Duterte’s ‘perplexing’ popularity

 

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman

I am simply amused at how Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman described Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity – ‘perplexing’.

Why would it be difficult for him to understand Duterte’s popularity?

Perhaps what would be more difficult for him and those like him in the opposition to understand is why over 16 million Filipinos voted for the man from Mindanao to be president?

“It is a puzzle that despite the failure of President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver most of his campaign promises, his irreverence to established institutions, including the Catholic Church, his unpatriotic surrender to China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea, his policy equivocation, and his antihuman rights record, he still enjoys a high popularity rating across classes in his second year in office,” Lagman said in a statement.

What an absurdity!

This, after Duterte scored a net satisfaction rating of +56 during the first quarter of 2018, which according to Social Weather Stations survey is considered as “very good”.

Lagman even showed arrogance when he bad-mouth the intellect of the electorate, saying, “they like a leader who is authoritative even in his blunders and blabbering and that they simply want to justify their choice, however errant it may have been. ”

Excuse me?

What Lagman is actually trying to say is that Duterte does not act presidential, does not talk presidential and is, in general, an aberration to the presidency.

Lagman who pretends to be the epitome of decency in words and deeds should recognize and accept by now that the likes of him have failed to move this country forward and majority of Filipinos have lost faith in them and their style of leadership.

That is why Duterte continues to remain popular because the people like what they see in him and admire how much he cares for the country and its citizens no matter his bloody war on drugs, alleged extra-judicial killings, China’s incursion into the West Phil. Sea, and the ‘stupid-God’ comment of the Catholic religion.

Duterte has just completed his two years in office as he continues waging war also against corruption and criminality, as he has promised, and one cannot just deny that the country’s economy is doing better despite his non-presidential traits.

Perhaps what Lagman could do in his solitude is to reflect what could it have been had Poe, Roxas or Binay been the president?

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Assisted suicide

 

Professor David Goodall

This is about two resolute individuals with different medical concerns but with one gallant goal in mind – to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death, a euphemism for physician assisted suicide.

Let me first talk about Professor David Goodall, an honorary research associate in Ecology at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, who, at 104, is considered Australia’s oldest scientist.

Goodall has produced dozens of research papers and until recently continued to review and edit for different ecology journals.

He does not have a terminal illness but his quality of life has deteriorated that he has secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Switzerland where euthanasia is legal.

“I greatly regret having reached that age,” the ecologist said in an interview on his birthday earlier in April. “I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalize the practice last year.

But that legislation, which takes effect from June 2019, only applies to terminally ill patients of sound mind and a life expectancy of less than six months.

If that is not ironic, I don’t know what is.

Exit International, which is helping Prof. Goodall make the trip, said it was unjust that one of Australia’s “oldest and most prominent citizens should be forced to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity”.

Noel Conway

The other individual who had already been to the Court of Appeal in London to win the right for what he calls his “fight for choice at the end of life” is Noel Conway, a 68-year-old retired lecturer from Shrewsbury, England, who has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in November 2014 and his health continues to deteriorate.

When this neurodegeneration occurs, everyday activities become increasingly difficult or completely impossible.

Over time, the condition progressively worsens as the muscle weakens and can visibly waste.

The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are given a three-year life expectancy starting from when they first notice the symptoms.

When Conway has less than six months to live and retains the mental capacity to make the decision, he wishes to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death.

This is how Conway, who says he feels “entombed” by his illness, describes his dire predicament now: “I now can no longer walk at all and have to be hoisted from bed to chair, as well as experiencing increasing difficulty with breathing and having to wear my ventilator for 22 hours a day.”

Feeling fatalistic about the whole thing, Conway also issued the following statements: “I know this decline will continue until my inevitable death.”

“This I have sadly come to terms with, but what I cannot accept is that the law in my home country denies me the right to die on my own terms.”

The High Court judges said that as the “conscience of the nation”, Parliament was entitled to maintain a “clear bright-line rule” forbidding assisted suicide.

Again, what an irony for a man destined to die soon, who says, “The greatest fear I have is still being alive but not able to use my body.

Debris from ceiling fell after denying existence of hell

 

His Holiness Pope Francis

With the world concerned with fake news these days I do not know what to believe anymore.

Take for instance the recent news about Pope Francis being quoted proclaiming that “there is no hell”.

This negation of the existence of hell by no less than the pope himself reportedly came from an interview by known atheist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, an Italian journalist who is the founder of Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, which carried the news item.

According to Scalfari’s article published three days before Easter, he asked the Pope where “bad souls” go and where they are punished and the following was allegedly the pope’s sensational reply:

“Souls are not punished,” the Pope was quoted as saying in the Repubblica piece. “Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell – there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

The Vatican, however, issued a statement after the comments spread like wildfire on social media, saying, the pope never granted the interview and the story was “the result of (the reporter’s) reconstruction,” not a “faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Scalfari is known for not using tape recorders or taking notes during interviews.

But what makes this news intriguing is another sensational occurrence relative to it that has been reported, saying, that the Vatican has had to seal off part of St. Peter’s Basilica after chunks of plaster fell from the ceiling just hours after Pope Francis alleged to have proclaimed that ‘Hell’ does not exist.

The report said that bits of the ceiling rained down over worshippers near Michelangelo’s famed Pieta statue to the right of the main entrance, although no one was injured.

This is even harder to believe – I mean the matter of coincidence.

Although the Catholic Church doctrine affirms the existence of hell, one can’t really help sometimes asking ourselves if, indeed, there is truth about the existence of hell.

This is especially true in my case because when I was in my early teens I happened to know an old, religious lady, who, upon knowing that I speak Spanish, made it a point to converse with me in the Castilian language, a language she has been longing to speak, I presumed.

Anyway, among the many subjects we talked about in the many months that I knew her, we touched on the topic of heaven and hell.

I will never forget and will always treasure her wise interpretation of heaven and hell. She told me that if one lives a happy, fulfilling life on earth, that one is in heaven already, but if one lives a problematic, miserable life on earth, then you are in hell.

Life is how you make it.

Being endowed with free will, man has only to contend with this simple understanding.

 

Gorillas dying in captivity

In the same manner that my attention always gets pulled towards the zoo enclosures where large primates are found, like the gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans, I also get bothered and saddened reading about these intelligent, human-like animals suffering and dying in captivity.

It is bad enough that these herbivorous apes have been displaced from their natural habitat of dense forests where they spend most of their daytime feeding on vegetation, but it gets even worst when man insidiously change their diet.

Long running studies have been made to find solution to a crisis facing captive apes the world over that gets transferred to an artificial environment only to die later.

In 1911, Madame Ningo, the first gorilla in North America, arrived at the Bronx Zoo, where she was fed hot, meat-centric meals from a nearby restaurant. Being an herbivore, Madame Ningo refused to eat and was dead within two weeks.

In 2006, three seemingly healthy male gorillas in American zoos died from heart disease—a condition almost nonexistent in wild gorillas. Scientists have since determined that 70% or so of adult male gorillas in North America have heart disease, and it’s the leading killer of captive male gorillas worldwide.

Significant proof to this is when a 30-year-old and 400-pound gorilla named Mokolo unknowingly got an ultrasound heart exam when he voluntarily shambled up to a stainless-steel fence, squatted on his stout legs, and pressed his belly to the mesh.

Like many captive male gorillas, Mokolo suffers from heart disease—specifically, fibrosing cardiomyopathy, a condition that turns red, healthy heart muscle into bands of white scar tissue too rigid to pump blood. Other great apes, such as orangutans and chimpanzees, suffer at similar rates.

For more than a decade, zookeepers, veterinarians, epidemiologists and others have struggled to figure out why heart disease is so prevalent among captive apes, and how to prevent the animals from developing it. Now they may be closing in on answer—one that lies not in the 20-ounce time bombs housed in gorillas’ chests, but in the microscopic bacteria that flourish in their guts.

“The gut dictates everything,” a biological anthropologist says. Even with advances in feeding, scientists believe gorillas are still getting too much sugar and grain—and too little fiber—and it’s changing the microbes in their guts. It’s possible that, as in humans, gut microbes play a role in the health of systems throughout the body.

Perhaps what this means is that unlike in the forest where the flora being foraged is what gives the gorillas more of the good bacteria in their guts, in captivity most of the food given them generates more bad bacteria that makes it generally unhealthy for the body.

The worthless Aung San Suu Kyi

 

Aung San Suu Kyi

I have written already a few pejorative articles about the ‘once upon a time human-rights icon’ and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, especially in the light of the unceasing brutal killings and displacement of the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority group from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, and I will not stop disparaging and letting the world know how worthless she is as a leader in her own country.

While the whole world knows what is happening to this massive, senseless human tragedy happening in Myanmar (formerly Burma), yet this two-faced winner of the prestigious Nobel peace prize continues to negate the bestiality committed by her own government against these hapless people and has the gall instead to call these reports as fake news.

This time my way of discrediting Suu Kyi is by sharing with you this seemingly insulting article by Huffpost which is short of telling her that she is a bogus leader and winner of the Nobel prize and does not, therefore, deserve the admiration and honor bestowed on her.

Be more informed about this pretentious woman.

Please click at this website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/us-holocaust-museum-aung-san-suu-kyi_us_5aa022f4e4b0d4f5b66cd500.

Anybody but Callamard

 

I am talking of course about UN Special Rapporteur (SR) Agnes Callamard and her penchant in announcing to the whole world that President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is a failure, prejudging it as nothing but willful summary executions and extrajudicial killings that blatantly violate human rights.

I say penchant because this is where Callamard’s expertise lies – investigating and reporting wherever and whoever it is that is behind the extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.

It wouldn’t have been a problem if she did her job objectively in the Philippines. The problem is that she sought and depended largely on people, sectors and entities belonging to the opposition and Duterte bashers who would tell her what she wants to hear.

Almost always what Callamard hears is not the truth, for the truth should be coming from the majority of Filipinos who elected Duterte for president because they wanted change in governance and which Duterte is seen to be delivering in his promise to wage war against drugs, corruption and criminality.

Duterte has been in power for almost two years now and his trust and approval ratings remain high despite negative reviews he is getting from people like Callamard, on his alleged human rights abuses and his bloody war against drugs.

One should be a citizen of this country and an avid follower of the political events that has happened in the past up to the present to fully understand and appreciate the difference it makes by having a leader who exercises power coupled with political will, as oppose to a leader who has power but lacks the political will.

Political will is defined as the ghost in the machine of politics – that motive force that generates political action. This is what differentiates Duterte from the recent past presidents and knowing closely now what made us the ‘sick man of Asia’ for so long, his unorthodox leadership necessitated an out-of-the-box thinking and ideas on how to move this country forward to stability and improve the lives of Filipinos.

The reality is that in so doing the forces of good battles the forces of evil that has been instrumental in hindering the progress of this nation, and lives are lost, sometimes brutally in the process.

It is no surprise, therefore, that while the Philippine government is now amenable to have an investigation conducted into alleged human rights abuses in its bloody war on drugs, it has equally signified strongly its opposition that it be headed by SR Callamard.

Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, a lawyer, said the Philippines welcomed any investigation provided that the United Nations sends a “credible, objective and unbiased” rapporteur, who is also “an authority in the field that they seek to investigate”.

Callamard does not fit that description, he said.

I have written once about Callamard which you can read at this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/war-on-illegal-drugs/.

But to know more about Callamard, I am sharing with you this link which definitely says more about this controversial SR: http://www.manilatimes.net/un-rapporteur-callamards-big-lie-un-resolution/326057/.

 

Arming teachers won’t prevent school shooting

President Trump with high school students and teachers at the White House.

In the wake of a gruesome massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School committed by a 19-year-old teenager identified as Nikolas Cruz using a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle where 17 lives were lost, a proposal coming from no less than US President Donald Trump sounded so absurd that one can’t believe it came from a leader of the greatest nation on earth.

Or perhaps it sounded so absurd precisely because it came from the stable genius himself, Donald Trump.

As controversial as Trump is already in the manner he is showing his leadership style to the whole world, his proposal to prevent another school shooting will not change the minds of many Americans as to who he really is, but in fact will highlight instead his inadequacies as a leader.

It will even accentuate further Trump’s servility to America’s National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful gun-rights organizations in the country, which has been reported to have donated more than $30 million to his presidential campaign in 2016.

What this means is that stiffer gun control, which is what most Americans want now, is not in Trump’s DNA.

While Trump expressed empathy, he clarified that he would not break from his base or the Republican Party’s position on the issue of the Second Amendment which protects the right of the American people to bear arms and such right not to be infringed.

Trump, like many of his Republican allies, believe that making it hard for people to acquire guns by putting up stringent regulations will not prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

And to think that school shootings predominantly occur in the US only. This speaks volume of what kind of gun control America has that even someone sick in the head would be able to buy one easily.

So what is Trump’s gun proposal then to prevent mass shooting in school?

Knowing Trump and his affinity to the NRA, his proposal is to arm school teachers instead! What?

My question is: How safe a gun is in the hands of the teachers now that they are allowed to possess one in school as oppose to not having any as before?

Since gun acquisition continues to be injudiciously unregulated, what then if another mentally unstable person gets inside the school and goes after the teacher first, knowing that the latter has a gun, before going on a shooting orgy again?

Does that solve the problem of school shooting?

Think about it?