RIP, noble aspirations for democracy in the Philippines

25feb2012 celebration of 1986 people power movement

Emotions or knowledge? 2012 celebration of 1986 People Power action

Philippine democracy never had a chance. The idea was noble, but it was hatched by an intelligent few who misjudged the nation’s character. They were misled by their aspirations which were in conflict with the ambitions of way too many.

Aspirations are generally positive, a dream or hope for a better future. Ambitions can be good or bad depending on the principles of the person pursuing them. They can be self-motivational and lead to knowledge and development of skills or they can descend into greed and self-interest and result in a lot of “little people” getting trampled by the entitled.

The Philippines had more ambition than aspiration, and it had the wrong kind of ambition, for the success of democracy.

Democracy can succeed only if the people are aware of their accountability to others, and take pride in that ownership and what they build. It can succeed only if:

  1. Citizens accept a multitude of views, without bitterness. This allows diverse peoples – where diversity can be race or heritage or physical condition or geographic location or different personally developed ideals and opinions – to live in harmony. Democracy gives them all a voice, through elected representatives and freedom of speech.
  2. Citizens are informed as to the issues and vote according to knowledge, reason and their own personal ideals and opinions. They don’t roll dice or use their vote to “get even”. They cherish their vote as a way thay can participate in the building of the nation.
  3. Citizens also cherish the foundation of laws that codify good behavior for the community as a whole. They seek to obey those laws. They respect the values enshrined in the constitution, of checks and balances and majority rule. They protect the idea that each individual is granted important rights, like security and the presumption of innocence and equality.

Furthermore, democratic institutions . . . from government agencies to schools to churches to businesses and professional organizations  . . .  also aspire to live up to these ideals. They develop ethical principles that hold leaders and members to high standards of behavior. This minimizes cheating or abuse of the other institutions and the citizens of the democracy. It requires sacrifice, and sometimes even bravery.

Both citizens and institutions operate under a well-developed sense of accountability to the nation and a willingness to sacrifice one’s own convenience for the betterment of all. From many, one. Democracy is a giving form of government. It drives toward the large middle ground in search of unity, and encourages extreme elements to participate in the mechanisms of governance.

With the election of President Duterte, the failings of Philippine democracy are as clear as day. Or, for those who believe democracy is a kind and productive form of government . . . as stark as the dark of night.

But it is not just President Duterte’s doing. His election only turned over the rock. It was the bugs themselves who became plainly visible as they crawled out from under that rock that did the damage. These bugs revealed a complete lack of democratic character across the board, inside government and out. The leaders and the followers . . .  all have contributed . . . or are today still contributing . . . to the unfortunate demise of a government of, for and by the people.

The failings:

  1. The 16 million voters who voted for President Duterte voted with their emotions, for personal need, not for principles or knowledge or reason. They were led down this path by a skilled propaganda campaign that is continuing even post-election. A great many of these voters have no knowledge of what democracy is about.
  2. Democracy does not require the deceits of propaganda. It requires communication and information and honest, earnest dealings.  It requires three branches of government each respecting why the other exists. The last thing it needs is Executive Branch running a campaign to diminish and disparage a senator who only wants to do her job by gathering information about excessive killings. This is not a respect of checks and balances, the way democracy always finds the healthy center ground. It is a blatant abuse of the founding ideals, of respect for diversity of views. BY THE PRESIDENT of the nation.
  3. The Duterte campaign ideals of “change” and “discipline” are not being carried out WITHIN the framework of democracy, but are being achieved by abusing all that democracy stands for. Democracy stands for fairness and compassion. It stands for fair trials and the presumption of innocence, not killing those who resist because they don’t want to be killed.
  4. The Supreme Court is hopelessly bound by the politics of privilege, entitlement and favors, rather than law. Decisions time and time again are based on the personal allegiances of the justices. Not law. The simple concept of “speedy trial” is completely missing in these great minds. So fairness is missing. And compassion.
  5. The Senate refuses to chair an ethics committee even as its members are marched off to jail on charges of plunder. The body (as an accumulated mindset of the inclinations of most members) has no sense of accountability to the people. Members are accountable to the favored, the entitled.
  6. The House membership is largely self-dealing. Unprincipled. Most of its members have no comprehension of what it means to live up to democratic ideals. They go where they can personally gain the most. And right now, that is with a strong-man. So they become enablers of the destruction of Philippine democracy.
  7. Educated Filipinos, very generally speaking, are not passionate about democracy or the Philippines. They prefer typing in Facebook and letting someone else deal with it. Like the legislators, they view democracy as an opportunity to take rather than give. They, too, lead with emotions and politics and favor. They, as a collective, represent one big master crab that has no qualms taking to the streets because President Aquino did not visit the arrival of the coffins, but does nothing but grow quiet as nearly 1,000 Filipinos are shot, many by official police state stormtroopers. Vulnerable citizens of the land are being disenfranchised from LIFE. But someone else can deal with it. Not my job.
  8. The nation has no legitimate “Fourth Estate”, or popular media founded on journalism ethics. It is a sensationalist press, favoring the favored and driving always toward conflict and emotional take-aways. Thus, it undermines the union, promoting division, rather than uniting it with knowledge and healthy pride (shared ownership of achievements by the nation).
  9. Social media are individualistic, the antithesis of democracy, as each person enters the various engagements with the goal of showing off or winning arguments. There is a lot of speak, very little honest listening, and precious little fact-based information. It is a place where divisions crystallize, not where the national union grows stronger. It is the place where the great dumbing down and emotionalizing of discussion occurs. Even principled democracies such as America are failing to adapt to this phenomenon.

The Philippines never had a chance.

Ye were interesting for 30 years and great for the last six.

I’ll give you that.

But adios, amigo! RIP, o’ noble aspirations . . .

I suggest you take up a new national motto.

“Duck and cover” comes to mind.


197 Responses to “RIP, noble aspirations for democracy in the Philippines”
  1. The rich want to dominate, mainly speaking.

    The poor want to survive, therefore they submit.

    The middle class want consumerism and convenience.

    Who ever really cared about democracy except a few?

    Mainly a show for Uncle Sam, a show Uncle Xi doesn’t need.

    • NHerrera says:

      Irineo: You placed that rather nicely in a nutshell.

      A — The rich want to dominate, mainly speaking.
      B — The poor want to survive, therefore they submit.
      C — The middle class want consumerism and convenience.
      D — Who ever really cared about democracy except a few?

      (Mainly a show for Uncle Sam, a show Uncle Xi doesn’t need.)

      A — 5%
      B — 65%
      C — 30%
      D — the few, a sprinkling from A, B, C


    • Joe America says:

      The enduring cynic . . . haha . . . like . . .

    • chempo says:

      Democracy is one of those things that most people who have them never bothered about it. They only start bitching about democracy when some dictator takes it away.

      • For poor Filipinos, democracy is nothing but an illusion. None of them believe that Article III/Bill of Rights of the constitution applies to their lot. And they are right.

        Is Duterte trying to break away from the cacique democracy? Then, why is he not going after corrupt dynastic families? Why is he not putting a stop to the killings of the poor and defenseless?

        • Waray-waray says:

          A bully would only go after those who are weak who do not have have the means to defend himself and those below him.

          • Juana Pilipinas says:

            A smart bully could also learn a new tact and bully those who deserves it. If he wants to project an image as a savior of the poor and downtrodden, he needs to show it by his words and actions.

  2. josephivo says:

    In a democracy there are loophole builders and loophole busters. With more than 70% politicians belonging to dynasties and many of the remaining 30% trying to build one, the loophole busters are totally impotent. Hence the bank secrecy laws, the land distribution exceptions as giving shares instead of land or the possibility of give land foreseen for the urban poor to the Megaworlds, SM investments and Ayala corporations of this world, plunderers as Marcos, Estrada, GMA that can get pardoned to restart. Exceptions on every law that could change the status quo. The Filipino loophole diggers are world-class. The insane income inequality didn’t move an inch since 1986.

    What is totally absent is here is a credible opposition willing to plug the loopholes, not helping to enlarge them.

    • josephivo says:

      P.S. Readjust loopholes with the current situation, that’s why we need a con-ass to modify the constitution.

    • chempo says:

      Is there a construction error in your last sentence?

      • josephivo says:

        I like the word ‘IS”, it is so opposed to “not at all and “may be” (and I’m not an Islamic State mole). See that I used it a little too often, think you can skip the second one.

        • edgar lores says:

          I read the first “is” as “in.” Disregarding the typo, I thought the statement was an accurate insight and a powerful condemnation of turncoatism.

        • chempo says:

          Sorry Joseph, I’m not harping on the typo. I can’t connect the ‘credible opposition’ part. Where is the ‘here is’ opposition? Unless you mean the Society?

          • josephivo says:

            What about:

            “What is absent in the Philippines is a credible opposition willing to plug the loopholes, not an opposition willing to enlarge them.”

  3. Ouch! double ouch! I so would like to contradict your views Joe! I want to say to you that you are way, way off on this one…That our people knows democracy, they live in one for heaven’s sake, but sadly, we do not cherish it, we go to no lengths protecting and safeguarding it… I want to say that we have honorable men and women in the senate and congress, who know that they hold a sacred position, the defender of peoples rights, the ones entrusted with the future of our people, but their seats are empty as they crowd and jostle for position in front of the table to partake of a feast, like guests at a buffet table…That we are country of laws, we have a no nonsense judiciary, incorruptible and ram rod straight…but sadly, plunderers go free, innocents languish and die in jails while criminals enjoy the good life instead of ‘doing the time’ to reform…That we are a people who knows empathy, compassion and believes in the sanctity of life…but the noises made by those who cheer, who jeer and who condone death in the streets easily drowns the voice of protest and condemnation…That we are an educated people, not gullible, able to distinguish truth from fallacy, logic from lunacy, who have learned from the lessons of the past, the errors of our forebears…but truth is, our memories are poor, our principles shaky and our judgement suspect. Maybe what I want to tell you Joe, is that, sure things look bleak, but I know, we are better than how you see us now, that we can wake up from this stupor, that we can and we will be responsible, we can and will better ourselves, or am I just wishful thinking?

    • Joe America says:

      I think it depends on you and others like you. I’ve counted four firm voices with a conscience so far, a VP, 2 senators and a Rep. I hope there are more. Oh, and add the human rights commissioner. 5.

      • you counted more than what I expected from the senate and congress…yes the CHR commish is one, there are two more at the SC but their being in the judiciary prevents them from voicing out lest they be accused of ignoring the principles of separation of powers, but we need to whack the tree harder…I am sure we can find some more of ’em out there!

        With regards to us, mere mortals, there are groups that were created during the campaign period, but has grown in purpose, aiming to raise national consciousness, promote participative nation building. educating and creating a mind set of country above self trough social media, still in its birth pains…this is where I have cast my lot. I hope we can add to the numbers.

        • Joe America says:

          Hontiveros is speaking out. De Lima. Lacson and Drilon are at least defending the Senate as independent from Executive. At the other end of the spectrum, Cayetano has lost his mind. I kind of look at him as a tragic figure.

          • I was a supporter of his once, I saw so much promise in him. Though he is still a senator, his persona is in limbo between the living and the dead..still hoping for salvation a year from now I think, but he is useless to the people now. How about Trillanes? Hewas like a cold drink in heat of the day…showed promise, but seem to be all fizzle now.

          • NHerrera says:


            After Sen de Lima’s speech praising Duterte on his objective of reducing significantly drug crimes but condemning the police for the summary execution of the druggies, Cayetano came with a prepared Privilege Speech of his own.

            He went on to paint the nightmarish scenario of life in neighborhoods where drug pushers and addicts abound, presumably to counter the edge of De Lima’s speech and add the usual lawyerly lingo of presumption of regularity in the performance of the police and that if the Police gets to exceed their marching orders — presumably the lawful publicly-announced version — they have hell to pay to PRD. The speech is intended, I believe, to earn brownie points from his patron, but I wonder how his fellow Senators took it while he spoke. I saw him speak and he is at his low in performance. He omitted thankfully some Biblical quotation which in the past is second nature to him.

            • NHerrera says:

              We experience, see or read this often: how one’s life is drastically remade because of an important decision made at a point in one’s life. And having made that decision, not make a crucially more important one — do corrective measures; but instead re-enforce that first decision. Oh, well, easy for me to do an HF statement on it. I am after all not a Senator and not a wannabe Vice President.

            • Cayetano prefer to protect the image of Duterte than the rule of law & destroyed himself completely for those who disagree with the president’s approache on war on drugs.
              I don’t know until when he can hold on or he is just blinded now but this war on drugs of Duterte is going nowhere.

    • chempo says:

      Elmer I have difficulty searching for any difference between your comment and Joe’s blog. .

  4. I get what you are trying to do Joe. Hope it doesn’t take my countrymen 20 years to realize this.

  5. They are bringing back ROTC. Good one. The youth mainly went for PDuts. It is only fitting that they put their money where their vote went.

    • Joe America says:

      See, that’s the thing. I think President Duterte and/or his key staff (Sir Go) have very good ideas. Why do they have to muck them up with killings and propaganda?


        ““I do not blame De Lima, trabaho niya ‘yan eh,” said Duterte on Wednesday, August 3, during a speech in front of election volunteers in Malacañang Palace. (I do not blame De Lima, it’s her job.)

        His defense of De Lima comes after Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the lady senator is “welcome” to begin the Senate probe in mid-August.

        Duterte mentioned De Lima after telling his audience about how he was the “favorite whipping boy” of human rights groups when he was Davao City mayor. Even then, De Lima, who used to be chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, was among Duterte’s staunchest critics.

        After saying it’s De Lima’s job to look into the surge of drug-related killings, Duterte said he would do the same if he were in her position.

        “Kasi kung ako nandiyan, yayariin din kita (Because if I was in that position, I will also pin you down),” he said.

        Duterte’s defense of De Lima is unexpected, given the many times he called her out for investigating his involvement in extrajudicial killings when she supposedly did little to curb the spread of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary. ”


        @ Joe America, if you are shaking the tree, what could we call Duterte’s action? Well, besides overkill of course. hoho

        But on a serious note, I mentioned before that I was entertaining the possibility that the constant barrage of issues is being done deliberately so that people would be kept on their toes. Well, I was just entertaining it. Not seriously considering it. But as of now, I really don’t know. With all these people standing up now, you’ll actually start to see whom among them has real integrity. So maybe he really is just putting everyone under pressure so that he can see who would be the best allies in case that he does go after the big fish? But this does seem to imply that the victims had been used as bait and cannon fodder…

        Hmm… Maybe let’s see what will happen with the investigations. Assuming that it does push through anyways.

        So moving on from that, as for an additional to your bugs and rocks analogy, I was thinking that a termite analogy is also apt. I was going to write one but I found an existing good one online. =D

        [The Termite Analogy]

        The Prime Minister likened corruption to cancer; it corrodes the vitality of our society, ultimately leading to its downfall. In my book The Malay Dilemma Revisited, I use the analogy of termite infestation; if not exterminated it will destroy the integrity of our institutions.

        The first reality Abdullah must acknowledge is that corruption is rampant and entrenched in Malaysia. Merely repeating that we are not as bad as Indonesia or Nigeria is no consolation. Yes, those countries are beyond redemption, but our role models should be Sweden and Switzerland.

        Corruption is difficult to detect and eliminate as it is to the mutual advantage of both briber and bribee to conceal the evidence. The act benefits both parties. Far from being a victimless crime, corruption imposes a burden on us all, a form of invisible tax. Corruption in the Third World has the same negative effect on foreign investments as a 20 percentage basis points increase in tax — a major disincentive.

        The briber rationalizes his actions by dismissing them as finder’s fees, commissions, costs of doing business, or simply to get things done “efficiently.” The bureaucracy is so cumbersome in the Third World that corruption is a necessary lubricant. The bribee is equally facile with his pretenses — from “everyone is doing it,” to that perennial lament of workers everywhere, “being overworked and underpaid.”

        These are mere excuses; corruption undermines faith in and integrity of the system.

        Pursuing the termite metaphor, to exterminate these critters we have to be aggressive. We must regularly examine the nooks and crannies for telltale signs, lay traps at likely locations, and if the building is prone to infestation, have regular fumigations. We can also design buildings to be termite resistant by using cement, or if we are using wood, to use only chemically pretreated ones or those with high natural resistance like meranti. Alternatively, if we use low resistance wood, keep it away from the ground and areas difficult to inspect. Similarly, we discourage termite growth with better drainage, removal of debris and dead woods, adequate ventilation, and letting the sunshine in.

        Streamlining the administrative machinery, making procedures less convoluted and more transparent, and ensuring that personnel are properly accountable would greatly reduce the temptation for corruption. These measures would be the equivalent of termite proofing. Once established, the infestation is very tenacious; it is always more effective to be vigilant and persistent in prevention.

        (Moving Malaysia Forward pg. 343, Google Books)

        • Joe America says:

          Well, that is exactly the problem. President Duterte KNOWS the Senator is doing her job, and can personally be kind to her, but in the back room, his henchmen are plotting how to take De Lima down, because she IS a threat to his agenda and reputation. So they are out to demolish hers.

          As for shaking trees, there is a great big difference between jawboning for high values and killing people who are the underclass of the Philippines, about as low a value as there is. So kindly don’t correlate what I do here with what the President does there. Thanks.

          The termite story is good, as it pertains to corruption. My bugs are different, though. Many are I suspect totally honest and have never stolen anything. But they have no loyalty to democracy, or principles of union and harmony among the diverse, or compassion, or that combination of personal ideas and commitments that make up the kind of character called heroic by most.

          • I think that he can indeed be kind. However, I guess he is trying to maintain his image of a “tao na walang sinumang sina-santo”? Hmm… I think suitable translation for that is: Duterte is trying to maintain the “alpha” role?

            Given this, it dpes seem to be a power play of sorts. However, as you’ve said, these many bugs are abound and this does seem to be the best way to control them and keep them at bay. And guess who kept the alpha role?

            And in addition to that, it seems that what is happening is some sort of “moro-moro”, as Irineo said before. Like deliberately bringing up adversity so that they can see how they’ll do, basically testing their mettle to the limits. And if they overcome it, well, then good. We can then probably separate the trolls from the diplomats more easily. As for De Lima? I think she passed. But still, the treatment was a bit overboard. There was probably a dash/pinch of getting even given their previous encounters? So medyo bumawi na rin yata si Duterte for that? Hmm…

            But of course, these are all assumptions. I guess the incoming Senate inquiry can shed some light into these things and we will be able to verify it by then.

            Oh, and no offense meant Mr. Joe. It was just a playful remark as I thought that you may have a good and catchy methapor for Duterte’s “shakedown”, relative to your shaking of the tree. Again, no offense meant. =)

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, thanks for the parsing of the alpha male on engaging with the alpha female (De Lima), and for the explanation on the parallelisms. I’m a little edgy these days, so my perception can get dulled. Onward. 🙂

  6. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    I’ll re phrase:

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots (Drug Users, Drug Pushers, Drug Protectors, Innocents) and tyrants.

  7. stpaul says:

    This is so sad Sir Joe. Quo vadis Philippines ? I grieve for my country and the people’s lack of mercy and compassion to our least fortunate brothers 😦 !

  8. NHerrera says:

    You put the approximation to the truth well over 90 percent that it is very difficult to counter that with the note that we had just encountered a lot of bumps along the way but that the Pilgrim’s Progress of the Filipinos, though slow, are still intact and we will get there somehow.

    • NHerrera says:

      The only note I may offer by way of nuance is that countries we had thought of in our youth as embodying democracy as we romanticized it — Greece, US — have undergone a development too not quite to our youthful taste. Crudely, are we generally all going to the dogs? The computer and Internet partly the culprit? The speed of information, not knowledge, specially the contrived manipulated ones has not been helpful to say the least — when combined with the much lower speed of the human brain development at grasping these deluge of information.

      Irineo, some historical perspectives, if you please.

      • Waray-waray says:

        I would say that is not the speed of information per se but the speed to which disinformation is being spread. You can see in on facebook. Some I just ignore but when the article is deliberately twisted and nobody corrects it, I am afraid that there would come a time when lies repeated too many times become the truth.

      • edgar lores says:

        Let us not forget there are operational, if not successful, democracies on every continent. There are 123 democracies out of 195 countries.

        According to Wikipedia:

        o There are 20 full democracies.
        o There are 59 flawed democracies of which the Philippines is one.
        o And there are 36 “hybrid” regimes.

        The criteria and the Philippine scores are:

        o Electoral process and pluralism – 8.33
        o Functioning of government – 5.71
        o Political participation – 6.67
        o Political culture – 4.38
        o Civil liberties – 9.12

        Political culture is low, which supports JoeAm’s assessment.

        Functioning of government is also low, which supports my thesis of high dysfunctionality and criminality.

        Civil liberties gets the highest score. Expect it to plummet.

        • NHerrera says:

          Ah, delicious numbers — like Pokemons to Pokemon lovers.

          Sad that the current big bump in the Pilgrims’ road will make the last four go south, including and most specially the gem in the lot — civil liberties.

  9. edgar lores says:

    1. Lincoln’s definition of democracy was a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

    2. Applying the definition to the Philipines, the “of” part is somewhat correct. The people do vote in the Executive and the Legislature at the national level together with their local officials.

    3. What is inaccurate with the “of” part are the dynasties. As Joseph notes, dynasties constitute 70% of elected officials. And the dynasties are largely criminal-minded, in there to retain power and make a fast buck.

    3.1. No, not a fast buck. Many bucks that will last a lifetime or three. (The Marcoses and Binays are now into their third generations.)

    4. Following from the above, the “by” part is totally inaccurate. If the politicians voted in are not dynastic, most are similarly criminal-minded.

    5. Which makes the “for” part a complete travesty. The politicians, both the Executive and the Legislature, are there for themselves.

    5.1. Let’s not forget the Judiciary. They are also criminal-minded and in there to make many bucks.

    6. So our version of Lincoln’s definition is: Philippine democracy is a government of dynasts and voters with judgmental disabilities, by the dynasts and similarly criminal-minded folk, and for themselves and not the people.

    7. Bilibid prison is a microcosm of the country: the criminals are in charge. they are in there to make many bucks and quick killings.


    8. In other countries, the criminals are non-governmental enterprises. If organized at all, they would attain the level of the Hell’s Angels, the triads, the yakuza, and the Mafia. Still, they would not lord it over the whole of society. They would simply comprise the underbelly of society.

    9. It is past time that the high falutin’ people take over, people who are idealistic and live their lives with high integrity. In each field, there are many… in particular the women folk.

    • NHerrera says:

      HF People unite, you only have your keyboard fingers to bruise! Seriously, we need to exert more than bruising our keyboard fingers.

      Joe, Raissa, Irineo — please keep on with the lifeline.

    • Joe America says:

      The challenge here is that it is the high falutin’, or at least highly educated, people who are of and for themselves, by any hook and crook necessary. So one cannot use education as a criterion. Indeed, it seems to me the law schools are wholly deficient in teaching the noble part of lawyering. I’ve never seen so many amoral self-dealers in my life.

      • edgar lores says:

        My definition of high falutin’ is in the sense that LCpl_X uses it and not in the dictionary sense.

        Per my definition, high falutin’ means idealistic.

        By way of example, I would apply the term to such people as Conchita Carpio-Morales (Quasi Executive/Judiciary), Leni Robredo (Executive), Maria Lourdes Sereno (Judiciary), Leila de Lima (Legislature), Sylvia Estrada Claudio (Academe), and many others.

        The creme de la creme of criminals are either in government or backing those in government (the cronies).

        Binay almost succeeded in making the whole of government a criminal enterprise.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, those are people of high values, agree. It would be a different government, for sure, with that kind of leadership. What is it about men that they can’t achieve that kind of idealism in their work? The macho drive is too strong? Inability to conceptualize? I just posted a new link in the ?Must Read” section about how reading builds character. There is not enough reading done in the Philippines, I think.

          • NHerrera says:

            What a great set of arguments for the love and value of reading — not only for the kids but for us all. Thanks Joe for providing the link.

            I wonder. If Marcos Jr, Jun-Jun and. Nancy Binay are prolific readers we may have an entirely different set! If most if not all of one’s reading fare is related to one’s properties, dollar and peso accounts, we can easily see how that will change one’s views.

        • Your example are all Filipinas. Is there a gender disparity in high falutin’-ness in PH government? They are still outnumbered by their male counterparts in most government service fields.

          I remember it was also the nuns who herded us to the school buses to go to demonstrations and led most of the prayer meetings during Martial Law, not the priests.

    • “9. It is past time that the high falutin’ people take over, people who are idealistic and live their lives with high integrity. In each field, there are many… in particular the women folk.”

      “The challenge here is that it is the high falutin’, or at least highly educated, people who are of and for themselves, by any hook and crook necessary. So one cannot use education as a criterion. Indeed, it seems to me the law schools are wholly deficient in teaching the noble part of lawyering. I’ve never seen so many amoral self-dealers in my life.”

      “My definition of high falutin’ is in the sense that LCpl_X uses it and not in the dictionary sense. Per my definition, high falutin’ means idealistic.”

      “Your example are all Filipinas. Is there a gender disparity in high falutin’-ness in PH government? They are still outnumbered by their male counterparts in most government service fields.”

      edgar, Joe, JP, et al.,

      Just to be sure I don’t use high falutin’ as idealistic or of high integrity. High falutin’ to me is the inability to match theory to practice (hence my use of clouds and ground when I say high falutin’ 😉 ).

      In one of the Republican debates last year Marco Rubio quipped that America needs more welders and fewer philosophers. And I’ve been known to post this Thucydides quote one too many time on here: “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”

      IMHO, one can also be a realist and still suffer from this high falutin’ malady; as for integrity, this to me simply means following up on one’s promise to self and/or others, so Hitler too had high integrity 😉 . No, don’t play unicorns and rainbows with these words…

      I disagree with Marco Rubio though, and have met plenty of welders who are also high grade philosophers only their body of work are found in pubs or in backyards over beers. But I do agree with him that too much specialization has conditioned us to think that one cannot also be the other— this inability is high falutin’ .

      This whole notion that women are more moral than men is crazy!

      Though I can see chempo ‘s point re FREE money.

      When welfare and food stamps switched to the debit card system over here (EBT card where recipients can withdraw money from regular ATMs), men regularly used their EBT cards inside strip joints and asian massage parlors (they usually have ATMs inside)… after a couple of years they put a stop to that, but since it’s still a debit card, welfare recipients still find ways to abuse the very system designed to help ’em out,

      like women using their EBT cards for wine, cigarettes and scratchers (which they purchase along with food stuff; or not, the Indian clerk could careless 😉 ).

      So although I ‘m a big fan of women, I’m not gonna unnecessarily place them atop a pedestal 😉 . For example, the current Mid-East policy was cobbled together by women, and it’s absolute chaos now.

      Joe’s point about lawyering though is the ACLU article 😉 ,

      there’s no way to defeat self-interest, so the only way (among others) is to democratize the profession, and get more people from varied backgrounds to get into Law … remember Medicine & Law are the pinnacle of both Philosophy & Science,

      so any nation w/out a solid understanding of Ethics, they must apply to both fields (not the Christian variety mind you, too much of Paul’s allows too many Joel Osteens the privilege to be spokespersons of Jesus, when only folks like St. Francis and Pope Francis or those who live their philosophies similarly be allowed to do so 😉 ) cannot , CANNOT , truly push forward.

      Law , more than any other field, IMHO … is where the clouds can touch the ground, hence the ACLU article 😉 .

      What’s the opposite of high falutin’ ??? …

      stuck in the mud 🙂

      — so I’m all too aware that w/out the clouds we might as well be eating kalamungay leaves off trees 😉 —— (I’ve had this expression explained to me before from the Bisayan—“eating kalamungay leaves off trees”— I think I finally got it just now, LOL!!!)

      • By the way, Joe (et al. 🙂 ) , if you missed the “Breaking Bad” series, try catching “Better Call Saul” …

        • sonny says:

          Watched the first season of Breaking Bad, LC. What a metaphor for a totally logical alternate universe of ethics & morals. All it took was to look for a legitimate cure for a human ailment to enter that universe; didn’t even need exotic chemicals to produce the shabu of choice.

          • I watched Breaking Bad mostly for Saul Goodman , then later on w/ Mike, so the new spin-off, is perfect, sonny.

            Where Mr. White was the anti-hero, Saul Goodman is the not so perfect hero, both he and Mike actually, only Mike belongs in the ground, while Saul as a lawyer you notice coming to terms with the clouds— and since he too came from the ground as a small time street hustler, the dance between ideals and reality is what makes for a good show.

            • his older brother Chuck perfectly represents high falutin’, but unlike edgar who comes from a good place, Jimmy aka Saul Goodman’ s older brother comes from a darker, meaner place, hence I don’t associate the term high falutin’ with any sort of moral value,

      • Out here in the South, highfalutin’ means putting on airs. Nothin’ to do with clouds and malungay trees. High falutin’ words deserve automatic eye rolls, that’s all.

        There had been a lot of ribbing going on about the word while you were away. As edgar said in what you quoted above, there is now a consensus in the Society that exceptional and idealistic Filipinos are to be called HF or high falutin.’ Kinda like a TSH inside joke. Get with it, LCpl! 🙂

        • EPC4954 says:

          Sorry. I don’t understand this comment- but I do have a malunggay tree in my backyards here in L.A. and in Antipolo

          • Sorry, too. The malungay tree is just another construct that LCpl X brought into the conversation to tell us we are not grounded here at TSH. He’s our in-house contrarian or devil’s advocate. 🙂

            Welcome to the discussion.

        • edgar lores says:

          Heh heh.

          LCpl_X: “This whole notion that women are more moral than men is crazy!”

          Eve was definitely more moral — and braver and wiser — than Adam. The Bible says so:

          “6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

          “7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

          “21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

          “22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…”

          (It is interesting to note God uses the phrase “one of us” implying plurality. Was He using the royal we? I don’t think so because, in the preceding verses, the serpent says “ye shall be as gods,” and the Lord God says “I commanded thee…” Therefore, there are many gods, and the Lord God is the primus inter pares.)

          Without Eve, we would still be naked and would not know good and evil.

          At any rate, my point: beside Eve, Adam was a wimp.

          Heh heh.

          • Joe America says:

            You know, I was going to blog about gender and values in the Philippines, but I ended up talking to myself. Gabriela and Pia Cayetano marched into the discussion and I gave it up.

            • edgar lores says:

              There are always exceptions?

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, and I may push through with the blog after the weekend.

              • “Therefore, there are many gods, and the Lord God is the primus inter pares.”

                LOL!, edgar, I see what you did there… but to Christians, Eve has always been known as the temptress, w/ Adam the more upright. The same theme of women as whores and connivers is everywhere in the Bible both old and new 😉 .

                But I’m not from the desert and I do think both men and women are equally flawed, no one more than the other.

                As for “many gods”, this was Spinoza’s claim to fame, and why he got kicked out of his Jewish community in Holland, his take was that there were more than one authors of the Torah,

                There was one author in particular that kept on mentioning “gods” in the plural sense and not “we”.

                The Jewish cosmology was actually not so different from the Greek pantheon, of gods and goddesses and lesser gods, etc. As late as the forming of the Qur’an , they were still having issues, not so monotheistic after all 😉 (the basis of Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” )

                This book was great,

            • If you thought Eve was cool, you’ll love Lilith!!! 😉


          • chempo says:

            “..beside Eve, Adam was a wimp…”

            And none other than Marcos said so himself.

        • “There had been a lot of ribbing going on about the word while you were away. “

          LOL! sorry I missed all that. but as originator of high falutin’ as I’ve applied it to edgar, I felt compelled to explain. 😉

      • I know that the Humpty Dumpty dictionary is being used, however, isn’t highfalutin usually used in the context of being “deep” to the point of being pompous and pretentious?

        But nevertheless, I do agree with what was said that the “highfalutin” people who are idealistic and live their lives with high integrity should take over. But as mentioned by LCpl_X’s comment, they should also be able to put it into to practice to boot and that is very important.

        But in addition to LCpl_X’s comment, I think another more important thing is that they should also be able to simplify their ideas and actions so that the common people may understand what is being done and why it is being done. Because as much as it sucks, even if someone knows what to do and can even put it into action himself, well, if the common people can’t understand what is happening and why it is happening then people couldn’t really care less. Or worse, it can probably even be misconstrued. The attempt for progress can then be all for naught, if not even be detrimental as people will become more ‘resistant’ to any more attempts in the future.

        With regards to this, though a bit unrelated, I remember reading an article somewhere about knowledge and literacy and it mentioned that as human knowledge continues to grow and grow, it seems that a large percentage of the population will not have access to it. And even if they did, they probably won’t be able understand it anyways. This can be a problem because people are now taking comfort in ignorance as this is becoming the norm for the majority. It also doesn’t help that there are these people who do have access to this knowledge but they seem to be very high up in their ivory towers, only looking down on the others. (I guess Chuck McGill fits this.) These are probably a few reasons of why the culture of anti-intellectualism is becoming more and more apparent.

        Given the above, I guess the simplification of ideas is very important. And other than helping avoid the problems mentioned, it also has another benefit: By lowering down one’s self to extend a hand to these people, they can also be able to step up from their “commonness”. These people can then help out other people, which in turn, can also help out more and more people, and so on and so forth. A vicious cycle of goodness.

        Link related:

        • EXACTLY, ip!!! Well said!

          • “isn’t highfalutin usually used in the context of being “deep” to the point of being pompous and pretentious?”

            To be clear, when I use it I don’t assign the term any moral value, just the inability to match the clouds to the ground 😉 .

            But yeah, the way the term is generally used is negative.

            Though I won’t go so far as to say pompous and pretentious, I do think this inability to match clouds to ground is detrimental as a whole— simply because we live on the ground.

            Occupy that space on the ground, and build from the ground up… so I totally agree w/ that facebook article!

          • edgar lores says:

            1. Pompous and pretentious are indeed synonyms of high falutin’.

            2. Isn’t it a bit ironic to use Einstein as the poster boy to oppose the term high falutin’ as I have defined it? Einstein who had his head perpetually in the clouds with his thought experiments? Einstein of whom it is said only two people understood his theory of relativity 10 years after it was published?

            2.1. Einstein is not against deep idealistic thoughts. He is talking about the clarity of expression in that poster. But explaining something simply does not equate to being understood readily. Certain things cannot be simplified to the point that it will be easily grasped. In a simple equation, Einstein introduced the notion that energy and mass have some equivalence when one factor is exponentially multiplied by the speed of light. And few believed him and even fewer understood him.

            3. Don’t people know that clouds do touch the ground?

            • “3. Don’t people know that clouds do touch the ground?”


              It’s called fog.

              If you called it cloud people would look at you funny 😉 .

              Einstein also said,

              That above quote tells me he was aware of both clouds and the ground.

              But more importantly to qualify Einstein’s pragmatism, ask where the bulk of his Nobel prize money went,

              Einstein’s ideas may have been grand, but he lived squarely on the ground. Thus he was no high falutin’ soul 😉

              • Lance haven’t been to the mountains?

              • edgar lores says:


              • edgar lores says:

                Again, the fallacy of quoting from authority.

                Einstein is talking about ideas of making practical things that refine life… although there is nothing wrong in that. All he is saying is that It is not just for him.

                In that poster, he is NOT talking about ideas of improving human behavior that refine life. This is my concern.

                Precisely, he was idealistic and pragmatic. Which is my extended definition of high falutin’.

                Remember the fog.

              • NHerrera says:

                The refinement of the HF concept at TSH.

                Einstein is my guy. I always stop and savor what he has to say on anything. I do feel slighted with his note on engineers. But I console myself — I am not a good engineer; so then Einstein is back to the top of my list.

              • edgar lores says:


                The slight, if there is one, is more against greed than engineers.

              • “Lance haven’t been to the mountains?”


                clouds coming down from up above is fog.

                mountains touching the sky is still clouds 😉

                but the ground reaching the sky is what I’m hammering away here,

                more accidents happen amidst fog 😉 .

                “Precisely, he was idealistic and pragmatic. Which is my extended definition of high falutin’.”


                Like I’ve said all along, we agree more than you think 😉 , but I’ve yet to hear your arguments for pragmatism re DU30, so what gives re your definiton? or you don’t even have to agree with DU30 just more pragmatic points of view 😦

              • edgar lores says:


                If you agree with what I think… why don’t you say so?

                My initial view of Duterte is in my post about the anatomy of fascism. My view has not changed. He is an atavist, a throwback.

              • “I am not a good engineer; so then Einstein is back to the top of my list.”


                I’m sure youre a better engineer than Einstein was a scientist, he only came up with 3 big ideas 😉 Plus, from my readings he wasn’t even a good dad or husband (he basically bribed his wife for a divorce promising her his Nobel prize, what an a-hole 😉 )

              • Joe America says:

                Can you document that? I’d be interested in reading about it. Einstein is the Rizal of exploration of mind and ideas, and one is not to take namecalling like yours that easily. It is so dumbing down of the conversation, as if you are desperate to win a point.

              • NHerrera says:


                Thanks for the nice words to me; that makes my day, nay, my week. But oh you put some dent on my idol. Well, you can’t have them all. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:


                A double treat. That makes me feel good at choosing a calling that has a place in the sun.

              • “If you agree with what I think… why don’t you say so?”


                I’ve been saying reconcile the clouds with what’s going on on the ground … that’s been my original point all along,

                so when you say this, Precisely, he was idealistic and pragmatic. Which is my extended definition of high falutin’. I’ll always be in agreement 😉

                Pragmatism is what I’m arguing here— if matched by idealism, more the better, but be pragmatic first. 😉

              • edgar lores says:


                And what I have been saying is that idealism and pragmatism are not necessarily dichotomous.

                I would say be idealistic first because understanding what is ideal leads to the best decision and the correct action.

                I think these are where we disagree.

              • Happy to have made your week, NHerrera!

                I hope this adds to it! LOL! 😉 Einstein & Hawking are two peas in a pod, NH!


                Stephen Hawking has also reportedly been spotted numerous times getting lap dances at the California strip club Devore, and was even said to have frequented Freedom Acres, a swinger’s club in California.

                “I have seen Stephen Hawking at the club more than a handful of times,” a member said, according to the Huffington Post. “He arrives with an entourage of nurses and assistants. Last time I saw him, he was in the back ‘play area’ lying on a bed fully clothed with two naked women gyrating all over him.”

                Tim Holt, University of Cambridge press officer, later confirmed that Hawking had frequented the swinger’s club, but claimed that he wasn’t a regular. “This report is greatly exaggerated. He visited once a few years ago with friends while on a visit to California,” Holt told the Cambridge News.

                They don’t call him the “Master of the Universe” for nothing.

              • Joe, I’ve provided a link re Einstein’s divorce above.

                As he was getting famous, more and more girls were throwing themselves at him, so now realizing his value, he attempted to convince his wife for a divorce—- I guess back then or in Germany you had to bribe your wife for a divorce,

                So with Nobel prize coming, he was able to first convince his wife for a hall pass 😉 , then after Nobel prize they finalized the deal, his wife basically got the bulk of his Nobel prize, now

                he was able to play the field as a new bachelor, I’m sure if they had iPhones back then, there’d also be sleazy pictures of him like Stephen Hawking 😉 LOL!

              • Joe America says:

                The link is about Hawkings, not Einstein. So as far as I know, you are trolling and making stuff up.

                I’ve been divorced. I’ve always thought people who judged me for them, but weren’t there, were rather arrogant and not worth listening too. I give Sir Einstein the benefit of the doubt and think the joining of him to Hawkings as two peas in a pod is really low stuff, indeed, dumbing down of the debate stuff. The amoral you could use a little buffing up, I think.

              • Joe America says:

                If you provided the link else where, you’ll have to refer me to it. I have taken to ignoring most of your links as I can’t keep up, electronically, and would prefer original discussion without so much throwing stuff against the society wall.

              • – it takes me about 5 minutes to get to the house where Einstein spent his youth – in the meatpacking district of Munich… his father’s company (an SME) was the first to generate electricity for the Oktoberfest.

                Someone who grows up in this part of Munich is always grounded in the real world, especially the way this area was in the time Einstein lived here.

              • Grounded does not have to mean SLEAZY…

                Idealistic does not have to mean out of touch, which is indeed a connotation of highfalutin.

                Whether you build character top-down or bottom-up or both ways – the result counts.

              • Joe,

                Just to be clear I’m not assigning value here, I like my thinkers to be drunkards, womanizers, mean, a-holes, amoral, immoral, etc. (tells me they are grounded) I’m not the kind to place these guys on pedestals 😉 Sorry if you’ve done just that— but I mean no offense 😉

                Like Ireneo said, Einstein was grounded. He also got around, LOL! 😉

                JERUSALEM — Albert Einstein had half a dozen girlfriends and told his wife they showered him with “unwanted” affection, according to letters released on Monday that shed light on his extramarital affairs.

                The wild-haired Jewish-German scientist, renowned for his theory of relativity, spent little time at home. He lectured in Europe and in the United States, where he died in 1955 at age 76. But Einstein wrote hundreds of letters to his family.

                Previously released letters suggested his marriage in 1903 to his first wife Mileva Maric, mother of his two sons, was miserable. They divorced in 1919, and he soon married his cousin, Elsa. He cheated on her with his secretary, Betty Neumann.


                Einstein got around, Joe… sorry to burst your bubble, if you ‘ve made a saint out of him again sorry, but

                in my book he’s just ten times more cooler than when I read about him in elementary 🙂

                Here’s his letter to his wife, outlining their Nobel prize for divorce deal, but Einstein was already doing the dirrrty … his wife I think was just holding out (not signing the divorce papers) til Einstein made it rain … and he did just that!


                (if I’m not mistaken Rizal also got around, no?) 😉

              • Joe America says:

                I really am coming to dislike your style of argument. I did not put Einstein on a pedestal by saying a person’s personal life is often more intricate that what hits the papers, and resisting easy slurs that are so common in on-line discussions, contributing to dumbing down and emotionalizing of debate. I have also lost track of the relevance of the debate to the Philippines.

              • Joe America says:

                I would add that, if one goes through the various papers recorded on the site to which you refer, you find that Einstein was much more than a womanizer or divorce deal maker. That’s what I object to, these Trump-like categorizations of people on simple, easy slurs that deny the whole of the person for a cheap shot win in an argument.

              • “Whether you build character top-down or bottom-up or both ways – the result counts.”

                Exactly, Ireneo…

                hence this thought awhile back: “When you assume a leadership position you have to stop thinking in moral-based terms and start thinking in result-based terms.

              • Agreed on sleazy, Ireneo. “Grounded does not have to mean SLEAZY…”

                Can we agree on Super Freaks? Maybe not quite two peas in a pod, since Hawking is probably more aligned with Tiger Woods re freakiness , but I ‘m sure Einstein was right up there. 😉

              • Joe,

                You ‘re the one who asked me to source my claim, I only did that. Before you chimed in, I think everyone was happy (nor cared) Einstein wasn’t quite the saint.

                If you didn’t want the sourcing, maybe it was rhetorical, then just say so. 😉

              • Joe America says:

                I asked for the sourcing, not to learn about Einstein, but to keep my blog from becoming troll haven, where arguments are slurs rather than aimed at promoting real understanding.

              • So now having sourced it, is it still a slur?

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, in the sense that it is presented to denigrate his scientific or humanitarian achievements.

              • “Einstein was much more than a womanizer or divorce deal maker. That’s what I object to, these Trump-like categorizations of people on simple, easy slurs that deny the whole of the person for a cheap shot win in an argument.”

                Joe, read again how I contextualized Einstein in the discussion—- the fact that he was a womanizer and divorce deal maker, was about the ground meeting the clouds, and easy slur it was not 😉 nor was I denying the whole person, I was doing the exact opposite!


            • On the comments regarding clouds v. fog, well, as a person who occasionally climbs mountains, I’ve actually seen this nuance happen before. And it was interesting. haha So let me attempt to put my perspective into it.

              Technically, what LCpl_X said is actually correct. Fog is actually a type of cloud that touches the ground. However, some nuances exist as it will probably depend on how you define ‘ground’. (Technicalities aside of course.) So how may we go on about this? Well, say for example that we have two people and let’s call them ‘X’ & ‘Y’. And as of present, X is currently climbing a mountain while Y is also viewing the said mountain from a far.

              A while later, a huge mass of condensed water vapor then descends on the mountain. How do you suppose will each person call it?

              For Y, as said, he is viewing the mountain from far away so this mass of condensed water is not actually in the same the ground that he is standing upon. Given this, he is probably inclined to call this mass a ‘cloud’.

              For X, as said also, he is currently on the mountain and this is also where the ‘clouds’ are. So given this, X could say that the clouds are in the same ground that he is standing upon. So with that, he is probably inclined to call this mass a fog. Again, technicalities aside of course.

              And as with this nuance in language, a nuance in ideas and action may also occur. It is also really unavoidable if none will try to understand the each other form their respective point-of-views. In short, empathy surely goes a long way.

              In addition to all of these, I’d just like to share that to many climbers dismay, clouds are really not like cotton candy. And if I were to blame anybody, I really blame cartoons for building up this false hope. HAHA

              • Edgar Lores says:


                Why complicate matters so? As observer Z, I have seen fog on the ground and I was not on a mountain. I am sure many others have. Perhaps even you?

                I agree about empathy. I understand LCpl_X’s opinion… and I empathize but do not agree.

              • HAHA… that’s an awesome point, ip!

                I totally understand it too , but have never been on a mountain whilst it was clear then clouds come in. I guess it would be no different than if you were on the Golden Gate bridge, and the other viewer of the phenomenon is on a plane up on the air watching the bridge (I’ve been on a plane as fog engulfs SF, so I can totally see what you’re picturing here 😉 ).

                I can totally empathize. And if you notice, when I sell an idea on here, I always bring modular / scalable solutions, small to big. I think that’s the value of being pragmatic first. How does it translate on the ground? Otherwise you’ll be constructing a sort of Dreamworld.

                Let me add to your metaphor, if the clouds descend in a busy city, let’s say of the heavy variety, not light, accidents happen, accidents happen because people are going 65 mph; if same clouds descend on the mountain, only a few people are up there (I’m thinking the Sierra Nevadas here, never been to the Himalayas), the heavy clouds don’t really cause any sort of noticeable nuisance except maybe getting your gear wet and such—

                by the way, you can catch clouds and divert it to your water canteen, and you’re drinking a piece of heaven! LOL! 😉

                But my point when you bring the clouds down from heaven w/out studying how people actually live (not ideally live), you’ll cause heartaches (ie. Hillary’s little foray into the Mid-East, etc.). Examine the reality on the ground, then act accordingly, but the realities on the ground’s priority. 😉

  10. john mangun says:

    Where were you all when i needed you…………….

    • NHerrera says:

      I am sorry this happened to you John Mangun. I believe most if not all here at the Society of Joe condemns this; no matter the heat of the exchange it does not justify Sison’s use of the cleaver. We condemn this drug-crazed people, but while doing so we condemn the killings of these druggies without the elementary due process, much as we all want all these crazed druggies to be put away in some island.

    • Joe America says:

      What;s the point, John? I saw your note on Facebook and declined to comment. Some people are angry sober or shoot people because their President wants them dead.

  11. madlanglupa says:

    I am still breathing. The world is watching.

    The one thing to note is that our internet access isn’t controlled… yet. However, the triumphalists in social media, with a modus operandi similar to media operations conducted by the Maduro regime in Venezuela will want to control public opinion by praising those who agree with the party line, and obliterating those who do not, all the while publicizing the purported achievements and accomplishments of El Presidente, whose New Order is a Drug-Free Federal State.

    That utopia, this perfection he is seeking, this perfection that is more sacred in his eyes and mind than any mountain of gold.

    “Tapang at Malasakit”, Courage and Compassion, the theme of this regime, is what? It’s more like Aggression and Selective Compassion.

    OBTW, whoever cabal had planned this a long time ago by putting him into office must be happy that their mistress is now free do anything she wants. Like running new jueteng joints.

    • “The world is watching.”

      Yes, it is watching and taking steps to curtail the bloodbath:

      Duterte cannot isolate PH from the global community. His bluster about foreign interference will not stop the tide of world condemnation if he does not follow universal and international laws. My concern is that PH and its people will suffer from the consequences of his actions. North Korea comes to mind. Many of the leftists might like that because they could cozy up to China.

      On tangent, did you notice that the Tiamsons’ “hand salute” is similar to Duterte’s? Could someone explain this to me, please.

      • madlanglupa says:

        After 30 years, dubious achievement made it to the NYT:

        Ideologically, the Maoist movements do not like China in its current form because they believe that Deng Xiaoping so altered China by abandoning Maoist doctrine and adapting their own brand of capitalism, which decades later became the very beast of empire that Deng so described in a 1974 speech to the UN.

        Now going back to topic, some of my friends, especially those in the lowly strata of society, are feeling unease, even fear, as motorcycle assassins (none of these faceless terrors seem to have been caught so far, unfortunately) are on the prowl at night, looking for undesirables on their hitlist. If he hasn’t declared Martial Law, it must be a quiet declaration, and if the death penalty hasn’t been reinstated, he — by his words seen as commands to be obeyed by right-wing fanatics — has already unleashed the axemen.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Isn’t it ironic that most of these people being hunted and “salvaged” are the very people who voted him in office? There is also a rash of killings of those who surrendered and admitted that they are users. A bizarre unnatural selection? :

          • madlanglupa says:

            Yes, they voted him into office… and that picture going round the world is then dismissed as “drama”.

            Some of those who gleefully agree to this murder spree are those who think they’ll wake up on the day they can walk through Quiapo with a Samsung Galaxy in the open.

            Tomorrow I’ll have to pay respects to a friend’s friend at a funeral wake, after being gunned down by one of those rightist cowboys just as he was trying to come clean.

          • madlanglupa says:

            BTW, quoting an angry man who felt completely betrayed:

            “Eto ang tinatawag na pagbabago—bawas tao (This is what we call change—killing people)!”


            • edgar lores says:

              I cannot recall Marcos or any other presidential name adopting a verb form. But “ma-Duterte” sounds ominous.

              It also sounds valid in English: “You will be duterted” or “They were duterted.”

              Henceforth: duterte (verb) kill deliberately a class of people internally within a state by state forces.

              • madlanglupa says:

                Ma-rubout, ma-salvage, and now that neologism which may soon enter the vernacular and street language.

                Where I’m sitting in at right now (at work, in a genuine slum as a part-time technician), even kids are now getting the message that being a known pusher means courting death by motorcycle assassins.

                (I’ve visited the funeral wake last night, got the details on how and what happened — the pusher’s home was invaded by four men in helmets, he was sleeping as they barged in. No words but a report of a pistol, two shots to the back of the head as he woke up, then down on the floor and shot twice again before rushing back to their motorcycles, having done their masterpiece of terror. The case is still open, perps unknown. Of course his live-in partner and others in the same household would not speak further of dealing with his slayers because of the fear of reprisals.)

      • madlanglupa says:

        > On tangent, did you notice that the Tiamsons’ “hand salute” is similar to Duterte’s? Could someone explain this to me, please.

        That hand salute is becoming the new Sieg Heil, so as to proclaim loyalty to the New Order.

      • josephivo says:

        “The world is watching”

        “The president who taught his people murder” is the title of a long article on Du30 in the major (HF) Belgian newspaper. Don’t know the journalist’s sources, but he seems well informed.

        Perception only or fact?

        • NHerrera says:

          THE RACE

          Who will be the first to get the critical mass,

          * The PRD train that will engulf all of us, or

          * The other side, including, the HFs, to save us from a world we thought is already past in these modern times?

          I thought that modern-day Pieta and the mocking it has instead earned, using religious images, will generate more outrage than it has. So, we cannot forecast this early what will happen.

  12. @Society Social Media is making fun of Leila De Lima’s speech. Maybe she should get joe to edit it. 🙂

  13. jeff says:

    After establishing his right to kill with impunity, Duterte is now testing the waters for political attacks.

  14. It’s a little much to say that we don’t understand democracy. We do understand it. We just don’t care anymore.

    If Duterte hadn’t become President, it’s likely that the Political elite, the rich and crime lords would have just continued to pound us from behind, with no hope of change in our lifetimes. Our vote for Duterte is us casting our best chance at inflicting vengeance on those who have been raping this country, poor or rich, it doesn’t matter.

    Democracy doesn’t work in the Philippines for the same reason it doesn’t work in the U.S. The people at the top are stepping on the people at the bottom. Duterte is just the rabid dog that we let loose so that some of those monsters will feel some pain.

    • Joe America says:

      Kindly define “we”, because I don’t think you speak for many people.

      Doesn’t work in the US? Ahahaha, no wonder people are fighting to get out of the US to migrate to South America and China. They detest their freedoms and high standards of living. They hate voting and spit on their flag. When they rise at sporting events to sing the national anthem, they are lip syncing it, all 50,000.

      Pardon me for thinking that you are under the influence of bad ideas. Or you are writing satire, right? Sometimes we Americans don’t get it.

      Your credibility is about zero so I’m inclined not to read much more of what you have to say until you get serious.

      • I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Duterte made his plans clear when he ran, and yet 15 million people still voted for him. The people who I know voted for him, at least here in Mindanao, understood what was going to happen and I haven’t met a single person who regrets choosing Duterte.

        Here in General Santos, crime rate is down and traffic has actually gotten a lot better because people are afraid. Even I didn’t expect that to happen.

        As for America, you do know who the candidates are, right? You’ve got Trump, who the Republicans DID choose, which proves that U.S. Democracy amounts to dick in providing good leaders. Then you have Hillary who is a war hawk and a corporate stooge who cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. When you have delegates and super-delegates deciding who gets to run for President in the U.S., how is that democracy?

        I’m quite serious about the things I’ve written here.

        Honestly Joe, I think you’ve allowed your pseudo fame to go to your head. You’re just dismissing ideas out of hand now? Tsk tsk.

        I do hope this “Society of Honor” of yours doesn’t become a far left bubble where only your ideals are allowed. That would be a shame.

        • Joe America says:

          You are here writing, Melvin. Democracy in the US is not Donald Trump, it is how the people deal with Donald Trump. He is expressing, loud and strong, where a lot of people are coming from. His offensiveness in doing so has caught up to him, and the frictions that are flying are Exhibit A that shows American democracy is healthy. Hillary Clinton only cheated in the eyes of extremists and people with agenda. Bernie Sanders is an extremist himself, out of a far left bubble, but has returned to center because he knows Hillary Clinton beat him, and she is well qualified to be President.

          President Duterte won by running a scurrilous campaign painting the Philippines as a failed state under the influence of drugs (which it is not), and his campaign of lies and deceits beat a good man, Mar Roxas. Now he is in the kitchen and catching heat. Get used to it. Killing people is not nice. Showing the nation you lead as ugly is not good leadership.

          • Joe America says:

            I would add that I offer you up as Exhibit A of the dumbing down and dividing of people. You profoundly state nonsense as argument, that the US is a failed democracy and, therefore, a dictatorship and killings in the Philippines are acceptable. Hogwash. Then you pull the trollish techniques out, a personal challenge with a tsk tsk thrown in for good measure. Made me laugh. I’m pleased the Society readers can see the dumbing down of debate first hand.

        • NHerrera says:

          Your last line — if you check the many blog topics here you will find that there are opinions and comments diametrically opposite to those of Joe, the blog owner, and the comments were posted, not censored at all. The fact that your comment appears is an example. And the idealism is shared by many in a reasoned way, acknowledging the good things PRD has done.

        • chempo says:

          Interesting, Alfred. Can you dumb onto me what is it about Joe’s ideals that you don’t like?

    • josephivo says:

      Olympics. Sports have anti-doping rules, performance enhancing drugs are not allowed. When you think that winning a medal is more important than those stupid rules, when you have the means to cheat, why not? Everybody does it, please don’t be naïve, breaking the rules works. If in doubt ask the scientific evidence of Russian experts.

      I know, this is only sports, medals and national pride. But the constitution in this country has similar intentions as the sporting rules, trying to create a safe environment, trying to let people compete on a level playing field. The travesty is that killing criminals is not only cheating, breaking the rules, but more important it is ineffective, look at the 40 year war on drugs, look at results booked in other countries treating the problem differently, consult the scientific evidence and lets then talk again.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > Democracy doesn’t work in the Philippines

      It sounds more like Tsarina Alexandra’s written exhortation to her indecisive husband Tsar Nicholas: “Russia loves to feel the whip!”

  15. uht says:

    Looking back, I remember someone who said that the Philippines, and the rest of Southeast Asia for that matter, did not need democracy. I have heard another one say that it was perfectly fine for Gloria to have sold off the Spratlys for economics, since that is what she did best.

    I have no idea if this is right and all, but the best I remember is that the Philippines is rare in that we pursued democracy, and a republic even when it was not forced on us, when we were only thinking of freeing ourselves from the Spaniards. Even in the face of the storms and the darkness, that is what I have seen. Perhaps it was only a few of them who thought of it then, though. But then what? Do we backtrack on everything good we have done as a country, is that it?

    I think not. We have already done a lot of good things in the past thirty years. Many of them may not be the same between you and me and everyone, but there is more in this life than just saying “—- it” and moving somewhere else. Or burning everything in sight, for that matter.

    So I will choose to be one of the people who care….always hoping, always hoping. That someday, we can all see this country become a great one, and we will tell stories of it to our children and grandchildren so they, too, will not forget.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks uht for your post. I hereby adjust what I wrote above (August 3, 2016 at 7:21 pm) because of the soft but (to me) palpable passion contained in your words and the associated hope you expressed for the country!

    • Joe America says:

      I read people saying the US imposed democracy upon the Philippines. The US backed Marcos the dictator because it suited American interests against the spread of communism. The Filipino people overthrew Marcos and wanted democracy. Why? For the freedoms and right to participate in government. For the potential for competition and commercial promise and wealth. Well, the version established did not protect enough against entitlement and corruption, and so there we have it. But a dictatorship under the killing man? That is not Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew.

      People who deny Filipino accountability for anything are a part of the problem, not solution. Now the Filipino people are accountable for a killing spree, and possibly for giving away their own sovereign rights.

      Good for you to care. I do as well. It would for sure be easy to set the blog aside and go to the beach. The good things take work.

      • josephivo says:

        @ Joe
        “The Filipino people overthrew Marcos and wanted democracy.” Or Enrile, Ramos and supporting oligarchs saw the opportunity to replace Marcos, the people just a disposable tool. Proof? Look at all loopholes created to make the 1986 constitution toothless. Look how easy justices can be bought.

        @ uht
        Don’t see my comments as criticism, but as opportunities to improve. Indeed a lot is achieved, but from here to paradise there are still a few steps to be taken. Let’s be critical on what is achieved so far, let’s look at the strengths of the Philippines, that’s what will bring the biggest steps forwards, and let’s look for failures too, that’s where is the most obvious that improvements are possible.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, but look at the President they elected, and the hope that rushed President Aquino (son) into office. There are 3.5 million Filipinos living in the US and 1,200 in mainland China. Filipinos dig democracy. Nothing is forced upon the nation, by the US.

          • josephivo says:

            Or look at the compassion of the people, Corry’s dead. Again they were used by those who taught that Pnoy would be an easy push-over. To the surprise of all he had a stronger spine than expected.

            US is an immigration country, needs to import manual labor to keep wages down and save on education by importing brains, China is an emigration country, it has a huge surplus of labor. Filipinos look for opportunities, don’t care to work for a dictatorship or communists or whatever, as long as they have more than the 300$ (or 100$) a month they can make here.

        • uht says:

          Sure, I’ll keep that in mind 🙂

          On the 1987 constitution, one thing I understand was that it was *designed* to be toothless, as opposed to the 1935 and 1973 ones—the former had teeth only Quezon could use properly, and the latter was just more or less legal justification for the Marcos regime.

          So while the current 1987 constitution makes it nearly impossible to legally pull off what Marcos did again, it inherently promotes instability in government policies, hence the 180-degree turns in foreign policy every six years. It is fortunate that Duterte’s administration is considering constitutional reform, but please do make it con-con please.

          Even then, there are still lessons to be looked out for. Primitivo Mijares, in The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, wrote on how Marcos was able to manipulate a con-con into making the 1973 Constitution to his advantage, then faking the results of the national plebiscite to pretend people supported it. Hopefully our vote watchers will monitor, too, if we ever reach that stage under Duterte’s plans…..

      • But even if we look at event of history in Asia Philippine is the 1st country in Asia that fought against their western coloniser. Manuel Quezon the commonwealth president ask our independence from the American too soon compare to Hong Kong which took so long as part of the British commonwealth. The Edsa 1 that toppled Marcos served as an inspiration for the Indonesians to revolt against Suharto’s dictatorship. Filipinos is a freedom loving people to their nature & anyone who try to suppressed this will not succeed.

  16. Juana Pilipinas says:

    Leni Robredo is being assailed through BBM’s electoral protest. We complain about slow justice in PH but this one is being fast-tracked. Leni does not have the financial wherewithal to defend herself in a long and protracted legal battle. As a public servant, she is not allowed by law to solicit for a legal fund. BBM could afford to pay for his legal defense but Leni does not have that capability. Macalintal said he will defend her pro bono but the legal fees are not the only expense she will incur in this fight.

    Calling TSH’s legal eagles! Please find a way on how she can legally receive private funding for her defense. People are prepared to help her out but a mechanism that will not break the law of the land is needed.

    The four pillars of democracy are justice, equality, freedom and representation. Please keep them alive for Leni and for all Filipinos.

    • sonny says:

      JP, just taking an ‘a priori’ take on the cabinet personalities PD has surrounded himself, I feel he will take advantage of the ‘nearness’ of VP Leni (Cory-Like authenticity and Economics, Law savvy, close to the same 16 million of PD, SBC Business School, counter balance to BBM for the good. Consider: Sonny Dominguez at Finance (AdeM, a Davao rampart, I hope he is still the Sonny Dominguez of old); Aguirre at Justice (PD’s legal foil, SBC Law connection), Tugade at Transportation (PD SBC Law Connection, as able, good and sterling as they come), Sueno at DILG (ex-seminarian hopefully with a good understanding of RCC principles on Social Justice); Lorenzana at Defense (very capable on National Security). 13 Aug, a social call with Leni, there will be some heavy SBC legal eagles present and I hope the BBM move will not be lost to those supporters attending.

      All in all my Polyanna take on PD.

      • Thank you for the info, Manong. She has 10 days to file her response with SC (from yesterday’s date). A 13 August meeting might be too late. 😦

        PD is friends with BBM. I do not know if he and his allies will help Leni in her legal dilemma if it takes going against BBM. 😦 😦

    • NHerrera says:

      I note that the contribution to her electoral campaign for VP amounted to some P400 Million. Is it possible that some of these contributors may still be kind enough to contribute for her legal expenses at the PET. I suppose Makalintal will know if it is legal for Robredo to accept these contributions for such purpose.

  17. “1. The 16 million voters who voted for President Duterte voted with their emotions, for personal need, not for principles or knowledge or reason. “

    Joe, I’ve yet to meet a person who votes ‘for principles or knowledge or reason’… self-interest taints everything we do, no matter how we rationalize IMHO 😉 .

    I’m voting for Trump not only because his vindictive personality will keep the Koch brothers in check, but because I believe in less gov’t, starting with an Executive branch that’s less powerful is just icing on the cake—- Trump will guarantee a less powerful Executive branch (he’ll be the only President, if elected, to be watched closely by the Republicans, the Democrats, as well as the Libertarians and Greens , LOL! )

    The entertainment value is priceless!!!

    Though I think he’s starting to show his hand now, as Bill Clinton’s sabotage masterpiece… I hope Trump doesn’t extend too far (Bill doesn’t have to have the last laugh here, Trump all the way!!!), dial it back a notch, so as to keep the Republicans, not the establishment (I think they know 😉 ) , but all the FOXtards out there on the hook. I hope Trump keeps appearances til election time, we need every single one of those FOXtards… LOL! shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… don’t tell ’em LOL!

    • “Even principled democracies such as America are failing to adapt to this phenomenon.”

      I too think that American democracy is still healthy, so long as regular Americans keep fighting this notion that a corporation is a ‘person’, we’re fine— which more and more Americans are doing these days.

      The Republican party however will have to re-invent itself big time, and kicking out Roger Ailes of FOX News is the first step. Or simply abandon ship and hop into the the Libertarian party bus 😉 .

      For sure, the Democratic party is now siding with corporations, a reformed Republican party or the new second party in this same two-party system, the Libertarian party, can totally side with the people , if Dems insist on siding with corporations—-

      this is largely Trump’s success, though he’s merely tapping into this well, not fully understanding what he stumbled upon 😉 .

      as for… “They were led down this path by a skilled propaganda campaign that is continuing even post-election. A great many of these voters have no knowledge of what democracy is about.”

      The name of the game is matching the ground truth with ideals (not the other way around 😉 , Joe) that’s campaigning 101 , whether thru love or fear, you’re suppose to appeal to emotions first.

      If you do it ass-backwards, it’s high falutin’.

      Propaganda IMHO opinion is something totally different,

      and requires ignorance by design to be effective (last time I checked, the Philippines wasn’t East Germany or North Korea, though one can argue self-afflicted ignorance on the part of Filipinos, ie. Filipinos don’t like to read and prefer memes 😉 , etc. etc. ), what DU30 did was simply Cuomo’s “poetry”, or appealing to emotions (self-interests of people), which is IMHO not technically propaganda.

      • Joe America says:

        Before the election, it is campaigning, after the election, as official government communication, it is propaganda. Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary

      • What?! The Democrats are pushing for corporate personhood?

        “And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!”
        -Hillary Clinton, DNC Speech

        “I will do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections.”
        -Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucus Speech

        Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

        • JP,

          By definition a corporation is treated as a person in the legal sense, that’s the letter of the law, how it gets translated or interpreted on the ground is what’s at issue… the spirit of the law, ie. a corporation cannot technically “feel” the affects of sea level rise or droughts 😉 there’s the rub.

          Speeches are speeches, focus on their actions… fracking, Monsanto, too big too fail, bail outs, etc.

          Granted the Democratic party IMHO still represents the working class ,

          but more and more they have become beholden to corporations (and big money).

          Remember how Obama became president in 2008? Thru private funding… google Obama opts out of public financing system in 2008 (guess who backed him, and who reaped the rewards in the subsequent too big to fail strategy & bail outs, it all connects 😉 Citizen United vs. FEC 2010 came after Obama’s opting out in 2008)

          Same with Clinton. But Bernie Sanders already roasted her thoroughly on this very connection.

          I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, and what he said still holds true,

          Ireneo shared an article awhile back that hinted on why Hillary and the Democrats were set to lose white working class union types (and working class in general), and being beholden to corporations as much as the Republicans have been is a big piece of the puzzle. 😉

          Trump may be a fluke, but that support base he has is real and people are looking for a party that will truly stand for the people opposite corporations—- so far both parties are whores.

          Whoever can truly (TRULY) represent the people again will have a leg up in the coming years. But then again with global warming it may already be too late, LOL!!! 😉

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Speak for yourself, Jameboy este LCpl X.

  18. NHerrera says:



    * Running out of time in a fast changing world and the Philippine ship negotiating a myriad of internal and external shoals with the ship filled to the brim, with a only a few surviving with reasonable comfort from the carcass of the many.

    * Government functioning, in the main, is “broken” hence has to be “fixed.”

    * The Philippines has built for itself a mountain of laws and constraints which contains many caveats serving the corrupt and dynastic family of politicians; and thus requires a virtual magician to do what has to be done in view of the first two items.

    Enter PRD the Magician. In going from A, where we are now, to B — assuming such a desired endpoint B is not only PRD’s but also ours — we have to take a path dependent journey.

    The path to take is of course the bone of contention. This gives rise to all manner of ideas on how to go about the journey. Without going through the arguments of trollish-like commenters, is it hard to imagine that there is really just a very limited number of paths to take in view of the assumptions?

    And one such (pragmatic?) path is PRD’s. The problem or puzzle of course is we don’t know the full description of this path or at least it’s milestones or has it been debated as is normally done in a democracy.

    (Sorry, big overtone of end-justifying-the-means.)

    • edgar lores says:


      “Is it hard to imagine?”

      First, I would question the assumptions.

      * Running out of time? Granted we are behind other Asian countries, but what’s the hurry? We can catch up in a leisurely way.

      * Government is broken? I would use the term “flawed democracy.”

      * Virtual magician? Isn’t our dependence on magicians a great part of the problem? We must do part of the hard work of nation building.

      Second, I would imagine the Roxas path, the Daang Matuwid vs. the Daang Maputik.

      * Basically, the difference would be an evolutionary path rather than a revolutionary one.

      * The Lower House would still be chaired by Belmonte, the Senate by Drilon. There might be talk of a Con-con but not talk of a Con-ass.

      * The legislative agenda would neither be federalism nor parliamentarism. Trade policies would be under scrutiny. The drafting of a land use bill. Plans for the strengthening of public-private partnerships.

      * Business would be as usual, perhaps looking up.

      * Gloria would still be in detention. The Marcoses more subdued.

      * China would be more circumspect.

      * More than 700 people now dead would still be alive. There would be no collateral damage.

      * Several dogs would have taken up residence in Malacanan Palace.

      * The atmosphere would be more peaceful.

      Third and last, some things will have remained the same.

  19. Edgardo C. says:

    I still say EDUCATION (good education, that is) is the long term solution for our country. Joe Am”s point no.7 is about “educated” Filipinos in a wronged generation. They never had a chance of quality public education we had in the 50’s and 60’s.

    • madlanglupa says:

      I recall reading old school textbooks that depicted adults learning at night classes in elementary schools, something that should’ve been carried on, free education for the illiterate.

      If such a program existed long time ago, then why not restart it now? I mean, empower lowly people with additional knowledge, soon they’ll open their eyes and realize that they’re being duped by warlords and feudal lords who keep them in their place simply for votes in exchange for handouts.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Als or alternative learning is now in the prisons.i hope they won’t stop this program.
        For night schools,Lasalle Green Hills among others offers free night school for those who could it afford.

    • Joe America says:

      Certainly either a few lessons were not taught, or were missed. Why is reading not instilled as a recognized way to find mental health and flexibility?

      • sonny says:

        “Certainly either a few lessons were not taught, or were missed.”

        Ouch, big time, Joe! Just following the timeline from the Commonwealth generations up through the turmoil of the martial law decades will clearly and surely surface the lessons, not missed but rather not distributed. The timeline covers my parents’ generation, my generation plus two more that followed mine: for sure, my parents are gone and can barely whisper their witness; I volunteer that the witnesses of edgar, Wil, Irineo, cha, JP, NH, Gian, Karl, caliphman, Mary Grace, and me sometimes and still others can give the composite pathology of those times. The dramatis personae from these generations are now here still and have been on center stage to move and shake the Islands, most definitely including PD and his cabinet.

        (To all I dedicate this long learned metric)

        “To a Waterfowl” by William Cullen Bryant

        Whither, ‘midst falling dew,
        While glows the heavens with the last steps of day,
        Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
        Thy solitary way?

        Vainly the fowler’s eye
        Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
        As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
        Thy figure floats along.

        Seek’st thou the plashy brink
        Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
        Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
        On the chafed ocean side?

        There is a power whose care
        Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, —
        The desert and illimitable air, —
        Lone wandering, but not lost.

        All day thy wings have fann’d
        At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;
        Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
        Though the dark of night is near.

        And soon that toil shall end,
        Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest,
        And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
        Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.

        Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
        Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
        Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou has given,
        And shall not soon depart.

        He, who, from zone to zone,
        Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
        In the long way that I must treat alone,
        Will lead my steps aright.

  20. madlanglupa says:

    Somewhat Off-topic: Now that PD had already made people hew to his house rules, he has placed Ongpin as his next target.

    Wait, this is sounding all too familiar… more like, too disturbing for history junkies like me.

  21. arlene says:

    I really hate this ” now you hear it then next day he says the opposite”. Democracy, does the man on the street even care? He is busy making both ends meet.

  22. hawaii dave says:

    You describe the Philippines, a current 3rd world country, and yet this is what I see in the USA, a country that has bought a ticket on the express train, destination….3rd world.

  23. jp says:

    So many good reasons to leave the country. I’ve lost hope for this dump

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