The Philippines is a lost nation, without honor

Journalist Maria Ressa, Time’s Woman of the Year in 2018, is arrested in the Philippines in 2019. [Photo source: Philstar]

By JoeAm

There are two topics in the article heading. They are connected.

The Philippines is a lost nation

What do nations typically try to do? They work to safeguard their citizens, make sure citizens have food, jobs, and good health, and are growing more prosperous.  In a world with conflicted interests, that “safeguard” component has several elements. Military defense and domestic policing are important. And health care. A part of health care is emotional well-being and self-fulfillment.

The prosperity . . . and the funding for safeguarding . . . come from economic development. With more people working productively, the state becomes richer.

Democracies believe prosperity is best achieved by people WANTING to work. Being inspired to work. Being given the freedom and rules of fairness to compete for prosperity. And the right to choose their own leaders. Dictatorships believe prosperity is best achieved by people following the orders of a select few. Dictators choose the leaders.

The Philippines does so very little of what most nations do, if you think about it. What are the nation’s goals under the Duterte Administration? It is hard to see them. The drug war, ‘build-build-build’, and forming a partnership with China. Those are the main thrusts we can recognize. Fighting terrorists and rebels, that, too.

But those are projects, they are not national direction. The drug war is not security. It threatens. Build-build-build is not the economy. It is but one element. The economy today borders on unstable. There is little effort to add manufacturing or exports or investment. The jobs seem to be for Chinese workers, bizarre as that may be. The Administration works against itself by destabilizing its institutions, creating political divisions, suppressing free expression, and fostering killing fields. The President’s loose lips challenge civility, decency, and moral values. Women, the Catholic Church, human rights. Journalists. Other nations. All targets. Investors shy away.

What are the nation’s values these days? Values determine the standards for honor.

The nation is a democracy, but its leaders undermine the ideals and institutions of democracy. This leads to strange arrangements such as a partnership with autocratic China, a thuggish, lying, belligerent nation that has stolen Philippine seas. As you choose your friends, so are you, too, defined.

A huge internal conflict is playing out in the Philippines. Not harmony. Not agreement on a direction. Not achievement of security, prosperity, health, or unity. The nation is so lost that there is not even any discernible patriotism in the Philippines.

Oh, citizens love their homeland, no doubt. But do you see unity and joy and pride about the nation’s direction and achievement? Or it’s character?

That brings us to the second point.

The Philippines is a nation without honor

What is honor?

Google says: honor, noun: high respect; great esteem. “His portrait hangs in the place of honor.”  Synonyms: distinction, privilege, glory, tribute, kudos, cachet, prestige, fame, renown, merit, credit, importance, illustriousness, notability.

Well, I’d like to dig deeper.

I’d propose that you can’t have honor if you don’t have standards for living, and you can’t have honor if you don’t connect your own way of living to those standards.

A soldier is said to fight with honor when he displays courage under fire and does not wilt. His own personal character will not allow him to bend to fear. The standard is fearlessness in the face of risk. That’s what honorable soldiers do, it’s how they live.

A judge is called “your honor” because he is granted the power to determine what is fair and what is not. Most judges do that with earnest effort and a clear reading of evidence and laws. They are the arbiters of conflict, the people knowledgeable and schooled in right and wrong, the orchestra leader in the courtroom, and the final decision-maker on matters of fairness and harm. They earn their title by living for knowledge and moral wisdom.

Legislators are skilled at resolving conflicts and coming up with solutions to problems. Their standards are an understanding of their constituency and the ability to craft new laws that make everyone safer, more productive in a fair competitive arena, and more prosperous. They write laws so it stands to reason they will live by them. It is honorable to do so.

People are considered honorable if they are not crooks, abusers, or liars. That is, the standard is kindness, civility, hard work, fairness, and right thinking. People spend their lives being good members of their family, community, work place, church, and nation.

But the Philippines, because of its conflicted state, can have no honor. The standards are not agreed to. Is one supposed to be loyal to the constitution or to the President?

Some judges in the Philippines do not follow the laws, they follow the political wind. How is that honorable? It’s the same with legislators. Pork, pomp (wang wang), and propaganda are common engagements.

And the people do not VOTE for kindness, civility, an economy that will give them jobs, fairness, and right thinking. They vote for popularity, brutality, and even plunder. So where’s the honor in that?

Honor cannot exist, today, in the Philippines.

Only soldiers in the Philippines today seem to have honor, and some of them sell guns to the enemy or engage in human rights abuses.

The only way honor can exist is if everyone is on the same page, that page being the fundamental values stated in the Constitution.

But in the Philippines, today, the judges, legislators, and people are not on that page. They are on a political page or a self-dealing page, not a constitutional page.

There are no standards by which anyone can say, without challenge, “yes I am an honorable Filipino”.

The yellows for sure believe they are honorable. They follow the Constitution.

But they are being harassed and marched off to jail.

Honor is found in obedience, says the State.

It is?

Obedient to what values? Honorable to what values?

 

Comments
97 Responses to “The Philippines is a lost nation, without honor”
  1. Ramon B. Pasicolan Jr. says:

    Yes….no country for honorable men…is what we are today….sadly true.

  2. Thanks Joe.. my article finished just an hour ago is along the same lines..

    and maybe a part of it says why honor is missing or only “hollow-block”-“Honor”..

    ..Pepe Diokno – Chel Diokno’s Dad (link) – said that “Filipinos seek God’s help because we have been made to believe we cannot help ourselves”. Or they seek a trapo’s help. Unlike the Swiss who started their freedom off by ridding themselves of local tyrants. Some Filipinos see certain “strong” figures they can hitch a ride on – even if that ride is funded with money stolen from other groups of Filipinos or even the whole country – as a way to get by, as a way to survive. Imee Marcos with her brazenness fits that profile.

    Someone who says (link) “I entered Princeton and as far as I know, I graduated.” though Princeton itself says there are no records of that (link) and calls herself Manang gets the bilib (admiration) of those Adings who want to hitch a ride on her gravy train. Defining a false truth, a house made of hollow blocks and GI sheets, is much easier than a house of solid brick walls and brick roof. Wind that huffs and puffs is not wanted. And if it does come like the Big Bad Wolf and one is without a house, blame Mar Roxas! Exaggerated libel laws, fake degrees, lowest common denominators like being rude, fake news like pictures of Iloilo faked as Davao are signs of people who fear the truth as they might not really “bilib” in themselves. For some it is too late. For others maybe not.

    Honor based on obeying “Honorables” – or honor based on acting according to right values. Takes character to build the kind of solid brick honor based on right values – and independence of action. People who lack self-esteem and confidence are more likely to be whipped curs of criminal lords.

  3. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    I will give to the country until there is no more to give. There are many who are like me. We do not count dishonorable Filipinos. They will jump ship anyway. But for the so-called yellows, the Philippines will stay true to its calling. We staved off Japanese attacks of the Pacific isles eastward to the U.S. mainland for three months, something that wasn’t planned. We shrugged off the Marcos dictatorship by mere numbers, something that wasn’t planned. And good will triumph over evil, something evildoers haven’t planned on, not with self-aggrandizing surveys rolling across the land. Something’s in the air. It’s not the odor of sickness and death. It’s the fragrance of hope, faith and love.

  4. madlanglupa says:

    A “lost” country can be declared as “lost” only after dissent is silenced, there is only the dirge of the noontime TV shows to be heard, for we’re not going quietly into the dark night.

  5. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Honor is the second virtue in my conception of the Loyalty Triangle. First, loyalty; second, honor; and third, duty.

    2. Honor proceeds from the virtue of Loyalty. The logic is that a person has honor if he is loyal to (a) a principle, (b) a person (or entity), or (c) a promise (or obligation). A person with honor has integrity.

    3. With respect to the first, Filipinos have little or no honor because they have no loyalty to principle. A prime example is that Filipinos do not honor the principles in the Constitution or to the letter of the law. Filipinos tend to act out of expediency.

    4. With respect to the second, Filipinos have little or no honor because they have no loyalty to an entity which could be a superior or a group.

    4.1. What is mistaken as loyalty to a superior is really sycophancy. Once the superior is unable to dole out benefits, then the loyalty disappears.

    4.2. A prime example of disloyalty to a group is turncoatism. There are two levels of disloyalty here. The outer level is the shift from one political party to another. The inner level is the abandonment of whatever principles (if any) the first political party embodies.

    5. With respect to the third, Filipinos have little or no honor because they do not earnestly strive to meet obligations or fulfill promises. Candidates promise heaven and deliver hell. Their word is not their bond.

    6. In the hierarchy of man’s loyalties, Filipinos are tied to Self, Family, and Clan. Their loyalty has yet to rise to the level of Country. And because Filipinos have little or no loyalty, they have little or no honor and, consequently, they fail to do their duty to God and Country.
    *****

    • The ‘honor’ problem seems to be the product of a very inward look at all things, I suppose shaped by colonization and power-mongering by Marcos and others. If one is taught to follow directions and live day to day, and not aspire, then it is hard to find these things you and I would call principles. In a field of turncoats, trust is very thin. The Catholic Church teaches rote faith, the schools teach rote obedience. Thinking is not required. Loyalty is a companion to trust and sacrifice in the form of giving. People who have had nothing all their lives have nothing to give, I suppose.

      I think you are absolutely right in your assessment. I grapple with how to do something about it and it seems impossible. The fundamental concepts do not exist.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        1. The Christian ethos should have sufficed as the foundation for Filipino society as it did for America and the colonies of Great Britain such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

        2. But the Christian ethos in the Philippines was of the loose, eclectic Catholic kind. It was not the strict Puritan kind as it was in America, or the non-Catholic Anglican kind as it was in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

        3. The Christian-Catholic ethos in the Philippines was largely ceremonial in practice. It was not an existential ethos rooted in daily living. A reason the Christian ethos took root in the British colonies was that there were British settlers who institutionalized the observance of the ethos. In the Philippines, it was largely Spanish friars (and governor-generals and soldiers) who did not rigorously practice the tenets of the Faith. The natives adopted the rituals but were not imbued with the principles.

        4. The concept of honor in the Philippines has never been about integrity but about social status. It is an outward trait and not an inner one. It stems from the pre-Hispanic social hierarchy and it was further reified by the social structure during Spanish colonization. Irineo speaks of the principalia who lorded over the indios.

        5. So, in effect, no principles because no existential Christian ethos and no honor because the concept is about social status and not about inner integrity.

        6. As I have noted before, the generation of my father had principles absorbed from American colonization. This was the generation of Quezon, Tañada, Diokno, and Recto. The scions of Tañada and Diokno are now running for the Senate. It is to be hoped they carry in their DNA the seeds of principles and honor from their parents and grandparents. I believe the current Recto in the Senate has weak DNA.
        *****

  6. popoy says:

    Can anyone attempt at relevance and salience
    Commenting without even reading
    The blog and the comments made thereto?

    Words, words, WORDS, W O R D S . . .
    A little knowledge of entomology
    Could be a dangerous thing.
    Dogs, dogs, fleas, fleas, fleas

    You cannot kill or murder anyone
    With mere written words
    Or get someone arrested unless
    The word is a command;
    But
    Words, words, WORDS, W O R D S . . .
    Could get you killed or murdered
    Or jailed by someone’s hate and anger
    for the truth and not the untruth.
    Sad. Tragic.

    Call not, shout not a country
    Has gone to the dogs
    Because such words
    Are dead wrong;

    Unless all dogs become rabid and wild.
    Dogs are man’s best of all his friends
    So, people just can’t
    Be compare to bad dogs;

    Unless, if and only if
    All the dogs
    Have fleas and fleas galore
    Which sucks dog’s blood.

    Fleas under a microscope
    Have backs and bellies of armor;
    Finger nails just can’t quash them.

    It is worst when man
    Behave not like dogs
    But more
    like dog’s fleas snugging their skins;
    Sucking blood for slow dog’s death.

    So is it not a better conjecture
    For a country to have gone
    To the dogs than be a country
    Gone to dog’s fleas?

  7. Andres 2018. says:

    Its a matter of ideology. One cannot say that this nation is lost because he saw others think and behave differently. Respect and unity should be expected to each and everyone. Let the ruling idealism go its course, we are in democracy, 3 years, 6 years, leaders changes. Once, it was the yellows, now its not, next who knows who?

  8. Ruben C. Gaspar says:

    FIRST, I LIKE TO SAY THAT MY JOURNALISTIC ACUMEN ISN’T AS HIGH AS THE ONE WHO WROTE THE AFOREMENTIONED FRONT PIECE. MY CONCLUSION? IT IS A JOURNALISTIC EXERCISE, SANS PROOFS AND OTHER DETAILS FAILED TO CONVINCE MY HUMBLE SELF… THE PHILIPPINES IS NOT AS GROSSLY BAD AS WRITTEN…. I’D SAY THE PICTURE WAS ILLUSTRATED WITH A BROAD BRUSH.

    • Perhaps you should follow the blog regularly to understand the framing for the arguments. It is more a place for thinking rather than winning arguments. So if you believe the Philippines is not lost, and has no problem with honor, that is fine. If you would care to share how your views differ from those of the writer of the article, even better. I do suggest removing the cap lock on your keyboard as a matter of etiquette for social discourse.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    Time and again pma cadets are caught cheating, officers caught stealing. Aren’t they supposed not to lie, cheat abd steal like every honourable person.

    Please allow me to share my dad’s article about Military Honor( or the lack of it)

    Military honor and honors
    By Plaridel C. Garcia

    Military honor is about upholding one’s reputation, self-esteem, honesty, and integrity beyond reproach. Military honor rituals range from a salute to full military honors. It would be good if honors are rendered by those who have honor. It would be better if there is an inverse proportionality—more military honor (MH1) and lesser military honors (MH2). If you are asking for what is best some would say it would be when there is no military at all. But then it is said that heaven has a host of warrior angels.

    MH1 (reputation) suffered a beating last year that would have been fatal at other times and in other places. Sharing the ransom with the Abu Sayaf could be “un-revolutionary taxation” but colluding with the enemy is treason. If the accused are guilty then they should be hanged. If not, the accusers should be. Once upon a time, “due process” meant a duel. Those with scores to settle did so in a field of honor. Things have changed since then. The presence of military men in a community then was viewed as a privilege, not a threat. It seems men in uniform are not as trusted as they were before. It has reached a point where there are calls for arming priests and senators.

    MH1 (self-esteem) suffers as a consequence. This is further aggravated by the involvement of some members of the military in graft and corruption and illegal drug trafficking. Troops suffer low morale as a result, added to the fact that they suffer operational shortcomings as a result of lack of training and equipment. This loss of military self-esteem affects our national self-esteem. The two are intertwined. I need not say more.

    As a result, the members of the Armed Forces are striving to revive military honor.

    Deeply hurt by congressional hearings on the Abu Sayyaf and charges of involvement in narco-politics, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alumni, called Cavaliers, gathered late last year to take a look at “its professionalism.” One idea was to establish an Un-cavalier awards. The citation could be given those caught in supercilious, blasé, off-base and funny remarks or actions. With the PMA Superintendent reportedly lamenting that the honor system as we knew it is “dead”, the honor revival is better late than never.

    It was, however, on Feb. 16 during the annual PMA Alumni Hmecoming in Baguio that the Cavaliers were rudely awakened. From the dying years of the Marcos imposed martial law to the last presidential elections, this event has become part-demonstration of political grievances—from reforms adopted in the Armed Forces to decisions regarding political governance that led to two EDSA mutinies.

    This time, the Alumni were demonstrating against the sins of its members. On the route to the PMA, 10 streamers were clearly visible, reminding one irreverently of the Ten Commandments.

    Essentially they asked whether we PMA alumni honored our alma mater and cared for our brothers — whether the car we were driving was ”all right sir”… whether the lady we were escorting was “ma’am”… whether we were “producing” for “sir” or for ourselves. I was told that the back-to-ho­nors movement is real and will gather more steam as the Armed Forces mo­dernize and receive better pay and allowances.

    How about military honors? To be sure, the “ruffles and flourishes” have diminished since the Marcos era. “Full military honors” include arrival ho­nors with gun salutes, honor details, and parade and review (with gun salute if not done previously). If the honoree arrives by helicopter, there could planeside arrival and departure honors. Tell me if this is done this way anywhere in the world. Not in Germany under Hitler nor in America under Lincoln. We were, if not anymore, the MH2 capital of the world.

    Our military honors even have a unique and distinctive feature. The President as the constitutional civilian commander-in-chief, salutes like a soldier. It is in the books that the salute is supposed to be the highest honor given by a soldier to another soldier, not a civilian to a soldier. The constitutionalists do not seem to mind. Perhaps they want to salute, too.

    It should be noted that military honors could be very seductive to the honoree but not to those assigned to the honor detail. It is a very tiring duty. These soldiers are usually in position two hours for an event that would last perhaps several minutes to less than half an hour. When military honor blossoms once more perhaps rende­ring military honors will wither. The time when a man in uniform is held by the public in high esteem may come once again.

    But do we really want a military that is more honorable than civilian authority?

  10. karlgarcia says:

    https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/what-aria-will-and-wont-do-for-the-us-in-asia/

    http://www.fsi.gov.ph/the-icc-crisis-in-africa-an-opportunity-for-the-philippines/

    The ARIA and the ICC decision are two developments to watch closely.
    Are they gamechangers or just another game to play?

    Asia Reassurance Initiative Act maybe the answer to Heydarian’s point that US ambiguity led us to China.

    The ICC decision in March maybe a game changer.

    • karlgarcia says:

      https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/12/09/1875477/philippines-disengages-itself-icc-deliberations

      Even if we are considered withrawn by March, what happened before that can still be investigated and many things did happen regarding EJK and human rights violations.

      Additional opinion on ARIA.
      To me it is like Trump saying that Obama’s pivot to Asia is spot on, I will just not tweet about it.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Aside from managing China’s influence.
        Aria has to do with US relationship with Indis and Taiwan, but most importantly it deals with human rights issues.

        http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2018/1220_delima1.asp

        Senator Delima was all presses for the passage of ARIA.

        Ps.

        I had the privilege of talking with senator Trillanes for more than an hour yesterday because this is honestly the first time my dad allowed me to get involved in their discussions . Rather than just shut up I gave my two cents.

        He was the one to bring up the ARIA thing and the taking effect of the ICC withdrawal and that the ICC can still investigate what happened during that one year window or grace period.

        He also told me that he ad ever senator Delima to wait until Duterte gets out and not expect anything or hope that she will get out during his watch.

  11. NHerrera says:

    . The Philippines is a lost nation, without honor.

    Of the two aspects, I would like to comment only on the first — that the “PH is a lost nation.” I am in general agreement with the second as discussed in the blog and in the comments.

    This is quibbling on the word lost. To me, in the spirit of the blog topic, I equate the word as follows:

    lost = not matured

    From the time of Aguinaldo, the country was a baby trying to mature, and it has taken small baby steps and whatever the reason(s) — explored in a lot of TSH earlier topics, such as cultural, etc. — it has not developed to maturity that our neighbors in SEA have done with a faster pace. Thus, it has not lost, since it has not quite found its way [yet].

    That is my quibble. 🙂

  12. karlgarcia says:

    Lost- either not won,not found, not gained or not not gone forever.

  13. edgar lores says:

    *******
    FOR READERS WHO ARE “LOST”

    Google gives three definitions for “lost” as an adjective:

    lost
    /lɒst/

    adjective: lost

    1. unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.

    2. that has been taken away or cannot be recovered.

    3. (of a game or contest) in which a defeat has been sustained.

    The article is using the term in the first sense.

    @madlanglupa, a fierce spirit, is using it in the second sense. She is denying that dissent has been totally silenced, that it “has been taken away.”

    NHerrera is presenting a sophisticated and sophistic (?) point. His premise is that the nation cannot be lost “since it has not quite found its way (yet).”

    If one looks at it, he is using the term in the first sense – “unable to find one’s way” — not as a definition for being lost but as the cause (!) for not being lost.

    A thing (single or collective) or a condition can be lost even if it has not been found before. Or even if it has not been found yet. It is only necessary that “it” existed before.

    As a condition: one’s virginity.

    As a collective thing: the current administration.

    Specifically, in the first sense, the article is saying that the current administration has lost its way and is not conducting itself as a “typical” government should.

    I would say not only is the administration lost but a portion of the citizenry as well. This is not to say, as @madlanglupa emphasizes, that all citizens accept the status quo.

    The article can also be interpreted in the third sense with the caveat that the game isn’t over. The May elections will tell us more. It will tell us what portion of the citizenry is lost as well.

    The game may last more than 100 centuries.
    *****

  14. karlgarcia says:

    Sen Trill also mentioned China might take over what is left by Hanjin.

    So basically China would be on control of Subic
    and Clark.

    What about EDCA what base can we offer our ally US?

  15. karlgarcia says:

    Can Trump ask the AFP to withraw support to Duterte? Will Duterte just say you SOB, I will tell BFF Xi?

    • I’ve not followed the Venezuela conflict. There must be some legal basis for calling Guaido the president, and I don’t know what the parallel legal framework would be here. I suppose it would be something like declaring Duterte in gross violation of the Constitution, incapable of serving (incapacitated), or somesuch, and then appointing Robredo the lawful President. I think that would not go down well in the Philippines proper, so Duterte would not have to go to Xi. So I think it is not feasible.

    • Micha says:

      Trump is not doing any thinking when it comes to foreign policy and Venezuela. He’s merely the mouthpiece of his neo-con neo-liberal war freak advisers like Pompeo, Pence, and Abrams along with the war freak idiot Marco Rubio.

      Politicizing aid is not going to work and this is really going to turn ugly. They are putting on a show and a script that they’ve been doing for years in many Latin American countries. The only difference is that in the past they do it covertly and with the media largely kept out. Today large numbers of news outlets are covering the standoff and are shedding light on the hypocrisy and opportunistic motivations of the US in trying to install a puppet regime.

      It’s a high stakes game and if Trump and company fails (which is likely), US standing in the international stage as a global power will be severely diminished as it already has in much of Europe the past days.

      That outcome is what Russia and China would like to bet so both countries are supporting Maduro with economic and military aid.

      If this escalates into a shooting war, Trump and his neo-con bastard advisers will have blood all over their hands.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks for the usual firebrand and passionate remark.

      • I tend to agree with your assessment with the one very important notation that in is not a case of the US coercing the unwilling into opposing Maduro. Most of Latin America thinks he is bad for the region and back Guaido. The UN and about 40 nations have evidently expressed support for Maduro. About 65 nations are reported to be behind Guaido. This article presents a map showing the allegiances. Europe is largely neutral.

        https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/which-countries-support-maduro-guaido

        I think it would be a mischaracterization to portray this as American adventurism of the style of Iraq and Libya.

        • Micha says:

          It is very much an American adventurism. Guaido is an American cultivated puppet. The whole travesty of a show of self-proclaiming himself as Venezuela’s interim president was coordinated by CIA along with the Cuban idiot Marco Rubio. We’ve seen this game played out before in several LatAm countries like Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and others being justified in principle as following the Monroe Doctrine.

          The doctrine’s application has since evolved to mean outright interventionism and aggressive action to extend the neo-liberal strain of the American capitalist empire down south. Regime changes and support of puppet dictators became common.

          • The US policy in the Americas has been sorely arrogant, I agree, and led to one fiasco after another. I am merely pointing out that this episode seems to be a lot bigger than that, and is essentially a test of democracy vs totalitarianism. I mean, when Brazil and Argentina and Chile agree on something, that is noteworthy.

            I would add that my impression is you don’t seem to like America much. Are you an American citizen, I’m curious to know. You need not answer. I just drop off a notation of my surprise at the harshness of your opinions on many things American. Hahaha, maybe you are Russian snort chuckle undermining confidence and unity. I was starting to think LCX was a Russian troll. Or Chinese.

            • Micha says:

              Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Argentina’s Macri, and Chile’s Pinera are all right wing neo-liberal dogs. It’s a triumph of American right wing hegemony in the region, good for extracting resources and pliant partners for exploiting the market with Bolsonaro leading the charge in his plan to ransack the Amazon rainforest.

              It’s pretty obvious I don’t have much amore’ for any right wing neo-liberal governments in America or anywhere else, so there…

            • Micha says:

              And like everything American in the Middle East, it’s all about the petrol.

              • Thanks. Yes, oil to power the military industrial goliath. I recall how the desperate need for oil is what caused Hitler’s ultimate undoing because he sent his troops south in search of oil rather than east to cut off Russia. That is a vague recollection. The oil fueled the enrichment of America and all the cars we came to love and hot rod around town when social awareness was only just coming onto the scene. The US had created a production powerhouse, a veritable monster, during World War II, and the monster had momentum that eventually enriched the world. And led us to social concepts like non-discrimination and fair treatment of women, concepts that are still rolling out in the careful cadence of resistance from those who refuse to become enlightened, through science.

                I rarely have to defend America to people living in America. I can only say time moves and there are always contexts that we can only reconstruct the past in the imaginations of our mind and, if we hold to that as some kind of truth, approach the lunatic. President Obama had brought America to the brink of energy self-sustenance but Trump wants it an easier way, a dogmatic way. So yes, there we have it. Venezuela is right next door. His security people would probably have said, though, if they had any courage, “well, it is not the oil that should be first and foremost on our minds, but the open door to China and Russia that Venezuela represents.”

                I think the global aspirations of China and Russia, and their malicious means, warrant study, for they impact the Philippines as well as the US.

                So thanks for raising that topic, through the cycles of word associations that attach to discussions that are not going anywhere.

                I’ve got to stop reading so much Popoy. My brain is becoming attached to rhythms that transpose linear thought.

              • Micha says:

                Yes, oil. What would the world be like without it. And yet it’s that same oil that’s now baking the planet and could lead to massive species extinction up to, and including, humans.

                https://www.ft.com/content/2a0d4caa-337c-11e9-bb0c-42459962a812

              • Yes, our institutions of governance are obtuse and slow-moving. Horror dead ahead and we are dealing through nitwits who carry the title leader but are woefully inadequate to the task.

  16. As you said the Filipino government is involved in a lot of (isolated) projects but they are not national direction nor do they create a sense of direction…..Build-build-build is not the economy. It is but one element. The economy today borders on unstable: true, build-build-build massive malls and skyscrapers without creating an adequate system of infrastructures creates a very fragmented economy that does perhaps create some (low paying) jobs but does not move the nation toward a greater economic vision.
    Filipinos both on an individual level and on a collective level go through their lives jumping from one isolated project to another in a very ningas kugon fashion but they lack a set of core values, a sense of direction and an ultimate vision and, as you say, how can you have honor if you don’t have standards for living, and how can you have honor if you don’t connect your own way of living to those standards?
    As the husband of a Filipina I observe day in and day out that Filipinos lack a “mental” infrastructure, they are not grounded in a set of clear bedrock values that could give them a sense of direction and of purpose in life and, because the Philippines is the sum of such individuals, how far can the nation go?

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Conspiracy theory angle for Chinese military and trade domination ambitions.

    The Kra Canal in Thailand will be there shortcut for the Indian Ocean, easier to reach South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

    For their Pacific ambitions, they would one day take a look at the Quezon Canal proposal.

    I am not just talking of military dominance but also trade.

    https://www.firstpost.com/world/chinas-involvement-in-kra-canal-will-add-to-indias-strategic-vulnerability-delhi-must-persuade-thailand-on-projects-dangers-4422977.html

    https://www.manilatimes.net/two-asean-canals-faster-regional-integration/378222/

  18. Micha says:

    Inside the Neoliberal Laboratory Preparing for the Theft of Venezuela’s Economy

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14337

    • So help me, I don’t know the point of the article. I have no idea of the publisher’s background or politics. It is a critique of academics who have written about Venezuela and tries to wrap them up in some kind of cosmic US imperialist drama? To me it is a lot simpler. The NY Times today reported the defection of a high Maduro government official to the other side. His reason? Maduro is a corrupt dictator.

      Now you want something done about Duterte, why the squeals about Maduro? Somebody’s doing something about it.

      • Micha says:

        The original article is from Salon but the site is so cluttered with ads:

        https://www.salon.com/2019/02/15/inside-the-neoliberal-laboratory-preparing-for-the-theft-of-venezuelas-economy_partner/

        Not surprised about NYT, it’s more than willing to be the propaganda platform for regime change in Venezuela like it did during the Iraq invasion absorbing the Powell presentation hook line and sinker about WMD’s.

        An ex-spy chief defecting is inconsequential because he’s not commanding any troops.

        Here is what really matters :

        Venezuelan Military Reject Trump’s Incitement to Rebel: ‘Over Our Dead Bodies’

        https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14340

        Duterte and Maduro are not two peas in a pod. US aggression in Venezuela is grounded on right wing zeal for ideological suppression cloaked only on humanitarian concerns.

        • NYT leans left, not right. I fear you need a reason to eliminate the point that Maduro is a bad man, not good for Latin America, and you shoot the messenger rather than accept as legitimate that point. It’s an argumentative fallacy. As for “right wing zeal for ideological suppression cloaked only on humanitarian concerns” I’d say that is language straight out of the old commie playbook. It means nothing to me, it is so generalized and detached from anything factual. I can’t buy it.

          • Micha says:

            NYT is a moderate center left paper which has accepted the money of Mexican monopolist billionaire Carlos Slim.

            Maduro has been corrupted by power and has not made any attempt to diversity the economy. That does justify aggressive US intervention and orchestrate a coup against him. That’s the US fallacy you should be worrying about because it delegitimizes US talking points about democracy and right to self-determination.

  19. Micha says:

    Plan A for the recent coup attempt failed when the Venezuelan military did not accept Random Guyido’s brazen claim to the presidency. There was no plan B. The U.S. is now improvising. The delivery of “humanitarian aid” is a pretext to break the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

    U.S. government “aid” is always political. U.S. aid workers are suspects. Consider these USAID RED teams which a 2018 study, commissioned by the U.S. foreign aid agency, recommended:

    RED Team officers, the report explains, would carry out development activities, but they would also have training and expertise that are not typically included in USAID job requirements.
    “RED Team personnel would be able to live and work in austere environments for extended periods of time and actively contribute to their own security and welfare. They would be deployed farther forward than USAID personnel traditionally deploy and would routinely operate under the authority of the host agency with whom they deploy, acting in accordance with their security posture,” the report reads.

    “RED team members would be trained and authorized to conduct themselves as a force-multiplier able to contribute a full suite of security skills as needed,” it says.

    USAID officers will also be special forces? Special forces will also be USAID workers? Which is it? How many of these ‘Red Teams’ are now in Colombia waiting to cross into Venezuela?

    On Saturday February 23 a breach of the Venezuelan border will be attempted with the intent to provoke an escalation. That escalation will then be used to justify further action up to military strikes or even an invasion.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/02/trump-likes-beautiful-border-walls-venezuela-should-build-him-one.html#more

    • Rather interesting read from “Moon of Alabama, Where barflies get together”, which I presume has no zeal for ideological suppression of expression. The discussion is great, with a Peter AU seeming to be the chief protagonist raising the alarm about devious American activities. I thought interesting his remark that Russia is about to shift from talk to action in Venezuela, and his observation that a charitable rock concert will likely be used as a Trojan horse to break through country borders. I can get conspiratorial as well, and wonder if anyone has examined to see if he wears a fur cap to work, the kind popular in Moscow. Thanks for introducing readers here to the world of global connivings. I fear one ends up with two unkindly choices. Read such material and go lunatic because it blends speculation with fact, or refrain from reading it and enjoying the peace of ignorance, leaving the matter to the vested interests.

      I choose sanity.

  20. Ed Maglaque says:

    Spot-on article, JoeAm. Concise, credible and knowledgeable of the Philippine condition. It would have rang the bells of objectivity if in the end it did not mention ‘yellows’. Then it became political. Aye, there’s the rub!

    On 2/18/19, The Society of Honor: the Philippines

  21. Micha says:

    An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela

    • I don’t watch videos because of bandwidth limitations. Perhaps you could explain what is on the video and how it is pertinent to Filipinos. Thanks.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Video: An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela
        Abby Martin 10 hours ago Categories:English Tags:United States, US coup in Venezuela, Venezuela
        On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela.

        She uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

      • Micha says:

        Journalist Abby Martin exposes the lies behind the ongoing US organized coup against President Maduro being pushed by neo-liberal scums like walrus faced John Bolton, former CIA chief Mike Pompeo, and convicted felon in the Iran-Contra scandal Elliot Abrams.

        How is this pertinent to Filipinos? Well, for those who are hoping that Duterte would get the Maduro treatment from the US, we’re not on inflection point yet. For while he has categorically severed his alliance with America, he has not disturbed American business interests in the country and he has not put measures to inconvenience the Filipino swaggering economic elite like what Chavez did with his Bolivarian revolution.

        Duterte might be a Chinese tuta, but he is also BFF to his autocratic counterpart in the white house.

          • It is reported today that Sec of State Pompeo will visit with President Duterte next week. https://amp.rappler.com/nation/224161-us-secretary-of-state-visit-philippines-amid-china-flirtation

            I also note with some wry amusement that you equate being a former CIA chief with being ‘scum’. I tend to admire that organization myself, although they certainly have got their knits in a wringer from time to time. I think some of my sources, spread across the globe like a spider’s web, each node a listening post, are MI-6 agents, although I am loath to research that beyond exchanging winks and nods.

            • Wiki on CIA:

              Purpose

              When the CIA was created, its purpose was to create a clearinghouse for foreign policy intelligence and analysis. Today its primary purpose is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence, and to perform covert actions.

              According to its fiscal 2013 budget, the CIA has five priorities:[3]

              – Counterterrorism, the top priority
              – Nonproliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
              – Warning/informing American leaders of important overseas events.
              – Counterintelligence
              – Cyber intelligence

              The last function is in process of shifting from defense to offense. In other words, the US will join China and Russia in making mischief.

              The Philippines has no material international intelligence agency. There is an “Intelligence and Security” department under the Department of Foreign Affairs. They have failed to inform their boss of Germany’s aversion to those who love Hitler.

          • Micha says:

            It appears the US and Guaido stunt of delivering “aid” to Venezuela fizzled. As it should.

            The humanitarian aspect of it is just cover for aggressive American intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state. The UN and the Red Cross refuse to participate in the stunt because they deemed (correctly) that it is only politicizing humanitarian aid.

            If the US truly wants to help Venezuela, it should stop imposing sanctions and unfreeze the Venezuelan gov’t accounts held by US banks (Citibank) so that it could be used for the importation of food and medicines.

            If this so called “humanitarian aid” did not work, it would seem the war freaks had no choice but to consider the use of force, with Bolton and Pompeo drumming up the “all options are on the table” card.

            Laughable if not tragic. They are bungling this shameless intervention big time. They think this is still the 80’s or the 90’s when they could just rely on the mainstream media to carry their propaganda work. Today, alternative media and independent journalists are on the scene livestreaming the event for all the world to see, exposing the lies.

            View story at Medium.com

            • Okay. Thanks for that viewpoint.

              • I tried to get background on the writer Caitlin Johnstone and got immediately thrown into the angry world of name-calling, swearing, hard opinions and strange argument that claims every establishment, even Wikipedia, has evil designs whilst people such as Julian Asange are victims. I don’t really like this Johnstone’s hostility and consider her style a clear case of the cancer infesting the social media dialogue. I found a list of her articles at a site called “Russian Insider”, for whatever significance that has. But there very clearly is a tone to her writing that considers the US as inherently evil and Russia as good. I’ll get my info on Venezuela elsewhere, thanks. If I ever decide to want some. Right now there is plenty of news in the Philippines that is more relevant to me and this blog.

                Here’s the list of some of Johnstone’s articles for readers who wish to visit cancer: https://russia-insider.com/en/caitlin-johnstone

              • Micha says:

                Sorry Joe, there’s just so much high stakes drama in today’s confrontation at the Venezuelan border beginning with the Branson stunt and the whole rest of it. This is real life political movie unfolding in real time, better than watching Spiderman or Star Wars.

                And to think that the US had been doing this dirty ops for decades in several other countries including ours which had been a US protectorate, today’s confrontation at the border exposes the ugly underbelly of US imperialism and the economic and ideological framework it was built upon. The agitators are determined to bring Venezuela to its knees like what they did to Salvador Allende’s Chile in 1973, where Nixon and Kissinger vowed to make Chile’s economy scream.

                That we share kinship with the people of Latin America in the struggle for freedom and dignity against the predation of capitalist imperialism is undeniable. That’s why this particular movie matters to us too.

              • Okay, Micha. Good luck in your struggle to overcome the predatory oppressions of the scheming capitalist dogs. Please excuse me if I choose not to share your hostility.

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