The good, the gullible, and the ugly

The President was not ready for the Vice President. [Image source:]

By JoeAm

We are a community, a giant tribe, whose well-being depends on each of us doing our part in protecting the common good. That is where we find security against the wilds and other tribes. It’s how we put food on the table, clothes on our bodies, and a roof overhead. It’s how we pool our thinking to make pots and wheels and fire. And weapons.

We are so intellectually advanced, that we’ve learned to codify the rules. We call it a Constitution. And those of us who subscribe to democracy recognize that we do best if every voice, and every idea, can be heard, debated, and choices made by the entire community.

But our framework is breaking down. We have advanced the tools of communication so far that we mostly hear noise these days, not sense. Not clarity. Not logic. Not ingenuity. Not building. Not compassion. And rather than protect and follow the rules, today’s popular leaders are undermining them, cheating on them, using them maliciously. Self-dealing rather than protecting the welfare of the entire community.

The Philippines is a nation in a petri dish, an experiment in dysfunction. Maybe the nation is a warning to more sensible nations. Maybe it is showing them the way to oblivion, and they will choose to follow.

The dysfunctional nation-tribe has three groups of people. The good, who by definition, recognize the rule book is for our survival and ought to be followed with courage and determination. The gullible who have their headsets on and only hear what they hear, which is largely uninformed crap from neighbors, inane blather on social media and tabloidian news, gossip, and propaganda from politicians. The ugly who run government and have tossed aside all civility and ethical discipline in favor of entitlement and self-dealing, an oligarchy of crooks in the main.

Well, the ugly have advantages because they control the money, and the money controls the message. With apology to Marshall McLuhan, the money is the message.

The gullible are gullible because they need and love the stuff, and like dogs trained with biscuit treats, have learned to vote to get it.

The good see what is happening but are powerless to stop it. By the thinking of most, it is only when the gullible find they have experienced a great deal of punishment will they rise up to overthrow the ugly.

There is a time dimension to all this, too. The good know building tribal wealth and well-being is a 15 year deal because so many crooks have made off with the national jewels.  The tribe is broke, it’s weapons and cutlery and homes a shambles. The gullible want theirs now. Like, NOW now. The ugly just want to keep kicking the rusty can down the road so they can placate the gullible with the idea they are doing something, while in the meantime making off with more jewels.

The two grand unsolved questions are: (1) How do the good convince the gullible that good is good when they don’t have a lot of money, and (2) how do they pacify the gullible for 15 years so they don’t get angry again, as they did in 2016, and try to get immediate satisfaction as promised by the ugly. But that is impossible to deliver.

On question (1), I think the good do the convincing, not with propaganda and paid messages, but by using incidents like the SEA Games foul-ups and Vice President’s ‘firing’ to claim a loud space in the media. They must generate the equal and opposite reaction to things gone bad. So the good need incidents. These incidents might be accidental, they might be generated by the ugly, or the good may find their own ways to get louder. The incidents form pulpits.

The good need pulpits. Tall ones. Lots of them.

And from those pulpits should come a common message:

  • Decency and trust
  • Honesty
  • Information
  • Progress
  • Patience
  • Success

Patience is a learned trait. It is easier if people can see and feel progress. So the good must be sure to talk about it . . . and show it tangibly.

People need to be able to reach out and touch the improvement to their lives.

That’s the answer to question (2).


101 Responses to “The good, the gullible, and the ugly”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    I could say that it would be unfair to label a segment gullible, but what could you replace it with? Nada
    It would make them just another victim.

    They still believe that most of the build build build achievements are carry over from the previous administrations.
    Even if they know that it is a moonshot to promise implementation of the AFP modernization, they still promise it.
    Panelo troubleshooting and damage controlling Duterte would make you miss Harry Roque.
    The latest is that there is no problem letting China control our Power Grids.

    • Ignorance is not an insult, really. It just means we have some things we don’t know. Gullible means acting on that ignorance at the request of someone with self-serving motives. It is a fact of life. People have learned to concede to the powerful, causing them from time to time to go against their own best interest. The ‘good’ need to have a non-preachy education style about them to be successful, I think.

    • popoy says:

      If and when Karl writes as a poet:

      I could say that it would be unfair
      to label a segment gullible,
      but what could you replace it with?

      It would make them just another victim.
      They still believe that most of the build build
      build achievements are carry over
      from the previous administrations.

      Even if they know that it is a moonshot
      to promise implementation
      of the AFP modernization,
      they still promise it.

      Panelo troubleshooting and
      damage controlling Duterte
      would make you miss Harry Roque.
      The latest is that there is no problem
      letting China control our Power Grids.

      With apologise To Karl for this
      Injudicious impertinence.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    I do not want to hijack this thread, but I do want to share some more.
    If Philippines is still a growing nation, it sure has a lot of lessons learned in the past 200 years.
    This current administration is teaching us what not to do.

    It is ok to promise change, but be sure you are changing things that are broke(why fix if it ain’t broke)
    We all saw that killing people is not the solution to any problem.
    PPP should have not been shunned, if corruption is a problem, then target corruption and find out where in the process/es it lies and face it head on.
    And if investigations are done, even if televised, less grandstanding can make it faster.
    We saw big fish jailed, but the Napoles template is being used again one way or the other.
    We all saw that federalism is not the answer, because we do not know the question.

    • Micha says:

      “PPP should have not been shunned…”

      You mean the public-private partnership?

      • karlgarcia says:

        I missed you Micha.
        I know you hate privatization, neoliberalism,oligarchy,inequality
        and rightfully so.
        The Philppines so far has not made anything work.

        I am very aware of your MMT advocacy, how I wish someone would make it work.
        I say PPP is still better then any government guaranteed backing, because that guarantee is no guarantee at all, unless of course all the thing you espouse come to fruition.

  3. NHerrera says:

    The phenomenon described in the blog is not unique to the country although the scale is probably intense and delineation most stark in PH. The weak “democratic” institutions to start with and the instant communication and its misuse facilitated by technology contribute greatly to the scale and starkness.

  4. Micha says:

    If politics is but a numbers game, it seems to me there’s a missing variable in your political equation, Joe.

    The plutocratic class – the oligarchy – controls them all.

    All that squabbling amongst the good, the bad, and the ugly is being produced and directed by the plutocracy.

    • Yes, I agree. I wonder what they think about China. Risk or opportunity?

      • Micha says:

        Plutocrats have very little regard for nation-states or the government they represent. And since this malignancy has gone global, they have global alliances too. Where their self-interests intersect, they are always open to cut a deal – even with the devil himself.

        Duterte might be crude and corrupt and incompetent but as long as he doesn’t threaten their moola and business monopolies they will not lift a finger to nudge him out.

  5. popoy says:

    No corruption, no incompetence, just the integrity of skills in athleticism, been there 52 years ago in Lester (Leicester) Square, more like the discipline mastery of arts in sports. Watch for the end of world’s continuity of the human specie by the use of a single ring.

  6. popoy says:

    Sorry JoeAm, please delete if INAPPROPRIATE. This could be a nice intermission number during the SEA GAMES opening ceremony in Bulacan.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    I take back my reservations of gullibility if people believe in these.

    Panelo, Sotto: Critics may have a point.

    Duterte : No Sacred cows and no friends if Cayetano is responsible for this mess.
    Duterte:,Cayetano is cleared from this SEA Games mess

  8. karlgarcia says:

    Duterte: Robredo must not run, because she knows nothing.
    Duterte: I am lawyer, I know my law.
    Duterte: I do not know anything in economics, so I am reading economics for dummies before the SONA.

    If people still believe in such BS
    then gullible maybe an understatement.

    • kasambahay says:

      sotto should also have counter prayer and if god listens to him, bashers will see the truth. kaso, bashers/critics have seen the truth, thus mega reasons for them bashers to bash, pash and dash, lol! it was all there to see, truth not hiding in plain sight: athletes sleeping sa sahig na walang kulambo, athletes sitting and waiting sa airport, their sundo hours late at tulala pa and took them to wrong hotel. thank the lord, athletes were not taken by speed boat to jolo!

      cayetano and his lack of has provided plenty opportunities for critics to wangwang. he should wear earmuffs, lol!

      ps, it was not that we are host country that our athletes were able to hakot medals, and that we may have starved other athletes to weaken them and so barely able to complete vs our athletes.

      our athletes won because of their superb preparation, their sacrifices, hard training and dedication paid off. and they peak just at the right time and not too early. our being host country means their families will be there present, dont have to travel far and spend more. the whole sambayanan was cheering, applauding and egging them to win, win, win.

      may free tickets pa, ticket sales was poor yata kaya pinamigay na lang. would be shame to see stadium and venues minus spectators.

      will we be able to recoup expenses, I’m afraid to ask.

      • kasambahay says:

        I take it when sotto participated in yestergames, there were better athletes than him. and duly blamed host country for his failure to focus, focus, focus and bag medals.

        and now, I hope foreign athletes will not use sotto’s excuse and also blame us, the host country, for their failure to bag more gold medals, lol!

        • karlgarcia says:

          I only see the name of Paeng Nepomuceno in the list of Filipino AMF winners, maybe he got the participation trophy.
          Yet his wiki and senate bio page says he won some tournaments.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The reason the host countries become overall champions before because they introduce a home grown sport.
          That could only work before when the neighbors were slow to adapt.
          Take basketball, before it was an American sport, now it is the Europeans who will dominate in the near future.
          And the Americans are learning football or soccer, thanks to the Latinos.

          • If one goes to Southeast Asian Games on Wikipedia, it is possible to go to the list of 56 sports near the bottom, and click over to results. Here’s the link on Pencak silat, which is a form of martial arts (Wiki brings up the definition if you hold over or click the term at the beginning of the article). The Philippines is doing well, but others, too.


            I presume other sports are updating live as well, but don’t know that for sure.

            • karlgarcia says:

              I am sure before only the Indonesians were experts in Pencak Silat, now we even have Russian Sambo, soon Brazilian jui jitsu in Sea Games. We can thank YouTube for others being a quick study of anything.

              I am proud that we have the potential to become overall champions.

              • sonny says:

                #potential to become …

                First encounter with Pencak-S was with my classmate in 1962. His older brother (connected w/ Indonesia at the time) taught him.

              • karlgarcia says:

                If we keep it up we will be overall champs.

              • Comment from Micha removed as being physically threatening toward President Duterte.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Online threats joke or not is like someone shouting bomb in an airport.

              • kasambahay says:

                mischa’s comment gone awol? sorry po, but I’ll try to speak for micha. hindi ito personalan, payabangan lang, mine mostly. bisaya ako at pakialamera. just like the big man, pati pa naman yong marriage nina kiko’t sharon ginawang pambansang pulutan, haha.

                quick study yang si micha and she’ll come around. we are having so much fun here and mischa has much to contribute.

                mischa knows show to temper herself po, best and brightest.

            • popoy says:

              oks na OKS. Any country that’s SEAGAMES champion MUST have qualified in as many golds games it won in the coming Olympics. If not something could be fake.

              Okay, okay we can win all the Gold Medals for tumbang preso, piko, hagaran-taguan, jack N Poy; pen pen de sarapen, sipa, patentero at pitik-bulag.

              • kasambahay says:

                the big man was once asked kung participating sa sea games, what sports will he be good at?

                sagot, shooting kuno. with his dropping eyes that sometimes flicker oddly? fat chance he’ll hit a target. I hope he wont hit his own foot though.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    Micha, you will like this article about re-nationalization.
    I gather that part of the reasons of the downfall of Tatcher were controversies regarding privatization.
    Hard times drove to privatization, will hard times also lead to re-nationalization.

    article was written 2014, but still applicable.

  10. popoy says:

    in the news but OUT OF TSoH TOPIC:

    In teaching aspects of public administration long long ago, I haven’t read or heard of any rare country where the laws passed by authorities are like diarrhea that needs Immodium to stabilize its effects on the body politic until some (un)wiser authorities passed laws to constipate the polity that eventually needs stool softener to prevent tearing the rectal wall. Late in this decade medical lingo like morphine, cocaine, dream drugs and painkillers made dire inroads to governance. Fentanyl seemed to have hugged (or hog?) real and fake news. What does Go ogle (‘em) say about it?

    Here’s the link.

    • karlgarcia says:

      If his body pains will continue, a Chinese physician will prescribe Fentanyl, but no physician can prescribe a pill for verbal diarrhea, We have less than three years to put up with him, then make sure not Sara, not BBM, not Imee, not Alan Petet will be president.

      I think only a glitch will make Leni lose if we are vigilant and choose not the best.

      • kasambahay says:

        here’s a secret. it’s possible to cure verbal diarrhea. heard of extra pyramidal effect? there are pills that can induce extra pyramidal effect, then he’ll be more or less frozen solid, unmoving, uncommunicative and just staring into space. there are pills that mucks up with fine motor skills as thinking, speaking, etc. health sec duque knows all about them highly controlled pills.

        fentanyl is highly addicted and prescribed mostly to post operative patients. fantastic pain killer is fentanyl. then after about 3days post op, patients are weaned off to morphine, then maybe on to paracetamol later. for him to be on fentanyl meds for long, so not advisable yan. his body could develop resistance to fentanyl and the drug will stop working for him.

        he’s probly on concoction of pain meds other than fentanyl. chinese herbal medicine?

        another 7hrs of smartmatic glitch and leni could . . . no! I dont want to think about it.

        already, china controls our power grid.

        • popoy says:

          Kasambahay if I may. Mention of a cure, reminded me of the word “curare” so I did Go ogle and here’s what I found. Please delete if it’s too much for additional info:

          • kasambahay says:

            thanks for the link po. dati, kaming mga tagaprobinsya, we used to poison strangers. we lost the art when color television and canned goods came to town.

            anyhow po, the offending tongue can be given the lorena bobbit treatment. cut the damn thing off, lol! sorry.

        • popoy says:

          I am a senile-to-be commenter NOT a medical doctor (nor a veterinarian doctor) so this comment is just a conjecture. But I know some powerful drugs are scary and dangerous because of its side-effects not only to the patients but also to the people and communities in their areas of influence). LIKE FENTANYL, it’s okay to be prescribed to grandpas (Lolos) and grand uncles who are sedentary, in atrocious pain and most times, just keep to themselves; But a big BUT, not so may be for an active and assertive Barangay Captain or any executive exercising authoritative control over a neighborhood or a municipality. The dangerous side-effects of Fentanyl could backlash or inflict physical or mental harm from patient to constituencies. Any physician reading this should speak out to amplify or DISPROVE this comment.

          • kasambahay says:

            yay, he has the whole of the pambansang medical association behind him and none of them practitioners are talking, may patient confidentiality kasi. and it could well be that doctors dont really know what he’s up to, or dont want to know, haha. however, health sec duque throws in his hat and gives general comment now and then.

            being chinese inclined, mayhap he’s into eastern medicine: acupuncture to relieve pain, chinese herbal meds, massages, cupping, etc. he’s spoiled for choices. and he still sat on motorbikes, not really riding towards the sunset like steve macqueen. I have yet to see him give the damn motorbike a vroom! vroom! making donuts on the road. a petrolhead that loved the smell of burnt rubber.

            cannot do donuts yan, dahil the smoke would certainly create breathing problems for him. already he wears personal air purifier around his neck.

      • popoy says:

        Karl, in tambayan sa kanto (not in skol bukol) as a boy we kanto karancho boys talked a lot about KASABIHAN sa Tagalog like: “Matalino man daw ang matsin, matinik malalim; Ang hindi lumingon sa pinangalingan meron beke sa pisngi; Buti pa ang loko-loko nagagamot sa hospital pero ang tanga hindi nagagamot; meron gamot sa pagtatae sa puwet pero wala sa pagtatae sa bunganga; walang utang na hindi nabayaran; lintik lang ang walang ganti..

        • karlgarcia says:

          Kung lintik ay gaganti mashashock ang tatamaan nito.

          Ang mga matinik sa chicks pag na huli ni esmi atakbo atulin.

          Ang Hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay baog na dahil sa beke.(Kung sya ay lalake na may edad)

          • karlgarcia says:

            Ang Iyong credit ay mabuti Pero Kash Ang kailangan ko.

            • kasambahay says:

              ay, hindi sa nagmamayabang ako, pero kaming mga bisaya, we eat lintik for breakfast. some of us can stop earthquakes too, not tisoy though. and some of us still has the gift of talking non-stop and utter nonsense.

              ah, sorry, my friend corrected me, it’s lentils we have at breakfast, not lintik.

  11. NHerrera says:


    In response to Sonny’s QM view in the blog, “Supporting VP Leni”, I replied with two comments on November 29:

    NHerrera says:
    November 29, 2019 at 5:16 am;

    NHerrera says:
    November 29, 2019 at 8:37 am.

    Relating my imaginative [or crazy. whichever you wish to describe it] Quantum Mechanical explanation of atomic scale “particles” streaming through two slits on a photographic plate as I described in my above referenced two comments, here is another case illustrating my “crazy” Quantum Mechanical extension to real life.

    This time, the particle streaming through the two slits is the Whistle Blower Complaint; and the light and dark convergence of truth and un-truth respectively are shown in the following two US House Committee Reports on the Impeachment Inquiry — a tale of two reports if you like.

    So that I not to be accused of partisanship in US politics, you be the judge on which report is, in Sonny’s phrase in relation to quantum mechanics, the convergence of truth (light) and the convergence of un-truth(dark) on the virtual photographic plate.

    • sonny says:

      NH, I didn’t forget the Quantum thread there & here. Once I see a clear path that would include this conversation, I will definitely share. The guide/theme is “the convergence to one truth” Your reply is much appreciated in my understanding of QMech & Reality. My goal is to be able to show one more aspect of this Quantum theme such that it is on point to the TSH blog. Thanks.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks, sonny. I will look forward to your forthcoming QM note relating to the blog and what you phrased as The guide/theme: “the convergence to one truth.”

        • karlgarcia says:

          Now you’re talking. Just not so deep guys.Just 5 feet.

          • kasambahay says:

            I hope you guys wont make it so complicated. already filipino students are at the bottom of pisa, program for international students assessment. our students got lower to lowest score in reading, maths and science. apples dont fall far from the tree, their parents are perhaps big on cussing too, enablers of the best and brightest and their children are doing the same. just fine. barely able to read them kids, reading without understanding? cannot do maths, no incentives kaya, dahil their parents are already putting their hands deep into the kaban ng bayan and grabbing all, their future secure na. and who needs science when we have someone who can stop earthquake? kaya, chinese aerostat radar on mischief reef is not for us to be concerned about, sabi.

            porbida, part of the whole yang radar, the receiver of what satellite transmitted, big part of communication system radars are, sitting behind them radars are expert analysts, the ones who truly understand and interpret what satellites see from above. if I have to choose between satellite and radar, I’d choose the radar and pee on it, lol!

            but no need for us to be concerned lagi. our brains are lulled and our students are more than lullled. everything is okay, we are told time and again. our pisa score is bad, it could be worst though, haha.

            • karlgarcia says:

              if only our generation and the generation of our kids have the attitude for the aptitude our scores will have more altitude.

  12. popoy says:

    This link is long and hard read but seems to come from intellectual neurons masterful of analytic words discerning a glimpse of nearby future. Read or delete as may like or dislike it.

  13. popoy says:

    this is a must link; This is a must link; THIS IS A MUST LINK, A MUST READ BECAUSE IT IS NOT FAKE NEWS:

    • kasambahay says:

      thanks for the link, popoy. troll farming is alive and flourishing sa bansa, spreading disinformation. funny thing though, trolls sometimes become victims of their own modus. who would have thought our behemoth mt mayon is movable, gone off to another locality, haha. trolls can move mountains, not. in thier millions, trolls would have, could have, easily make one of their own grab a seat in congress, but falls short. troll madam grab empty space tuloy, no seat in congress. you cannot trust trolls.

  14. Micha says:

    Here is our magnificent President on why his promise to solve the drug problem in 6 months is a complete.failure :

    Stupendous stupidity.

    • kasambahay says:

      received a mouthful from him, that’s what he promised his detractors. kaso, I wasnt expecting a mouthful but looking for the personal air purifier he has round his neck, used to. rather expensive that one, ah he has got an upgrade! the son of god from mindanaw, he who can stop earthquakes, really does wonder and made said air purifier – invisible! there but not there.

      wish, the son of god can also make drug problems disappear. solved. all the pres has to do is ask.

      thanks for the link, micha.

    • Micha says:

      That the drug problem is merely a manifestation, a symptom, of the underlying social disease of poverty and other socio-economic malignancy is of course lost on this murderous maniac. His solution is akin to declaring all out war on coughing when a flu epidemic hits.

      Curing the disease requires real hard work and competent understanding so this lazy nincompoop just went shooting for the symptom. It’s much easier to just take fentanyl pain killers. It’s much easier to let loose state sanctioned mercenary killers.

      As if this is not tragic enough, the bigger tragedy is that most of the media, the political opposition, civil society, members of academic community and the intelligentsia have more or less embraced (coerced?) the Duterte narrative and justification for the drug war.

      • Micha says:

        Leni Robredo willingly accepting her appointment as anti-drug czar (albeit short lived), weakened the political opposition’s ability to provide a contrasting narrative in Duterte’s totally misguided drug war.

        That inability is part of the reason why the opposition is not gaining much traction in political support.

        • I actually think it strengthened the opposition. VP Robredo is now followed by media and when she releases her report, will again dominate the news cycle. She is seen now as strong thanks to her dignity and intelligence in the face of the Duterte Admin’s lunacy.

          • Micha says:

            The fentanyl addled lunatic still owns the brand. Bold declarations such as “I will not stop til the last user and pusher had been killed” or “Do not destroy my country or else I will kill you!” became his populist anchor and was a hit even among supposedly decent folks like Sharon Punyeta.

            Leni piqued the interest of the media when she declared she will seek the help of international community (UN, US) in the drug war that she at that time was tapped to led. In other words she is not, in principle, opposed to the declaration of that war; she just wants it to be less brutal.

            She also stirred the pot of controversy which put the lunatic on the defensive when she asked for the list of high value targets but was denied; maybe owing to the fact that Peter Lim is the brother-in-law of Senator Bong GaGo.

            • All true. I think her approach was about the most skillful application of intelligence that I’ve witnessed during my decade in the Philippines. She could not slam in calling Duterte names or pre-judging the drug war before having information. So she gave them no reason to criticize her approach. When she asked for the list, she crossed the line of loyalty, because loyal people don’t make waves. So she got fired. But she had 19 days of constructive work, will write up her findings, and it will be a big deal. I am sure it will reflect that drug usage is a social problem, not a criminal problem, in the main. And brutal raids do nothing to stop the flows of drugs or usage. I’m expecting she will argue for going after manufacturers, shippers, and big-time drug lords along with compassionate treatment for addicts. And better education programs.

              • kasambahay says:

                leni will make her finding known kuno after sea games finished on 11th december 2019. by then, the hoopla will be that she’ll be giving the nation not a very merry christmas and not a very happy new year. that’s what I’m hearing. but for many, that’s the very merry christmas cheers they’ve been waiting. pinya ham with a slap.

                leni is right po, treating drug victims with compassion. people continue taking drugs even at the point of a gun, they fear more losing their jobs and not being able to provide for their dependents. for themselves, they care not a whit anymore, such desperation.

                I agree with better education programs that drugs really is not the miracle substance that can make workers work longer hours, not tired and not sleepy with endless supply of energy on demand. fallacy po yan. they may have endless energy but at the cost of losing fine motor skills like ability to drive safely motor vehicles. high on drugs, they’ll likely to miscalculate distance and put on brakes too late, run into parked vehicles and hit pedestrians as well. drugged construction workers may get overconfident and overestimate their strength and so, take on jobs they can barely handle. how many have walked and fallen on steel bars? they might think they’re invincible, infallible and with superhuman strength, end up hurting themselves and causing accidents. health sec duque ought to be at the front of drug war, big on education and promotion of healthy living.

              • Yes indeed. Excellent statement of the reason for education and compassion.

  15. So insightful and honest . The potential of country is ruined in various ways . More than upsetting to see

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