Benham Rise issue – Part III

 

I have no choice but to designate this article as Part III since I have already written about Benham Rise twice some years back which you can read at this links:

https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/philippines-pin-hopes-on-benham-rise/

https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/thank-god-for-benham-rise-part-ii/

Never had I anticipated writing about it again until I heard the recent alarming and disturbing news that a Chinese survey ship was spotted at the Benham Rise location.

“We are concerned about the presence of a Chinese ship in Benham Rise, which has been recognized by the United Nations as part of the Philippines,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement on Friday, March 10.

“The Department of National Defense has already notified the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding this matter as we continue to assert our sovereignty over our territory,” he added.

Of course we should, forcefully and explicitly!

The Benham Rise area definitely does not have any stupid Chinese historical claim of any sort like they had been asserting they have at the West Philippine Sea just because it is part of the larger body of water bearing the name South China Sea (SCS).

On the pretext that China was “looking for a place to put submarine”, as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said was the info he got, the most likely reason would be that they have chosen the area for their oceanographic research because they just want to confirm if indeed the unimaginable wealth and extent in mineral resources and gas deposits found underneath Benham Rise truly exist.

I cannot blame President Rodrigo Duterte for pussyfooting with the Chinese in the West Philippine Sea issue, where even the country’s territorial integrity has been breached with China’s nine- dash line claim.

If the most powerful country and the acclaimed top ‘policeman’ in the world- the US, and the UN, through its agency the UNCLOS, were not able to stop China from expanding and militarizing the SCS, who are we to prevent China’s hegemony of the contested areas?

But what I am just saying here is that we had been hearing Duterte declaring time and again that he will die defending the country and the Filipino people from the enemies that will try to destroy them.

Well this is it!

There has not been and there will never be a greater challenge such as this one in Duterte’s presidency that needs more of his grit, determination and resolve to stand up for his country and people.

Duterte could not afford anymore to be complacent the way he has been pleased and gratified at the financial and technical help China has promised to give for many infrastructure projects for the country.

China may have bamboozled us in the SCS and there was nothing that we can do. In that part of the globe what is China’s is China’s and what is ours is still China’s

Duterte and those that will follow him should be reminded that at Benham Rise what legally belongs to the Philippines is for the Filipinos and for the generations of Filipinos to come and not to China or any other exploitative country that intends to not only hold us by the balls, but stick it to us as well.

 

Trump’s America

trump1I will not be writing about Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, as there are more writers, authors and pundits who can describe him better as a person and as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth today.

All I can say is that on November 2016, Trump made the cover of the famous German Der Spiegel magazine, when he won the election, depicting him as a fiery Earth-bound asteroid that could very well “end the world (as we know it)”.

donald1

Always providing the world with absurd pronouncements/statements, nothing, however, has been more ridiculous, outrageous and discordant than Trump’s recent executive order implementing the travel ban to the USA of people coming from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

It is for this reason that, again, Der Spiegel had Trump on the cover of their magazine depicting him as a machete-wielding figure, mouth agape, holding the Statue of Liberty’s severed head aloft menacingly with the caption America first.

trump

No doubt the new cover speaks volume about what is happening in Trump’s America today with respect to immigrants and most especially to refugees. The latter’s resettlement has been halted for 120 days except those coming from Syria whose resettlement to the US has been stopped indefinitely, leaving tens of thousands of people in refugee camps.

For better understanding and appreciation of who Trump is and how the world views him, let me invite you to click the following links:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/trump-inauguration-signals-new-world-order-a-1130916.html.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/317787-german-magazine-rips-trump-in-new-cover-art.

 

PH-China relations more important than sea row ruling by international tribunal

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

If anybody is still wondering why President Rodrigo Duterte was included among the 74 most powerful people in the world, one has only to read this piece and see how his decision to “set aside” an international ruling which concluded that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to the bulk of the South China Sea is impacting the world community.

It ruffled the feathers of some world leaders that the Duterte cozied up with China despite the favorable ruling the country got, but declaring now that he would not press Beijing to honor the ruling even if factual new satellite images released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington reveal weapons emplacements for the first time on their man-made islands, is tantamount to defying the powers that be.

What this simply means is that Duterte is, indeed, putting a premium on the PH-China relationship rather than upholding the tribunal decision that  China doesn’t have the right to resources within its “nine-dash line,” which extends hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan and covers some 90% of the disputed waters.

Besides, how could one really justify the implementation of the international tribunal’s ruling when, in the first place, China has not only boycotted the proceeding but also does not acknowledge the decision, and, second, that being the case, what else could the international community do when China has already reclaimed and have created harbors, runways and reinforced hangars big enough for military aircraft on the islands?

America should not blame Duterte if the latter’s statements and pronouncements run counter to their interest in the country and in the region.

Why did America allow China to build up islands in the South China Sea and turn it into military installations when they know what is going on in the world with all their imaging satellites in place?

What else could Duterte do really, if you think about it, but have a pact with the devil for as long as the country benefits from it?

Apparently, the one appearing to be the devil in Duterte’s eyes are the Americans, the way he is now imposing his independent foreign policy.

It looks like the leaders of the ASEAN are all recognizing and acknowledging Duterte’s out of the box leadership and this is what matters most to him because now he is considered as one of them who don’t feel comfortable being America’s lap dog.

Head transplant getting closer to reality

 

Valery Spiridonov

Valery Spiridonov

On April 10 2015 I blogged about Head Transplant Surgery which you could read at this link: (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/head-transplant-surgery/).

It looks like the time table the intrepid surgeon, Sergio Canavero, envisioned is going to materialize on time, which is in 2017.

If this is not going to the mother of all transplants, I do not know what is.

Valery Spiridonov, the Russian man with a genetic muscle-wasting disease will still be Canavero’s first patient.

One could immediately notice the difference between Spiridonov’s physique in his latest photo compared to the one I posted in 2015.  One could tell indeed that time is of the essence for this equally courageous volunteer who expects to see himself in another man’s body.

But before the unprecedented operation is to be done, Spiridonov will go through a virtual reality system, which Canavero described as “prepar(ing) the patient in the best possible way for a new world that he will be facing with his new body – a world in which he will be able to walk again”. This is in partnership with US firm Inventum Bioengineering Technologies which created the virtual reality world that it says will help train patients such as Spiridonov.

The knife to be used in the transplant.

The knife to be used in the transplant.

Canavero also displayed the knife that will be used for the head transplant – a custom-made blade that can control cuts to a micrometer (one millionth of a meter) to allow the precision required to cut the spinal cord.

He said that the knife, developed by an American professor, will allow a “clear cut of the spinal cord with a minimal impact on the nerves”.

Dr. Sergio Canavero

Dr. Sergio Canavero

Canavero is aware that many are still skeptical of his impending bizarre operation, calling it Frankenstein surgery, but he has only this to say: : “To all the critics I say go and see what happens when you’re affected by a wasting disorder…trade places with (Mr Spiridonov) and then you tell me.”

Am sure the whole world will be anxiously watching this milestone and we can only wish both Canavero and Spiridonov good luck and Godspeed!

 

The amazing truth about Trevor Noah

trevor

This is something new that I am doing. It may not be the last one.

For those who do not know Trevor Noah, haven’t heard of him spoken about or much less haven’t had the chance to listen to him, the video you are about to see, I am sure, will captivate you.

Compared to Jon Stewart, an American stand-up comedian who gained acclaim as an acerbic, satirical critic of personality-driven shows when he hosted The Daily Show (1999-2015) on Comedy Central, Noah, the man who took over Stewart’s talk show program is a much lesser light.

But slowly and surely Noah, the stand-up comedian from Soweto in South Africa is making a mark of his comedic personality and wit, and while not exactly filling up the shoes of the much loved Stewart, more and more people, including other famous talk show hosts in America, are recognizing his potential for greatness, as well.

What makes Noah intriguing is his mixed-race ancestry having a Swiss- German for a father and a South African mother of Xhosa ancestry. What made it even worse, if not daunting, is the fact that his parents’ relationship was illegal at the time of his birth under aparthied. His mother was jailed and fined by the South African white minority government, and his father later moved back to Switzerland.

I will leave it up for you to consult Wikipedia to learn more about Noah or Stewart, for that matter, and/or their respective satirical news programs.

The only reason why I am doing this differently is because I want to share with you the book that Noah has written, “Born a Crime”, from which he reads excerpts of some overwhelming and heart-stirring stories about his life as he is being interviewed by somebody of his own color.

What a struggle! What a success! All despite being ‘born a crime’.

As it has moved and impressed me, I am sure you, too, will feel the same, and perhaps even more.

The U.S. 2016 presidential election

 

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The U.S. presidential election that will happen in a couple of days pitting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump is one event that has distracted me no end to the extent that it has prevented me from writing often.

It is indeed a very interesting election – one that is vicious and corrupting that you can even call it perverse election.

America has never seen nor experience one like this before.

No doubt it is for the history books also, for this election will not only determine whether the 45th American president will be a woman or a demagogue, but it will also decide whether or not the U.S. will continue to remain a super power and keep its world leader status intact – respected and recognized.

What is making the U.S. election so unique and memorable, but crucial, is because no one of the two candidates are well liked by the American populace and therefore it is more of choosing the lesser evil.

Crooked Hillary against the obnoxious Trump!

But you know what, the funny thing is that even with Trumps small hands and short fingers, what is absolutely true is that every time the latter points a finger at Hillary accusing her of her crookedness the three other fingers are facing towards him which unquestionably  shows that he is, in all respects, what he is faulting Hillary of.

Wish the Americans good luck!

May the best person wins.

Plan to cut off ties with US in favor of China may put country in peril

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

Together with China, President Rodrigo Duterte also want to have ties with Russia, which in effect marginalizes the US in his new foreign policy realignment.

This, Duterte has announced over and over again in his speeches after his seemingly endless vituperation against the US.

Except for tourism and an alternative source for police and military weapons, which Duterte recently implied he will be buying from, there is no other reason that would make it imperative why it would be Russia that we would be aligning with.

Like China, Russia is just another devil that we don’t know much about if, indeed, that is how serious Duterte wants to re-structure his new major foreign policy approach.

Thus, since I don’t know much what to expect from Russia that would be beneficial to the interest of the country and the Filipinos, I have opted not to comment on it for now. Suffice to say that I could not fathom Duterte’s mind as to why he has to drop the US in favor of Russia when the latter has never been an iota of an ally comparable to our alliance with the US.

What I am saying is that I have more reason to be talking about China since this giant of a nation has already extended its military tentacles all over the South China Sea (SCS) to the extent that we can say that it is now practically in our own backyard, to the consternation of the Filipino people.

What is even worse is that our fishermen are losing their livelihoods simply because of the Chinese tentacles powerfully driving the folks from their fishing grounds.

Yes, the Chinese occupation in the SCS has virtually made them our neighbors and no amount of international law will delegitimize their claim that they historically own almost all of the SCS and what is beneath it.

It is bad enough that China has extended and expanded its military might near our shores and the shores of other countries in the region, but do we have to make the situation worse by cutting the country’s military ties with the US?

One question that we would be asking ourselves is: Could the China build-up of islands for military use in the SCS have happened if the country had not booted out the Americans from their military bases before?

In retrospect the politicians then thought that they were doing the country a favor by closing the bases and driving out the Americans because they thought we can fight our own battles both internally and externally.

With corrupt politicians, how could the country ever fight its own battles, whether internally or externally?

But look what is happening now with China flexing its military muscle in our part of the world?

Good that we have Duterte who is trying to mend fences with the communists and the Moro rebels and seems to be succeeding, but does he have to put the country in peril by drastically doing away with the country’s long alliance with the US and fully embracing the devil that we don’t really know that much which is China?

And think about this. Only a few days ago two Chinese and a Russian drug mules were caught carrying around 27 kilos of cocaine at Manila’s international airport. Are these really the countries Duterte wants to be dealing with in trade and other relations in place of the US considering his serious and bloody war on drugs?

We know for a fact that China is the biggest source of illegal drug being brought into the country. The whole world also knows for a fact that drugs proliferate in Russia.

If Duterte has problems with the US and the EU, would his choice of cutting ties with these countries in favor of China and Russia not a classic example of us jumping from the frying pan to the fire?

Just asking.