Preserving our sanity

 

Every time elections are held in this country we always find ourselves at the crossroads where our sanity is being tested to the limit.

It used to be that there were only two political parties to choose from where its respective leaders running it and endorsing their candidates share common values and ideals about the party and the same mission and vision for the interest of the nation and its people.

Election was never a complicated process then as those selected as candidates on both sides were competent and able and had no other motivation but to serve the people in earnest.

It was always fulfilling to have exercised ones freedom of suffrage then knowing that whoever wins will perform to the best of his ability and according to the moral beliefs of the party he represents, which translates to the aspirations of the people.

Alas, elections today have become a political circus of sorts – entertaining, yet confusing and unnerving not only because of the numerous political parties coalescing/aligning with one another but more so because of the wide differences in the nature, character and notoriety of candidates running for office.

There is need therefore for every Filipino to be convinced that in order to preserve ones sanity in the upcoming 2019 elections we have to examine our own consciences and determine the best candidates who will be able to help Pres. Rodrigo Duterte accomplish the programs he has set forth for the country during his term of office.

It is still a long time until Duterte’s presidency expires in 2022 and there is nothing more important than to ensure that there are no personal or political hindrances in the country’s march to progress.

There is no doubt that Duterte’s popularity comes from his out-of-the-box type of governance that is being recognized and accepted by the people as what is propelling the country forward and the only way to keep it moving positively is to have newly elected people in government that could contribute fresh and doable ideas for what the president has envisioned for the country.

What is harmful to our sanity is when we allow ourselves to be suckers of pretentious candidates – young, old and very old – who because of their seeming closeness to Duterte are making a pitch of their usefulness, but in reality have continuing hidden agenda of their own.

For sanity sake, let us vote in the coming 2019 elections intelligently and judiciously.

 

 

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The Bertiz scandal

 

ACTS-OFW Partylist Rep. John Bertiz

The condescending attitude of ACTS-OFW Partylist Rep. John Bertiz towards a Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) personnel who was just doing his job of making every passenger follow security protocol before boarding a plane only shows how power can bloat a politician’s ego.

On the pretext that he saw a group of Chinese-looking passengers going throw without taking their shoes off, Bertiz went through without security inspection, took his bag and turned around to confront the NAIA personnel.

Breaching protocol was bad enough, but what made it worse is that his arrogance took the better of him when he shoved his NAIA security ID to the guy’s face as if telling the latter that Bertiz, a congressman, was untouchable.

Still not contented with his outrageous behavior, and still wanting to show who he was, the asshole suddenly grabbed the guy’s ID leaving him helpless.

What a fucking jerk!

I felt the indignity, the injustice myself seeing the episode on TV, especially that the video was repeatedly shown, and I had to turn off the idiot box before I could do something that I will regret later.

But what made me so upset is knowing that Bertiz, and his kind in congress, are the people that take advantage of their position and power to bully the ordinary folks to make them feel even more superior.

In reality these people are cowards who can’t/won’t go against those that know how to strike back.

 

Dissecting the mind of Trump

I am one of many individuals around the world who continues to wonder, and of course to worry, what has become of the United States of America (USA) with Donald Trump as its president.

It makes one even wonder more if Trump really meant what he said when he made popular his rallying cry, ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA).

Or could it be that, for a populist president like Trump, what he wants his slogan to be, absolutely, is ‘Make Trump Great Again’ (MTGA).

It is for this reason that I reprinted here a very engrossing and thought-provoking article I found published in POLITICO Magazine and authored by Ms. Bandy X. Lee and Mr. Tony Schwartz because I want to share with you how ably and aptly they have dissected Trump’s mind and persona that only confirmed, without any doubt, who we truly believe Trump is and what his ambitions are as the leader of the greatest nation on Earth.

In a way this piece is comforting.

Inside the Mind of Donald Trump

He’s grandiose, deceitful and paranoid—but don’t let him drive you crazy.

By BANDY X. LEE and TONY SCHWARTZ

July 27, 2018

Why is President Donald Trump behaving in ways that seem ever more irrational, impulsive, self-destructive, dangerous and cruel? Many Americans have been shocked by Trump’s behavior, most recently by his taking the side of a known enemy in Vladimir Putin and Russia over his own intelligence community.

It isn’t possible to reliably diagnose any individual from a distance, but it is reasonable to flag clear, observable signs of impairment and to make inferences based on repetitive patterns of behavior. There is a significant difference between diagnosing a specific disorder and analyzing the meaning of the qualities Trump exhibits, such as paranoia, grandiosity, lack of empathy and pathological deceit. Trump’s behavior, we believe, is the predictable outgrowth of this psychological disposition, exacerbated by the stress of the intensifying criminal investigations he faces.

Our assessment is based on descriptions from those who have worked with him, his own voluminous responses to real situations in real time, and above all by our unique vantage points. One of us is a forensic psychiatrist who has treated more than 1,000 individuals with characteristics similar to Trump’s. The other spent 18 months shadowing, observing and interviewing Trump in order to co-write The Art of the Deal.

Trump’s increasing grandiosity is evident in the superlatives he uses to refer to himself—“stable genius” among them—and in the way he has consolidated his power by getting rid of aides and Cabinet members who have challenged his authority. Because no person or circumstance can possibly satisfy his needs, nearly everyone in his life eventually becomes expendable, and he becomes more and more isolated.

Trump’s growing paranoia is reflected in the vitriolic comments he has made about a range of perceived enemies, including Democrats and Republicans, allies in the G-7, the intelligence community, the news media and immigrants. His hunger for absolute power is evident in his bizarrely admiring words about despots, including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. His frequent lies reveal his need to redefine reality when the truth doesn’t serve his needs.

Given Trump’s volatility, incuriosity and severely limited attention span, his decisions are not significantly influenced by reflection or analytical reasoning. Because he cannot tolerate even the mildest criticism, he is largely immune to learning and growth. Instead, unable to regulate his emotions, he reacts angrily, and often with threats of revenge, to any challenge to his authority. Even success provides him with only momentary satisfaction.

Trump’s psychological disposition has profound implications for our personal, national and international security. Unfortunately, Americans remain deeply reluctant to talk openly about mental health or to recognize how profoundly it can influence behavior. Because the president’s level of mental impairment is so unusual to observe, it is difficult for most of us to understand what catastrophic desperation such people can feel to fill their own inner sense of emptiness.

Trump described to Tony a cold father with whom his relationship was “almost businesslike” and a mother who was mostly uninvolved in his life. Through Bandy’s work interviewing men who were deprived in childhood of the love and support necessary to develop a core self, she concluded that the stable internal center that holds their beliefs, principles, attachments, loyalties—and even their capacity for humanity—never gets well established.

Instead, most such men become almost completely dependent on others for their sense of self-worth. They become hypersensitive to slights. In the most extreme cases, their envy can prompt them to take sadistic pleasure in tormenting perceived enemies, and those they think are getting more respect than they are. In Trump’s case, his need to demonstrate over and over that he is worthy of admiration overwhelms his capacity to focus on nearly anything else.

While our elected officials and much of the news media have avoided the topic of Trump’s mental health, it is clear that our adversaries have carefully studied his psychological weaknesses and determined how to use them to their advantage, as we saw during his negotiations with Putin and Kim Jong Un. Ironically, our own intelligence community does just this sort of analysis about foreign leaders.

Trump’s grip on reality will likely continue to diminish as he faces increasing criticism, accusations, threats of impeachment and potential criminal indictments. We can expect him to become more desperate, more extreme in his comments, more violent in his threats, and more reckless and destructive in his actions. His latest extreme threat to Iran is one example, and he is likely to return to similar threats to North Korea if he feels that Kim Jong Un is making him look weak and unsuccessful.

So how can we hold onto our own mental health in the face of the danger Trump poses? First, don’t use logic or rationality to try to understand or counter Trump’s statements and behaviors. He is driven not by reason but by negative emotions that are infectious. Trump thrives on creating fear and sowing confusion. He lies without guilt. Don’t match his emotion with your own.

Second, be clearer than ever about your core values, beliefs and principles, and rely on them for guidance and comfort, especially when you are feeling most triggered and fearful. Challenge every day the natural inclination to feel overwhelmed, fatigued or numb in the face of Trump’s behavior. This is what people with his psychological inclinations count on. Trump is aware that whatever he says repeatedly—no matter how outrageous—many people are more likely to believe, or at least to stop resisting.

Lastly, recognize that fear is your enemy. Holding onto the opposites of realism and optimism is the best antidote. James Stockdale, a Navy vice admiral, was imprisoned for eight years in North Vietnam and tortured repeatedly. What he said afterward about how he survived is relevant for anyone dealing with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Bandy X. Lee is assistant clinical professor in law and psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a project leader for the World Health Organization.

Tony Schwartz is the chief executive of The Energy Project and the co-author of The Art of the Deal.

From 3 to 4 proverbial wise monkeys

 

We have been used to looking and/or hearing about the 3 proverbial wise monkeys.

They are actually described as a pictorial maxim that, together, embodies the proverbial principle of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

We have seen them as usually small statuettes of three monkeys, one covering his eyes, another his ears, and another his mouth.

Somehow there seems to be a moral lesson taught by the gestures made by the 3 wise monkeys and that is for people to be prudent in how to react in what they see, in what they listens to, and in what they say.

There are actually various meanings ascribed to the gestures of the wise monkeys, but what is important is that one has to learn to accept the consequences and be responsible for his decision about what he sees, what he hears and what he says.

The problem, however, is that with the advent of information technology the 3 proverbial wise monkeys have already become 4.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be really because the reality is that the 4th one is the sum of the first 3, meaning that he sees nobody, hears nobody and speaks to nobody.

That is who we are now and what we are getting to be now in this generation.

No moral lesson learned from the 4th monkey except showing clearly the decaying of human values.

A kiss was all it was

 

A kiss planted by President Rodrigo Duterte on the lips of Bea Kim, a Filipina said to be married to a South Korean with whom she has two children, while on an official visit to South Korea has initiated a controversy among the many seemingly prude critics and feminist bigots in this country.

Whether the smooch was made on the lips, the cheeks or on the forehead for the world to say the fact is all it was, was a kiss.

So why make a big fuss about it and make it appear like it was a sinful act?

Because it was Duterte who did it, he who has been labeled as misogynist by women’s rights advocates and by some preachy opposition politicians?

For one to be tagged as misogynist, he is one characterized to be strongly prejudiced against women.

Now, is Duterte living up to this disparaging description when he has a wife and daughters to reckon with in the family?

What I am just saying here is that one has to understand where Duterte comes from and learn to know and appreciate him, warts and all, for he is not the traditional or conventional leader that one expects him to be.

Duterte himself has admitted that he is not and can never be presidential in any manner, shape and form. Sadly, this is what his critics from the political circle and the women’s right advocacy groups expect him to act.

Well, what you see is what you get about Duterte and this is what makes him tick with the Filipino people.

But when some entity or group of people look at events beyond the context of having fun and connecting with the crowd by pure entertainment  as Duterte is used to doing when meeting with his countrymen abroad, then that is the time when problem arises.  It could even get worse, as it happened in South Korea, when malice is imputed.

Duterte is not a comedian but he uses his antics to make people laugh and identify himself with them and this is what endears him to the people.

This was a time for laughter and not for retribution, which Duterte is also wont to make.

This is exactly what happened when Duterte asked an unidentified audience member to kiss him in exchange for a book he was handing out.

Since when has kissing been ‘sickening’ and a ‘despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority’ when the recipient herself was forewarned not to take it seriously as it was just for fun, a gimmick in fact?

Ms. Kim was game enough and went along with Duterte’s strategy of entertaining his countrymen, saying later that the kiss did not mean anything and it was done to make the audience giddy.

So the question is: if the kiss on Ms. Kim’s lips did not scandalize her, why would it matter to a group of sanctimonious people?

 

Scandalous Jinggoy never learns

Former senator JinggoyEstrada

I am talking of course about former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who until today and after spending 3 years in detention for plunder and graft charges relative to the scandalous P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), seems to have never learned to change his old ways.

The reason why I am emphasizing his individuality and ethos is because Estrada, an actor and a failed senator, is contemplating again in running for senator, and to think that he is just out on bail momentarily.

As if the plunder and graft charges against him are not shameful and degrading to his persona, enough to put him at the higher pedestal of corrupt government officials, it, however, shows no negative effect on him as he continues to beguile Filipinos with impunity.

Take for instance Estrada’s application for a travel motion to go to the US from April 21 to May 31, 2018. Accordingly, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan granted the motion on March 26 since it is a simple travel motion that the court almost always grants for defendants.

The problem, however, is that the scheming Estrada, not contented with just the travel motion request to the US, flaunted it as having been invited to speak in Michigan on Philippine affairs, and it was upon the invitation of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG).

It was even reported that Estrada attached an invitation from William Dechavez, identified in the letter as USPGG president.

Apparently, this grandstanding by Estrada was debunked by no less than the incumbent USPGG president himself, Mr. Rodel Rodis, who issued a statement, saying: “I can confirm that there is no planned USPGG event on May 20 in Michigan. I communicated with Mr Wllie Dechavez, our USPGG Michigan chair, and he made no plans for this event as he is in the Philippines for a vacation and he has not been in touch with his members in Michigan.”

If this is not another reprehensible and dastardly act by Estrada, worthy of condemnation and boycott on his senatorial run again, I do not know what is.

Because of this fraudulent turn of events, the Ombudsman prosecutors told the Sandiganbayan: “With this information, the prosecution is constrained to pray that the Honorable Court hold in abeyance the issuance of the travel authority of accused Estrada since accused appears to have committed material misrepresentations in his motion, thus openly violating one of the terms and conditions of the court in allowing an accused to travel.

They added: “Allowing accused Estrada to travel to the United States with the consequence of making him beyond the reach of the Honorable Court, despite the falsity of the purported invitation letter, may constitute a travesty of justice.”

Jinggoy with President Duterte at the Palarong Pambansa 2018.opening.

Yet, unabashedly, Estrada continues his odious quest for a slot in the PDP-Laban senatorial slate for 2019 by working hard to be under the good graces of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Look how Estrada tries hard to ingratiate himself to the president by showing his slavish subservience – shaking the president’s hand and bowing so low.

Cambridge Analytica a non-factor in electing Duterte president

Long before Cambridge Analytica, a British political data firm, got embroiled in controversy of scandalous proportion when it was alleged to have secretly and inappropriately made a Facebook data breach and harvested personal contents from some 87 million users, including, it said, over a million in the Philippines, to influence the country’s 2016 presidential election result, the way it is said to have catapulted America’s Donald Trump to the presidency, the majority of the Filipino people by then had already decided that, for a change, they will no longer be voting for a traditional politician.

It was no surprise therefore that when then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte finally declared his candidacy for president, the Filipinos went crazy rooting for him. Their prayers were answered. They now had an out-of-the-box candidate, a no-nonsense one at that, whose track record in governance is something most politicians should be envious about, but whose heart really beats for the Filipino people and whose dream is to make the whole country a livable place, in the same manner Duterte made Davao City a comfortable place for the Davaoeños.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and President Rodrigo Duterte

The reason why I am saying that Cambridge Analytica has nothing to do at all with Duterte being elected president stems from the fact that opposition senator and known Duterte basher, Antonio Trillanes, has been reported to be filing a resolution calling for a Senate probe into the role of Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 presidential elections, the same way the British firm is being accused now of capturing Facebook users’ data to corrupt the minds of the Americans into making the controversy-laden Donald Trump their president during the 2016 US presidential election.

The reality is that it was the intense hunger of Filipinos for a fearless and selfless down-to-earth Filipino leader with political will that made Duterte an overwhelming choice for the presidency.

The majority of poor voters who gave Duterte a margin of 6 million votes over his closest rival are proof enough that Cambridge Analytica was a non-factor, for they were not relishing in having a Facebook account.

Thus, I find Trillanes’ move for a Senate probe a mere grandstanding and purely nothing but a witch-hunt.

For not finding anymore culpability to spew barbs at Duterte, the way the latter continues to get support, trust and high approval ratings in his performance as president, Trillanes somehow thought he has found a bomb to be used against Duterte in the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

Soon Trillanes will come to realize that the bomb is a dud after all!