“The Philippines is driving me insane!”

Nicholas Cage doing his best imitation of Joe America living in the Philippines

By Joe America

“The Philippines is driving me insane!” 

That is the view of many people living in the Philippines who are schooled in the niceties of civility, human kindness, law, and order. But they have to deal with a President who is way outside the civil box.

The three things that are most crazy-making to me are wanton killings of citizens sponsored by the State under the cover of drugs, the President’s crude language, manner, and abusive attitude toward women, and his giving away Philippine sea resources and economic independence to China. He also employs or enables a cast of characters who seem to me to be abusive, dishonest, and arrogant. They end up representing him, the nation, and all of us living in the nation, and it is crazy-making to be represented that way.

High-ranking Philippine government officials are like the inmates who have taken over the asylum. We are trapped within the pale green walls of lunacy every day and no matter which way we turn, we end up face to face with the crazies.

Let me share a few steps I take to try to stay sane. You can give me yours in the discussion that follows the article. Then we can touch bases about five years from now to see who is babbling nonsense and who is still lucid.

Here’s what I do to stay balanced:

I block or ignore trolls and malcontents. I refuse to be in their audience. I know it is fruitless to try to reason with them. They are the raving madmen and madwomen who are best left talking to walls and lamp posts, or preaching in the park to the pigeons. That takes a big chunk of aggravation out of my emotion stream.

I spend less time than before on the computer and more having a life. I am still active on Facebook because the comments there are getting richer with each passing day, but I no longer dwell there. With thousands of friends and followers, trying to relate to people is exhausting. Even people who think the same way as I do politically have different ideas socially, experientially, or religiously, and it is wearing to try to understand and reconcile them. So I don’t. They are entitled to their lives. Over there. Away from mine. I do read and learn, in the main, but ‘friend’ means mutual respect, not having a beer.

Still, I choose not to walk away, ‘cold turkey’.  I engage. I don’t want it on my conscience that I was among the silent and complicit enablers who let the nation sink. So I do the blog as a base of engagement and spend time on Twitter crafting short notes. It’s a challenge to get a meaningful message into 140 characters, but I actually enjoy the literary and intellectual test. A fair number of people in media and government follow me. I figure my voice is added to the voices of others and, combined, we have enough weight to influence news and events.

Much of the time I spend on line is dedicated to reading broadly. I don’t want to be among the narrow of understanding because I think a large base of knowledge is hard to tip over. One gains perspective and the confidence of knowing enough to figure out who is talking sense and who is talking nonsense. I don’t follow any Philippine popular media because they are hopelessly wrapped up trying to please the lunatics rather than doing worthwhile journalism or analysis. Theirs is an entire world of nonsense. I don’t want to become an addle-brained headline thinker attuned to what those people see as important.

I use Google News and Twitter to filter my news. Google knows what I like to read and scans the world for important news in politics, science, sports, entertainment, technology, and business. On Twitter, I follow Reuters, the New York Times, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). I follow Marvic Leonen, Manuel L Quezon III, and Florin Hilbay, among a host of pro-democracy and pro-human rights people. I track Senators Hontiveros, Aquino, Ejercito, Pangilinan, and De Lima in particular, and the Senate in general, which puts out notes from the other senators. I follow Teddy Baguilit in the House and no one else there. I follow a lot of LP people who read broadly. Jim Paredes and Leah Navarro have been very generous with their retweets, along with Ma’am Syj, Dilawan Padawan, and Filipinas. For spice, I follow Francis Baraan, Yusuf Ledesma, and Alan Robles and perhaps 80 others, some of whom comment here at the blog. Many are generous with their encouragements and retweets.

In other words, I follow rational people of good character, and informed media. Not extremists who want to lead me down some godforsaken path of weird thinking. Hahaha, not that Alan Robles is exactly normal. 🙂

As my final bridge to sanity, I spend time enjoying my local community, along with a little travel in the Philippines and overseas, making as if the lunacy simply did not exist. Mostly it does not. The hills remain green and beautiful, the ocean calm or wild, the storms loud and wet, the skies cathedral, the air cool and fresh except for when they are burning the rice husks down in the valley. Sanity does have its imperfections, after all.

I try to engage with the real world with a smile and sense of humor.

Humor is essential for sanity.

So is a thankful prayer, in the style to which we each are accustomed.

“Life is good.”

That is my frequent prayerful thought and feeling, more a thank you than an opinion. It is the center-post of my sanity.

When I get beyond the turmoil, I can see that the Philippines still offers a depth of living that is immensely rewarding, foods, travel, people, places. I don’t really want perfect or plastic or routine or mundane. I even enjoy driving on the packed and chaotic roads here, the tests of vision and reflex. “Stayin’ alive!” from point A to point B.

The lunatics have not yet taken away those joys, so the AUTHENTIC Philippines offers a huge dose of sanity.

I think we just need to get the lunatic gameplayers to behave better, or get them out of authority as soon as due process allows. The longer they are there, the more they infect others, and it is the children who are most vulnerable. We who are engaged can seek to minimize the damage, and for sure keep our own view healthy and informed.


154 Responses to ““The Philippines is driving me insane!””
  1. arlene says:

    I love the Philippines but the present government is driving me insane too. I read some troll comments on public posts but I don’t participate in their obsession. Do they even know that they are helping destroy the country? Good morning Joeam 🙂

  2. karlgarcia says:

    TSOH keeps me sane, no kidding.

    I no longer spend an hour reading my feed. I try 45 minutes then thirty. But I make it twice or thrice a day.
    I still do not have a twitter account, I just look for articles of controversial tweets.

    Disqus Comments
    I no longer read them.

    Dang! Irineo just banned him, where do I read him now? 😜

  3. Gemino H. Abad says:

    THANKS, Joe! — AUTHENTIC Philippines shall prevail! The lunatics and sycophants will in time die out.

    • Yes, I hope they start to weaken from embarrassment at the behavior of their cohorts, and foolish acts like sending bloggers to ASEAN as journalists. Gadzooks, what an amateur, low-class style this is that they are all riding on.

  4. grammy2342 says:

    I don’t read the news. Expect to be informed by friends and colleagues. Don’t listen radio or TV otherwise my blood pressure rises to boiling point.

    I do deep breathing, pray fervently and hope that by grace of the Lord, He may have mercy on the Philippines and save us from the “clutches of perdition.”

  5. Me too, feeling angrier each day as I read the fake news and the ????? of the leader of this country. Where are we leading, but still believes that someday our beloved Philiippines will rise up again . This land is mine, ours ,

  6. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Praying for the planet, country, the Pope, family and friends in Holy Rosary at 4am, jog with my dogs, my breakfast good for four people, working leisurely, nap, being with wifey watching Netflix or gomovies, eating raw saba, tinkering with my vehicle, avoiding news in print or broadcast, writing articles for TSOH, posting in FB, chatting on line with our children, Holy Mass on Sundays and holydays, writing birthday poems for loved ones and friends. Like Steve McQueen’s character in the movie Papillon: “I’m still here!”

    • 🙂 🙂 You have skills in this survival department!

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Wil Last night my lady found Kita Kita on the net.. A lovely film. But my Bhoebe was so sad at the way the hero was killed off at the end….

      It there a message here from the film’s makers ? “Filipinos are not allowed to be happy. If you are happy, fate will step in and make sure you are sad.or dead….. ” Bugger !!

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Bill, my thoughts too. Had misgivings about the ending, but I’m willing to let it go considering we are Disaster Country, and tears water our hopes.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Wil I would prefer to see a great ‘happy ever after’ film.. The message being “Yes, Filipinos can be happy ( and in deference to Joe’s post here, sane ) . This is how our hero & heroine did it ”

          Such movies give us Hope…

  7. Cage – his characters – is appropriate for craziness, desperation but also will to survive.

    Does one need a bit of all of that to survive in the Philippines? How does one NOT turn into Duterte for that matter? Typical Cage scene..

  8. Ahhh, life in Paradise…


    That’s why I love reading your blogs, JoeAm. You are able to put into writing exactly how I feel.

  10. josephivo says:

    … insane or insecure, or both? I don’t understand anymore. Is the analysis right, the proposed solutions wrong, is it the opposite, is it both? We are causal thinkers, that’s what drove and drives us forward, that’s how out brains are wired. We have a bias for clear cause/effect arguments/stories, correct logic is secondary (except for Edgar). With thinking I mean both, about all that is “outside”, what we observe, and all that is “inside” what makes us feel, realize. And I see a strong shift in interest, from the outside to the inside, feelings instead of factual observations.

    How to cope? I noticed that I stopped watching ABC/CBN news, also less CNN and more DW (Deutsche Welle) and TV5 (Francophone TV). Between flee and fight, did I choose the first by just looking in the other direction? On internet I got addicted to comedians Steven Colbert and Bill Maher. And reading to try to understand where it all came from, what direction it might go with thinkers as Sam Harris, Yuaval Noah Harrari, Philippe Blom, Timothy Snyder… or on the economy with Pikety, Stiglitz, Krugman and the very revealing Ha-Joon Chang,….

    And there is always the kitchen, trying out new recipes, new techniques or just enjoying the manual work, the smells, sounds, tastes and most importantly seeing others enjoying the results (and the opportunity to enjoy a glass while waiting for the next step in the preparation).

    • josephivo says:

      Forgot to tell that causal thinking is easy/works good in simple situations where everything is visible, a needle, a balloon and boom, hitting you in the face and boom. But we often apply it wrongly on complex situations as in the working of a specific medicine, the reasons of poverty or because we apply the wrong analogies in new situations.

      Today we are interested in how the world influences my/our wellbeing, inside, no more how I/we influence the world, outside.

      • That’s like the inward, outward choices, and inward is becoming more pronounced. The schools need some new disciplines to teach, I think, but I’m not confident that DepEd has the needed big/bold mentality.

    • Ah, very healthy routines!! Excellent.

  11. andrea says:

    Thank you Joe..for putting into words what i exactly feel and do nowadays. All i can say is your more filipino than a million others of my kababayan…continue writing we need you to keep us sane. maraming salamat po.

  12. Ed Gamboa says:

    Joe, you are not alone. I wrote one Catholic bishop to ask if he could give me a rational explanation of what is happening to the Philippines. His response: if you can’t make sense of this mess, I am a hundred times more puzzled and perplexed. God help the Philippines!

  13. jamesb says:

    Humour helps – even if cheesy and churned from cow’s milk.


    The 2 cows from Mookinsey & co. (mooto – we know Bullshit when we see it), could sort out The Philippines in exchange for a few bales of hay.

    The Philippines has leaders with psycowlogical disorders.
    Moo: mad cow disease?
    Kinsey: well, they are certainly angry, and have ‘bull in a china shop’ syndrome.
    Moo: maybe they should see a vet and be cowstrated.
    Kinsey: PH needs to find udder leaders. Ones who can take the bull by the horns and are not chicken to take on peking duck.
    Moo: pigs will fly before that happens!
    Kinsey: if pigs could fly they would only bomb calfs and their barns.
    Moo: like in moocowi.

    The average farmer has no cows, since oligarch farmers have corralled the cows, and sell milk at monopoly prices.
    Moo: It needs to open the barn door and let in foreign farmers.
    Kinsey: Investors steer clear when the pigs steal the cream and abuse the calves.
    Moo: “Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon”
    Winston Churchill
    Kinsey: politicians would put the cart before the horse.
    Moo: just as they put self-interest before national interest
    Kinsey: bulls-eye

    The system only enables pig farmers to be in charge and ensures that anything anti-pig is a sacred cow.
    Moo: down with pigs.
    Kinsey: eat more bacon sandwiches

    The farmer promises grass but delivers a load of manure instead.
    Moo: it is not only cream which rises to the top – so does scum!
    Kinsey: no moore of the same, or progress will wait until the cows come home, and they don’t want to. The grass is greener on the other side of the world.

    THE PHILIPPINES GOVT. & OFW’sThe Philippines has lots of ‘cash cows’ which they send abroad, and who then send back milk.
    Moo: give them hay at home, not make them cheap fodder to be sent abroad.

    They copy others rather than invent things themselves.
    Moo: moore innovation needed
    Kinsey: moore innovation needed
    Moo: copycat!

    They employ ‘ghost’ cows.
    Moo: holy cow!
    Kinsey: but their unholy property empires are real.

    They have a cow on the side – their wife knows, but turns a blind eye!
    Moo: no more cow abuse
    Kinsey: or seeing cowgirl ‘GRO’s’! nudge,nudge, wink,wink, say no more!
    Moo: some speakers have a whole herd.
    Kinsey: Imbeciles.
    Moo: pigs at the trough. Greedy, dirty, with no manners, and pig ugly.
    Kinsey: ‘politics is the entertainment industry for ugly people’
    Moo: and where stupidity is no barrier.

    They get fat on free pork and spend all day just going “oink, oink”
    Moo: they are as happy as pigs in muck
    Kinsey: “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig”
    Moo: in an intellectual contest they wouldn’t last the first round. Pig ignorant.
    Kinsey: they are only interested in a silk purse full of pesos.
    Moo: sow’s ears!
    Kinsey: the bible-basher should read deuteronomy
    Moo: i don’t think he could even spell it!
    Kinsey: “The pig… is unclean for you. You shall not touch their carcasses.”

    They siphon off milk from the community urn, and live high on the hog.
    Moo: cow launderers and cattle rustlers should be hung
    Kinsey: and calf traffickers.

    Hidden when visiting foreign dignitaries visit.
    Give a cow an education and he will have dignity for life, and maybe even create the next big thing, Moo-crosoft.
    Moo: education defeats poverty

    The farmers make young cows shake their tails on stage at their cult meetings, and then make them give them under the udder milk
    Moo: the pigs! the perverts!

    Coworkers in a chicken coop, travelling in a cattle truck, living in a rabbit hutch, and looking out onto a pigsty.
    Moo: The Philippines is animal farm
    Kinsey: “Somehow it seems as though the farm has grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer — except, of course, for the pigs”
    Moo: “all animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others”

    ‘Gimme milk’

    ‘Gimme shelter’

    ‘Gimme hope’

    ‘Gimme a job’

    ‘Gimme some grass’

    ‘Pastures anew, but better to be home on the range’

    ‘how now brown cow’

    ‘Your milk or your life’

    ‘a pig in cow’s clothing’

    ‘a silly old moo’

    “Don’t settle disputes by litigation. You end up losing a cow and getting a cat”
    Chinese proverb
    Moo: or losing an island and getting a ‘pig in a poke’.
    Kinsey: and being poked in the spratlys.
    Moo: sounds painful.
    Kinsey: clever these chinese.

    THE MOOKINSEY WAY – pearls for swine

    All cows deserve a warm barn, fresh grass, and a farmer with compassion who puts his cows first. They need a cow-herder unafraid to take the bull by the horns, not a coward, or cowboy, who hides behind the milkmaid’s skirt.
    Self-interest ultimately leads to self-destruction.
    Excessive profits for an exclusive group will ultimately result in a stampede by the cows. Bovine power.
    A happy farm is a place of diversity and unity, inclusion and empowerment, equality and opportunity, without a Jollibee anywhere in sight.
    Animal rights are about respect. Pig ignorance is about power.

    “Since the cruel killing of cows commenced, I have anxiety for the future generation”
    Lala Lajpat Rai

    Moo; It is a dog eat dog world, but be kind to cows.
    Kinsey: eat more chicken!
    Moo: Ok, lets go and grab some mootinis at The Cock and Bull, and then go barn dancing with a couple of heifers.
    Kinsey: i like to do ‘the pony’
    Moo: and the pony doesn’t object!
    Kinsey: its by chubby checker.
    Moo: ok heifer, don’t milk it, – a final word
    Kinsey: moo
    Moo: that’s just what i was thinking.

    ” ‘Moo’ may represent an idea, but only the cow knows”
    Mason Cooley

    “The Gentle Cow she gives us milk,
    Her skin is smooth and soft as silk,
    She walks about the field all day,
    about what she thinks I cannot say, perhaps she thinks it is not right,
    That every morning and every night,
    She gives us milk and never get paid,
    For what she gives us twice a day”

  14. AWESOME read, Joe!

    The first thing I saw was Nick Cage’s (that’s Con Air?) gif.

    But after reading this piece, I think Nick Cage’s Superman fits better. A foreign alien (from America), imbued with great powers (morality, human rights, compassion and reason… humor), reluctant saviour (you’ve gone on hiatus after the election there, leaving the Philippines for awhile as you commiserate, should i help , should i leave them be, oh the humanity!) & now the fight (for truth, justice and the American way, one blog at a time).

    You’re Nick Cage as Superman, Joe.

    He and Tim Burton (that’s him pictured below) were gonna do a Superman movie together in the late nineties, after Tim Burton’s Batman movies—- production drama ensued and the film was canked, budget went instead to Wild Wild West.

  15. NHerrera says:


    I learned something this week about my headline word — porn. No — down boy; it is not about your garden variety porn.

    It is about the generalized concept of porn in the sense of the porn’s objective being to arouse or titillate the mind or the emotion for a variety of reasons by the purveyor of the porn, through films, media — traditional or through the internet — or through the spoken word:

    * Food porn — the display and the making of food in such an exaggerated way as to draw the audience to the craving for food especially the unhealthy ones;

    * Poverty porn — the display of instances of poverty, most often in a contrived or exaggerated way to arouse hatred to the government, without practical or viable suggestions to alleviate the problem;

    * Leadership porn — the display of antics, including the very vulgar ones, by Leaders to arouse the emotion especially those of the Leader’s supporters and make the Leaders feel good about that support and the belief of their unlimited influence;

    * Etc.

    Yes, Joe, let us preserve our sanity by avoiding PORN. Let us smell the flowers and the many good things in the Philippines without the aid of porn-like display or exhortation of those things.

    (Joe, you may not like this, but I am alerting you before I write it — is it possible that we purvey “porn” here at TSH unknowingly sometimes? I plead guilty when I recall some of my posts.)

    • We don’t call it porn here, but ‘literary license’. Literature is aimed at touching minds and emotions, and we can best defend against the porn part by being able to recognize it. Most do, I think.

      • NHerrera says:

        … we can best defend against the porn part by being able to recognize it.

        I agree: the exchange here at TSH, for example, shows that we are able to recognize the nuance of things in reaction to what may be thought of as “porn-like.” Thanks.

        • popoy says:

          the F word, este the porn word sounds strike me as very bad in both Tagalog and English. Example : Porn ta dito porn ta doon daming anak ng pornta. Porn Diyos porn Santo (God forgive me for using God’s name in vaiin). Not porn you, not porn me but porn everybody kasi porn naCOW porn naCOW LIKE ONE PORN YOU THREE PORN ME is why there is so much poverty. I got to stop it I am so PORNee.

    • karlgarcia says:

      When I first heard of food porn, I did not know what to make of it. Should I tell my sister who documents what she eats at restos that what she is doing is food porn? That would mean war.

      • NHerrera says:

        karl, please don’t start a domestic war. We have enough wars as it is; let us not add another one. 🙂

        As the Boss says “we can best defend against the porn part by being able to recognize it.” I am sure your sis is one of those who recognize the porn part.

  16. chemrock says:

    Whither the sanity indeed.

    Philippines’ problem is just like what Jamesb described above in his excellent bovine piece. There is no proper word to describe the beast we commonly call cows. If we can’t describe a problem, we can’t have a solution.

    Cattle is a herd of bovine animals, but individually, we have no word for it. Let’s call it cattle-beast in singular.

    Cows — female cattle-beast that have given birth. Potential OFWs. The beasts of burden for Philippines.
    heiffer — female cattle-beast that have not given birth. Targetted by RH bill. Impatient to be cows.
    calf — young cattle-beast, whether male or female. The future of Philippines.
    bull — male cattle-beast. Studfor siring. The dynasties.
    steer — male cattle beast that has been neutered. For meat. The massa.
    freematin – a heiffer that behaves like Charice. Pacquiao hates these.

    There is a Chinese saying :
    “Playing the flute to the cows”
    Means trying to explain something very complex to foolish people.

    • Ahhh, those Chinese philosophers must be having a good laugh at Duterte’s work in the bovine fields.

    • popoy says:

      My reality of cows. The biggest one was bred in King’s Ranch (1,000 acres) in Texas named Sta Gertrudes; India had Red Sindhi and Tharparkar; US have the short Horn, the Hereford, etc., the Philippines have the sacred cows with human or Christian names found in the three branches of government. The mad cow diseases has origins in a tribal practice in Papua New Guinea since outlawed, It is called kupo, the laughing death disease striking mostly young girls, won’t say how it’s contracted from diseased relatives; In England cows fed with minced meat and bones and brains of cattle are said to cause the disease. Cows can also be infected with foot and mouth disease. Bulls consummate pornocation wth cows in a matter of seconds, No need for pornplay.

  17. alicia m. kruger says:

    You have made me feel less guilty now JoeAm. Thank you! I have not abandoned the desirable customs and places of the Philippines completely but I too stopped watching news and reading comments from many el creepos who think they have the power to say and do what they like with impunity. And I refuse to be caught up in other people’s stupidity. It was and still is my way of staying sane from people who never have trouble wrapping themselves in arrogance good and tight.

  18. NHerrera says:

    Hahaha. When we think about what is happening in each country and worldwide, it makes Philippine-induced insanity version better. That is called pangpalubag loob or consuelo de bobo.

  19. edgar lores says:

    I meditate. Read. Watch Japanese movies. Do yard work. Make faces in the mirror.

    • NHerrera says:

      Insanity abatement or enhancement?

      Make faces in the mirror.

      More cures please. I don’t know about you guys, but I need the medicine. My neurologist says, however, to not take it with a “spoonful of sugar;” he says it is bad for my health. 🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        Oops, I meant

        endocrinologist instead of neurologist. The way it is going I need the latter soon. Hehe.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Hey Edgar, I have never read before that anyone in Australia did “yard work”… Maybe you were translating from ‘garden work’ which is what we’d normally say & do…

      And certainly garden work is important for me.. Helps keep me fit and out in the sun.. Though the past week or so have been so cold wet & windy that I’ve been going to the gym instead.

      iI try hard to avoid too much politics in my mind : it has a toxic affect.. So reading a good book, getting to the gym, and gardening when I can are good for me… And recently my lady has introduced to brousing in the local “Op Shops’ …

      • edgar lores says:

        Bill, I cannot rightly characterize my yard work as garden work.

        I grow no tomatoes, raise no roses. What I do is mow the lawn, trim the hedges, rake the mango leaves, lop off dead and scraggly branches, and mince the brown palm fronds (so they will fit in the bin).

        Garden work is planting (and harvesting yield or beauty); yard work is pruning the rampant greenery. I have gone through several secateurs.

        Totally agree that whatever we call it helps us keep fit, out in the sun… and sane. Working with the earth grounds us.

  20. City of Angels with Nicholas Cage was the 1998 remake of Wings of Desire or Himmel über Berlin from 1987 which is about angels that watch over the entire city, even walking thru then forbidden zones like here..

    One falls to earth to become human for the woman he loves..

    • Yet she has a dangerous job.. (popoy thx for the indirect reminder about the movie)..

      Yet who knows what role the emotion in this movie played in making people climb up walls and even destroy them just two years later? Or, in a city were both East and West had left religion long ago, the idea of beings that see only in black and white watching over an entire divided city, especially from the high places?

      • popoy says:

        Germany had shown lots of examples to the world just one sinews of steel for me is enough when divided East and West came together again as one and chose as their leader a Lady from the stern East. The eche bucheche of Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich notwithstanding.

        • Hitler was a Southern German / Austrian Catholic with a peasant accent people found ‘charming’..

          Merkel is a Northern German Protestant whose hairstyle used to be the butt of jokes for a while. A pastor’s daughter, she grew up a believer under Communism – later joining the Christian Democrats..

          • There is a novel by Thomas Mann where two such characters meet: Toni Buddenbrook, elite daughter from Hamburg, is fascinated by the rough charm of Alois Permaneder, a Bavarian trader/farmer.

            They marry. One day she catches him with the maid. He calls HER a cheap woman using one of the many insults Bavarian and Austrian dialects offer.

            Leaving Munich to return to Hamburg, she curses the German South, saying they would rather accept a black man speaking their dialect than a Northerner. East and West.. is yet another story..

            • NHerrera says:

              That story brings home the interesting North – South divide — on ways and charm — that often divides those in the same country, not counting the East – West divide which you say is an altogether different story.

            • NHerrera says:

              By the way, I love the evolution of Germany’s Iron Lady, Angela Merkel. What are her chances in the coming election. Still good?

              • popoy says:

                NH in high school I had a German pen pal from Landau Pfalz. Adolf H was a wannabe painter corporal soldier who tried selling his paintings in the sidewalk (corporal at sidewalk vendor siya). I saw the swastika in one of the ruins of a Hindu temple in India. I heard sculptured images of the 69 positions of the Kama Sutra also are featured in on the walls of ruins. Hitler’s dreamed Aryan race had origins in the Northern part of old India renamed Pakistan to the north in Persia.

                Ay naku ! Ewan ko ba kung kailan tumanda saka nagyabang tungkol sa mga lugar. Thanks NH nadagdagan na naman ang alam ako. There’s a saying in Tagalog. “Daig ng maalam ang matalino. Matalino ka nga pero di ka naman maalam.” An I say Daig lamang ng matalino ang walang alam.

                An attempt to translate in English: To know more is better than being intelligent. To be intelligent is only better than knowing nothing. Lumalim pero lalong lumabo yata. Translation: It’s (the saying is) deep but murky.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Just in case if you are wondering if I read your replies, here is proof.
                You made me giggle with elticol and kamasutra.

              • karlgarcia says:

                If I followed the footsteps of my dad, by this time I would be an elticol. I have a has batchmate whose surname is Koronel, now he is Colonel Koronel.

              • karlgarcia says:

                HS batchmate

  21. jamesb says:

    “These are the times which try men’s souls”
    Thomas paine – 1776

    The writings of thomas paine carry particular power and relevance in a time when the uneducated and the uncultured threaten the principles of decency, exhibit moral bankruptcy, and show no affinity with modern civilisation.


    “Liberty (and leadership) without virtue or wisdom is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”
    Edmund burke

  22. Sup says:

    Just wondering what Lacierda is doing in the hearing about customs..He was prominent on tv every time drama king Castro was giving his ”show”


  23. jamesb says:

    When people are faced with unpleasant truths they still prefer comforting lies. The absence of critical thinking leads to the lazy path of self-deception, and is reinforced through group-think and confirmation bias. A narrow world view and tunnel vision with an inability to contemplate alternatives.
    A lack of both breadth and depth of knowledge, and the lack of an inquiring mind.

    For such people MENSA is replaced by DENSER, and their path only leads to the jungle. Civilisation is in the opposite direction.

    They climb the hierachy of hate with a soul filled with anger.

    (adapted from unknown):
    Subtle bias – jokes, rumours, insensitive remarks

    Prejudice & bigotry – slurs/name calling, ridicule, de-humanisation

    Discrimination – harassment, exclusion, victimisation

    Violence – threats, assault

    Extreme violence – murder, rape, sadism

    Genocide – targetting and extermination of groups.

    “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief”
    Frantz Fanon

  24. edgar lores says:

    These cow jokes are driving me insane (with bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

    Keep ’em coming!

  25. jamesb says:

    The oracle of the two cows.


    Plus a few,

    Duterte: had 2 cows but shot them for being addicted to grass.

    Alvarez: has more than 2 cows but says that cowogamy is ok because he changed farms.

    Dominguez: has a chinese funded farm with no cows, but expensive hamburgers

    Teo: has no cows but likes getting free pairs of hooves.

    Kat de castro: has no cows but she eats a herd of hamburgers

    Pernia: predicts that everyone will have cows by 2022. (Pull the other cowbell!)

    Tugade: has no cows but will build, build, build them

    Villar: no cows, but invests in ‘farms to roads’, and likes a bull market.

    Juan dela cruz: had 2 cows but both were shot by motorcycle riding pigalantes.

    Uson: has ‘fake cows’

    Pimentel: says he has cows if you tell him that he has cows

    French tourist: La vache qui rit (the laughing cow, which is a brand of cheesy cheese)

    • edgar lores says:

      Wonderful! May have found the ultimate weapon against Duterismo.

      Now every time I see Mocha, I will see her fake cows (fraudders?).

      • jamesb says:

        Uson is bi-cowual – she likes to play with the same and the udder side.
        Mootini girl – anyone, anywhere, any place, any time.
        A cowsino girl – chips on her shoulder, and a sure bet.
        Only the ho-moo-sexuals steer clear.

  26. josephivo says:

    About thinking why… It has a large selfish component.

    I admired so much the niceness of Filipinos, their acceptance of a simple life in community, their religiousness, eagerness to make an extra buck and joy and the fusion of it all as expressed in Sinulog and fiestas. But more importantly, the individual kindness on the streets, as a customer, in business relations, in the neighborhood.

    And today’s disillusion? The 80% approval rate for vulgar macho language, shootings motivated by revenge, disrespect for those giving a helping hand. A boxer senator that change party 5 times already (Liberal party, KAMPI, Nacionalista party, PDP-Laban, UNA… all the different colors of the rainbow, more extreme political prostitution is impossible). And how is it conceivable to enjoy being part of the masses on EDSA one day and to enjoy applauding for a Marcos burial as a hero the next?

    Does all this mean that most kindness was just superficial? Just because they assumed that as a Kano I have some money? 10 smiles with 8 just superficial, in reality wanting to curse me, to stab me in the back if they had the courage? (Has the universally banned MRP been correct all the time? Did he understand better the real nature of an average Filipino?)

    The difference with the US is that Trump has the lowest approval ratings ever, where here in the Philippines Duterte has the highest! Consequently the media in the US dare to be critical and here for the media it would be suicidal. In the US changing parties is a rare exception, here it is the common rule.

    As a result I feel lost. Poor me. But of course I’m just a visitor, my understanding is only partial and very biased.

    … and tomorrow the sun will shine again.

    • edgar lores says:

      I was going to say 8 superficials out of 10 is quite high. I would put it at 7 out of 10 or even 6 out of 10. But I recall Duterte’s approval rating is at 80%. So I would say you are spot on.

      Consistent kindness, without any forethought of return or advantage, is hard to come by. Observe those who treat you kindly, see how they treat others, especially those “beneath” them. If they are consistent in their kindness, then they are the real thing.

      In Buddhist meditation, there is the practice of metta, of loving-kindness. Kind thoughts are directed to loved ones, neutrals, enemies, self, and all sentient beings. “May you be happy.” I think the hardest to love are enemies and self.

      And it is far easier to love the general — say, the whole of humanity — than the particular — say, one’s foremost enemy.

      If consistent kindness is a rare flower, then true kindness is rarer still. If you are lost, then I struggle. How does one reconcile one’s ideals of virtue with feelings of non-virtue?

      I justify these feelings of non-virtue this way. One must — of necessity — oppose the cruelty, prejudice, and willful ignorance that one encounters with kindness, reason, and knowledge.

      The necessity is not born of Religion or even out of Reason. It is born out of the sense of the Absurd. And, like Sisyphus, I imagine I am happy.

      • Superficial to me means a pre-meditated fakery, and I wonder about the two faces worn by the Japanese, one for public view and another for personal viewing, or politicians, one for voters and another in the party caucus halls. My experience is that there is tremendous ignorance (being uninformed), but not a lot of deceit. If Filipinos are misleading themselves, they are doing it genuinely, not manipulatively. We who appear in front of Filipinos are dealt with with no guarantees that we will like it.

        I guess I don’t like the term superficial applied when people are stuck with no money, and if they spin a tale to try to squeeze out advantage, who are we to judge?

        • edgar lores says:

          If people spin a tale to take advantage, whether out of need or greed, then I would have to say they are being deceitful. Spinning a tale is a conscious act of deception and it cannot be said to arise from ignorance. The spinning may be premeditated or on the instant. But even in the case of the latter, there is momentary awareness of deception.

          At some level, the spinner knows he is engaged in wrongdoing.

          On the part of the observer, I would say that judging is automatic if we care. One cannot help but judge; thought is as not as swift as the speed of light but, nevertheless, it is subjectively instantaneous.

          Judgment is a product of cognition, of discernment. And discernment is a product of intuition and knowledge.

          What is not automatic are the choices one makes afterward, after the discernment.

          There are many choices. They range from denial to acceptance. There are various degrees of denial and acceptance. And the choices depend on the point of view.

          The judgment of a spinner by another spinner would be different from that of a morally inclined man.

          The question of “Who am I to judge?” is a posture taken, usually by a morally inclined man, after the initial judgment. I would say it is a posture of avoidance mixed with compassion.

          I do not deny that a totally compassionate man may see the deceiver for what he is and disregard the blemish. But he would not pose the question… as he would not be aware of self — the “I” — in the ordinary sense.

          If we do not judge — which, in my view, is improbable if we care — then we must be silent.

          • Yes, ‘who are we to judge’ is a judgment. I need to sift through this a little more. The ‘superficial’ tag bothers me.

            • edgar lores says:

              1. I think you are alright.

              2. Many approach you for help. They come with their tales which may contain some “superficial” elaborations but have kernels of truth. The elaborations are to make the stories plausible and acceptable, and perhaps to conceal something shameful.

              3. The tales are mere pretexts for the needs which are genuine or, at least, most of which are genuine. And with so many requests, there is no longer a need to discern. You would bypass the pretexts – without judgment — and respond, rightly and directly, with compassion to the needs.

              4. It is true there is ignorance in the requests for help, but that is how our society operates at the moment. Transactions are carried informally at the personal level. In a more structured society, the requests would be directed at a bank but the formalities would include not only character assessments but also collaterals, interest rates, and payment schedules.

              5. At the level of kin and perhaps neighbors, this informal transactional interchange is acceptable. And it says something that you have arrived at a conclusion that there is more ignorance than deceit. (Credit to the missus?)

              6. However, to project this state of affairs to the national level, wherein the manipulations of politicians are taken to be genuine expressions of community need without any attachment of personal need, is a bit perhaps too trusting.

              • Haha, yes, thanks for saving me the think load. Point 5 gets right to it, and, indeed, credit to the missus. And I agree we should expect leaders to rise above both ignorance and manipulations, but they don’t.

  27. jamesb says:

    A narcissist is damaged inside and creates an external veneer, but one which is very vulnerable to the right pressure.

    People like duterte are little league and easy to either manipulate or deflate. All mouth and short trousers. A joke in his own lifetime.

    What narcissists hate:
    Being ignored – attention seeking
    Being disrespect – entitlement
    Rejected – arrogance
    Exposed – lack of intellect
    Loss of youth – machismo
    Loss of status/privilege – easy life at the expense of others
    Death – the day of reckoning!

    Things narcissists react to:
    If others are praised above them
    Being seen as an object of humour/ridicule
    Being challenged on facts. They are usually clueless/wrong
    Going outside their comfort zone/routine. Social awkwardness. Feign illness/make excuses to avoid.
    Being treated as a little boy – reminds them of where the problems lie/started. His achilles heel.
    (Duterte to poe yesterday – ” you are not my mother!”. Of all his replies this was so revealing as a comeback to a mild comment”. Duterte’s mother, and father, issues would keep freud employed for quite a while.)
    Duterte remains a little boy with a need to be pampered by mommy and protected by daddy. He has never been his own man, just another privileged and entitled kid who took the lazy route into politics and to easy money/life.
    An empty vessel which likes to make a lot of noise, but is very cowardly. Insecure and inferior.

    And, if corruption accounts for/siphons off 25 – 30% of LGU funds, and duterte is not corrupt then why, with all the extra funds, after 25 years of ‘corrupt free government’! is davao still a shit-hole.

    Duterte is a gift from the comedy gods. A caricature of a caricature of a coward trying to be tough whilst hiding behind a bureaucrats desk, and with a penchant for dressing up. A certified weirdo who needs to look in a figurative mirror and become more self-aware, rather than an actual mirror to admire his nose and acne. Illusion and delusion is the shield of the narcissist against reality, which is the sword of damocles hanging over their fragile emotional make-up and psychological chaos.
    For the narcissist their anger is their only constant companion.

    The big problem is that duterte is causing untold damage to the image of the philippines and with it lost opportunities for the country. Investors are going elsewhere, quite rightly, and no sane businessman would ever employ a duterte supporter – they would be in line for ‘the world’s worst employee’ award.
    Rigidity in thinking – everything is black and white
    Don’t listen, or understand anything new concepts
    Cannot adapt to modern times
    Poor communicators
    Vulgar and obnoxious
    Aggressive and abusive
    Narrow minded
    Do not support human rights
    Play the victim
    Want handouts
    No competitive spirit

    Their master’s dog.

    Time people woke up and smelt the durian.

  28. NHerrera says:

    As long as we are talking of sanity or insanity, I am putting some sense in the Philstar online poll below which is small in size and obviously not random. First, the sample size when I visited the site was only 629. On this basis, if scientifically done and random, the standard error is plus or minus 4%.


    Which issue to be tackled by ASEAN this week are you most interested in?

    North Korea’s missiles
     12.88%  (81 votes)
    South China Sea
     62.96%  (396 votes)
     21.62%  (136 votes)
    None of the above
     2.54%  (16 votes)
    Total Votes: 629


    Each of us in TSH probably have different weights to put on the three items — North Korea’s missiles, South China Sea, Terrorism. I surmise too that the trolls do not find this poll worthy of participating — so may not be much skewed from that end. We also do not know about the distribution of the respondents from the different socio-econ classes.

    I was expecting — even considering the unscientific nature of the poll — that the respondents would weigh the NK nuclear missile issue or terrorism issue at a higher plane than the SCS issue, but the fact that the latter was weighed a lot more shows that views about the Chinese aggression in SCS is very important to the Filipinos. When this is seen along with the poll on the high trust the Filipinos have for the US versus China, it means that the Administration and the Chinese have to do a lot of PR selling, at the very least, moving forward. (Probably the high trust Filipinos have for the US against that of China influenced the poll numbers in the current poll?)

    • popoy says:

      This I have said many times before but I’m not yet like a screeching broken record in now obsolete record player. Rare but historic times DEMAND that national leaders follow the wisdom of their population, the opposite of the Boy Scouts dictum: FOLLOW THE LEADER. That People and Leader MUST BE one and whole is ordinary common sense if and when the expected aftermath of an irrational adventure is destruction and annihilation.

      Don’t have to imagine that each and every North Korean is symmetrical if not the mirror of Kim Jun Un. Just imagine if majority of the Filipinos will speak, think and Act like Pres Duterte; Americans will speak, think and Act like Pres Trump ; CONVERSELY: the British like PM May; the German like PM Merkel. The REGIME follows the PEOPLE because the regime IS NOT the people. And that is DEMOCRACY plain and simple.

      But, and that’s a large BUT is when CONTRARY to what has been professed to the world there exist NO dictatorship of the proletariat or the elite but ONLY a REGIME that RULES obscured compliant and submissive people; then there’s ONLY Communism and its modern variants and mutants. There’s No need to think of Presidents Putin, Xi and Kim and their people: the Russians, the mainland and diaspora Chinese and the North Koreans, respectively.

      In a robust vibrant democracy, They really DON’T serve those who sit and wait.

  29. caliphman says:

    The Philippine political scene is increasingly surreal, a garish.caricature of democracy run amuck, once the showcase of American style representative government for, of, and by the people. It now seems to be following the trajectory set for Venezuela by by Chavez and his hapless disciple Maduro where governmental institutions and the constitution are altered to keep.a tyrant and his lackeys in power. What is even more bizarre is to wake up in the midst of this nightmare and realize in horror this may be the kind of government and constitution appear to want!

  30. jamesb says:

    Any political strategist worth his salt could blow duterte out of the water quicker than you could splice a durian, but the weaklings and turncoats in the ‘liberal party’ are a disgrace to the very name and its core principles, and their political expertise/knowledge is basic to say the least.

    Aquino, roxas, are typical of the trapos who are ultimately all cut from the same cloth, and both are shameful and shameless with no fighting spirit, and obviously not the sharpest tools in the box. Dumb and dumber seem intelligent in comparison.
    They were a blot on the political landscape then, and are now inconsequential in the scheme of things, but so are the rest of the LP lemmings.
    They all demonstrate neither passion nor interest, and are happy to just sit on the side-lines scuba-diving, hiding, holidaying, and continuing in their cocoon of privilege and ignorance – lazy to the core, and indicative of the endemic malaise which afflicts filipino politics.
    With such ‘role-models’ it is no surprise that filipinos are seen as, and have become, the most subservient people in the world – good as servants, but little else, and worst of all quantified as “dull” (the formal educational/intellectual classification of filipinos. One rung above “retarded”!)

    You get what you deserve in life, and in the philippines it is a choice of multiple evils, but there is a common thread of hypocricy and immorality which inevitably permeates society, consequently all roads lead to mediocrity, and soon the road will also lead to a cul-de-sac of authoritarianism and chinese imperialism as the gullible and gormless stand by and watch.

    The philippines clearly breeds losers, and fools who either suffer other fools, or follow them. They will learn the hard way that there is no room in life for losers, or for sympathy, or for insularity.

    The international community and the global marketplace will soon give the philippines some ‘tough love’. Reducing investments, and handouts/aid, will just be the start.

    Fortunately, i am now returning to civilisation, michelin restaurants, and the pursuit of excellence.
    Good luck with bad politicians, bad food, and bad manners.

    The filipino is not worth investing in, unless you are china, and then you can buy a filipino/the philippines for their market value – cheap.

    • NHerrera says:

      It is instructive for purposes of realistic analysis of the future of the PH and what to do, if not too late, to get the range of PH scenarios — you offer one negative extreme scenario which may not be improved upon.

      But, if I may, I view this as the generalized sense of porn I wrote above:

      NHerrera says:
      August 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      This just my opinion.

      • NHerrera says:


        But as Joe noted above, we have “literary license” here — your post and mine.

        • popoy says:

          Porn people is what makes a nation porn. Translation: Poor people is what make a nation poor. Pornicating words is not “literary license; it’s insane so I shall stop doing this.

          • I sometimes don’t follow the line of your thinking. Poor people don’t make a nation poor. That falls to the leaders who fail to build an economy. Poor use of words is sometimes the arena of the uneducated, who are also not wholly responsible for what they know, and it is sometimes a way to express ideas that won’t have audience if sophisticated words are used. President Duterte is highly skilled at poor speech, and highly successful at relating to his audience.

            When it comes to words, there are useful conventions, but they are only guideposts. Meaning is often best found in poetry or fiction or cursing at the right point, and I think declaring off-beat use of words “insane” is okay as an opinion, but not a rule.

            • popoy says:

              My bad JoeAm. Saying what I mean could be my problem like I consider playing with words like porn as poor, naCOW as being rob, it’s insane so to be sane I must stop doing it. Poor people makes a nation poor is DESCRIPTIVE not normative because it doesn’t jibe when one says poor people makes a nation rich. Unless rich in poverty. The statement is latent and inert not live and dynamic. But Milton Berlo could be right when he teaches MEANINGS ARE IN PEOPLE.

    • I find your good bye rather rude, but I think many foreigners have this sense of righteousness about them that brooks no discussion. Bad politicians, yes, there are many. And there are a few that do not deserve that label. Bad food? Whoa, you’ve been eating the wrong places or have a hidebound set of taste buds. Bad manners? That is a moral judgment, offensive to me, frankly, because my experience is of deep friendships and warmth. The Philippines breeds what it breeds. No other nation has been down this path and foreigners carry their share of responsibility for that path. An orphan child is a child. A battered nation is battered. The brave and strong stick with it. The others go off to find their ease elsewhere.

    • Sup says:

      Last time i went to a michelin restaurant i ended up afterwards in a mc do….still hungry….


    • “The filipino is not worth investing in, unless you are china, and then you can buy a filipino/the philippines for their market value – cheap.”

      So what was the point of your posts then? Just to dig on another similar quote?

      I’ve never eaten in Michelin restaurants , i suppose i can save up some money and a few months later get a reservation in one, but i already know i’d feel weird (out of place) eating at a place that worships vanity in what we consume, the definition of fetishizing, what NH calls food porn. No thanks, i’d rather enjoy regular porn.

      Joe, i guess my issue is not so much rudeness here (MRP was a master at this) , but the notion of , fuck you guys! i’m eating great steak later, see ya! wouldn’t wanna be ya!… whether you like the 3rd world or not, that’s just an a-holish thing to say. You don’t rub other peoples’ misery with your own luxury, that’s just wrong.

      I’m a big class warfare guy, both those above me (tax them more…) and those below me (ie. build the wall, limit immigration, etc.). But that whole Michelin statement just rubs me the wrong way.

      • For example,

        “Poor people don’t make a nation poor. That falls to the leaders who fail to build an economy.”

        What makes a poor person poor? Lack of persistence, defeatism, etc. etc.

        That comes from within , Joe…

        though gov’ts and corporations, social systems, can diminish them, you press on. Though gov’t and corporations, other systems, can engender this spirit, encourage it, its not dependent on it. So if you have too many poor people, then there has to be some accounting for it, automatically blaming govts, etc. is an excuse, so the poor do make a nation poor—- though it’s not just them. My point they have a role to play, they’re not just by-standers.

        • NHerrera says:


          Thanks for that nugget of a quote from Calvin Coolidge on persistence and determination.

          I have this experience. I am not really good at mathematics, but often, when a problem of interest to me, however trivial to some, comes along, the solution is ultimately found, not by any brilliance, but because of persistence and determination. I often tell the wife that my persistence on a trivial matter keeps dementia at bay. And, with the indulgence of readers, when the solution is found, I have almost an orgasmic kick.

          Yes, persistence and determination wins the day.

          • NH, I’m sure the applications of that quote alone is expansive, covering all fields.

            One of my favourites that’s for sure. 😉 as i’m neither bright, educated, nor talented. LOL! but I press on.

      • Agree. My ‘rude’ remark was mainly in response to that statement. I didn’t want to waste time arguing into his heavy, surprising condescension.

        • Elitist was the word I had in mind, which I think is a uniquely American aversion (well maybe Canadian and Australian/NZ too), ie. take your Michelin rated restaurants and shove it up your ass.

  31. NHerrera says:

    Off topic but related to the “insanity” theme


    Here is the mind of US NSA’s McMasters on preventive war on North Korea, during an interview with MSNBC’S Hugh.

    Excerpts (this is long but please bear with me):

    HH: All right, let me switch if I can to North Korea, which is really pressing. And– and remind our audience, at the Aspen Institute ten days ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, said, “There’s always a military– option. It would be horrific.” Lindsey Graham on Today Show earlier this week said– “We need to destroy the regime and their deterrent.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday, I believe, to North Korea, “You are leaving us no choice but to protect ourselves.” And then the Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Army said, “Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” Are we looking at a preemptive strike? Are you trying to prepare us, you being collectively, the administration and people like Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton for a first strike North Korea?

    HRM: Well, we really, what you’re asking is– is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said, “He’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.” Look at the (UNINTEL) for that regime if it– if– if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So– so of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And– and that includes a military option. Now, would we like to resolve it short of what would be a very costly war, in terms of– in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people? The– the ability of– of that North– North Korean regime to hold the South hostage to conventional fire’s capabilities, artillery and so forth, Seoul being so close. We’re cognizant of all of that. And so what we have to do is– is everything we can to– to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize. And there are really I think three critical things, came out of the president’s very successful summit with– President Xi of China that were different– that were different from past efforts to work with China, which has always been, you know, the– the desire, right, to work with China– on the– on the North Korean problem. The three things that came out of that are, first of all, that North Korea, Kim Jong-un s– armed with nuclear weapons is a threat not only to the United States, not only to our great allies, Japan and South Korea, but also to China. So that’s a big acknowledgement. The second thing was that– was that, we’re, the goal– the goal of working together with them cannot be the so-called “freeze for freeze.” Where we freeze our– our– our training and then they freeze their program. Because they’re at a threshold capability now. Freeze for freeze doesn’t work anymore. Right? It’s– it’s intolerable. So the goal is denuclearization of the– of the peninsula. That’s the second big thing. The third big thing that came out of it is, China acknowledged they have tremendous coercive economic influence here. They may not have a great political relationship with Kim Jong-un. I mean, who does these days, right? But– but they recognize that they do have a great deal of agency and control over that situation. And so we are prioritizing Secretary of State in the lead obviously, prioritizing an effort to work with the Chinese. As the president has said, as the president has tweeted, right? We– we also though have to be prepared to walk down a path that assumes not as much help from China as we would like.

    HH: So that would mean, back to the preemptive strike or some kind of action against Kim Jong-un, should he be sleeping easily at night?

    HRM: No, I think– I think he should not be, because he– he has the whole world against him. Right? He’s– he’s isolated– he’s isolated on this. Si– since 1953, the Korean Peninsula has been in a state of armistice. Right? The war never formally ended. And there has been no aggression– no aggression from– from the United States, South Korea, any– any of our allies.

    HH: If he were removed, General, would the regime’s behavior change? If that one individual were removed?

    HRM: Well, I– I’m not sure about that. I mean, I don’t think anybody has a very clear picture of the inner workings of that regime. What is clear is that it is– it is an authoritarian dictatorship that– that has existed since the end– end of World War II. It is now in its third generation. And there is a difference in this third autocratic ruler, in that he’s as brutal as the previous two have been, but he’s doing some things differently. He’s killing members of his own family even. And so what– what this means for the future of that regime. I mean, I think it’s really almost imp– it’s impossible to predict.

    HH: Is it legitimate? You’ve done a lot of strategic thinking about this. Is it legitimate to attempt to achieve regime change by the removing of one– leader of a regime? Is that a legitimate tool of international affairs?

    HRM: Well, di– well, I think it depends on– on really the– the– the legal justifications for that, right? And– and this goes back to, you know– j– just war theory. And– and– what is the nature of– of the risk? And– and does that risk justify acting in defense of– of your people and– and your vital interests?

    HH: We know the risk a little bit. In 1994, when the first nor– North Korean deal with signed– the people who executed it, Gallucci, Dan Poneman, Joe Wit wrote a book. And they quoted a general saying, “If there is a conflict,” called Going Critical, “there will be a million casualties.” A million casualties. Is that still a good estimate of what happens if– preemptive strike unfolds in North Korea, General?

    HRM: You know, wa– one– one thing about war. It’s impossible oftentimes to predict. It’s always impossible to predict the future course of events. Because war is a continuous interaction of opposites, a continuous interaction between your forces and those of the enemy. It– it involves not just the capability to use force, but also intentions and things that are just unknowable at the outset. And so I think it’s important to– to look at– range of estimates of what could happen, because it’s clear that at war, it’s– it’s unpredictable. And so you al– always have to ask the question, “What happens next? What are the risks? How do you mitigate those risks?” And– and obviously, you know, war is– is– is the most serious decision any leader has to make. And so what can we do to make sure we exhaust our possibilities and exhaust our– our other opportunities to accomplish this very clear objective of denuclearization of the peninsula short of war?

    HH: If we were to go into a preemptive strike, General McMaster, of some sort, large, small, whatever, would we tell the Chinese before we did that in order to manage their expectations and to limit the possibility of a replay of the Korean War?

    HRM: Well, I can– I can’t really talk about any details associated with operational plans or– or strategies. But– but– it would depend on the circumstances I guess—




    Being the National Security Adviser, is McMaster articulating the distilled strategy of the US versus NK?

    What I find most interesting is the note from McMaster that China is threatened by the recent military hardware development in NK. (And probably even Russia.) For if KJU goes insanely ballistic (pun intended) those nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles can go easier their Chinese/ Russian way than will those missiles go the US way — about 5-10 minutes to China/ Russia, and about 20-25 minutes to US? Is this perhaps why the recent UN sanctions did not get a veto from either one?

    • Most interesting reading, thanks. I am getting the idea that Trump is a military kind of guy, a hawk, not dove, and he is giving his generals a considerable amount of leeway in their areas of authority. I draw the conclusion from reading today that the Philippines and US are on the verge of having the US deploy drones . . . flown by the US under auspices of the mutual defense treaty . . . to root out ISIS from Marawi. This seems to be a a tactical operation driven by US generals, in concert with PH generals.

      • That’s a good interview, NH.

        The only thing left unsaid is that at the end of the day, American lives are worth more (at least where these strategizings are concern), there are American lives in South Korea (so they’re the best canaries to track), any movement from the US (ie. pre-emptive) will first require movement of those civilians (again the bigger theme here is American lives are worth more).

        As for Joe’s Trump is a hawk, I don’t think so, but Joe’s right his military generals will be more nuanced , Trump will think how is this move going to save me money (where American lives are worth more from the minds of defense officials, when talking about Trump, dollars are worth more, ie. he won’t be able to to his infrastructure stuff, build his glorious wall, etc. if he goes to war with North Korea) , but his generals will be thinking long term (actually now short term),

        defense of the West Coast, now even the East Coast is in play.

        The grand-son is waaaaay too cray-cray, product of his own grandfather’s delusions come to life, so unless China steps in to get rid of the grand-son (which I think is too late, no more leverage to be had, at least diplomatically speaking), then both Trump and the grandson will play chicken , both not quite understanding what the game of chicken entails here. So the background IMHO would be US military/diplomats urging China to act.

        In short, China here has to pull the trigger, so they’ll better mitigate the aftermath.

        • Plus China needs to test out her hardware/software , what better time and place than in North Korea, you have an American administration not too picky about human rights stuff, essentially giving it a green light; and it’s actually gonna work in both nations favour, China and the US,

          China should totally devour N. Korea,

          • That is one expansion of China that not too many people would complain about. Annex it!

            • NHerrera says:

              But will the Big Bear up North complain? Answer — you grabbed Crimea from Ukraine, how about us taking a piece of the Korean Peninsula this time around?

              • Yes, right, I had note thought of that little rumple.

              • It all depends on what America will allow, NH, Ukraine was/is an ally to the West, Russia took from it (cannot be allowed); North Korea is a black hole , if left unchecked will consume the region then the world, or the world then the region. Putting a plug in this black hole is win-win for everyone (must be allowed, or at the very least, doesn’t hurt Russian none).

                Yes , Russia does have a sliver of border with N. Korea, but it’s not even a road , much less foot path, it’s a railroad (Google it) , from Russia’s vantage whether China or N. Korea stays, their loss is nil, if refugees do come in, they’ll kick ’em out. So there’s no risk for Russia, plus they get an added benefit of a more secure N. Korea.

  32. Zen says:

    Thank you for this article Joe, as ever the comments that follow, wise, funny, deep and critical are a balm to a bruised soul in this awful times we are in. I look forward to Trillanes words that we don’t need another coup because Duterte self destructs. It’s only a matter of time and that keeps me sane and hope he implodes soon. Keep the comments going because as crazy as sometimes happen, they surely are keeping as sane 🙂 .

  33. Bill In Oz says:

    Off Topic …Here is a story about Chinese nationals in Fiji being arrested and deported back to China. They are accused of fraud using the internet… What is interesting is the photos of Chinese cops escorting these suspects from Fiji to China..

    Could this happen in the Philippines ?


    • NHerrera says:

      Nice one Bill. I recall a gansta-type movie where the head honcho says I hate it when someone was bought and does not stay bought. Fiji not bought yet? Hehe.

  34. Bill In Oz says:

    Going back to topic.. A retrospective thought on the elections of May 2016. Grace Poe would have been far far far better than Dutters…

    But all I can remember is how Poe’s candidature was panned so much here.

    And I wonder if it is too much to repeat again, that the Philippines needs to replace it’s first past the post voting system with a hugely more democratic preferential system.

    • Poe is proving to be a waste of energy to even write about. I’ll leave it to others as I’ve generated such a dislike for the woman that it is hard to restrain myself to a civil manner. You are right about the plurality voting system.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Joe, I have not kept up with Poe’s activities recently. I was merely making the point that compared to Dutters, Poe as president would have been far better.

        For example there would not have been the drug murder campaign which has now lead to over 7,000 people being killed
        And maybe her cabinet appointee’s would have been of a better quality than Dutters as well.
        And he would not have adopted the extreme Pro China policy of Dutters…And would probably have been far more sympathetic to the USA.
        Finally she would not be using the foul language that is such a characteristic of Dutters public announcements.

        All this is obvious. But your reply above seems to deny all this. In fact you seem to be completely allergic to Poe. So I guess indeed the Philippines is driving you crazy.

    • edgar lores says:

      Duterte recently castigated Poe with a caustic revelation. Something like she smokes like a chimney and drinks [brandy] like a fish, without the hyperbole.

      It will be interesting to see what form hell’s fury will take from a senatress scorned.

      • NHerrera says:

        I recall rumor on the heavy smoking and drinking before the 20i6 election. This is a confirmation from the horse’s mouth then.

  35. caliphman says:

    Joe, that is a pretty dismal future you paint above of what might be in store for the Philippines. What enables these scenarios to unfold is the acceptance if not approval of a very significant portion of the populace as the democratic institutions and constitutional restraints safeguarding the country from reverting to a banana republic run by a dictator and his lackeys. There is no question the Philippines offers many wonderful experiences in day-to-day living that can help put this ongoing disaster out of mind for those who even care that it is happening. But somehow, I cannot help but conjure images of the Titanic slipping into the seas as the band played on.

  36. Sup says:


    something changed in Inquirer…under scrutiny…..

    Comment in :


    Keef Riffhard • 9 hours ago

    Seems it`s not any longer allowed to criticize ” His Highness , Lord Fentanyl ” and his family here. 240 comments about Paolo D maybe involved in smuggling disappeared in Thin Air.




  37. distant observer says:

    Thank you very much Joe for this blog post 🙂 I agree on everything you say, except for the decision to not argue anymore with all the “madmen” and “madwomen” out there who still believe in the President’s role as their saviour. I agree it’s exhaustive, but I refuse to just let DDS’s opinions to maintain and even flourish, without me ever trying to interact with them. I admit it’s probably easier for me to say that, because I do not reside in the Philippines and hence I am not permanently surrounded by this madness as your are. But from time to time, when I feel strong enough, I confront some of these “believers” with my own opinion. Was I ever successful with my attempts to get through with my reasoning? I admit, my arguments are hardly ever heard, even less respected. Even good friendships of mine took a heavy strain due to such discussions. Let’s just hope that five years from now, I will still be lucid…

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] has been cited by President Aquino’s own State of the Nation Address. In a blog post (“The Philippines is Driving Me Insane“, Aug. 7, 2017), Mr. America cited three things that will continue to define the Duterte […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: