“Shaken,” but not stirred

So then it’s the President saying “Im shocked, shocked, that killings are going on here!” No coincidence, it seems to me (see my Arab News column below) that in the wake of the visit of a top State Department official, the President’s suddenly reported “shaken” over the continuing killings.


Shaken by Washington, more likely it seems. Stirred into real action? I’m skeptical.

The debate continues: are political killings state-sanctioned? Or simply shrugged off by the state?

Tonyo Cruz of Bayan Muna sends a report on the killing of judges and lawyers:
Iffm Report By Sava
Here’s the executive summary:
Iffm Executive Summary And Press Release By Sava

Meanwhile, Gen. Palparan ignores the courts.

Jove Francisco recounts how the press caught the Palace fudging things. The noise about OWWA funds isn’t going to get away -here’s yet another can full of wriggly worms. Anyway, Ii’s about time: government charters PAL plane for Lebanon evacuees. (Update: President orders evacuation of Lebanon).

Impeachment requires fewer than 79 signatures. Ellen Tordesillas notes proponents of impeachment are being harassed.

Listen to part two of the podcast interview of Irwin Ver.

Indeed: why not one laptop per child in RP?

Onion imports stopped. Good.

In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is A Sword of Damocles Over the Head of Arroyo?

Dan Mariano on the political killings. Greg Macabenta says the UK is poised to close the market for Filipino nurses.

The President, to be sure, should be thanked for a revival of Philippine political satire. Manuel Buencamino describes the President at the hospital; JB Baylon looks into the future and suggests what the President’s post 2007 elections conversations will be like.

Overseas, it’s the calm before the political storm in Thailand:

This is the calm before another storm, obviously, but we should enjoy it while it lasts. This peaceful break is precious, because the great national divide is still there and Thaksin is not going anywhere. Add the possibility of Chat Thai leader Banharn Silapa-archa becoming the next prime minister, with Thaksin pulling the strings from behind the scenes, and we need all the rest we can get.

Let’s sit back and prepare ourselves for the most peculiar, crucial, and educational election campaign in modern history. Don’t believe any of the preaching from politicians about the virtues of harmony and reconciliation. For all our flaws and immaturity, we should be experienced enough to know that the next election is not about reuniting the country, but about camps of irreconcilable views reaffirming their stances and wearily giving democratic means to co-exist another try.

In the blogosphere, a promisingly witty satirical blog makes its debut: Ang Bagong Maharlika (lovely how each entry is “decreed” by Apo Andy redux).

big mango points to the need to foster a culture of excellence.

baratillo@cubao describes the pro and con sides in the “people’s initiative” battle as essentially sterile efforts. blurry brain has a similar attitude with regards to the old pro-Marcos, anti-Marcos divide.

Red’s Herring makes me wonder, is relativism a good thing?

Achieving Happiness braces herself for the return home.

village idiot savant is uncomfortable with embracing medical tourism.

Buwayahman is ticked off by people who don’t mention sources.

News that the old indestructible, Fidel Castro, has temporarily relinquished power. Slate covers chatter in the blogosphere on the subject. A very insightful blog entry on the manner in which Fidel’s passing, when it happens, may mercifully mean not a senseless restoration of the ones who lost the revolution and those who subsequently fled, or the utter ruin of those who still take pride in the revolution. Berkeley Bubble on Fidel’s temporary replacement -his brother- and other “Fidelistas.”

Maureen Lycaon gets spooked by a BBC documentary on supervolcanoes.

An internet phenomenon: conspiracy theory documentary makes waves.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

20 thoughts on ““Shaken,” but not stirred

  1. hello manolo.

    understandably (at least to a person like myself who comes from my generation), the phrase “fresh off the boat” can only be vaguely familiar at best. nowadays, any rash association made between first-time overseas pinoy workers AND boats is sure to strike many as plain anachronistic. the label FOB today more aptly connotes “fresh off Boeing.” but if u take a closer look at the sizeable segment of the cuban population anxious for change, it won’t be so hard to see how hot on the trail they’ve been for any viable means of escape. they would literally paddle boats to florida at the first whiff of opportunity, in the hope of sampling the american (US) way of life.

    no judgment at all from me.

  2. Wow at 93,just to be on leave. Eisenhower,Kennedy ,Johnson and Nixon are already gone but he is still around.

    FOB, is actually freight on board a cargo term,ginamit lang nila to sort of create a term for those going to the port of Miami.

  3. Irwin Ver,
    I rememeber,the house built especially for him in the Bobifacio Naval Station, became a quarters for generals. We lived in that said quarters for almost five years.It reminded how spoiled the Vers were during Marcos’ time.

  4. Relativism or is it theology. Is the U.S. government now being governed by the theologians of Christian fundamentalism. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq (moving towards one)are all fundamentally theocracies. North Korea turned Marxism (dialectical materialism) into a theology. Pol Pot did the same thing in Cambodia. The more secular of the branch of Jews today are the Ashchenazic (European Jews) However most of Israel is populated by the Shepardic Jews. They lived peacefully amongst the Muslims in the Middle East for generations. It was the Christians that persecuted a lot of the Ashchenazim all over Europe. In a sense that persecutioin brought forth the religion of Zionism. Every fascists idol Adolph made it a reality. Off course it helped create it’s counter force Al Qaeda. Will the theologians of the U.S. and Israel now do for Al Qaeda a Sunni group, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Fatah and the rest of the Arabs with the participation of the Iranians who are Aryans what Hitler did for the Ashchenazim and the Shephardim in creating the Israeli theocracy that is still Israel. Almost all of the Middle East was a colonial construct. Empire drew the boundaries and will continue to do so. The Philippines also shares that same history as being created by empire. We would like to believe that we are “white men” That arrogance has left us behind our Asian neighbors.
    Now it seems the shoe is moving to the other foot. Black September, Al Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah were all created directly and indirectly by the Palestinian diaspora. Ask any Irish Roman Catholic about the Irish diaspora after the potato famine and you will see the roots of Sein Fein and the IRA. Same causes different races.

    Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Central Asia and India hold over 400 Muslims.

    Will George Bush and his theologians create the ultimate jihad?

    Before the Lakota Sioux warrior would ride off into battle he would paint himself, dance and greet everyone in the tribe with the phrase that sounds like ‘Oka hei’ which literally meant “it’s a good day to die.” They and almost all Indian tribes would mutilate the bodies of their fallen enemy so that when they faced them again in the next life they would have a competitive advantage.

    The Japanese warrior spirit of Bushido disdained defeat and their mythical belief in the samurai code of honor meant that they die fighting and the more of the enemy they take with them the better. They honor their kamikaze spirit which is theological in nature – “Divine wind” Till today the rate of suicides is highest in the developed world. Respect for authority (Sun God) was literally at the point of losing ones head.

    And in Israel – everyone men and women of age and healthy are citizen warriors.

    Nature almost always creates it’s own forces of contradiction. It strengthens the species.

    AMERICAN THEOCRACY (This is a good read)
    The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.
    By Kevin Phillips.


  5. The UNDP quality of life index ranks Cuba 53 among the world’s 180 plus countries. For reference, the Philippines is number 83.

    Castro was able to take care of his people despite a 40 year economic blockade from America, one failed invasion and never ending terrorist attacks from Miami based Cubans allied with US intelligence and defense agencies.

    Yet, why are Cubans willing to paddle to America anyway? Well, why are Mexicans willing to hide in boxes just to enter the US? Why Filipinos? Why even Europeans, Japanese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Hongkong Chinese etc? Because the US is rich, there is work to be found if you’re not picky and it’s a consumers paradise.

    Cuba, despite its relative poverty, sends humanitarian aid not only to poor countries in South America, the Carribe and Africa but also to industrialized countries like Canada. There are Cuban doctors in those places in Canada where Canadian doctors don’t want to practice.

    Cuba is also a world leader in disease control research. Despite a US law preventing US corporation from doing business with Cuba, an exception was made to allow American pharmaceutical firms to learn from Cuba’s research on cancer, HIV, and other viruses.

    Castro’s passing will be celebrated in America but Cuba’s loss will be America’s and the world’s loss. He is a great leader because his heart and his mind never parted ways. And both his heart and his mind are large and have always been employed in the service of his beloved Cubans. Castro is a great freedom fighter like Mandela and Gandhi.

    I trust the UNDP quality of life index as a guide and as a measure of effective delivery of services by governments to their citizens. I trust it more than all the thousands of tons of anti-Castro propaganda that has flooded the world for decades.

    Just imagine how progressive Cuba would have become if it was allowed to live normally without the most powerful country in the planet doing its damnedest best to destroy it.

  6. Castro’s only sin was not to bow to American hegemony. But it should be pointed out that he never bowed to the Russians either, Despite the fact that they were his only friend. Read up on how Castro defied Russia as far back as Kruschev’s time. Castro charted his own course and thus became a bad example for the rest of the American continent and the world.

  7. progressive as long as you’re straight, only read and write what the censors approve of, do not criticize the state, do not contemplate any other political organization than the ruling party, or insist too much on freedom of worship.

  8. Fidel Castro is ill. At 80 years of age, death is always a possibility. What could happen when the ancient dictator passes away? There is a large population of Cuban exiles in the U.S. that is just waiting for Fidel to pass away in order to detach the country from the old despot’s stranglehold.

    In U.S. eyes, Cuba is viewed as a strategic location in the Caribbean. It is also highly desirable as a tropical getaway for tourists and is the most ideal place in the world to produce cigars, rum, sugar cane (think ethanol) and baseball players (think major league).

    With Fidel gone, it will be the start of open season on Cuba. And, just as Erich Honecker’s downfall preceded the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, Castro’s demise should diminish resistance to “Yanqui” advances.

    But there is now an even more interesting perspective to Uncle Sam’s desirous intentions with regard to Cuba. The object of desire is oil. Yes, black gold. Spanish, Canadian and Chinese oil companies have been drilling and exploring off Cuba’s shores for oil. Click on the following articles about oil discoveries off Cuba:



    Large oil deposits have been discovered and there are other promising ones. If the “Yanquis” will go all the way to kill and be killed in Iraq, why not just step next door and get hold of those oil deposits? Enjoying the sun, sea and the salsa beat and getting soused with Cuba Libres and blowing Cohibas sure beats the stench, the withering heat and the hostility of the Middle East.

    Here’s more on Cuban oil:

  9. Whether the political killings are state-sanctioned, or just shrugged off by the state, the state is still responsible for it, in one way or another.

  10. I’m not a fan of the current Pope, but i have come around to agreeing with him on the dangers of moral relativism. We can clearly see the effect of a politics drained of moral content. Of course, we have to be also mindful of moving to the other extreme of moral imperialism, and for this, we can take guidance from Niklas Luhmann’s warning and Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings.

    From Luhmann, we get the image of morality as ‘bacteria’ that can have either beneficial or harmful effects on the system. Any morality should take into consideration the workings of the system and not just follow its own independent logic. Specifically, he warns: “Neither the government nor the opposition should entangle the model of government/opposition in a moral scheme in the sense that one side (our’s) is the only good and respectable one, while the other side acts immorally and reprehensibly. For this would inhibit the very idea of a change from government to opposition as such and the idea that democratic rules work.” (Source: Observing Complexity, Rasch et.al)

    From Gandhi, we can learn from his approach to fighting as described by Mark Juergensmeyer in his book ‘Gandhi’s Way’:

    The basic idea of Gandhi’s approach to fighting is to redirect the focus of a fight from persons to principles. Gandhi called it satyagraha, ‘grasping onto principles,’ or ‘truth force.’

    He assumed that behind any struggle lies another clash, a deeper one: a confrontation between two views that are each in some measure true. Every fight, to Gandhi, was on some level a fight between differing “angles of vision” illuminating the same truth.

    This means that most of the ways that you and I fight simply miss the point. We either grapple with the person who represents a position or else try to accommodate that person, without struggling with the position itself. That, to Gandhi’s mind, leaves the real conflict unresolved. It simmers in the background, ready to boil over on another occasion

    From the above, i believe we can navigate between the excesses of ‘moral relativism’ and ‘moral imperialism’ by:

    1. Taking a ‘systems’ view to moral questions;
    2. Focusing on underlying principles and truths; and
    3. Avoiding both passive accommodation and forced victories.

  11. F.O.B. according to a famous filipino academecian, scholar, philisopher and aspiring nuclear scientist, mr. rex navarette stands for Filipinos On Bacation !

  12. mr hok-hok bolante appeared before the US court with a Filipino interpreter. the HefHopVee, hok-hok, appeared trimed down to his fighting weight……poor guy !

  13. Ralativism. Where someone is right depending on who is listening.Since a point of view is right somehow,somewhere,never mind if it is wrong to others it is still right.

    I can relate to that.

  14. “Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Central Asia and India hold over 400 Muslims.

    Will George Bush and his theologians create the ultimate jihad?”

    Just here in South East Asia,that would more or less 170 million,with again more or less 100 million in Indonesia alone.

    As of now,the concern for Indonesia is not to lead them to a holy war,it is to assist them in recovery form the tsunami, the volcano eruptions and the earth quakes.

    An immediate concern for Filipinos is Mindanao,
    a mess is about to happen when the government gives in to the demands of the less in number but a more demanding group,surely things could only get worse.

  15. Cuba,

    Whether we deny it or not.Cuba was the launching pad of the rise of US to power.

    When the spanish were blamed for the explosion of USS Maine in Havana Cuba more than a hundred years ago,what followed?

    The Spanish-American war,then Guam,Puerto Rico and The Philippines were turned over to the Americans by the Spaniards but not Cuba.

    Cuba was given independence,so they say.

  16. Self correction lang sa isang post ko,alam naman nating bad trip ang glaring wrong information.Not that it matter to the rest.

    I wrote 93 pertaining to Fidel Castro. I do not know what I was thinking when I typed those numbers,he will turn 80 this August pala.Just tghe same he still outlasted the US presidents mentioned.

  17. thank you manolo for posting the report of the foreign lawyers regarding the killings of their filipino colleagues. i am sure the likes of judge gingoyon’s family appreciate this gesture. they worry that the people have already forgotten the man’s supreme sacrifice.

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