How to build a nation when Earth is the enemy

Analysis and Opinion

By JoeAm

The Philippines is notoriously reactive. I’m sometimes skeptical about whether the future tense is even taught in school. Nor is history, evidently, looking at the list of Presidential candidates.

Filipinos live in the “now” I guess. I think that’s not the best idea.

Earth has about had it with over-populating, polluting, war-mongering humans and is intent upon washing them into the seas, killing them off with exotic diseases, inciting them to murder one another, or starving them to death.

In that single sentence, we can know that there is no easy, natural safe space. There’s hell ahead in the form of storms, diseases, wars, and food shortages. And it is fair to say that no neighboring states give a rat’s eyelash about the Philippines.

Whatcha gonna do, friends?

Are you open to suggestions?

I’ll offer some and you can add your thoughts in the discussion section of the article below.

First of all, economic planning alone just won’t cut it. Like with covid. Disease throws a wrench into the economic engine. Getting rich is a rather feeble goal if one can’t live to enjoy the wealth.

Well, looking ahead, it seems to me the first thing that is needed is a vision of what the Philippines should prioritize as a long range outcome across all future administrations. What it should be is obvious. Self-sufficiency. Trade is great. Surviving is better. Trade should be an economic advantage after self-sufficiency is assured, or a means to get the expertise and materials to build self-sufficiency..

Government has to get us there. Self-sufficiency demands a cabinet level position that has considerable input from, and influence over, other disciplines like DENR, agriculture, health, economy, energy, trade, land use, and disaster preparation and relief. This should not be a task force that blurs accountability, but a powerful unit under a competent manager that clearly takes accountability for crafting a plan and program for self-sufficiency.

The four main areas of focus for self-sufficiency?

  • Climate change defense and energy production
  • Fighting diseases; health care
  • Food and water production
  • Equipment and machine production

Defense and transportation are big issues, for sure. But they are “applications” of self-sufficiency under a directive that materials and supplies will follow a long term “made in the Philippines” plan. For example, navy ships should be made in the Philippines as a part of a purposeful scale-up of ship-building here. Same with buses. And trucks.

“You’re a dreamer, Joe!”

No. No, I’m not.

Think about what the 19 billion pesos now dedicated to red-tagging citizens, and billions of magically disappearing “intelligence” funds, could generate in boosting critical goods manufacturing here in the Philippines. Or modernizing agribusiness and food production. Or subsidizing clean energy ramp-up.

A vision is different than a dream. A vision drives outputs. It makes things happen.

It is the intellectual infrastructure for designers, architects, and construction workers. It is the starting point for success.


Cover photograph is from Austal Philippines.


230 Responses to “How to build a nation when Earth is the enemy”
  1. Ain’t No Sunshine says:

    Unfortunately, dreaming Filipinos seem hell-bent on electing “leaders” who sell them warped fantasies and illusions of progress while inevitably fleecing them of a viable future. The smart and ambitious throw up their hands and leave. And the population keeps growing and edging each other closer to the cliff. Good luck with that.

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    Thanks for another thoughtful and thought provoking article.
    I have repeatedly listed my laundry lists in this space.
    I dream, and I despair but after that turn positive with every goid news

    In two weeks time we will know if the Pinoys want six years of purposeful change or the opposite.

  3. Chris Albert says:

    Good thinking and a noble idea. However one needs to fix the foundations forst. Ye’h can’t build on sand or it won’t last. Has happened before and should not be repeated, as times are running out for change.
    My guess is that you need to spend all those billions first to reform the administrative/legislative and executive system. The messed up PNP alone will be a monster task to bring back from what it has become. Duterte was smart with the way how he destroyed the nations important parts……
    Agreed tho one still needs to be possitive, but that possitive spirit alays has a place in the world and has always been there in the Philippines.
    We’ll see what happens at election time…my guess still is that a “magic glitch” will be a decisive factor.

    • JoeAm says:

      Yes, for sure the competence of government is important. Today it’s a mess. Agencies are autocratic, arrogant, and inept. Under Robredo, conditions would improve dramatically. Under Marcos, it would be a mess. China would move in, corruption would syphon money away from needs, and authoritarianism would mandate loyalty. But that electoral choice is irrelevant. The future will come. The Philippines can be ready or it can suffer.

      • Do you think many Filipinos who are Never BBM will actually move to Canada, like over here when Trump won?

        • p.s. — Also , the the southern border, in Mexico , are a bunch of Ukrainians and Russians, Ukrainians are getting priority entry because they are running away from Putin, Russians are saying We’re running away from Putin too!!! so because of this all Africans, Middle Easterners as well as South Americans and Central Americans, some Asians there too, are saying We’re running away from Putin too!!! LOL!

          I wonder if BBM will be enough to get that visa to Canada, but for sure i think they’ll open up the oil/gas fields there now, since no seems to be obliging Biden’s request to more oil/gas not Iran, not Saudi Arabia, which leaves only Canada now. So much for Global Warming, but at least theres work in Canada.

          • During the Marcos Sr. period, 1965-1985, two million Filipinos moved to the USA. Well Kennedy opening up immigration was a pull factor, Marcos gradually became the push factor. It was mainly the old middle class that left then.

            Options some middle-class people are considering now are Oz and NZ in case of a Baby Em win. US and even Canada it seems aren’t that easy nowadays.

            In general with the global economy not so good it won’t be easy to migrate.

            • There has been an increase in Filipino graduate students in Western Europe including Germany in the past years BTW. Some twentysomethings might do that to bide their time until after Baby Em and also build options just in case.

              Don’t know too much about migration into other ASEAN countries but I do know of IT people who have moved to Singapore or Vietnam, or academics who teach in places like Korea or Thailand for want of career paths at home.

              The academic examples happen to be former students of my father, and as his teachings are somewhat nationalistic they may have wanted to stay close just in case they find a way back home. This may also happen more if Baby Em wins.

              • AB CDE , that’s 2022 with the looming BBM win.

                AB CD E , that’ll be 2022 to 2026 I’m sure not only because of BBM but due to globalisation contracting.

                The question is can low Cs and Ds run the country as Joe envisions, making trucks and ships i’m sure you don’t have to be a PhD for that, lots of hard work will do. Fuck foreign investments.

                So I share Joe’s optimism. Just start making things, I would love to see more catamarans plying the seas there connecting everyone, and then re-purpose during times of disasters to ferry people or food. Do away with rule of law and human rights for now too high falutin’. Just make things. Useful things. Start there, then replenish the brain drain.

                Filipinos who stay should hate Filipinos who left. Only right.

              • There is the adage love it, change it or leave it. And as even B and C will have less options after 2022 it will be love it or change it for them – what dynamics that unleashes depends on how Baby Em rules if he wins and much more.

                The diaspora in the Anglo-Saxon world might grow more isolated from the Philippines, a bit like Iranian professionals and academics who left Iran after the Shah. Those in places like Italy or Spain where most are of working class origin will stay connected, the OFWs not migrants elsewhere will of course do. Academics in Europe are more likely to stay here while those in Asian neighboring countries might return at some point – I know of one who was in Malaysia for a while and went back to Manila.

                One of the keys to Indonesia’s success BTW is that it’s Embassies take care of their students abroad so they return, and they also encourage managers and other top people who have gained experience abroad to come back. One shouldn’t be too exclusive. Still the educational system should produce not just academics and office types but more skilled workers as they are needed for industry. And some predictability of institutions is needed regardless of system. Philippine institutions mostly have sucked since 1946.

              • JoeAm says:

                Self-reliance is a non-political objective in the sense that it would take 25 years +/- and pass through several administrations. So I’d rather we explore it as a program than hang political colors on it. People moving overseas based on who is elected is a separate issue. If brains drain, the people left behind will tackle the issue and maybe the brains will come back.

              • JoeAm says:

                The concept of self-reliance is simple and stark enough for any president to adopt it and be praised for it.

              • Karl Garcia says:


                Most South East Asians are outgoing or emigrating.
                I cant find data for inter Asean migration.

              • kasambahay says:

                data is probly sketchy. in the deep south were the border is porous, people from sulu and indonesia come by speedboats in the middle of the night with barely any surveillance. methink, that’s how we got extremists and terrorists. there are also many undocumented aliens in our cities, mostly chinese mainlanders and others trying to flee justice in their own country.

            • JoeAm says:

              That last sentence is a humdinger. Yes, I agree, mobility will become more difficult.

              • kasambahay says:

                true, mobility will become more difficult – but not insurmountable. not mechanic and yet filipinos can start a car without key! not sure footed primates and yet filipinos can climb up high rises and open windows of condo! not accountants but can siphon money faster than the tax office, lol!

                sim cards not registered for privacy concerns and yet filipinos have long been unreservedly exposing themselves in tic toc, twitter, showing off their belly buttons, pictures of their newborn infants, the schools they go to, their weddings, birthdays, their guests, their thoughts, their ideas, angst, etc. everything is shown and discussed in socmed: nothing is sacred.

                but when comes to registering sim cards, filipinos are all of the sudden demure and utterly utterly shy!

      • Marcos Sr. actually did make some starts at reforming the system Quezon had initially set up on foundations built by the US-run Insular Government. But it stayed with some exceptions like the MMC, the MMDA predecessor, superficial half-baked patchwork.

        Heydarian emphasizes institutions as the foundation of an advanced country. Filipinos do poorly at building institutions because rules are usually jerked around with. Filipino institutions versus modern institutions is like Pinoy kanto basketball vs. PBA or NBA.

        I say NBA because Filipinos can and mostly do things properly in the right environment like for instance working abroad but at home revert to “any old way” as Canadians say. The deterioration of Philippine institutions after Quezon is an example of that entropy.

        • JoeAm says:

          Marcos would love “self- sufficiency” as a unity thrust. Even China’s help could be oriented around having the energy and infrastructure to stand alone better. Chinese sea-walls would be designed like the Great Wall and people could bike down them.

    • Let me be a bit amoral now. Park Chung Hee managed to industrialize Sokor by ruthlessly forcing the equivalent to oligarchs there to build industries – though he was a dictator.

      Suharto it seems stole on the same scale as Marcos but a lot of the money stayed in the country and his kids it seems are behind major holdings. And he gave Dr. Habibie who earned his spurs at MTU in Germany free rein in shaping industrialization policy. Indonesia whose military hardly had walkie-talkies during the 1965 military coup builds its own boats and planes now. It does have a harsh system with death penalty but it seems the courts work more predictably than the Philippines. See what I am getting at?

      Whether in dictatorship or democracy the Philippines lacked both vision, as Joe has mentioned above, and properly working institutions as Heydarian maintains. Yes PNoy and Mar did a few things right, but still I see VP Leni as surprisingly visionary. She does want to build a maritime industry for one thing. Scale up seaman’s qualifications, build boats, entice international shipping firms to fly the Filipino flag – that is just one part. Fixing the penal and justice system is another. Her plan there is also watertight.

      Baby Em is much less a Lee Kuan Yew, a Suharto or a Park than even his father was. Unfortunately he is the embodiment of mediocrity. Unless he is lazy enough to delegate major jobs to someone competent who does the legwork.

      BTW I have also read somewhere that Thailand runs so well inspite of political instability because it has a career civil service that runs like an engine no matter who is in power. Philippines is far from having that and that explains a lot. Just some thoughts.

      • JoeAm says:

        The Thai model. Hmmmm. I think any president has to delegate. Clearly the core of a responsible Philippines is woke, so the people will have a say. Whoever is president just has to adopt self-sufficiency as a goal and down the road we go.

      • kasambahay says:

        I still cannot get my mind around the fact that the thai king is the richest reigning monarch in the world, even richer than the monarch of oil rich saudis! and it was not because the thai king has been dipping his royal hands into the nation’s coffer. apparently, the thai monarch and his relatives are not allowed to play politics, let alone be political candidates. they’re so popular and likely to win elections, everytime, anytime. best they stay aloof.

  4. Karl Garcia says:

    We have been this before LCX

    people working in war torn countries like Syria,Lybia, etc because of the anywhere but here(PHL) mindset.

    Now Canada is offering temporary visas because nobody wants low wage menial jobs and Small to large Eneterprises and industries are running out of entry level staff, many Pinoys might have French Lessons if they want to move to Quebec and other French speaking only territories because thera are lots of jobs even dirty ones that no one wants to do.

    You are talking about the Philippines were diaspora or exodus is nothing new no matter who wins.

    • JoeAm says:

      Exactly putting the hammer to the nail. Self-sufficiency can be addressed no matter who is president. It’s bigger than any six-year term. Someone just has to start it. We can set the election aside.

    • kasambahay says:

      our country is overly populated with too many filipinos competing for the same job, and not everyone will be successful. if there is outgoing exodus of workers, fine. ofws have long been source of govt revenue, they regularly send money home, help support our economy and boost domestic growth. in a way, ofws help our country be self sufficient.

      • JoeAm says:

        They do. I think in that population is the base of workers that can make the nation blossom. OFW wealth and tax wealth rolling through to power an economic juggernaut.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        So many job mismatches. I will change my stance on too many lawyers. Lance is correct that we do not have that many.

        Too many enrollees in sea faring courses with only 5 to ten percent get to be seamen,
        Too many tourism, hotel restaurant managers

        The children of aging farmers are not taking up agriculture or fisheries.

        And what if AI hits us when we are not looking.
        Another round of jobless people if we do not prepare for it.

        • sonny says:

          “And what if AI hits us when we are not looking.”

          I’m slow on the uptake, Karl. Pls explain.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Artificial Intelligence will take away jibs if we do not train and prepare for an AI future.

            • kasambahay says:

              true. with atm, we have less need of bank tellers. electronic vacuum cleaners clean and dust the house on command. there are also prototype of driverless car that may soon hatid/sundo children to and from school! and with them being electronics, they would need regular services of skilled human technicians for maintenances and parts.

              • JoeAm says:

                I was noodling with the IFTTT app (if this then that) to get my cell phone notifications to pop up on my iPad. It’s doable but both have to be on line. Then I got nervous about an app that was smarter than me, so I deleted it.

              • kasambahay says:

                ah, joeam, that’s why sim cards registration is important. with apps and all that, telecommunication companies and the govt agencies already know who and what we are. and since people already live their lives online; sim cards registration will only make it legal and official.

                anyhow, my drinking buddies told me not to jump the gun and to wait for further notification. there will be massive info drive prior to registering them sim cards. if any.

              • JoeAm says:

                They have to rewrite the law I think to separate social media registration from sim registration. So no hurry for now, for sure. Enough time to concoct fake identities and things crooks do.

              • Karl Garcia says:


  5. Karl Garcia says:

    Overseas Pinoys still care look at Irineo, the last time he visited the Philippines was almost a decade ago, but the love for the Philippines even tough love at times remains.

    • JoeAm says:

      People moving to Canada is a separate issue from self-sufficiency, or only tangentially related. The election is irrelevant. The Philippines either takes care of herself or people suffer. Seems we should choose wisely to become self-sufficient.

      • I was addressing the blog subject directly, that is AB Filipinos leave (as promised), then can CD and Es run the Philippines.

        And IMHO yes, focus on industrial arts, and do away with social sciences and humanities, then like Ireneo said a strong civil service, which we can all agree are the teachers there now, who will be working really hard to bring forth a strong election process, ensuring no shenanigans.

        First off should be a raise for teachers salaries.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Choices and decisions must done wisely so no regrets afterward and singing my way.

  6. Juan Luna says:

    The Philippines is one of the countries that is vulnerable to climate change. Changes in rainfall patterns and distribution, drought, sea level rise and other weather-related threats impacts the country immensely. And these is what every government administration has to confront and be prepared for in order for the country to survive the challenges of the future.

    ‘Self-sufficiency’ is just one step that would remedy the struggle against man-made and natural calamity but it is not the first step. I would say, it would be the end-result of the culmination of all the efforts in making the country self-sufficient.

    My take on the issue is, to address and remedy the problem and in the process build a country we aspire for, we should start promoting good government as well as an effective and efficient bureaucracy. This can be done not by mandate but by the will of the people. If we continue to elect and vote people who are carbon copies of the previous past because of their political lineage, dynastic families or wealthy and influential people that hang around for power stature we will not be able to get what we aspire for and the result we wanted.

    Sure, I can enumerate what I want to happen and steps to take but it would be a futile attempt because I don’t see anything that would make me think that change is possible.

    Does anyone really think a revolution for change is in the offing looking at the set of candidates we have at present? In the current line-up of political personalities, who do you think will usher new beginnings, a new and fresh start that will revolutionize and change the course of the country towards success?

    I see none. 🫥

    • JoeAm says:

      If you put self sufficiency behind good government, here in the Philippines, you are likely never to get to it. Good government is a separate issue from that of self-sufficiency. A worthy topic, but we won’t know the direction on that for a few weeks. We can figure out what self-sufficiency means while waiting.

      • JoeAm says:

        For example, how would you get dynastic LGUs to pitch in to help with self-sufficiency?

        • kasambahay says:

          methink, dynastic lgus are already self sufficient. the only time they need us is when they want to legitimize their holdings.

          • JoeAm says:

            Or when they’ve been Taclobaned by a typhoon or sea waves are lapping at the governor’s doorstep. Their environment is changing. They’re just too stupid to know it.

            • kasambahay says:

              once state of calamity is declared, tacloban’s problem become everybody’s problem. and we are all hard pressed to help.

      • Juan Luna says:

        “If you put self sufficiency behind good government, here in the Philippines, you are likely never to get to it.”
        Self-sufficiency is an objective that a third world country like ours aspire for. To be self-sufficient is to be independent. Self-sufficiency enables a nation to proclaimed freedom from control or restraint. It’s never a start of anything, it’s the end goal for everything.

        Are we going to be self-sufficient in 20-30 years? Given the current political make-up and the characters that dominate and controls it, I doubt, even in 40 years, things will change drastically for the country. I know it’s negative but that is all I’m seeing in the horizon. 😔

        • JoeAm says:

          Okay. Throw up the hands in the air in despair. I get that, for sure. I’ve moved past that and turned fatalistic on it, mainly from watching my idol, the US, turn to stupidity and insurrection. The Philippines will have a new president next month. It’s institutions are a shambles. But the pink flourish shows the desire for honor and competence among influential people is strong. So there are some balances, some dynamics in play, that are worth watching or participating in. So I set governance aside, to take care of itself, see climate change upon us, see the world going into shambles, and I say, “Hey, buckeroo, better take care of yourself.” Hands in the air doesn’t help much. It doesn’t matter who is president.

          • kasambahay says:

            methink, the only time I threw my hands up was when an angry policeman drew his gun at me yelling, put your hands up where I can see them! I was half drunk then, did not only put my hands up but vomited as well. I got blotted.

            anyhow, good thing pinoy oversea voters in new zealand did not just put their hands up but complained bigger about ballot anomalies: vp leni robredo’s name was not in the ballot. initially called off by comelec as fake news, comelec now issue statement anomalous ballots will be destroyed and correct ballots printed. see link below:


  7. Karl Garcia says:

    Micha is so against globalization and other neolib blablabla

    Self sufficiency can address most of his gripes.

    Stop importing rice gradually.
    Taper off on the middleman and facilitators little by little.
    Subsidize agri as if we are first world
    stop smuggling stat.

    Again raw materials can be source in the landfill and we must develop tech to clean the dirt and those that can be cleaned can be used as fuel for WTE.

    Concrete,glass, paper, wood, steel, textile, plastics can all be found in the landfill.

    vacant lot urban farming, though rooftop farming sounds good most building owners would like to prioritize solar panels which is also good.

    • JoeAm says:

      Good checklist. The Philippines has, or has had, steel plants. I don’t know about iron ore or how to fuel plants. That warrants investigation. Moving from farming to agribusiness. New ways of farming. Undersea farming. So many bones of ideas with little meat.

    • Micha says:

      Neolib is not blablabla.

      Neoliberalism is a huge part for why our country had become a rotten hell-hole. The environmental destruction, the untrammeled extraction of natural resources, degradation of our rivers and water systems, urban decay and overpopulation that you all seem to decry hereabouts can all be laid before the altar of neoliberalism!

        • Micha says:

          The Philippines is always just playing catch up. Western industrialized countries are now into the post capitalist stage catalyzed, in large measure, by Covid and the war in Ukraine.

          We could align that development with our own through a more activist government directing in part the production of goods, allocation of resources, and fair distribution of wealth.

            • (Joe, forgive the BBM memes, that’s just me wishing BBM is actually smarter than he looks.)

            • Micha says:

              Non-sequitur. Having fiat money has nothing to do with globalization because every country has their own fiat currency. You are merely alluding here to the dominance of the US dollar in world trade and commerce.

              That could change with the coming into existence of a multi polar world with China, Russia, and the Euro block establishing their own payment system for trades in their preferred currency.

              • What’s the basis of globalization? for other countries to buy US bonds right? Ergo fiat is globalization.

                But agreed, Russia and China will do their own thing now. Lockdowns in China is their way of support for Russia.

                The Philippines has a choice, but for sure it has to do MMT, and seriously study why Philippine money is subservient to another.

              • JoeAm says:

                I was thinking the same thing myself, yesterday. Holy shit! LCX and I are coming into alignment.

              • Micha says:

                Fundamentally, globalization is just free movement of peoples and goods and services – an innocent well meaning idea until the corporations joined the fray and discovered a wider sea by which to cast its net of greed.

                Countries buying US bonds is not the basis of globalization. It’s just that the US is dominant and it can impose its will through McDonald’s or the fighter jets made by McDonnell Douglas.

              • You give them too much credit and assume the best out of them, Micha. I’m thinking its the basis and not the after thought.

                But we can disagree here.

        • JoeAm says:

          Oh, great. You’ve become a meme propagandist. A thoroughly modern man.

        • Micha says:

          Well, for one, China is getting into MMT already.

          The money quote:

          “Modern Monetary Theory can inspire China to make sure central bank easing supports government spending, several prominent economists said, as Beijing turns to fiscal policy to boost economic growth.

          China urgently needs to “liberate” itself from traditional ideas that fiscal and monetary policy must be kept separate and that government deficits are bad, according to Liu Shangxi, head of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, a think tank under the Ministry of Finance.”

          “Modern Monetary Theory at least sheds light for us to solve real conundrums and discuss what’s considered taboo in the past.” Liu said during a webinar last week.

      • JoeAm says:

        Neoliberalism also built great prosperity and opportunity for people who were disadvantaged by social stigma (minorities). The problem was, the train was moving fast down tracks that no one bothered to check, and they are now on a 45 degree slope heading straight to hell.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        From Dani Rodrik.

        As even its harshest critics concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton Democrats and the UK’s New Labour to the economic opening in China and the reform of the welfare state in Sweden.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          From George Monbiot

          So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

          Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

          • Micha says:

            Good article. Hope you’ve read its entirety and now understood that neoliberalism in not just blablablah.

            “Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

            Chris Hedges remarks that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.


            To the admirers of Marcos Junior, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

            And that’s just one of the ill consequences of a pervasive ideology some of us consider as just blablablah.

  8. Karl Garcia says:

    When Indonesia banned the export of coal for days or weeks, the world panicked.
    Now Indonesia will ban export of cooking oil the world will panic.

    there are always alternatives, but there are no easy access to them.

  9. Micha says:

    “Many of you know me as the US lawyer who has spent much of the last 28 years fighting Chevron and the fossil industry on behalf of Indigenous peoples over the destruction of the Amazon and our larger planet. In 2011, our team of Indigenous leaders and lawyers won an epic $9.5 billion environmental legal case against Chevron in Ecuador. It has been affirmed for enforcement purposes by multiple appellate courts, including the Supreme Courts of Ecuador and Canada. Never before have Indigenous peoples vanquished a major oil company to this degree. It should be this way: evidence proved Chevron deliberately dumped 16 billion gallons of cancer-causing oil waste into the rainforest, causing a massive health crisis, escalating rates of childhood leukemia, and thousands of deaths.

    But then things got really bizarre. Chevron simply could not take the truth.

    Chevron had accepted jurisdiction in Ecuador and insisted the trial be held in the country where it dumped toxic waste for decades with legal impunity. The company had filed 14 sworn affidavits in U.S. federal court (where our case was originally filed) attesting to the fairness of Ecuador’s courts in an effort to move the matter to a jurisdiction where it thought it could engineer a politically-motivated dismissal. Things quickly changed when the trial began in 2003 and we started to submit thousands of soil and water samples from company drilling sites that showed elevated and even life-threatening levels of toxins. Chevron’s lawyers then shifted gears and began to attack the very courts they had once praised. The company was found guilty based on 220,000 pages of record evidence and 64,000 chemical sampling results that proved extensive soil and water contamination at hundreds of well sites. Scientific consultant Douglas Beltman, who worked for the Indigenous communities as an expert, told 60 Minutes: “Chevron used Ecuador’s rainforest as a trash heap.”

    Progressives have been sounding the alarm on environmental degradation for at least 5 decades now but defenders of corporate greed like that of Chevron and Exxon Mobil say we should just play the three monkeys game of no hear, no say, and no see.

  10. Karl Garcia says:

    Brain drain.

    Naval architect
    making waves in UAE, if the environment here are full of opportunities, he and others could have made waves here.

    We do not have warrant officers who could have populated our technical staff requirements, so the US made of of them.

    There are more Filipinos in the US navy than in the Philippine Navy.

  11. Joe Genduso says:

    Years ago I saw the steps that Brazil took to grow their capabilities. If items were available in Brazil, they had to be purchased there unless you could prove that it could not meet your specifications. We were building Flight Simulators and the Brazilians wanted to build them for their locally manufactured aircraft. We entered into a technology transfer agreement. They sent engineers to our USA facility where we trained them and used them in some of the design. The first unit was built in the USA, the succeeding units in Brazil. They were required to purchase some of the high tech parts from us to build their first set of units and agreed not to compete with us in certain markets. I always think it a shame here that so many things are purchased outside the Philippines when they could be manufactured here through technology transfer agreements. As a side note, we had an agent in Brazil and all of our payments to him had to be coursed through the Brazilian Central Bank where they would deduct taxes.

    • JoeAm says:

      Ah, thanks for that example, Joe. The ability to break barriers seems rare in the Philippines. Little real innovation. Way too much corruption diverting money and effort.

  12. Karl Garcia says:

    Even my friends that are in the US Army and Navy (Fil-Ams) are frustrated by the lack of tech staff.
    Start with warrant officers or else everything will be vendor driven.
    We do not have procurement officers even with my gripe of procurement law ‘s track record elligibility requirement road block to Philippine manufacturing,

    • sonny says:

      Karl, with blurry history & recall of the barebones beginnings of naval detachment WW2 PH Army (1945), plus state-of-affairs of PH Navy of (early ’60s) and now (2020), how steep of an ascendancy can be anticipated for the incoming admin Navy-wise? Even on broad strokes basis your opinion matters. I understand a little the ‘vendor-driven’ part.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Just like in the Corporate world if you do not have procurement officers who knows their stuff you will have a tendency to buy what is sold to you by any determined sales man.
        They go straight up to the Generals they know.

        Buying military equipment is not the same as buying paper clips.

        With out the warrant officers warrant officers no technology transfer program wouid suffice because tech transfer stays at the top.

        We know our problems, but we do not want to solve them.

        • kasambahay says:

          that reminds me of doh and pharmally. we could have been self sufficient as regards ppes for our health workers. we have the know how, the local manufacturers, and the materials to make ppes, but doh tapped pharmally instead and local manufacturers lose out. pharmally procured overpriced chinese made ppes and most were past their use by date!

          • kasambahay says:


            methink, anything that our military do, the people’s republic of china, know well before hand.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            What track record requirement?

            When you are Pharmally, ZTE, etc all you need is a contact whom is close to the president
            Though ZTE is well knoen abroad they still resorted to short cuts.

          • JoeAm says:

            Perfect example of how corruption (and cronyism) destroys self-sufficiency. Think of what a Filipino business could have built with that money.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Precisely Joe.

            • kasambahay says:

              ordinary filipinos work hardest at self sufficiency, those that cannot find work here, go overseas. those that stay here ilking a living also work hardest, may not look that way, but they do. our rice farmers are being edge out by rice tarrification law, their rice can barely compete with cheap imported rice. many rice farmers are thinking of giving up to cut their loses: the unpaid loans as regards fertilizers, farm machineries, etc. same with vegie farmers. their onions and tomatoes are rotting as smuggled vegies are flooding the market. so if children of farmers are not keen on taking up farming, I cannot really blame them.

              as well, our delivery drivers, jeepneys and tricycles drivers, more than half of their numbers are yet to receive the promised fuel ayuda. waiting, waiting, waiting still for ayuda that may never come.

              self sufficiency is hardest when govt is barely mindful of the sufferings of its own people. worst is when govt sabotaged the livelihood of many.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        As Joe enumerated what we have are joint venture withy foreign firms, the most that we do is to have license to manufacture contracts, with attached non disclosure agreements.

        If we would do it the china way, we could have pirated the technology from all the locators that ever located here from Texas instruments, Intel, Ford , etc.

        • kasambahay says:

          the crux there is that, under licensed products manufactured in our country got export right back to other countries and we rarely benefit. we are just used for cheap labor. multi nationals firms pay very little tax too.

          • kasambahay says:

            it’s not easy to pirate the intellectual property of others, there is law for that. if taken to court, fees can be astronomical, the process lengthy and time consuming. those that took risk, must be prepared to have their products destroyed as seen fit by the ruling.

            china has no respect for intellectual property laws, it own predatory interest trump all others. I dont know if we have gone that low, yet.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            agreed but they must encourage domestic demand. regarding taxes the largest bpo is willing to pay more taxes just to have more workers work from home.

  13. Karl Garcia says:

    Even if we raise all the import tariffs with out the infrastructure, no farm to market roads, continued land conversion, deforestation, destructive mining, we could not sustain our selves.
    They say that because the Education has the lion’s share of the budget, and we can only do as much that is crapolla.

    • kasambahay says:

      yeah, education is expensive and when students graduate, there is barely job for them. some of our colleges are colorum and unregulated! churning out graduates that can barely compete in the job market, let alone pass exam.

    • Micha says:

      Overall, a decent article, save for the part about borrowing and printing.

      Printing money is a misnomer nowadays because the process of creation actually involves digital electronic keystrokes – not printing press.

      And if you’re a sovereign government having the ability to create money ad hoc, why would you still need to borrow?


      That MMT crops up in a mineral mining site indicates 1), that it’s slowly but surely going mainstream and/or validated and 2), concerns about real resources availability are legitimate, as articulated by MMT proponents themselves, and is being picked up, rightly, by the author.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Thanks for your needed reply Micha.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        i checked out the previous article of the author which he linked.
        the one that said China will be the poster child for MMT in developing countries.

        China considering MMT

        We know that China has big plans for manufacturing, i.e. the $2.3T infrastructure package consisting of thousands of major projects put forth by local governments.

        The question is, how does China pay for it?

        The country’s local governments are reportedly facing a fiscal crunch because of a plunge in land sales, a major source of revenue, constraining their ability to spend and forcing them to borrow more.

        On top of that, GDP growth in China is set to lag the United States, something that concerns Beijing. Calls are therefore growing louder for the Chinese government to boost fiscal stimulus, regardless of higher debt levels, an approach that is drawing comparisons to MMT.

        Heretofore, China’s conservative economists would have rejected this unconventional economic theory.

        Rather than ramping up stimulus, like the US, China’s focus has been on reining in government debt and curbing financial risks. Now this approach is being questioned.

        “There’s a new understanding of debt in macroeconomics,” Bloomberg quotes a senior researcher at the National Institution for Finance and Development, a top government think tank. “Unlike the private sector, the government can continue to borrow new funds to repay old debts. The only requirement for this to go on is that interest rates remain low.”

        Sound familiar? Under MMT, the US government can never run out of money. It just keeps printing it, to pay the interest on its debts, allowing it to borrow without limits. Presumably the Chinese could do the same. But first, Beijing would have to grow more comfortable with debt….”


        Again Debt and printing were mentioned and those were your points of contention with the author.

        • Micha says:

          If Chinese government officials do indeed consider adopting the insights offered by MMT, it will be thanks largely to the efforts of Prof. Michael Hudson. He is a lecturer at the Peking University, a colleague of Stephanie Kelton at UMKC, advisor/consultant of top Chinese economic officials advocating for what the author refers to as new economic paradigm away from western and American orthodoxy.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Good for profs Hudson and Kelton.
            I am sure when the Chinese adopt MMT they will get the recognition,

  14. – resharing this re Karl’s and kasambahay’s discussion on licensed manufacturing:

    “..One of his bold approaches involved introducing a progressive manufacturing plan to develop strategic industry. Technological development often follows a basic plan that starts with basic research and ends with advanced technologies. For his progressive manufacturing plan, Habibie changed the order so it began with mastering advanced technologies – by technology transfer through licensed production – and ended with basic research.

    His argument was that Indonesia didn’t have the knowledge and resources to develop industry if this started from basic research.

    This approach is proven to be working for IPTN. A majority of IPTN’s aircraft were developed from other models, whose licences had been bought. These include NBO 105 light multipurpose helicopters, a model derived from Germany’s Bölkow Bo 105 helicopter, and NC 212 medium transport aircraft from Spain’s CASA C-212 Aviocar..”

    The Indonesian military didn’t even have radios during the infamous coup in 1965, each side just had WW1-style runners to pass messages, who of course were in constant danger of getting shot like in the movie 1917 – big difference to Indonesia that now builds its own ships and planes, and therefore can defend its seas.

    • sonny says:

      Even way back in mid-’60s, just a little observation could already show that the abundance of resources of the Philippines was in manpower education, training and development. The exodus of educated, specialized work-ready manpower was already a big tell as to where our future was going to be: Boeing, Sargent & Lundy, Parsons, were some of the first magnets for technology; the hospitals and the related medical arts that service them were also part of the big tells. The extractive industries had limited sustainability relative to the other countries much larger and gifted with natural patrimonies compared to the Philippines.

    • kasambahay says:

      there are indonesians who dont like habibe, they lost a territory when habibe granted timor independence. habibe was president for 17months and did run for reelection. habibe certainly knew his limitations. admirable.

      • It was better to let go of East Timor, practically the last remnant of Portuguese presence in SEA. Catholic and with an elite that speaks Portuguese much like the Philippine elite spoke Spanish before.

        Indonesia did manage to take control of nearly all the old Dutch East Indies, even West Papua or Irian Jaya where the original inhabitants are Melanesians not Malays. The postwar history of Indonesia was a lot bloodier than that of the Philippines. A lot of Moluccans live in Holland now as they never accepted Indonesian rule. Dayaks, Bornean headtakers, often left for Holland as well especially those who had served in the Dutch colonial army.

        Indonesia is still effectively ruled by the Javanese, the old rulers of Majapahit. Every Indonesian President was Javanese and only one was born outside Java. Priyayi, Javanese nobility, are said to be dominant in the civil service. Haughty and very sensitive to slights, according to some who are familiar with Indonesia. Though I found young Indonesian students at a cultural event once very remiscent of UP students in body language, polite etc. except they never said Sir and did not scratch their heads even once.

        Habibie’s mother was from the Javanese nobility BTW. Possibly that was one reason peasant son Suharto gave him a lot of leeway. Javanese BTW has even more hierarchy in it than old Tagalog, it has a different speech form for higher and lower classes among themselves – plus a way for higher to address lower and vice versa. There is a fifth form that developed for politicians to address citizens on media.

        Sumatrans in Indonesia are like the Visayans in the Philippines somehow, they were encouraged to settle in contested territories like Flores or Irian Jaya. The Philippines had the land of promise Mindanao, Indonesia had transmigrasi.

        One reason maybe why Indonesians don’t quarrel as much about effective Javanese rule is that Javanese is NOT the national language. Bahasa is an old trade language that is not the mother tongue of any tribe. So Sumatrans have less reason to get worked up than Visayans while those in third place after Javanese and Sumatrans I don’t know about.

        There is also a dangerous aspect to unity, Malay-style. In Malaysia it is effectively the Sultanates of the mainland that are in control, the politicians are mostly in UMNO. MLQ3 has called the Malaysian political way “tayo-tayo”. Oh, and Hofstede has measured 100% power distance in Malaysia, that is as absolute as in the old Philippines when those at the bottom had to prostrate themselves before datus. Hmm is that the origin of hampaslupa, aka slapsoil in modern terms?

        Of course aside from the three big Malay states and Timor Leste there is the only Sultanate that stayed independent, Brunei. The house of Bolkiah is the oldest existing political dynasty in the Malay world. The Philippines may also get to know itself better not only by getting to know its own local cultures more but by looking at its cousins, appreciating both similarities and differences including Sir and kamot-ulo.

        • kasambahay says:

          thanks, you did not mention our bisayan eccentricities of lifting our eyebrows in greetings without saying a thing, lol! as for hampaslupa, I do that all the time if it means I can get what I want. anyhow, the king and I musical with debra kerr and yul bryner, all heads must be lower than the king, subjects have to prostate themselves. as well, penitent christians do that too and prostrate themselves before the image of the lord specially at lent.

          in philippines we are predominantly christians, in indonesia and malaysia they’re mostly muslims and maybe that count for a lot of our differences, even though we are all south east asians.

          I do call men sir, women maam, when I was wait staff, and that meant I often got tipped. money in the kitty. I am very respectful to strangers, not so with my friends, we are equal: joke a lot and laugh a lot. I draw the line at kamot ulo, though I massage my scalp regularly, good for blood circulation, good for the scalp, and promotes healthy hair. and like most filipinos, I apologize even if I’m in the right. it’s our way of moving things along so we all wont get hang up on a mistake. result? we filipinos dont look our age, lol!

          • The late historian Benito Legarda did say that the coming of the Abrahamite religions – Islam and then Christianity – was the major historical shift in the Malay world. Manila, Batangas and Mindoro were already Muslim when the Spanish came.

            But not so deep as Raja Soliman and his family became Catholic after surrendering to Legazpi. Even if I think it was a bit like how some Filipino politicians change parties when a new President comes.

            As for Humabon it is documented that Magellan got mad when he put the Santo Niño together with all the other idols, so he burned the old idols, and some historians believe the Cebuanos did not exclaim “Kastila, Kastila” like Pigafetta wrote down but more likely “Pastilan, Pastilan”.

            The languages of the Malay world have many similarities. Dara is blood and ikan is fish in both Ilokano and Bahasa. Kanan is right in Bahasa. Bayaran tol is toll gate in Malaysia. Laut in Bahasa and laot in Filipino both mean the high seas.

            As for raising eyebrows in greeting or affirmation that isn’t just Visayan. And Lance did mention that in Kalimantan there is also tagay. Their languages are considered Southern Philippine languages like many in Mindanao. So there is certainly a lot of precolonial history in common. And how things developed differently is like comparing relatives who have gone on somewhat different paths.

            • Correction, not Kalimantan but Sulawesi.

              • kasambahay says:

                yay, pastilan! woe! eyebrow raising has gone international more than a while back. most notable is actor roger moore, the saint and then 007 licensed to kill. critiques had said moore’s best acting talent comprised of raising his eyebrow, just the one brow while the other brow stay put, lol!

  15. Karl Garcia says:

    Last year Lance CorporalX had been pushing for Degrowth. I wonder what made him stop.

    “This is a profound inclusion. By pointing to degrowth, something Timothée Parrique, a social scientist and economist, refers to “as an opportunity to recenter our economies on what really matters,” the reports’ authors challenge the widely accepted story that endless economic growth—an increase in the quantity of goods and services—is essential to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life around the world.

    Degrowth offers the world a new story, one that acknowledges the role economic growth has had in climate change and identifies alternatives.”

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Degrowth is the opposite of Economic growth.
      Less production and consumption.

      I think the big guys attempt to delay degrowth is by green washing or pretending to taper off from fossil fuels.

      The thing linked by ISK about Chevron’s carbon capture and storage am afraid that it failed to impress.

      I know change must be gradual and no instant noodle stuff, maybe they mean well but the jury is still out.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        I might eat my words on not being impressed but they are turning gas stations to charging centers.

        Shell, BP, Chevron Offer EV Charging At Select Stations
        Forward Thinking Oil Companies Are Providing EV Chargers Next To Their Gas Pumps

        • I haven’t stopped, if you remember it bled into Inday Sara and then the Bitcoin/CBDC talk awhile back. i even made an NFT w/ a dog. But all of Micha’s commentaries fit perfectly like hang/glove to De-Growth/Ecological Economics,

          Filipinos studying economics now, should watch that video, how economics as a field today is like religion, like Filipino lawyering, a certain way is taught, a certain way is practiced, why both lawyering and economic’king there and here are all scams, karl.

          As for green is not green below, that’s why we need De-growth Economics, we should be comparing all these new “green” products and services, to past ones that have led to climate change, and then figure out how “green” something is vis a vis De-growth.

          Or is it more of the same.

          De-growth is the new metric, but mostly it means we factor in our environment now instead of pretending we can just keep on taking and taking and taking… balance. You can fit this concept to any discipline really.

          Who knows maybe BBM will be for this, or appoint some one who will; i think Inday Sara and the power couple her Mayor friends from Lilo-an will be pushing this too. They will be more productive than Gina Lopez i think. new generation.

          Time to accept President Marcos jr. Time is up.

      • kasambahay says:

        karlG, degrowth has got me ears burning, loll! our international debt has grown so high under duterte, degrowthing it would probly mean no more new high heels for me, simbako lang!

        I’m presuming govt coffer is already depleted that students are hard pressed to provide for their own philhealth insurance cover, albeit a mock up revenue collection for the govt. my fear is that students will be further asked to pay funeral insurance now that terror law is fully implemented!

    • isk says:

      Going green is not always greenish at all. Palaging may kapalit.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Thanks ISK is still about the green backs. Green is elusive.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Even if you go Cobalt free there still Lithium Mining. You can not escape mining.
        Plus Lithium Iron phosphate has low energy density that means less driving range.


          “The 2022 list of critical minerals was determined using the most up-to-date scientific methods to evaluate mineral criticality. The new list contains 15 more commodities compared to the nation’s first list of critical minerals created in 2018. Much of the increase in the new list is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as “mineral groups.” In addition, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium and strontium.

          “Critical minerals play a significant role in our national security, economy, renewable energy development and infrastructure,” said Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. “USGS data collection and analysis scans the horizon for emerging issues in crucial supply chains, and every three years identifies the nation’s current vulnerabilities to potential disruptions.”

          The new list was created based on directives from the Energy Act of 2020, which indicates that at least every three years, the Department of the Interior must review and update the list of critical minerals, update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals, take interagency feedback and public comment through the Federal Register, and ultimately finalize the list of critical minerals.

          The Energy Act of 2020 defines a “critical mineral” as a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and which has a supply chain vulnerable to disruption. Critical minerals are also characterized as serving an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.

          The 2022 list of critical minerals, while “final,” is not intended as a permanent designation of mineral criticality but will be a dynamic list updated periodically to represent current data on supply, demand, concentration of production and current policy priorities.

          “Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time,” said Steven M. Fortier, USGS National Minerals Information Center director. “

  16. I hope they skin this guy alive,

    • Micha says:

      Yeah, horrible guy, doing a video while walking on the streets of Budapest? Hard on the eyes.

      Skin him already!

      • “On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media.”

        I gotta feeling Russians deserved it.

    • Micha says:

      Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his country’s war against Russia as a battle for democracy itself. In a carefully choreographed address to U.S. Congress on March 16, Zelensky stated,

      “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether
      Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.”

      U.S. corporate media has responded by showering Zelensky with fawning press, driving a campaign for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and inspiring a flamboyant musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military during the 2022 Grammy awards ceremony on April 3.

      Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia.

      “There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia.

      Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.

      The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents.

      On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.

      While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics.

      “The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government,” a left-wing activist beaten and persecuted by Ukraine’s security services commented this April.

      • Micha , i guess SBU isn’t really as bad as ole Gonzalo made it seem, he was questioned and released… 🙂

        Chilean-American writer and filmmaker Gonzalo Lira, who was residing in Ukraine, lost contact with his family and acquaintances on April 15, and has made his first reappearance online since.

        Yesterday, Lira had a video conference with Alex Christoforou, in which he confirmed he was in Kharkov and “a little rattled,” after he was picked up by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on April 15.

        He stated that he did not have his phone or laptop during the time and that anything posted on his Twitter and Telegram feed should be discounted.

        Lira thanked the people for caring about his absence, and advocated concern for others that have disappeared, highlighting some of them have been killed.

        Lira confirmed he was physically okay, and stated that he was unable to give any details publicly at the moment.

        He explained that the authorities in Kharkov have told him he cannot leave.

        • Micha says:

          He is effectively under house arrest. The only reason he’s still alive is Christoforou and others made inquiries about his disappearance and contacted the Chilean embassy for assistance. His online presence was also a strong deterrent to not inflict harm since he has followers who will expose the bloody act on social/alternative media which will be bad PR for Zelensky and his thugs.

          • Or

            SBU isn’t as bad as Gonzalo said it was.

            • Micha says:

              The ‘Azov lunatics’ and other territorial defense Nazi formations are USA and EU funded and trained shock troops for a totally supine and Nazified Ukrainian government.

              If kidnappings, tortures, and murder of political opponents/critics is not as bad in your vocabulary then sure, Zelensky’s SBU are benevolent defenders of Ukrainian “democracy”.

              • Gonzalo was let go, Micha. Let’s start from there and back track. Maybe Gonzalo was just wrong?

              • Micha says:

                He’s on house arrest. His computer and cellphone were confiscated. There were SBU minders when he did that remote interview with Christoforou.

                The last youtube video he did was over two weeks ago before he re-surfaced.

                He has not been harmed but he is NOT free!

              • And he shouldn’t be free, he needs to stand trial after all this.

                But he was wrong in saying SBU was gonna kill him, obviously it would’ve been really easy to salvage op the guy since theres a war going on, yet SBU let him live, so SBU and Zelensky regime are law abiding.

                that’s the main take away, if i were SBU i’d have the dude killed for being an idiot foreigner undermining the very country he’s living in during war. Like Joe, as a guest in another country, yours is just to shut up, especially when theres a war,

                not pick Putin’s side.

              • Micha says:


                Gonzalo Lira’s wife is Ukrainian. He is living on the eastern part of Ukraine where most of population have pro-Russian sympathies. As you might already know, this conflict is a prolongation of the civil war of 2014 where the Maidan radical nationalists clashed with pro-Russian separatists. You should stop treating Ukraine like it’s a homogenous country free of ethnic tension.

                Lira’s online presence on Youtube and Twitter is his saving grace else he would have been eliminated a long time ago by radical neo-Nazis in Zelensky’s military.

                Zelensky himself had been sort of intimidated by these radical nationalists because he has pivoted from his progressive campaign promises wherein he obtained very high approval rating of 73% during the early part of his presidency but is now fully transformed as an all out neoliberal stooge with very low approval rating of just 26%.

                He is now using the cover of war as an opportunity to clamp down on critics and opposition leaders, oftentimes through brutal and violent method.

              • JoeAm says:

                It’s bizarre to say Zelensky is using the cover of war for anything as if Ukraine invaded Russia. Get Russia out of Ukraine then see what Zelensky does. Solve the real problem rather than make the victim the culprit.

              • “Lira’s online presence on Youtube and Twitter is his saving grace else he would have been eliminated a long time ago by radical neo-Nazis in Zelensky’s military.”

                Think about it, Micha. How bad can SBU be if they are intimidated by someone’s mere Youtube and Twitter presence?!!!

                I’m thinking these guys are like cute cuddly bunnies now. SBU: We respect your human rights, rule of law and your social media presence!!! LOL!

              • Micha says:


                1. The war couldn’t have come at the most opportune moment for Zelensky when he is struggling with public approval over his domestic neoliberal policies. Never let a good crisis come to waste. Naomi Klein’s shock doctrine at work.

                2. When the US invaded Iraq based on 100% fabricated lies about its WMDs, can you remember Russia actively aiding Sadam to repulse the invasion?

                I know that two wrongs do not make it right but that is beside the point. The point being that the US has lost all moral ground in being an arbiter of right and wrong in this conflict.

              • JoeAm says:

                I think it is not a moral stand to allow a Hitlerian tyrant to slaughter innocents, or to provoke WWIII. But if that’s your moral stand, you are entitled to it. Most Americans I believe agree with the Biden approach. The Legislature is funding it. The only Putin defenders are Fox News and Trump whacknoids, and I suppose Russians who mainly follow Russian State media.

      • JoeAm says:

        I think being the leader of a nation under attack requires an iron fist. There can be no debate when the choice is eradication or survival, and from all available evidence, Zelensky is a brilliant leader. If he is using the war to consolidate his political position, that gives his brilliance a pragmatic twist. I’ve watched some video, drones dropping bombs on unsuspecting Russians, leaving bodies strewn across the yard, or a Ukrainian soldier casually tossing a grenade into a group of injured Russians, finishing them off. It’s war. It’s not a town hall debate.

        If we project down the road and assume a Ukrainian victory, we can imagine a flood of aid going into Ukraine, elections as scheduled, and the country becoming a forthright member of the European Union. If Russia holds onto Ukraine territory, we can foresee a long drawn-out war and Zelensky’s iron fist rule continuing. We can root for either scenario.

  17. Karl Garcia says:

    Everytime Taiwan is mentioned by pundits regarding the Ukraine Russia war, I always wanted to say: “Be careful what you wish for”.

  18. Karl Garcia says:

    Adam Zivo: No, Ukraine does not have a neo-Nazi problem
    ‘If you want to know the truth, ask us. We’re here. We’re on the front line and we know better’

  19. Karl Garcia says:

    Yes multiple wrongs do not make a right.
    No WMDS were found in Iraq, but the world had amnesia and forgot that s
    Sadam gassed the Kurds, his own people.

    America must not care if someone shouts at them that they are hypocrites if they are doing the right thing in stopping Russia.

    Everyone is a hypocrite, that is the first thing the world notices because indeed, it takes one to know one.

    Russia is WRONG here and why on earth say that they are in the right.

  20. Micha says:

    Pope says NATO may have caused Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
    Francis says transatlantic military alliance was ‘barking’ at Russia’s door.

    I’m beginning to love the most progressive pontiff evaah!

    • JoeAm says:

      “…while he might not go as far as saying NATO’s presence in nearby countries “provoked” Moscow, it “perhaps facilitated” the invasion.”

      “Since the invasion of Ukraine, Francis has repeatedly criticized the invasion, while avoiding naming Putin explicitly, in line with the Vatican’s foreign policy of keeping the door open for possible dialogue.”

      • kasambahay says:

        the pope is probly just careful. vatican does not have an army to defend itself in case of armed conflict. though there are around 130 swiss guards responsible for the pope’s safety.

    • Juan Luna says:

      I’m beginning to love the most progressive pontiff evaah!
      Was that because his statement was a Russia-friendly one?

      I mean, you have your cock on this fight, Russia, the aggressor and human rights violator.

    • Juan Luna says:

      Was that because his statement tends to favor Russia which happens to be the one you support? I mean, Putin was the aggressor and human rights violator WHICH the Pope made no mention of. 🙄

  21. Pope Francis knows exactly what Putin’s all about, he’s my kinda Pope, not Micha’s 😉 :

    Pope Francis warned the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church not to be “Putin’s altar boy” and justify the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine.

    In a Tuesday interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis said he spoke with Patriarch Kirill, a key supporter of Vladimir Putin and his war, for 40 minutes over Zoom. During the March 16 conversation, Francis said, Kirill was listing off all the justifications for the war from a sheet of paper he was holding.

    “I listened and then told him: I don’t understand anything about this,” Francis said. “Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics but that of Jesus. We are pastors of the same holy people of God. Because of this, we must seek avenues of peace, to put an end to the firing of weapons.”

  22. caliphman says:

    The Man Who Could Ruin the Philippines Forever

    To those who still remember and struggled the darkness of the Marcos dictatorship and ousted him, his clan and his cronies from positons of power and fortunes embezzled from tens of millions of Filipino people… this May 9 will be a day of infamy. This opinion piece written by Miguel Syjuco in the New York Times voices the horror that those of us here in the US in the looming self-enslavement by an ignorant, perhaps weak-minded, probably mostly cowed and self-interested electorate, a quarter of century later after the same family who raped and pillaged the Philippines of its freedom and meager national treasury.

    Michael Syjuco may be the last to speak truth to power to these scions will overwhelmingly elect to rule over a people who are oblivious or uncaring of the pain, suffering, poverty, and loss of civil liberties to over a hundred million Filipinos. Without his or other voices, the death of democracy will go unheralded to those liberty loving countrymen who grieve and can still publicly mourn the Philippine nation’s self-inflicted descent into the lower reaches of hell.

    Perhaps this is no longer the forum to echo political views such as this given how the government has muzzled independent sources of news and views. If so then I express my regrets to the site as I wish no adverse repercussions to the site or its management.

    • caliphman says:

      Sorry for all the the unedited gramatical errors and typos. One of these days the Word Press pisting engine might yet have a built-in and functioning editing feature.

    • Micha says:

      As I’ve repeatedly said, we cannot have true democracy if we do not democratize wealth.

      Say what you must about the jarring prospects of Marcos’ election – that is just but one (a major one, no doubt) grave consequence in that failure to democratize in form and substance by reigning in obscene inequality.

        • caliphman says:

          Karl, this again is one of those fringe or discredited economic,conspiracy or convoluted views or news Micha seems perenially addicted to. It is not true that MMT is becoming accepted economic doctrine or policy in the US, Europe or China inspite of the accelarating deficit spending required by the political agendas here and these other regions in the past decade. It is not clear that voters choices in the Philippines are driven primatrily by income and wealth inequalities. These inequalities have become more pronounced everywhere in the world whether in the US or China regardless of where in the free market ir comnand economy spectrum the governments adhere to. And yet, we still have voters in countries like South Korea, and other countries where national leaders can be freely elected under a constitution and whose voters would not elect a corrupt, immoral, and dictatorial family like the Marcoses inyo power again.

          And no, Russian troops are in Ukraine and there are no Ukrainian troops in mother Russia. Neither is it true inspite if what might be claimed here that Putin is only cleansing Ukraine of Nazis or because NATO is a real threat to Russian internal security and the possibility of a Ukraine joining the treaty is sufficient reason to justify overthrow its government or annex its territory. Anyone who subscribes or advocates such views who like me lives here in the US and has access to other than Fox News I would think should know better than mouth any of these views as legitimate.

          I first started posting here many eons ago when the Robles and JoeAm blogs just started and commented on many economic, legal and political issues from Corona’s impeachment, Aquino’s Masapopino PC massacre, Binay’s SC trials, Duterte’s 2016 campaign, etc. with many who took oppising views whose names I now have difficulty now remembering. The blog is significantly changed and its posters and readership significantly diminished, its ability to have politcal views expressed necessarily constrained by the threat of goverrnment retaliation. So I inly visit once in a long while and regret being unable to carry on prolonged exchanges of views which was fulfilling for me.

          Finally, I am in a favored position like Joe, Irineo, Micha, my favorite Google PhD and others to be outside the Philippines or have the opportunity to do so in case the worst happens under a new Marcos/Duterte regime. There are around a hundred million other Filipinos who are not in a postion to do so. From the looks if it, being under another prolonged dictatorship and again losing the power to vote and freely elect a new set of national leaders is not necessarly an adverse national scenario . Then again this may be the last time we can vote freely and my ballit follows where my feet voted a long time ago when the Marcos dictatorship effectively took that right from me. This to me is one of the worst outcomes that may result from tomorrows election and its not BBM’s or Sara’s incompetence that concerns me but its demonstrated lack of character and thirst for unrestrained power that I dread most.

          • “my favorite Google PhD”

            That’s me!!!

          • Karl Garcia says:

            I so miss you The Caliphman, You had been one comment a year since the pandemic.

          • Micha says:

            Gah caliphman, MMT is NOT an economic doctrine – it’s a description of how a monetarily sovereign state issues and spends its own currency into existence. The fact that this needs repeating means you don’t actually fully understand it and if you don’t fully understand it means you couldn’t tell it’s being there even if it’s right in front of your nose.

          • JoeAm says:

            I think the blog is different, too, and reflects a change in character with the death of Edgar, the general discouragement of trying to argue for a better Philippines when its “leaders” do not share that interest, and social media migration away from deep reads to shallow reads and videos. When Aquino was President, we were relevant. Now, not so much. But we persist, Karl the anchor, me the provocation, Irineo the intellect, and others the eccentricities. People come and go. I pay the $117 a year to keep the blog online and we float in a downwind direction with paddles manned by any who choose to apply themselves.

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