The Philippines leads the world into post-truth modernism. It’s ugly.


[Photographer unknown]

By Joe America

In the post-truth world we live in, we define our values according to utility, and so we paint the factual world around us as we need to in order to get what we want to get.

Okay, okay, I know that is vague, a lot of words chasing an idea but not quite being able to find comprehension.

So let’s walk through this.

In the old days, which would be from the fifth century when Athens established democracy to about 2000, we had values that centered around the well-being of the nation, and within that, the well-being of our various communities such as cities, clans, fraternities, classmates, churches, political parties, clubs, and . . . core among all . . . families.

Under the old democratic or group ideals, we prized allegiance and service and discipline under laws. Giving of ourselves. Taking the freedoms available, yes, but attaching to them responsibilities, or ethics. Much of the law-writing was devoted to social rules, such as how we treat one other (fairness, inclusion) and what obligations a doctor or lawyer or senator or soldier voluntarily takes on to uphold his profession’s ideals. That is basically what ethics is about, the rules of group behavior.

We got pretty good at looking out for one another during the 1,600 years we devoted to it.

This capability started to erode when we got adept at social media and became public figures ourselves. We could type something profound and our friends would shower us with praise. So we started adding friends and working hard to say something profound, or put out a photo that people liked or laughed at. It didn’t matter if what we said was factually sound, only that it created a reaction and we got our jollies. We were each a star in our own little auditorium.

More and more people did this. Hundreds of millions did it, and from all the chatter arose a new class of dominant people: the manipulators. Today, they are emerging into leadership around the world. These are the people who figured out how to manage large waves of chatter across the internet. They tracked it by watching Google trends or tweet volumes or survey results. They controlled it by unleashing volumes of THEIR truths through compliant networks of believers. They controlled the content of mass media by controlling social media, or buying their way in.

It’s odd how quickly change came. Old rules fell aside. Group values were replaced with being a star. Showmanship and trivial slogans became more important than information. No longer was it a requirement for a public servant to refrain from womanizing. In the world of star power, womanizing became a STRENGTH, a quality of character that the great typing masses admired because only weaklings would not womanize. Only a weakling would bow to those old ethical rules.

New ideals formed. Crude became funny. Insults were admired. Lies became everyday truths. It became a strength to destroy another’s character or insult the Pope or flip off the media. Star power rules. Information is irrelevant. Compassion is irrelevant. Sacrifice and accountability are for fools.

The only moral rule is that there is no moral rule except advantage.

Well, the Philippines has always been playing in this world. The nation never really had a functioning democracy because it never got to the part where citizens believed giving of themselves to their nation had any payback. People took what they could get. That framed the ethical foundation as cops took bribes and people drove without licenses and helmets. And politicians tapped the money streams. “Whatever I need to do, whatever I can get away with.”

In THAT milieu, President Aquino’s earnest, productive government was an aberration. Weak. Restrictive. Prissy. Insulting. People poured out their venom at the Administration at every little slight. They did not seek or need information. They were intolerant of every mistake. President Aquino put their way at risk. Many viscerally hated him.

When social media arrived in the Philippines just a few years ago, the text-mad Filipino population had no trouble thriving in the untruths, rumors, lies, and speculations of the internet. They elected as President a man who would fail any and all of the old ethical rules. Mocha Uson, a blathering moral midget of absolutely no honor under the old rules, became the model for the successful media superstar. She is adored and idolized . . . and believed . . . under the new rules.

So the Philippines leapfrogged over the backward Western nations still glued to community values. The Philippines forged a new path to social harmony. The new rules are pretty simple, as far as I can tell:

  • Trust no one except a few confidants.
  • Use anyone.
  • Get skilled at manipulating others.
  • Have no shame.

Do those things and the world is your oyster, pearl included.

There is an additional rule for those who don’t acquire power and the ability to manipulate. Only one.

  • If you can’t manipulate people, obey those who can.

Leadership skills require that each becomes his own moralist, making up the truth about things, no matter what the facts might say. Say anything and make objection a moral offense. Look upon those who would object with disdain, for they are inferior. Treat them as the enemy if they persist.

And so some Republicans in the United States, in following the Philippine lead, want to designate the “anti-Trump” protesters as terrorists, and if enough people object to the Marcos burial, you can fairly well bet that that will be cause enough for President Duterte to declare martial law.

Is it right? Not by the old rules.

Is it right? Sure, under the new.

Individuals who persist in applying the old morality to the new world will be declared the enemy as sure as the sun rises in the east. In the new morality, old recalcitrants who adhere to community values are a danger to the State. They advocate for a lost set of values, of ethics. They speak of things like fairness and equality. But that is done. Over. Past. It is weak to seek REAL truths and fair play. Carried to action, it is an offense against the State.

Being of old morality myself, having lived my entire life in it, I struggle with the new rules. Particularly that one about shame. I am ashamed at what I see in both the Philippines and US. This is the best we can be? I see many others struggling with it as well. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, few at the top of the three branches of government are of the old morality. Most practice the profession of opportunity rather than service. Perhaps 50 people among a thousand hold to principle. Senator De Lima illustrates what will happen to all of them . . . all of us . . . in time.

It is fascinating to me. Under the new rules, the old leftists, the principled people-advocates like Waldon Bello, suddenly become strong and wise and refreshing, to my mind. A lot of leftists have bowed to the God Utility, and if they can get peace and power by supporting President Duterte, they will. But the principled among them will stick with group ideals until they wither and die. The irony, the irony, seeing left and right join hands and march into the sunset.

If you asked me to read the future, I’d say this. We are in for a period of darkness, turmoil, and violence, as the world is interconnected, and Utility is in power. It is an amoral world. Only the weak adhere to group values. They must be eliminated so that the strong can thrive.

I suspect a core of old-morality people will hold out. I don’t know how many or for how long. If they learn the tools of manipulation and utility, the younger among them may live to see a more compassionate day. But even they will trust no one except a few confidants. And they will become skilled themselves at applying the less civil tools of social media. They will rise sooner: (1) if they find a charismatic leader, and (2) if the new morality crashes, economically, and they manipulate against it.

But I place no bets. I only observe. I am a veritable dinosaur watching angry lions snarling and ugly hyenas dancing.

Social perversion runs in cycles. So there is some hope.

I’ll cling to it, for I like the old values better than the new.

I think they kinder.


125 Responses to “The Philippines leads the world into post-truth modernism. It’s ugly.”
  1. mcgll says:

    Thank you Joe. You have again articulated the thoughts that run in my mind.

  2. Beatriz Gonzales says:

    Keep on writing amiable dinosaur! Open jaded eyes and zoombie minds.

  3. NHerrera says:

    Weak people with your old rules unite. Struggle no more watching like dinosaurs. Unite and fight with your voices and pens/ keyboards. Hasten the birth of the long-lasting New Cycle. An historical cycle as sure as the sun sets and rises. You have nothing to lose but your old currently unusable values, rules and ethics. Whatever you do, please refrain from joining Mocha Uson, basking in the glory of the current rules, in her undefined un-understandable crusade. Rather if you wish join the voices of those crying at the absurdity of burying a tyrant and plunderer as a hero.

  4. All very true… for those who want to go back to truth, the lyrics from 4:51 onwards apply..

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Organized Religion,Customs and Traditions. Conservative behavior. Those what we no longer value or are trying to unlearn must all be preserved before they are all gone.

    Thanks to schools which is even slowly replaced by homeschooling( which is not all bad) some preservation still happens.

    • imagine Pacquiao and Sotto homeschooling in the Lord’s ways. help!

      • Ahahahahaha. If there is a bigger idiot-servant on the planet than Sotto, it would be Pacquiao.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Idiot-savants who are public-servants are idiot-servants.
          Nah,savants display one special ability like memorizing the phonebook, Sotto and Paquiao can’t do that.They are just idiots who became pubic-servants.

          • And they are servants of the Master.

            • karlgarcia says:

              yes and that too.

              Speaking of master and servants.
              Mentioned here was tyranny,opression,master and servants.

              Slaves of today,tyrants of tomorrow vicious cycle.
              In the Philipines, Since the poor become poorer except the Chinese.

              The Chinese did nit mind the curses they receive,the belittling,but look where they are now.
              They have taken over the wine and spirit industry,the retail industry. They aspire to be leaders in Telco,etc.they have a military ambition.

              Going back to the Philippines, the top 20 richest,majority are Chinese.
              In America, I reiterate that that he will get the rude awakening on immigrants. Who will do the job that America do not want?

              Will small businesses and startups thrive,or will they be eaten alive under Donald Trump.
              Will Obamacare be no more?

  6. alicia .m. kruger says:

    Perhaps the country is in darkness now as many have chosen to lie with the dogs and have gotten up with heaps of fleas themselves but there is still hope when you see the young stands up against all odds like what Nicole Aliasas, the lone protester did at the LNMB. And that’s what we cling to.

    • The old morality, or Christian morality, needs a leader. The Catholic Church, which made plenty of noise against President Aquino, stands silently or for sure impotently by, and INC is in bed with Duterte. The Muslim community is bound in an awkward partnership as well, and I think they are beginning to wonder what they risk by being bound to a heathen President who changes policy on the fly.

      • alicia .m. kruger says:

        The politics of the Catholic Church and INC are very disappointing, but then whoever said that going to church no more makes you holy than standing in a Porsche showroom makes you a sports car. But one will never know when a heathen or should I say psychopath’s behavior changes than a rattlesnake in a red-hot skillet hence the Muslims are I think in two minds.

  7. josephivo says:

    Since the Garden of Eden juicy stories always trumped true stories. Today the big difference is how stories propagate. In the old days I only had my local pub to share my stories, at home the juiciness was not appreciated, at work I had to protect my professional imago. So for the best stories a few mates at the left would listen and one or two bystanders at the right would try to follow too.

    Today news propagates overs social media guided by hidden algorithms. The aim of Facebook is to create traffic since this generates advertising income and profit. In its prioritization algorithms many variables are considered, the only certainly absent is truthfulness. The more outrageous, the more emotional, the higher becomes the “news” value. And eventually it is more likely to belief an outrageous lie a million times repeated than a “filtered” or journalistic correct story but that is not Mark Zuckerberg’s problem.

  8. R.Hiro says:

    The headline on this post is obviously “click bait.” Today’s revolution in digital communication has made every crackpot (not the author) a virtual Goebbels on steroids. Algorithms on facebook then direct followers with like interests to the site. Just an example.

    Then every ethnic group, race, and religion are grouped each together as if they were a monolith.

    Blacks, Muslims, Aryans and Asians. It is historical factual to point out that Sec. of War Elihu Root under T. Roosevelt bluntly told the Illustrados pushing for statehood with the U.S. that it would be impossible because the politics in the U.S. could not add another race problem to the mix.

    You could say that the U.S. Declaration of Independence as written was already full of post truths.

    It took Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of the USSC in 1870 to clearly elucidate in legal terms who were to be considered full human beings and slaves under Jeffersons declaration. Negros were property.

    Today the Attorney General of the U.S. to be is a neo-confederate who firmly believes in that 1870 decision.

    Forget the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. constitution. Former slave states and semi slave states have always found ways to skirt those amendments. You could say that the former Confederacy is now alive and kicking once again.

    The Confederacy is Hitting back and I will not be surprised to see their flag being raised in some offices in Washington come the new government.

    I am glad Joe you identify yourself as an American and not an Aryan American. America the country that offers a hope an ideal but blood had to be spilled to make it non-exclusive.

    Jeffersons myopic false vision for the new country was a of farmers but for the land to be tilled by slaves. A take on the Roman Republic without the central government whom he despised. The U.S. is a combination of state power merged with people power of the whole country.

    The conflict between the vision of Hamilton vs Jefferson is once again being played out. That false reality of small town and rural America is once again being pushed forward against the big city interests that oppressed the small guy.

    • Shiela says:

      I feel so old 😦

    • Well, I’m glad the bait coaxed you to click and opine with some accomplished degree of intelligence. It is interesting, I put you into the class of people who defines a morality superior to others, and then sets out to diminish and demean others as a crutch to make a point that you could quite easily make without the moral judgments attached.

      • R.Hiro says:

        Pray tell who did i demean or diminish in my last post.

        Wael Ghonim: We Have A Duty To Use Our Social Media Power To Speak The Truth
        “Donald Trump is a living example of the damage the mobocratic algorithms of social media can do to the democratic process.”

        DU30 a leader of the p-truth movement is ludicrous.

        “The same medium that so effectively transmits a howling message of change also appears to undermine the ability to make it. Social media amplifies the human tendency to bind with one’s own kind. It tends to reduce complex social challenges to mobilizing slogans that reverberate in echo chambers of the like-minded rather than engage in persuasion, dialogue and the reach for consensus. Hate speech and untruths appear alongside good intentions and truths. We’ve seen this both in the Trump campaign in the United States as well as the Brexit campaign in Great Britain.”

        “When the body politic is serially divided among itself, each “tribe” hewing to its own chosen reality, polarization rigidifies. Paralysis and gridlock set in. Simple answers or authoritarian and strongman alternatives start to look like attractive ways to create order out of chaos.

        Wael Ghonim, a social activist whose Facebook posts helped ignite what would become the Arab Spring in Egypt in 2011” Nathan Gardels Worldpost

        Steve Bannon CEO of Breitbart news and Chief Senior Adviser to incoming president Trump and funded by the billionaire class cleverly used race and gender privilege as a polarizing issue vs the poor suffering white majority. He is now the official chief propagandist of the American people. Their strategic aim is supply side economics on steroids and a policy of returning to the gilded age of the 19th century.

        Institutionalizing and formalizing post truth B.S. at the office of the so called leader of the free world.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Maybe it was about the past, but past is past RHiro. Let us move on and I am looking forward to your contributions.

          • karlgarcia says:

            R. Hiro

            Ever since there wre calls for chacha, you were against it.
            Now,that the APEc summit has called for an end to all forms of protectionism, and a chacha might be successful within the term of Duterte, what are your comments?

            I found a 2003 letter to Carmen Pedrosa, a known chacha advocate, allow me to post the article in full.

            Sometimes I get the feeling that no matter how hard one tries to change the way the country is run, it is a zero-sum game. Critics who say that constitutional reform will not change things if it is run by the same politicians misunderstand the issue. What these critics do not say is that even the best and brightest of elected officials will not succeed in the jungle of our politics, let alone movie stars who do not have a clue about government. He or she will soon be captive of a system that just does not work. Constitutional reformists have no illusions about political problems. It is about meeting the problems of the present system head on and try to dismantle step by step the framework that makes good governance in the Philippines nearly impossible.

            First in the list of reforms is to shift to parliamentary government. That addresses the problem of the way we select our leaders. I do not think there is any thinking Filipino today who can sincerely say that presidential elections as they are held in this country has done the country any good. It is not good and wrong to play up FPJ as a candidate for president. He is not material for the leadership of this country, period, no ifs or buts about it. I am amazed at how hard some of his supporters are now weaving the clothes for Da King, oops, I mean the Emperor. Do we have to wait for the proverbial innocence of a child to tell us that “the emperor has no clothes.” Why do we have to accept drivel from an actress who said he is good because he persuaded Erap not to allow Marcos to be buried in Libingan ng Mga Bayani. What? This is the first time I hear that he was an adviser of Erap. If he was, then he did not do a good job of it.

            The question whether we should retain the bicameral legislature or shift to a unicameral should be debated. But the stubborn refusal of the Senate to even argue their case in plenary with the House shows the senators are not prepared for democratic discussion. This addresses the problem of too much politicking which results in gridlock.Yet it is plain to see that the country cannot afford the gridlock. That is one of the reasons we have fallen behind our neighbors in Asia. It has blocked instead of advanced some of the most crucial legislation for our economic betterment. The final step as far as the reforms are concerned is to work for an orderly transition to federal government which will have to be done in stages but no later than 2010. It addresses the problem of too much power of central government that discourages self-help and development in our provinces. Commitments will have to be made simultaneously with the shift to Parliament.

            That in a nutshell is the quest of constitutional reform – a unicameral parliamentary federal government addressing vital deficiencies in the presidential form of government. We may not know where the new form of government will lead us but we know where the old form of government has led us – at the bottom of the heap of countries in the region.

            Are we a nation? I usually do not answer critics but I’ll make an exception with R.Hiro Vaswani of He differs with this column on the importance of constitutional reform.

            “None of your arguments on how substantive reforms could take place in governance have been put forth though,” he writes. He argues that politics in the Philippines is business, not politics. He laments there is no middle class. He believes middle classes are products of industrial development. But what we have in the Philippines is “a feudal base supported by neo-colonial economic policies keeping the country pregnant and barefoot(?)” The two key ingredients for sustained economic development are a sound and equitable justice system and the protection of property rights, he adds.

            He citesAdam Smith, whose seminal work was titled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations who never mentioned forms of government as a primary ingredient. I do not disagree with him, as with many others, that the quality and substance of governance is as important as changing the form. But as I have already said , this argument is only half the story. The other half is that no matter how well intended or good a person is he or she is bound to fail in a bad political environment. I am afraid that it is not one or the other.

            In the Philippines where political reform has become urgent, I believe we should tackle the form first because it is doable. To talk about changing men and women and the institutions engendered by a failed system is a pie-in- the-sky-statement. It is the formula for doing nothing. By changing the form of government , we have at least a fighting chance to put more meaningful reforms in place. Not so under the present system. And I am not sure we can effectively change Filipinos or the way they are governed by retaining a system that has proven to have failed. That is where we are now as more and more drown in the election tsunami. I do not wish to be part of the charade. Until and unless we change the system, elections – the way they are conducted now – will merely prolong our difficulties.

            It is not a choice between form and substance. We run right smack into a fundamental philosophical question that has stomped some of the most brilliant minds in human history. Can we in fact separate substance from form in the real world? Whatever we do, and that is true of government as well, will have its unique form and substance. The distinction is only possible in the mind. Unicameral parliamentary federal government will engender its own substance that we cannot predict nor pre-empt at this point. We can only say that the form of government and therefore its substance, as we have it now does not work.

            Lastly, Mr. Vaswani says my “dogmatic advocacy to amend the constitution to further economic development” is too superficial for the Philippines. For him there is no Filipino nation.But if we continue with the system we will never ever build a nation, let alone a strong nation. Constitutional change is not being proposed as the answer to the nation’s problems but it will at least give us the opportunity to begin to tackle some vexing problems brought about by a defective presidential system. That is what prevents the Philippines from becoming an able society.

            • R.Hiro says:

              Firstly allow me to make the analogy between effective state institutions and the weak state institutions that abound in the Philippines with the Marcos legacy.

              Marcos was head of government in this country from 1964 – 1985. That means all the state institutions were off course highly influenced by his policy programs.

              When Cory Aquino came to power the Philippines essentially was a failed state. We then moved to share economic sovereignty with the financial multilateral institutions to keep the lights on and to literally be able to afford bread and milk. Naturally when the state disappears the power vacuum enticed adventurers to seize power. Fortunately or unfortunately the left turned on itself on tactical and strategic directions.

              But the Marcos bureaucracy remained almost intact and soon the Marcos family and cronies were back so much so that Imelda and Danding got more votes than the eventual winner, Ramos. The business conglomerates took over starting with the Cory government. The U.S. government moved to ensure that the splintered military here was brought back together. China was yet to appear on the world stage. So where are we today. Marcos Jr. almost won the V.P. Race. If not for DU30 and Marcos Jr. rejection of the BBL He would have won. DU30 urged the people of Mindanao to vote his VP, Cayetano.

              So the failures of the Philippine State forced Pinoys abroad and the digital revolution brought us the BPO. Look at the war on drugs. Police as an institution as even DU30 said are corrupt. The sudden focused drive is creating havoc within the drug sector as an enterprise. Hence the heavily corrupt police are obviously killing their own allies in business. De Lima is simply a symptom of the state of our institutions. They the appointees come and go but the system remains the same. Take a look at the new guy in charge. He admitted when he came into office the justice department is also corrupt as they cannot offer good salaries to the prosecutors. Politicians step in and subsidize.

              Obviously while our neighbors were charging ahead we were stuck in reverse.

              Our physical infrastructure in hard goods and soft goods (human capital) deteriorated.

              The world so far has gone and is going through four stages of the industrial revolution.

              Steam – Fossil fuel (electricity/combustion engines/- digitization and now AI.

              Throughout all the shifts kingdoms/states have had to shift or react to the human societal upheaval that change brought. Pray tell who are the administrators/managers of human societies. GOVERNMENT.

              Both public and private institutions are both human enterprises. Both these institutions require resources for balance. Reality after all is about power relations. Looking at the history of societal development of the advanced states point to one that simply left economic development to foreign private capital without effective state institutions guiding the so called invisible hand.

              Elon Musk the engineer scientist, capitalist has openly stated that humanity has to come up with a universal basic income in the long term as work will be altered to an extent that numerous jobs will disappear. Time lag between the creative destruction process and the adjustment necessary takes time.

              “Ideas have had a greater impact on human history than anything else. We still live in a world that was shaped by Socrates, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Mohamed and Karl Marx, to name a few.
              – Nicolas Berggruen”

              I recommend everyone go to the Berrgruen Institute site.

              Now point to groups in this country who fully appreciate the complexities of our problems and those who simplify it by simply say change the constitution and allow foreign capital without restrictions.

              We are witnessing the beginning of the end of U.S. domination of influence and domination of the global institutions that she imposed and enforced after WWII. We need to understand the ramifications.

              DU30 is not one for institutional building. VP Robredo is not equipped to handle the task.

              She would be swallowed up whole by the plutocrats.

              • R.Hiro says:

                Words matter a great deal…

                This is what Steve Bannon has wrought and he claims he is an economic nationalist and makes no bones about using whatever means to gain power. Fear is a potent weapon.


                He will be in for a rude surprise going forward.

              • karlgarcia says:

                More than enough. Again, thanks.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Bob said Walmart is coming to town.
                You already know that I have been stalking I mean following you for more than ten years.
                Below us an article by Walden Bello citing some inputs from you.
                Throughout Southeast Asia, reaction is setting in to the policies of globalization and liberalization promoted by multilateral agencies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In Indonesia, small merchants are pushing the government to oppose further liberalization as big foreign marketing giants like French-owned Carrefour have, in a few short years, achieved an overwhelming position in retail trade.

                In Thailand, small retailers threw their support behind Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai (“Thais Helping Thais”) Party during the recent elections. They hope the new government would take up the cudgels for them in their battle against Carrefour, Makro, Tesco, and other giants that are now said to control over 50 percent of retail trade.

                In the Philippines, the Philippine Congress denationalized retail trade last year, under pressure from the now-ousted Estrada administration. It is likely that, despite some safeguards in the Retail Trade Liberalization Law, the country is poised to repeat the experience of Thailand and Indonesia.

                This would be tragic since retail is a great absorber of labor. As analyst Rolando Hiro Vaswani points out, with its low barriers to entry, the retail trade sector employs some 11 percent of the work force, or over three million people.

                “Even the World Bank has warned that the retail trade sector is the economy’s safety net,” says Vaswani. “It absorbs rural people being displaced from agriculture and urban workers being displaced by industrial downturns. It is the national shock absorber. You open it up to foreign participation and you will likely see a rise in open unemployment, with all the implications for social stability.”

                ” The landscape will be changed in other ways. With over 200,000 retail outlets, the Philippines has had one of the best ratios of retail outlets to population, according to an AC Nielsen study, with one grocery store servicing 321 people, compared to 1,531 in Japan, 1,503 in Hong Kong, 876 in Singapore, and 509 in Malaysia. This situation was one of intense competition, and it was good for consumers.

                As Edmundo Aguila, a director of the small and medium retailers group Katapat, claims, “the intense competition has made the margin of profit in Philippine retailing the lowest in Asia and possibly the world.”

                The entry of the big foreign players will change all that.

                Is this a Hollywood horror scenario? Not at all if one looks at the experience with Wal-Mart in the United States. Wal-Mart, whose sales of $130 billion is around 40 percent bigger than the Philippines’ GNP, is likely to be one of the beneficiaries of liberalization in Asia, along with mass retailing giants like Carrefour, Auchan, Mitsukoshi, Sogo, and Tesco.

                Analyst Donella Meadows reports that in Massachusetts, a typical Wal-Mart adds 140 jobs but destroys 230 higher paying jobs. In Iowa, “within three or four years of Wal-Mart’s arrival, retail sales [of competitors] within a 20-mile radius goes down by 25 percent; 20 to 350 miles away, sales go down by 10 percent.”

                In the US as a whole, some 17,000 retail firms have been going bankrupt annually since 1991, partly as a result of the predatory pricing practices of mega-retailers like Wal-Mart.

                As Canadian journalist and bestselling writer Naomi Klein points out, so deep are the reserves of this transnational giant that many of its smaller competitors claim they pay more for their goods wholesale than Wal-Mart charges retail. In the US, Wal-Mart and other mega-retailers like Home Depot and Makro “are all known as ‘category killers’ because they enter a category with so much buying power that they almost instantly kill the smaller companies.”

                That is the first phase. Once they dominate a market, the giants resort to controlled, oligopolistic pricing. In Britain, for instance, control of the retail trade by mega-retailers has resulted in consumers spending 40 to 60 percent more on food, cars, and computers than elsewhere in Europe, where retailing is much less concentrated.

                Groups like Katapat, the Philippine Retailers Association, and the National Market Vendors Cooperative pointed out the dangers of denationalizing and liberalizing retail trade during a five-year long debate over the liberalization of retail trade. However, interests seeking partnerships with the big transnationals like the Lopezes and Henry Sy threw their support behind the American Chamber of Commerce and the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce to win the denationalization of retail trade.

                This behavior is not at all strange, according to Jimmy Regalario, secretary general of Katapat, who claims that the big Filipino retailers see the concentration of global retail trade in the hands of some 20 transnationals as inevitable.

                “They are smart people,” Regalario says, “and they have come to the conclusion that when it comes to retail, they would prefer to move from a competitive stance and specialize primarily in providing space or real estate for the transnationals.”

                Local-foreign partnerships will overshadow local-foreign rivalry, with the result being “not free market competition but controlled monopolistic competition marked by higher and higher prices at the retail level, as in the oil industry.”

                The big boys will survive. The small players will be thrown to the wolves. Unless, of course, we as a nation develop the political will to oppose and reverse this process of globalization and liberalization whose advocates fraudulently claim will shower benefits on all of us.

  9. chemrock says:

    I do declare I’m a dinosaur too. I just started learning to use WhatsApp not because its new tech but because my smart load runs out too fast.

    Just checking, Joe, is it a typo error where you say the ‘moral’ Mocha Uson? I’m old moral school, so 6I have had Bert moments – I like to have Mocha on my laps and give her some spanking with my dinosaur foreleg.

    Evolution is the way of the universe and Darwinians would like to believe that it is a process of specie improvements. As for us humans, we like to think our evolutionary trajectory is towards better physical prowess, intelligence, and higher morality. Your blog paints a dim future and what can dinosaurs do against an algorithmic assault. Old tarts that risked limbs and life in Edsa 1 are at a loss. Are we the Titans that will be swept away from the face of the Earth and replaced by a superior Olympian order?

    Fridays nonviolent demonstrations by mellenials give us hope, just when we thought there is none. In the eternal battle of light against darkness, the bright rays of goodness always shine through. Perhaps it’s the nature of the universe, because darkness leads to nothingless.

    Will that bring on martial law? If demos remain nonviolent, probably not. If it’s nonviolent, what impact can it achieve?. A prolonged civil disobedience have great impact on the political landscape. Eg it will crystallise the tipping point that drives scumbags crazy, they need to distance themselves from a power centre that is weakening. It will impact the economy, further dissipating the political capital of the admin.

    • That last paragraph is power packed, chem. Worth a full blog? The leaders of the anti-Marcos protests have taken great pains to remain peaceful, but it is an awkward joining of left and right, with experienced leftist agitators perhaps inclined to taunt physically. But they would have to turn against the Duterte admin and I’m not sure their pivot is quite there yet. I think protesters will seek to build numbers that cannot be ignored, but remain non-confrontational. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing anything. But who knows how it turns out. Protests go violent. Martial law. Larger, angrier protests with injuries or deaths. AFP has to choose between the Constitution and Duterte. I don’t think soldiers like shooting civilians.

      I said Mocha is a moral midget, meant to mean a small heart and really stinko values. I was striving for literary expression on the point, and certainly a lap dance is up her moral alley, pay her enough.

  10. uht says:

    Apologizing in advance for a very long comment. 😀

    I was at the rally in Katipunan last night, and looking at what was going on, I felt that even if we did have the correct outlook, we failed in applying it. In the end, if the basic things people enjoy are taken away, they will never come to understand things.

    I feel that to change this country, we need to restart with the most basic things. Mocha Uson, for all the crap that comes with her, seems to be able to connect well with the audience, as opposed to many of us. We need to get back to the most basic rights and values, without denigrating others, and provide the things that will allow them to listen to us and start caring about others, learn more about the world, and eventually give back to it.

    In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the philosopher, the learned one, is the one who has escaped from the cave and the shadows that are mere illusions of reality. The philosopher is then expected to return to the cave and help free the others. But to one who has lived in a cave for so long, returning to the light is harsh on the eyesight. What are the chances that once the philosopher has freed them, they turn on him for taking them out of the comfort of the cave?

    In light of recent events, I feel that this is what is happening. It could be reasoned that the other people are at fault for not learning to adjust (“so sino ang mag-aadjust?” comes to mind). But it could also be reasoned that the philosopher is also partly at fault. Did they forget how harsh the light was to them the first time, that now they have forgotten how these people feel?

    I am not referring to this post on the Society, or the Society in general, when I made this comment; however, I feel the need to get this out, as I am afraid that this is the biggest problem ahead of us: the problem of freeing those who still live in the cave. We need to give this part of learning a lot of thought, as much thought as we need to find the truth itself, because if we do not, then the truth we learned is ultimately useless, for a false truth will be in their heads.

    • Superb point, uht. Superb. The failure of the “establishment” to connect is legend, yet no one seems to know how to do it. Mocha Uson is successful because she flaunts the establishment, spits in its eye and people laugh. President Aquino was hated because he represented the arrogance of good behavior. Who does the establishment flaunt to prove that it can think out of the box, too? It seems to me that it needs a dramatic incident or leader, or confrontation to get recognized.

      For sure, it is a problem.

    • chemrock says:

      Very good point uht, except for one thing that bothers me.

      The success of Mocha Uson. Is it because she knows how to connect, and we dont? I not convinced. Let me ask this hypothetical question. Suppose she is a yellowtard, do you think she can get a million likes? Absolutely not. This goes back to Joe’s point. It’s a populist demagogues’ world out there. A story written by a man about a dog biting a man is trash, but a story written by a dog about a man biting a dog hits the trending chart easily. The point being both subject and object is about dogs.

      • Demagogues and populist revolt are not created out of thin air. They result when an unscrupulous and charismatic figure recognizes the anger that exists in any mass of people who are being systematically exploited. Both here and in America their are large groups of people who have been disenfranchised and kept or become poor as a result of the policies of the oligharchies and coporatachracies.

        I am an American, 75 years old, an expat living in the Philippines. I have come to love the Philippines.

        I remember growing up in a racist America where civility was a tool of oppression. One could not even mention “equal rights for negroes” without being cast out of polite society. So it is in the oligarchies everywhere and at all times. Read your great Russian novels.

        Civility has been used by the oligarchy here in the Philippines as tool of oppression in much the same way. Thus the the disenfranchised welcome the uncivil speech of a Duterte. Education, sadly, is also used to oppress people.

        Trump and Duterte are building their power upon this disenfranchisement by using the new media to untruth their way toward power.

        Same as it always was. The media changes but the strategy and tactics are as old as man.

        While I share values with Joe America I refuse to consider myself a dinosaur. Instead I consider myself a new form of mammal who will learn to use this new media effectively to propagate that part of the old values that make sense. The new media can also be used to destroy racism and bigotry.

        Many millennials understand this and are not so pessimistic. They are the people to start with.

        I have many another bone to pick with Joe’s analysis but that shall have to wait for another night …

        Time to drink some gin and get some sleep.



        • madlanglupa says:

          > Education, sadly, is also used to oppress people.

          Which may explain why anti-intellectualism is becoming a plague.

        • uht says:

          I feel, too, that we need to adapt to survive. If I am a dinosaur, I will be one of those who gave rise to the birds; I, and my values, will not perish here. We will take to the skies, and we will survive.

      • uht says:

        True, but a demagogue on their own is not a problem. The resentment that drives their movements can’t be provided by one man’s mere words; otherwise, they would easily run out of fuel. How do you explain how a demagogue’s movements are fueled, rather than killed, by attempts to discredit them?

        Most demagogues only light the coal seams. The fuel to light the fire comes from somewhere else.

        • boblq says:

          @uht I agree. Indeed that was my point. I appreciate your restatement and question,

          Truth when spoken to power rarely uses respectful tones.

          So long as you have mass of people who feel the elite is unjustly controlling and exploiting them they will turn to a demagogic tyrant. Ironic, you bet. They swap one oppressor for another even worse oppressor.

          Attacking the symptom, the demagogue, but not the underlying injustice is naturally seen as a personal attack on them and their unmet needs and aspirations.

          So we have to dig in and ask what is their real complaint even if is expressed in illogical and uncritical statements and in the backing of demagogues and tyrants. The pattern is far from new going back into ancient times.

          Often prejudice, discrimination and the poverty rooted in these evils is the underlying cause.

          Here in the Philippines one needs only to look at the demographics of the OFWs to see why the elite is hated by the massa. To get decent jobs which the corrupt elite has not created they must leave family and friends and travel far from home, work under difficult conditions and endure great loneliness. Why? Because the oligarchy has failed over and over again to build a modern economy that can compete on a global stage.

          And BTW, I am not one who thinks values were much better or the times were better in the past. But that is another subject.


          “for people will love an autocrat if they believe he is a savior.”

          Robert Hughes writing about Colonel George Arthur, Lt. Gov Van Diemen’s Island, 1824~1836 in his brilliant epic history of Australia’s founding, “The Fatal Shore”

          • Two thoughts, considering the idea that the oppressed just cycle through to become oppressors, and speaking truth to tyranny only provokes a stronger tyranny. (1) One does not have to be in power to be tyrannical, as evidenced by the attacks on President Aquino who had done good work under relentless attack from powerful forces not in government, from INC to Uncle Cojuangco to leftists to the Arroyos and in the end the political attacks of Poe, Binay, and Duterte, all of whom bought into self-centered power and not the promise of democracy to end tyranny. The noise from the critics made it impossible for the President to speak sense to sense because the needful’s brains and emotions were spoiled by the ASPIRING tyrants. (2) What do you propose be done by those who practice the faith of group-valued democracy? Nothing, because to do something is just a new form of tyranny?

            • uht says:

              I apologize for not addressing this in the main post, it was just kind of long already. 🙂

              Anyways, I feel that we need to get back on the ground. The forces of tyranny attack everywhere, but to call them for what they are right now does not probably contribute to the argument. It’s worth noting that for every time we denounce Mocha, Mocha simply churns out 254853490553242 more ad hominems and people will gobble them up. Same goes for INC, Uncle Cojuangco, etc.

              So how to face them? We need to dismantle their arguments, as if they were people worth picking a battle with. I know that this is exhausting—but it is probably the only way we will gain respect and not get “DILAWAN” and “YELLOWTARD” hurled at us.

            • uht says:

              I don’t intend to demean you or group-valued democracy; I believe in the same values, and I do not believe that doing something will constitute tyranny. I just think that the best way to beat tyranny is to beat them on the ground, because if we don’t, people will just denigrate us more and this will turn into an endless cycle.

              • If on the ground means street protests, or if it means developing counter measures such as organized on-line push-back, I agree these would likely work better than sitting at home swearing. I think it is fairly futile to try to talk sense to propagandists, however, and it dosn’t matter much if one curses or talks respectfully. The battleground for ideas and decency is with the masses who have accepted propaganda. Respect and patience are better than insult or ridicule with them. So I think we are close to agreement.

              • uht says:

                Organized online push-back is what I would gun for. 😀

              • Sounds fun. Go for it! 🙂

  11. J. Bondurant says:

    If someone were to ask me to summarize 2016, it would be this way: “2016 was the year when the world went mad.”

  12. Chris Albert says:

    Very sobering and as usual much food for thought. I want to argue something here so if I may. Your summary of what we have become and how we got there is excellent and for sure is what is happening right now all over the world. Still “Truth” is a funny thing. There are many different ones out there. Some are just plain personal, other are let’s say Universal.Personal truth are based on circumstances, personal viewpoints et. Universal truth are mostly based on science and historical facts. The human mind always struggled with the difference of the two, and “Wisdom” comes from learning and knowing whats what. Only very few people are really truthful with themselves as that is a stressful process and needs discipline. In a society that peddles the consume, and one upmanship that is even more so. Still the facts are always the facts and no amount of internet noise will change that. For the time being we as a collective decided to follow selective news that suit our believes and social status, maybe that is coz the truth is just too daunting. True leadership comes from managing resources and events and leading from the front. A leadership based on opression, or on media hype etc will not be sustainable in the long run as real live events will catch out the lies and show the BS eventually. We as a species on this planet have reach a cross road that no matter what will need to be tackled. It is not pretty by any means and as far as I can see humans try their best to evade looking at the facts and deal with it. Maybe we are going trough the 4 stages of grief about this. (Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Acceptance). We are now in the second stage and anger is visible everywhere. Hopefully we get over this part of the process soon as it could become quiet damaging. I am however with the more optimistic voices on here as I see humans change their ways in my work all the time and know that we (humans) can be really amazing especially in the face of adversity.

    • I hope so, Chris. What disturbs me is that 50 million Americans calculate that Donald Trump has the character and skills to serve as President. That is not reflective of high thinking at all, in my opinion, and that so many people have a “truth” of him so differently . . . I can’t comprehend. That is my truth. I can’t comprehend.

      • boblq says:

        Hola Joe,

        It is easy to understand.

        Anyone who said “You are being fucked. I will change things.” had the vote of an inarticulate majority.

        Why? Because it is true.

        That person could have been Hitler or Stalin or Alfred E, Neuman. It did not matter.

        The people being fucked would vote for him.

        Why is that so hard to understand?


        PS, A little Americana

        • I’d hardly describe the people voting for Trump as inarticulate, unless you are speaking of knowledge rather than literacy. I don’t think people are thinking via principles and probabilities, cause and effect, but with emotions and ignorance and ease of judgment, an element of character strengthened by social media engagement. There is this strange quality of moral superiority rather than humility that graces the great Christian hordes in the US, and it has taken them away from what Jesus taught, it seems to me. A Muslim registry? Protesters as terrorists? A return to torture? I am not a genius, but that is plain unAmerican to my mind, and I can’t comprehend how Christian Americans can be so . . . well, bizarre in their critical thinking. The US is definitely following the path of illogic and cruelty to man, tracking behind the global leadership position staked out by the Philippines.

          • boblq says:

            I agree “inarticulate” was a poor choice of words. Perhaps a better choice would be that this is a group of people with serious economic problems (loss of jobs) that have been ignored by the governing oligarchy (corporatachracy) of America

            I have no idea where you grew up but I was a teenager in a racist and segregated Southeast Texas refinery town on the Gulf coast. Most of the jobs, which paid well, were fairly mindless in large oil refineries (watch this guage, keep it centered by turning this valve). Those jobs are gone forever, not out source, but automated out of existence. Those jobs will not come back.

            Because they are descended from a generation that found good jobs in factories, jobs that demanded little thought and not much education, logical thought, critical thinking, and higher education were not held as valuable. Hence this group of people did not grow up with those values.

            Thus as economic pressures mount up the lash out with “with emotions and ignorance and ease of judgment, an element of character strengthened by social media engagement.”

            There are more of such people then I realized, but I do not find it hard to understand them. Fortunately they are old and many will die off soon. It is up to the rest of us to help the meme and terrible values they promote to die with them.

            I have millennial grandchildren, who are as aghast as any of us at “the path of illogic and cruelty to man”

            Finally I would note that America has never held monolithic values. There is a diverse ecology of values. What you and I consider “UnAmerican” is called, “Make America Great Again” by Trump followers. As an old man now I have come to realize that the battle to instill values like decency, respect for logic and critical thinking, hard work and education will never be won. Instead it is an ongoing battle that each generation must fight.

            It is naive to think that the battle between good and evil can ever be won. Instead it must forever be fought and the occasional temporary triumph of good celebrate which the triumphs of evil must be courageously resisted.

            Thanks for your comment. I welcome the opportunity to correct my statement..


            • boblq says:

              It is naive to think that the battle between good and evil can ever be won. Instead it must forever be fought and the occasional temporary triumph of good celebrated while the triumphs of evil must be courageously resisted.

              Churchill said it better, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

            • And an elegant refinement it is. I grew up in Colorado and my parents were racists as most whites were during the 1950’s, but it was intensely rewarding (in retrospect) to see them gain enlightenment and wisdom along with a lot of people during the 1960’s and 70’s. Although today’s debate in the US is focused on racism, I think the issue is broader. We don’t like “different”. One would naturally look down on peoples who eat dogs until one has spent some time living with those who do. The problem today is that social media inflate the difference well past the point of being able to reason.

              Indeed, it is a path.

              • boblq says:

                “Different” is all it takes. And there are always differences of some kind.
                And a video

                Muckraking sensationalist papers have always existed along side the more “responsible” media. Social media allows anyone to run a muckraking sensationalist “paper”. Will these sites have more influence in the longer run than more responsible commentators?

                I suggest the experiment is ongoing. It is too soon to judge the outcome. Social media are in their infancy.

          • sonny says:

            Joe, just a thought.

            Rather than bringing the parsing of the election events to a question of ‘Christian hordes’ lording their moral superiority/humility, I would suggest that breaching a social contract finally came to a head and that Clinton & the DNC could not defend their cache of exclusivity and a Trump admin, even amidst his personal noise, ‘will provide’ a viable compromise to be cashed come 2017 and beyond.

            The tea leaves as I saw it.

            • sonny says:

              My foreboding thought on the PDu30 ‘reign’:

              The human sacrifices of the Maya Civilization have an uncanny resemblance to our current carnage. The sacrificial victims were for the gods of the time and were the captured enemies of the Mayan ruling class. The important prisoners were for sacrifice while the less important were used for human labor. This division might be played out when the numbers for pushers vs addicts will be distinguished. For now it seems, the god is Order, however that is defined.

              • Hope Lima, Peru moves Duterte’s approach closer to that of the Incas, egalitarian under a ceremonial God-King.

              • Looking at how Duterte has been dealing with Xi and Putin there, forget that hope. Both are emperors who do not care about who are run over by their respective juggernauts.

              • sonny says:

                Luv the juggernaut image.

                Xi is impelled by a demography that he must manipulate, Putin is in search of his impellers from the people, his would-be technology, and his oil; the USA has a dynamic science & technology, servicing a resolute security force, a people that participates in a vibrant democracy of ideas, belief and citizenship; juxtapose the Philippines in this geopolitical stage and maybe we can shed light as to whither we should go.

            • Maybe so, but lost in the translation were the Christian principles of compassion and kindness that underpin American democracy and human rights advocacy. Trump led the masses down the path of incivility and lies and 50 million followed. The Clinton/DNC exclusivity problem was the same one that Mar Roxas had, and President Aquino endured. It is “perceived” exclusivity, not real, I think, and that is a reasoning shortcoming of those who hold to the exclusivity line of thought. By every standard of measurement except her e-mail server, Hillary Clinton has been an exemplary model of non-exclusive embracing of peoples of any religion and race around the world. Trump is a REAL exclusivist. hehe, if you will allow me the invention of a word that seems not to be in my spell-checker. 🙂

  13. Thea says:


    1. Utility is attached to profitability. What is profitable is useful in this media world.

    2. Filipinos are useful therefore profitable.

    3. Our penchant for talent shows and beauty contests made us the target of profit. But our level is elevated, we are now not limited to clap our hands,we are given to cast our vote from outside the tube. Talents and beauty is now judged by the number of votes garnered prejudicing those with limited span of reach. Excellence and distinctiveness marginalized by quantity. Useless.

    4. News captions must appeal and strike attention at one glance. No need to read, caption explain all. Truth and information, useless.

    5. But how true is the uselessness of talent,beauty, truth and information in the Philippines where there are NO regulations and control on owning a cellphone much more SIM cards? How many owns a hundred numbers? fake accounts? How many are friends of friends really? Is there affirmation that Mocha et al is the reflection of receivers’ individual views? I doubt them as I feel it in my guts. This is not FBs problem, this. is OUR government’s concern.

    6. People discards the old and change it with new. The new today will be old and discarded in time. It is the cycle. Usefulness is another thing. Old and useful will remain.

    7. Those who have seen the usefulness of the useless might stand at odd with many, but nonetheless, it is the foundation how we see things as useful.

    • Yes, usefulness, or “utility” is an interesting quality of our social judgments and acts. I suppose there are doctoral theses exploring this force-field. Mine would be entitled “The Cycles of Utility and Their Effects on Economic Integration”, the two extremes of the integration metric being disenfranchisement and powerful, where riches are a currency for power display. I really appreciate the insights you provide. Gets my mind functioning.

  14. caliphman says:

    Pundits have the same characteristic flaw, they tend to overcomplicate and overanalyze. More often than not, things ebd up paralysis. I myself am not one to flagellate myself as one out of touch with the millions and millions of the Philippine and American electorate who chose to put their countries and peoples at risk for the sake of change. There is not a huge sea change in societal values and aspirations underlying the voters recent revolt against the political establishment. I doubt very much it represents a protest against our form of democratic government. I submit at the core it is what is patently obvious, it is an expression of desperate dissatisfaction with the same type of leadership that has kept meaningful change for the middle and poorer masses of both electorates in gridlock.That these voters gravitate to powerful brutish leaders unhindered by establishment trappings and place their blind faith in him is no surprise to me.

  15. edgar lores says:

    1. If I may summarize:

    1.1. In the old days, there were absolute group ideals, social rules, and morality.

    1.2. Now, there are relative (i.e., non-absolute) values formed from the convergence of self-centered social media users and a new class of strong leaders who make their own rules. The new leaders have discovered ways of manipulating the self-centered horde, not only to accept their rules but to make them proselytizing “bots.”

    1.2.1. The only moral rule is that there is no moral rule except advantage. And if you can’t take advantage, obey those who can.

    1.3. The future is bleak: in the amoral world, only the strong leaders and their followers will thrive.

    2. If I were to find parallels of the above concepts in the history of philosophy, I would place them in the works and thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900).

    2.1. Nietzsche considered himself an “immoralist” and rejected the traditional moral systems of Christianity, Kantianism, and utilitarianism. These systems sought to establish and apply universal moral rules for all to follow. (Note: JoeAm does not reject.)

    2.2 He thought morality was based on the social hierarchy. He distinguished between slave morality and master morality. He thought that exceptional strong men, the Übermensch (Superman), should follow their own inner law and create new values. And he thought that morality was good for the masses. (Note: JoeAm does not advocate the Superman; he merely observes.)

    2.3. He predicted the historical but not theological death of God, and that chaos would occur when political and economic events laid bare the violent and predatory nature of individuals and modern nations. That chaos did occur in the 20th century, the bloodiest of all. (Note:JoeAm believes the chaos is due to the relative morality, the amorality, of the new leaders and their followers.)

    3. Can we still apply the brakes to our headlong rush into the abyss? I guess the first question to ask is, “Do we want to?” Many previous civilizations have collapsed before but none (?) have been global.

    3.1. JoeAm and Josephivo have a similarly bleak outlook of the future. But their outlook is not as pessimistic as that of Stephen Hawking who predicts we have only 1,000 years to survive unless we find a new planet. The probable causes for doom are climate change, nuclear war, and artificial intelligence (robots).

    3.2. I will give odds to “natural” catastrophe — climate change. Our heedless ways will do us in and make us suffer – or rather “distracted” — in the process.

    • Gosh, I thought Hawking was optimistic, giving us that much time. I will give odds to economic failure induced by social malaise as the rationale for striking those nations judged accountable, which, for a strongman, is never his own nation. The planet is full. We are getting into each others’ spaces and on each others’ nerves. It is natural, in a pond over-full of snake fish, that they will start to dine on one another.

    • NHerrera says:


      That, to me, is an instructive combination of thoughts on Nietzsche, Hawking; optimism, pessimism. Being a technical man, I give reasonable weight to Hawking.

      Joe, boblq, caliphman, karl, thea, others,

      Thanks too for the exchange of comments on what transpired in our wobbly planet earth concerning Trump, Duterte, and the modern “anger” mood.

      And here is a rather naïve doodle after reading the thoughts above:

      • edgar lores says:


        The yellow brick road leads to good things. It points to the right, which is the right way.

        • NHerrera says:

          Sounds right. I just hope it happens in a not too distant future before Keynes “In the long run we are all dead” happens — as Hawking science-based thoughts forecast.

          Cheers to you, edgar, as we “ponder” the short-run and long-run of the world’s problems.


        • NHerrera says:

          A thought to lighten the day. Your “It points to the right, which is the right way.” Funny you say that. In Oz they are driving the WR0NG way. 🙂

          My daughter, a good driver, scares me whenever she drives in oz, not so much on a straight road. But on a roundabout, considering how we drive in PH. Another thing. She told me that when you have the right of way in roundabout, don’t hesitate and slow down — you may be the cause of a traffic accident that way. (Talk about mindsets.)

    • josephivo says:

      Don’t we mix several time frames?

      Looking to the past, on the longer timeframe we never we had less diseases, less wars, less violence on the streets, less extremists, less starvation, less illiteracy….

      On the short timeframe we are worried that populism and some (temporary?) negative effects on the social media will slow progress down or ever reverse it. Looking to the future, on the short term we have to find solutions to mitigate the potential negative side effects of “dictatorial” leaders.

      Looking to the future, on the long term there are real problems and as Chomsky says, the dogs are not barking. Change in climate and extinction of species never went faster, not even close, we are talking about 100 to 1000 times faster… Use of one nuclear weapon, by accident or on purpose, will result in a lethal retaliations, proliferation is still going on, US will replace its nuclear arsenal, China still building up, political stability I Pakistan, North Korea weakening… Super-AI will come sooner or later and very likely sooner, we as humans loosing control of progress.

      As said before I see hopeful signs for the future in the explosion of peer to peer transactions into a new type of economy and the possibility of universal access to big data and corresponding algorithms. And some day someone might step on some tails of the sleeping dogs…

      • karlgarcia says:

        Before Post-Truth there was Propaganda.

        The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social and political policies is “manufactured” in the public mind due to this propaganda. The theory posits that the way in which news is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest which acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

        First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product—readers and audiences—to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public. Describing the media’s “societal purpose”, Chomsky writes, “… the study of institutions and how they function must be scrupulously ignored, apart from fringe elements or a relatively obscure scholarly literature”.[1] The theory postulates five general classes of “filters” that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, Medium’s funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, Anti-communism and fear ideology.

        The first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. In versions published after the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, Chomsky and Herman updated the fifth prong to instead refer to the “War on Terror” and “counter-terrorism”, although they state that it operates in much the same manner.

        Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles which the model postulates as the cause of media biases.[2]

        • karlgarcia says:

          Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of “secondary” importance. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the term post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation. Tesich, writing about the Iran–Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, said that “we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world.”[1]

          The contemporary origin of the term is attributed to blogger David Roberts who used the term in 2010 in a column for Grist.[2][3][4] Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in American, Australian, British, Indian and Turkish politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, and the increasing ubiquity of social media.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

    • 2.2. wasn’t Filipino “morality” always Nietzschean? I.e. “do you know who I am”?

      Marcos gets a magnificent burial, pushers are left with placards on the side of the street?

      2.3. Bumper sticker I once saw in Germany “if your God is dead, you can worship mine”.

      • edgar lores says:

        2.2. More so — with Aguinaldo, Marcos, Arroyo, Erap and Duterte — but less so with others.

        2.3. “Nietzsche is dead.” – God

      • chemrock says:

        “If your God is dead, you can worship mine”. Love that. Put it on your sweat shirt over a photo of Ferdie, how long you think you can last on the street. Think I produce some cheap T- shirts and hand out free at some barangays.

  16. boblq says:

    I fear we are all getting carried away with our own rhetoric as well as becoming a bit self-righteous. We are stuck looking at the surface phenomena “chatter mostly” and are not analyzing the deeper causes of the problems.

    We must look deeper into the problem at hand, which is amplified by social media but NOT caused by social media. If we focus on the underlying anger of the massa that is driving this entire demagogic regime and ask “Why are they so angry?” we may be able to make some progress.

    I believe the main problem is not illogic or post truth but poverty driven by a lack of jobs for the poor and disenfranchised, the massa. The poverty is reinforced by poor education and all sorts of discrimination against the poor. I further believe the oligarchy has failed to build a modern economy here because they have comfortable lives based upon the exploitation of the massa and do not really want the changes that would go along with a modern economy.

    The oligarchy both here and in America are creating jobless economic growth that only they benefit from. Until they can find away to provide economic improvement of the massa there will be trouble.

    The arguments about values and logical discussion, “post truth”, etc are surface arguments, like saying waves are the ocean and ignoring the water below. They will not change the minds of the massa because they do not address the real problem..

    Read your Chomsky who first made his academic reputation in mathematical linguistics at MIT by providing an analysis of surface structure versus deep structure.

    Chomsky only later realized that the same analysis applied to the power structures and politics of societies.


    • I don’t think it is self-righteous to try to understand that which is confusing, or condemn that which is offensive. I’ve not seen anyone here carried away by their own rhetoric. I see a lot of sincere, good people sharing ideas and stories and even jokes. It seems self-righteous to me to declare others self-righteous.

      I still don’t grasp your solution to building a better Philippines. Read Chomsky?

      • boblq says:

        Chomsky, from his first mathematical work until his later political analysis says repeatedly that one must look below the highly visible surface phenomena, the chatter if you will, to find causal reality. We are analyzing the chatter not looking deeper. That was why my reference “Read Chomsky” Not for the solution, but to determine what the problem is.

        The chatter is symptomatic of deeper problems. The chatter is not the cause of the problem though it may well exacerbate the problem.

        Unless one can state the problem clearly, which I think I did in the post you refer to, one is unlikely to solve the problem.

        But restating “I believe the main problem is not illogic or post truth but poverty driven by a lack of jobs for the poor and disenfranchised, the massa.”

        Treating only the chatter is like giving Ibuprofin to a person with a brain tumor.It may ease the pain but it won’t help the real problem much.

        To solve the problem the Philippines must build a modern economy that is integrated with the global economy. The BPO industry is good start, but only a start. Far more radical change is coming during the next few decades than anything we have seen yet. The ignorance of this future among the oligarchy is epic. They have no real vision of a future beyond a simple linear extension of the past.

        I note I said “we” when referring to self-righteous. And I qualified it with a “bit”, meaning a little bit. I and many people I know and respect find it easy to drift into this state while hardly noticing it. No intent on my part to demean, rather an intent to warn, myself as well as the people here at SOH with many of whom I am becoming friends and whose insights I appreciate.

        Every high minded group that I have ever been associated with has tendencies in this direction. The SOH is certainly a high minded community. The discourse is by far the best I have found in the Philippines. But an occasional self criticism might be useful, di ba?

        For some insight into where I am coming from you might want to look into


        • Thanks for the eloquent elaboration, constructive criticism, and suggestions for our enlightenment. For future reference, more than two links puts a comment into moderation for spam control. I also encourage people to cite briefly what is in a reference link so they will know if it is something they wish to explore or not. People are moving fast these days, and generally don’t click on links much.

        • Words Matter says:

          Or try googling “chenla”, if you want to learn more about boblq – hacker, dark web botnet guru, exploiter… what are you doing in this honorable forum, bob? You stain it with your presence.

    • karlgarcia says:

      We try to learn here. If we talk too much,we are willing to listen,I mean willing to listen,but not that willing to get insulted.
      Just tell us what you feel is bull shit, and maybe we can talk about it.

      I agree the problem at hand is not caused by Social Media.FB is facing fake news spreading accusations, but we all know fake news is way before social media.

      Your problem with the oligarchy,like I ask above, will the small enetrrprises have a chance with the giant mncs?

      May I ask this then, will small US enterprises have a chance here in the Philippines and will they not kill homegrown small enterprises if and when given the chance?

      • boblq says:

        I apologize if I have insulted anyone, though I must say they have a thin skin. I suppose I have grown up in rough world and may not always recognize my own brutality. I do not object to push back.

        The problem with the oligarchy is simple. They have no vision of the future. Their ignorance is astounding, matched only by complacency and as strong sense of entitlement that rides hand in hand with impunity. They like the privilege they have here and do not want that to be challenged by an educated rising middle class who have good jobs.

        OFWs are the perfect solution from the point of view of the oligarchy. Ambitious well educated, potential rivals for power, leave the country and send back remittances that stabilize the economy. Why on earth would the oligarchy want to find jobs locally for the OFW? So they could become a political force as a middle class? I don’t think so.

        Impunity: Cardboard justice for the poor boys, but only words and full legal process for De Lima.

        US enterprise (small and large) if freed to operate in the Philippines would destroy a lot of SMEs and many large enterprises in the Philippines, though not all.

        For instance, in the same way they destroyed small businesses in rural towns in America Walmart would destroy many a small businesses in the provinces. Walmart with its huge economies of scale and superior logistics would also give SM and Ayala a real run for their money. I do not think it good for the Philippines to allow them full entry. But having them supply locally owned and operated businesses might well dramatically improve logistics and reduce costs. The Chinese business that control trade will probably never allow this unless they are the ones controlling access.thus will likely be the ones to benefit not the SMEs or consumers.

        But see The test begins.

        Then there are also examples of businesses that are better tuned to Filipino tastes and culture than American business. McDonald’s has certainly not driven Jollibee out of business. One taste of Jollibee spaghetti and you will know why.


        • karlgarcia says:

          You did not insult anyone, I think , I was speaking in general. I myself was told that I was insulting, at one point in time.

          I agree on the Jollibee part. Even the burgers, I think they placed the wrong cow part on their Big macs because it tastes like leather.

          If Walmart comes, I say bring it on, the Philippines love retail or malling more than online shopping, but if the traffic does not improve even Walmart will pack its bags.

  17. jp says:

    Commies and yellows starting to gang up.
    Threat to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
    This is beginning to sound like 1969

  18. ajanmercado says:

    To these people, the word “disente” (decent) is a swear word and used as such. I think you did describe the Aquino administration quite well: these people hated it because it was too clean.

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