Free speech and cancel culture

Analysis and Opinion

By Joe America

Free speech is the idea, enshrined in laws, that people ought not be restrained in what they say because ideas help social development. But free has an asterisk attached that says free also means responsible. You can’t make bomb jokes in an airport, or threaten someone with physical harm on social media, swear on public television, show porn to kids, or tell lies that damage another person’s honor. The asterisk is big. Or there are a lot of them.

Democracies do a pretty good job with free speech. Authoritarians don’t. They impose a loyalty asterisk in bold print. You can say what you want if it elevates leaders and you’ll be jailed or shot if you don’t. The Philippines is an authoritarian democracy right now with red tagging seeking to curtail speech of groups deemed terrorists. Those with ties to rebel groups are summarily shot. Teachers, doctors. Somewhere along the way they spoke wrongly, in the eyes of an authoritarian state.

Senator De Lima is a prime example of authoritarian demands for loyalty.

In the US, a rather interesting twist to the asterisk is becoming evident. Conservatives feel they are being censored because, when they speak their advocacies, liberals criticize them. So they say they don’t speak up and complain that their free speech has been curtailed.

Huh! Never mind that their speech goes against science (anti-mask, anti-vaccines), against democracy (pro-Trump, pro-insurrection), or is hostile to fairness, compassion, equality, and voting rights (attacks on abortion laws, restraints on voting, anti-immigration policies, taking over school boards, and a host of other political power-grabs). Conservatives believe liberals should shut up and let them maul the harmonious social order that took some 150 years to develop.

The cancel culture whine looks to me a lot like people not wanting to be held to account, or whose conscience is causing them pain every time a liberal points out that their views have unnecessarily cost the lives of 250,000 Americans by politicizing health care, masks, and vaccines. And that racism really is ugly. And democracy is under dire threat.

Cancel culture, as held up by conservatives, is NOT an asterisk to be attached to free speech. It is an asterisk to be attached to accountability. It says conservatives CANNOT be held to account for the pains they cause to others in their rush to gain political power.

To me, it’s a dirty asterisk. A cheater’s escape. Authoritarian dogma entering democratic space.

People using it are weak cowards who refuse to own up to the damages their words are doing.

They are trying to cancel critics. No. No. They ought not be allowed the luxury of doing ill deeds without guilt or objection.

No free passes.

Free speech assures that it is so.

_______________

Photo: Base photograph is by Rappler. Text overlay is by Joe America.

 

Comments
220 Responses to “Free speech and cancel culture”
  1. Joe, that documentary i shared in the other blog is basically about this dude. And its somewhat related to your current blog. Here,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladislav_Surkov

    “I am the author, or one of the authors, of the new Russian system,” Vladislav Surkov told us by way of introduction. On this spring day in 2013, he was wearing a white shirt and a leather jacket that was part Joy Division and part 1930s commissar. “My portfolio at the Kremlin and in government has included ideology, media, political parties, religion, modernization, innovation, foreign relations, and …”—here he pauses and smiles—“modern art.” He offers to not make a speech, instead welcoming the Ph.D. students, professors, journalists, and politicians gathered in an auditorium at the London School of Economics to pose questions and have an open discussion. After the first question, he talks for almost 45 minutes, leaving hardly any time for questions after all.

    It’s his political system in miniature: democratic rhetoric and undemocratic intent.

    As the former deputy head of the presidential administration, later deputy prime minister and then assistant to the president on foreign affairs, Surkov has directed Russian society like one great reality show. He claps once and a new political party appears. He claps again and creates Nashi, the Russian equivalent of the Hitler Youth, who are trained for street battles with potential pro-democracy supporters and burn books by unpatriotic writers on Red Square. As deputy head of the administration he would meet once a week with the heads of the television channels in his Kremlin office, instructing them on whom to attack and whom to defend, who is allowed on TV and who is banned, how the president is to be presented, and the very language and categories the country thinks and feels in. Russia’s Ostankino TV presenters, instructed by Surkov, pluck a theme (oligarchs, America, the Middle East) and speak for 20 minutes, hinting, nudging, winking, insinuating, though rarely ever saying anything directly, repeating words like “them” and “the enemy” endlessly until they are imprinted on the mind.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/11/hidden-author-putinism-russia-vladislav-surkov/382489/

    • JoeAm says:

      Propaganda is free speech as an offensive weapon. The claim of being cancelled, as a threat to free speech, is propaganda as a defensive weapon. Thanks for helping me conjure up the distinction.

      • Further distinction is that cancel culture is a sub set of censorship. Cancel culture is newer since its kinda dependent on social media/web 2.0 technology. Censorship is as old as time, when humans started talking, people didn’t agree thought one’s speech was dangerous, eg. death was the most obvious means of censorship.

        So since cancel culture is essentially social media, meaning the process of getting cancelled is consensus based, eg. downvotes or doxxing. but then it gets expressed in the real world, like for example Chick-fil-A is kinda like McDonalds but they specialize in chicken, the corporation is Evangelical and they’ve expressed conservative and anti-homosexual opinions openly.

        People on social media didn’t agree with them so attempted to cancel Chick-fil-A, which resulted in an equal and opposite reaction, turns out more people agreed with them, and/or just weren’t fans of cancel culture, and acted in support. why nowadays every time you pass by a Chick-fil-A the drive thru line goes around the block. plus they have pretty good customer service too,

        they don’t say You’re Welcome, they say My Pleasure! my point here though, is cancel culture cuts both ways.

        Now if there was legislation to suppress Chick-fil-A’s corporate opinions on homosexuality and stuff, that would be censorship. So in a way cancel culture is less than censorship, because theres no “legal” basis. cancel culture is based on mob rule, so it all boils down to which mob is the loudest.

        The kicker is , Joe, and this is from “Hypernormalisation” documentary, is that legal censorship is not necessary anymore, with social media, cancel culture is sufficient to create chaos. no need for legal actions, the streets and the battlefield will do just fine. in the ballots too. This is possible because that “mob” need not be real.

        bots and algorithms will do just fine.

        Vladislav Surkov wrote an article titled, “Putin’s Long State”. In it, Surkov mocked Western worries about Russian “interference” in Western elections. The situation is “far more serious,” he admitted, “we are interfering with their minds!”. And that’s the point of that documentary. really good. Watch it.

        http://csef.ru/en/politica-i-geopolitica/223/vladislav-surkov-dolgoe-gosudarstvo-putina-8806 (article translated to english)

        http://voprospolitolog.ru/index.php/ru/90-english/contents-of-the-issue/407-boltenkova-l-f-on-putin-s-long-state-reflections-on-the-article-of-vladislav-surkov (analysis of the article)

        the secondary point of the film is that this is only possible because politics and media and corporations have lied to us for so long, thus the title of the film.

        • JoeAm says:

          Highly interesting. Chaos it is.

          • I was watching a video on Marine infantry training recently, where they took into account Gen Z’s proclivity towards the chaos of information, and how Marine training has always been factory styled industrial type monkey see monkey do instruction.

            What they came up with is to simply give these Gen Z’ers the big picture, the over arching mission, and they’ll sift thru the info availabe via Google, YouTube or whatever data set you give ’em, and they’ll consolidate everything and tie it up to the initial mission.

            So chaos for oldies (i guess i’m part of this too now),

            and chaos for these kids who were born in the 2000s, are not the same, for them its like water. And the Marine Corps realized that what they’re missing is just authenticity and meaning. So long as they can trust on that, even if its just at the junior NCO level of leadership.

            then they’ll keep on focus with the bigger mission.

  2. isk says:

    We all make mistakes. In Biblical times, there’s this woman who was being stoned to death. And the Big Boss intervened …”He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

    In todays world, politics is quite toxic, us vs them . I say there are good and bad ideas, the best stuff stands out and is mostly accepted by the society. How to fight disinformation is to have a media platform to educate and explain these ideas, ideal in a democracy. Deplatforming is no good. Just like what happened to New York Post last year in social media.

    People are supposed to be looking out each other, not looking out mistakes done in the past. Today is different from the era of the founding fathers of America.

  3. Karl Garcia says:

    Before cancel culture you get bashed non stop some for good reason and some for no reason at all.

    Propaganda was any propagation. It could be propagation of faith , knowledge or damaging rumors or nonsense.
    easier with sharing capacity of socmed.

    • JoeAm says:

      Yes, life today is not keyed to family and friends in a slow, methodical, bonding way, as it was through the 1970’s and 80’s, but disintegrated and is now composed of shallow, fast-moving, emotionalized sets of impressions and quick engagements. There’s little to hold onto.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Indeed

        • kasambahay says:

          even my favorite whitening face cream that I got shipped from overseas did not escape cancel culture and was taken out the market. damn wokers complained loudest why must women think beauty is having lighter skin!

          for weeks I am without my fave beauty product, so end of the world! alternatives were not up to scratch! then my friends sent me half a dozen face creams. free sample products, same as the old product I like so much: same whitening outcome, same price but different name. it’s a brightening cream now, no longer a whitening cream, ah heaven.

          • And how do you feel about UP Diliman and affidavits?

            • kasambahay says:

              the charity of christ urges us! cant say much about UP, not may alma mater po. though, we might have catered for some of UP’s get togethers, kaso there’s a line I cannot cross. something about territory.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                The Corporal really thinks you are MRP in disguise, even if I think Nah most of the time, I also think there are things that are similar.

              • kasambahay says:

                maybe, anak ako ni mrp sa labas, lol! anyhow, many times napagkamalan ako kung sino-sino. and many times din, sa mga kapalpakan kong nagawa ay iba ang tumitindig, gives me a fright sometimes like there are many of me.

                at the shops too, strangers waved at me at kinukumusta ako. maybe I have lived before, I dont know. maybe, I have a twin!

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Mayhaps!!

              • There’s just hints of MRP in kb’s posting, like door locked and window open, thats when I think its MRP, then i doubt myself, and maybe i’m just projecting my own yearning for MRP posts to return. I think you’re right , karl. kb’s not MRP, but theres now and then very similar tone and humor.

                But notice kb hasn’t said anything about affidavits still? i think kb knows that MRP might come out if he answers this question.

              • kasambahay says:

                yohoooo! aba, I thought I was the only one lavishly pining for the not-so-woke whitening face cream, hindi pala! lately, si uber mahal na politiko ay namumuti rin ang mukha.pati ang shadows immediately right above his brows ay talagang puting-puti na. mukhang apat tuloy ang kilay: one set of dark brows and another set of paler than white. nag-twin-ing na ang eyebrows!

                well, na-cancel ni mahal na politiko ang dating uling sa mukha. what a success, lol!

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Skin Whitening is also MRP’s pet peeve.

              • kasambahay says:

                big business in asia, skin whitening products are. brand cosmetic houses have them. been re-named lately though.

  4. Juan Luna. says:

    Even in cyber world, cancel culture reigns. Nobody escapes from it because we are in an era where everybody controls everybody All you have to do is establish an advantage over others where you hold power over them. Result: we can do all we want until somebody cancels us.

    Blog administrators is one example of guilt by cancel culture. Admit it or not. They tend to act like dictators and swagger like despots unless you dance to their own kind of music.

    Regardless of whether you violate their self-imposed rules, if they do not agree with what you said, if your expression excite aggressive emotions among members, if you demonstrate independence in thinking and ideas and not just be among goats in the herd, you are cancelled. No explanation, no elucidation nor clarification, no nothing, will stop the cancel culture executioners to erase you. You are beneath them within the bounds of their blogs irrespective if there is sense or not in what you posted. The main point is, not to stoke the discussion with newfangled ideas, political or otherwise.

    Toe the line wherein you express yourself in accord to what they want to read and hear. Presto.

    The usual defense is, this is my house, my blog, my own. Sounding just like a berdugo that wields the weapon to cancel. The hangman who always in a prowl for a prey in his controlled space.

    My opinion. 😶

    • JoeAm says:

      I’ve approved your comment. Taken it out of moderation where you have landed for some violation of the blog editor’s rules, I suppose. Ironic, that. Well, my goals are different than yours, my context different, so we would naturally view blog editing differently.

      I produce a product. It is a private effort, not public, so free speech does not apply. Editing applies to shape the product so it succeeds. It succeeds if it helps influential people in the Philippines figure things out. It has been proven to do that. It also succeeds if readers learn stuff, which they appear to do. It doesn’t really matter if you like the editor’s decisions or not. If you don’t, you become merely one of the billions of people who don’t read the blog and get along just fine.

      • Juan Luna says:

        Thanks. I appreciate how you approached my post in a level-headed manner. Good thing you did not take it personally because it is (cancel culture) not only a general observation but also frequently happens that is a prevalent in almost all sectors in society, be it political, social, etc.

        • JoeAm says:

          I see cancelling as a psychological/intellectual process, self-inflicted, in which one is pained by trying to reconcile one’s own expressions or thoughts with those of someone who has criticized them and takes a big gulp of emotional energy during the reconcilement. It’s similar to the excuse-making that people of low self-esteem make when justifying their bad behavior to themselves and others.

    • Cry me a river, Juan Luna.

      I’ve been moderated here the most, and many of my posts deleted. Joe doesn’t play toe the party line, editorship though is based on personal values, like Micha’s mean spirited posts, then my call for violence posts, in the last blog were deleted. But all i did was rewrite take the editors demands seriously , and post again, same stuff. So

      you are just wrong, if anything Joe’s style is stylistic. thus not censorship. Say it with class. I’m more of a bumper car guy myself, so I always get in trouble, then I just re-write and post again.

      • JoeAm says:

        We are confined in our ability to slip into someone else’s shoes, mostly by ignorance; we simply cannot see where we are not. But also by lack of effort and imagination. Schools should teach a course on projection. Short of that, a bumper car approach is good. At least it extracts the emotionalism that interferes with building things.

      • Juan Luna says:

        In fairness, LCpl, JoeAm, to my recollection, never deleted any of my posts. I was just warned about the goings on on the board and cautioned to lay low or something.

        And I interpreted it as JoeAm, like a referee, trying to stop the ‘pugilists’ from squaring off (members getting it on about the issue and further exploring it on another level). I just thought that the flow to have a competitive and healthy discussion/debate was averted. I could wrong but it’s in the past now.

        All I can say is this, Juan Luna never calls name, berate or insult members just because he disagrees with what was expressed. He never attacks or make personal comments to offend those he disagrees with. I’m very sure you are aware of those. And as to the topic, I do not subscribe to cancel culture.

        Anyway, JoeAm already enumerated what he expects on the board and the members and I abide by it.

        • JoeAm says:

          The opening of your post that got you put to moderation was “joeam, I don’t know what’s the matter with you . . .”, which is akin to a private giving his drill sergeant the finger, producing all kinds of fireworks, intellectual, emotional, verbal, and physical. But if you’ve not been in the army, you might not appreciate the reaction.

    • kasambahay says:

      juan luna, its much like laissez-faire here. you can go in any direction you like – absolutely! on the condition that you stay within joeam’s border. and for someone of your deep intellect, you’ll figure that out easily. and like any fantastic writer, you’ll find your forte among the fortissimos.

      joeam has once put me in the straight and narrow, lol! no point arguing with joeam, he’s incorrigible! a lovely one though, kind even. he closes the door but leaves the window open!

  5. LOL! there’s an article about Micha’s boy Lira on the Daily Beast, i just happened upon, LOL! but relevant to the blog, Joe

    ===========

    “Steve Keen, a relatively well-known Australian economist, told The Daily Beast that Lira contacted him out of nowhere about a decade ago to compliment Keen’s analyses, and suggest that they work together on a project. Ultimately, Keen said, Lira proposed a paid subscription content creation model, which he claimed he could effectively market for the two of them. Keen added that he looked Lira up and saw that figures he knew in the alt media world had interviewed him, so he figured he must be somewhat credible, and decided to give this a shot.

    “It is an experience I regret,” he told The Daily Beast. He said Lira overstated and over-promised what he could do, then under-delivered. He claimed Lira was arrogant, and so rude to Keen’s other employees and collaborators that it at least hastened many of their departures.

    Keen said he regrets not doing better due diligence on Lira, which he believes would have led him to realize that he was not capable or trustworthy. He now describes Lira as a “sleaze” who, anytime he fails in a project, uses his supreme self-confidence to refashion himself into an “expert” on some new topic. “If he is the source for any claim, my reaction would be to strongly doubt the veracity of that claim,” he said of Lira’s current commentary.

    “He’ll send me a threat to sue me for what I’ve said, I’m sure,” he added. “But I’m entitled to my opinion. And my opinion is fairly low.”

    This approach to life and business is common among manosphere dating coaches, noted Verity Trott, a manosphere watcher and lecturer at Australia’s Monash University who’s analyzed their activities and rhetoric. They project an aura of expertise and self-confidence to build a persona that some—she was not referring specifically to Lira—then use “to financially exploit often younger men for their failure to embody a valued sense of masculinity” and sexual prowess.

    So it’s not entirely surprising that, around 2017, Lira started popping up on manosphere forums, presenting himself as an avuncular figure who’d gained wisdom through age that none of the usually younger, more physically fit, or more traditionally macho figures in the space could provide. Over the next few years, he garnered a degree of success in this space, drawing in ad revenue for his videos as well as support on Patreon subscriptions and PayPal donations. (At the end of 2021, he had over 3,200 Patreon subscribers paying $5 or $10 per month each for access to his advice content.)

    However, his apparent penchant for petty internet drama and abrasive nature have generated a dedicated base of critics as well—critics who’ve spent years trying to tell people in this space that, from everything they’ve seen of him, they believe Lira is a thin-skinned clown.

    Michael, the extremism expert who’s watched Lira for years, said that he’s always sprinkled anti-Western, anti-globalism rhetoric into his videos—like many in the manosphere. But also like some in the wider manosphere, he’s seemingly grown more conspiratorial over time. In 2021 especially, his Telegram and Twitter featured a veritable best-of list of pandemic conspiracy theories—about the supposed dangers of COVID-19 vaccines, nefarious purpose behind lockdowns, and plan to use the pandemic to take away freedoms and implement totalitarianism.

    In one appearance on a manosphere podcast in mid-2021, an energetic Lira told the host that he really wanted to talk about “the war with China next summer,” which he was sure would start to ramp up in February or March of this year—sure enough that he’d be willing to bet much of what he owned on it. The host demurred that he didn’t know much about politics, asked Lira a few questions, but then attempted to guide him back to talking about dating and relationships.”

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/gonzalo-lira-is-a-pro-putin-shill-in-ukraine-and-a-sleazy-manosphere-dating-coach

    ============

    I think i know what he’s doing in Ukraine now. many ex-pats in Angeles and Olongapo did the same thing basically. All experts. LOL! what a joke. I hope the Azov regiment finds him soon! LOL!

    • JoeAm says:

      Sounds like a regular bon vivant adventurer, all flair, no discovery.

      • kasambahay says:

        if this walter mitty sort of guy is in ukraine, I hopes he knows how to knit! russian soldiers are in need of socks and warm clothes.

    • Micha says:

      That’s a Daily Beast hit piece, corporal. Mr. Lira had obviously ruffled some powerful Ukrainian thug feathers and they’re out to get him. Here is his livestreamed response to that article :

      • Sorry, Micha. But my money’s on Prof. Keen being right on Lira, LOL!!!!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Keen

        Oh, and he’s a proponent of MMT too, Micha!!!

        LOL! someone’s just stuck themselves between a rock and a hard place. oooooooooooohhh. hate to be in this dilemma, Micha. But i trust you’ll pick your horses better next time? Hahahahahahaha….

        • JoeAm says:

          That guy reminds me of me back at work but our computer software was excel, plain and simple. Fancy modeling and I actually understood about half of what he was talking about. I’d love to see another economist’s critique of the presentation.

      • JoeAm says:

        Is there a tune people whistle when going down the rabbit hole? The ants go marching two by two or somesuch? I tried watching the video. Time passed so slowly because I knew there is actually something worthwhile I could be doing other than watching some oft-belching man in a baseball cap engaging in a slo-mo pissing contest with the Daily Beast. My “whocares-o-meter” finally boiled over. Nothing useful here.

  6. Karl Garcia says:

    If we go retro, cancellation before was more violent: stoning, crucifixion, burning what else.
    You won’t live to tell. Today it is more of imaginary or abstract sticks and stones that cuts like a knife you still live to tell and either you will be called a victim or pa-victim (playing victim).

    In another note these are the issues i regret not researching first before condemning.
    The Antipolo golf club mauling.
    I rode the band wagon of yelling impunity to the family of the Under Secretary that allegedly mauled a father and son golfer.

    i regret bashing that congress woman who had a lavish wedding.
    Her wedding was planned way before the pandemic and I am sure not all their plans were implemented. Was that Agot Isidro who cried foul first? Many agreed including me but with hindsight I think even in a pandemic, you are allowed to have your moment.

    • JoeAm says:

      Right. The idea that cancellation is something new is wrong. But social media expand the reach of everyone so there is uncoordinated blanket oppression of some. It seems oppressive the same way a hive of killer bees can cause one to run really fast.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Exactly.

        • karl, Joe, et al…

          Just finished watching Citizen K.

          About Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s rise and fall, and his nemesis Putin.

          Vladislav Surkov was head of the advertising for Khodorkovsky in the late 1980s selling computers , etc. Then Khodorkovsky went into banking after the fall of the Soviet Union. he was one of the original oligarchs. i think there were like 10 of them total, so they propped up Yeltsin since he was anti-communist. but Yeltsin was a drunk. Oligarchs propped him up as long as they could, then they had to find another puppet, and they found Putin.

          Our man Surkov was put in charge of Putin’s PR campaign. and he went from zero to hero in no time.

          In early 2000s, Khodorkovsky went from banking to oil/gas barron. owned the biggest company in Russia, called Yukos. around that time or shortly after, Surkov and Putin, to bolster Putin’s PR as a strong leader, created a theatre of rounding up all the Oligarchs to give them a good chastizing by Putin. all oligarchs played a long. this was the point, Putin amassed his support in the siloviks (former military and security professionals from Soviet Russia).

          Then it became clear that Putin’s siloviks were gonna transplant the original oligarchs areas of operation, natural resources, TV/radio, banking , all the commanding heights of the economy.

          So a bit after that chastizing (oligarchs also gave more money to the Russian gov’t to float it) , Putin’s siloviks were carving from Khodorkovsky’s oil/gas concessions. So he confronted Putin personally during a public televised meeting. Putin took offence, fastforward Khodorkovsky ended u p in prison in Siberia for 10 years plus. at the heart of their relationship is this (from Wiki),

          “At the root of the conflict between Putin and Khodorkovsky”, stated writer and activist Masha Gessen in April 2012, “lies a basic difference in character. Putin rarely says what he means and even less frequently trusts that others are saying what they mean. Khodorkovsky, in contrast, seems to have always taken himself and others at face value—he has constructed his identity in accordance with his convictions and his life in accordance with his identity. That is what landed him in prison and what has kept him there.” (he’s out now since Sochi olympics , in London)

          its a really good documentary, Citizen K. i hope you all get to see it. but my point…

          My point, is karl’s cancellation and censorship. the two concepts maybe related, but at the heart is it is the difference in power dynamics. People without power can easily be exterminated this is obvious , but for some reason and this happened in the Marcos/Aquino dynamics too exterminating another powerful person is much more difficult. Same dynamics happened between Pilate/Jesus. Joan of Arc/English same thing happened, they got her for cross dressing eventually, cross dressing!!! I ‘ve not concluded my thoughts on this yet, but for sure

          cancellation , censorship, excommunication , ostracization (root word is oyster by the way) and extermination, theres this delicate dance when it comes to certain power dynamics that happen, so consider this in the above analyses of all these Filipinos mentioned above, including Joe’s original blog. What is the power dynamics at play here?

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Very informative this reminds me of Duterte pretending to hate and be angry at oligarchs only to have his own cabal.

          • JoeAm says:

            Award for most intriguing comment of the year. Spot on target for the topic. Power dynamics in the US are illustrive of the dance as horrendous agendas (insurrection, racism) are recast by social media as admirable and mainstream media as normal political tension between dems and republicans. Republicans rampage and democrats neatly and meekly stick to business the way it is supposed to be done, as if the whole house were not afire.

            In the Philippines we have a fascinating rush to pink among the hopeful and informed, and a big black barrier of ignorance and psychologically impaired and therefore ill-informed masses. Mainstream media play the dumb normality of the clueless and social media are battles of echo chambers trying to leak, one into the other.

            Thanks for this post.

        • kasambahay says:

          said congresswoman is very lucky, karlG, and got to seize her moment. said she had already done her pandemic duty to her constituents; maybe unsatisfactorily. many jeepney drivers lost their livelihood and ended up living in their jeeps, unable to go home. no food, no income and some were begging in the streets. the unluckier ones could not say goodbye to loved ones who died of covid, buried alone and unattended.

          with the war in ukraine, congresswoman’s constituents are in strife anew. jeepney drivers are reeling from the higher cost of fuel and commodities. their 500 pesos pittance from the govt is nowhere enough.

          since congresswoman already got her moment, maybe she can give moments now to the plight of her constituents and ask govt for a temporary cut in fuel excise.

  7. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: nothing else caused me greater laughter than to watch that porcine Alvarez declaring loyalty to his former nemesis.

    • kasambahay says:

      his body language says he’s a consummate politician, uncomfortable but resolved and his hands did not shake. he has thought his back-flip through. the concern of getting his message across outweighed his sense of propriety; barely looking away from his reading material. he did not slouch though like you can bet your favorite high heels there is still fight left in him. mayhap a warning to those that think he is spent force.

      maybe he was being respectful and did not invade leni’s personal space, barely glancing at leni or look leni in the eyes. it could well be his past deeds an enormous chasm for him to bridge, but he’ll leap over it.

      I counted the times he breathed, he was nervous alright. keeping his hands under the table says he does not want to give too much away!

  8. Americans cancelling Russians in Ukraine.

    • Micha says:

      If NATO did not ramp up its expansion into eastern Europe, hostility and ethnic animosity on both sides could have simmered down and this conflict easily avoided.

      • But we’re not dealing with IFs , BUTs and WHENs, Micha, we are dealing with now. Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

        Is your solution for Ukraine to just surrender then? They’ve already kept Putin at bay. Why surrender? What is your solution, Micha ?!

        • Micha says:

          Why are you looking for solution Corporal D? This is now a full on zero sum war! Wait for the victor and the defeated to emerge!

          • We’re already seeing it , Micha, Putin is retreating back to east Ukraine; Ukraine is pushing forward.

            https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ukraine-urges-halt-russias-assault-biden-heads-poland-2022-03-25/

            • It’s called momentum by the way, which Putin loss.

            • Micha says:

              We both don’t know what’s Russia’s end game here Corporal D so that’s all speculation for now.

              My view is that it does not intend to occupy long term. It just wants to make a point.

              Stop NATO expansion or you will see destruction on all fronts!

              • If Putin returns to east Ukraine, and Ukraine thinks (or actually knows) it can go toe to toe with the Russian Army, then for sure Ukraine’s gonna want in NATO.

                Which means Ukraine invasion elicited an opposite outcome than what was intended, Micha. Putin loses.

                How can Putin threatened NATO now if he has already been seen as neutered in Ukraine.

              • Micha says:

                As I said, you are entitled to your own speculation!

              • It’s common sense, Micha.

                If Putin retreats back to Eastern Ukraine, there’s no reason for Ukraine to be in fear any longer of Putin, thus will obviously join NATO.

                Whatever deterrence Putin had , he just wasted it away in a useless invasion!!!

              • Micha says:

                Speculate and speculate some more, Corporal D!

                Joe’s giving you all the space!

              • JoeAm says:

                It’s free, otherwise I might not. 🤣😂🤣

              • I thought you had all the answers , Micha?

                What is Putin’s deterrrence now? Now that he’s retreating to eastern Ukraine?

                You’re a student of Prof. John Mearsheimer, what is it. Don’t be coy now!

              • You’re Ali, Micha. Start punching back now.

              • Micha says:

                Well if you insist, Corporal D, here’s my turn at speculation:

                You are living alone and have not much to do so you are trolling this space.

                Am I right or am I right?

              • Ouch!

                Joe, I’m gonna be off the whole week and cry now. So hurtful , Micha! You’re worst than Putin.

              • JoeAm says:

                Have a beer on me. 🙂

              • karl should’ve posted his last comment earlier, Joe. Now its too late. I’m questioning my life choices now, and still crying over what Micha wrote. Hurtful! But I’ll have that beer just the same. 😉

              • NHerrera says:

                I just tweeted this:

                I don’t like MMDA’s proposal on daylight savings time either. Do you know why?

                Well, I don’t know about karl, but that will really upset my daily check on the Micha-Lance debate at TSH and my associated check on Zelensky through that debate. 🤣😂🤣

              • Karl Garcia says:

                @NH
                i looked at your 3 accounts on twitter but could not find the tweet.
                btw one account has a young looking picture was that yours?

              • NHerrera says:

                karl, I have not posted my mug on a Twitter account.

                I once created another Twitter account because of problems accessing the original one — NHerrera @NHerrera01a — which I was able to do later and have not used that other one except for a few Tweets. I don’t even remember that other account now unless I do a Twitter search. BTW, “NHerrera” is probably used with some additional characters after that because Herrera is a surname used in Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                ok but the one with photo was a nito herrera, thought he was yourvson, but from your accounts you have daughters, so maybe he is a Latino.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Agree on Avoided but not on easily.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Every conflict can be avoided as much as possible but if one uses brinkmanship more than statesmanship no appeasement can deescalate things.

      • Juan Luna says:

        If NATO did not ramp up its expansion into eastern Europe, hostility and ethnic animosity on both sides could have simmered down and this CONFLICT easily avoided.
        —————
        How can a conflict be avoided when you yourself start one? Worse, you started a conflict nobody knows the endgame.

        It’s hard to swallow the ‘security’ reason for Russia to attack a neighbor. First, how can that be when if a conflict starts and the security of Russia is compromise she can easily defeat or eveN obliterate Ukraine (or any other neighbor) in an instance. If world war 3 begins, Ukraine will be the first country to be wiped out in an hour or two from the face of the earth.

        Do we really think the leaders of Ukraine doesn’t know the risk they are taking to threaten Russia? Heck, even other countries knows the a-b-c of the scenario in that part of the region.
        It is very clear the Putin attack is way more than about NATO expansion. NATO never occupied a piece of land in Ukraine. Russia does. If we talk of expansion, she is the one guilty by sitting her ass in Crimea and part of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Russia is the one exercising expansionism. She occupies territories in Ukraine while accusing NATO of expansionism?

        That’s what we call projection.

        Let’s cut to the chase, Putin has been salivating for years for the return of the territories once belonged to the Soviet Union empire. That’s the only reason why he’s doing what he’s doing.

        • Micha says:

          “Let’s cut to the chase, Putin has been salivating for years for the return of the territories once belonged to the Soviet Union empire. That’s the only reason why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

          Well at least you got that last part right Juan or I would have made a huge facepalm and hard forehead slap.

          This conflict isn’t as much about Ukraine as the restoration of great power rivalry. It’s cold war 2.0. Or more precisely, cold war turning into a hot war.

          That’s the danger we are having now. Russia felt threatened by NATO expansion, invades Ukraine to make a point and the western alliance responded through proxy war.

          Russia might have been diminished significantly after 1991 but it still have huge geographical area and equally huge nuke stockfile to leverage its restoration for national pride.

          It need not have come to this point if NATO, like the Warsaw Pact, have been dismantled after the end of the cold war.

          But no, NATO maintained the alliance, maintained the animosity, expanded into the east with the aim perhaps of really decimating Russia into tiny pieces, balkanize the whole tundra with huge oil and gas reserves until the land of the tsars got reduced to a pulp.

          Now Russia is saying that ain’t happening without a fight.

          So, here we are.

          • And there was indeed a fight (for 4 weeks) , and Putin’s now retreating back to eastern Ukraine.

            so NATO is still on the table for Ukraine, and why wouldn’t Ukraine demand membership now? Putin’s retreated back to eastern Ukraine after all. What? is Putin gonna try to re-invade Kiev again , hoping that 2nd or maybe 3rd try will be charmed? I don’t think so.

            • Micha says:

              Oh. My. God. Why are you so stubborn Corporal?

              Only God knows what Putin’s strategy and end game is. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to communicate that to his enemies, right?

              And if this retreat to east Ukraine news is accurate, maybe he’s just withdrawing his troops so he could drop a nuke at Kiev.

              Who knows Corporal?

              • A big one or a small one?

              • Micha says:

                Not as big as your head. Not as small as your dick.

              • Ouch! I’m pretty sure that’s below the belt now , Micha! Hurtful.

                But seriously…

                That’s what we’re talking about, after the blast comes then fall out, which is “residual radioactive material propelled into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear blast, so called because it “falls out” of the sky after the explosion and the shock wave has passed”.

                My point, whether its small or big, it’ll affect either EU or Russia just the same, give or take, and depending on prevailing winds, etc.

                Russia will make all attempts to en sure the weather is on their side (blowing towards EU) if they nuke Kiev, small or big. penis jokes not withstanding, Micha.

                If Putin is retreating to the east, and expecting that NATO will retaliate , doesn’t it make much more sense to push westward, to stymie any NATO advance towards Moscow? why push east? Ergo, Putin is not planning on nuking Kiev.

              • Micha says:

                Not interested in your speculations Corporal, okey?

              • You said Putin was probably gonna nuke Kiev. And i’m pointing out how that’s wrong.

                So Putin’s retreat means your theories about a post-NATO world is wrong, Putin just inadvertently breathed new life to NATO, the opposite of what he set out to do. eventually, you’re gonna have to say, you know what Putin was wrong.

                Ukrainians fought back and it back fired on Putin. Now he’s retreating back to eastern Ukraine.

              • Micha says:

                In the same vein, you should not be interested in my speculation too Corporal.

                Afterall, it’s just speculation, right?

              • I’m very interested , Micha.

              • Micha says:

                Why would a speculation, and a wrong one at that, still interest you? Time to move on, Corporal. Get someone else to troll.

                Getting tired and sleepy now feeding you.

              • I just wanted to read the word “wrong”. That’s all. 😉

          • Juan Luna says:

            Russia felt threatened by NATO expansion, invades Ukraine to make a point and the western alliance responded through proxy war.
            —————
            The only point Putin was making was Ukraine is part of Russia. It is not really a country but merely a vassal.

            When we talk about Russia being threatened by NATO it is as if it’s a new phenomena when in fact NATO has been there for decades. Why invade only now when the supposed threat has been there all along?

            It is not really about Russia and NATO but about Putin’s intention on the issue of the existence of Ukraine.

            Let me share for info:

            Opinion: Putin has long fantasized about a world without Ukrainians. Now we see what that means.
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/03/23/putin-genocide-language-ukraine-wipe-out-state-identity/

            • Micha says:

              The ethnic factor comes handy as accessory excuse but the big picture of great power rivalry stands.

              NATO is a cold war era military alliance headed by the US as the top dog among the supposedly equal partners, Juan. Its raison d’être disappeared after the end of cold war. There’s goodwill in the air from the east. Wall Street capitalists headed to set up shop in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are cultural exchanges. Commerce and trade flows between east and west. Peace between former enemies. Scorpions’ Wind of Change has arrived. Why continue NATO?

              • ‘Why continue NATO?”

                Because Putin’s now headed the opposite direction. to eastern Ukraine. w/ tail tucked.

              • Micha says:

                Hey Corporal, could you please start another thread? Please don’t muddle this civil exchange between me and Juan, okey?

              • Juan Luna says:

                Why continue NATO?
                =====
                In my personal opinion, the current situation in Ukraine is one of the reasons why NATO should continue.

                If we interpret the question, we’re going to assume and arrive on a premise implying to its irrelevancy which I doubt make any sense.

                For one, the guarantee of freedom and security (among its members) through political and military means will never be outdated or irrelevant. The organization’s fundamental purpose after the cold war has shifted from defending common territory to defending the common interests of its members.

                Secondly, promoting democratic values and provide members means to consult and cooperate on defense and security related matters is most important to all members. Lastly, NATO’s existence prevents conflict through crisis management operations and to keep the peace and provide humanitarian relief in cases where it is needed.

                In other words, it is not there to threaten anybody but simply to maintain peace, provide assistance and privilege to its members in times of crisis.

                Imagine the extent of the occupation of Putin in Eastern Europe right now had NATO ceased to exist after cold war?

              • You guys are just rehashing the same stuff from the last blog, Micha! History is done, Putin invaded, Putin is in retreat, talk about that. NATO is back en vogue again, thanks to Putin.

              • Micha says:

                What’s with the “please start another thread” you don’t understand Corporal?

              • JoeAm says:

                @Micha, Just got this article from The Economist on the topic under discussion. It rebuts the simple “America did it” argument. One point: the West pressured Ukraine to get rid of her nukes, which she did, but Russia still would not back off. The US felt compelled to support Ukraine. There are other arguments, too.

                Very good read.

                https://www.economist.com/by-invitation/2022/03/26/sir-adam-roberts-rebuffs-the-view-that-the-west-is-principally-responsible-for-the-crisis-in-ukraine

              • Juan Luna says:

                “Putin is in retreat…” – LCpl
                =====
                I don’t know about that. But either way, Putin is a dangerous man. Nothing constructive was heard coming from his mouth since the invasion. He’s determined to kill and destroy.

                I say, the doomsday clock is still ticking. 😰

  9. Karl Garcia says:

    Corporal, ATTEN HUT!!!!

  10. Karl Garcia says:

    NATO Exists because of Russia for one reason.
    Maybe ASEAN should expand too to Pan-Asia not to piss China off but because of China’s behavior even when the rest were not yet pissed of her.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Per Biden’s speech that Joe attached, NATO’s expansion was not for the demise of Russia
      But Putin’s strategic mistake in invading Ukraine which Putin still denies just made NATO stronger.
      Methinks the only way for NATO to go is to change its name somehow because its membership is no longer just from the North of the Atlantic.

  11. Micha says:

    @JoeAm

    Not a subscriber to the magazine and the article is on paywall so am not able to read the entirety of it.

    As a counter to the author’s view, here’s one from The American Conservative:

    “Earlier warnings from realist scholars that NATO’s eastward expansion to Russia’s border was poisoning relations with Moscow are finally getting attention in the establishment news media and generating a vigorous debate. A few analysts outside the realism and restraint camp even have conceded that trying to gain NATO membership for Ukraine may have been imprudent. But the magnitude of the aggressive moves taken by the Pentagon and CIA are just now becoming apparent.

    For years, the Kremlin made it emphatically clear that inviting Ukraine to join NATO would cross a red line that threatened Russia’s vital security interests. However, it was never merely an issue of Kiev’s formal accession to the alliance. Comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials signaled that the truly intolerable development was Ukraine becoming a NATO military asset and an arena for the deployment of U.S. and NATO forces. That danger could—and ultimately did—arise, even though France and Germany continued to block a formal membership invitation.

    Evidence grew in recent years that the United States had begun to treat Ukraine as a NATO ally in all but name. Steps included pouring nearly $3 billion in “security assistance” (primarily weaponry) into the country since 2014. Such armaments included the deadly Javelin anti-tank missiles. Military collaboration also included joint military exercises between U.S. and Ukrainian troops—and between NATO and Ukrainian forces.”

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/washington-helped-trigger-the-ukraine-war/

    And this one from The Guardian:

    Many predicted NATO expansion would lead to war. Those warnings were ignored

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/28/nato-expansion-war-russia-ukraine

    • “Evidence grew in recent years that the United States had begun to treat Ukraine as a NATO ally in all but name. Steps included pouring nearly $3 billion in “security assistance” (primarily weaponry) into the country since 2014. “

      And we saw in the lead up to this right before Putin invaded that Germany wasn’t on board, Germany only wanted to send helmets even, Germany was dependent on those two pipe lines.

      So although the US was unilaterally supporting Ukraine, NATO and EU were of a different mind. Which meant that Putin was actually winning the propaganda war, EU and NATO were going separate from the US. Putin was ascendant.

      Fastforward to now, EU and NATO are fully behind the US. So the only variable that changed was invading Ukraine. That’s the only variable worth considering now. Then moving forward. History lessons have a shelf life too. then it gets re-written, by the victors.

      That’s how this works and why the NOW is important here. All those theories go out the window as soon as Putin invaded, precisely because new theories have to be made now. Now with NATO and EU are ascendant, while Russia declines.

    • JoeAm says:

      Right. Those are the arguments that are addressed. There is no paywall if you register your e-mail address. The crucial questions are why did the US and NATO do what they did, and was Russia an absolute innocent in the doings. Get to those answers and you see it is not so simple. My argument is not one side or the other, just against simplifying to the point of absurdity. The context is long and deep.

  12. Micha says:

    In the fog of war both sides naturally engage in propaganda to boost morale. The alleged Russian retreat to the east peddled by New York Pravda yesterday comes with a caveat that on the ground accounts from locals does not verify the authenticity of their report.

    And this latest account from Larry Johnson contradicts the western media narrative:

    “In carrying out its “special military operation” (i.e., invasion) on a broad front, Russia is avoiding leveling cities. The plan appears to be to encircle major cities, cut them off and then, like a boa constrictor, slowly choke their prey into submission.”

    https://sonar21.com/update-on-the-military-situation-in-ukraine/

    • Pravda?

      “Sergei Rudskoi, the deputy chief of the Russian armed forces’ General Staff, provided the assessment in comments to reporters in Moscow as the war entered its second month.”

      it was based on a conference held by Russian generals, Micha. Russian generals themselves said it.

      here:

      “The main objectives of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished,” said Sergei Rudskoi, the deputy chief of the Russian armed forces’ General Staff.

      “The combat potential of the armed forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced, which…makes it possible to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of the Donbas.”

      https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-ukraine-goals-scaled-back/31770879.html

      Russians themselves said they were retreating back to eastern Ukraine. Of course they didn’t use the word retreat.

      • Micha says:

        If that was Russian strategy all along, I don’t see why it should even be considered an argument, Corporal.

        • Its not, Micha. that’s the point, its euphemism for retreat. Otherwise, if going to war to simply lose personnel and armaments was how you win war, then Putin is a military genius!!! The world’s first actually.

          • Micha says:

            Call it whatever you want, I really don’t care!

            • If Putin just invaded or liberated the Donbas, he’d have gotten minimal sanctions. Just like Crimea. and none would be the wiser.

              But Putin wanted to take Kiev and Odessa. or tried. Got greedy he did. now he’s running back to the Donbas , Micha.

              There’s only one thing to call it, retreat.

              He bit more than he can chew, but now worst for it because Biden’s talking REGIME CHANGE now. And when the US talks regime change, it usually happens.

              Granted probably not gonna happen like Saddam or Mubarak, maybe Qaddafi, but for sure Putin’s days are numbered now. And with a retreat, most Russians will be thinking was the juice actually worth the squeeze? hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

              Answer: NOPE

              Putin’s going down , Micha.

              • Micha says:

                Not sure about that regime change thingy. The White House just now retreated on that when asked by reporters.

                “Administration officials have been careful not to hint at Mr. Putin’s removal from office, knowing that it would be taken by the Kremlin as a dangerous escalation. Shortly after Mr. Biden’s speech concluded, the White House insisted that the president was not calling for regime change.”

                Wouldn’t be surprised though if Biden would pursue that as a policy will result in a terrible nuclear confrontation.

              • Biden tends to shoot from the hip, so I agree with you that what was said today is legit policy. WH understandably has to back track. But I ‘m sure they’ll do it via all the disaffected Russians, both siloviks and oligarchs and technocrats alike. Once theres consensus, they’ll push out Putin, but not before, and stand up another dude (hopefully more friendly to the West, or at minimum a bit smarter). They’ll do it carefully of course as to not affect WWIII. but here’s what he said,

                “You, the Russian people, are not our enemy,” Biden said, reciting a catalog of the atrocities Russian forces have committed in Ukraine. “These are not the actions of a great nation … Vladimir Putin’s aggression has cut you, the Russian people, off from the rest of the world. He’s taking Russia back to the 19th century. This is not who you are … This war is not worthy of you, the Russian people… A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty,” he said. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.

                He’s talking to rich and powerful Russians. not just Russians in general, but Putin’s circle.

              • Micha says:

                Biden’s carelessness is amazing. Telegraphing that intention will of course alert Putin for such a scheme and we will probably be seeing a bloody purge on the ranks of what Vladimir will label as traitors.

              • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDVLrFGXh68 Watch video.

                I’m sure the rings are already closing, so Putin will welcome Biden’s last sentence with glee, but the question is can Putin still consolidate? I gotta feeling people have already talked to the US like en mass. Biden is egging Putin on, Putin is a counterintelligence dude by training, so he’ll push more of his buds away from him, thanks to Putin.

                I’m starting to have more and more respect for Biden now, that’s for sure!

              • oooooooops * , thanks to Biden.

                But realized , “thanks to Putin” works too. that’s funny. Shooting your own toe.

    • Erase Putin, Get new flag, rebrand Russia.

      • Micha says:

        Regime change is not a viable policy anymore and that only shows diminishment of US standing. We did that in Venezuela and it failed miserably. America need to accept that its short reign in the unipolar world is over and we are back to multipolar one with Russia and China as allies, thanks to the stupidity of NATO provocations.

        • I agree with you in general and what has happened before. Hillary’s and W.’s Middle East blunders are proof of that.

          But Putin is special. there are actually more powerful Russians on top of Putin and if they consolidate they can still save Russia from going over the brink. Iraq, Egypt, Libya (thank god the West came to its sense in Syria, and re-focused on ISIS, thus saving Assad) were perfect examples of worst unintended consequences happening.

          But deposing Putin, so long as the US ensures all the disaffected siloviks , oligarchs and technocrats are on board, Russia would be better off. So I disagree with the precedence you’ve presented, precisely because there were no guarantees then in those examples, but post Putin there’s a very good chance a better regime will be coaxed out of Russia.

          Watch Alex Wagner’s interview in that youtube video i’ve shared directly above. that’s the process of this Russian regime change.

          • Micha says:

            Don’t bet on it. It’s an egregious policy. In fact the opposite just might happen. Midterms coming up and, with low approval rating, Biden is going to face a shellacking. Putin’s gonna regime change Biden.

            • Not if Biden regime changes Putin first!

              • Micha says:

                Hahaha, then the race is on. We’ll see how that works!

              • JoeAm says:

                Former general Mark Hertling this morning:

                Here’s my bold statement for today:

                This week, in the Kyiv axis of advance, we’re going to see more RU casualties…and soon we will see long columns of RU prisoners of war walking with their hands raised overhead.

                Because that’s how it’s going.

              • JoeAm says:

                President Biden today.

                As a result of our unprecedented sanctions, the ruble was almost immediately reduced to rubble.

                The Russian economy is on track to be cut in half.

                It was ranked the 11th biggest economy in the world before this invasion — and soon, it will not even rank among the top 20.

              • JoeAm says:

                And if you want to see a hard core smashing of Russia, read this thread.

              • JoeAm says:

                Michael McFaul, Stanford U

                Russian outcry over Bidens comment today about Putin would have a lot more credibility if Putins army was not trying to overthrow the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

              • So long as everyone’s fingers are off the nuke buttons.

                it will be fun.

              • Micha says:

                Not sure about the effectiveness of sanctions Joe, it’s all propaganda on both sides now. One view is that sanctions could actually backfire on the west as Russia now demands that hostile nations should pay for its oil and other exports (nickel, titanium, NG, aluminum, etc.) in Roubles. Russia is discovering weak spots in sanctions and will seek to undermine the supremacy of US dollar in global trade by partnering with India and China and maybe even Iran and Saudi Arabia too.

              • JoeAm says:

                Not all is propaganda. American companies really are out of Russia. Denying the truth means propagandists win.

              • Here’s new news of a soon to be mass defection by Russian military to Japan…

                Tokyo, March 26 (Jiji Press)–The Russian military’s eastern district has said that military drills involving more than 3,000 personnel were conducted on the Kuril Islands in the northwestern Pacific.

                The sites of the drills apparently included four Russian-held islets disputed with Japan, part of the Kuril Islands, because they host major military facilities.

                According to an announcement Friday, the Russian military practiced operations to prevent enemy landings, using self-propelled artillery and drones.

                The drills are believed to be first on the disputed islets since Moscow on Monday declared a halt to its negotiations to resolve the territorial row and conclude a World War II peace treaty with Japan.

                https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2022032501353/

    • Micha says:

      Yup, the neoliberal financialized global order needs to come down, it’s not working for huge majority of earth’s population facing the prospect of climate catastrophe. Antarctic sea temperatures shoot up by 60 degrees last week puzzling even climate scientists on location.

  13. Karl Garcia says:

    Biden clarified that he is not for regime change wgen he said Putin must not remaon in power, but what if…

    https://www.rand.org/blog/2022/03/if-regime-change-were-to-come-to-moscow.html

    “While experience can help guide the West in addressing some challenges, it may need to develop new policies and criteria for easing its extraordinary sanctions. The West may require that Russia halt military operations in Ukraine and withdraw all forces. It may insist that Russia fully respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders. The West might also demand that all Russian forces leave Belarus, where they have been propping up the unpopular Lukashenko dictatorship.

    Some of these issues could challenge Western policy, but the need to make unprecedented choices could be thrust upon it.”

    • Micha says:

      I don’t know how that’s going to work because most of Russia’s current crop of oligarchs are indebted to Putin and those that are not are either in exile or in prison.

  14. JoeAm says:

    The full context of President Biden’s off script comment about Putin is the speech itself, which was direct and emotional. Taking the comment itself, apart from the speech, is like quoting a headline without knowing what the story said.

  15. Karl Garcia says:

    Not allowing Iran and Venezuela to ecport fossil fuel before may have a good use afterall because they are a good source for oil now. Iran and Venezuela can supply Europe making Russia’s boast just hot air.

    This war will jumpstart the long stalled vehicle of renewables, but it cannot be rushed.
    More studies on hydrogen and co-firing with coal has to be done in the mean time.
    Ways to recycle batteries must be cleaner same with recycling plastic which until now still leaks chemicals.

    North sea and Arctic sea ice breaking must stop and forget that sea route forever.
    Refreeze Arctic and Antarctic.
    Suck CO2 turn them to rocks, food, diamonds and jet fuel. Or burry them underground.

  16. Karl Garcia says:

    If propagating the reality that sanctions bite then it is propaganda but a factual one.

    https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/sanctions-putins-russia-initial-assessment

    Sanctions are only practically effective if they are massive, imposed swiftly, rigorously coordinated, and followed through upon.

    Putin’s economy will undergo much more turbulent periods than his wishful thinking of “a temporary rise in inflation and unemployment.”

    There is no question that the sanctions so far have started to bite Putin’s war economy.

  17. Karl Garcia says:

    Past opinion of Former President Obama on call-out Culture and wokeness: “That is not activism.”

      • Karl Garcia says:

        “But I think Obama is up to something much more complex — and important here. The rise of “cancel” culture — particularly on the left and particularly on social media — is one of the defining hallmarks of our culture in the post-Obama presidency. Say something wrong, tweet something people disagree with, express an opinion that is surprising or contradicts the established view people have of you, and the demands for you to be fired, de-friended or otherwise driven from the realms of men quickly follow.

        The goal of many of these cancel culture acolytes appears to be simply to move from outrage to outrage — pointing fingers and yelling “here is the bad person. RIGHT HERE.” Left unsaid — but without question present in the underpinnings of this worldview — is that there are only good people (aka people who agree with me on all things) and bad people (those who don’t agree with me on everything.) There is no gray area. It’s black or it’s white.

        The point Obama is making is that politics — and life — are rarely that cut and dry. No one, including you, is all good or all bad. “People who do really good stuff have flaws.””

        • JoeAm says:

          I’d offer that, on occasion, more cancelling is needed, not less. Democrats are letting Republicans control media with precious little outrage at what they are doing to undermine the President of their nation and try to make him culpable for Putin’s war. Wimps.

          On the other hand, I see Micha and LCX relentlessly trying to cancel each other out and wonder where is the premise that, rather than sniping at one another, let’s see if we can build something.

          But you can only build something if both sides want to.

          Republicans don’t. Micha and LCX insist that the building must be done their way, and only their way.

          Social media create millions of one-off moral authorities, each of whom has limited skills and limited knowledge.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Cancelling out culture.

          • I don’t think Micha’s trying to cancel me, Joe. and I certainly am not trying to cancel Micha out.

            I’m a firm believer of arguing til a certain truth comes out. In this case , that Putin is just wrong. period. granted the history is worth considering.

            in other cases , eg. Bitcoin and CBDC , that Bitcoin is a valid currency in comparison. that’s less solid ground , too many unknowns. Putin talk is purely axiology.

            I for one in these little debates we have on here, wanna be proven wrong. That means i had not thought of that particular angle.

            I stand and will to so over and over again , that fierce argumentation beats echo chamber thinking any time of the week. that’s what i’ve always been about. karl got cheddar cheese. chempo wanted to take it. I want to be proven wrong, Joe.

            but it must also be said, that I don’t defend a stance that’s weak, or flimsy. thus my track record if i may say so myself is pretty solid. but that’s just ego talking now. my point is i love being proven wrong. and arguing.

            Everyone should to. building is for hands.

            • JoeAm says:

              There are two flaws in your methodology. One, arguing to win leads to personal aspersions which generate angers that we need a lot less of. Two, its method is rather like two people sitting across the table shouting at one another rather than two people on the same side of the table, heads together, working the issue back to its origins or fundamental premises to discover how the same set of facts can produce two distinctive conclusions. Building is not a contest, it is putting structure on foundations.

            • JoeAm says:

              ps, if calling you dickhead or aluding to your personal circumstance is not cancelling, I guess I don’t know what is.

              • I’m not building with Micha, I’m dismantling Micha’s notion that Putin is right. As for dickhead, well i guess that’s just the feedback I’m intending to get that affirms dismantling is working, Joe. but i don’t see it as cancelling. I see it as a Will Smith slap, figuratively eliciting an emotional response, thus affirming methodology is working.

                But my point , the purpose in these exercises is not to build. then again…

                For example me and Micha agree that Biden ‘s policy is to oust Putin. so i guess theres all these unintended results too along the way, guess you can say that’s building. Arguments lead to points of convergence and divergence. that’s a positive right?

              • JoeAm says:

                The fundamental premise of this blog is that we do what we can do, civilly, to teach, learn, and build a better Philippines. It isn’t for one-off moralists and pugilists to show that they can dominate others. Facebook is for that. And Fox news. And a whole lot of Republicans.

              • JoeAm says:

                Rock took the slap as cancelling, in front of his friends and family, and went hunting for Smith after the incident.

              • He did not go hunting for Will , Joe, LAPD asked Chris Rock if we wanted to press charges, he said no.

                But Chris Rock does have a gig in Boston in two days. Would love to see that show.

              • As for pugilists , chempo and Micha are repeating QAnon , Putin, et al stuff, they should be dismantled. Not let go and ignored. Those ideas are dangerous.

              • JoeAm says:

                Agree that the ideas are destructive but I’m inclined to think that those who have taken up such lines of thought are not open to enlightenment and the best I can practically do is not let the nonsense get a platform here after that has been shown to be true.

              • Actually in fairness to Micha , history and Russia/Putin’s perspectives are not as dangerous like QAnon stuff by chempo, it s just a wrong perspective to have after the invasion cuz you’re just supporting Putin.

                For example, Mr. Lira I’m sure said all that crap thinking Russia was gonna win, maybe he thought lapping up to Putin would open up some opportunities for him betting on Putin once he’s on Russian soil, now that Russia is retreating and the city he’s in (Kherson if i remember correctly) will return to Ukraine, i’m

                sure, I’m sure, he’s shitting his pants now. I don’t think Ukrainians will just slap him and leave, they’ll do some heinous stuff i’m sure, all because he betted on Putin. bye Mr. Lira.

          • Micha says:

            “On the other hand, I see Micha and LCX relentlessly trying to cancel each other out and wonder where is the premise that, rather than sniping at one another, let’s see if we can build something.”

            One, I don’t have any intention whatsoever of cancelling anybody here.

            Two, most of the conversation with the Corporal was centered on cause(s) and motive(s) of the Russian invasion of Ukraine so I’m not exactly sure what kind of something we can build from that.

            • Three, its 2022 you don’t go around invading countries, on pretext unproven reasons (made up reasons).

            • JoeAm says:

              Well, I suppose one can go to the fundamentals. Are laws the best basis for international harmony? If not, how do we order society? Than decide if Putin’s invasion was appropriate under those laws. If there is some other basis, say power rules, and SHOULD rule, then decide if Ukraine was correct to disavow Russia’s power. Calling someone dickhead is a fallacious form of ad hominem argument, as is throwing verbal sand in one’s eyes (which LCX was doing). Entertaining in the way Will Smith was entertaining but tarnishing the purpose of the ceremony.

              The premise of the blog is that we can teach and learn. Why insist that we cannot, that all we can do is defend our views by slapping others.

              • “Calling someone dickhead is a fallacious form of ad hominem argument, as is throwing verbal sand in one’s eyes (which LCX was doing)”

                Whoa! Joe, what verbal sand?!!! Maybe badgering, but verbal sand?

              • JoeAm says:

                Badgering is verbal sand. It takes argument into the realm of emotions rather than logic.

    • Micha says:

      Crap. If Democrats should rely on Obama as the fount of wisdom, they really are screwed. Obama is toxic for what he did in 2009. He exemplified the selling out and corruption of the whole Democratic Party to the wolves of Wall Street.

      To be fair, the selling out phenomenon did not start with him – Billy the Kid it was who laid the carpet down for the wolves.

    • JoeAm says:

      Biden seems to be like Robredo, wanting to work above the gamesmanship, trusting that people will come around to appreciate his good work. Unfortunately, he’s getting chewed up like Aquino got chewed up, which points to the demise of democracy next year when Republicans control the legislature and overthrow elections.

  18. Karl Garcia says:

    Chris Rock thought he did the free speech thing and now he is whining that he is being cancelled because of being smacked?

    • JoeAm says:

      Yeah. Well two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make juicy news reports. Smith has apologized to Rock I understand.

      • As far as jokes go, it was really light. GI jane reference, bald head. Last time i checked people don’t die from alopecia, and if you’re insecure, i’m sure that fact that you’re a millionaire more than compensates.

        Will Smith was even laughing, seemed like what happened was that Jada Smith did her Jedi mind trick on Will, and he just walked on stage and slapped a grown ass black man, in front of everyone.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        I read that he will do a public apology.

    • Juan Luna says:

      I like both Will Smith and Chris Rock, but Will did the wrong thing when he resorted to violence. There’s a lot of corrective measures available to him to address Chris’ ‘mistake’. I would say it’s a worst version of cancelling someone because it involves physical violence.

      I agree with LCpl, the joke was very light, in fact, Mrs. Smith was compared to Demi Moore the star of the movie G.I. Jane. Moore starred on the fictional movie about the first woman to undergo special military operations training. It was not like Mrs. Smith was compared to Curly of the Three Stooges. If it generated laughs, I’m sure it’s about shave heads and not about unattractive looks.

      Will Smith may have apologized but the damage has been done.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        she shaved her her head because of alopecia or premature balding

        • kasambahay says:

          women put lots of stuff on their hair from hair dyes done regularly, constant tagging and pulling and applying heat when straightening afro and curly hair, hair blowing to dry wet hair, hair extensions, and all other products applied to beautify the hair. over time, hair products leave residues that are absorbed into the scalp. and washing them off is not always the solution.

          women pay high price to have beautiful hair. and despite general reassurances from manufactures that hair products are safe, there are women who have bad reaction to them.

          to make matter worse and as they grow older, women tend to have less of the hormone estrogen, and their hair thinned. though many dont go totally bald.

          and those that go bald because of diseases like cancer can grow their hair back once cancer is in remission.

          stress can also cause hair loss. some students reported losing clumps of their hair just before end of year exam. but recover once exam is over.

  19. NHerrera says:

    I find this an interesting read. It relates the “decadence” of Rome to the present times. And the decadence that led to its fall is not due to orgies depicted by Hollywood, but something else. In short, it is as Joe often describes here in his blog — the decadence in the loss of key democratic values and associated laws.

    • JoeAm says:

      Fits like a glove.

    • sonny says:

      The Fall of Rome was caused by several factors. For my money, the most definitive cause, the one that caused all the other causes was lead poisoning (affected the mental processes of the whole population):

      “… Some scholars have suggested that the Romans suffered from lead poisoning. Apparently, there was lead in Roman drinking water, leached in from water pipes used in the vast Roman water control system; lead glazes on containers that came in contact with food and beverages; and food preparation techniques that could have contributed to heavy metal poisoning. The lead was also used in cosmetics, even though it was also known in Roman times as a deadly poison and used in contraception …”

      • JoeAm says:

        I told Joe Jr about the lead poisoning, which he immediately googled and confirmed. He also said people in the time of George Washington thought tomatoes were poisonous because they ate from pewter plates, pewter lead plus tomato acid making people sick. Someone tried to assassinate Washington by putting tomatoes in his soup. They failed. Ha, myth or truth, I dunno.

        • sonny says:

          Joe Jr belongs, indeed, to a gifted generation – they have knowledge at their fingertips at the flick of the “enter” button. 🙂 🙂

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