Power, stagnation, and democracy

What conflicting behavior codes create. [Photo source: 2catsinaratrace.wordpress.com]

By Joe America

Eureka!! I have discovered the behavior codes of Philippine society!! Three codes that show why there is so much anger and argument these days.

I originally called the behavior codes “ethics” but they are much more complex than rules. They involve power, emotions, creativity, and reasoning.

This is all original thinking as my internet connection is too slow to permit detailed academic research with neatly annotated bibliography and a gracious offering of thanks to this person or that. I’ve used the “wing it” method that allows readers plenty of leeway to correct or shape my observations. I do thank contributors here who have given me such insights as may happen to emerge from these writings.

The three behavior codes are labeled “power, stagnation, and democracy” to get the core ideas into the descriptions. Let me elaborate, and then you can tell me if they resonate with you. Or not.


The power behavior code is easily observed by watching the Duterte government and its allies in the legislature, courts, and various regional governments. The psychological drivers of people subscribing to this code are ambition and greed, and the same esteem issues that drive a bully or abusive person to lord it over the weak or flawed.

The social structure is a stacking of powerful people over less powerful people, with a downward flow of favors and demands, and an upward flow of loyalty. Moral rules and faith are tools of empowerment, not attestations of worship. They can be used or set aside, as necessary.

Powerful people are usually smart because knowledge and intelligence are also tools of the trade. Becoming powerful involves a weeding out process, rather like dogs determine a heriarchy by fighting. Being smart and conniving are characteristics of the powerful.

Laws are tools, to be used or not. Compassion is a tool to be leveraged if there is good payback, or not if threat or even cruelty work better. Societal norms can be set aside if they are in the way. The powerful need not be bound by ethics or civility or fairness or kindness. Such societal restraints are in the way. Propaganda, manipulations, bragging, cheating, lying. These are acceptable tools. So is vengeance against those who would dare to criticize or challenge, or who represent a good ‘enemy of the people’.

A person operating under the power behavior code does not have the same moral fabric as others. Playing power is good, it is the way of the world, it is necessary, it is strong, it is enriching, and it is fun. In other words, it is “right”.

That is the way tribes and local governments have worked in the Philippines for centuries. It is a totally natural behavior code.


The stagnation behavior code is what unifies the poor and the ABC people who feel they are going nowhere, or are under-appreciated. Many OFWs follow this code. Their emotional drivers are envy, anger, and insecurity. They are the victims in an unfair society, and they know it. They’ve not been able to get out from the oppressive emotional burden of being their nation’s left-behinds.

Those stuck in a stagnant rut would like to get into the power flow, but cannot because they don’t have the needed money or education or dynastic connections to make it happen. They follow the same loose use of laws as the powerful because . . . well, the nation, and the people with power, and the trapos OWE them. Rich relatives owe them. Government owes them.

If anybody deserves a break, it is those who have been used, abused, and left behind.

Faith is not really a tool for the stagnant in the same way it is for the powerful. It is a need. They need their faith to give them strength. They need magic, and superstition to give them strength, too. They need love and likes from visitors. Poor Filipinos could have patented Facebook’s feedback loop because they are totally immersed in a world of it.

The stagnant need to strike out now and then to get even. That’s what they did in all of the recent presidential elections. They voted AGAINST the the predecessor president. That was their motivation for walking to the polls.

The stagnant cannot relate to democratic ideals like freedom and fairness and a future vision of prosperity because they have never been free, have never received fairness, and have never felt the uplift of a future to look forward to.

Theirs is the moral fabric of the victim, and it is wholly valid. Their trials are factual. Their way of dealing with their surroundings is necessary and therefore right.


The democracy behavior code is a group-oriented code as opposed to the self-oriented power and stagnation codes. Its most advanced members have to be emotionally well-balanced to work within and respect the kinds of debates necessary to craft direction, security, and prosperity from hundreds of millions of people with greatly different ideas. Education (knowledge) is important, as are sacrifice and the compassion needed to bring people of different backgrounds and character into a unified whole.

Tools are debate and knowledge, and concepts like human rights and fairness form the moral values. Laws and justice are crucial to maintain trust in how disputes are worked out.

Faith is not itself relevant to the code, but respect for faiths is.

The Philippine Constitution was written by and for this segment of the population.

For that reason, the ‘democrats’ believe their behavior code and activities flowing from it are right.

If the codes pull Filipinos apart, how can a nation emerge?

There are basically two ways to achieve a unified nation:

  • The power way, where obedience to power supplants debate and everyone follows the leaders.
  • The democratic way, where group values, sacrifice, and respect supplant the stacking of peoples under a power structure.

The stagnant group is the vehicle by which the power or democratic rulers achieve dominance. The stagnant don’t have a governing system themselves. Anger does not a nation govern. As of today, the power rulers have done a better job of speaking to the stagnant masses than the democrats.

One can make a conscious decision to go one way or another. If one adopts the power behavior code then, sure, let China come to the Philippines and guide us and dole out favors to us, in exchange for what they want (the minerals in Benham Rise). They are the most powerful nation in Asia, so, hey, recognize it, go with the flow, and benefit from China (if you are among the powerful).

If one adopts the democratic behavior code, then there is a whole lot of work to be done, because the stagnant audience ain’t listening, and you ain’t speaking to their needs today. (Hint: you need to help them strike out.)

In the unlikely event you are one of the stagnant . . . envious, angry, vengeful and going nowhere . . . I’d advise you to think wisely about which path will give you the most. Not today. But over 25 years.

You know.

Think of your kids.


94 Responses to “Power, stagnation, and democracy”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    They say as long as is it not abused power can be good. Power does not have to corrupt.
    Add a little power to the citizens and they are empowered.

  2. Bill In Oz says:

    Hey Joe, you have indeed hit the nail on the head. My only comment is thta htis way of ‘ruling’ the city, the province, the country is not unique to the Philippines. I suggest it actually characterises about 90% of countries. Think China, Russia, North Korea, Brunei,Vietnam, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc. etc.

    The democratically ruled countries are actually pretty rare, exceptions to the world wide norm.

    The fact that the Philippines s ruled this way is no surprise at least to me.

    • Very true. You make me think, in that you are not surprised, when the ‘yellows’ stop being surprised, then they will respond differently. They will move from complaint to purposeful action. Not protests, necessarily, but unifying, filing cases, targeting people to get out of government, etc.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Joe i posted a link yesterday to a discussion on the ABC

        It does not deal with the Philippines at all. Mainly the US and marginally Australia. But it is about “Democrat type elites”

        And that set me thinking that this discussion is relevant to the Philippines. Because it poses the question :” Why are ordinary people sick of being told what to do by & think by elites ?”

        In the Philippines this elite since 1987 has been the ‘Yellows’.. It is this largish educated & well off group of Filipinos who set the standards, the rules, and governed until 2016 when Duterte was elected.

        In this context what does that election signify ? I suggest the rejection of Mar Roxas and the Yellows by a big part of the electorate (39% ) who voted for Duterte, was a vote by people sick and tired of listening to, by an elite.

        Why ? Because of the failure of the elite to achieve prosperity and a secure life for most of the Filipino people. Aquino’s 6 years achieved great progress. But it didn’t work, or at least not work quickly enough for a lot of Filipinos.

        So they decided to ‘shake’ things up.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Mainly that, but for the undecided people a little misinformation,disinformation and misdirection helped a bit.

          Plus what Francis said about the oppositions same old, same old narrative which is to oppose for the sake of opposing and after that nothing happens.(pls correct me Francis)

        • NHerrera says:

          Using elements of your argument can we say then that — assuming the system of government remains the same — come 2022, a Duterte-type of candidate will continue to be elected rather than, say, Robredo or something like a Trillanes or a hybrid of the two, not quite yellow but certainly not a Duterte-type and certainly not his poor imitation like Alvarez, Aguirre or a Gordon? I would say that is a debatable proposition.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            N’Herrera, I would not like to predict the future and especially not try to predict what will happen in 2022 Philippines elections.

            If Duterte or his successor prove incapable of meeting the ordinary people’s expectations, the results will be wide open. My personal view is still that Leni Robredo would be the best candidate. But I do not have a vote.

            But as the interview made very clear ( listen to it via the link above ) there is a huge level of anger at the way well educated, professional elite types in politics operate. They operate on the basis of “I’m the expert; I know what’s best”. And do not listen to ordinary folks and what is important to them.

            Here in Oz, this process is huge. We are telling the educated professional experts who want to dominate government to “fuck off” because their expertise has lead to so many stuff up in the past 10-15 years. Support for the major parties has fragmented with lots of support drifting to other political parties.

            In the USA, this process elected Trump.
            In the UK it lead to Brexit and the resignation of the Prime Minister.
            In the Philippines, it lead to Duterte as president.

            by the way Karl, don’t get hung up on the how by which this process works out. Yes social media was big in the Duterte campaign. But maybe that’s because the existing MSM in the Philippines were to much part of the existing power structures to be worth utilising by Duterte.

            This is happening here also and the MSM are beholden to the existing powerful folks, so the outsiders get dumped on by MSM

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks for the comment, Bill. I suppose what I am indirectly saying is that the “elite being incubated now in Duterte’s incubator” will be seen in the same light by the PH masses in six years — we can see their behavior now, not necessarily Duterte himself, but those bandwagon-riders having the beginnings of elitist ways. Give them another 4.5 years and methinks they “will be fully hatched.”

        • edgar lores says:

          Other possibilities:

          1. The ordinary people do not listen. This has a higher probability of being true than any other thesis.
          2. They are tired, not from listening, but from other activities — such as watching “Eat Bulaga!” and other intelligence-sapping shows.

          3. If they listened to the liberal elite, they would not exert themselves to understand.
          4. The liberal elite is a small subset of the political elite. The illiberal political elite do not have a real grasp of democratic notions or of self-interest-free solutions.

          5. The intellectual elite are learned but they interact with a small audience, a small circle. The ordinary people do not usually stray into their circle.
          6. It is easier to listen to the illiberal elite because they have simple ideas and they entertain. They present their simplistic ideas in a dramatic form… exactly as Duterte does. And Sotto. Gordon seems to be saying something but it is all froth. Does anyone remember anything of significance from the considerable volume that Gordon has released?

          7. The ordinary people attend political events to see celebrities, listen to singers, and delight to the dancing girls.
          8. The ordinary people don’t have to listen to the liberal and intellectual elite because what are idols for but to think for them? Contrary to what JoeAm said, thinking… critical thinking is not fun. It is painful. Fun is reveling in one’s rollercoaster emotions and toying with the emotions of others.

          • Francis says:

            [Not only @Edgar—but also @Bill; I would want to comment separately @Bill’s remarks, but I feel that both @Edgar and @Bill’s comments are part of the same conversation and that it would be more effective to address things together through one reply. That being said, I have both much to agree and disagree with both sentiments raised.]

            If I am not mistaken—Plato distrusted democracy because the masses alone are too emotional, too base to handle the grand task of just society. This is a question that haunts us to this day—as especially in a democracy, who should we expect to rule: a small circle of virtuous elite or the broad masses? To put it in other words: can the ordinary man (the citizen) be nearly as worthy of participating in the lofty task of ruling as the ideal “Philosopher-King” of Plato?

            That leads us to another related question, given all these complex trends: i.e. the problem for a laborless economy powered by automation, global warming, fake news—is the 21st century just so complex, that we should leave everything to the experts?

            “3. If they listened to the liberal elite, they would not exert themselves to understand.”

            This troubles me quite a bit because it implies that all we had to do was to listen to smart liberal people, the technocrats—and everything would have been and will be fine. In this regard, I lean towards @Bill and his concerns about the elite.

            I think that in centrist and moderate circles, there is a certain problem with how people view politics—or actually, in a broader sense: “knowledge” or “truth” as it were. What is “political knowledge” or “knowledge” of “political things” anyway? It may seem like a mundane and obvious question, but I personally think that it’s a question that should be given much thought and reflection.

            One of the assigned readings[1] in class had a certain idea: that the “colonial” nature of political thought and the way it was taught (for instance, how the canon goes from Plato to Mill to Rawls) hides or obscures the “European” aspects of ideas, norms and concepts often thought or assumed to be “universal” in nature. Of course, this is a controversial proposition with which one may find much to disagree with—but what is particularly relevant to the discussion is one of the succeeding propositions: that a “Eurocentric” conception of political thought has prioritized “reason” or “rationality” as the defining (and ideal) character of man. This is something I personally find to be a very important point—we must not put reason and emotion in a hierarchy with reason on top as the “noble” virtue and emotion on ghe bottom as the “base” or “undesirable” thing. Both are essential to our human nature, and both should be given equal value as such.

            One thing that struck me in another assigned reading in class[2] was the idea of approaching or analyzing politics in a three-fold manner: objectively, interpretatively and normatively. Of these three ways of “viewing” politics, it is the second that is particularly relevant to our discussion; to use a metaphor from the same reading: a chemist doesn’t have to understand how molecules feels to understand how they work, only that they will act according to certain natural laws—but a political scientist has to know how the subject of his or her study (that is, humans) feel order to fully grasp the political phenomena he or she is studying.

            What is “political knowledge”? It involves not just the product of reason (objective facts, logical argument, etc.) but also the product of emotion (interpretation, narrative, etc.) as well. It is not just objective but subjective.

            What I mean to get across–is that the problem, I suppose, with centrist and moderate circles (myself included) is how limited our conception of “political knowledge” is. We assume that so long as one side has “all the facts” that side is automatically more valid than the other. We think that government is just the logical application of the right technical knowledge—put in the people who know the right things, and everything will be humming smoothly. We forget though, that government (and the nation, and the state—hence, the whole nation-state) is comprised of human beings who are poetic, in addition to being rational. We forget that people seek statesmen, not only to be intelligent in their foresight but also capable of rousing the spirits of their countrymen.

            We must value mind and heart equally and must place no dichotomy between them.

            I mostly agree with @Bill, in that the masses need to be heard—but I am also of the opinion that the masses have a responsibility too.

            We live in the post-truth era, and a good chunk of that is due to the rise of social media. Facebook etc. has led to a massive explosion in the number of publishing outlets; anyone can post information online—ergo anyone can post news and opinion. This simply means no[3] gatekeepers.

            “Liberalism” used to be so valued. Why is it so questioned now? Wasn’t it as close to truth as normative standards could be, the bedrock of consensus in democratic society that everyone could agree to? Hmm. Maybe, it was only true in so far as the relatively few gatekeepers (the traditional mass media) could all agree on it. An “illusion” of truth..?

            And that “illusion” is shattered. And the populists rejoice. And the “REAL [Insert Nationality Here in ALL CAPS]” sing Hallelujiah with them. Aha! Screw you, egghead! What does your goddamned PHDs have to do with the “real” world, eh?!

            What I wish the people would realize is that there is a price to this. You don’t want the cosy combination of trade union bosses, the technocrats at Bland Government Dept., the eggheads from Ivory U, etc. to do all things political and know all things political in your name? Okay. That means growing up—and realizing that from here on out, you are fully responsible.

            On the surface, that means finding your own sources of information. That’s superficial in my books; you could find a bunch of crackpot blogs and proclaim that with your “diverse” arrays of knowledge, you know the “truth” better than the “sheeple” who are ignorant.

            To me, to accept responsibility in an epistemologically uncertain world is to ingrain in oneself intellectual humility. Doubt oneself. Relentlessly. Let skepticism—even of own very self—guide your never-ending quest for knowledge. I don’t care how many books you’ve read, whether you’re just a security guard or a credentialed blogger with an assortment of PHDs and whatnot—if you possess the ability to doubt yourself, to be intellectually humble, you’re good to go in this uncertain world.

            In an ideal world, I envision philosopher-citizens in a wonderful democracy. That is, philosopher-citizens who possess both big mind to be relentlessly consume facts and be ever curious and big heart to able to step into the shoes of their fellow citizens. Who remain always intellectually humble.

            That is my personal answer to dealing with this post-truth world.

            [1], [2]: Not my original ideas, these entire paragraphs are. A lot is from readings in class.

            [3]: Not in the traditional sense. Facebook is the example of a gatekeeper which is only realizing now that it is a gatekeeper.

            • edgar lores says:


              1. Just to paraphrase:

              1.1. Bill’s thesis – Ordinary people are sick and tired of being told what to think and do by elites.

              1.2. Edgar’s thesis – Perhaps ordinary people do not listen.

              1.2.1. Edgar’s sub-thesis – If ordinary people listened to the liberal elite, they would not exert themselves to understand.

              1.3. Francis’ interpretation of Edgar’s sub-thesis – If ordinary people just listened to the liberal elite, everything would be fine.

              2. I am glad Francis picked possibility #3 because my thesis and sub-thesis are at the center of what this blog is all about. As JoeAm says, it is about learning — “to think and discuss, to teach and learn.”

              2.1. Francis’ conclusion from my sub-thesis that “everything would be fine” is perhaps logical, but it glides over what I am trying to emphasize. The operative words in my sub-thesis are “exert” and “understand.”

              3. To exert means to make an effort. And the object of our efforts here is to learn. If there is no effort, no try, there is, as the cliche goes, no opportunity to succeed. What there is is stagnation.

              3.1. The implication in the sub-thesis is that all people, ordinary or not, must expend effort in order to learn. So, yes, humility — the cognition and acceptance that we do not know — is implicit in the need to exert effort.

              4. To understand means to grasp the meaning of. And the object of understanding is to internalize meaning that we may be so guided in our daily life. If there is no internalization, there is no active influence in our life. What there is is — again — stagnation.

              4.1. But if true understanding is internalization, it is NOT necessarily outright acceptance of what is said. It can be partial acceptance or even total rejection. Understanding is listening… and sifting the input through the sieve of our current state of knowledge (epistemology).

              4.2. The elite may possess greater understanding but they do not possess the truth. In reality, we live — have always lived — in a pre-truth world. Therefore, it is the duty of each man, ordinary or not, to listen but also to conscientiously examine what is said. So, yes, skepticism is an important function — a critical part — of understanding.

              5. The combination of exertion and understanding will improve our current state of knowledge and consciousness. This is a personal methodology and perhaps the hallmark of this blog. Our attitude has never been to accept convention and authority but to question both. But will this attitude lead to a state of “everything will be fine?”

              5.1. I would say yes, not immediately in terms of concrete reality, but in terms of ambient reality.

              5.2. I would hazard that if the spirit of open inquiry, humility, skepticism, and learning — as opposed to the hubris of delusion — is universal, then everything is (present continuous) fine. Not will be (future continuous) fine. (The journey is the destination.)

              6. You see, by different paths, we arrive at the same conclusion.

        • As I mentioned in the article, the disenfranchised vote to punish the incumbent, no matter who the incumbent is, because he/she symbolizes the elite after 4 years of the same o same o. The yellows are not the only elite.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Joe, I am using ‘the yellows’ in a wide sense. Not just Liberal party members and associate in the Philippines.

            I’m using in the sense that it was the EDSA Revolution which toppled Marcos..All the winners of that revolution saw them selves as ‘Yellows’.

            I note that this is no longer true. The Yellows are now just a small minority now and have lost almost all influence and power.

            By contrast Leni won a higher proportion of the total vote for Vice President than Roxas did for President.

            Why ? Because her own campaign was based on listening to ordinary people. That’s the style of person she is. And she gained more support.

            • She also was not ridiculed relentlessly as Mar Roxas was both during his service and while campaigning. He was the first major target of the social media photoshopped meme method (fake news). She did not have front page visibility. So the comparison is not so simply made.

              I use yellows to mean pro-democracy, pro-human rights, not LP. There are elite power mongers, for sure, and the 20% to 1% ratio put forth by Edgar/Juana is about right on that. If today’s fake news hearing was an example, the pro-democracy elite are starting to speak more loudly. May there be many more such opportunities.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. I can see that these Behavior Codes tie-in and correspond with the basic pattern of our Zombie Taxonomy.

    1.1. I would tweak the Taxonomy — according to the levels of consciousness — as follows:

    o Type 1 – Full Zombie
    o Type 2 – Hybrid
    o Type 3 – Non-Zombie

    1.2. The table of equivalence then would be as follows… extended to the Pre-Hispanic social structure that is still extant:

    Zombie/Behavior Code/Social Class Taxonomy

    o Type 1 – Zombie = Stagnation Code = Slave Class (Alipin)
    o Type 2 – Hybrid = Power Code = Ruling Class (Maginoo)
    o Type 3 – Living human = Democracy Code = Freemen (Timawa)

    2. The delineation of the characteristics of each Behavior Code is clear and accurate.

    2.1. I particularly like the insights on Faith and Morality for each code. On Faith:

    o Stagnation Code: ”It [Faith] is a need. They need their faith to give them strength. “

    o Power Code: ”Moral rules and faith are tools of empowerment, not attestations of worship.”

    o Democracy Code: ”Faith is not itself relevant to the code, but respect for faiths is.

    2.2. Insofar as morality goes, one could say that Type 1 is amoral, Type 2 is immoral, and Type 3 is moral.

    3. The delineated path is also clear: the stagnant and the powerful must adopt the Democracy Code and become democrats. This will take some doing.

    • Nice synopsis and extension of the analysis. As I noted to Bill, to actually change things, the ‘yellows’ have to get past complaining and recognize there are legitimate reasons for people behaving the way they do. When they have an ‘aha!’ moment, they may decide to do something other than run around directionless and complain.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Stagnant zombie – zombie who is not moving – dead zombie.

    • Statistically, how would you distribute the numbers into the three types? I’ll take a stab at it and say, 1% Type 2s, 20% Type 3s and 79% Type 1s.

      Why is PRD polling above 80% when only 30% voted him in office? The possible explanation is the above distribution with a twist. Part of the Type 1s and Type 2s are fence sitters waiting to jump the popular bandwagon for survival and only God-knows-what.

      The 85% of the population that are not politically involved scare me. Are these the people who are deciding PH future?

      • edgar lores says:

        I believe the archetype of the strongman looms large in the Filipino unconsciousness.

        All the presidential candidates in 2016 conformed to the archetype… all except Mar. He was seen as a weakling.

        Mar got 9.9M out of the 55.7M registered voters. That’s 18%.

        This means that 82% go for strongman types. That’s where Duterte’s support comes from.


        I concur with your estimates but would distribute it according to levels of consciousness. (I have inverted your percentages for Types 2 and 3, but I must admit some confusion.)

        o Type 1 – Stagnant = 79%
        o Type 2 – Power = 20%
        o Type 3 – Democracy = 1%

        Very few understand and practice Democracy Ethics.

        Mar’s voters would be spread across the 3 pools.

        • That makes a lot of sense but it just made the possibility of digging PH out of the snakes’ pit a little more terrifying and challenging. What you have is a classic example of the tyranny of the majority. It may be easier to identify the 1% and airlift them to Guam or Hawaii. 🙂

        • manangbok says:

          I think I agree with Mr. Lores. The People Power phenomena and all the other revolutions we waged before that showed that a lot of us are “stagnant” until something jolts us out of our stagnation.

          Like in 1896 when Gomburza was murdered by the Spanish and then in 1983 when Ninoy was assassinated.

          As to the American occupation — we did fight them (Macario Sakay, Aurelio Tolentino, Gregorio del Pilar — more research needed on this); but there was something about the way the US controlled information and the way it distorted history in our books that made us believe she was our “savior” — with all due respect to JoeAm 🙂

          I wonder what will jolt us from our apathy this time around.

          • manangbok says:

            Speaking of information control … fake news hearing presently in the Senate. A lot of bloggers and media practitioners are invited. Will they be given adequate airtime each? Of course Grace Poe will use this as another platform to show herself in a good light — she is a politician, no surprise there.

            • Actually, it was a good hearing up until Pacquiao, at which time I switched to basketball. Grace was Grace, but I have to commend her for getting important issues on the table and confronting Andanar about Uson.

          • manangbok says:

            ooops … sorry, Father Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were executed in 1872 according to Wikipedia 🙂 And they inspired Jose Rizal and other Filipino revolutionaries against Mother Spain …. and the rest are another bunch of dates in history books that elementary school children have to memorize to pass their exam 😦 😦

        • The fun part of thinking is when a new understanding arrives on a flash of comprehension. Also when expressing it well causes others to cheer. But otherwise, yes, it is laborious and emotional. Rather like life itself.

  4. Sup says:

    Try to watch the replay of Karen Davila Headstart ANC today with former SC justice David…you gonna like it……

  5. Sup says:

    I am not on twitter so i tweet it here:
    Politicians have a say but can not take a part…..

  6. NHerrera says:

    You wing it, we will wing it from there and add, modify, delete from our storehouse. Thanks Joe, you are most powerful, creative when you are winging it from your stack of facts-knowledge. I believe the article inspires one to think, if not to act.

    (I can already see from the above initial comments that the TSH contributors are winging it well. Looking forward to read more comments from the “wingers.”)

  7. NHerrera says:

    Translating a line in the blog article to a picture:

    Still, the important continuing message is: how to speak to the Stagnant Group in a way to draw the group to the Democratic Ruler’s Goal rather than the Power Ruler’s Goal. As the blog correctly states:

    As of today, the power rulers have done a better job of speaking to the stagnant masses than the democrats.

  8. brianitus says:

    Hey, Uncle Joe. Do you think there is an intersection between those codes?

    • Hi, Bri. Yes, even within families, like the Pimentels. And we all can be selfish, ignorant, or dogmatic. But in terms of reading the political winds and developing strategies, they seem to separate out pretty well.

  9. NHerrera says:

    Regarding the current blog topic, here is PJ Foronda-Tanglao — a UST student writing on UST’s Alumni Award to Mocha Uson in Rappler — quoting St Thomas Aquinas:

    “He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.”

  10. Who is going to take a crack at filing an impeachment case for PRD regarding his unconstitutional act of meddling with the Ombudsman office by slapping a 90 day suspension on Deputy Ombudsman Carandang? Hello, VACC! Do you really want Filipinos to believe you got their interest at heart? Here is you opportunity.

    Why tighten the screws on the Deputy Ombudsman if the alleged hidden wealth is not true? Signing a waiver should have been easier to quiet PRD’s detractors and put a stop to all the undeclared wealth issues.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Even if I hated its return the good poinrs are:
    They have body cams.
    They have media with them or the media is allowed to follow them and record them.
    It is done in daytime.

    Bad points:
    Remains to be seen.

    Bad points:
    No anti-dynasty law.
    No anti- turncoat’s law.
    No anti-gerrymandering law.

    Good points:
    Remains to be seen.

  12. Sup says:

    Lapeña logic:
    Yesterday at the senate hearing…
    Aquino:Why did you not relocate all port collectors?
    Lapeña: Cebu, CDO and Davao did meet their targets so i did not change them…
    Sup: So, as long as you reach your target you can smuggle ukay ukay, drugs etc?

  13. Sup says:

    i did never notice Mocha went to USA to change job……? 🙂

    ”Tickets to the prime-time speech before a joint session of Congress were printed inviting lawmakers and guests to the State of the “Uniom,” lawmakers and officials said Monday.”


  14. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    I think there’s a SIMPLISTIC deductive view about the dysfunctionally wayward governance arising from the kind of national leadership inflicted on the people by the Filipino power elite. It’s a political leadership of noble intentions turned selfish, grasphy and greedy. Culminating into a continuing insatiable corruption perpetuating insidious poverty.

    Take Max Weber (pronounced Veber) theory of Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy provides the structure and functions of governance; the quality and quantity, the physical (tangibles) and the moral (intangibles) aspects of the instruments as well as weapons of power control by the elite or ruling class. Bureaucracy also provides the criteria of failure or success of the power elite to govern society. It is the phallus (hard or soft) of development which should instigate change accompanied by growth resulting in progress of the polity.

    Simplistic was how I dished it out the essence (by email) to Noynoy even before he took his presidential oath. It is about the departments which will be under his watch. It seems so elementary, a mechanic like Ramon Magsaysay would have done it if he only lived long enough. The executive departments by their vision and mission could be audited, assessed and judged by simple criteria concretized from its legal mandate.
    FEW Examples only :

    the Department of Health– PERSISTENT- improved and modernized, newly constructed to meet people’s requirements in provinces, towns and cities.

    the Department of Education — PERSISTENT- modernized public and private institutions, adequate number of classrooms and teachers (up-grading and re-training)

    the Department of National Defense -PERSISTENT – militaristic enforcement of the law, rebellions that persisted unsolved and continuing for many decades should be the shame of all former Presidents (Commander-in-Chiefs) and the medal of total failure of the department;

    the Department of Trade and Industry – the hero or traitor in the production of goods and services in the country; how many factories, business establishments, jobs created, etcetera.

    THERE’S more if the dots can be connected to the power elite who’s alleged to have misruled the country. If the elite is the new Aristocracy, if there’s so much abuse and discontent, there could arise or need arise a French Revolution version.

    EVERY new President should stock take the departments he will orchestrate. He MUST know where he is so he can go where he wants to go. IF the new President does NOT KNOW he is in QUIAPO, he will NOT KNOW how he can go to Divisoria or to Payatas. He will be like an askal running after its tail. It’s SIMPLISTIC: you cannot go anywhere if you don’t know where you are.

    IT’S COMPLICATED because the power elite from generation to generation knows WHERE THEY ARE and WHERE THEY WANT TO GO. Sad for the masses.

  15. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    Look at this PART of what’s just been refused posting as blog.
    It’s power elite cynicism este criticism.

    In the absence of pretext alternatives
    What is a people to expect
    when honorable men who were
    members of the Power Elite
    in their retirement have been
    chosen to re write a constitution?

    Men and women of brilliance
    whose shining achievements
    in a bureaucracy of sheeps
    hid the darkness and malevolence
    of corrupt symbiosis between
    business and governance ?
    What to expect?
    Expect the gullible and
    the clergy to pray.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      I remember reading decades ago trying to understand the basics of philosophy
      in SOPHIE’S WORLD, just in three paragraphs how framers of a document CAN AVOID
      to infuse selfish motives and self interests ONLY if all of them knows and accepts to
      die after finishing the draft of the documents. By that incredible way you get a true constitution for a country and its people. Doesn’t happen to WAKARANGS.

      • edgar lores says:

        And you would get a government that is true to the completed constitution, only if each public official who swears to uphold the constitution, also agrees to die for committing an infraction against it.

  16. Sup says:

    Meanwhile somewhere in lalaland…….

    Gov’t’s outstanding debt in 2017 hits record-high of P6.652 trillion


  17. edgar lores says:

    1. I think these behavior codes deserve a unifying name for easy reference.

    2. I suggest the Filipino Tamlaya Complex. The acceptable variants would be:

    o Tamlaya Complex
    o Tamlaya
    o FTC
    o TC

    3. The term is a derivation from:

    o “Tam” is for tamad (katamaran). Stagnant means idle, inactive, or stale.
    o “lay” is for laya (kalayaan). Democracy is the governmental form of freedom.
    o “ya” is for yari (kapangyarihan). I like the dual connotation of power as well as being “done in” (niyari).

    4. Tamlaya is not a symptom, disease or a disorder. It might be a syndrome but classifying it as a complex is better.

    o Symptom – a sign of a particular disease.
    o Disease – “a pathophysiological response to external or internal factors.”
    o Disorder – “a disruption of the disease to the normal or regular functions in the body or a part of the body.”
    o Syndrome – “a group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.”
    o Complex – “a related group of emotionally significant ideas that are completely or partly repressed and that cause psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behavior.”

    5. At the risk of being labeled a misogynist, I also like the feminine form of the term (i.e., ending in “a”). Women are considered more irrat… er, emotive than men. Not because of lesser brain power, I hastily add, but because of hormonal influences and greater intuitive powers. (Lusot ba?)

    6. I googled and checked, and found only one major reference. In SAP (Irineo’s forte), the term refers to a table used “to store Tabs in master data.”

    • From my vantage point, I do not see the American collapse in the near future. The social ills mentioned in the article are present in the society, that much is true. Take for example the opioid epidemic, from personal experience, it is not from lack of healthcare but from too much of it. Closer to home, I know someone who got in an accident and suffered from chronic pain. He was prescribed opioids to manage pain. He got addicted to them and was sent to rehab. The nomadic retirees were hit hard by the 2008 recession and some of them lost their homes and 401ks. They still have their Social Security checks to get them by but like most Americans, they do not despair and take hardship sitting down. They go where the jobs are and they are willing to do to anything legal to live the lives they were accustomed. Sure, there are outliers but the article is Chicken Little-ish. Shooting in the schools? Most of it is teenage angst combined with the Americans love of their firearms which could turn lethal. Are Americans discounting these social ills? No, they are meeting them head on and finding ways to make them better. Americans are a different breed. They will not let social ills bring America down. They will find a way to bring back homeostasis or die trying. This is the America I know. Full of people with fighting spirit. Give them a common cause and they will stand up to any challenge.

    • NHerrera says:

      Hi, gian.

      The article reminds me of a long-ago phrase used on USA — the new Rome. But the Jury may still be out on that, notwithstanding the symptoms enumerated. Thanks for the read.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    Take this with a grain of salt or the amount of salt you dip your fingers before taking a shot of Tequila.


    The author (Chikiamko)is a disappointed Duterte supporter.
    But, his disappointment seemed to be diminishing, because before, he wrote “One step forward, two steps back”.

    • edgar lores says:

      I am bothered by this mode of thinking. It’s game theoric.

      One type of game theory is zero-sum and non-zero-sum games. Here, one talks of balancing gains and losses.

      “One step forward, and two steps back” is non-zero sum. As well as “Two steps forward, one step back.”

      Game theory is used in economics, politics, and psychology and first developed in the 1940s. It is less than a century old.

      One mode of thinking that is in contrast to game theoric thinking would be what I will call principled thinking. Here, one talks, not of gains and losses, but the presence or absence of principles.

      Principled thinking is used in ethics and politics and is old as civilization.

      In game theory, one places Duterte’s steps and missteps on a scale balance, and one judges by the relative position of the scales. “Hmm, he was bad here but he did well here.” The scales are imbalanced but neither scale lifts nor drops to the maximum position.

      In principled thinking, one does not use a scale balance but a norm or a set of norms. And one set of norms for public servants is the Constitution. One judges Duterte by whether he has committed a culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, or betrayed the public trust. “Hmm, he does not follow the rule of law and does not defend our sovereignty in the seas to the west and to the east.”

      In this case of weighing the President’s fitness for the job, I submit that principled thinking overrides game theoric thinking.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Glad I was able to get that comment out of you, Edgar.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks, karl, for the link on Calixto Chikiamco’s essay on the “the evolution” of Duterte; and thanks, edgar, for your comment. Taken together, Chikiamco’s and edgar’s notes give me a better feel for the topic.


        1. Indeed, as edgar writes it, I too find Chikiamco’s stance to be game theoretic, compared to the higher moral and ethical stance we speak about and lean to in TSH.

        2. Notwithstanding Item 1, I find Chikiamco’s recitation of the evolution of Duterte interesting and with some measure of understanding if not belief (but with my finger’s crossed).

        3. The one-step back involving Duterte’s vengeful obsession with his critics may eventually be his great undoing and come to weigh more than the two-steps forward.

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  1. […] discussed in a recent article. Most other people at the hearing represented the democratic segment (Power, stagnation, and democracy). Power lost the debate, on this day. Democracy and free speech […]

  2. […] Power, stagnation, and democracy […]

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