Friday, November 28, 2008

N29M: Our movement for democratic struggle

Today, Fr. Robert Reyes, with members and supporters of the November 29 Movement (N29M), will be launching his book on Gen. Danilo Lim and Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ internationally-covered protest march from the Makati RTC to the Manila Peninsula against the Arroyo regime. It has been, thus far, the culmination of years of struggle by soldiers and civilians who continue to uphold decency and integrity, as well as, offer hope and vision for our country. While the incident ended peacefully despite the fascism displayed by Gloria’s PNP attack dogs, the debased character of her regime was further highlighted as media found itself cuffed and gagged until it fought back to thwart the intimidation.

The standing of the N29M leaders has continued to soar in reverse proportion to Gloria’s credibility in the eyes of the people. Despite the almost total media blackout on Trillanes, he continues to figure in the surveys, beating even some presidential wannabes who’ve been using their public posts to figure in the next elections. And while Gen. Lim has had a much lower profile, there are now many Gen. Lim t-shirts being voluntarily printed by supporters all over the country, which feature his battle cry: “Dissent without action is consent.”

Fr. Robert’s book, which includes short contributions from those who were detained in connection with the event (Gen. Lim, UP president Dodong Nemenzo, myself and others), will be launched at the Ninoy Aquino statue on Ayala Avenue at 10 a.m. today. A book signing will follow, along with a mass by Fr. Robert -- all in humble and sparse rituals, capped off by some delicious siopao and sago’t gulaman. A commemorative N29M march cum rally will be held the following day, starting off from the intersection of Timog and Edsa at the GMA 7 corner, and then proceeding to Camp Crame , where a mass will be held to signify the people’s solidarity with those still detained.

The commemoration is timely as the killing of the latest impeachment effort in Congress emphasizes the futility of working within the system so corrupted by Gloria et al. Investigations into the most horrendous corruption cases have been stonewalled or trashed, leaving Gloria and her band of crooks much bolder, seeing that they’ve gotten away with their crimes with impunity each time.

Past critics of the November 29 move of Sen. Trillanes’ group have now come around to appreciate the action; for truly, it was not the end but the beginning of a real struggle for democracy. It was a call to action, to civil disobedience, to reject the courts that have continued to run roughshod over the nation’s democratic foundations of law.

Of course, another action at this time would have even more chances of completing the process. With the way things are, waiting for elections in 2010 is not an option because there can be no legitimate elections under a regime determined to keep itself in power by thwarting the people’s sovereign will. In fact, removing the obstacle, Gloria, is only a prerequisite to conducting true, honest and credible elections. We still have others to deal with.

Whenever power usurpers impose their will, chaos ensues. Just look at Thailand where a repost of Edsa II is playing out for the nth time. There, neo-conservatives, comprising “loyalists” and urban “civil society,” sabotage democratically-elected governments that prioritize the common weal. In the current instance, their leader admits that demonstrations there cost $25,000 a day and are funded by bankers. In the King’s Palace, there are anti-Thaksin forces too led by retired, US-backed generals. Taken together, these are the same elements that staged a coup against the democratically-elected Thaksin by using their media dominance to raise spurious corruption charges. It is also their media mogul leader, Sondhi Limthongkul, who recently called for a largely-appointed parliament instead of an elected one. Now that chaos reigns as a result of their intransigence, their captive military is again calling for new elections to resolve the impasse. Oh, when will they ever stop?

The Philippines will certainly need an intervention from good men in our military, arm-in-arm with non-corrupt Church leaders and citizens, to remove the obstacles to honest elections. It’s a prerequisite upon which a government of, by and for the people can fulfill a program for the nation’s survival and prosperity into the 21st century. Our columns and TV shows have focused on this very platform of: geothermal energy, full utilization of the coconut -- our “tree of life,” nationalization of public utilities, national debt audit, and import substitution toward a self-reliant, self-sustaining economy.

Only an independent economy can give rise to a truly independent foreign policy, which should steer us clear of any participation in international warmongering and enable us to call for: a multi-polar world based on regional associations, a global financial system based on productivity, and the adoption of new technology drivers such as country-specific renewable energies.

Only in a world of independent nations will we ever not be compelled to resort to wars created by a few powerful, rival “big powers” and the war-for-profit factions behind them.

And because good men who have powerful and positive visions are needed in such an effort, the November 29 Movement revives its call for our nation’s good warriors to gather, to escalate the democratic struggle against the evil that has stolen our Republic.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable, Channel 3, Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with this week’s topic, “SRI: Another RP Savior”; also visit

Monday, November 24, 2008

Program for Recovery, Peace and Prosperity

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) have made public their assessment of a staggering one million OFWs losing their jobs due to the western financial tsunami. A day earlier, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. disseminated in its e-mail newsletter the American Chamber of Commerce’s announcement that multi-nationals will be laying off a great many workers domestically.

Since DoLE and NEDA will naturally soft-pedal their alarming findings, we can be sure that the real adverse effects will be far greater. We should therefore not be lulled to complacency and should prepare for the worst just as what the G-20 economies are doing.

For its part, the US , has shifted talks about recession, which it now accepts as reality, to the apparent deflation that has been rearing its ugly head. Deflation, alongside depression, is one of a pair of dreaded “D” words policy makers wouldn’t want to come out of their lips. The 1930’s Great Depression was accompanied by massive deflation of prices of commodities.

Today, we are seeing oil price crashes left and right, and while nobody is declaring it as the official start of deflation just yet, it certainly is a good sign that production costs will have to be re-studied and expensive extractive oil wells shut down -- like the Galoc oil field recently re-inaugurated. If the US goes into full deflation and depression, the RP economy will face another “D” word -- death.

Amid this backdrop, global trade and commerce’s very lifeblood, the Letters-of-Credit system, is also facing its biggest threat. has featured articles on rotting cargoes and seized shipments in major global trading ports due to uncertainties in the banking system and the collapse of several major banks.

Here at home, economic bosses from transnational and local Big Business firms, along with their “techno-quacks,” have long designed RP’s export economy to be an appendage of the US and Western system. This system is thus crashing too.

This space, which is unabashedly anti-corporatist, has long warned of this because it had been alerted to the fundamentally flawed, unviable and suicidal nature of the greed/profit-based financial and economic system that is not held together by a strong center -- government leadership taking affirmative action for the national welfare.

The crisis the world is facing today is described as a once-in-a-century occurrence. The last time it happened in the 1930’s, it led to one of the most destructive cataclysms of the 20th Century -- the Second World War (WWII). That war was not entirely an accident as opportunistic financial and Big Business elements engineered political conditions to advance it.

The Philippines was totally helpless at that time. Used as a pawn, Manila became the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw . As a consequence, the squatter phenomenon in the Philippines emerged after WWII from the decimation of the carabao population and thence, agriculture, which forced urban migration that has remained up to this day.

Even if many may think that these are merely alarmist, history has proven that the worst imaginable scenarios always become reality in crisis times. I don’t want my people to suffer the kind of casualties that we had during WWII, which could include us or our children and their children. Whatever problems we have today will be miniscule to what would happen if there is a real world war in this nuclear age.

The attack on Iraq has produced a generation of victims of “Depleted Uranium” radiation among Iraqis and US Iraq veterans, and these are just the first examples of what we would see in a new global war. But even before that happens, we are already faced with economic radiation sickness today.

We must assume that at least three times of what the DoLE and NEDA project by way of additional unemployment must be added on to the 25 percent real unemployment we have today. Hence, the nearly 50-year old “export oriented” economic template no longer applies. To follow it will only guarantee the utter collapse of our economy, like what we’ve seen in Africa .

The key economic action to reverse this would be what’s called, “import substitution.” This entails tapping into domestic resources to generate jobs and wealth locally, producing the most critical of items such as food, power, transport energy, and fertilizers -- akin to turning our economy inwards, like what the most stable of economies like China have long been doing.

To remedy rice price crises and shortages that have been caused by the Arroyo regime’s deliberate suppression of domestic productivity to favor imports and smuggling, we should implement self-sufficiency programs within a year after Arroyo’s ouster.

Coconut food products and by-products, sourced from over 300 million coconut trees (which used to be 400 million), can then substitute for our many food imports, like coconut skim milk replacing expensive dairy products.

Meanwhile, geothermal energy utilization from already identified sites should be fast-tracked to supply another 2,000 MW or 40 percent of our power needs. Additionally, since the US Geological Service already identifies our country as one of its potential geothermal suppliers, just think of its wonders in meeting all our energy requirements, a few years after full exploration commences. On top of this, transport fuel from geothermal energy in the form of hydrogen, is also worth pursuing, as Iceland has shown.

Similarly, RP’s current natural gas capacity can be doubled to over 15 percent of total supply just as Mindanao ’s natural gas can be further opened up. Then, as we explore oil resources on- and offshore across our vast archipelago, building better-designed coal plants will reduce our oil dependence as well.

Since the Philippines is gifted with more potential than the US for food and energy independence given our vast mineral ores, which so many other countries covet, there’s really no need to worry about the resources for industrialization. It only takes good leadership and 10 years of determined implementation to carry our nation toward the path of recovery, peace and prosperity.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable, Channel 3, Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with this week’s topic, “The Coconut: RP’s Savior”; also visit

Friday, November 21, 2008

Erap’s Phenomenal Rebound

“Eat your heart out, Billy!” I silently exclaimed as SWS and Pulse Asia continued to confirm the only real startling development in Philippine politics today -- the astronomic rebound of President Joseph E. Estrada in the national scene. Despite persistent efforts by mainstream media and “civil society” to demonize him, these groups must know by now that such survey results only show just how ineffectual their demonization has been. Billy Esposo, for one, who is a rabid anti-Estrada columnist, must have been dealt a double whammy – one from Erap’s ascendance, and another from his PR client Manny Villar’s fall from the Senate presidency, partly a fallout from the latter’s perceived culpability in the C5 and other scams, which will only weaken his chances in 2010.

Another chief Estrada demonizer, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, performed its usual tricks on the day Pulse Asia corroborated an earlier SWS survey, finding Estrada a very close second to Noli de Castro -- with just a 1 percent statistical difference -- in terms of the public’s leadership preference. Apart from failing to report it on that day, which other papers like the Tribune dutifully did, it made sure that when it was reported a day later, the item carried a new distracting twist -- that of Estrada having engineered the Senate coup that installed Juan Ponce Enrile, on the say-so of an unnamed “administration senator” -- truly, an old trick that smacks of deliberate misinformation.

The Inquirer should have known that it is only its own credibility that would be damaged by coming out with such an outrageous theory to spite Estrada. Fortunately, Enrile had the good sense to speak the truth quickly, denying any hand of Estrada in the coup. It should be obvious to anyone with common sense that the Senate coup had been brewing for some time now as presidential aspirants in the Senate had been gritting their teeth for months, watching Villar use the Senate presidency to gain undue advantage over the others. Besides, Villar really doesn’t deserve the august office, which controls P1.2 billion in funds, when he has shown himself to be untrustworthy of the public’s trust, which is par for the course for most politicians like Enrile, who has admitted lying to the people too.

The dramatic rebound of Estrada in the face of a whole year of the Inquirer’s constant repetition of totally distorted terms such as “convicted criminal” is nothing but phenomenal. This should not be brushed off simply as a “sympathy” reaction from the masa because the surveys show that he has also gained in the A, B and C levels. The contrast between the actions and policies of the Filipinist Estrada versus the globalizing Gloria and FVR has become clear and swung public sentiment to him, especially with regard to the following issues: his “all out war” in Mindanao versus Gloria and FVR’s appeasement and capitulation embodied in the MoA-Ancestral Domain treaty; his “carabao breeding” program symbolic of expanding domestic production versus Gloria and FVR’s import dependent policy; and his “food security” thrust versus the rice shortages of Gloria and FVR.

The lies of “civil society” mouthpieces can no longer hold up to the truth. It has been said that…

“The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” - Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's Minister of Propaganda)

In a State controlled by Gloria and “civil society” elements, the lie of progress and prosperity could only last up to a certain point. As shown by increasing hunger incidences, reported by surveys and the UN agencies, majority of Filipinos are now feeling the pangs of hunger. Worse, the Gallup polls even rank the Philippines today as number 5 among the hungriest nations of the world.

President Estrada has repeatedly declared that he would only be compelled to run if the opposition cannot come up with a unified candidate, which makes his rise in the public’s presidential preference even more remarkable. He is the only undeclared candidate who is rising in the polls while others, who have made their intentions known, have resorted to all sorts of gimmicks -- from seeking attention in a celebrity singing match, to spending wildly on radio and TV ads, grandstanding on OFW woes, to using government housing projects to endear himself to the masa -- but all for naught.

The fact remains that whenever Estrada was included in the surveys, the supposed leading candidate’s percentage share dropped from 29 to 18. If Erap does in fact run, Noli, as the perceived Gloria candidate, is a goner.

Having fought to obtain justice for Estrada for the past eight years, it no longer matters to me if he runs again or not. By the repeated acclaim given him by his people alone, he has already gotten enough vindication, which will only increase as the system that went against him continues to fail. The saga of Estrada and his mission, which has also become ours, is echoed by the following:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” – Abraham Lincoln

As Estrada stands by his people, they will continue to stand by him. Nothing -- whether it’s Gloria or her puppet high court -- can stop the fulfillment of a nation’s destiny.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable, Channel 3, Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with our topic, “Economic Freedom with Coconut”; also visit

Monday, November 17, 2008

Middle Class Revolt: Now!

The newspapers on Sunday morning all had headlines on De la Paz taking the fall for his peers and mistahs in the PNP top brass, not to mention the real big fishes in Malacañang, in Saturday’s Senate hearing on the “Euro Generals.” Some of my friends and colleagues in the citizens’ movements kept sounding me off on the infuriating performance of De la Paz, including his inane admission that he doesn’t know the Anti-Money Laundering Act’s prohibitions on transiting huge amounts of cash. I had to feel sorry that I didn’t watch the proceedings at all, since I found those Senate hearings as a useless grandstanding that results in nothing. Now, if somebody there had instead called for revolution outright and started rallying the nation, I’d drop everything and rush over to join.

No one should be surprised of De la Paz’ actions anymore. There is, after all, a much richer reward for protecting his fellow rogues and masters than for him to spill the beans. I know of no willing scapegoat for Arroyo and her cabinet crooks who has paid a price for keeping silent or for running rings around investigations that are ferreting out the truth.

Take Garci for example. Most Filipinos know that this fellow has already tons of money for his “election services” in subverting the people’s will, yet he has not been punished one bit. Even the generals Garci worked with have all been promoted to lucrative civilian posts. Meanwhile, the other Garci, Gen. Carlos Garcia, is behind bars but has already been acquitted of several charges, and his family is still rich beyond imagination.

As for some of the senators grilling De la Paz, they have known the corruption in the regime and in the PNP all along but never did anything to stop them. Take Miriam Defensor Santiago who proudly admits to being Gloria’s supporter nowadays. She, of course, knows that Gloria is allied to one of the worst corruptors of the PNP -- the jueteng lords. But why is she dead silent about it?

Fundamentally, even when there’s a law against illegal gambling, of which jueteng is undoubtedly the biggest, nothing has really been done to end this scourge that rots every fiber of the PNP’s character as an institution. A hundred thousand policemen know their superiors are all raking it in from the jueteng loot. Add to this the hundreds of millions from PNP logistics, and all these amount to much, much more than the euro generals’ stash. So again, why have the senators chosen to pound on a relatively minor issue?

I haven’t really bothered with the Senate hearings even on Joc-Joc Bolante. From the very start, I already anticipated the Arroyo regime’s strategy in this case. While the supposed principal, Cito Lorenzo, is out of reach, all culpability for the gross anomalies in the “fertilizer scam” can be dumped on him, thanks to his absence. Unluckily for us, Lorenzo wasn’t the one who got caught with US entry transgressions. If he had been forced back sooner, we could have more easily gotten to the very core of the crime. For now, Joc-Joc has been showered with VIP treatment at St. Luke’s, complete with a suite reserved by Cerge Remonde, according to Malacañang sources, plus, a plush new manse in Alabang to replace his old BF home.

But really, what else can we expect from lowlifes like De la Paz -- who probably doesn’t have much of a brain to begin with, given the fix that he is in, nor any moral fiber -- to know any better than to follow the common rule, that is, to follow the leader? From the top, the rule is: Be corrupt in order to survive and prosper.

To be honest and strive for what is just, right, and fair, one is ostracized from power or lands in jail -- like Gen. Danny Lim, Sen. Sonny Trillanes, the Bagong Katipuneros, and President Estrada, who was ousted by a conspiracy of the corrupt, and made to languish in confinement for six years and six months, before finally being smeared by a kangaroo court. Which reminds us of several Supreme Court (SC) justices who “convicted” Estrada and have religiously favored their patroness in critical cases such as the MoA-AD and “executive privilege” issues -- SC appointments as rewards for corrupted judges.

Thus, we need revolution in this country as much as the world needs one too. Imagine, the IMF and World Bank being envisioned by western countries in the G-20 to administer the “new world financial architecture,” in spite of their being among the major culprits of our current deepening crisis? The same is true in the US as Obama is set to appoint Wall Street operators to head his cabinet’s finance portfolio.

Gerald Calente, CEO of Trend Research Institute, who accurately predicted the 1987, Soviet Union, 1997, and “subprime” mortgage crashes, was reported by Prison Planet to have predicted revolution in the US by 2012. A British Ministry of Defence report echoed this last year, saying:

“…the growing gap better the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean… the world’s middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transitional processes in their own class interest… The middle class could become a revolutionary class.”

Calente sees tax revolts amid food riots, job marches, and squatter rebellions in the US of A. So the world’s middle classes do need to revolt now, as they’re the only hope of restoring balance and sanity in the advancement of humanity in the 21st Century. Let’s start it in Manila , in alliance with our urban poor. Let’s start avoiding taxes which go to the IMF and Gloria’s coffers. Let’s free Gen. Lim, Sen. Trillanes and other nationalist-patriots to help blaze the trail!

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable, Channel 3, Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with our topic, “The Geothermal Imperative”; also visit

Friday, November 14, 2008

Credit should be a public utility

Electricity and water, roads and telecommunications -- all these are treated as public utilities in most countries. In some others like China and Vietnam , credit also counts as a public utility, and these countries’ national banking systems are built around it just as there are national agencies for their other public utilities. Few people in the Philippines , though, understand the credit system from this point of view, having gotten used to the institution of private banking patterned after the US that is run for profit instead of development. Verily, it is this same private banking system that has been indicted to have brought down the global financial and economic system over the past few months.

Now that a global discussion of a “new financial architecture” among G-20 countries (the G-7 industrialized economies plus other major economic powers China , India , Brazil and Russia ) is to commence, there will surely be a tug of war between the concepts held by western G-7 countries and others from the east and South America .

The Global Research website, headed by intellectuals like Michel Chussodovsky and William Engdahl, whose advocacies I subscribe to, launched on November 11 a signature campaign, “For a Monetary System That Puts People First.” As its opening salvo, it lifts a passage from Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 address to the US Congress as the rationale for its proposed new global architecture: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed had not labor first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

The gist of such a petition, outlining the principles for reforming the global system, along with my comments in parentheses, spells out that:

“● Monetary systems should be controlled by sovereign national governments, not the central banks which mainly serve private finance. The main economic function of the monetary system should be to assure adequate purchasing power to consume an environmentally sustainable and optimal level of production whereby the basic needs of every person in the world community are satisfactorily met.” (The US Fed is not publicly accountable, as well as, our BSP -- see Sec. 20, Article on the National Economy.)

“● Income security, including a basic income guarantee and a national dividend, should be a primary responsibility of national governments in the economic sphere. A right to adequate purchasing power should be part of every national constitution.”

“● The primary function of international finance should be to assure fair transferability of value among national economic systems, utilizing, to the extent possible, fixed and transparent exchange rates. Speculative attacks on sovereign currencies should be outlawed.”

“● Private creation of credit for speculative purposes should be abolished, and capital markets should be regulated to assure fairness, openness, and freedom from predatory practices.”

“● Every national government should have the right to spend low cost credit directly into existence for public purposes -- including infrastructure, environmental protection, education, and health care―without incurring new debt.” (Unlike the Philippines today, where we borrow to finance everything.)

“● The physical backing for every currency in existence should be the actual production of national economies.” (Hence, encouraging production, not speculation…)

“● National governments should treat credit as a public utility -- like clean air, water, or electricity -- and should assure its availability to all citizens as their social heritage and as a basic human right.” (Not an object for profit…)

“● National credit policies should favor the development of sustainable local and regional economies, of small business, and of family farming.”

“● Credit should be regulated in order to encourage maximum ownership of property by individuals without artificially inflating its price.”

“● The private banking system should be utilized to provide liquidity for business operations but should not be needed in a properly constituted system to finance consumption or capital formation.”

“● There should be an immediate worldwide moratorium on home foreclosures and recognition of the right of each person to a secure home.”

“● An International Debt Settlement Commission should be formed and charged with producing a clean financial slate by reviewing all existing public and private debt and determining through due process what can reasonably be repaid, restructured, or forgiven.” (Particularly urgent for debt burdened RP…)

Then it ends with: “It is time to assure that the world financial system is no longer operated for the benefit of the few over the many, and that it reflects the spiritual principle that the natural resources of the Earth belong to all of humanity and must be rationally distributed to every individual, such that no one is left behind on the path of human progress. -- Initial Signers (a long list of academics, finance experts, journalists, advocates, NGO leaders from all continents)”

The petition in its entirety is already a short course on the socialized or nationalized credit and banking system that more Filipinos should learn about. This space will initiate a Philippine signing of this petition in coordination with other citizens’ movements. We will invite our readers as soon as it happens.

We have seen a number of Philippine local politicians count themselves among the hopefuls for the 2010 presidential race, but I have yet to hear anyone of them discuss genuine issues that can turn this nation’s dire straits around. They all think that showing a heap of wealth (that invariably comes from some form of graft anyway) already qualifies them for leadership. But we can only see them abuse the Constitution, as they use their offices as platforms and campaign way before the allowable period begins. All of them display ostentatious lifestyles alright, but few can account for their untainted sources of wealth.

What “transformational” leadership can there be if there are no “transformational ideas” emanating from any of these declared aspirants? If these are the ones presenting themselves, then let me propose Gen. Danilo Lim for the presidency too. He’s someone we can be certain to have never finagled a single centavo from public coffers, and has proven his dedication to the common and national good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The John the Baptist Dilemma

The more things change, the more they actually stay the same, or get worse. Even as Barack Obama wins the US presidency and generates a great deal of euphoria among his countrymen, from early indications of his cabinet appointments, it’s clear that more war is on the offing. The appointment of an Iraq War supporter with dual Israeli citizenship, Rahm Immanuel, as his chief of staff, augurs well only for warmongers and the US military-industrial corporatocracy. Meanwhile, his candidates for the finance portfolio include another former Goldman Sachs man and other Wall Street guys. Tie these in with Barack’s offensive statements against Iran and you will be puzzled as to why despite all these, the US population is still going gaga over Obama, their supposed anti-war candidate.

I would have reacted differently if Barack had started appointing from among his prominent and most active campaigners, the likes of Michael Moore, who have shown genuine anti-war, pro-people, and pro-poor convictions. Moore , for instance, has produced documentaries that exposed the anomalous Bush investigation of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, the Columbine student massacre, and the US profit-driven private health care system that has paled in comparison with the socially-oriented systems of Canada and Cuba . Yet, not a single visible sign of Obama’s appreciation for Moore ’s one million-strong e-mail campaign list was seen.

Timothy V. Gatto writes on Information Clearing House, “The Election: It Had to Be this Way,” and says, “Barack Obama will be the catalyst for a new movement, away from false hope and false promises, not because he will deliver to the people of this country anything worthwhile, but because he won’t. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our corporatist society.” He then reflects on the attitude of the more insightful but less patient US intellectuals, who are not impressed by the US liberal flank’s claims of Obama’s promise of change, but who are sure to be demonized, this time, by both the liberal and conservative media.

Ralph Nader, for one, has already been hit hard after an early run-in with Fox News when he expressed hope that Obama would be an “Uncle Sam” for the hapless majority of US peoples and not an “Uncle Tom” for the corporations. Nader was twisted and pilloried for that in the mainstream media, and now, on the Internet. Thus, the US liberal movement is turning out to be as intolerant of other more radical views that would criticize their current idol and icon.

While Obama is now working on a bailout of beleaguered US car manufacturing giants, which further popularizes him, he is actually not doing much to make the bailouts for the financial sector work for people who have lost their homes. So early yet so slick.

By the way, I am writing from Morong, Bataan , beside my favorite beach resort, owned by a colleague from the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC). The place, called Dorothy, is beside the Panibatuhan Beach , which I wouldn’t trade for the plastic, manicured spot across the hills that used to be the pristine Ilingin Beach , now converted by the Ayalas to another artificial place of relaxation. How anyone can rest in a place where he has to put up with the requirements of glamour boggles my mind. Moreover, it’s worse than that other place, Montemar. There’s still nothing like the original, the truly pristine, which only the cottage industry resorts can cater to simple folks like me -- with the hand pump to wash sand off our feet, their home-cooked meals from the corner tindahan, and a beach almost all to oneself.

Dropping in the morning was Jun Repedro (poor boy graduate from Ateneo on a scholarship) who headed our PRPC food services department (that fed up to 25,000 refugees daily). Jun recalled with amazement the discussions we had and the columns I’d written ten years ago on the impending financial collapse. “Ten years ago,” he said, “you already saw it coming.” But he lamented that our predictions were too early and sounded like hard-to-appreciate “doomsayers,” like John the Baptist. Actually, I said, there was one already in 2000, the (or dot.con) collapse, but the powers behind the system created the “War on Terror” with 9/11, to distract and delay the awakening of the masses.

True enough, Obama is the latest distraction, to shift our focus away from the evil of corporatist control of government. Although he seems to have an authentic populist ideological upbringing (once a practitioner of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals in organizing the poor, which I also studied during my activist days), by the kind of associations he has made today, he’s clearly been co-opted. But it’s going to be very hard to make people listen, as so many have worked and pinned their hopes on Obama, and they will never believe that they can go so wrong again after Bush so soon. But four years down the road, the US population will see that they’ve been fooled again. That’s when Timothy V. Gatto and Ralph Nader will be better appreciated.

Elections in 2010 are being set up for the Philippines , which will be a distraction again from the bitter lessons of the massive failures of the two Edsa’s. While people hope 2010 can bring about change to the country, with the obvious candidates of the administration and opposition -- Noli, Teodoro, Gordon, Bayani, Belmonte, Villar et al., no change can be forthcoming. In contrast, those who offer real change, like President Estrada, Gen. Danilo Lim and Sen. Trillanes, are deliberately being excluded, like in the SWS survey published the past few days that did not mention Estrada as an option, resulting in his No. 6 ranking. A later survey yet to be published, which explicitly names him as one of the options, will show a very different and surprising result.

Predicting unsavory consequences and deflating popularly-held illusions are hazardous but necessary. Hopefully, in time, only those with the track record of telling the truth can be heeded. That’s the John the Baptist dilemma.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to Reality

It’s probably like the euphoria the US felt when John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1961. Great speeches from a great orator, tears welling up from his triumphant voters, and great economic stimulus plans in the “Man on the Moon” project. But the reality of the Vietnam War immediately confronted JFK and led both him and the US to eventual disaster.

Obama’s people stopped the elections from being stolen by the corporatocracy and neoconservatives for a third time, but can they stop the latter’s power to continue their wars for profit, oil and global hegemony? Obama’s era has barely started, yet the internal, national debates have already begun. Let’s listen to some US voices who are providing timely counsel, admonition, and forewarning. The first comes from one whom I consider the best campaigner of Obama, film producer-director Michael Moore:

“There was another important ‘first’ last night. Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war. I hope President-elect Obama remembers that as he considers expanding the war in Afghanistan . The faith we now have will be lost if he forgets the main issue on which he beat his fellow Dems in the primaries and then a great war hero in the general election: The people of America are tired of war. Sick and tired. And their voice was loud and clear yesterday.”

Lest Moore’s appeal may not be enough, let me add that the people of the world are also tired of war as they gain nothing from it and are impeded from their aspirations to hold dominion over the cosmos. Barack can only gain the respect of all of us if and when he stands up against the warmongers of his country. Otherwise, we, together with Moore, will bring him down too.

Let us remember that the people of the world helped bring down the Bush regime and its lies. We must acknowledge our gratitude to the countless Iraqi fighters and their families who have undergone unimaginable suffering to stand up to the US ’ own bloodthirsty bullies -- without which their countrymen might not have awakened from the illusion of their country’s invincibility and condescension.

Let us remember the defiance of Venezuelans under Hugo Chavez, Bolivians under Evo Morales, Ecuadoreans under Rafael Correa, Argentineans under Kirchner, and most of all, Cubans under Fidel, as well as, other South American and Asian leaders, like Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad, who have served to humble the US down. The Cuban welfare system, for one thing, has also inspired Michael Moore to urge his people to demand equally just health care from their government.

Only mendicant and sycophantic Filipinos would look to Obama to bring about changes in the Philippines and the rest of the world. Nationalist Filipinos understand that any change for the better in the world and in their own country comes not from the outside but from their efforts.

Obama may change some policies internal to the US , but it is clear that if the world puts up with his desire to expand the war in Afghanistan , a fact that does not escape the concern of his most ardent campaigner Michael Moore, then there will be no change.

We, the world, must stop the US ’ continuing war crusade and force Obama to conform to the will of the human race.

Michael Moore is understandably polite to Obama, so let us also hear from the most radical defenders of the US people, like our ally against the global corporatocracy, Webster Tarpley:


For those who bother to study Obama more than skin deep, the controversy is not over skin color but over his policies that support the present system with its countless deceptions, which Tarpley exposes here:

“With Obama’s win, the tasks of justice in the US of A has just begun. As Brasscheck TV on the Internet, a regular source of social critical and insightful videos, said: ‘…it’s not ‘completely over’ until Karl Rove (Bush brains and blamed for leaking CIA agent identities) and George Bush are in jail.’ Ralph Nader says it all with literary flourish in an interview over Fox News, ‘To put it very simply, he (Obama) is our first African American president; or he will be. And we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom (slave) for the giant corporations,’ for which Fox News lambasted him very unfairly – (the same) pre-election anti-Obama…corporatocracy mouthpiece Fox News (that is) now sucking up to Obama.”

Don’t be fooled by Obama’s anti-Wall Street diatribes; McCain did the same. The US corporatocracy gives funds to both the GOP and Dems every time. Obama got lots of small contributions because he received lots of initial assurance of seed money from the likes of George Soros who openly backed him. But as we said in our previous column, because of his multi-cultural and socially-oriented upbringing, Obama can spring a surprise -- just like John Kennedy did, but who got blasted by assassins not long after. Such is the reality; only fools of history will choose not to see this.

By the way, the US presidential election’s tipping point was race: 55 percent of Whites voted McCain while 96 percent of Blacks and 66 percent of Latinos voted Obama. Will there be secessionist White states soon? We should stoke this so they’ll stop cajoling the MILF in our southern backyard.

In the Philippines , let’s get back to reality too. Big Business continues with its many abuses: Meralco’s PR people are sowing intrigue among consumer NGOs, quoting me on things I never said against Pete Ilagan; GMA’s intelligence gooks are circulating a text of alleged coup plotters (including Cory and Noynoy Aquino), which shows they are stalemated -- otherwise they should have made arrests; and Manny Pangilinan keeps raising my DSL bill but I can’t connect to the Internet 80 percent of the time even as my WiFi works perfectly.

So then, it’s back to our struggle -- REGIME CHANGE, SYSTEMS CHANGE!

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable, Channel 3, Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

US’ers Elections and Our Global Crisis

I’ve had to look for a new way to call those people of the United States of America ever since Cuban Ambassador Jorge Rey Jimenez and Venezuelan Chargé d’Affaires Manuel Perez Iturbe educated me about the general sentiment of South (or Latin) American peoples on the exclusive use of “American” for US citizens who represent only 30 percent of the population of the entire Americas—of which North, Central and South America have around 950 million people.

While some would call the people of the USA “Norte Americano,” this is just as unfair to the Canadians and Mexicans. One alternative, “Yankee,” which one etymology traces to the Cherokee word for coward, eankke, was later used derogatively by the Confederates on their enemies to the North. On the other hand, whenever South Americans express their real feeling toward US citizens, they use “Gringos,” with a connotation of ill-mannered, rude drunkenness.

So as I grappled with the problem over several articles I had written, it came to me that the term, “US’ers”—which I coined instead of say, “US’ians” that hews too closely to “Russians”—really sounds more appropriate. It’s very specific. No mistaking Canadians that a “Norte Americano” name can cause; and it doesn’t have any derogatory connotation of “Yankee” or “Gringo” either. So it’s simply, US’ers, or the people of the United States of America . Just make sure the apostrophe is used or it may read like the Webster definition of an unethical person or an addict of some sort.

Surely, there are countless good people among the US population; but if McCain still wins the US elections, the derogatory connotation would become most apt. If, however, Obama wins despite the last minute “surge” planned by the US political-economic Establishment (which is momentarily split), it doesn’t automatically mean that US’ers will no longer be the “users” of old, creating wars for oil and their own economic and geostrategic security, and using depleted uranium and other weapons from their arsenal a la the “Gringos” of Italian Westerns. But there’s hope—and a chance—that Obama may only be faking his imperial expressions.

To be fair, Obama‘s platform of socio-economic change may still save the US from itself—from the divisive situation today out of three decades of neoconservative rule, to the greed of the finance and special interest (defense, oil, food cartels) corporatocracy, to its abandonment of its people and real economy. And despite suffering from the greatest financial collapse to date, the $1 trillion bailouts are still being hoarded by bankers as its industry and population financially starves. US’ers are thus seething over this and would want to make Obama win—that is, if the elections are left alone to reflect the people’s will. But that’s not how the Republicans, the Bushes and Cheneys, operate after heady continuous power for three decades.

For sure, Clinton was never in control as the Republican Congress was giving constant pressure. Plus, he too was in the clutches of the US financial and defense mafia, which made him bomb Iraq and repeal the vintage FDR Great Depression Glass-Steagall Act that fast-tracked today’s financial Armageddon.

Obama has the rare chance of ruling the US with control of both the executive and legislative branches under one party, making the neocons cringe. Hence, the Democrats’ consolidation could make Obama a great thing for the US , but will that translate to some good for the rest of the world? Reading Obama’s lips—“Invade Pakistan ; Escalate the War in Afghanistan ”—I begin to doubt; and while he’s against oil-drilling in Alaska , I read all that to mean he’ll drill in Mindanao with the US visiting forces and the MILF guarding for him instead.

Filipinos shouldn’t expect much from Obama or the US elections since there is little promise of any change in policy toward the world and the Philippines . And since Obama promises to stop outsourcing, this is bad news for RP call centers.

If change for the better is to happen, it has to be from us all—from each nation on earth. We must then stop this insane hype of the US elections, like the Philippine Star’s “Obama-McCain race enters final stretch” inane and obeisant headline since this only amounts to a genuflection to the master’s ritualistic change of clothes. Indeed, there will only be a change of clothes but no change in imperial face, unless the world gives it a slap—the way Putin did in Georgia, or Hugo Chavez in inviting Russian naval ships to visit his waters, south of the US .

But, as the US neocons believe, Obama could really be hiding some surprises, in response, they may be ready to pull off a “Garci” too. For instance, Italian paper Corriere, which interviewed US writer Erica Jong, headlined: “Obama Loss Will Spark the Second American Civil War…Blood Will Run in the Streets.” In it, she said: “The record shows that voting machines in America are rigged… My friends Ken Follett and Susan Cheever are extremely worried. Naomi Wolf calls me every day. Yesterday, Jane Fonda sent me an email to tell me that she cried all night and can’t cure her ailing back for all the stress… After having stolen the last two elections, the Republican Mafia (seems at it again)… And it’s not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.”

It’s doubtful that Bush would risk what Jong and Fonda fear, but a real McCain upset cannot be discounted. That ironically would neither be believed nor accepted, and should trigger the chaos. But it’s ironic too since Obama is not a full-fledged threat to the Right-wing Establishment the way Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John “Jack” Kennedy were when they challenged the US Federal Reserve (which few understand is a private bank) and its control of money. To refresh our readers, Abe printed government “greenbacks” while Jack signed EO11110, restoring US government silver-backed money printing, both against borrowing from the Fed. Sadly, there’s no John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald yet for Obama, so should he continue the “Anti-terror” War, he’ll be the darling of the Establishment there in no time.

While US’ers expect much from Obama’s promise of change, these are likely to be limited or cosmetic. For the world tired of the US bringing perennial oil, finance and war crises, Obama has only promised a shift in the theater of US aggression. But could he still surprise us? Yes. But the surprise could go either way—more war or more overtures toward peace.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Regime and ‘Systems’ Change

It is not enough to call for regime change; it needs to be accompanied by a much-needed “systems” change -- both implemented at the same time. Otherwise, such a change will only come to naught, to be followed by an even more difficult period of continuing deterioration. I trust that the group of religious leaders that made a strong pitch for changing Gloria Arroyo has done so only because it is a sine qua non for systems change, i.e. opening the way for essential changes in policies, institutions and leading personalities upon Mrs. Arroyo’s removal. I bring this up because the systemic changes required mainly involve: The change of the ruling elite from self-serving oligarchs and cronies to visionary Filipinos and public servants like President Estrada, Gen. Danilo Lim, Senator Trillanes, the Bagong Katipuneros and their allies.

Since any discussion on new leadership personalities to lead the charge towards systemic change is unavoidable, we must stress that this leadership’s character is best defined by its leaders’ ideology, whether expressed or implicit. Moreover, these leaders must have a track record that is the reverse of the prevailing but dying “leadership” of Gloria Arroyo, the oligarchs, and their foreign backers. In other words, in order to be truly responsive to the needs of the nation and the times, this new leadership must be: (a) Filipinist and nationalist through and through against the globalists of the decaying order; (b) altruistic in stark contrast to the present regime of political and corporate greed; and (c) a unifier instead of a divisive force, which is what the ruling class is today.

Sadly, our society’s present rulers have exacerbated the class divide, creating more and more impoverished Filipinos, which the surveys incessantly remind us of. At the same time, they have rapidly decimated the ranks of the middle class and narrowed this segment down to an endangered species. Worse, it seems that they have adopted the same attitude expressed by Warren Buffet in the US , as narrated in a November 26, 2006 article in The New York Times by Ben Stein:

“It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. ‘How can this be fair?’ he (Buffett) asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. ‘How can this be right?’ Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. ‘There’s class warfare, all right,’ Mr. Buffett said, ‘but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’ Unlike Michael Moore, the film director who’s been waging a crusade for middle class America for a just US of A, Buffett just took pleasure in ‘winning the class war;’ but now the US elections may soon take revenge on Buffett’s class.”

In the Philippines too, the victimized classes consisting of the 3.3 million severely hunger-stricken families (or around 17 million Filipino men, women and children), and the other 50 million who are just plain hungry, as with the dwindling middle class -- who are bracing for the impending hunger that may strike as the global financial tsunami hits in the next few months, are all suffering from this horrendous inflationary effect of Gloria and the Makati Business Club’s neo-liberal, pro-oligarch policies of ever increasing taxes, ever increasing privatized public utilities (power, water, energy, port services) profits, ever increasing food prices, ever increasing corporate profits, ever shrinking peso purchasing power, ever dwindling public services, ever increasing corruption, ad nausea.

Speaking of Arroyo’s business allies, we read this news about Donald Dee’s impertinent tirade against Archbishop Lagdameo’s call for Gloria’s early expulsion, and this reminded us of the vile history of his family’s predatory business lineage that started with his brother, Dewey Dee, absconding with billions of pesos stolen from the Philippine financial system a few decades back, to this Duck’s plots with Gloria Arroyo from her days in the Garments and Textile Board up to the present. Someday, there’ll be enough time for this Duck to be cooked for the Filipino people’s savoring. And while we are reckoning the sins of Gloria’s cronies, I hasten to add this challenge to Si-Raul-o Gonzales’ charge of “sedition” against Lagdameo: Why don’t you arrest him?

Just the same, it was a encouraging to hear General Yano’s name openly mentioned in the Church leaders’ press conference. Although Yano responded later by repeating the official mantra of following the chain of command, the archbishop’s mention of his possible role for regime change triggers uncontrollable chain of events in several directions. For some, it means the “handwriting on the wall” for Yano; for others, the writing is for the Arroyo regime to heed and tremble at. Another name mentioned in the bishops’ open forum was Chief Justice Puno, who a day later, was reported by ANC to have said that he openly supports the call of the bishops -- which is yet another “handwriting on the wall,” but in this case, clearly calls the attention of Gloria.

Whoever leads the charge to change the corrupt and oppressive Gloria Arroyo regime now will get tremendous support from the people of this nation. On top of the heavy burden of growing hunger, poverty, taxes, job losses, peso devaluations, and a government in perpetual drift weighing down on the Filipinos’ shoulders, all the arrogance and incessant lies of this regime and Malacañang-squatting family have amounted to daily slaps and insults against the people’s dignity and intelligence. Thus, to unburden this nation, a swift move -- with the help of our soldiers faithful to the principles of genuine democracy -- is ideal to unblock the road toward national unity, conciliation, cleansing and reform, and prosperity.

If called, we will rally in the streets to support such move and defend the patriotic soldiers for change. Millions of Filipinos will cheer and join.