Filipino nationalists vs foreign critics


[Photo source: IBTimes UK]

By Joe America

President Duterte is an avid nationalist when it comes to foreigners who intrude into Filipino affairs by instructing him on human rights. He gets angry. He swears at them and, if it were entirely up to him, he would toss them from the land, even if they are helpful to him or the people.

That’s what happened with the US. President Obama talked about human rights, President Duterte took offense, and the US was pushed away. This appears to have contributed to the ‘surprise’ occupation of Marawi by terrorists, something that should have been no surprise if Philippine and US intelligence services were working aggressively together.

This kind of angry nationalism does not allow compartmentalization of things with human rights placed in one bucket and military intelligence in a separate bucket. If the left hand offends, the right hand is also responsible.

It is odd, though, that this same nationalistic President is willing to set aside the Philippine’s hard-won UN arbitration ruling and allow China full right to Philippine economic interests in the West Philippine Sea. The critic is pushed out and the thief is welcomed in.

One learns from this that nationalism is fluid. It is in the eyes of the beholder. It depends on the master plan and goals. If a President sees gains in working with China that are not available in working with the US, he’ll find room for diplomacy. (For example, Chinese companies may be okay paying incentives on projects whereas American companies would not because they look a lot like bribes. Or America pursues a global human rights agenda whereas China has none.)

Nationalism has no one certain set of rules.

I’m a foreign blogger, so I have to think about nationalism and try not to provoke Filipino nationalist outrage. Mostly I’ve been able to succeed. By the terms of my visa, I can’t promote unrest, so I avoid liking or re-tweeting the Twitter tag #Resist or #YouthResist. I don’t advocate for street protests and don’t attend rallies. I also drop out from political groups that enroll me on Facebook because a reader might think I agree with the group’s stance or methods. I try not to criticize President Duterte personally, or attach labels to the 16 million who put him into office. He was elected, and the election was done by the rules as far as I know.

Now it may be that no one will probe whether or not foreign funds went into President Duterte’s campaign war chest. That’s a big deal in the US, but apparently not in the Philippines. So I as a foreigner might raise a question about it, but would not advocate for rallies or anything beyond a discussion of the risks and fallout from such activities. I mean, if it doesn’t bother citizens, why should I be more nationalistic than them?

On the other hand, I do opine directly about government acts, about EJKs, and Chinese intrusions, and propaganda, and negligence among legislators in failing to attend to the Constitution, and other specific decisions or acts of government. My opinions represent no nationalistic threat because real nationalism is in favor of finding out what is the best way forward, not in favor of silencing ideas that might help the nation.

I tend to think that exercising free speech is about as nationalistic as a person can get, even a foreigner. It shows he cares. He lives here, and he cares. His family’s future is here, and he cares. Poor people suffer from bad decisions, and he cares. Smart people have abandoned moral standards, and he cares. It all matters. To the foreigner. To the Filipino. To the nation, Philippines.

So we can complete the circle here.

Foreign human rights organizations around the world exercise their free speech because they care, and they believe passionately that non-discrimination, fair treatment, and compassion are universal responsibilities. The entire planet benefits by being civil.

Real journalists also are not guided by politics, but by factual reporting.

President Duterte’s brand of nationalism would suppress both human rights people and reporters who report what the President does not like. He is contemplating how to rid the social media dialogue of irritating bloggers who have small followings. Only those with huge bot-driven followings would be allowed to persist.

My inclination is not to be suppressed because I believe that free speech is the best way to dig for knowledge. Not the easiest, certainly. But the best.

Indeed, I’d be inclined to suggest the President’s brand of nationalism has some serious flaws.

As an example, it sure seems to me that President Duterte’s dare to the Maute gang to burn Malawi, along with his pushing US intelligence services away, were primary contributors to the tragedy there.

It could well be that citizens of Marawi paid a huge price for President Duterte’s brand of nationalism.

It would be worth a Senate hearing to find out what went wrong in Malawi.

Why was there a surprise?

Who was responsible?

As a foreigner with a vital interest in a strong, safe Philippines, I think legislators should be nationalistic enough to assure such surprises don’t happen again. They should push for knowledge.

But I recognize that legislators here practice a version of nationalism that requires obedience to authority. Not free speech based on self-determined facts and moral conscience.

So I won’t hold my breath waiting for an earnest legislative inquiry into some 600 Filipino deaths.

So I merely sigh.

Life here is cheap. Keeping the perks of congressional obedience is dear.


120 Responses to “Filipino nationalists vs foreign critics”
  1. popoy says:

    A short one JoeAm: Nationalism I see around is something else. Not the positive it really is. People continue to suffer, retrogress and or retarded because of pseudo nationalism. This kind of nationalism continue for a long while until the people revolt to correct it. But bastard nationalists get being born in fewer numbers. And more menacing.

    • Yes, popoy, I agree the nationalism that pops up here is more a defensive reaction, the retrogression you recognize, and not the positive, united commitment to nation that most democratic states – in concept – strive for. Humanity keeps getting in the way. Insecurities, mainly. Or greed.

  2. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I have contended before that Filipinos are not nationalistic. This is obvious from a President who does not defend the hard-won national territory; to the politicians who steal from the national treasury; to the businessmen who lay waste to national resources in chase of profit; to the men in the street who sell their votes and do not obey the law.

    2. I have surmised that this lack of national sentiment is due first and foremost to tribalism and secondarily to amoral familism and amoral clannism, all of which stand in the way of a true national identity being forged. In the North, Ilocanos remain loyal to the Marcoses despite their depredations. In the South, Muslims remain loyal to their clans and warlords. And in every direction, voters remain loyal to their local dynasties.

    3. To be sure, there is a love of country but little pride of country – perhaps not affectively but practically.

    4. One will note that the President’s show of “pride” with respect to Obama and the EU is in reaction to righteous criticism of his abuse of human rights. It is personal pride based on his personal failings and miscomprehension of humane ideals and not of national pride based on the innate dignity of being a Filipino.

    5. The lack of pride is shown in his abject abnegation to China.

    6. And the lack of pride trickles down to the true believers.

    7. Filipinos take great pride when one of theirs – a celebrity, a singer, a chess player, a boxer – gains international prominence. The pride is so inordinate that it manifests as neediness.

    8. Filipinos, take pride in yourselves. Be independent. Be true nationalists.

    • Yes, that is consistent with Popoy’s view that nationalism here is retrogressive, and mine that it is defensive. Missing is the sacrifice of self to bond with people of different areas, languages, wealth, or religion. Patriotism ought to be giving as much as taking.

  3. jamesb says:

    “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it”
    Mark Twain

    There is a big difference between nationalism and patriotism.

    Hitler said “i am a nationalist, but not a patriot”.
    Most authoritarian leaders exhibit the same attitude and use the populist banner of nationalism as an emotional hook for their own pursuit of power, but the reality of the current wave of nationalism is protectionism and isolationism, which invariably leads to greater divisions and conflicts, and ultimately a backlash.

    Nationalism is fundamentally an outlet/expression of anger and it finds/needs a target on which to vent aggression. It is driven by emotion/negativity, and not objectivity.

    The duterte/mindanao/chinese collective will run out of steam as others run out of patience.

    Best to be a patriot, not a nationalist.

    • Ah, perfectly stated. Thanks.

      • popoy says:

        Patriotism is difficult to bastardize as it involves love from the heart and the offering of blood and life itself.

        • Both nationalism and patriotism are dangerous IMHO.

          Individualism , I prefer. Each person should stand on their own, but not necessarily selfish, just don’t bend to the will of others. I just saw “Hacksaw Ridge” last night (it’s playing on HBO this month), the best rendering on film of individualism and having your own code (I thought, “A Man for All Season” was it, but its between these two movies now for me, that’s how good “Hacksaw Ridge” is),

          (Joe, it’s kinda violent, so watch it first, but eventually your son should watch this movie)

          • I don’t watch war movies, as they bring back too many memories that I prefer to rest out of mind, but I appreciate the suggestion and ideas.

            • It’s not a war movie per se, though the war part was on par with Saving Private Ryan’s opening scene, but the bulk of the movie was about

              • Desmond Doss wanted to serve is country but on his terms, ie. he refused to carry a gun.

                But its collectivist and individualist values in clash.

                You can’t have nationalism and patriotism (essentially collectivism) without individualism , otherwise it’ll always be bastardized.

                Trump’s own idea of nationalism and patriotism for example, is now butting up against others idea of those two things, but the push back if you notice is happening at the individual level, ie. individual Federal judges, leaks from the White House, governors like Kasich, from the Republican side its more a balancing act, and the Democrats its more a collectivist approach, ie. RESIST.

                But the system’s working. And its working because of people like Desmond Doss, there’s enough people here that don’t think in terms of group-think. Otherwise, Wilde’s correct,

                patriotism (and nationalism) are virtues of the vicious , Joe.

              • Wow, a lot to ponder here. Patriotism and nationalism CAN be vicious, I agree. But they are also the impetus for the kind of sacrifice that creates unity that makes groups strong and productive.

          • popoy says:

            “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious” may be I need to read on Oscar Wilde. Being vicious to traitors and enemies of their country and people is a necessary personal quality expected of patriots who accept no eche bucheche from enemies of the state. To be kind, logical and reasonable are not wanting among traitors.

          • victoria says:

            Iy took me a while to convince my friends it is a true story. The guy is still alive I heard and he has that humility to the core in real life Im sure if he goes to heaven he will be given a medal there too.

      • chemrock says:

        Nationalists love their country no matter what. Even if the country does evil.
        Patriots love their country for the values their country believe in.

        Patriots say I love my country, I will fight and am prepared to sacrifice and die for my country.
        Nationalists say I love my country, we should have more patriots who will fight and die for our country.

    • popoy says:

      Effective leadership is so COMMON SENSE. Its MACRO is GOVERNANCE whereas its MICRO is MANAGEMENT. I was fortunate to discuss both perspectives in classrooms. What is common to both whether my audience are composed Barangay Captains or government officials or elected politicians (masteral students) is BEHAVIOR.

      Followers or constituencies MUST be able to discern, anticipate, and know what the leader’s RESPONSE TO STIMULI will be. Leaders should be predictable based on character and personality as he energized into ACTION his sworn duties, his interpretation of his BIBLE which is the constitution (of a social club or a country). Otherwise leadership is anything goes–UNPREDICTABLE, rarely beneficial frequently dangerous. Life follows a pattern, IT IS NOT RANDOM. Leadership constitutes JUST and NOBLE expectations of followers.

  4. What Philippines and what Filipinos are meant by each respective nationalism?

    Duterte’s nationalism probably hardly means Moros (Marawi was hardly mentioned in the SONA) and Lumads (he threatened to bomb their schools).

    It is the old Filipino nationalism of Christian lowlanders, the colonized Filipinos. There were more exclusive forms that included only Tagalogs (original revolution) and maybe Pampangans, then included Visayans, Bikolanos, Ilokanos (the postwar republic) as the “metropolitan Philippines”.

    Yes, Mindanao was de facto excluded. Duterte wanted Mindanao to be noticed also, but he may have meant mainly his “tribe” in Mindanao, the Christian settlers.

    As for caring for citiizens – Filipino “nationalism” was often a nationalism of, for, with and by the elites. Therefore criticizing the elites was against the “nation” = trapo nation. Favoring the elites was for the trapo nation, whether it was Spanish, US, Japanese or now Chinese patronage and profit-sharing.

    Add to that Duterte’s personalism which includes “his” police and excludes critics and drug addicts.

    • It is a personal moral code almost, the Duterte nationalism. It’s whatever I say it is, right now. Which may be different from yesterday. And if you complain about it, you are not properly nationalistic.

  5. NHerrera says:

    Nationalism is the principle or course of action of asserting the interests of one’s own nation viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.


    Human Rights is a wonderfully evolved concept of Homo Sapiens. What is in HR that requires the Philippines to differentiate it from the common interest or understanding of nations. Is it something that requires the invocation of nationalism, especially in a country which prides itself in the amazing reception of several Popes, especially the last one just a few years ago?

    Are we perhaps confusing Nationalism with Schizophrenia?

    • popoy says:

      Once upon a time I was witness to a humble sample of nationalism when a dark skin President born poor in Talibon, Bohol took away from foreigners the business of retailing rice and gave it to small Filipino Businessmen. I think he initiated the FILIPINO FIRST POLICY.. Fifty-seven (57) years later President Donald J. Trump of USA gave nationalism the battle cry: America First misinterpreted (rightly or wrongly) as posturing against the world.

      • NHerrera says:

        Popoy, that Filipino President’s nationalism, expressed in that policy, is something I can well understand.

    • The way I see it, there are always two sides to a coin. The global interpretation of HR is about upholding everyone’s human rights regardless of demographic and geographic factors. PH HR seems to be about what the powers that be interprets it to be regardless of what the citizenry or the world believes. HR is universal so there should be no difference in its interpretation from country to country.

      Nationalism can be exclusive or inclusive. Exclusive nationalism is extreme, sinister, xenophobic, divisive and dangerous. Inclusive nationalism is moderate, light, enlightened, constructive and nontoxic. Some world leaders seem to lean heavily towards exclusive nationalism nowadays. The difference between the two, IMHO, is the former is often indefensible while the latter is defensible.

      PS – I often hear people accusing CHR of not lifting a finger about the victims of drug addicts yet investigating the public officials who are suspected of crimes. Is it not clear to the public that that is their job? CHR investigates crimes perpetrated by government officials and law enforcement does ones that are committed by a citizen to another citizen.

      • CHR’s role is unknown to most people, apparently even the President.

      • madlanglupa says:

        The lunatic social media and VACC tend to believe that CHR is a greater danger to “national security”, despite its reason to exist as enshrined in the Constitution (funny the other day Imee held up a copy of the 1987 Constitution).

        • The Philippines is the photographic negative, where right becomes wrong, and wrong is a kind of righteous impunity. It is absolutely destructive, I think, but a lot of people cheer the goings on because it is a challenge to the conventions that have treated them poorly. Or that is what they think, anyhow. Or have been led to think.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      NHerrera, you ask the damnedest and knottiest of questions.

      1. It would seem that there is a connection between human rights and nationalism in that both uphold the dignity of the Filipino. But the similarity begins and ends there. They belong to different domains.

      2. Human rights have a downward trajectory. It is the loyalty of the State towards the observance of individual rights.

      2.1. Textually and contextually, human rights are established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and particularized in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

      2.2. I would extend human rights not only to individuals but also to groups by reason of religion (Moros) and autochthony (Igorots and Lumads).

      3. Nationalism has an upward trajectory. It is the loyalty of the individuals and groups towards the State.

      3.1. It also has an outward trajectory in the sovereign notion that the interests of the State predominate the interests of other States.

      4. So: human rights is in the domain of individual rights. It is regard for the interests of the individual (and the group). Nationalism is in the domain of State rights. It is regard for the interests of the State.

      4.1. As to your question, no, human rights do not require the invocation of nationalism. They are universal, above any particular State.

      4.2. However, in the current climate, I would say that an appeal to nationalism, if heeded, should make some dent against the rationale for, and the reality of, the killings.

      4.3. For the nation’s sake, stop killing the citizens.

  6. arielmd says:

    I just want to share this quote from Abe Lincoln that says and I quote, “We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution”. I wished that Filipinos would have the same mentality, but I guess that we are still far from this kind of concept as you commented somewhere in your past article. Very informative and educational to help us develop our critical thinking. Kudos also to the mostly erudite commenters here.

    • popoy says:

      Filipinos self-flagellate when they criticize themselves and not the regime that rule their lives. The people should realize their chosen rulers in the regime should be better than what they see as themselves in the mirror. It is not possible to change or exterminate the people and let the regime live on. But the regime can be changed as there is no end for the quest of a better regime.

    • “… to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

      Honorable women like Atty Mandy Anderson, Atty Conchita Morales, Sen Risa Hontiveros, Sen Leila de Lima and VP Leni Robredo had been talking truth to power. I hope more and more people will support them. We need more men and women who will assist in rooting out our society’s ills if we are serious about wanting a better nation.

  7. “This appears to have contributed to the ‘surprise’ occupation of Marawi by terrorists, something that should have been no surprise if Philippine and US intelligence services were working aggressively together.” and “President Duterte’s dare to the Maute gang to burn Malawi, along with his pushing US intelligence services away, were primary contributors to the tragedy there.”

    Great article , Joe and why I think people like you should be given some sort of path to citizenship, if not citizenship at least some protection to do what you’re doing.

    I’m with Ireneo, that this isn’t about nationalism, its about regionalism/provincialism/family-ism(?) , and that there is no real nation to be nationalistic about— only folks like edgar , and other Filipinos, who are safe and can ideate some sort of fantasy version of the Philippines have this luxury , and of course foreign critics who understand the concept of nation like you (not that there’s anything wrong with all that, this was Thomas Paine’s greatest contribution to the U.S. after, the idea of something bigger).

    But your point on US intelligence , IMHO is over-blown, you’re giving them too much credit. Now i’m not privy to anything special, but my reading of what happened in Marawi is exactly as you’ve described, a personal spat with DU30. If there was anything else bigger than that, whether or not DU30 is pro- or anti- American would not matter , since contacts on the ground , ie. military, police, civilian are there, those strings would be pulled regardless (if the matter is of our national importance), but dependent on how connected those contacts are.

    That last scenario is more of following an individual or small group from outside the Philippine to inside (easier to do). But penetrating neighborhoods and cities in the 3rd world, our track record on this is pretty bad , Joe. Remember Ruby Ridge and Waco here? There’s neighborhoods like in Marawi in Puerto Rico that we can’t even penetrate now. So basically, it’s like saying the U.S. would also have known about the Ecleo family there— national interest and resources have to match.

    When the military is invited to train military and police in the 3rd world, they can only do so much (limited); when the CIA works a country they can only do so much (not enough people, but particularly interest); the State Dept. is the best line for these type of things, ie. non-int’l , clan-based, personal spats. They can better enlist NGOs, Western Christian missions, foreign companies, ex-pats, etc. Foreign service officers (the real ones) are suppose to go out and make these connections too, but since they are more likely to stay where it is safe and urban, they can’t—

    they are not as adventurous or missioned focused. I believe there was some half-ass American consulate in Cebu, but that’s the farthest south we go. And that Snowden stuff (have you seen the film on Edward Snowden by Oliver Stone?) only applies when there’s electronic/online stuff, ISIS learned from Al-Qaeda, which Al-Qaeda learned from Hizbullah, which Hizbullah learned from Fatah (and those 60s pan-Arab nationalist movements) , which is not to go high-tech in comms.

    The documentary on Snowden, “CITIZENFOUR” , got an Oscar,

    • Thanks for the insights on military intelligence. The ‘not knowing’ what did or might have transpired in the face of Duterte’s known animosity is what I think an earnest legislature would want to investigate, as was done on Mamasapano with great glee. I guess there can be no political win in investigating, so there will be none. The US appears to have stepped up its military game here, gifting the PH with 2 cessna spy planes, 200 1,000 pound bombs, 1,200 rockets, and the promise of more gear for the air force, plus training. The planes are worth $30 million.

  8. alicia m. kruger says:

    A feeling of love for and pride in your country is what nationalism is all about but many government officials under this regime seem to have put their own interests first and country second. Duterte comes in between.

    Name calling and swearing seem to be the norm. And they are okay with that. And EJK too. And nobody would dare question why Duterte was caught napping in his job by the Mautes.

    Probing whether foreign funds came to finance whatever war the president is waging would not even come to their minds.

    I know for a fact that China is actively pursuing their interests in foreign countries like Australia. Last month elected officials resigned because they have been proven guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollar ‘donations’ from Chinese nationals who in return had gained access to other public officials who tried to manipulate that bills be passed in their favor.

    Does anyone wonder if it is also happening in the Philippines? Is nationalism just an illusion to many?

  9. NHerrera says:

    Off topic but an interesting read. (Sorry, but just making light of our discussion here; but not funny over at the US of A — but that seems normal there for the last 6 months.)

    Scaramucci — the new WH Communicator — brandishing his sabre-mouth but with less finesse than Scaramouche (the movie).

    Warning, graphic language:

    • NHerrera says:

      Just another garden variety power-tripper? The world has come to this sorry state, but will it return to some sanity? Blame it on the internet and technology. May be the human behavior has not changed but the technology has brought about this kind of news unlike the days before the radio. Telegraph would have been intolerably difficult and pricey to use for such.

    • He’s wielding an axe in a shop of egos. Lots of luck with that.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Based from the definitions provided by james b- love for country and support for gov is patriotism and nationalism is displayed by authoritarian dictators using populism as tools.( i hope i interpreted it correctly)

    From the comments, it is still used interchangeably.

    For me economic nationalists advocate for protectionism, anti free trade, anti globalization.

    From social media
    we see “i love my country and my color is not yellow bla bla”
    if you are dilawan you dont love your country.
    what bs is that?

    We see those leftists’ with their mantra of “we against the capitalists and imperialists”

    We don’t have to be soldiers or die for our country to be patriots the definition of Twain would do.

    • Those saying ‘Yellows’ don’t love their country mistake obedience or subservience for love. And perhaps that is the style of love they grew up with in hyper-disciplined families. But obedience, which ends up being blind when the leader misbehaves, is not love of country. Rebellion, in those circumstances, ala EDSA, demonstrates love of country.

  11. madlanglupa says:

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    That immortal quote of Samuel Johnson I always love to think about when the phonies claim they’re fighting for all Filipinos, draping themselves in the flag, when it’s really their personal interests and bank accounts. Nationalism is also a useful foil, by trying to use the Balangiga Bells to divert attention away from the Spratlys domination scheme.

  12. jamesb says:

    To nationalistic leaders, and more importantly their followers, 2 mantras summarise their attitude:
    ‘Us vs them’
    ‘The end justifies the means’

    Groupthink with anger. Immorality without boundaries. The law does not apply when necessary – no ethics, just hypocricy.

    “Shoot first and inquire afterwards, whatever happens, I will protect you”
    Instruction to the Prussian police (1933)
    Hermann Goring

    A masterclass in nationalism – adolf hitler.
    “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”

    “It is not truth that matters, but victory.”

    “If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.”

    “The leader must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the leader is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”
    Adolf hitler

    • NHerrera says:

      I did not know that Der Fuehrer equated humans to frogs in the acceptance of the frogs placed in the slowly heated water of the pot.

  13. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe I do not disagree with these comments about Duterte & the Philippines. So I have not so far made a comment. Filipino Nationalism or patriotism is not something in which I have any expertise or deep understanding

    But I think the frame of this post, focusing just on the Philippines, is narrow. There is an international context. And that wider context is important. In part that context explains some of the wider forces in play in other countries as well as in the Philiipines.

    Is it purely coincidence that nations like Poland, Hungary, the UK, & Slovalia etc. in Europe and the USA with Trump, are all ruled by governments with a nationalist perspective ? Is it coincidence that he Philippines has a president who is loud in his claims to being a new nationalist ?
    Tonight I read this article by Stan Grant on this wider context here :

    • Thanks. It’s not a coincidence, I think, and is symptomatic of people feeling lost and angry, with social media at the eye of the storm. Which is odd considering that there is a serious question about survivability. I just try to peck and poke at it, with the Philippine perspective dominant.

      • So very true , Bill. The context is international. For me personally, I caught wind of this in S. Korea and Japan. Here we were essentially providing security for these two countries (from results of WWII) , yet these countries had no love for us—- very understandable , and their reasons are valid, ie. more alcohol, prostitution, etc. etc. So what are we doing here was the question in my mind while in country, mind you N. Korea was just being N. Korea, and China wasn’t really so belligerent at that time, so this whole idea of countering China wasn’t yet in my head, or anyone’s for that matter at least militarily.

        I figure it’s all related to individualist and collectivist lines of thought, Bill. After WWII , the defeat of Japan and Germany (actually the seed went further with the League of Nations IMHO), we opted for this collectivist mind, only the US (and much of the Anglosphere, maybe also France and the Scandanavian nations) were the ones footing the bill. Right after WWII , it made perfect sense as we transitioned to Capitalist vs. Communist. But when the USSR crumbled, and with the EU expanding , what was suppose to be common sense (ie. lets all work together) was now questioned.

        For the US, the question was simply , if we don’t have any interest here, why are we paying for this? Coincidentally , welfare programs and Planned Parenthood abortions were also questioned around this time. For example, California state prisons were paying for transexual sex change operations, the racket was (and it took taxpayers forever to find out) transexuals would get part of the process going, ie. breasts, etc. before , then go to jail, then from there petition that their transformation be completed in prison, arguing that this would be cruel & unusual punishment if denied; and that its a basic right, etc.

        Well California being California this racket actually went on for a long time. The prison system was complicit also since they have a side hustle by contracting out medical care, all at taxpayers expense. Chelsea Manning also had her sex change surgery while in military prison. So it’s not just CA.

        In essence, that’s the main idea operating here, Bill. And you are right it’s international in scope, the 3rd world is tired of the 1st world screwing with them, ie. World Bank, IMF, UN, etc. but most importantly here the 1st world is also more tired of funding 3rd world shenanigans. That is the fault line here, related to individualist and collectivist lines of thought. Liberal/progressives knowing this was an issue never jumped on this, so conservatives did, only most conservatives also pretty much agreed with post-WWII institutions designed to make the world more collective, so the farther right took on this issue, hence the pattern that you see, Bill, in the U.S. and in Europe (ie. Brexit, etc.)… but that’s the issue.

        • chemrock says:

          Lance, just a side comment.
          “..these countries had no love for us—- very understandable , and their reasons are valid, ie. more alcohol, prostitution, etc. ”

          The exuberance of GI Joes is a well know fact. But I think the host country has a shared responsibility in not managing this. In Spore I used to service some US naval vessels. Once I spoke to n officer in charge of logistics, just idle talk. He said in Spore their boys are reminded before they hit the town that this is a country of laws where the govt meant what they say, so enjoy but behave. And it worked. We don’t have any US servicemen causing any problems for as long as I can remember.

          • Totally agree, chemp! Even in Singapore there was prostitution that catered to US servicemen, but less blatant. Laws are one things for sure, ie. if you have EDSA entertainment complexes around, folks will partake. But i’d go one further, fear also does a good job, when it comes to keeping people in-line. Host countries in the Middle East, we were pretty much were on lock down, so in Arab / Muslim countries we are in our best behaviour, but in SE Asia we go buck wild— both us and host countries totally have a say , chemp.

            But i’m illustrating here the granular view of all this alliances abroad, yeah S. Koreans may not like American military, but go higher up and their security apparatus is fixed on keeping N. Koreans at bay, but the close second to N. Korea is the U.S.— that’s not a very healthy alliance. Japan is a truer alliance, gov’t to gov’t -wise , but you can’t sustain it if at the bottom, the masses are sick and tired of the relationship.

            The Philippines has a more nuanced relationship IMHO, on one hand, the 1st world and 3rd world divide is so great, unlike S. Korea & Japan (i’d call them 2nd world), that any sort of “partnership” will never be mutual and balanced, no equity. But on the other hand, Filipinos are kinda like Indians were for the British Empire, they make up the bulk of clerks and middle managers, bureaucrats, for int’l organizations (like the U.N.) but also gov’t workers in the US.

            So i guess it all boils down to equity in the relationship, chemp. Where Singapore has more equity, relationships are smoother— also keep in mind that there are no big military bases in Singapore, it’s more of a hub; places w/out equity will feel the pinch. Forces in Japan and S. Korea, for Marines being stationed in Japan, pretty much means S. Korea too, so almost considered as one place, anyways before all this China stuff at least for Marines, they were drawing down troops, reshuffled thru out Guam, Hawaii and Australia— which I believe is still happening and on schedule.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          You know Lance, quoting a Tom Jeffferson all the time does not make your argument ‘more right’.

          It’s called ‘an argument from authority’. But to me here in Australia, Jefferson is not an authority. Nor is he a hero. He is just another dead foreigner – in this case from the USA.

          This is not meant to insult. It just reflects the facts. He is not an Australian hero. More important, in this blog about the Philippines he is NOT a Filiino hero. So why the need to cite him all the time.

          NOW : do I agree with the sentiments put forward ( by Jefferson ) in this comment ? NO I do not. We live in nations and we are taxed as citizens and residents. Inevitably governments will use money (taxes) taken from citizens & residents for purposes that some of us disagree with. C’est la vie. That’s democracy & the modern nation state system.

          • You know, Bill, you do have a way of cutting to the quick. This one I laughed at because it is so true, “He is just another dead foreigner.” Loved it. It is what we make of the lessons that counts, not the lessons of history per se. Thanks for being here, in spite of our occasional dust ups.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Joe, I suspect that one of the strengths of the ‘Anglosphere cultures’ is the capacity to have & deal with & even resolve, ‘dust ups’. It’s all part of the process of discussion, debate and becoming informed.

              Other cultures don’t include this. In my experience nearly all the cultures of SEA have an innate preference for politeness, face saving and suppressing differences. But this is fading in the Philippines I think.

          • karlgarcia says:

            At least Lance (and Bing) won’t be accused of plagiarism.

        • “This is not meant to insult.”

          No offense taken, Bill. Though I do differ from your take on “appeal to authority”, the test for that is simply to erase Thomas Jefferson’s name from the quote, and you’ll see that that sentiment stands on its own.

          “NOW : do I agree with the sentiments put forward ( by Jefferson ) in this comment ? NO I do not. We live in nations and we are taxed as citizens and residents. Inevitably governments will use money (taxes) taken from citizens & residents for purposes that some of us disagree with. C’est la vie.”

          Now we have an argument, where initially I was just describing the nature of this international phenomenon that you commented on, ie. collectivist vs. individualist , adding & equating two examples, domestic (welfare programs) and international (U.N. & E.U. , etc.). So here goes (and it’s a simple argument really 😉 ),

          If your disagreement with that Jeffersonian sentiment is simply procedural, ie. you give your money to the gov’t and hey, however they spend it, you don’t care, your “C’est la vie”. Then yeah, I totally sympathize with that view, I used to not care about where the gov’t spends my money, when I was younger, “I don’t know I only work here”.

          But you’re not young, and naive, not only are you older and wiser, but from your many posts here, you strike me as someone very involved in your community and the day to day running of your country (you’re also very well versed in foreign affairs). So you do keep tabs on where your money goes (at the very least). So procedurally speaking, I ‘d bet you are very aware where your tax dollars are spent, so it isn’t “C’est la vie”, you are vested. Unless i’m wrong here, please set me straight on this particular point.

          For the meat and potatoes of the argument, let’s test your “C’est la vie”, Bill.

          Now i’ve mentioned sex change operations in California state prisons have since gone down, a lot of it has to do with the economic downturn in 2009, but there hasn’t been actual case law that sealed these sex change operations closed and shut. What lessened it was the budget cuts and more justifications needed for these gov’t spendings. I also mentioned a Chelsea Manning who while in prison for leaking documents to Wikileaks, was in military prison, and while there got a sex change operation, on gov’t’s dime. Now the transgender ban in the military, that’s in the news lately, has a lot to do with these sex change operations, ie. is this operation a medical necessity or simply cosmetic, that’s the issue here,

          as taxpayer, if you don’t agree with sex change operations as something the gov’t pays for, you only have 2 choices really, Bill: either you say “C’est la vie” OR you say “Hell, no”, I’m not paying for that, and go thru the proper procedures to get that stopped. This example may not matter to you (you could be for gov’t paid sex change operations), but simply insert an issue that you’re passionate about, ie. immigration, utilities, etc. etc. then test, if you’re truly a “C’est la vie” -typa guy, or not.

          But the wider point here, is you are suppose to hold your gov’t accountable, whether local or national, on where they spend your money.

          It’s not the gov’t’s money, it’s the citizenry’s , as such the citizenry has the responsibility to pay attention. So here I’m simply cutting the legs off your claim, “C’est la vie”. If you think you can defend your “C’est la vie” please do so. But having interacted with you for awhile now, I ‘m pretty sure, you agree with me here already , Bill— you just simply missed the forest for the tree, busy focusing on Thomas Jefferson… again, I’m not appealing to authority here, since the idea is pretty straight forward, which is… you’re not giving money away here, paying taxes is investing in one’s community and country, as investor you are required to participate.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Hey Lance “But the wider point here is” that we hold our gov’t accountable, whether local or national, on where they spend your money. ….It’s not the gov’t’s money, it’s the citizen’s & resident’s , as such the citizenry has the responsibility to pay attention.”

            I agree completely with you here. But let’s keep it simple and uncomplicated without any mention of something being ‘sinful,or tyrannical”. And no implication that we should refuse to pay taxes to a government either…It’s the absolutism of Jefferson’s words which I reject

            As for your original point about some folks getting sex change operations for free while in jail or in the military, that’s bizarre mate.. ‘Only in America’ as we in Oz say…:-)

            • But let’s keep it simple and uncomplicated without any mention of something being ‘sinful,or tyrannical”.

              LOL! Sorry, that part I couldn’t control, ’twas how they talked back then, sin and tyranny.

              As for taxes,

              “As for your original point about some folks getting sex change operations for free while in jail or in the military, that’s bizarre mate..”

              This , actually comes pretty close to “sinful and tyrannical”, no?


              • Bill In Oz says:

                No not sinful in my agnostic opinion..
                And tyranical ? No feels like mere opportunism I suggest.

                They get ‘medical’ treatment to cure a problem which is not a medical problem, at someone else’s expense. Certainly bizarre !

                It’s your country Lance. Can you explain this to the rest of us ?

              • Without seeking authoritative references, I suspect that one’s emotional condition is considered medical, and someone in jail would receive what is deemed responsible care. I would be surprised if the military did much transgender work, but there might be circumstances in which the same rationale is used. I think this kind of care is compassionate and would leave the judgments to penal and military authorities without second-guessing from my base of ignorance.

              • Okay, I did do some research, and my guess about medical rationale seems right. Wiki:

                “With advancements in the current understanding of human experience, sexual identity is now better understood. Where being transgender was once considered a paraphilic disorder, the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders places being transgender in a separate chapter, terming the condition gender dysphoria. It is argued that militaries that exclude transgender people on grounds of mental illness, whose policies pathologize gender dysphoria, are at odds with the current medical understanding. This argument requires that transgender personnel be treated by the same level of medical care as all other personnel, in accordance with established medical practice.”

                Here is a link to the full discussion, including commentaries by country, Australia and US included:

                There are sections reciting the arguments for and against.

                The US has about 1.3 million active duty military personnel and is estimated there are some 1,200 to 4,500 transgender people serving. Australia has about 58,000 active military personnel and 14 identified transgender people allowed to serve.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Joe, I have a now adult child who was born a daughter. In about 2004-5 at the age of 30 she decided she was a bloke. In Oz that sought of problem does not get medical support from the public. So she went to Thailand and had the necessary operations there at her own cost.
                That’s the way it is here.

                I guess other countries have different modus operandi on this. But I feel it’s a bit bizarre to expect others to pay the cost of such a personal matter.

                PS He and his partner now live in the US in Minnesota. They have a daughter and genetically I am the grand father…Ummm Yes a bit confusing even for me. 🙂

              • Bill In Oz says:

                And I am not against transgender folk serving in the military whether here in Oz or elsewhere..Their choice of service is for them to make. My understanding is that stopping them from serving would be discrimination here in Oz & illegal.

                But the public paying for these medical procedures ? There I would disagree.. Health care funds are always scarce so I feel that there are others who need medical attention first.

              • That’s one position. I suspect the services consider each person’s individual medical circumstance and try to figure out if there is a way to improve their strength. Staff and operating costs aren’t looked at as billable, but as available.

              • “PS He and his partner now live in the US in Minnesota. They have a daughter and genetically I am the grand father…Ummm Yes a bit confusing even for me. 🙂 “

                This part is really interesting , Bill, re genetics (not politics now). So she had her eggs saved before she converted to male? or do her ovaries stay intact during a female to male conversion, hence the genetic connection here?

            • “No not sinful in my agnostic opinion..
              And tyranical ? No feels like mere opportunism I suggest.”

              Well sinful has different connotations for different people, I suppose , Bill. I’m agnostic too, but I use the word sinful a lot here, similarly the way Joe uses Christian/un-Christian, and I’m sure the same way Jefferson intended to use (not because I’m expecting fire & brimstone) but to give proper weight of things; as for tyrannical anything oppressive seems perfect for this word’s use, and when taxpayers are compelled to pay for people’s fetishes, that’s tyrannical in my book.

              Now I used the sex change operation as an extreme example, these are the logical ends I tend to like, cuts thru to the chase. But there’s a bunch of things in the middle. In prison people in death row or serving life terms (for violent crimes) get dialysis treatment, some once or twice a week (not so severe cases), many others every other day, those things are around $5,000 a pop. Prisoners who get injured fighting, for example rupturing an ACL (knee ligament or losing an eye) , get ACL reconstruction ($20-25,000 bucks, plus) and eye replacement (get fitted with eye prosthetic ($15,000 bucks). The list goes on and on…

              I also added in my initial post Planned Parenthood abortion. Now being non-religious I have no problems with abortion per se. But the way its currently being used is for any woman who has loose morals who then gets pregnant, and taxpayers have to pay for their fun times. So why not install some procedure in which women who use and abuse these services get mandatory sterilization— or if too Draconian , refuse them service all together, don’t make it easy for them to screw around.

              You’re saying it’s bizarre, Joe’s saying it’s compassionate, I’m saying it’s retarded. And that’s the politics of all this. Now Joe’s correct that (just from light research) Chelsea Manning is the first in military prison; But here in California there have been countless sex change operations for state prisoners. You add in luxurious, extraneous medical services for prisoners similar to those listed above, and taxpayer waste gets bigger and bigger, you get to adding in similar examples, wherein the argument is for compassionate or some ideation of basic or human right thus justified, and it becomes downright “tyrannical” , Bill. The ACLU is usually at the pinnacle of these types of arguments, now don’t get me wrong many times I agree with the ACLU especially when it comes to the 1st Amendment, 4th and 5th, etc. but over the years they’ve pulled us into a welfare state,

              where individual values and freedoms have become subservient to some minority group’s values, at huge costs to the majority population. Enough is enough already.

              And this leads us back to my original point, Bill (one i wish you’d have address instead of unduly focusing on Thomas Jefferson), that this collectivist and individualist pull in domestic politics, is related to int’l politics especially where the U.S. is concerned (and the Anglosphere for that matter, Bill), since essentially these int’l organizations and policies are welfare programs, not unlike paying for other peoples’ sex change operations.

              (That’s a great personal note on your daughter/son, Bill. Can you enlighten us on the costs and procedure of all this? I have no problem with people wanting sex change operations, just please don’t make me pay for it, i’m compassionate but I draw the line on this type of “compassion”… 😉 )

              p.s. ~ on those numbers of transgender in the military i think the number is less and they’re conflating LGBTQs as one. Not all gays want sex change operations, and certainly many feel the same way about tax dollars paying for individuals’ sex change operations, what’s next we have to pay for women’s breast enlargements out of “compassion”???!!! As much as I like looking at well done (soft to the touch w/ natural bounce) breast augmentations, I’m not paying for other peoples’ fetishes, Bill! 😮

              • “The US has about 1.3 million active duty military personnel and is estimated there are some 1,200 to 4,500 transgender people serving. “

                oooops, sorry. I read it as 12,000 and 45,000 , those numbers for transexuals actually sound reasonable.

                And I don’t agree with both of you guys’ stance on LGBTQs in the military. Like i’ve said in my talk with edgar re homosexuality, i’ve made dear friends in the military who are homosexuals, who’ve since left the military. The wider point i think isn’t so much sexual preferences (which I could care less),

                but what happens when those sex preferences are unnecessarily exhibited in the military, so the issue for me is more exhibitionism, which both straight and homo folks can be guilty of, and how that will negatively impact the team, trans-sexuality is at the pinnacle of this exhibitionism in the military IMHO, like a Sikh demanding that he get to wear his traditional headgear in uniform,

                uniformity is crucial in the military, even regular women are expected to look uniform and since it’s not an Amazonian military, majority women (the US) there’s no miniskirts and tanktops, like Hooter’s, which they are free to dress outside of work, in the barracks. But in uniform women are expected to look as close to their men counterpart as possible.

              • I’m suggesting you and Bill ought not dictate for other people as to what their emotional or medical needs are, or how prisons or the military elect to care for them. I am amused that you do have moral standards, in spades, and seek to impose them on others. lol

              • That’s kinda the point here , Joe, where do emotional/medical needs take from my own needs (and others’) , and how far do we concede , are we required to say, C’est la vie? NO! I prefer my tax money going to things the majority can enjoy, like infrastructure, telecomms, alternative energy, etc. Is this a legitimate medical/psychological issue or is this simply one’s fetish, hence cosmetic only? That’s the question.

                It’s that simple, Joe.

                Furthermore, elected officials do respond when taxpayers complain, specifically or generally, on issues. I made a point of introducing this specific issue because it’s in the news, ie. Trumps transgender ban. But the wider implications are as stated, at the end of the day we are fighting for where our tax money goes to, whether here domestically or abroad.

              • The question is legitimate.

              • “I am amused that you do have moral standards, in spades, and seek to impose them on others.”

                How am I imposing on others, Joe? My position is simple, I don’t wanna pay for things I shouldn’t be paying for. I could care less what others do with their dough, just don’t do it on my dime. See, not imposing anything at all.

              • The answer, as opinion, is legitimate. Others find it impractical for individuals to dictate policy over the heads of those who have accountability for jails and military, lest chaos ensue.

              • “impractical for individuals”

                Yes, that’s why that sentiment Thomas Jefferson immortalized cuts both ways, Joe, for those spending other peoples’ money (which i believe was the original audience), as well as for those whose money is being spent by gov’t. It requires a whole nation from inside the gov’t as well as outside it (ie. as citizens) to take heed.

                Make no mistake, Joe. Prisons aren’t giving prisoners these awesome medical services because they care, as soon as that prisoner gets his surgery or treatment (unnecessary IMHO), prison guards don’t help ’em walk back to prison, prisoners don’t get tender loving care, that prisoner as soon as he wakes up from general anesthesia , has to limp on his own to the transport vehicle then once back in prison all the way to his cell, infections or minor complications will be treated in-house, bigger stuff it’s back to the private medical contractor/provider contracted by the state.

                So the other issue here too is embezzlement, gov’t contracts, medical contracts, etc.

                But that’s beyond the scope of our point now, read Bill’s original point above re the int’l nature of this nationalism phenomenon and you’ll come full circle here with my point re globalism— that’s my actual point, that we don’t wanna pay for other peoples’ crap anymore.

    • NHerrera says:

      I take these two paragraphs from Stan Grant as summarizing his views:

      It was rooted in the idea, as Hegel maintained, that “all human consciousness was limited by the particular social and cultural conditions of man’s surrounding environment” — or as we say, by “the times”.

      The death of Europe, War in Asia, crumbling capitalism, retreating liberalism — this is the temper of the times.


      Hegel who lived about two centuries ago had the foresight to write about human consciousness being limited or circumscribed by the particular social and cultural conditions of man’s surrounding environment.

      The particular social and cultural conditions of our current surrounding environment — especially made more accessible 24/7 through modern technology — is there for all of us to see, which Stan Grant summarizes in the second paragraph I quote.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        There have been giants whose consciousness transcended the condition of their times.

        • NHerrera says:

          I agree. In science, Albert Einstein is such a giant.

          • popoy says:

            If I may, if it can amplify ideation to think of China to trained Duterte’s high officials in the art and science of Governance and Putin’s ascendant influence to Philippine governance, just shudder with these thoughts that turned Hegel on his head.


            • popoy says:

              here’s the neuron’s bone of contention that will enliven the discussion:

              “. . . claims to have turned Hegel on his head, in the following way:
              1.  The Individual and Particular Have Priority Over the Universal (Materialism replaces Idealism).  Start from the individual and particular.  Basic Empirical Facts:  modes of production and relations of production and exchange.  History is the history of the development of the division of labor.  Forms of property are a symptom of the underlying facts.
              2.  Basic empirical facts have priority over ideas (e.g., laws and philosophical theories.  Laws and all religious, moral, and philosophical speculation is part of a superstructure that is determined by the sub-structure of basic empirical facts.
              3.  Purely descriptive has priority over the Ethical (Normative).  There are no ethical relations independent of the basic relations of production and exchange. 
              4.  Invisible Hand Explanation of History.  History is the product of causal relations and class conflict, not dialectical conflict between ideas.

              read on what’s below the above and chuckle to the beauty of everyone’s mind in TSOH.

              KM’s (not Kabataan Makabayan) dialectic of theses, anti-theses and syntheses is that what propelled China and Russia to what they are now? Iba yata eh.

  14. caliphman says:

    When brutish leaders cloak themselves and their misdeeds under the banner of nationalism, that is the time for the country to be even more vocal and critical of their policies and programs. Surely, Hitler and Mussolini and now Putin, Trump, Duterte and their followers have gathered popular support and silenced their domestic and foreign critics in pushing forth their unholy and abusive agendas. When basic human values are at stake and despots are heading their countries on the path of dictatorships, let’s not turn nationalism from these leaders cloaks to our own blindfolds!

  15. jamesb says:

    Nationalism is built upon the back of a threat – perceived or real.
    Immigration and/or globalisation are the current flavours of populism, and like all such movements the appeal is more to the superficiality of emotional anger rather than the substance of rational facts.
    Populism/nationalism plays to the conscious and subconscious biases which people have, and as with pavlov’s dog if you provide the right stimulus you will get the desired/predictable response.
    Psychographics can segment the base and feed different types of red meat to the rabid pack.
    Between trump and duterte and their supporters they cover the spectrum of the 12 types of anger, and share one interest – themselves.

    • Bingo. If you seek a broader reach to your comments, the blog does accept guest articles. Perhaps you’d care to elaborate on the line “Psychographics can segment the base and feed different types of red meat to the rabid pack.”?

  16. Bill In Oz says:

    A report this morning from ABC news om guns being found hidden on Pulau Tinakareng in Indonesia, not far South of General Santos on Mindanao.

    It seems that the weapons were brought from the Philippines to Tinakareng as part of a plan to ship weapons to terrorists in Indonesia.

    And here for those who do not know is a link to a map of the area.

  17. Miela says:

    Duterte is eerily like Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Nicolas Maduro. I wonder if Duterte is like a left over of the country’s Hispanic heritage. The difference I see is, the three mentioned are more statemen like albeit authoritarian. Like Duterte, they like to blame the Yankees yet would love to have access to the Yankee free market. Duterte is all talk while Chavez and Castro managed to give handouts to their population to keep them loyal. Duterte, meanwhile, just has to lie to get the loyalty of the upper and middle class.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Miela, an interesting thought. But I must disagree. My disagreement is based on the ‘character’ of the other two countries : Cuba and Venezuela. They are so different to the Philippines.

      When I think about similarities and comparisons my mind turns to Indonesia and Malaysia. Suharto of Indonesia & Muhartir of Malaysia, intuitively to me, feel a lot like Duterte. Although neither of these was quite as regularly vulgar in their language. I suspect that this may be a reflection of Duterte’s ‘ Bisayan settler heritage”in Mindanao.

      • popoy says:

        Bill if I may, the four countries it seems to me are hardly comparable, more so if the first two countries lumped together are compared through their leaders who were/are Catholics and Muslims, respectively. Religion may be is the “P” factor that may or might not spell out similarities and dissimilarities. Religion could feed on contradictions and on-going internal societal conflict. Notwithstanding Duterte’s claim he has Maranao blood flowing in his veins from his mother side. In governance the religion (or lack of it) of who surrounds the leader could be an important variable.

        • popoy says:

          More . . . A leader without surROUNDERS is vacuous, living in a vacuum, left empty by vacuum cleaners.

      • Miela says:

        Mahatir and Suharto are more rational and way more statemen like than Chavez, Duterte, and Castro, Maduro.

        Duterte is a typical Filipino politician. He’s just the most blabbermouth and vulgar. But he is a lot like typical Filipono politician. Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan are NON-typical Filipino politician.

        If Duterte is a result of “Visayan heritage”, whybis he then a lot like Ferdinand Marcos, an Ilocano, minus the vulgarity? There’s even a bit of Erap due to his populism, amd Erap is a mestizo Tagalog.

  18. jamesb says:

    It’s the culture, stupid – not a culture of stupidity.

    “Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin”
    Ivan Pavlov

    In many countries there is now greater polarisation and less compromise than in the past. Populism and nationalism is one of the consequences.

    The extremes of the political bell curve are wielding undue weight, with the result that the pendulum of power is swinging wildly, rather than gently swaying.
    The lessons of the past have not been learnt.

    As such stability, and sensibility are in less evidence, and instead of becoming more accepting of ‘diversity and inclusion’, the outward mood is increasingly one of increasing division and discrimination. Vulgarity and violence are becoming the norm as people become desensitised and accepting.

    But where there is not self-awareness and self-development, there will ultimately be self-destruction.
    The insanity of humanity is it’s stupidity.

    “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
    Which is better – to have laws and to agree, or to hunt and to kill?”
    William Golding, Lord of the Flies

    A dystopian society and a Pavlovian culture arises in an authoritarian system, and an elitist structure only fuels inequality, division, and conflict.
    In such settings progress and prosperity are but the false promises of politicians and the false hopes of people.
    The problems soon become systemic and the faux solutions ineffective. A vicious circle meets a downward spiral, as the wrong people focus upon the wrong priorities, and only add to the endemic malaise.

    And there is plenty of blame to go around as the self-interest of elitism created a financial and cultural chasm, and as myopic politicians ignored the obvious signs.

    Sadly, rational man is only an economic construct. The reality is that the vagaries of emotional man set the agenda and the self-interest of political man completes the damage.

    Nationalism, protectionism, and insularity in an age of globalisation, multiculturalism, and diversity, is not realising that the train has already left the station.

    “Men are apt to be much more influenced by words than by the actual facts of the surrounding reality.”
    Ivan Pavlov.

  19. NHerrera says:


    The setting was the Senate Vote on the so-called “Skinny Repeal Bill” to repeal the Affordable Care Act nicknamed Obamacare. When “Mr. McCain” was called by a Senate clerk for his vote, Senator McCain was not in the Senate Room, but he re-entered the room shortly thereafter. He raised his right arm to get the attention of the clerk for his vote. Then with a barely audible “No” he accompanied that with a quick tilt of his thumb down. A dramatic moment for the books and history.

    Here is the drama — text and video — surrounding Senator McCain’s Moment:

  20. jamesb says:

    The guardian extract below summarises the danger of populism.
    It applies to trump and duterte supporters.
    Anti-intellectual flotsam and jetsam who could do a complete brain download in less than 140 characters.

    Duterte and his “50 + 1” attitude epitomises the simplicity and stupidity of his insularity and ‘boondock’ (bundok) mentality. Throw in his throwback 1980’s thinking and it is backwards in the future.

    “The danger of factions was recognised at the foundation of the United States. In The Federalist Number 10 , a highly influential essay on political theory published in 1787, James Madison defined faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”.
    Madison understood the most dangerous thing that can happen in a society is for a group and its political representatives to act as if their view alone represents the nation. This leads them to think that they alone are the nation and the views of those who disagree with them not worthy of consideration”
    The guardian.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      James, such a thing is inevitable in all democracies. The question then becomes what institutional safeguards exist to delay or prevent a faction from damaging the interests of the entire nation or community.

      Given the existing institutional framework in the Philippines, there are only a few such safeguards. But that has always been the case since independence in 1946. There were few safeguards when Marcos was in power. ( It took a mass popular revolt to depose him with EDSA. Ditto for Erap with EDSA 2. )

  21. jamesb says:

    @bill in oz
    Precisely. The checks and balances, and independence of the judiciary in particular, are critical. As is an independent and inquiring press/media!
    We will see how well that functions in the philippines, and in the US, as the spectre of authoritarianism grows.
    The US system will bend but ultimately not break.
    The philippine system is already broken, but will there be a ‘bob the builder’ to fix it and replace Dutz the clutz.

    Clutz – “Someone who is extremely careless, stupid and a hazard to be around. Trips over shoes constantly, breaks anything he touches, should not be alowed around heavy machinery, or anything that might put other’s lives in danger” including the presidency!

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Long term major simple changes are needed in the Philippines democracy James.
      Examples :
      1; making voting compulsory
      2: Introducing preferential voting for the Presidency and the House
      3: Introducing proportional voting for Senators
      4 : Federalising the Philippines so that power & authority are closer to the people.

      I agree about an independent judiciary but it must also be an effective, competent swift and un-corrupt judiciary and it is none of those things now. The judiciary exists. for those with wealth..
      So how can it claim any moral authority as this time ?

      Dutters is president now. But think back in the Philippines political history. Many of the presidents have been seriously flawed characters and used the authority of the position to grant power & favor to their own mates – even in the 1940-50’s through to Marcos. Dutters is just an extreme example in an existing pattern..

      Even Aquino made the major character mistake of employing a mate to run/liase in the Mamasapano operation in January 2015, who was already suspended – pending a major corruption inquiry.

      Duh !

  22. NHerrera says:


    PH — Duterte says “kill in self-defense” and the police more than complies.

    US — Trump says “don’t be too nice to people you arrest” and the police pushes back against the admonition.

  23. NHerrera says:


    For whatever stripe or color it has, whether tinted USA, UK, PH, etc,

    the big question is: what was, is, will be that Democracy, THEN, NOW and TOMORROW?

    I do not know if that guy in the North with his toys or Climate Change will end the story before a definitive answer to the question comes.

    (Sorry, some may say PH never had a democracy.)

  24. Edgar Lores says:

    I’ll just leave these here for your consideration.

    o The first is the size of the cost of transgender-related healthcare in the military
    o The second is the comparative spending between transgender-related healthcare and erectile dysfunction.


    • Interesting charts, edgar. Thanks!

      You know for as much as I’m talking down sex change operations, if it wasn’t for the advances in this particular medical field, a bunch of guys who lost their dicks to shrapnel or IEDs out in the field, would’ve had a much more difficult time.

      Because of these medical advances injured soldiers & Marines can now get penile reconstruction, where they actually get donors harvest their penis and transplant them on those who’ve lost theirs. I don’t know if males wanting to become females (sex change) can donate theirs to injured soldiers, i think the donors , like other organ donors , are deceased—- black donors are the most sought after, so I heard 😉 .

      As for equating sex change with erectile dysfunction, the best test is how both dysfunctions were caused, ie. if combat or stress related (work) then the justification of one should supercede the other. That should be the standard, edgar. But i’ve never heard of people wanting to change their sex due to combat or work (military related).

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Edgar, Lance, it’s important to be aware that ‘viagra’ is also a heart disease prescription drug. In fact it was first trialed as a heart drug before being marketed by Pfitzer as erectile dis-function drug in the 1990’s. ( There was more money in this for Pfizer )

      Viagra functions by increasing the level of NO released by the endothilium cells that line the inside of all arteries and veins. This has the affect of relaxing the arteries which is important for persons with high blood pressure and heart disease. It allows better blood flow. As a heart disease drug it is better in fact than statins and also has far fewer side affects than statins.

      So the US military budget spend of $84 million may also be for servicemen & ex-service men with heart issues. Mind you they also benefit from not being impotent. So it’s all good.

      And yes for anyone reading this here with those type of problem, this does help. But you will need to find a doctor who has shaken off the statinist ideology.

      • That’s a good point about prescriptions for two ailments, killing 2 birds with one stone (fix your heart while waking your pecker), Bill. From that point , I also thought of the pharma connection with gov’t as another likely factor operating here, I’m not aware with this Viagra stuff, but I know for simple aches and pains, our medical guys give out Motrin like candy, so it could be that too, some sort of gov’t contract to over prescribe a specific product, like a give away, ie. it’s already been bought and paid for.

        But that wide discrepancy is because transgenders were just recently recognized. The Trump transgender ban is simply another looksy on this policy, ie. is the military really expected to pay for this existing condition? Because if the nation’s answer is yes, then i’m sure sex change surgeries will surge, and that discrepancy posted by edgar will either narrow or be surpassed, along with the huge costs, ie. taxpayers’ money.

  25. karlgarcia says:

    Crab mentality, envy, your version is a total lie and all that stuff.
    Some one tells her story of the horrors of ML and she was poo pooed by the left in the US.
    Incidentally, the left has found refuge in the US and yet often we see anti-US rallies near the embassy.
    Speaking of the left abroad, I am finding my self cheering for Joma Sison, on his back and forth with Duterte, but I am very against the NPA’s extortion racket, battles with the military, raiding even the poor and everything they stand for. With thst said, Joma has no control over the NPA, why are they wasting time talking?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Since I mentioned Filipinos abroad, we are a nation of factions and splinters. Instead of having an all Filipino group abroad, I am sure there is a separate solid north group, tagalog, visayan, mindanaoan, etc.
      In school, at home, at work, etc
      Do we have a sense of nation at all?
      Many are saying that the Katagalugan is only for the Tagalogs, but some say taga-ilog is for the whole archipelago.
      But until now, we are at pieces with no peace.

      • “Incidentally, the left has found refuge in the US and yet often we see anti-US rallies near the embassy.”

        EXACTLY, karl! Your communists either run to Western Europe or North America, but definitely stay clear from communists countries. So what gives???

        • Sup says:

          ”our communists either run to Western Europe or North America, but definitely stay clear from communists countries.”

          So do Duterte supporters……..hypo’s

          • I don’t get your point, Sup… mine was (and i think karl’s) that communists ought to seek asylum in other communist countries (because they are communists). Is there anything specific to DU30 and his supporters that they have to go somewhere specific? I don’t think he has an ideology, correct?

            • Sup says:

              A lot of points you don’t get…

              If you ask Duterte supporters if they want to live or work in China/Russia…no way…If you ask USA, Europe……Sure..

              They don’t follow their leaders thinking/ befriending of nations but fully support him…

              Same as your communist example.

              I think you are to busy copying/pasting from Google to try to convince people to believe everything you say but don’t really read the comments made here…

              In my opinion a bit egocentric…

              To be very honest to you..i skip 95% of your copy/paste work here..

              • So because DU30 is pro-Russia or pro-China, his supporters should go there? If he was more pro-Australia and pro-USA then his supporters belong there? Huh?

                The communist point was due to ideology match, where’s the match here? I still don’t quite get your point, Sup. But that’s fine, I just thought you had something more significant, hence the ask. I guess not. 😉

      • Bill In Oz says:

        In our home town here in South Australia, there are roughly 100 Filipinos ( mainly Filipinas ). I have not noticed any factions among them at all. There is a general friendliness among them all no matter what part of the Philippines they come from.

        Perhaps in leaving the Philippines, Filipinos discover their “Philippines-ness ” ?

        • Bill, i gotta feeling that if that number rose to 500 or 1,000, then you’ll see factions. Like any groups, you’d group according to likeness (which I think is what you got there with 100), eventually you’ll break up into ethno-linguistic groups , then maybe by islands or towns. Ireneo could better comment on this.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            There is a large Filipino community in Adelaide ~ 3000 people. We see some of them. The main points of difference among Filipinos that I have noticed is how long they have been here and level of ‘wealth’ . If you have been here a long time and have money, you are ‘It and act as if you are “IT’ – which to most Australians is annoying.But It’s got nothing to do with regional ‘loyalties’…

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