The 2016 Republican Convention opening day: a sea of white faces and a dozen poorly mendacious speakers


04-WhiteFaces-GOPconventionDay one of the 4-day 2016 Republican National Convention closed out in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, July 18 with a wholly white audience consisting of Republican Party delegates and campaign workers listening to a long list of third-rate speakers led by discredited former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. It would have been a historic flop were it not for Melania Trump’s speech (apparently with a lot of plagiarized parts from Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008) that emotionally plead for people to vote for her husband.

Not one nationally-known Republican leader showed up. Notably missing (they had earlier announced a boycott of the convention) were the true Republican Party leaders – former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, former presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, and recent presidential primary candidates John Kasich (governor of convention host state), and senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Not even Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan cared to show up!

Meanwhile, outside the convention building were large protest groups that had an even larger audience listening to their chants.

Let’s see what takes place the next three days.

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Cronyism and the ‘padrino’ system: what they do to the Philippine’s political and business culture, and how to get rid of them


NoToCronyCapitalism-600Cronyism and the ubiquitous padrino (patronage) system describe an economy in which certain business people and government officials maintain a close relationship, resulting in favoritism in the allocation of government contracts, permits, grants, benefits, etc. In its more despicable form, cronyism makes use of illegal and corrupt practices, causing people to lose respect for, and develop a mistrust of, both business and government.

While cronyism is an important factor in the growth of capitalism and the economies of countries, it results in discrimination against honest, legitimate business.

The Philippines ranks among the top ten countries in which cronyism is rampant. And the connection between cronyism and pervasive graft and corruption in the Philippines is all too obvious and well-known.

Bribery&Accomodation-400Every area of business in the Philippine economy is fueled by cronyism, including retail, manufacturing, banking, transportation, energy and natural resources, real estate and construction, and communications – and all branches and agencies of the government are affected.

Cronyism owes its spread in the Philippines to the proliferation of political dynasties, the culture of patronage, and the fact that Filipinos value social and institutional bonds, sometimes over blood relationship. Almost every adult Filipino has a kumpadre or two, and the bonds created by each relationship extend across entire families. Strong ties also grow through college organizations and the fact that people were schoolmates, or are members of the same service club.

Newly installed President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to eliminate all forms of graft and corruption in government and business – and between business and government. Mr. Duterte can succeed by adopting the following measures to curb cronyism:

  1. Bring the salaries of all civil servants – including and especially law enforcers – at all levels of government to living wage standards. This will reduce the temptation to accept bribes or privilege.
  2. Guarantee transparency in government conduct by using smart technologies in government processes, activities, and procedures.
  3. Enforce transparency in all government transactions. This will assure openness and minimize misconduct.
  4. Streamline procedures and processes to eradicate red tape. Red tape induces bribery.

With a civil service that is above-board and transparency in government conduct, cronyism – and the padrino system – will fade away.

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Why Filipinos would rather live in sin than seek to legally dissolve a nonworking marriage, or why the Philippines desperately needs a divorce law


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Rep. Lagman’s HB 116 promises relief from “long-dead marriages” to multitudes of “hapless women”

The Philippines is the only country in the world – outside of the Vatican, which has only about 30 women citizen/residents – that does not allow divorce. Many married Filipinos live in sin and illicitly when they separate and one or both ‘remarries’ outside the law. Only Filipinos who are Muslim can legally divorce under Philippine law.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines has used all its power and influence to prevent the passage of a divorce law in the country. When the Philippines gained independence in 1945, the church made sure divorce was no longer allowed under Philippine law.

UntilWeGetDivorced-300Filipinos whose marriages are utter failures can seek recourse through a marriage annulment, a decree obtainable from the church or a civil court under very limited and highly improbable or difficult-to-prove grounds. The process for a legal annulment is long and tortuous, and a great majority of Filipinos could not afford the time or the cost of a church-sanctioned or civil court-promulgated marriage annulment.

The other alternative for Filipinos is “legal separation.” Legal separation is easy to obtain but does not dissolve a marriage – it simply allows the spouses to live separate from each other while maintaining the conjugal partnership.

Several attempts have been made in the past to enact a divorce law in the Philippines. All such attempts were defeated either by failure to pass Congress or by a veto of the president.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines has so far succeeded in making sure that the Filipino people – those who are not Muslim – are bound to a life of misery, sin, and illegal relationships, simply because they failed in their attempt at building a family. The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines can take pride in helping to create a population of illegitimate children, adulterers, concubines, and all forms of broken homes.

Divorce-WeAreDone-350But relief is in sight. Representative Edsel Lagman of Albay province has filed a bill – House Bill 116 – that seeks to allow absolute divorce in the country. The congressman says the bill would provide “a merciful liberation of the hapless wife from a long-dead marriage.” Rep. Lagman was the principal author of the country’s newly-enacted Reproductive Health Law which the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines opposed with all its might.

The grounds for absolute divorce, under Lagman’s bill, in addition to those allowed for legal annulment, are: (1) when either of the spouses secures a valid foreign divorce; (2) gender-reassignment surgery; and, (3) when “irreconcilable differences or conflicts exist between the married couple, which are beyond redemption despite earnest and repeated efforts at reconciliation.”

If reason prevails in the Philippines – and there is no reason for it not to – the bill will pass both houses. The legislation will most likely be quickly signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law – and the Philippines can leave that distinction of being a “marry-and-suffer-the-rest-of-your-life” society to the Vatican, where there are only a handful of married people.

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What makes Metropolitan Manila traffic so congested, and what can be done to fix it


Four Lanes To Six Lanes

You’re in Makati. It is 1:00 PM. You have a 3:00 PM appointment in Parañaque – a mere twenty kilometers from where you are. You get in your car and drive to your appointment. Because the traffic is so bad, it takes you 2-1/2 hours to get to your destination. You miss your appointment. Don’t curse – you’re in Metro Manila!

Metro Manila (also known as the National Capital Region) has a traffic problem like no other place on earth. Most political and business leaders in the country blame the situation completely on “bad traffic management.” But bad traffic management is only one of the causes – and not the primary cause – of Metro Manila’s traffic woes.

According To WazeMetropolitan Manila is made up of sixteen cities and municipalities. The region covers an area of 611 square kilometers (236 sq. miles) with a population of 12 million people. Metro Manila is likely the world’s most populated region, with a density of 19,000 persons per square kilometer (50,000 persons per square mile).

While not all the people who live in the Metro Manila drive their own vehicle, most of them are on the road travelling, at least twice a day – by car, bus, “jeepney”, taxi (or Uber), tricycle, pedicab, motorcycle, motorbike, or on foot. And those who walk help obstruct and slow down vehicular traffic.

American Chamber SaysAccording to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 2.5 million vehicles of all types were registered to operate in the Metro Manila area in 2015 – more than 25% of the total number of vehicles operating in the entire country. On the other hand, there are only 1,030 kilometers of roadways in the entire region of 611 square kilometers.

From these facts, one could easily glean the reasons Metro Manila’s traffic is so notoriously bad:

  1. There are 2.5 million vehicles operating in an area with only 1,030 kilometers of roads – more than 2,400 vehicles per kilometer of roadway.
  2. Traffic patterns are disorganized.
  3. Drivers, generally discourteous, disregard and violate traffic rules and safe driving habits.
  4. Pedestrians and peddlers occupy traffic lanes in congested areas.
  5. Passenger vehicles double-park in wait for fares in congested areas.
  6. Development continues unabated without regard to environmental impact, especially on traffic and parking.

What’s the solution?

  1. Thin out the Metro Manila population by requiring large industrial complexes to move out of the area.
  2. Move the nation’s capital to a planned community at least 200 kilometers away from Metro Manila.
  3. Promulgate a national policy for agricultural development and growth to discourage people from migrating to the cities in search of opportunity.
  4. Enforce traffic rules.

Without these steps, the Metro Manila area will literally stagnate.

Too Many Vehicle Few Roads

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Why Donald Trump cannot be the leader of a diverse society: he is racist, violent, misogynous, xenophobic, egotistic, and a megalomaniac


Different Faces Of Donald TrumpWhen he started out his campaign for the presidency early this year, Trump referred to undocumented immigrants from Mexico as “rapists” and “criminals” and promised – if elected president – to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. He also called for a “complete stop to Muslims entering the United States.”

Donald Trump branded US District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel (who was born in Indiana of Mexican parents) as “prejudiced” and “unable to provide fair treatment” in a case filed against the Trump University. Trump claims it is “absolutely possible” that he would likewise be treated unfairly by a Muslim judge.

Hitler & TrumpDonald Trump treats and talks of non-Whites as if they are of an inferior race. When he tried to prove that he had the support of the African-American community, Trump pointed to a black man at one of his rallies and said: “Look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Aren’t you the greatest?”

Whenever protesters raise anti-Trump posters at his rallies, he would call on his supporters to “rough them up” and “get them out of here.”

His ideas for the economy and foreign trade are inconsistent and a mere hodge-podge of clichés about “bringing jobs back home.” He gives the idea that he seeks to isolate the United States from the rest of the world.

His ideas about foreign relations and on protecting the United States from its enemies are but a collection of impulsive rants aimed at arousing his audience. He ends up sounding like a schoolyard bully.

Donald Trump bragged about his foreign policy experience with his claim “I ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.” Hillary Clinton rightly describes Donald Trump’s foreign policy expertise as the ability to “brag, mock, and compose nasty tweets.”

Donald Trump’s fragile temper can lead the United States to war against almost every nation on earth.

Donald Trump has no regard for other people’s opinions. He has blacklisted and banned members of the press from his events simply because some of them have disagreed with his views.

Donald Trump is a racially-prejudiced person who incites violence, is misogynistic, xenophobic, and a pathological liar.

Help protect and preserve the future of the country!

DUMP TRUMP!

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As he lost his bid to be president, Jojo Binay will likely lose a lot of unexplained wealth – and serve jail time to boot


His son Junjun and wife Elenita – both similarly accused of plunder, graft, and corruption – may end up with a similar fate

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Immediately following his election as vice president on May 10, 2010, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay – who was born Jesus Jose Cabauatan Binay – was a sure bet to be the sixteenth president of the Philippines six year later, in 2016. Binay announced his bid for the presidency – and started organizing and actively campaigning for the post – just days after being sworn in as vice president on June 30, 2010. At the time – and for quite a while – Jojo Binay was the man to beat for president in 2016.

But the almost six years of wait took its toll on Jojo Binay’s destiny: in the May 9, 2016 election, he garnered just a little over 5 million of the more than 43 million votes cast for president. His poor showing resulted from Jojo Binay’s utter lack of regard for reality.

Jojo Binay started his political career in early 1970 when he ran several times for a seat on the Makati city council, losing each time. In 1986, then-president Cory Aquino named him acting mayor of the city. Binay served as acting mayor until 1988 after which he was elected and reelected to serve until June 30, 1998. Due to term limits, his wife Elenita ran for the office and served from 1998 through 2001, when Jojo Binay returned to the post and served as mayor until June 30, 2010. Jojo Binay was elected vice president in 2010, and his son Junjun succeeded him as Makati mayor.

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When he first sat in the Makati mayor’s office, Jojo Binay had very meager assets. The Binays (Jojo, his wife Elenita, and son Junjun) were able to build up tremendous wealth in both real estate and cash while serving as city mayor. Even before becoming the country’s vice president – while he was city mayor – Jojo Binay was hounded by charges filed against him with the Ombudsman for plunder, graft, and corruption – as were his wife and son. Jojo Binay routinely dismissed all charges as part of what he claimed was a “political demolition job” aimed at stalling his quest for higher office. He continued to disregard charges filed against him while serving as vice president. In addition, Jojo Binay ignored summons after summons for him to appear before a Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigation of the same accusations.

During the presidential campaign, Jojo Binay promised a better life for Filipinos once elected. He told of his life as a poor orphaned boy growing up even poorer, and making his riches through hard work. What people could not understand is how a person whose only occupation in life is to engage in politics could get extremely wealthy through “hard work.”

Left unanswered and un-refuted, the accusations against the Binays began to gain credence. Supporter after supporter started abandoning Jojo Binay’s presidential campaign, and leagues of campaign workers began jumping off his floundering campaign ship.

His campaign slogan “Life will get better with Jojo Binay!” suddenly lacked meaning to voters. His not-so-affable stature contributed to his shortcoming. People just could not believe that this short, dark, unassuming person was capable of giving them a better life, what with all the legal problems he was running up against. Jojo Binay tried to portray a better image of his self, but failed miserably.

BinayExplainsHisLoss-470x290When he steps down from the vice presidency at the end of June this year, Jojo Binay will have to face reality: multiple charges for plunder, graft, and corruption will be filed against him at the Sandiganbayan by the country’s Ombudsman. Plunder – under Philippine law – is a nonbailable offense.

Asked about his fate when those charges are submitted to the Sandiganbayan, Jojo Binay was quoted as telling newsmen: “I’m a practicing lawyer. A lawyer knows when he will win and when he will lose a case.” Any sane person – lawyer or otherwise – will tell you that Jojo Binay needs to get off his high horse and be real.

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Self-styled executioner, blabber-mouth Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte might – after all – be good for the Filipino people


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In a previous post (Why Filipinos must not. . . , Feb. 16, 2016), I suggested that Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was “an egomaniac who believes himself to be above the law” and whose “delusions of personal greatness will eventually bloat” causing him to “become a dictator.” President-elect Duterte has proven otherwise.

Immediately after having won the Philippine presidential election on May 9, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte toned down his rhetoric and admitted that all his tough talk was campaign ploy, saying that he was going to serve according to law even when he acts “tough on crime, drugs, cigarettes, corruption – and everything else wrong with the country.”

Bravo, president-elect Duterte!

Duterte ran a controversial campaign in which he cursed detractors, bad-mouthed Pope Francis, and promised to personally execute wrong-doers, but he bent down to become humble in victory and sober in his approach to his inauguration.

Rodrigo Duterte won the hearts and minds of folk all across the country’s social and economic strata.

While the out-going Aquino administration associated the country’s problems with graft and corruption and focused on the prosecution and conviction of corrupt officials, Duterte aimed his sights not only at government corruption but largely at the economic problems of the people. Candidate Duterte focused on the plight of the large percentage of Filipinos living in extreme poverty all across the country (While the Philippine economy grows. . ., Sept. 27, 2015), while simultaneously appealing to the economically well-to-do and the wealthy by credibly talking tough against crime, drugs, and tobacco.

The people saw in Duterte’s tough talk and stance a person who could truly deliver on his promises. On the other hand, candidate Mar Roxas – poorly short in personality and charisma – delivered his message of helping the poor with little to no credibility. The rest of the aspirants to the presidency – Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, and Mirriam Santiago – were non-factors. Poe was handicapped by questions on her citizenship, Binay was plagued by plunder and corruption cases filed against him, and Santiago was simply out of touch.

Duterte has promised results in three to six months of his administration. He may very well achieve his goal if he pursues it with what is expected: extra-judicial efficiency.

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America, Beware! Donald Trump is a dangerous person who fits the profile of a mobster more than anything else


TrumpRallyImage-530He talks like a thirteen-year-old schoolyard bully: “Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful, Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!”

His “speeches” are empty of substance and full of gangland rhetoric: “We’re going to win this one. We’re going to win. Yes, we’re winning this one . . .” and “I love this town. I love this city. Don’t we all love this place?” or “We’re going to make America great again. That’s what we’ll do – we’ll make this country great again. Yes, we’re going to do it!”

He has never spoken a word on how he’ll govern or what he’ll do to solve the problems he says America is sick with. He’s typical of the old snake oil salesman – trying to get your money with empty promises.

His event attendees are almost all high school dropouts and uninformed racists and extreme right-wing “evangelical” Christians. They are people who equate bombastic talk with oratory and bullying threats with good leadership.

That is Donald John Trump – the world’s most popular pathological lying get-rich-quick guru turned politician.

What ramps up his followers is not his idea of “making American great again” – nor is it his nonexistent political platform, vague government program, or dull brilliance. What excites his followers is his bombastic, bullying, tough-talking, street gang stance that is the prime time fare of ignorant, uneducated, and uninformed folk.

Donald Trump is a dangerous person. He fits the profile of an inner city gang leader more than that of the leader of a civil society. He is more like Adolph Hitler than anything or anyone else.

America, Beware!

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A threat to the people: Manny the boxer who condemns homosexuals as “worse than animals” and non-Evangelical Protestants as “hell-bound” now wants to be a Senator of the Republic


Pacquiao-TheBoxer-530Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, currently an elected member of the Philippine House of Representatives, is running to be a Senator of the Republic. Is he qualified? Is he mentally and emotionally fit for such high public office?

Pacquiao is qualified to be a senator by reason of law – he meets the citizenship, age, and residence requirements – but he is neither mentally nor emotionally fit for office, public or private. The high school dropout’s only claim to higher education is an honorary degree in Humanities from Cebu’s Southwestern University “in recognition of his boxing achievements and humanitarian work.”

Simply being philanthropic does not cut it. No doubt Pacquiao has a kind heart and loves to help the underprivileged and underserved among his people. He has built schools, a hospital, and homes for the poor of his province of Sarangani. But that does not mean he has the education, training, and mindset to be a leader of his people.

Pacquiao-ThePreacher-350Manny Pacquiao – who is also an Evangelical Protestant minister – is a homophobic demagogue who appears to seek recognition to compensate for his shortcomings and poor beginnings in life. He wants to be a senator because he feels inadequate as a congressman, because his ego needs a bigger lift. He joined a religious group as a minister because he feels the urge to wow it over his people and win their utter reverence, knowing that they already admire and respect him for his boxing skills.

How can a person who has no respect for a large segment of his constituents (people he has called “worse than animals” for being gay, as well as folk who he proclaims are going to “hell” for not subscribing to his faith) possibly represent them? How can a person who has a terrible attendance record and who has accomplished absolutely nothing after many years as a member of the House of Representatives be useful in the Senate?

Pacquiao’s senate candidacy is a threat to the Filipino people.

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Why Filipinos must not elect Duterte or Binay – two men who may bring ruin to a country struggling to emerge from a culture of political lawlessness, graft, and corruption


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The past six years saw the Philippines recuperating from decades of failed leadership, mismanagement, and plundering. Public officials high and low have been charged with graft, corruption, and plunder – and dozens upon dozens of them have been removed and perpetually disqualified from public office, while many more face similar fates.

This year – on May 9 – the country will elect a new president who will head government for the next six years. Whether the Philippines continues to remake itself and totally eliminate the virus that is both a culture of corruption and abuse of office depends on who gets elected from among the five presidential aspirants. The aspirants are Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay, and Miriam Santiago. Those who have a chance of winning are Poe and Roxas, and, unfortunately, Duterte and Binay.

Duterte and Binay are strong contenders because a lot of people admire politicians that act like bullies who neither fear the law nor respect any reason, as well as politicians that behave like the legendary Robin Hood – who steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Many Filipinos believe that Duterte (a poor imitator of the late Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson) is a Rambo-type hero who takes the law into his own hands to kill the bad guys and save the good guys, all the while forgetting that this type of personality may get out of hand and eventually serve no one but himself. Apparently, Duterte is an egomaniac who believes himself to be above the law. He is that person whose delusions of personal greatness will eventually bloat and then aim to become a dictator.

Many Filipinos believe that Binay rose out of poverty by milking the rich – and therefore needs to be honored for such an accomplishment. These folk don’t realize that Binay milked them as well, and whatever he passed on to them is peanuts compared to what he kept for himself. Robin Hood never got rich.

The Philippines is at the crossroads. If the people elect Duterte or Binay, they set the country back a decade or two in its effort to reform. If the people elect Poe or Roxas – or even long-shot Santiago – they move the country forward and well on the road to political, social, and cultural renaissance.

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