A new twist in Phil-China relationship

 

This is a new twist in the Phil-China relationship that I surely welcome and so should the rest of the Filipino people who feels aggrieved, bullied and disadvantaged over China’s wanton aggression and utter disregard of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty – the international agreement that defines the limits of the territorial seas of nations and the areas in which they could exploit marine resources.

It is now history at what China has done and accomplished in the South China Sea (SCS), of which the West Phil Sea is part of it, and for a little insight you may open this link, among the other pieces I wrote about these controversial seas:  https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/eez/.

If it is of any consolation at least President Rodrigo Duterte has finally found the courage and the aggressiveness to chide China, calling it wrong the latter’s claim of the airspace over their militarized artificial islands in the SCS.

“That is wrong because those waters are what we consider international sea,” Duterte said in a speech before an audience that included foreign guests.

“You cannot create an island, it’s man-made, and you say that the air above these artificial islands is yours,” the president also said.

The logic of this statement is simply profound and, indeed, incontrovertible.

This rebuke from Duterte came in the wake of a repeated warning radioed by the Chinese military to a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon plane to “leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding” while the reconnaissance aircraft flew close to some of the man-made islands.

On this, Duterte said, “I hope that China would temper … its behavior.”

This observation and comments by Duterte did not sit well with Beijing, however, as it ignored Duterte’s chiding, saying and asserting instead that where the man-made islands are in the SCS all are China’s inherent territory and, thus, it has the right to react to foreign ships or aircraft that get close to its islands.

Perhaps piqued by China’s continued arrogance in asserting its supremacy of the airspace over the militarized man-made islands, which for timeless occasions even our own military aircraft patrolling the area receives Chinese radio warnings, Duterte could only issue another relative statement, saying, “You cannot create islands there and claim the sea. That is not an island, artificial islands are not true, are prohibited in the middle sea. ‘Yan nga ang rule diyan eh (That’s the rule there).

Another frustration vented? You bet!

I only hope that in this new twist in Phil-China relationship Duterte will be able to see a lot more to it than meets the eye.

It’s never too late.

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World free of death penalty

 

Pope Francis

At least this is what Pope Francis wants as he showed support for the sixth World Congress against capital punishment that was held in Oslo, Norway a few months back.

What this does in effect is change the Catechism of the Catholic Church – the compilation of official Catholic teaching, where, before, it said that the church didn’t exclude recourse to capital punishment “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”

Now the explanation given is that “the previous policy is outdated and that today the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

Well, let me just say here that I am writing this piece not because I agree with this new ruling of the church, but rather it is more about expressing my opinion against it.

Whether one is a member of the Catholic Church or not, this is a matter that people all over should be talking about as it is a universal concern.

I just find it absurd that Pope Francis is calling for a world “free of the death penalty” because he says it violates the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person.

Sanctity? Dignity?

What about the sanctity and dignity of the victims that are brutally killed, and that may include sometimes innocent children?

How about those that are mercilessly raped and killed that may include sometimes children, too?

Is there still sanctity and dignity left in the lives of these criminals who consciously take illegal drugs in order to carry out a heinous crime?

What is justice for the victims and their grieving families then if those meted out a death penalty is made to live and enjoy the freedom they don’t deserve, even if it is inside the jail?

If there is a group of people who should be more sympathetic to the victims of any heinous crimes, or any crime for that matter, it should be the priests.

I say, stick it out with the old policy of having recourse for death penalty, if and when warranted.

Death penalty never gets outdated. It continues to be current for those deserving to die.

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.

Trump’s brutal immigration policy – Part II

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will not be saying anything anymore to what is suppose to be Part I of Trump’s brutal immigration policy. Suffice to say that this video not only expresses more words as opposed to a photograph, but also shows candidly and brutally what America is today under Trump’s “zero- tolerance” immigration policy. Simply egregious and pathetic!

Trump’s brutal immigration policy

President Donald Trump’s administration seems to have boasted that in a six-week period beginning April 19 it had separated almost 2000 children from their parents or caretakers accused of crossing unlawfully into the United States.

The separations are part of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossing.

Now, if this is not a brutal immigration policy, I do not know what is.

I am not saying here that the issue of illegal immigrants to the U.S. has started only during Trump’s administration. It has been there all these times, but the solution that has become Trump’s unilateral decision is so heartless that every time images/videos of children being separated, or cries/audios being heard of children calling their father or mother, it becomes automatically a symbol of the American president’s vile and cold blooded treatment of immigrants.

For how else would you describe a person and a leader of the greatest nation on earth if he allows kids to be dehumanized and considered criminals?

America has always been known to be the bulwark of freedom, of democracy, of equality and justice especially to those seeking asylum due to political instability and violence in their country of origin.

But not anymore. Not in Trump’s America.

Does one has still to wonder why Trump covets the prominence of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping?

Mind you, Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy has come under fire from politicians, immigration advocates and human rights groups.

Even wives of former U.S. presidents, like Laura Bush, described the policy as cruel and immoral and that it beaks her heart, explaining that protecting boundaries is one thing but forcefully separating children from their parents is another thing.

To top it all Trump’s wife, Melania, expressed also her concern, saying, she “hates to see children separated from their families”.

Hopefully this inhumane policy of her husband will spur her to put some sensibility into his head.

She should if she has not forgotten where she comes from.

Ivanka’s non-Chinese proverb

Ivanka Trump

Just ahead of her father’s historic meeting with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Ivanka Trump tweeted a saying that she labeled a “Chinese proverb”: “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.”

Ivanka was of course referring to the skeptics, but more, perhaps, to the anti-Trump folks who did not want the pugnacious American president to succeed.

There was nothing wrong with the “Chinese proverb”, but only if it existed as, indeed, a Chinese proverb.

There could not have been an opportune time such as this historic event unfolding before the eyes of the whole world, after decades of distrust and animosities between the two countries, to put in their proper places the doubting Thomases of this world by chiding them, but, alas, it boomeranged on Ivanka.

How could it not when even China’s internet was abuzz and discombobulated wondering about the mysterious proverb or what and which proverb could even come close to it.

Thus, instead of being flattered by its reference, Chinese social media users pilloried Ivanka with unsavory comment like:

“She saw it in a fortune cookie at Panda Express.”

Some said it could have been, “Don’t give advice while watching others playing a chess game.”

Another suggestion was, “Don’t force others to do things you don’t want to do yourself.”

Still one commented, saying, “One proverb from Ivanka has exhausted the brain cells of all Chinese internet users.”

It is just very ironic that while the Trumps are known to belie as fake, news adversely attributed to them, this time they are caught faking even a proverb.

Sad!

Going to war against China is insane

I find it ridiculous, if not insane, the idea that the Philippines is prepared to go to war if military personnel are harmed by Chinese forces in the South China Sea (SCS).

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the Philippines would always try to pursue talks to defuse tension, but war could not be ruled out as a last resort if its military was provoked or aggrieved.

Esperon was referring to President Duterte’s statement, saying, that if his troops are harmed that it has crossed his red line.

I agree with Esperon’s statement that ‘the Philippines would always try to pursue talks to diffuse tension’, but it should be made clear that a violation of a red line does not necessarily mean an act of war and should be reciprocated in the same manner.

Any which way, the best and rational approach is always to seek for a diplomatic solution.

I am saying this because President Duterte himself has, time and again, said that it is foolish or insane to go to war against China. The reason is very obvious.

The truth is, at this stage of China’s incursion and weaponization of the SCS, to include part of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), China has got us by the balls, or by the throat, if you may, that any adverse movement/action against them will only create a calamitous reaction from them. Suffice to say that we are now at their mercy.

I don’t think, however, that China will do anything displeasing or disagreeable to destabilize this forced ‘marriage of convenience’ between the two countries because doing so will only invite the concern and, perhaps, meddling of the US.

Definitely, this will be an unwelcome event for we don’t want to be caught in the middle of the confrontation between this two militarily powerful countries.

This is even a more insane proposition.