey to an unknown destination. Death may not be the end of it. Or it may.
    4.2. The rising of consciousness may well be the purpose of life, and in this the utility of blogs is pre-eminent. We see as others do not see, we record and exchange our perceptions (biases) – with a certain degree of courtesy as noted – and our awareness grows.
    4.3. If along the way, we shed light on the dangers of the path the Philippines is taking, we may prevent a stumble if not a fall. Or provide a crutch. Or simply enjoy the passing scenery.

    4.4. The year 2016 is a fork in the road, but it is just one of many. We are faced with choices every day, and the choices that we make or do not make now are as consequential as any. The struggle is endless. We should not forget the present in working for the future; otherwise, we will be disheartened.
    4.5. “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” – Albert Camus
    4.6. There are many paths, many journeys, and the journeys are the destination.

    5. Namaste: “”I honor the place in you where Spirit lives…”

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, I got to page 28 of that Camus classic, “The Myth of Sisyphus”, where the essential philosophical question was, “should I commit suicide or not?”

      Well, I much prefer “I think, therefore I am” as the basis for philosophical discourse, so I put the book down – it is quite small, actually – and went to the synopsis for dummies and concluded I agreed with what Camus eventually penned, the purpose of life is to enjoy what comes down the pike, good or bad.

      It is a fine personal philosophy, I have discovered. It makes the pain bearable. And it for sure is easier to read the dummies guide to the Myth of Sisyphus than Hume or the Bible.

      • Cornball says:

        The Rebel is the companion piece of The Myth of Sisyphus, maybe you’ll like it more… I rebel, therefore I am?… No? Next you’ll be reading Sartre, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.

        Cheers to the future of integrity!

        • Joe America says:

          Ha, I’d say it is more likely I’ll do Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk, or my wife’s FHM magazines.

          Cheers to the future of integrity . . . and to good humor.

    • sonny says:


      FECUND – this is the word to describe your replies;
      REFRACTIVE – complements the lens; bends, parses the angle of view; very apropos;
      ARROW, QUIVER, ARCHER, BOW – holding my breath waiting for the rest of your analogy;
      SISYPHUS – it took all the gods to conspire to put down his penchant for unravelling the high and the mighty; all they could think of was a rock and an inclined plane;

      Touche, touche, touche to all your points!

  4. andrew lim says:

    First, I attach this link to a Youtube music video as a tribute to this blog:

    It’s a Filipino classic love song, “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” (Until My Hair Grows White) but it’s sung beautifully by two foreign nationals: Ana Rabstun (Russian) and David DiMuzio (American).

    In a similar sense, it’s just like Joe’s blog, a love letter to the Philippines, and it’s refreshing to have the country’s issues viewed from a foreign national’s perspective. It should continue, even if our hairs go white.

    I’ll see if I can contribute more regularly to the blog.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate that you appreciate that an outsider’s perspective is valid for being an outsider’s perspective. When that view is roundly shared, there will be no need for an outsider’s perspective and I can go on to the end game. 🙂 As to white hair, I explain to my young son that mine is actually very blond. Fortunately, he has developed a finely honed sense of truth at a young age and just exclaims that I am “old”. Thanks for the video enlightenment to support his contention.

      • andrew lim says:


        You are more invested in this country than many Filipinos I know, Joe, You have made the effort to study its recent and historic past, have kept an open mind and been generally objective and fair.

        I met a man named Rafe Bartholomew a few years back, and he was so engrossed with the Pinoy love of basketball and writes about it- I think he knows more than the average Filipino about Philippine basketball’s history. You are like him in his appreciaton of this country.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m making like Sisyphus trying to figure out the puzzle Filipino. Then, there is another mountain ahead, figuring out what to do about it once the discovery is reasonably deep.

    • edgar lores says:

      And the little boy (at 1:08 and at 1:30) with the bemused expression is the Filipino… 😉

    • sonny says:

      Andrew, when i first came across this video, I really marvelled how our language is vowel-heavy. This makes it so friendly to singing, so affective. Thanks for bringing the video to share.

  5. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Edgar did put the bar very high. The only thing I would like to add is the Chinese Dao.

    The most common in the west is the 4th falling tone dào the noun: way or path, but there are associated meanings, the verb: ① say; speak; talk … ② think; suppose or as part of a larger word: ① channel ② way; reason; principle ③ doctrine. But there are more dào’s, with different symbols as arrive or turn upside down

    The 3rd dipping tone dǎo: ① guide; lead … ② transmit; conduct … ③ instruct; direct …”. With different symbols: island; ask earnestly; beat, smash or topple.

    And there is the 1st level tone dāo: chatter away and written differently: knife or sword or in a regional idiomatic expression shénshendāodāo: odd; bizarre.

    I wish the blog was not in English but Chinese, then the wordplays could be endless. But in the mean time we enjoy “the journeys as the destination”, whatever the spinoffs.

    • Joe America says:

      How do you pronounce that 1st level tone dāo: chatter away and written differently; odd; bizarre? That can be our new motto and we can ditch “O’ rise ye land of happy fools” and just chatter bizarrely away . . . The only symbol I have in my portfolio is 🙂 . . .

  6. Dee says:

    “How long have you been away from the country?” Laruja asked Ibarra.

    “Almost seven years.”
    “Then you have probably forgotten all about it.”

    “Quite the contrary. Even if my country does seem to have forgotten me, I have always thought about it.”

    ― José Rizal, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)

    That sums up how I feel for the Philippines. I can’t help but care about PI’s future eventhough I had been away for over three decades. I apologize to those who I may have offended with my armchair analyses. Please correct me when I am wrong.

    I will try to contribute more articles, Joe. I would like for the good fight to continue with you at the helm so I am choosing an option 2 hybrid. More proactive members, more contributors, and more connection to popular Filipino social media to reach a wider audience.

    • Joe America says:

      What offensive armchair analyses? I don’t recollect any, or else they have been buried under an overwhelming pile of insight and clear statements. Thanks for the clear point of view, and the ever-powerful wisdom of Rizal.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I’ve been away from the Philippines for a LONG LONG LONG TIME !!! The more I am away the more I see something is wrong with the Filipinos and the Philippines. Those Filipinos who have not gone far away never can see the comparisons. They only compare Ilo-ilo to Manila or Ilocos to Manila which just the same are populated by corrupt people.

      Just lately, very recently, The Philippine Media is involved with PDAF after all. In the Inquirer cartoon they blame the broadcast media for receiving PDAF not the print media. And the broadcast media blame the print media for receiving PDAF.

      And I from abroad blame the whole country in comparison to the country where I live.

      Being abroad is educational than having a doctorate in U.P., Ateneo and la Salle hands down.

  7. ella says:

    Mr.Joe please keep writing, your articles are thought provoking and most of human race especially the Filipino race needs the opinions of an outsider looking in to learn from.

    Your blogs may not be always acceptable to some but to most of the thinking Filipinos, your blogs give us something to think about.

  8. parengtony says:

    I hope Ka Joe and ya’all guest writers won’t ever quit writing. And doing it because “the journey is the destination”.

    • Joe America says:

      This particular destination is a lot like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the harder we walk, the farther away it becomes. I guess, for me to be completely honest, I’d like a little more company on that road.

      • cha says:

        Other than article contributions, what other ways might we be able to help?

        • Joe America says:

          Ahhh . . . Most important, stay dedicated to being a part of the platform of robust comments, for discussions are generally worth more than the core blog, taking it to new depths or reach, or branching to new ideas. For those with social networks, if a blog or comment thread is particularly meaningful, push it out with a “worth reading tag”. For those who read and comment widely on other blogs or news threads, drop a link back to an article that is relevant to the discussion. Suggest ideas for articles. All that is contingent upon readers finding the material insightful or even entertaining.

          • cha says:

            A facebook page that links back to the blog and provides updates, key points, and insights derived from articles and comment threads would definitely be a great help in directing traffic to the site.

            Most of the major news organizations (inquirer, philstar, abs-cbn news etc) are already using this approach. And so are bloggers like Raissa Robles, civil society groups like Kaya Natin,, and Integrity Initiative, and public figures like Tony Meloto who are able to use facebook not only to push their advocacies but also to be a positive influence to the people who believe in them. And then there are those who either deliberately and inadvertently are helping shape the way people come to perceive and approach key events and issues confronting Philippine society, e.g. Tony La Vina, Raffy Alunan, Jim Paredes.

            I don’t really follow or subscribe to all these facebook pages myself but whenever any of my friends likes a post or comments on those pages, I somehow end up getting an update on my newsfeed. And that, I think, is the definite advantage to having a deliberate and purposive social media presence, your messages really get pushed not only to an already captured audience but also those just probably waiting to be.

            So if you thought facebook is only for people, young and otherwise,posting selfies day in and day out, you might be in for a surprise once you get into the right networks. There are a lot of serious minded people in there taking advantage of this medium to change a few hearts and minds, and more, But I think, I’ve already digressed from my initial point, that the Society /Joe America can get across better and to a wider audience by tapping into this social networking stream.

            Have a look at Tony La Vina’s facebook page and see if this might be an approach that appeals to you.


            • Joe America says:

              There is a Joe America facebook page that articles get posted to, but I don’t have the inclination to really work it, adding friends and corresponding. I’d never get anything written. But some people do follow the blog through that source. My marketing is limited to showing my face on other blogs and news threads and making comments. They actually draw readers if I say something that makes sense. Frankly, I’m not into the drudge of working as if it were a commercial site and my livelihood depended on subscribers. I was happy with only 100 reads a day. But clearly the value of ideas is multiplied if more people connect with them.

  9. Richard says:

    I am a recent reader of Joe’s blogs. Having lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, I appreciate Joe’s perspective. I find his “outsider’s” perspective insightful, refreshing, and valuable because I can relate.

    In the same vein, now that I’m a full time Philippine resident, I also appreciate the local, more “insular” take on the burning issues of the day, having been raised in Manila and having a worldview shaped by the experience of martial law.

    In any case, the future of this blog will evolve naturally, but Joe’s voice should continue to serve as a focused spotlight on various parts of the big picture.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Richard. Filipinos seem to love the Bay area. There are huge Filipino communities in South San Francisco on the west side of the Bay, and Union City and Fremont on the east side. That gives me of an Idea of where I want to spin through as I drive my family across the western US a few weeks from now. Thanks for that little inspiration.

      You should pop in to offer up comments now and then. Your perspective of having been “over there” and now returned would add a lot to the mix I think.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I agree with your, Richard. Once I come back to Philippines it is like going on a Safari in Botswana in an air-conditioned Land Rover. I’d be in my environmentally controlled car ogling at Filipinos snapping pictures of herds of Filipinos.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Based on the comments I find Joe’s Blog is read mostly by middle-class Filipinos in foreign lands. I can’t say if they are highly educated from the Philippines because being abroad is more than highly educational enough compared to graduating and having a desertation in doctoral thesis in the Philippines.

    To this day, U.P. Philippine columnists still do not get it why rookie NYPD do not tell their American journalists the time of death, victims names, victims gender, weapons of crime etcetera even though they know the gender and victims names and weapons of crime and how they died. And these are only rookie NYPD high school graduates not even graduate of ivy-school University of the Philippines journalists.

    They go to the States still not learning. Maybe it takes so many years of not watching and reading Filipino news and Filipino channel that really educates. They all fall to Goebbelian psyche,

    • Joe America says:

      When my son goes to school, he learns to recite Bible versus and do his numbers. When he travels with us, he sees the clouds from on top and notices the designs on airplanes.

  11. J says:

    Just continue being spontaneous, Joe.

    And yes, I agree with you on the commitment part. We at The Observers find it difficult to come up with regular articles and contributions too, as you know :p

  12. letlet says:

    We Filipinos are one with you Joe in wanting to promote a new Philippines, anchoring the middle class as the backbone in surging ahead the foreseeable growth and development of the Philippines and the betterment of the lives of the people. But then in general the public per se has to inculcate integrity to themselves in order to achieve the vision they want for the Philippines. The instilling of integrity within oneself is the first thing first to do to walk the talk.

    • Joe America says:

      Bingo. Push integrity from the middle to the masses and jail all the high rollers who refuse to get it. I think when some big shot finally gets put into a wee small crowded stinky cell, things will start to change.

  13. Just my observation: I think the readers of this blog are mostly FIl-Ams or expatriates in the country. The point is to reach out to the “homegrown middle class Filipino” especially to the youth.

    As a homegrown Pinoy, there are times when the tone of articles unfavorably compares the Philippines to the US. Just take note of the comments section when you do the cross-cultural blogs. Worse, homegrown Pinoys misinterpret the blog as a Pro-Pnoy mouthpiece.

    However, I’m sure the blog doesn’t want to be like and other “socially-aware” blogs with dogmatic and ideologically-biased viewpoints.

    Still, there’s no better source of outsider perspective on the Philippines in the internet.

    I hope I can help the cause by sharing noteworthy articles on Facebook and commenting regularly.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, one of the biases I have been trying to get rid of is the standard that the American way is the right way. But it is exactly that difference that makes for the learning. WHY is the Philippines disorganized about things, with slow courts and no real justice? WHY are known crooks elected to high office? If we accept that disorganization is okay and crooks in office are okay, then this blog does stand as wrong for attacking that notion. But if we don’t like disorganization or lousy government service or crooks stealing our money, maybe we can find out where things are not working right. And figure out a way to get better organized and wealthier and more compassionate by having tax payer money go where it can do good.

      About half the readership is from the Philippines and half from overseas, generally Filipinos. I think it is the perfect mix for the type of discussions we need to have, and for the variety of perspectives that are so valuable.

      • Joe America says:

        Here are readership sources for the past three months:

        Philippines 56%
        US 20%
        Canada 4%
        Australia 4%
        Singapore 3%
        UAE 2%
        UK 1%
        Saudi Arabia 1%
        Hong Kong 1%
        Japan 1%
        156 Others 6%
        TOTAL 100%

      • I was saying that some blogs have the impression of blaming the culture INSTEAD of the few people in power. There are few places where there are no corrupt leaders. It’s that the tone seems to imply that Filipino culture breeds corruption, stealing, electoral cheating and other negatives.

        The problems persist because of lack of genuine solutions against the power wielders not because it’s a “naturally Filipino trait.” Suggesting to reform one culture and pattern it after another isn’t politically correct and disrespectful.

        Interesting readership stats though. I meant to say that I hope more “homegrown middle class” will join the discussions.

        • edgar lores says:

          Interesting observations and demographics.

          I hate to malign anyone, and I am one myself, but I would be very surprised if the primary age demographic was not the fuddy-duddies. Let me qualify that: age-wise but not thought-wise.

          I would agree with the observation that the problem of corruption is not a “naturally Filipino trait.” This is true. However, the pervasiveness of the problem and the inability to find and implement solutions are Filipino. Perhaps not uniquely Filipino as it seems to be common with young countries. But it must be cultural in its unique application and endemicity.

          But is it?

          The solutions in other countries are five-fold: (a) mandatory disclosure and reporting; (b) proper auditing; (c) whistle-blowing; (d) special anti-corruption courts; and (e) penalization. The Philippines has all of these but implementation has been spotty at best.

          So is the defective cultural trait, not corruption, but lackadaisicalness? The “Indolence of the Filipino” as Rizal put it? This essay, published in 1890, by the hero is recommended reading. I confess I have never read it before and find portions fascinating.

          This is from the intro by Austin Craig, written a century ago (1913!):

          “Unwillingness to work when there is nothing in it for them is common to Filipinos and Americans, for Thomas Jefferson admitted that extravagance and indolence were the chief faults of his countrymen. Labor-saving machinery has made the fruits of Americans’ labors in their land of abundance afford a luxury in living not elsewhere existing. But the Filipino, in his rich and not over-populated home, shutting out, as we do, oriental cheap labor, may employ American machinery and attain the same standard. The possibilities for the prosperity of the population put the Philippines in the New World, just as their discovery and their history group them with the Western Hemisphere.”

          And this is from Rizal which may be the original of the echoes Joseph and I have made:

          “The lack of national sentiment brings another evil, moreover, which is the absence of all opposition to measures prejudicial to the people and the absence of any initiative in whatever may redound to its good. A man in the Philippines is only an individual, he is not a member of a nation…”

          After reading Rizal, who takes note of the honesty of the native, I note that maybe the cultural trait we most excel in is finger-pointing. Either that or Spanish colonization was absolutely the worst – no, the worstest – thing that could have happened to us. And it seems we have not listened to Rizal at all.

          • Regarding the spotty implementation of the five-fold solution, I think it’s a product of the vested interest of the aforementioned power wielders more than anything else…. It’s this class of dynastic clans who have all the power to effect change through their elected positions, but they didn’t and still don’t. Since the Commonwealth, their power and influence hasn’t been weakened substantially.

            Unless the rest of the powerless citizenry resort to a revolution to disprove the “lackadaisical” claim….. I can’t see a valid reason for the majority of Filipino to be called indolent and “finger pointers”. Some say Filipinos can effect change through elections, but it’s common knowledge that 99%of candidates are selfish crooks.

            I’m not “finger pointing” at the oligarchy by stating the obvious, but at the same time, the indolence of the Filipino isn’t that accurate at this day and age. Millions of Filipinos toiling overseas for their families due to lack of opportunities here. Add the OFW remittances which keep the domestic consumption afloat.

            Call center agents working night shifts. A fairly large number of well-educated, board-passing professionals. Even most tricycle and jeepney drivers work on weekends.

            On Spanish colonization as the worst. Hmmmm… Chile, which regained independence from the Spaniards earlier than us, seems to have the best economy in Latin America today. So all hope is not lost…

            “In terms of investment, Chile was named the best country in Latin America to do business by the World Bank in 2013, due to its open laws on enterprising and starting companies (which can be done in a day) and its trade policies. As one of the countries in the world with the most free-trade agreements, it has few obstacles to imports and exports.”


            • edgar lores says:

              There is certainly evidence of industry but, on balance, there is also evidence of indolence. For every industrious OFW, how many dependent mouths of every generation are there to feed? (Anecdotally, I’m referring here to a comment on a previous post on this blog where the parents of an OFW have stopped working.) For every professional, tricycle driver or jeepney driver, how often do they take improper shortcuts in their work? Indolence is not merely the absence of a job, it is also in not doing a job conscientiously and properly. It is not doing things right. Not observing rules is indolence. Stealing is indolence. Cheating is indolence. Bribery is indolence. Corruption is indolence. And you see this impropriety from senator to tricycle driver.

              On reflection, it’s more than indolence. It’s lack of ethical standards hand-in-hand with apathy.

              As to finger-pointing, it’s all around us. Finger-pointing is not only deflecting blame, it is in essence not taking responsibility. Do we take responsibility for electing thieves into office? Do congressmen take responsibility for their scams? Do whistle-blowers take responsibility for connivance? Do dynasties take responsibility for killings and massacres? It’s never us, it’s them.

              And perhaps Chile has decided not to dwell on the past but to take responsibility.

              The thing is one can point to an exception, or exceptions, to every generalization. But the generalization remains true. The exception does not invalidate the generalization. Otherwise, no general statement can be said to be true, including this one.

          • Joe America says:

            The use of English here, and the high level of discourse, may bar many from commenting. I know we have young readers and contributors, too. “J” and brianitus I know are in their 20’s. We obviously miss the broad laboring masses and possibly the hard-working middle class who don’t really get their rest by entering into the kinds of discussions that dominate this blog. As the middle class expands and tweeters get tired of surfing shallow, perhaps we’ll pick up a broader base of contributors. I can assure you that when 70,000 people read an article, we are getting a wide demographic reach. But 70,000 are not writing comments (thank Buddha).

            • Mel NL says:

              Sorry Joe if I’m not commenting very often although I read all your articles. Thank you very much for the knowledge you share to everyone. Please continue writing or else I’ll miss it dearly!

          • Joseph-Ivo says:

            I might start a chicken and egg discussion, but what is the cause, what is the effect? Corruption needs poverty to thrive. Stealing from the poor is so much easier then stealing from people who have to protect some wealth. To me the predatory nature of the ruling class, or in its more subtle form the rent seeking nature, is the root cause. Correct politics or a strong state is the only solution. Every initiative that promotes strengthening of the state needs our support. A strict split between the 3 powers, compromised from the 1898 onwards, independent civil servants with a strong “esprit de corps” and an independent auditing function are needed. (more engineers or less lawyers and movie stars might help too)

            • edgar lores says:

              1. Joseph, David, JoeAm and Edgar walk into a bar.
              Edgar: “Filipinos are indolent.”
              David: “No, not so. The majority are OFWs and call center agents”.
              JoeAm: “We have an underperforming judiciary and a do-nothing congress.”
              Joseph: “Guys, let me ask…What came first -the chicken or the egg?”

              (Pandemonium ensues – or not.)

              2. Perception and perspective. This is what it – blogging as well as living – is all about. Is there no ultimate “truth” then? Well, let us analyse and examine.

              3. When David says Filipinos are NOT indolent, he is absolutely right. When Edgar says corruption is indolence, he is absolutely right. When JoeAm says we have a do-nothing congress, he is absolutely right. And when Joseph says corruption is because of rent-seeking he also absolutely right. How so?

              4. We are all cameramen. David is using a Canon, JoeAm a Nikon, me an Olympus, and Joseph a Hasselblad. We are also using different focal lengths, shutter speeds and filters. Ahhh, filters! When capturing a picture of “indolence”:
              4.1. David is using the word in its simplest sense, that of physical inactivity. He is using the “motion” filter.
              4.2. JoeAm is interpreting it in the sense that congressmen are not living up to their mission of serving the people. He is using the job description or “utility” filter.
              4.3. Edgar is using the word in its Seven Deadly Sins sense of sloth, of spiritual apathy. He is using the “moral” filter.
              4.4. Joseph sees the word as politicians and businessmen concentrating on rent-seeking activities rather than creating new wealth. He is using the “economist” filter.

              5. The solutions to indolence and corruption will vary according to the perception and perspective.
              5.1. David sees it as the ruling oligarchy redirecting their efforts away from their vested interests and towards looking after the national interests.
              5.2. JoeAm has a similar solution: the under-performing judiciary and the do-nothing congress must concentrate on doing their jobs.
              5.3. Joseph’s solution is correct politics or a strong state.
              5.4. Edgar’s solution is probably the simplest but the hardest to do: Stop stealing and stop cheating.

              6. The commonality among the solutions is this: Do the right thing. Politically. Professionally. Economically. Morally.
              6.1. The chief difference among the solutions is that all require collective effort although one can be seen from the viewpoint of the individual.

              7. Epilogue:
              7.1. The chicken sprang from the egg. No, no, that’s not right. The egg sprang from the chicken. No, no, that’s not right either.
              7.2. Well, there was a Mama Hen and a Papa C.., er, a Papa Rooster.
              7.3. Then along came the Baby Chicks.
              7.4. And one of them crossed the road. Why?
              7.5. Because it was the right thing to do. Why so?
              7.6. … Because one simply cannot expect the road to cross the chicken. Tee-hee.
              7.7. In time, all chickens – with Sisyphean effort – will cross the road.

              • Joe America says:

                7.8 Unless God beats them to the punch and plasters the place with an asteroid or pestilence or nuke.

                I positively roared at 7.6 . . . the ultimate philosophical wisdom . . .

              • cha says:

                David, a young, intelligent and articulate “homegrown middle class Filipino” (exactly the kind of people we are trying to reach out to) is giving feedback about what he thinks may be putting off people when they read some of the blogs.

                1. Unfair comparisons between the Philippines and US

                2. Perception of being a pro-PNoy mouthpiece.

                3. Perceived indictment of the Filipino culture instead of actual wrongdoers responsible for the country’s problems

                We can debate and argue in the hope of convincing him otherwise or we can pick his brains and get more insights, ideas on how to address those stumbling blocks.

              • Joe America says:

                @Cha, thanks for the restatement of David’s message in the particularly blunt terms needed to reach through to my calcified cranium. I still get stuck, however, because:

                1. It is the comparison that is the enlightenment, and it seems to me to be unfair only if a comparison is inaccurate and allowed to stand uncorrected. Otherwise, I don’t know how to address the matters of poverty and what I, in my biased western value system, see as beneficial: more productive or considerate acts. My essential invitation in this article is for others – Filipinos in particular, or David in particular – to write articles for the blog that get past this calcified cranium’s inherent blindness. That is EXACTLY what needs to happen.

                2.Being Pro President Aquino. I agree that the recent “hero” blog was a bit overmuch. Yet, if I believe Filipinos in general hurt the Philippines by failing to support an essentially good president because they take a specific dislike (no FOI) and generalize it (lousy President), I have to figure out SOME way to get the message across: your nation can be either positive in spirit or negative, depending on your own ability to discern the demands of the President’s job and the overall weighing of good and bad.

                3.I grasp the point. I strive mightily not to turn negative toward the Philippines, frankly, and so I stay away from all the foreigners here who do nothing when they get together but bitch and moan. I strive mightily to see past the unkindness that surrounds me to find the earnestness of most people, their hard work, their good nature, their limited means . . . and to accept that we are all, in our own ways, a tad ignorant. Perhaps I need to go back and identify all the positive articles I’ve written so they have a permanent place in the right column to provide some balance to the negativity that seems to flow from a lot of commentary.

                The best I can do is offer those who believe the commentary here is atilt to write articles that tilt things back aright. I absolutely cannot write into the expectations lodged in other people’s minds or preconceptions.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. We are getting into deep waters here. Epistemology. How do we know we know?

                2. There are many ways, but let just mention three.
                2.1. JoeAm is pointing to two ways: experience and cognition, I would subsume reasoning under cognition..
                2.2. The observations that he makes on this blog arise from his experience of his native American culture and his adopted Filipino culture. In the act of cognition, he filters his bi-cultural experiences through his mind and recognizes similarities and differences.
                2.3. In suggesting “American” solutions to Filipino problems, he is not being disrespectful. His motivation is, first, to understand and, second, to help. He would be disrespectful if his motivation was to ridicule.
                2.4. He is not offering purely “American” solutions because he takes into consideration Filipino sensibilities.

                3. I also use experience and cognition, but I would say that my primary mode of knowing is through intuition. Given any issue, I will try to sense what my inner guide tells me. Then I will use cognition to suss out the reasons for why I “feel” that way.
                3.1. Incidentally, this would explain why I am all over the place. As you know by now, the inner Edgar can be a joker.

                4. Does the blog have a purpose and predictable biases? Yes, I would say so. The primary purpose is to understand the Filipino psyche, and the primary bias is that the Filipino is essentially lovable. And being similarly biased is the reason we join in. There is resonance,
                4.1. But the primary approach is one of openness. There is no “agenda”. The purpose, if any, is to learn. Perhaps, to laugh. Certainly, to share.
                4.2. And we all have our own individual biases and, if necessary we will nay say.
                4.3. Our aye say or nay say or maybe say is our particular contribution to the blog, and our contribution can take any form that will elaborate on the original post or subsequent comments.
                4.4. If you have a particular original say, JoeAm is open to having it published.
                4.5. Anyway this is how I see things.

              • Joe America says:

                Your sight is very keen and sensitive and I appreciate it a lot, especially 2.3.

              • Joseph-Ivo says:

                What I miss is the “egoistic” part of blogging. This blog is an outlet for a lot of frustration too. It feels good when you can write down your anger or disappointment in a “logical” way. It might even save on medical costs, bottling up frustration is unhealthy. Some of us might have fewer outlets for their feelings in dealing with the Philippines then they would like or they were used to .

                Is this frustration typical for living in the Philippines? Not at all, for me it was most pronounced when I lived in my home country, where you have less understanding for any deviating opinion because you are native so you know what is best. But I could fill several blogs describing frustration with odd “solutions” in the US, or medieval answers in the Middle East, Germans are not always pleasant in every situation, neither are the Dutch or the French, living deep in the jungle of Africa had its challenges to say the least.

                The main frustration here might be that it feels as if paradise is just around the corner. A few corrections here and there and we could live here forever without the need for a different Garden of Eden.

              • Joe America says:

                Which jungle in Africa? You’ve been around, I’d say . . .

              • cha says:

                Joe and Ed,

                I just didn’t get why it’s seems to have been more important to correct David’s impressions outright instead of first trying to understand better what he was trying to say. For instance on the comment re: unfair comparisons between the Philippines and US, I am not even certain if he was actually referring to Joe’s commentaries, given the actual statements below:

                “As a homegrown Pinoy, there are times when the tone of articles unfavorably compares the Philippines to the US. Just take note of the comments section when you do the cross-cultural blog.”

                With that second statement, was he saying it’s comments from other readers that are perceived as unfair or did he mean that and Joe’s? Wouldn’t that at least have given us more clarity on what we’re really dealing with?

                Also, wouldn’t it have been also good to find out if all cross cultural blogs are perceived as unfair? Are there times when the comparisons are actually seen as fair and helpful? What are some examples of those perceived as fair, and those that are perceived as unfair?

                Getting a clearer picture first, seeking first to understand, then to be understood. I guess that’s all I was trying to say myself.

              • Joe America says:

                Well, I think those are legitimate questions, but what can I say? They didn’t enter my mind. I felt I understood what he was driving at. Now, I may have been wrong, but there ya go. Perhaps I’m not such an inquisitive kind of person and you will have to take up that shortcoming and probe for his meanings and motivations to make this a richer blog for other people. I can’t write your mind. That was my point. You can do that way better than me.

                I must confess to being a little frustrated by your remarks. I feel I carry a reasonably heavy load trying to write this blog, do an article seeing if there is any interest from others in climbing aboard, get no such indications, and instead get told how I ought to be doing my job better. Most discouraging.

              • Joe America says:

                1. JoeAm writes article acknowledging limitations of a one-party American blog.

                2. JoeAm floats trial balloon to see if any of the sterling contributors want to become principles as well.

                3. JoeAm secretly holds in his mind that bloggers here are only casually committed, which is why there are only two steady blogging platforms dealing with the political/social world: Get Real Post and the Society of Honor; Raissa Robles has gone missing but her loyal readers write on.

                4. JoeAm secretly wonders how the world will change if people are only casually committed.

                5. JoeAm gets no interest in his balloon.

                6. Valuable contributor Cha points out the limitations of a one-party blog and suggests the one party American blogger become two or three parties all by himself.

                7. JoeAm goes gonzo and rushes to the beer cabinet, thus resuscitating his equilibrium.

                8. Monday and Wednesday’s blogs are different. New. Important.

                9. Catch you there.

              • cha says:

                Sorry Joe, if my comments came across as discouraging. That was far from what I was trying to do. I just didn’t want David to feel that his feedback was not important. It’s the mom in me I guess, trying to get my child heard. (I don’t know how old David is, I hope not too old.)

                Also, I am not sure which comment you were referring to in the statement : “Valuable contributor Cha points out the limitations of a one-party blog and suggests the one party American blogger become two or three parties all by himself”. But I want to also be clear that I am not expecting you to do anymore than you already are. If I haven’t said so before or have not said it enough, I have and still do appreciate all that you do for my own mother country. I wouldn’t have remained all this time reading and commenting on the blog if I wasn’t. I wanted to put my hand up for something that is why my first comment on this thread is how else we might be able to help in addition to contributing articles. I am also willing to continue contributing articles but everyone was already saying that anyway so I thought maybe there might be some more one can do. I thought I could volunteer for administrative activities if that might be one of the needs, but you didn’t mention that in your reply and those that you mentioned I am already doing anyway. So I brought up the suggestion of the Facebook page thinking that if that was something you wanted to do, maybe that’s where I can help. But you weren’t keen on it so I just left it at that. So now I don’t know what do. 😦

              • Joe America says:

                There are times in writing the blog that I get tired of listening to me.
                One person writing a blog is inherently flawed.
                There is value to a blog that gains the respect of Filipinos middle and high.
                Incisive. Honorable. Constructively critical. Funny. Enlightened. Enlightening.
                A force.
                Where is the Filipino force?
                Rappler is a news site, Randy David is good, and I like Conrado.
                No one person can be that force, the force of intellectual inquiry.
                Are my articles gaining popularity BECAUSE I am an American? Whoknows.
                Socio-political blogging in the Philippines has about 10 people doing their vanity proficient individualistic thing.
                Spotty, erratic content, limited discussion, little impact.
                Only Raissa has traction and a big audience, and hers will drift off if she does not work the content more.
                This blog is at the cusp of being a powerful voice, read broadly, respected widely.
                Administering Facebook is not the highest and best use of your time, and once started, requires everlasting attention.
                There are way too many false start web sites about, or sites that flame up and fizzle out.
                If we are good, people will find us; the numbers show that.
                I’d much rather have your content, your thinking, your insights, your authentic view, your rock-solid common sense, your motherly concerns, your articles.
                If I have a health issue, this blog dies; succession planning would keep the flame burning, the investment returning.
                I envision a blog that is read in the Palace, and in senatorial offices, and in Filipino homes wherever good thinking is done.
                I don’t expect Nancy or Manny to read it, but Sotto might copy it, and humor is where you find it.
                Monday’s epistle (gadzooks, today’s) will get to a bunch of readers, and Wednesday’s even more.
                Love to see you there.
                And David, too.

        • Joe America says:

          Interesting. I think corruption is a function of many things, poverty and greed in a power and esteem based society and an absolute lack of punishments for most misdeeds from traffic violations to senatorial plunder. The level of “taking advantage” is clearly more pronounced here than in the US, and the level of Golden Rule compassion is clearly less pronounced. I don’t know how to establish a tone that avoids that, frankly. The people in power indeed set the tone for the lawlessness and the blaming and failure to accept accountability. People who are not leaders but who cheat ought not get a free ride either.

  14. Geng says:

    Those two last sentences that best describes the state that this country is in is the most compelling reason, I think, that this blog must go on…and on…and on………….
    Thanks a lot, Joe, for telling the truth!

    • Joe America says:

      Got it Geng. Thanks.

      • Geng says:

        One of the causes why thievery in the Philippine government is not going to stop anytime soon is the practice of the Catholic church of forgiving sins after confession and a few rounds of “Our Lord’s prayer and Hail Marys’ and more particularly, after receiving the Holy Communion.
        The “renewed” person which oftentimes is nattily clad in a new crisp barong tagalog that signifies he is from the government is therefore ready to steal again because he/she knows that forgiveness could be easily had anytime they are ready to admit their wrongdoings to the priest and piously atone for them.
        Could a law be passed by both houses pf Congress to repeal this practice? Just asking.

        • Joe America says:

          Could a law be passed to repeal the process of offering moral forgiveness to lawbreakers? Man, that is positively brilliant. “Aiding and abetting a crime” is criminal, for sure. So we can have under-cover agents, operating under a judges warrant, tap the confessionals, and upon recording the confessions, jail both the priest and the person admitting wrongdoing.

          I positively love it.

          Alas, it will never happen . . .

        • Mark A.B. Andrade says:

          There is nothing wrong with FORGIVENESS. We can forgive but there should be justice first. No Justice No forgiveness. What is the use of forgiveness if you will not give justice to aggrieved party? In the case of corrupt public officials – the people of the Philippines is the aggrieved party.

          Can I forgive Napoles, Enrile, Estrada, Revilla and many more..? YES, but only if they are in jail.

          • sonny says:

            Just to review: the sacrament of confession is a tribunal of the person & God. As for any sacrament there is the twofold character of MATTER & FORM. For the sacrament of Penance (Confession):
            MATTER: sin, an admission of guilt, forgiveness, firm promise of amendment
            FORM: a) Bless me father for I have sinned. These are my sins … (enumerate) b) for these and all sins in the past, I am sorry. c) Act of contrition: “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments and most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are All Good and deserving of all my love. I FIRMLY RESOLVE, with the help of your grace, TO SIN NO MORE AND TO AVOID THE NEAR OCCASION OF SIN.

            The primary aid to confession is an examination of conscience using the 10 commandments as the standard of personal morality.

            • Joe America says:

              Interesting, I was about to respond to Mark that I would forgive them only if they acknowledged their mistakes. Bouncing off your elaboration, that would be if they had an examination of conscience using either the Catholic or universal morality of kindness. (And please excuse my occasional flippancy about priests. I actually have a great deal of respect and affinity for those who are spiritually faithful.)

            • edgar lores says:


              I note you are a religious person. Like Joe, I would like to apologize for any future hurtful observations of religions in general and of any denomination in particular. Let me clarify that: I apologize for the hurt of the criticism but not for the subjective “truth” of the criticism. I try to be a pluralist and a synthesizer, but the arrogance of reason will sometimes make me utter remarks that, shall we say, give me a visa and direct passage to inferno.

              On forgiveness: This is a virtue in all religions. I know I have forgiven those close to me and myself for any errors. But for those in high office who err, as with Geng, I do not accept confession as an effective practice, and, as with Mark, I deem retribution to be necessary.

              I have not reached the lofty Buddhist plane where forgiveness goes beyond retribution, where the self extends forgiveness to let go of anger and attain liberation.

              • sonny says:

                Absolutely no offense taken, Edgar. When things go wrong or thinking why things are wrong, I ALWAYS go for my Christian mantra: there is wrong there is right, there is black there is white and when there is neither, there is mystery. I am now in the bonus age of my life and so there is also gratitude and a quiet expectation of truth.

                Joe, your blog is a haven and is only one letter away from the real thing. (when I wax nostalgic, I always remember my first drink of Coke, in the 6-oz bottle and Vdss recs).

              • Joe America says:

                “arrogance of reason” and a one way ticket to ride . . . classic. That’s rather the way I feel, as well, but I think God is going to be highly forgiving of occasional arrogances found floating in an ocean of earnestly discovered wisdom.

        • sonny says:

          joe, just testing where this reply will go

  15. Geng says:

    And I like to add – the thief thinks that he/she had regained his/her integrity intact after such acts were performed and the priest declares him/her forgiven.

    • Joseph-Ivo says:

      A good thing is that the pope sends the mafia to hell, unless they stop their criminal deeds today. Maybe he can come to the Philippines and tell the Napoleses of this world and their friends politicians the same thing.

  16. Geng says:

    I hope this is not late ‘cuz I just came from a party and opened the same topic. The responses from my friends were almost the same as Mark A, B, Amdrade, Sonny, Joseph and you. I was flabbergasted, floored even by the unexpected reactions I received.
    So, you see, Joe, I think there is that compelling reason for you to just help us open the eyes and the consciousness of so many who are still in deep limbo about how a citizen should take part in nation building and shaping the future of the next generation, hopefully bereft of thieves and liars and all kinds of unsavory characters we have in our midst now.
    Could we expect for a commitment to help us bring sanity to these forsaken islands?

    • Joe America says:

      Six articles are in the pipeline with two more in the incubator. I may have to go to daily blogs to get them out of my out box.. Monday and Wednesday are particularly meaty issues, so please check them out, and pass them about . . . if you think they are worthy. I trust as well that our platoon of profound pundits will be about pounding the issues into proper perspective . . .

  17. edgar lores says:


    I can attest to the medicinal qualities of blogging. It keeps the mind active.


    1. One comprehends and interprets observations in “context”.
    2. David’s comments are within the “context” of this blog.
    3. This is how I interpret David’s comments in the second paragraph that you quoted. Let me requote the entire paragraph for easy reference:

    “As a homegrown Pinoy, there are times when the tone of articles unfavorably compares the Philippines to the US. Just take note of the comments section when you do the cross-cultural blogs. Worse, homegrown Pinoys misinterpret the blog as a Pro-Pnoy mouthpiece.”

    3.1. First sentence: The “articles” refer to this blog.
    3.1.1. What other cross-cultural blog compares the US and the Philippines? There may be some, I do not know.
    3.1.2. In social media, I know there are many comments that unfavorably compare the Philippines not only to the US but to other foreign countries as well, most notably to Singapore and Malaysia. But these are “comments” reacting to an original “article”.
    3.1.3. Should I find out if there are other cross-cultural blogs? Perhaps, but sorry, no. I have trouble as it is keeping up with JoeAm’s prodigious output.
    3.1.4. If David is referring to this and other blogs, he should qualify his statement.

    3.2. Second sentence: The “you” in the sentence refers to JoeAm and would indicate the correctness of the interpretation in 3.1.
    3.2.1. One can interpret this sentence as saying that the tenor of a significant number of the comments either (a) agree with JoeAm’s cross-cultural post or (b) disagree.
    3.2.2. My interpretation would be option (b). That is, a significant number of comments tend to disagree.
    3.2.3. It cannot be option (a) because this option would make the entire paragraph illogical. It would not be consistent with the use of the term “unfavorably compares” in the first sentence. Nor would it be consistent with the third and last sentence.
    3.2.4. If 3.2.2 is correct, then David is saying that JoeAm’s cross-cultural articles are “unfair” from the viewpoint of a significant number of comments/commenters.
    3.2.5. In specific instances, I would agree with David. As a member of the Society of Honor, one should always honor one’s integrity. If one disagrees for any reason, one is honor-bound to say so. As you are doing now.

    3.2.6. Is this cross-cultural blog of JoeAm unfair? Are his comparisons unfair or helpful? On the whole, I would say it is fair. If it is unfair in specific instances, one should say so. Generally, comparisons are helpful in making distinctions. But, yes, they can be unfair or inappropriate. Again, if unfair or inappropriate, one should say so.

    3.3. Last sentence: This would be consistent with the above interpretations of the first two sentences. The use of the word “misinterpret” is accurate and I would agree with David. Why?
    3.3.1. Because this blog – one of a few? – tries to present a balanced view of the President. The last one noted his major fault of loyalty to under- or non-performing appointees.

    Note that I agree with David on the third sentence. Note that I agree with him on the second sentence in specific instances. Do I agree with him on the first sentence? Yes and no. The main point to consider is that cross-cultural comparison is JoeAm’s “methodology”, and unfortunately the Philippines will suffer in the comparison. But the motivation, as I said, is not to ridicule, it is enlightenment for him and for us.

    Sorry for the long-winded analysis but it is crucial. I would invite David to clarify any points.

    One last thing. The other important point you made is that we should not have “jumped” on David immediately. You are right to raise this. If I did, I am sorry. I have a lot of time on my hands when I am not doing the wife’s bidding.

  18. Dee says:

    I would like to commit to translating any article the author and members want to reach a wider audience if the members will commit to sharing it in local social media or whatever platform they deem appropriate, to achieve the mission and vision of the Society of Honor.

    The way I look at this blog is: This is our digital country. We all came here because we care about the Philippines. This microcosm’s mission is to learn from each other on how we can assist in turning the vision of a more progressive and prosperous Philippines to reality. It is a positive kinship. We all see great potential in the Philippines. It is our collective wish for that potential to be realized so we will see a happy, healthy, wealthy and wise Philippines before we kick the bucket. Let’s do the cyber bayanihan!

    • Joe America says:

      Your translation of the Respect article was very much valued. We need to work on a way to publish both the English and Filipino versions concurrently. I appreciate very much what you are offering and will contact you behind the scenes in a day or two with some ideas. It also strikes me that we need a marketing department to do the pushing you mention. Hmmmmm . . . .

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