A modest explanation, and a thank you

Ship of fools

Ship of Fools?

Thank you to all who have expressed their understanding and best wishes for me and my family.

There are a number of reasons for suspension of the blog.

At the root, as many supposed, is a concern for my family’s well-being, cast against the unkindness inspired by a leader who seems to want to use threat to remake the Philippines in his own image, which, as far as I can tell, is without remorse or respect for the values of civility and laws that bind diverse peoples to one community for the well-being of all.

I am not a citizen and am not afforded the protections of citizenship. Indeed, there are obligations under my visa that I must respect.

I also have an increasingly hard time staying connected because of Globe’s deteriorating service. It is hard to do research or respond to comments. I can’t maintain the quality of blog I envision.

The tenor of the discussions is turning to crap with the arrival of Duterte agents who don’t come to discuss, but to flame the blog by challenging my personal integrity, seeking to restrain the blog’s voice and demanding that we give the President time to show us the promise of his decisions. I grow disheartened with the arrival of this caliber of character and intellect, one that refuses to respect the elegance of the blog’s discussion format. It’s a disease I don’t want in my brain or blog. It is not an accident. It is the way the Duterte internet bosses run things.

Under President Duterte, I suspect that there will be a good many big winners and many, many, many big losers, and of the latter we already have over 1,000 plus their grieving family members. With more on the way. I get angry, too much, too often. We are losers, too, those of us who want nothing more than sincere, honest, earnest debate stripped of the gameplaying.

This government is unkind, is it not? On some days it seems a veritable ship of fools.

I say ‘ship of fools’ with a wince, knowing that the motto of the blog, concocted from some long-lost literary chemistry with Edgar Lores: “O’ rise ye land of happy fools!” It is meant fondly to cheer the rise of the nation and grant respect for the travails foisted upon resilient, fun-loving, fiesta-warm Filipinos bound in poverty and struggle by a class of entitled, self-involved barons.

By way of example, I cite Senators Pimentel and Cayetano, grown-up adult men smart enough to pass the bar exam but not smart enough to figure out that a candidate who challenges a reporter by questioning how smelly his wife’s vagina is just might not be in tune with modern standards of compassion and care found in human rights principles.

Well, they excuse it and spin it as a joke and thereby hold no one accountable for one of the most gross verbal abuses I’ve witnessed in my rather lengthy life. And then there were others, many any others, to follow. All excused. Rationalized away by a set of people who deny that civility is important. Thus, we see the entitlements of the class of impunity. They say they have to kill people because the courts are slow, but they are escape artists themselves. And they help their fellow con men escape, too. They built the laws that make the courts work badly.

And so, as the bodies roll in, and these two characters hold to their positions, denying any respect for the integrity of democracy and decency, quite willing to enable the abuses of the Duterte-inspired thugs who threaten us and demand that we forgo our free speech rights so the President can execute his killings without anyone saying, “Hey, STOP! That’s not RIGHT!”.

The number of intelligent, powerful people who are quite alright with things is astounding. And discouraging.

These people have control over the ship of fools. They are leaders or they are enablers.

My advice, my opinion, is so simple that I feel like an idiot having to tell any modern man or woman this: Stop the abuses. Stop the nonsense. Understand and LIVE right over wrong, not “What’s in it for me?”

Drugs are a problem. Agreed. But exterminating a slice of Filipino humanity to justify ruthless one-man rule  . . . well, it’s a game we’ve seen played out in history time and time again, and it’s one game too far for this sailor.

. . . . . . . . . .

This blog has become infinitely more than I could ever have imagined.

I would first like to think the Society’s Chief Marketing Officer, President Benigno Aquino III, who sent the blog fast-forward in his SONA a couple of years ago. Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for your over-abundant kindness in hosting my family to a thank-you lunch as your term wound down. I do think Joe Junior is well on his way to being another MLQ3, a font of Filipino knowledge and insight, thanks to that little excursion.

President Aquino for sure had particular requirements for the people he hired: integrity, decency, intelligence. I appreciate having had the chance personally to meet Secretary Cesar Purisima and his wife Carazon, Edwin Lacierda, Abigail Valte, Manolo Quezon III, Secretary Mar Roxas, Eric Gutierez, and others who always, always, welcomed me with a smile and good wishes. I still owe Leah Navarro a hug, and understand I am owed one by Secretary Dinky Soliman. Leah was my conduit to Mar Roxas and the President, and a more stalwart loyalist I cannot imagine. Sings pretty good, too. If legislators had even one ounce of her character, this nation would have good laws and good behavior, too.

Next I would like to thank three-enduring veterans of Filipino blogging from the days of Filipino Voices, long-time contributors Bert, Karl and manuelbuencamino. Three more stalwart, generous, but firm nationalists of the courageous and humorous kind, I cannot imagine. They mentored me, taught, explained, repeated until I learned that the Philippines and her peoples should be judged for their own integrity, which is substantial, if just a tad different than America. Well, I was a slow learner at times, but they persevered, and I finally got to the place where few foreigners get . . . acceptance and appreciation and a huge, huge fondness for the riches to be found here, if one just stops trying to fit people into the wrong box.

Ah, and then there are the five amigos, the first guest-writers, the people whose amazing insights and way with words took the blog from one guy’s ramblings to a place where real thinking took place. Mature thinking. Good thinking. Edgar Lores single-handedly extracted and enumerated the lessons and the lingering questions from my articles and pasted layer upon layer of order and wisdom and REASON upon them. Cha, the humanist of all humanists, one of the kindest people I know, even with her famous elephant doing its business. Andrew Lim. Josephivo. Juana Pilipinas. Ah, my. Such good, good people. They brought their own personalities and insights and richness to the blog. They brought professional work and I paid them nothing for it.

During the past year or two, we were privileged to have new guest writers publish, and grew even deeper with the real-life experiences and historical file that is the inimitable Irineo B. R. Salazar, the heart and love of Will Vilanueva, and the thorough professionalism and financial expertise of Chempo. Absolute brilliance in three very different packages.

Lance Corporate X challenged us to get outside our conventions and start taking care of the earth, and each other, better. Popoy the poet and artist (Andy Ibay), Caliphman, Micha, PrimerTaga Bundock (Steve), Bill in Oz . . . all gave us slices of themselves and fresh perspectives, like the spices added to make a fine dish delicious.

Loyal readers, so many. NHerrera, our numerologist, a friend. Sonny, a man of grace and good will who knows the Philippines and major players like few others. Also a friend. Mary Grace P. Gonzales, everyone’s angel. Our conscience.

I’d like to thank the journalists . . . Tomas “Buddy” Gomez III, Raissa Robles and her husband Alan, and blogger Noemi Dado (momblogger) for welcoming me as a colleague and giving me room to be myself. I actually felt I belonged . . .

I dare not go further because I am sure to omit someone who deserves mention. The blog has tabulated 88,000 comments. Can you imagine? So much intelligence and GIVING. If it could be marshaled to lead this nation, we’d be first world in six months. And wouldn’t have to kill anybody to get there.

We have some 8,500 people who receive the blog when it is published. Such honor they grant us. I thank each and every follower, the readers and the lurkers, for giving meaning to what we write.

Giving and receiving, that’s the method of the blog. So much good thinking, you know? Such a success . . . and honor . . . I could not imagine a few years ago when we were pulling in 50 reads a day and Edgar and I were manning the chat room ahahahaha.

Even my favorite Chinese troll, Obed, helped by teaching us how it is done. The Duterte trolls are amateurs by comparison.

Thank you all. Every single person who made this blog tick.

Thank you.

Spectacular.

I’ll be around. I’m not abandoning ship. Just pursuing a needed change to take care of my family, getting some rest and exercise, and being true to the terms of my visa. I will miss our eloquent, elegant arguments. But we graduate, you know? There are new ways to contribute . . . we can find them . . .

Comments
165 Responses to “A modest explanation, and a thank you”
  1. gdchong says:

    I salute you, Joe America.

  2. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Heart, Joe, heart. Thank you, too, for your heart. Stay safe. Keeping you and the entire Society of Honor in my daily prayers. Smile, may Diyos naman. — Will

  3. this is such a blow to all principles we hold so dearly, but if you can call it some sort of graduation to some higher level then so be it.. congratulations Joe. I hope real work begins now!

  4. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Thank you.
    *****

  5. fedelynn says:

    Keep safe, JoeAmerica and family…and Thank You!

  6. Myles Delfin says:

    This piece sounds like a goodbye but fortunately with free binoculars to see, though, no longer to be a part of what has truly been, as you said, a very “eloquent conversation” that is both rare and enjoyable. Thank you for the words, we are only in the beginning of things, I’m sure that it’s everybody’s hope that someday the binoculars will no longer be necessary, once again, to see where we should all be going.

  7. roxanneaq says:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR PASSION AND CONTRIBUTION AT A CRITICAL TIME FOR OUR COUNTRY!

  8. Carlos Ramirez says:

    Late to the party, but thank you sir. Your blog has always been well thought out, fact based, insightful and respectful. More power and I hope to see a comeback down the road. Cheers!

  9. michaelplim says:

    I cannot believe I’m reading this. JoeAm, we don’t want to say our farewell appreciation but nevertheless as the commentators above have said, maybe bigger, higher things await, our loss could possibly a much bigger gain somewhere. Thank you for one of the sanest voices in the wilderness that has provided logic and direction to the stinking mess we stirred ourselves into. And continue to do so. We look forward to your next ‘incarnation’ and may we know it’s you when the time comes.

  10. Pie Bueno says:

    thank you for your unfeigned trust and belief that there are still lots of us Filipinos who are ready to fight for the truth and just. Thanks for sharing yourself with us…Muchisimas gracias!

  11. Sup says:

    Thanks for many hours of reading and learning ……salamat Po

  12. Lilia Juele says:

    Thank you very much Joe America. I found a bit late and for that, I still consider myself lucky. Till we meet again!

  13. Anthony says:

    Keep Figthing Joe! Keep Fighting!

  14. Keep the fight! I am in your Library!

  15. Patricia Alix says:

    I’m going to miss your blog. Thank you for your contribution to intelligent discussion.

  16. Thia Aban says:

    I wish I had known you earlier, Joe, but it was good to come across your articles. They were relevant to me at a time when I felt I lost some friends, who’d gone so crazily loyal to a maniac, friends who I thought understood democracy well but unfortunately been among the misled. It’s almost like martial law, without the need of a declaration. How could we make it so easy for Duterte? I’ll share this article on my page, like where some of your articles have landed. Good articles like yours should be immortalised. Please, if you can, remember me. Thank you for being you!

  17. Anne Suplac says:

    I was late when I started reading your blogs.. anyway, thank you for sharing a piece of yourself to us.. we will surely miss you 😦 keep safe…

  18. Dana Macaraig says:

    Yours is a heart so big that brings so much honor , yours is a mind that provokes profound intelligence, yours is a voice so brave that echoes nothing but dignity. Yours is a vision nothing more valuable … . You will be missed, not for long though because I know you will keep fighting and fight mightily you will. Thank you, Sir JoeAm.

  19. Betty Engracia says:

    Thank you for your words Joe, which became the voice to many of us. May the Lord protect you and your family.

  20. Milady Fernandez says:

    FIrst, it was Prof. Christina Astorga who had to deactivate her FB account. And then you, Sir Joe. What is happening???? Portent of unfortunate things to come? 😦

  21. joone buelva says:

    Great, just great! So blog on, Joe. We have you to thank but it’s you who have so many to thank. Certainly not a wink of intellectual conceit or pride in your words. Only pathos and probably that kind of humility which Ralph Waldo Emerson’s genius has discerned as such: “In humility is the greatest freedom.”

  22. medakavaldez says:

    Thank you so much sir JoeAm. I am so sad this blog has to end. I have learn a lot from your writings. God bless you.

  23. Rose Borrer Aguilar says:

    Thank you sir JoeAm. I learned so much from you..and to all who contributed in here. God bless you and your family. Sad it has to end soon..,hope to you’ll be back

  24. sonny says:

    With much pain & sadness but with lots and lots of gratitude, Joe, I bid so long, dear friend …

  25. Jaime Rigodon says:

    Thank you Joe, I really enjoyed reading your blog and comments of others. Miss this column.

  26. Rank says:

    Good bye for now, Joe. See you in six years, perhaps.

  27. Shiela says:

    Oh 😦

  28. Thelma Natividad says:

    Thank you so much Mr. Joe America! I will surely miss reading your blog. 😢😥

  29. Abi Valte says:

    In times like these, we will miss your clarity of thought, your ability to kick start fiery discussions, tempered with your gift to present and weigh all sides. My best to you, Joe Junior and Mrs. JoeAm. Until the next episode, Joe, remain well.

  30. josephivo says:

    I’m not a Scot, and not a good singer, but until we meet again, let’s try:

    …..
    And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
    And give me a hand o’ thine!
    And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
    for auld lang syne

    For auld lang syne, my dear,
    for auld lang syne,
    we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
    for auld lang syne.

  31. ivyemaye says:

    Ship of Fools by Hieronymus Bosch Ship of Fools:

    [image: Inline images 1]

    They had a better handle on reality than we do now, 500 years or so ago. Now we live in the world of the Matrix and George Orwell so it is hard to really understand where reality is.

    You did through some light on reality here in the Philippines.

    Understand where you are coming from and I guess I will need to watch my back too.

    All the very best and thanks for everything.

    Jon Effemey Brit.

    On 16 August 2016 at 18:10, The Society of Honor by Joe America wrote:

    > Joe America posted: ” Thank you to all who have expressed their > understanding and best wishes for me and my family. There are a number of > reasons for suspension of the blog. At the root, as many supposed, is a > concern for my family’s well-being, cast against the unkind” >

  32. bwillib says:

    Saludo ako sa’yo.

  33. 😦 so sad joe. Wish you well.

  34. Roberto says:

    Joe, you have been a beacon of clarity and morality in a darkening world. I completely understand your need to back away. Many are having to to the same to preserve their equilibrium in a world turned upside down, a world where bad is good and good is bad. The people’s embrace of the regime is a terrible disappointment to me. The regime will self-destruct and its sycophants exposed for what they are. Ever since “people power”, the Philippines and Filipinos have held a special place in world opinion. It saddens me to see its reputation despoiled by photos and reports of blood running in the streets from summary executions. So Joe, withdraw and recuperate. You will be needed in a few months to help the nation heal its wounds.

  35. MannAquino Goodroad says:

    As you suggest the visa can be mightier than the sword, but the pen must never rest.
    Thank you. You love for our culture is well appreciated.

  36. Thank years u for the slice of sanity in this interwebs. Good things never last. Will cherish the memories.

  37. madlanglupa says:

    Where this blog pauses here, we’re just started on the clarion call.

    Thank you, sir, and good luck out in the boonies.

  38. maria luisa concepcion says:

    Thank you very much for your insightful blog letting a Filipina born and raised here understand the Philippine society and its dynamics a little better. You will be sorely missed but then like what you said, you’d still be around, a promise that will keep me hopeful and optimistic. Keep safe.

  39. I always look forward to your intelligent, well researched & fearless blogs. You gave a voice to the silent majority like me who appreciated our honest, hard working, often misunderstood former President. I am fearful of the future under our new leadership and am appalled at the blatant abuse of power so early in his term. The reality that a large majority of our countrymen support this is even more disturbing. So like you, this may be the last time I will air my opinions in public.
    But then again, you never know. I marched on Edsa, joined the Ayala rallies & cried when I saw Ninoy Aquino gunned down in NAIA. Im 70 years old and have learned that there is nothing left to fear in life but fear itself.

  40. bauwow says:

    WTF? Am still shocked.
    Salamat Manong Joe! You will never know how much you taught me and how you have kept me afloat with your words.
    You will be forever cherished and loved.
    May the fire under your belly never be extinguished. See you again Manong Joe!

  41. Rico Audencial says:

    Thank you Joe! Prayers for you and the family. Safe travels…

  42. Maria Mendoza says:

    Joe, All good things must come to a sad end. You were the light in the darkness, but know deep in my soul that you have opened a lot of eyes and dispelled a fog which has been hovering over our beautiful country. I hope someone else could pick up where you left off.

    Thank you.

  43. Waray-waray says:

    @JoeAm have you seen the names of your readers? They must have been reading you long before I was a lurker here. To be exact I chanced upon your blog from Raissa’s at the height of the Impeachment Case against the late SC Justice way back 2012.

    Learned so much here with folks’ different strokes. Far from actual discussions with real people from my country, this is where me and hubby got an intellegent dose of opinions and insights.

    So long everyone. I am really gonna miss everyone here. Proud to have been part of TSH.

    Thanks JoeAm, to your wife Waray -Waray like me who I beleive never say never and to your son from the land of the brave America and the land of the Waray- warays…he would grow up to be a fine, smart, brave man.

  44. methersgate says:

    I’m sorry to lose your blog, Joe. It’s one of the very best, and as a part time scribbler myself I know how much hard work goes into it. And as a foreigner myself albeit not now a resident one I fully appreciate your caution.

    Let’s hope that this latest attempt by a minority of the electorate to shoot the Philippines in the foot, with the re-appearance of such Creatures of the Pit as Marcos, Arroyo, the Ampatuans and others, lasts no longer than earlier turns to the Dark Side.

    I have just been glancing at the Budget – a savage cut in the arms procurement budget and the biggest helping of Pork Barrel – un-checked, UN-accountable – ever seen. The cut in the health budget seems particularly nasty.

    We must assume that the provincial thug’s plan is to install Little Marcos as his successor; we must hope that Vice-President Robredo’s guards are really good at their work,

    Goodbye, good luck, and do come back when you can!

  45. chempo says:

    All the best Joe. I’m grateful for many things I learnt here, from yourself and many commenters. I’m not a local but I can see your words gave solace to many thinking Filipinos who are hurting by the direction the country is heading. A great complement to you Joe is the numerous new commenters coming out to thank you.

  46. cwl says:

    There is time to cry and time to smile, time to fight and time to retreat. So many others retreat but they say it is not a retreat but a reroute. I just hope that the reroute will not turn into a rout. Any way, the struggle to return sanity and civility will continue.Whether there is a retreat, reroute or rout.

  47. Manolita Navarro says:

    I’m sad that it has come to this, but I understand where you’re coming from. Thank you for the hours of insightful but also humorous reading and I particularly thank you for allowing me to reprint one of your articles on our local weekly newspaper. Like you, I am an American citizen and I’m typing this from California right now but will be going back to the Philippines soon. At least you and I and others like us have the option to leave the Philippines if and when it becomes too oppressive. What about the rest who want to escape what seems to be inevitable? 😦

  48. pelang says:

    I may not make a comment as often as others do and did, but i always see to it that i don’t miss visiting your blog. Thank you joeam, we’ll surely miss you.

  49. You will be missed.

    It says a lot about the current state of our society when ‘thinkingpinoy’ and Mocha Uson are all over social media and JoeAm will be off (temporarily we all hope).

    Please take care.

    😥

  50. Tessa says:

    Salamat, JoeAm! Your are even more Filipino than at least 16% of us..Godspeed!

  51. Tambay says:

    Best wishes to Joe! Your blog will be surely missed as part of my morning must read routine.

  52. Elizabeth says:

    This is so sad. Thank you for the words and your insights. You will be sorely missed. I wish you & your family safe travels! God speed! Looking forward to hearing from you again!

  53. Ecila says:

    Thank you so much for loving our country, you have shown that you are more of a Filipino than most who claim to be one, who dont care for the country but rather whats in it for them. Actually i have stopped reading and watching the news lately for there is nothing worth watching anyway.
    God Bless

  54. NHerrera says:

    Thanks Joe for capping your long-running series of comment-filled blogs with this one. The thoughts expressed in the many blogs — using words strung beautifully — were such as to evoke love of country, interestingly from one who has just adopted it by choice.

    Take care and my prayers go with you and the family.

  55. Thank you, Joe.

    I’m saddened of course, but I’m glad nothing shady is going on—- that this is simply a principled, albeit also technical (difficulties), stance.

    As Chief Troll, I’ll make my stand here on the comment threads.

    No politics. But I’ll be here to butt heads with everything else aside from DU30 and drugs (although the Fentanyl production ramped up in China to Mexico to go to the US looks very reminiscent of the Opium Wars, only synthetic 😉 , over-production usually means seepage to other countries) , like

    Education

    Environment

    Culture

    Innovation

    Backyard/Barangay energy generation/food production

    Law

    Int’l Affairs/Geo-politics

    Weather/Climate Change

    And

    Mangoes…

    oh, also Magical Thinking and Magical implements. 😉

    Take care and have fun on your well-earned hiatus, Joe.

    p.s.— Everyone, the way I see it’ll be like that Discussions thread that went over 1,000 when Joe went on vacation last year. Lots to talk about 😉 still. I’ll be here.

    • “Backyard/Barangay energy generation/food production”

      At Pisay during the Marcos era and after the 70s energy crisis, biogas was in…

      There was a group of girls who raised pigs and made their manure into biogas… tasty.

      • That’s awesome, man! Would you have a link to this, Ireneo? I’m not really technically savvy, so although I get it’s all about spinning a turbine, big or small, and/or storing/transferring electrons (like my GoalZero solar rig). There’s a lot more I don’t know about energy generation at the home (backyard/barangay) level.

        As for pigs, I’m very “Muslim” when it comes to pigs, they’re just filthy animals (like us, hence tattoo artists practice on pig skins because it’s closest to human skin, and in it are larvaes and worms, yuck! maybe we can also talk about parasites inside the brains of Filipinos via pork? 😉 )

        Another thing, I notice over there, was the misunderstanding of storm drain system and sewage systems and the difference between black, grey & white water. Before people in general came up with the sewage system (which the Romans “perfected”), storm drain came first… floods and landslides in the countryside due to mining and logging are obvious,

        but

        why are floods so prevalent in the cities there?

        So I would add,

        1. Water System (clean water you drink)

        2. Storm Drain System (which is also clean water, before it’s drained in canals)

        3. Waste Water ( there’s grey, which can be re-used, and black water, poop & pee)

        These three things are related, but more importantly I think you can reenact the whole hydrologic cycle in your own backyard/barangay both for purpose and to better appreciate the process—- doing so, will cause empathy for the whole process, empathy empowers change of thinking. 😉

  56. I did not know how to react to your last article so I just kept re-reading it. Somehow, I did not want it to sink in because it would mean that I have to say goodbye to you, to all the people I met here who became my family, and my “virtual Philippines.”

    Thank you, Joe for your service to the two countries that I love and treasure.

    I think we can still find issues that will uplift Philippines while ignoring the white elephant in the room. It will be a challenge but I believe that we can. YES, WE CAN! 🙂

  57. manuelbuencamino says:

    Thank you too, Joe The conversations we had that you referred to were equally edifying for me

  58. Joe, many thanks and take care. Your running commentary on Philippine affairs did help me form a clearer picture of so many things going on now. The anger after Mamasapano and the spirit of vindictive justice you noted a year ago has gone mainstream, like a raging Filipino on tuba or gin.

    Like Manong Sonny once noted in my blog, there are times when one has little influence on things. The Philippine diaries I posted there – especially about Japanese times, with different voices both in exile and in the Philippines, reflect a strangely similar time… see McArthur series…

    Things can truly go in ANY direction now, and I mean ANY. Pandora’s box is now officially opened. The last things to leave the box was hope, and I don’t mean the Martial Law day cigarette brand.

  59. Peggy Vera says:

    This is so sad! I truly want to cry.
    Sad because your commentary of what’s happening to our country is so true. Sad because I do not see how it can change for the better under the leadership. Sad because we are losing your voice — which so many times we find you are saying what we wanted to say too (you are just more erudite than we could have been). Sad because those guys will now think they won! — they silenced you (for this I’m not only sad, but I am actually angry).

    But we cannot expect you to do otherwise — so sad as we are, we have to wish you the best — for now. Who knows how things will develop. What we should do now is to be thankful for the gift of you and your blog… and we have to say with all sad sincerity — Thank you, JoeAm!

    P.S. Do you intend to delete your blog from the internet — or will you just stop blogging but leave the files there for us to revisit when we need to, when we want to.

  60. Istambay sa kanto says:

    Maraming salamat Sir.

  61. April Co-Mercado says:

    Thank you for holding the rope with us. Keep safe Joe and family.

  62. Thea says:

    I read your blog so patiently even I have to catch up with the comments most of the time. I read it and tried my best to “munch” the intelligence of the views and its eloquence. Thank you, Sir, for loving us and our country.
    I know a person like you will not break a good habit but be careful. A positive fear will save us for a greater achievements in the future.

  63. Cha Coronel Datu says:

    My friend, Joe America,
    he’s a decent and honourable fella.

    Some don’t like that he’s amerikano,
    writing about problems of the Filipino.

    The rest of us think he’s really swell,
    because by God, he thinks and writes so well.

    Through his blog, he made us laugh and cry.
    But most of all he made us think, or at least try.

    Even as he says goodbye, he makes us reflect,
    where to now you happy fools, with all due respect.

    To our own thoughts he has often given voice
    Why then should we now cease making our own noise?

    Teacher, role model, my other konsiyensiya
    That is my friend, the great Joe America.

  64. pandora42 says:

    With all the craziness that is the Philippines, your blog was always a great comfort to read. Each read made us feel like we weren’t alone in this, somehow. I don’t know about the rest, but you were kind of like Santa Claus – after each article, I always left with something I didn’t have prior – something to chew on, so to speak- insight, hope and humor, even. Not to be oozing with Velveeta here, but you gave me hope that there really is something special about our country that is worth sticking up for. Your love for the Philippines and the Filipinos puts us homegrowns to shame. Sadly, it seems that this same love is also the reason you have to go on a hiatus.

    Thank you, Joe, for keeping the faith.

    P.S. The dark side is getting stronger – my newsfeed has been flooded by former-admin-negtrons-turned-new-admin-fanatics sharing from a blog which I thinks is your WANNABE local counterpart blog – thinkingpinoy – who, ironically, doesn’t seem to have an ounce of rational thought in his system, yet is quoted and shared by many. Without your blog, we will have to suffer silently as his readership grows. Perish the thought.

  65. Sandee Masigan says:

    Thank you! 😔

  66. Sal E. says:

    Thank you JoeAm for sharing your perspective of Filipino politics. I enjoyed reading your blogs which more often than not resonate with me and match my own personal views. I understand your decision for going dark at this point in time but know you will be back,.. after all you can’t keep a good man down. Enjoy the break!

    “He that fights and runs away, may turn and fight another day; but he that is in battle slain, will never rise to fight again.”

  67. Javier Gris says:

    Ah. We may all rest assured that this, too, one day, will pass. In the meantime:

  68. Rubjub says:

    Thanks and goodbye for now. You’re not abandoning us, your promise that. God bless America, especially Joe.

  69. alanon says:

    A sad reflection of the times.
    Best wishes, and keep safe.

    Intellect, integrity, and insight are being replaced once again with guns, goons, and gold, plus clans, cults, and chinese.
    Intimidation with impunity is the order of the day.
    The Philippines refuses to listen or learn. Back to the future. Lemming mentality.

    “I have no interest in running for president, but I will only agree if people will allow me to declare martial law.”
    Duterte
    January 2014
    Plan B – reintroduce 1973 constitution under the trojan horse of charter change/federalism.

    For the mindanao mafia,
    destroy and divide is the new mantra. Independence and secession the clear goal.
    The anti-intellectuals have taken over the decisions, and the lunatics now run the asylum.

    ‘You can take a person to knowledge, but not make them think’
    You can make a mayor a president, but you cannot make a president out of this mayor. And an uncouth thug cannot build a civil society.

    Juan wayne duterte will end up shooting himself in the foot.

    The bully who rants, is but a coward who cannot face his challengers in debate and who possesses no sense of honor.

  70. RTC says:

    I’m not a regular follower of your blog but the few articles that crossed my path made me understand what was happening. The display of your CRITICAL THINKING, on different topics, surely was a gift. I believe this is what discussions and communicating is all about. You have a gift to share! I hope you continue on. But yes, do rest for a while for you surely deserve it! Cheers Joeam! Until the next. . .

  71. LG says:

    😰😰😰.

    I never, NEVER thought that your reply to me (“Not to mention bloggers, journalists, retirees…) to my post (“Now I will be watching gradual departures for medical treatments, indefinite vacations or business ventures abroad) meant “you, going to hibernation”. At first I thought, then, you were just being humorous amid the chaos and turmoil of the times. Then I felt you were quite serious…but did not get the hint as what it IS.

    May bukas pa (There is still tomorrow). The noble seeds have been unselfishly planted by you with mind, heart and soul. They shall bear fruits as noble as the planter.

    Vaya con Dios, Joe America. We love you.❤️💕❤️.

    • LG says:

      Am overwhelmed by the many new names posting now.

      Am also not a fan of FB, though I have 2 accounts there which I rarely access.

      Will someone create an exclusive FB account open only to TSH members? If so, kindly announce and invite. Thank you. Btw, does not TSH have a FB account? How about requesting invite there?

    • LG says:

      Joe, your advocacy for social justice and decency LIVES on. Inspiring, challenging, enriching impact to TSH readers-followers. Grateful beyond words. I am!

      You had implied TSH indefinite existence. I hope it does, indeed, to access the archived articles.

  72. Thank YOU, Joe. The Filipinos are the ones to thank God and you for providing us a well moderated blog that does not tolerate dirty talks and nonsense and continues to provoke us to think beyond ourselves, out of the box, the forest for the trees, visionary perspective. I will repeat what many others have already said, you are more a nationalist Filipino, a genuine one, more than most of our countrymen, the 16M voters in particular who caused this last 2 articles to be written, who made possible what is happening now, the blood of the more or less 1,000 poor victims of EJKs, and the possible threat of a Marcos-like dictatorship in our country again despite all our efforts to make them listen.

    No, I’m not saying good bye…this blog will still be here and I will be a part of it even if it will publish only non-political articles from hereon. For political blog, Raissa and her Inside Philippine politics and beyond is the site I will go to….She is a citizen and has no visa agreement to adhere to.

    This is not goodbye…we will not let go of such a great friend as you.

    Take care, friend. You and your wife and son. God bless.

  73. OzyBoy says:

    GOODBYE AND HAVE A GOOD REST. I will REALLY REALLY MISS this blog and all the comments.

  74. Evangeline Palugod says:

    We will miss you and your blog, Joe America. Yours is one of the few truthfull ones and we appreciate your voice in a world gone crazy. Just know that a lot of us share your views and sentiments and hope to continue hearing from you soon in one form or another. Dont abandon us JoeAm.

  75. Eric says:

    Thank you for your insightful reflections on our country.

  76. Arnie says:

    Maraming salamat. I will miss your blog Joe America.

  77. Jie Pablo says:

    Thank you for the knowledge and be safe always.. Prayers for everybody, GOD will be on our side..

  78. aquarose says:

    Thank you, Joe. We’ll miss you. Take care and God bless.

  79. Maria Socorro Reyes says:

    Sad sad day. But I take heart in that your message is still unyielding. Thanks. Keep safe.

  80. Miles says:

    Thank you for being more of a Filipino than most of us born and bred here.

  81. santi331 says:

    Maraming salamat, JoeAm and wishing you all the best.

  82. Rina Maria Rosales says:

    we will sorely miss you JoeAm, that’s for sure. thank you for the superb writing and analysis. your voice stood out, and many of us would use it to drown out the negative noise. thank you, and may we bump into you again when the inevitable implosion happens.

  83. Aldrin says:

    thanks Joe Am..for being a positive conduit of change in the midst of political turmoil.. we will definitely miss your critical thinking and intelligent mind..Peace out! stay healthy…

  84. Susan Luna says:

    I have to do this now. You put words to thoughts I oftentimes couldn’t express, sir JoeAm. But I accept the tradeoff between the intelligent discourse and your safety….always. Thanks from the bottom of my heart and prayers for your entire family.

  85. Rae_E says:

    Thank you so much Joe for this very inspiring and insightful blog! It is indeed very sad that you need to withdraw for now. God bless & keep you and your family.

  86. Imriv yren says:

    Very sad…Thank you for your passion and great love for our country. You will be missed. May the Lord bless you and keep you ns be kind to you all the days of your life!

  87. Andrea says:

    Maraming Salamat…..So long looking forward for more blogs after hibernation…Keep safe you and your family…..good men never die they fade away for a while will soon wake up again… Mabuhay ka Joe America!

  88. Gabby Gagno says:

    Many times, I disagree with some of your ideas, but if you’re closing your blog due to threats and verbal abuses you could no longer take, then that’s sad. Closing down your blog is becoming some sort of precedent that an alternative voice–that of dissent–is slowly dying. It’s one of the signs of a dying democracy.

    Thanks for being an alternative voice and contributing to intelligent discourse. You’re one voice less, but as long as we think there’s somethign wrong, we shall continue to dissent whether or not we have a blog, right? 😀

  89. EdZee says:

    Hey Joe, why not change your blog topics from Politics to say, Food and Travel so you won’t need to say goodbye? 🙂

  90. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Joe!!! I will be missing the readings and learnings of your blogs. You may not be a Filipino citizen but You are Filipino by heart. Take care of yourself and your family. My prayers for you and stay safe. This is like back on Marcos years where there is no true free of speech. Nowadays, you can barely hear someone in the media criticising the new administrations as they all agreed everything he say or do. God bless the Philippines!!! That’s all I can say!!!!

  91. Waray-waray says:

    It Is Better to Light Just One Little Candle
    Than to stumble in the dark.
    Better far that you light just one little candle
    All you need’s a tiny spark.

    If we’d all say a prayer that the world would be free
    A wonderful dawn of new day we’ll see.
    And if everyone lit just one little candle
    What a bright world this would be.

    When the day is dark and dreary
    And your way is hard to find.
    Don’t let your heart be weary
    Just keep this thought in mind.

  92. rzb says:

    Thank you also Joe for allowing a devil’s advocate in your blog.

  93. NHerrera says:

    Hi gals and guys of TSH,

    I am waxing lyrical, remembering a song from the film Camelot — the song providing a sense to Joe’s feelings on leaving TSH as he explained it, the blog a metaphor for the fair lady in the song. I just love Robert Goulet render it:

    If Ever I Would Leave you

    If ever I would leave you
    It wouldn’t be in summer.
    Seeing you in summer I never would go.
    Your hair streaked with sun-light,
    Your lips red as flame,
    Your face witha lustre
    that puts gold to shame!

    But if I’d ever leave you,
    It couldn’t be in autumn.
    How I’d leave in autumn I never will know.
    I’ve seen how you sparkle
    When fall nips the air.
    I know you in autumn
    And I must be there.

    And could I leave you
    running merrily through the snow?
    Or on a wintry evening
    when you catch the fire’s glow?

    If ever I would leave you,
    How could it be in spring-time?
    Knowing how in spring I’m bewitched by you so?
    Oh, no! not in spring-time!
    Summer, winter or fall!
    No, never could I leave you at all!

    • LG says:

      Bravo NH. 👏👏👏. More!

      • NHerrera says:

        I am just an incurable romantic. And I believe quite a few in The Society are, like yourself. 🙂

        (I wanted to add — Love in the time of Duterte. So, there.)

        • LG says:

          Now, that we are prohibited from having more of WHAT we just lost, we crave for more.

          Proven once more….one can’t know the value of something until it’s gone. Can be said of the recent past. The significant, recent Past. Most related to the Present.

  94. I have to say till we meet again to joe, sonny nherrera, edgar, josephivo, chempo, lance and all the other TSH people who I haven’t connected with through Facebook.

    I will miss you guys, The swell people found here is probably 60% of the reason I go to joe’s blog.

    • NHerrera says:

      Till we meet again Gian. Same feelings here. Joe’s Blog is great because of Joe and also because of people like yourself who populate it. Be seeing you then.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      *******
      Giancarlo, thank you for being there for us as well.

      We have been, we are all bridges over troubled water.

      Speaking of which…

      ***

      History is a roiling river.

      Be it of a man, a nation, or a civilization.

      Beneath the waters run the two strong currents of good and evil.

      The currents twist and turn, interweave and interbe.

      But the river is one.

      And the river flows to the sea.
      *****

      • cha says:

        Edgar, NH, Chempo. Sonny, Josephivo, Lance and the others,

        Can we interest you in joining us on facebook? We have a small closed and secret group (meaning only those in the group are able to see what we post) of TSH regulars, mostly just sharing readings, news clips and other online information with each other. There is the occasional ranting here and there but mostly we just assure each other that we’re not alone and other people actually care about the things each of us worry about. We can greatly benefit from your wisdom and reassuring presence in this small group, as has been the case here in Joe’s blog.

        I know some of you may have reservations about being on fb but for now this is the only other way we can stay in touch (until Joe comes back from hibernation). Unless someone else might have a better idea?

        Anyway, you can look us up individually (myself, Irineo, Mary Grace, Karl, Gian etc) and add us on fb and then any of us should be able to add you to the group page. See you there.

        • Thanks for the invite, cha, but I’m not really a big fan of fb. I will be here in the comments thread, so long as Joe keeps it open—- even if I have to resort to long-winded monologues to amuse myself 😉 .

          I agree with gian, it was the people here that kept me coming back for more as well. I’ve always likened our interactions in the comments as jazz musicians, each with individual instrumental virtuosity, just jamming away creating great ideas/music together, sometimes the jam session is ruckus, other times harmonious, but all the time productive.

          So I wanted to share this, the original French of “I Wish You Love” (I heard this first from an Ewan McGregor movie, but for the life of me, cannot remember the title of that movie), I’ve always preferred the French original, aside from not speaking French, the song seems more hopeful when sung in French,

          I imagine us now jamming here ,

          edgar, this…

          “But the river is one.

          And the river flows to the sea.”

          reminded me of this quote:

          I’ve always been averse to this good/evil dichotomy.

        • Nate says:

          May I know your group page?

        • Edgar Lores says:

          *******
          Thanks, Cha.
          *****

        • sonny says:

          Thank you too, cha. Am still traumatized by Nigerian hackers and just gaining confidence in WordPress security & JoeAm protocols. I do care a lot for the group in fb. So far so good in Irineo’s security too. This is the extent of my social media world.

    • sonny says:

      And to you too, gianC.

      I pray the spirit of TSH lives on and the physical blog stays if only to be visited and rekindled.
      To JoeAm, truly El Cid Campeador to many!

    • karlgarcia says:

      See you on fb Gian.

    • LG says:

      Ditto, Gian.

  95. Gee ibañez says:

    Thanks a million Joe! Your blog made me realize that good & decent people are not extinct in the Philippines. My prayers are with you & your family always. Keep safe. Looking forward to your metamorphosis.

  96. rofodl says:

    Aw…gee whiz! Just when I had just started to follow you. Anyway, as those early colonizers would say: “Vaya con Dios! Salud, amor, terosoro…y los tiempo para gastarlos.” Salamat, shalom, salaam. Take care, Joe America. Who knows that I may someday, somehow clink glasses with you? With America’s greatest contribution to humanity….bourbon.

  97. ara says:

    thank you, joe america . hope you will return on better days.

  98. andy ibay says:

    On this your interregnum piece
    Your alleged poet Popoy del R. Cartanio
    Would like to say:

    JoeAm, In God’s universe,
    In His just and loving heart
    there’s heaven
    As there are hell, purgatory and limbo
    Where everything is eternal
    In every space and time.
    Till we meet again smacks of eternity
    There is no good bye which make a lie
    Of “parting is such a sweet sorrow”.

    we can revert to being hydrogen and oxygen
    then become humans again like our noble thoughts
    of brilliance and selfless longings.
    There is no good bye Joe Am.
    Wala talaga. NADA. There is no stopping
    No cessation, no oblivion only pauses
    in short halting moments of battles
    in our infinite war on the side of affection
    for man’s beauty and justice in God’s image
    like it or not there is no good bye as we
    unknowingly struggle for perfection
    albeit mere words we humbly call
    a society of honor.

    As wannabe something, how can I paint
    A rainforest, a waterfall, a floating glacier,
    A clear or turbulent sky, a flock of geese,
    Day and Night as sankamap and sandaun,
    A sick dying child, the face of a mother at childbirth,
    How can I portray in God’s image a
    Society of Honor? Hah, hah, hah.
    Laugh with me Joe Am and the World
    In honest pride laughs with us before
    we in bivouac and armour
    slumber awaiting the coming dawn.

    if your alleged poet and artist can write a book
    if will be in there, your society and name.
    Mi lukim ya Joe Am.

    • andy ibay says:

      NEVER AGAIN this long ago . . .

      Arse and Cunt of the Wicked

      Flies and bugs swarm dregs smelling like a taong grasa’s armpit
      Giseldo Diwangbayan blinks and spits to control his vomit
      In this stinking slopes where the hapless doomed of Quezon City
      Thin and sickly, dirty and hungry children search for cash.
      Regretting he came, he asked: “Is this Payatas, arse of the jackass?”

      Doggie must be so sick, to be spared by lovers of dog’s meat
      Giseldo Diwangbayan leapfrogs hating rigor mortis beneath his feet
      Scared by black eyes rotting eyelids, glinting skull of decaying mass
      Marbled lifeless eyes dead dog accusing him:
      “Why this fate, my carcass in Payatas?” .

      Rusty and squeaky, unwanted and rejected like a rock of shit
      Giseldo Diwangbayan stops and sits on the skeleton of this fridge,
      Sitting, his slit eyes absorbing this Hades where unfortunates clash
      Like an exploding bulb he exclaimed: “This is education, a walk in Payatas.”

      What a classroom! Not a labyrinth but wet hills of muck and slime
      Giseldo Diwangbayan sees more than garbage, dirt and disease reigned sublime
      He remembered Mendiola a classroom for patriots like Chino Roces
      Teachers wearing navy blue, riot-geared beating the students senseless.

      Under hiding sun beneath velvet sky, wet by rain, soaked by sweat,
      Giseldo Diwangbayan remembered bloodied by blows. Said Nooo! to retreat.
      Robotized blue pigs pushing, kicking, smashing heads with truncheons
      Not knowing their soul bleeds in Payatas! Mendiola shows their miseducation.

      Immaculate Mendiola aorta of four academes disfigured by barbwires
      Street Mendiola bivouac of attack dogs, patriots’ and rebels’ quagmire
      Giseldo Diwangbayan clinched fist raised to immortalize the disheartened.
      Payatas campus of slaves. Massacred. Mendiola asphalt grave of the fallen.

      Payatas and Mendiola, arse and cunt of the wicked
      Giseldo Diwangbayan wish them all dead
      Not the deadly cunt or the stinking arse
      But those devilgods of life’s tragic farce.

      Regretting but doubting now: education is best a walk in Payatas
      for me ‘tis education better than police platoons marching like sheiks.
      an immersion to the labyrinth of muck and slime,
      of metals oxidized, of decaying flesh of fauna and flora,
      workplace and chapel of pious scavengers

      —————–

      Who is Diwangbayan? A middle-age man, unemployed activist living in an NGO Office
      He went to Payatas for his personal immersion to the conditions of the downtrodden
      With his eyes,

      When I went to Anawim, home of God’s abandoned
      Taking a short cut from Batasan on to Montalban
      I passed by Barangay Payatas, a mile of a highway
      Of swirling dust, of white but yellowed plastic bags
      Strewn along with empty packets of noodles.

      I imagined a Giseldo Diwangbayan
      saw more than garbage, dirt and disease,
      poor sickly looking boys and girls
      Looking old in their teens,
      Yesterday’s blushing brides too soon dried up mothers,
      Widows, lugging plastic sacks on their backs

      Thin men unfit for barkers, starters or jeepney driving,
      Young husbands alongside wives, babies on both hips
      “bent from morn till the set of sun,” goes the ditty
      Winnowing trash like gold for loan sharks,
      Unlike but worse than picking apples by illegals
      to earn yesterdays lunch and supper
      to pay for today’s breakfast

      Scavengers, scroungers, buried pride, devoid of luxurious shame
      Hardened by survival, energized by vitamin D of mid day sun
      Weak but alive from a single meal of three minute noodle

      ****

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        “The poor will always be with us,”
        a strange thing to say for the Lord
        who can do all things: make the lame walk
        the blind see, the dead alive again,
        so why didn’t he, why didn’t he
        make the poor rich, fattening themselves
        till even their dogs can no longer
        eat the crumbs that fall wayward
        from tables of unbelievable plenty,
        it would have been easy, and the whole
        world will worship him, everyone is rich,
        no more need, no more want,
        but wait, is it only the poor that must
        be saved, aren’t the rich worthy of
        saving from their own excesses, living
        lives of boisterous bulimic breathlessness,
        so it’s all the same, knowing what I know,
        the poor are rich with hope, and the rich
        poor wallowing in their own vomit,
        it’s all the same, only God can make
        A Difference.

        • andy ibay says:

          If any one think this is OUT OF TOPIC
          Then any one can’t read A CARDBOARD HEADSTONE

          If God Is History

          If God is both history and oracle
          (A Reminder to Wannabe Dead Heroes)

          If God is both history and oracle
          Then God works not in mysterious ways
          But in glaring obviousness.

          Take the French Revolution to see
          Floods of blood to wash cleaned
          The folly of excess of the elite.

          Shed tears for St Joan of Orleans
          By her people her own she was betrayed,
          she burned at the stake
          To nullify her victories in the name of angels.

          Lament India’s Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation
          Own’s country independence was no Kevlar
          Against bullets of his tribe’s assassin.

          Catholics forget short-lived Pope John Paul I
          Poisoned by the devout and devoted
          He only wanted to be Jesus-like in his ways.

          Shake your head for Martin Luther King, Jr.
          Shot not for having a dream but for talking
          So his people may live like true human beings.

          Remember Jose Protacio Rizal, scientist and artist
          Who thought liberation is won by ways of peace
          Whose politicians remain yoked and shackled by avarice.

          Look down on lowly plebeian Andres Bonifacio
          The rightness of his cause killed by status quo
          Wrongly believing that good prevails over evil too.

          Remember Ninoy Aquino killed by the hand of one
          Of a people he thought worth dying for; when no one
          Is sure what it was about after all is said and done.

          Remember Ninoy’s widow, Cory Cojuangco when only
          Very few know why she was attacked with so many coup,
          People only knew when many have served well Gloria Arroyo.

          Think of Obama’s typology of bad and good side of history.
          Think of the villains and victims of God’s obviousness.
          Think of His son, speared and crucified, and be ready.

          And you will know, no noble cause, no humble prayer
          Or ferocious thrusts is safe from pious or Godless
          Woes dimmed by oracles, chronicled by history.

          If God is history and oracle, isn’t it a fact ?
          His obviousness remain a mystery
          Only to the unaware of murder and treachery.

          If God is history and oracle, read therein
          Which time has made well written
          That man not Eden is evil’s flourishing garden.

          written March 1, 2010

          ****

          • andy ibay says:

            I was trawling JoeAm’s waterways since I need to entice a Canadian to write something when I stumbled into this piece written before Pres Duterte took his oath and went into overdrive action. I never met or thought he existed at the time, this Mayor to be who will become President. Read the recycled part if you wish.
            ————————

            If I recall right the last time I was in Davao City was when Jolo, Sulu was burned down. Martial Law was still deep digging the socio-political trenches and I was one of four Directing Staff commissioned from the defunct UP Philippine Executive Academy by the Mindanao Executive Development Academy (ad-Hoc Unit of Mindanao State University) conducting a six-week course for Mindanao (Muslim) Executives. The first time was in June 1967. I spent the first night in Bago Oshiro before crossing the heart of Mindanao with my Bureau Director, after two days ending the trip in Cagayan De Oro City. The paradox of the City during Martial Law when the Manila-Davao air fare was only 130 pesos was for a nobody like me a premium PAL Jet seat was always available because I knew not the PAL Manager but a nobody luggage porter. I was always a wait-listed passenger getting a sure seat.

            But that’s an irrelevant wayward thought. Timely and relevant will be musings and explorations, for the mind to fly along the lines of making Mindanao the new Luzon; of making the Davao Provinces the New Capital Region; defunct-king (obsoleting) Malacanang into a Politics Museum (the Ombudsman as Curator Adviser) and building in the slopes of Mount Apo a DAVAO MALACANANG, relocating the Congress of the Philippines either in Kidapawan or Pagadian, and shielding from corruption the Supreme Court in Basilan City.

            The new President elect – Presdu30 used to: he dreams and neutralizes; he now seems hell-bent to: stay awake, bulldoze politico-socio-economic barnacles of the nation with a wrecking ball; build, build, built instead of change, change — the empty slogan of political scoundrels. Many Filipinos do not and did not like the TACTICS, but a lot more, lots lots more had voters’ epiphany and saw the STRATEGY. For Presdu30 to nation-build a new one. So every Filipino worth his race as long as he stays the course, should — including nobody me — help him. If the Society of JoeAm indulges or just even provides space, I shall recollect my scattered thoughts on a fundamental law and post them here. . . . .

            Bulabog Mindanao
            Why is there no peace in Mindanao?
            Forefathers’ land of promise, this vastness of restless potential
            This home of tribals, this melting pot of strangers
            Now our wasteland of denuded forests, of exploited mines,
            Polluted shores and drying dying marine life
            Small world of tears, desolate prairie of widows and orphans,
            Grasslands cratered by bombs and mortars
            Singing armalites, whistling bullets, roaring howitzers
            Sands of dried blood, ashes of burned homes
            Baptismal fonts of passed lieutenants, Oases of generals
            Graveyard of yes sirs. Broadway stage of decapitated heroes
            Paradise of the Haves, hell of the have nots
            A piece of toy, a piece of cake, a treasure trove
            Shangri-La of political warlords
            Eden of the second coming, second original sin
            Mindanao is where the soul of the Philippines was born
            And where it will finally die. UNLESS . . . .
            Written September 14, 2007

            https://joeam.com/2016/05/17/there-is-love-everywhere/

  99. Bert says:

    Thank you, Joe. This is not goodbye but just a temporary parting of ways for awhile. Just take care and best wishes too to wife and to Joe Jr..

    To all you wonderful people of the Society, we will see each other again I’m sure of it. You’ll see.

    Just want all of you guys to know that I’ll miss you all for a while. Its such a great pleasure being with you here in Joe’s blog. Until we meet again.

  100. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Friends, you may want to put this Rand Corporation 116-page pdf report in your list of readings. As you know, Rand is a Think Tank based in California. The Report, titled “War with China: Thinking through the Unthinkable” was commissioned by the US Army. I have only scanned it but it discusses the military, economic, US domestic political, international dimensions of such an event.

    http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1100/RR1140/RAND_RR1140.pdf

    • I skimmed thru it, NHerrera. When I read these things, I usually go straight to findings and recommendations and then figure out who the principal writer was and what’s his/her angle (ie., does he work for one of the many military contractors that provide material or software for the very things he/she is justifying here? 😉 )

      I’ve becoming a cynic , like the corrupt IOC and Olympic athletes who get all the shiny medals but not the profits , the US military has been greatly shafted during the post-9/11 wars , military contractors making bank 😉 .

      But skimming that report, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this “the Princess Bride” quote ,

      As for the RAND article, I’m detecting a lot of mirror imaging, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_traps_for_intelligence_analysis#Types Hardware, and personnel-wise, the US is still light years away , not even the same league … And I gotta feeling the Chinese have also seen “the Princess Bride”— so, they’ll not “fall victim to one of the classic blunders” , focus instead in real estate and companies from China in the US (also, the new Opium war 😉 ).

      They are playing a different game, and RAND’s still playing “Red Dawn”.

      • Nate says:

        I have questions. I don’t understand the statements. Can you explain? The US is light years away whom? What does it mean “Never get involved in a land war in Asia? What is the classic blunder? Can you explain what is the new opium war? Thanks.

        • Hey Nate,

          Light years away compared to China, mostly I’m basing “light years” not only on spending (military-industrial complex) but mostly also on experience all around,

          “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” is from “the Princess Bride”:

          And the new Opium war is Fentanyl from China via Mexico.

          More thoughts on the RAND pdf.

          Recommendations

          U.S. and Chinese political leaders alike should have military options other than immediate strikes to destroy opposing forces.
          U.S. leaders should have the means to confer with Chinese leaders and contain a conflict before it gets out of hand.
          The United States should guard against automaticity in implementing immediate attacks on Chinese A2AD and have plans and means to prevent hostilities from becoming severe. Establishing “fail safe” arrangements will guarantee definitive, informed political approval for military operations.
          The United States should reduce the effect of Chinese A2AD by investing in more-survivable force platforms (e.g., submarines) and in counter-A2AD (e.g., theater missiles).
          The United States should conduct contingency planning with key allies, especially Japan.
          The United States should ensure that the Chinese are specifically aware of the potential for catastrophic results even if a war is not lost militarily.
          The United States should improve its ability to sustain intense military operations.
          U.S. leaders should develop options to deny China access to war-critical commodities and technologies in the event of war.
          The United States should undertake measures to mitigate the interruption of critical products from China.
          Additionally, the U.S. Army should invest in land-based A2AD capabilities, encourage and enable East Asian partners to mount strong defense, improve interoperability with partners (especially Japan), and contribute to the expansion and deepening of Sino-U.S. military-to-military understanding and cooperation to reduce dangers of misperception and miscalculation.

          The recommendation on more subs and missiles, I think is the whole point of the article. I’m a big fan of military equipment you can use for non-military ops, like rescue or research etc. and I enjoyed the severe to light to lengthy to brief matrix of scenarios, but I ‘m sure those things have already been covered in other articles, nothing original…

          the ask for more subs and more missiles, I’d say is suspicious (though reasonable), with the advent of more cost-effective drones to hunt subs and satellites that can penetrate volumes of water, no need for more subs really; missiles from a MAD perspective (MAD=Mutually Assured Destruction) makes sense, using the funds instead to focus on the last recommended item, makes a lot more sens (also other items on that list) , the least of priorities should be subs and missiles, IMHO.

          I googled the authors, and I cannot find who they currently work for—- I’m wondering if there’s a conflict of interest 😉 .

          • Micha says:

            These Are the New Weapons the Pentagon Chief Wants for Tomorrow’s Wars

            Smarter smart bombs, mini railguns, and swarming robot boats to watch man-made islands are a few of the key technology areas that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sees as vital to U.S. military superiority in the next decade.

            http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2016/02/New-weapons-pentagon-wants-tomorrows-wars/125611/

            • Micha,

              I think they’ll get more pennies on the dollar expanding this program to more enlisted,

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_area_officer

              • Micha says:

                A Hillary Clinton presidency will definitely see more Pentagon build-up because she’s more hawkish than the war freaks of the previous White House. She has in fact attracted the endorsements of several neo-cons who engineered the Iraq invasion.

                Meanwhile, saber-rattling in the Eastern European front between US led NATO coalition and Vladimir brings us perilously close to global MAD-ness.

              • I agree, Micha, that’s one of the main reasons I ‘m not pro-Hillary. Putin though I think understands the ME better and more importantly understands proportionality of violence, unlike Hillary and Bush II, and definitely not Obama (w/out Hillary as Sec. of State, the outcome of the Arab Spring and ISIS would totally look different today, ie. Hillary’s fault 😉 Obama I consider a Ron Paul dove, “let’s stop playing world police”).

                Interestingly, and to connect NH’s RAND article, the stuff going downhill in East EU and Russia is basically someone’s bright idea of introducing more missiles in theatre. LOL!

              • Micha says:

                She’s not even legit, she practically stole the primaries from Sanders. She’s a corrupt power-hungry neocon in Democrat clothing. Not good for America.

    • sonny says:

      I’ve not looked into the Club of Rome lately. I should, together with this Rand pdf. Thank you, NH.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks guys for the comments/ additional information from the links you posted.

      LCpl_X: Just one item I sense is quite relevant in the Rand Report. It emphasized the difference in the situation for a “war” occurring in the neighborhood of year 2015 and one in the neighborhood of 2025.

      • NHerrera,

        A war with China in 2015, will look different than a war 10 years on… I get that. But I’ve read enough of these predictive type analyses, NH, that I don’t even pretend to see past next year. Sure there’s element s of Self-fulfilling prophecy involved , but I guess I’m looking for a different way in which to engage China (and this RAND report is just more of the same 😦 )—-

        I’ve been at the bottom end of these PhDs and so-called experts policies, so I tend to get long-winded (pls. understand that most of this rant is directed at the report and not you, NH 😉 )

        Remember one of my many biases here is

        1. that Climate Change will so drastically change how we live that it might be better to start thinking in terms of Noah’s Ark—- where both China and the US will have big roles.

        My other biases operating here,

        2. that we the US have been the aggressing party since post WWII, so here’s a novel idea why not ease up on subs, missiles, etc.? 😉

        3. this one’s to Micha’s point above re future weapons, the DoD tends to go ga-ga over fancy hardware, how about focus on software, the folks that are actually tasked to fight these wars, make them smarter, ie. speaking different languages, learning different cultures, etc.— this RAND report hinted at “inter-operability” and “understanding” , but realistically to master a foreign culture (language , modes of thought, etc.) you gotta be on it for 10 years, and there has to be more involved in this pursuit (one guy studying Chinese in China won’t do!)

        4. I’m w/ Obama (there’s plenty of things I’m against re Obama’s policies) but we need to facilitate more, do less, playing a background role (though prepared for WWII type scenarios), and let neighboring nations carry their weight instead of playing our old Cold War police the world position.

        5. I’m not sure yet if this new Opium War China is playing, comes from the top, or generated by lower tiered corruption, but here’ s a good documentary about lower politicians in China (not unlike the Philippines), http://hooligansparrow.com/

        • Also, NH, here’s a favorite blog I peruse now and then, if nothing more than equipment recognition, but once in awhile they link to interesting articles, http://china-defense.blogspot.com/

          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks for the links. The last link shows a nation with capability or at least it knows how to display it.

            I agree that 10 years hence from 2015 is quite different from 10 years hence from 1950. Climate change — with its economic impact, not counting the economic woes China is already experiencing or the world for that matter — is a significant factor. Interesting though this war gaming subject.

            • I totally agree , NH. I’m not privy to all the grander strategy type war-gaming —I seriously doubt that there is one, especially since the death of this guy aka “Yoda”, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/24/yoda-has-left-the-building/ (one of the RAND originals).

              But at the strategic level, I’d love to see more Prisoner Dilemma type scenarios , to encourage everyone to start looking at this all different, instead of continued Cold War footing,

              I don’t know how that can translate to the ground level war games, but I ‘d like more mass rescue and epidemic type scenarios inserted in, the DoD should really look into what these guys are doing (its essentially a movement now, plus they are doing more int’l ops), http://teamrubiconusa.org/ , if you’re interested in the “inter-operability” hinge to all this, these guys are the experts (no quotes 😉 ).

  101. Gia R. dela Crz says:

    It looks like a scene from a movie when the “thinking class” bid each other goodbye in silence; the kind of silence infused with the disconcerting knowledge that these are indeed dangerous times. When Conrado de Quiros stopped writing, I thought I would have to give up my predilection for articles that do not only reflect my ideals but are also literary pieces by themselves. Who knows? There just might be another La Solidaridad in the next months or years and I’ll find you there again. We have 6 years of this – if we ever survived that long.

  102. Oh Joe. 😦 We have not always agreed with each other but I have always admired your courage to speak about a country we both love. All the best to you and I hope to see your presence again soon.

  103. Nate says:

    The Pogrom is in full swing.

  104. jon.esp says:

    Thank you, Joe, for your concern on the well being of Filipinos and for letting your voice be heard through this blog. Thank you for your insights and inspiration.
    The time may seem dim for us but we trust that God will see us all through these dark times.
    God bless.

  105. A treasure and a mindmill pleasure to be a part of this blog site…so much thanks.

  106. J. Bondurant says:

    At a time when the PNP chief expresses regret over vigilante killings while baldly stating that every life taken by unknown perpetrators is one less criminal despite the lack of any concrete evidence or due process…

    At a time when the highest official in the land makes it ever more starkly clear that there is no low to which he will not stoop in order to silence anyone who dares oppose him…

    At a time when Mocha Uson is hailed as a true journalist by many in spite or, more accurately, because of her fawning support for the incumbent administration…

    “[T]hough we know all seems lost, the one thing [they] cannot destroy is hope. Hope survives because the battle is not over, not as long as even one of us is willing to fight.

    “It doesn’t matter how many fall, for new heroes will always rise to carry on, bringing all their resources, their skills, their talents to bear to defeat the enemy. [We] will survive this.

    “We will rebuild and we will thrive. Never doubt and never forget. [We] will never surrender!”

  107. adrian says:

    Yeah. I used to stay into the wee hours of the night to read an article and its accompanying comments. Such wit, intelligence, and the occassional humor. Things are a bit sad and terrifying nowadays, with the duterte horde beating their chests. Not to mention the cowed media. Have some much needed rest sir, and stay safe.

  108. DAgimaz says:

    its getting scarier really. im thinking no one is safe. you could be killed for mistaken identity, wrong place at the wrong time like you are with the suspect because it just happened that you ride together in a jeepney.

    DU30 controls congress with absolute majority already and if they want more solutions like opening the accounts of drug lords, they could repeal the bank secrecy law immediately if they want but they just want shortcut..laziness tsk tsk tsk

    so long Joeam..

  109. caliphman says:

    Tyranny has many forms and one is muzzling those places where his tyranny is called out. As with Marcos, so may it be for the one who follows him. Sic semper tyrannis.

  110. Kanto boy says:

    Joe and contributors, snappy salute to you all!

  111. alicia m. kruger says:

    Thank you Joe.

  112. Pablo says:

    Thank you for always proper analysis.
    And respect for your opinion, I can fully understand it.
    On the other hand, my area suddenly is cleaned up, safe again to walk at night and some nasty people have left (scared, I presume) or pledged change…. I also see the upside.
    A lot of people killed, but how many people would have succumbed to drugs and other violence if it would have been different??
    I am looking at the balance and just hope it will show positive results. There is not a lot we can do about it, the process will have to run its course.
    I salute you, Joe, and hope you will get a well deserved peaceful time.

  113. shellyolvido says:

    I have been busy with a lot of things lately and surprised when I saw this post. Sad…very sad…but I know this isn’t sayonara. I know this is the part, in an action movie, wherein the hero starts training real hard and level up for its comeback to save the society..thianis how I would put it…GOod Luck Joe!!!

  114. Rich Lee says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of your posts silently and inspired by your words. It’s sad I don’t have any to look forward now since this has come to an end. All I can say is “kudos and thank you, Joe America for your work and sharing a piece of your precious time with us.” Please continue to pray for our people. May your wishes come true.

  115. aim-7 sparrow says:

    kinda late but maraming salamat joeam, keep safe… but i wish this should not be the end… thanks for sharing us your wisdom, your thoughts.
    “ship of fools” pot@%$^^%&(U)U nyo!

  116. Thea says:

    I wish you could include me as friend in your facebook page so I can see it first in my list. I have same account name with a dog as profile. (: (: Thank you.

  117. Analey Lopez says:

    I will surely miss reading your blog sir JoeAm. Thank you and God bless you and your family always.

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