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May 24, 2019 – Loving to the Extreme

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Bikoy saga weaves new tale of betrayal

Editorial
BY THE MANILA TIMES

MAY 24, 2019

The “Bikoy” saga is turning more into a twisting thriller worthy of a place in Agatha Christie’s crime fiction.

In a press conference yesterday at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed Bikoy in the anti-Duterte video series, made a complete turnaround and declared as fake his previous “Ang Totoong Narcolist” claims linking the Duterte family to the illegal drug trade.

He said it was all scripted to destroy the credibility of the Duterte administration to pave the way for this President’s ouster.

He then made new “revelations” about who were behind the Oust-Duterte plot with these details:

— The “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series was part of a bigger plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte as organized by the Liberal Party under the supervision of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th as the mastermind and puppet master, Advincula said.

Trillanes wanted to topple President Duterte, so Vice President Leni Robredo could succeed him. Robredo as president could then appoint a member of Congress as her vice president. Trillanes expected to be named as the new vice president.

— Essential to the plot was the destruction of Duterte and his family. The Bikoy video series, which is purported to portray the Dutertes as recipients of illegal drug money, is essential to the plot to destroy public trust in the President. This would lead to his overthrow.

Advincula’s main task was to mouth the script written for the character of Bikoy, who made the outrageous “disclosures” in the videos. He said the videos took nine months to produce, which was later hawked on social media.

For his efforts, Advincula was promised the sum of P500,000, which he now claims he never received. Also part of the deal was his clearance from all charges previously filed against him for his other past crimes.

— Additionally, the plot was designed to boost the flagging election chances of the Otso Diretso candidates and the opposition, he said. The scandal over the Duterte drug connection was supposed to repel the voters enough for them to shift their support to the opposition.

— Known members of the Liberal Party took part in the planning and execution of the scheme. The plotters held meetings in a posh condominium, at the Ateneo and La Salle universities, which are both known for harboring anti-Duterte sentiment.

One could not take such “revelations” at face value, of course. They were as hollow as his earlier efforts to smear the reputation of President Duterte.

Bikoy has become more frenetic, even desperate because of the dismal loss of the opposition in the May midterm elections, and the nearing end of Trillanes’ term as senator on June 30 this year.

When Advincula first made his sensational disclosures against Duterte in support of his original Bikoy videos at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on May 6, seasoned politicians such as former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and members of the media quickly pointed the finger of suspicion at Senator Trillanes as the possible mastermind of the entire Bikoy plot.

The plot bore all the signs of a Trillanes caper, foolishly using stratagems and plot lines that the senator has previously used in his many efforts to destroy the President, they said.

The truth should come out in the thorough investigation that should now be conducted on Advincula and the Bikoy saga, and all those implicated in it. That includes the suggested complicity of the Liberal Party and the opposition.

The matter is best investigated by the NBI and the PNP, which have the professional investigative capabilities and resources as they have also been engaged in apprehending Advincula. This is not for politicians to investigate and use for grandstanding.

https://www.manilatimes.net/bikoy-saga-weaves-new-tale-of-betrayal/558975/?utm_source=izooto&utm_medium=push_notifications&utm_campaign=EDITORIAL&utm_content=&utm_term=

CPJ should protect Philippine press from US media’s bias and incompetence

BY RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO.      MAY 24, 2019

THE following is a letter I emailed yesterday to Shawn Crispin, the Southeast Asia correspondent of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in reaction to his recent blog entitled, “Rappler-CIA plot claim is attempt to cut funding, Philippine journalists say.”

Dear Shawn,
I was surprised that in in your strident tirade against the present administration posted as a blog of the Committee to Protect Journalists, you referred to me as “ex-government spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao.”

That would be as if a current news article referred to ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos as “former Bill Clinton spokesman.” For chrissakes, I was the spokesman and then chief of staff of President Arroyo over 15 years ago!

You should know better as I was your colleague at the Far Eastern Economic Review, where I worked as a correspondent and then Manila Bureau Chief for 10 years. You even visited Manila once and we had drinks with my close friend, the late Rodney Tasker, who recruited you to the Review straight from college in Ohio.

You refer to me as such because that obviously helps your false narrative that the present government is out to suppress media.

Hiatus
Being a “government spokesman” was a brief hiatus in my career in journalism that I am proud of. I was even the main founder in 1989 of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which over the years has sadly deteriorated as a venue for spreading American neocons’ views in this country, especially its loathing for President Duterte

I am the only recipient of all four of the most prestigious awards given to Philippine journalists, among them Catholic Mass Media Awards for 1983, the TOYM award as the most outstanding print journalist for 1992, the1991 Mitsubishi Foundation Best Asian Journalist, and 1988 fellow of Harvard’s Neiman Foundation.

I report at some length my background to emphasize that the criticisms against Rappler, PCIJ, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Vera Files aren’t a government plot, but undertaken by veteran nationalist journalists — such as Yen Makabenta whom you also lambast — with distinguished careers.

I’ve devoted my life to Philippine journalism and I won’t let it be used by some foreign power, which in this case is obviously the US, whose Deep State loathes Duterte for his “rebalancing” of our foreign policy, putting America and China on the same footing. I certainly won’t allow my country to be painted black by an American, Maria Ressa, who’d just return to her New York suburban house if things don’t work out well for her here.

Why would the US State Department provide funding to the PCIJ and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility for over 11 years? Because people of so diverse worldviews like Madeline Albright, Collin Powell, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Mike Pompeo share the same passion for developing journalism in the Third World?

Mission
The mission here in this country of Rappler, PCIJ, CMFR and Vera Files is quite obvious from the fact that they have focused their resources on the issue of “human rights abuses,” the same issue that the US has been using for two decades now used to push for “regime changes” in Third World countries all over the world. The aim to topple Duterte has become urgent for the US as he has torpedoed its plot to drive a wedge between the Asean countries and China, and has drawn the country from the US to the new superpower.

It was I, not some government plotter, who exposed in a series of columns back in 2016 that Rappler was surviving because of its $2-million funding from Omidyar Network and North Base Media.

It didn’t even need investigative journalism work since Rappler’s Ressa who never read the Constitution boasted about getting such huge funding. It is to Duterte’s credit that he didn’t stop the Securities and Exchange Commission (the agency that determines if firms violate the foreign-funding constitutional restrictions) from investigating Rappler, even if it would risk — as it did — being accused of suppressing the press.

This is the first time ever in our nation’s history that foreigners are in media firms, since this is categorically banned by the Constitution, in its 1935, 1973 and 1986 versions. The PCIJ and Rappler took advantage of the then questionable issue of whether a purely web-based media outfit was covered by such a ban. The Securities and Exchange Commission has since ruled that they are.

I have been a nationalist all my life, and I took on bigger violations of our Constitution such as the Indonesian Salim’s control of public utilities in the country way beyond the Constitution’s 40-percent limit.

Passion
It is because of this same passion that I took a special interest in Rappler’s gross violation of the Constitution’s nationalist provisions.

From Rappler, I investigated PCIJ, CMFR, Rappler and Vera Files, and discovered the shocking fact that they had been getting money — for more than 10 years in the case of the first two outfits — from the US State Department, and had kept this secret.

Honestly, would you see nothing wrong if, say, you found out that Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been funding Huffington Post since it was set up in 2005, or if the Los Angeles Times has depended for its revenues on Huawei advertisements?

To this day, the heads of the four outfits, have not justified why they have been getting funds from the US State Department. As you will see in your blog itself, they refer only to a generic “foreign funds” in its attempt to put in readers’ minds the idea that they are getting funding solely from philanthropic foundations the likes of Ford and Asia foundations, and not from a superpower.

You claimed in your blog: “Duterte’s government has since piled up lawsuits against Rappler, including a charge over foreign funding it received through depositary receipts from the US-based philanthropic investment firm, Omidyar Network, that threaten to jail its executives and revoke its operating license.”

Discipline
Shawn, it is obvious you didn’t imbibe the Review’s discipline of unveiling lies by simply doing what a reporter should do, which is to dig up facts.

There are only two serious lawsuits filed against Rappler, other than the SEC order to dissolve it for violating the constitutional ban on foreign money in equity.

One is for libel filed by a businessman for a Rappler article published back in 2012 that claimed he was a drug lord, and that he was a supporter of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, against whom former President Aquino moved heaven and earth to remove in his attempt to protect his clan’s Hacienda Luisita. The guy’s business partners left him, after reading the article, fearing Aquino would also go after them. Even as the Rappler article was totally false, it refused to delete it from the web. Do you blame the businessman for pursuing his libel suit?

The second suit demonstrates Ressa’s rank incompetence as a firm’s CEO, bordering on the hilarious. When she realized Rappler’s foreign money was in violation of the Constitution, she got the two funders to declare it as “gifts” to its managers. When the managers refused since this would entail huge gift taxes beyond their means, she got her lawyers to claim that the investments were depositary receipts, which the Salim firms used to skirt the constitutional limits.

Capital gains
Oops, the issuance of depositary receipts involved huge capital gains since a peso worth of shares at par value had to represent, say, P100 of the actual foreign money. Of course, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, as tax collectors all over the world do, read newspapers, and investigated it, concluding that Rappler owed government P170 million.

Tax collectors don’t care about politics, as long as they can report bigger revenues. If your Internal Revenue Service found that the New York Times had not paid $100 million in taxes, do you think Trump would have ordered it to back off, fearing that the Times would claim it is being harassed by the president it wants to remove?

For all her melodrama that she is being persecuted by Duterte, the charges against Ressa are so mundane — for libel of a private individual and for tax evasion.

C’mon Shawn, of all American journalists you should know what suppression in the Third World really means.

A 2002 article you wrote that included Rodney in the byline merely stated that there were “tensions between then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej.” For that, you two were officially declared by the Thai government as threats to national security and ordered deported. The Review had to apologize for that article so that the Thais would not kick you out of the country ASAP.

Rodney, who had lived in Thailand for two decades and never got into trouble despite his in-depth reporting, was distraught, and so angry at himself for letting a reporter so greenhorn and so arrogant write a sentence that angered the King, but wasn’t necessary at all to the article.

Danger to society
Thailand’s biggest newspaper in 2010, The Nation, reported your woes rather sympathetically that even at that time eight years later, you were on Thai immigration’s “fourth-level secret list,” classified as a danger to society. “This harassment of the press is extending through successive governments,” you wrote.

Has the Duterte government ordered deported a single foreign correspondent who has written such blatant lies as “27,000 killed” in the government’s war vs drugs, or even for claiming that it is systematically harassing the press?

No.

It is of course unfortunate for your career that being blacklisted by the Thai government made you unattractive for recruitment by mainstream US media to cover the country, that you had to join an NGO like CPJ. You have now become so hateful of all Asian governments, suspecting each one of them to be like the Thais in 2002.

Your blog clearly implies that I and Makabenta as well as the Manila Times are merely tools of this government to harass journalists like Ressa and the other foreign-funded media outfits.

That is a blatant lie, and a very serious affront to me and my colleagues in the Manila Times. Other than these four foreign-funded outfits, no other news entity has ever claimed that there is press suppression in this country, not even those controlled or heavily influenced by those opposing Duterte. The 40 or so editors and staff — even including their janitors — of the four foreign-funded media outfits are barely 1 percent of the 3,000 Filipino editors and reporters.

For the sake of fairness and journalistic ethics, I demand that this letter be posted in your website.

Your Committee to Protect Journalists should protect us Third World journalists from the biases and incompetence of US media, from reporters like you who are either so gullible or too lazy to do their work, that they accuse us of complicity in government’s suppression of the press.

Sincerely,
Bobi

P.S. I’ve noticed that in your blog you have reported a lot on the suppression of the press in the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, and not one regarding Thailand, which has been a military dictatorship since 2014. Yet you know the situation on the ground in Thailand as you live there. You like Bangkok a lot, don’t you?

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/debunked

https://www.manilatimes.net/cpj-should-protect-philippine-press-from-us-medias-bias-and-incompetence/558972/

May 24, 2019 – Loving to the Extreme


Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

John 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, O Lord, in your great love for me. You are my creator and redeemer. I trust in your friendship; I trust that you will share with me all the insights and desires to love as you have loved. I love you, Lord, for you have loved me first. I want to love you by helping to bring your love and life to others.
Petition: With the love of your heart, inflame my heart!
  1. A New Commandment: “And can love be commanded?” Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI poses this very objection in his encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”. Love is not merely a sentiment; it is an act of will. “God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing” (n. 17). We cannot be ordered to “like” someone or to “fall in love”, but we can “choose to love” our enemies. More importantly, when we experience God’s love for us, the joy of being loved leads us to want to respond to that love. And God has loved us first: “It was not you who chose me….” We experience his love for us as an ongoing reality each time we receive the sacraments, but also each time we reflect on the fact that he is keeping us in existence. This personal experience enables us both to understand love and want to share it.
  1. Friends Forever: Like love, friendship is easily misrepresented in today’s world, for it is more than convenience, mutual tolerance or mutual utility. Friends not only share love; they share secrets and intimate knowledge. Love leads “to a community of will and thought” (idem). I want to know what my friend is thinking and desiring so that I can share in those thoughts and even satisfy those desires. “The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide: God’s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself” (idem).
  1. Chosen to Bear Fruit: Jesus’ commands are few, but they all have to do with love: “Do this in memory of me”; “Love one another”; “Love your enemies”; “Go and make disciples of all nations”, etc. The essential and urgent nature of this command of love is linked to the very mission of Christ. We are chosen and have been appointed to go and love others. If this love is authentic, grown from the vine of his love and great in sacrifice, it will bear fruit. The fruit which lasts, that for which he died, is an eternal life of friendship with God. What others most need from me then, is not material goods or consolation, or even my friendship, but an experience of God’s love for them, namely, knowledge of Christ. “Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave” (ibid., n. 18).
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, grant me a constant, growing desire to live your commandment of love. Awaken in me an awareness of your ever-present love in my life. Let this inspire me to love without measure, without distinction of persons, without fears of losing all that is less than love.
Resolution: I will choose to serve someone today, not because I feel the desire to do so, but for love of Christ.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The “plight” of Conchita Carpio-Morales illustrates just how LAME the Philippine Opposition is

May 23, 2019 - by benign0 - 3 Comments.
Perhaps Filipinos, specially the so-called “influencers” of today’s Opposition camp, need to step back and appreciate the bigger scheme of things surrounding the treatment former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales recently copped in Hong Kong. There are only two foundation principles at work here: (1) Morales acted as a private citizen when she, together with former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, decided to accuse Chinese President Xi Jinping of “crimes against humanity” before the International Criminal Court and (2) she was travelling to Hong Kong — a territory of China — as a private citizen.
Even if those two simple facts fly above the pointed heads of the Philippines’ foremost “thought leaders” there’s an even bigger planetary context to this that they need to comprehend.
China is neither a democracy nor a signatory to the “Rome Statute” that established the ICC. Neither does China care about the well-being of the Philippines beyond its own national interests. The latter is the most important thing Filipinos need to appreciate. China will only act in its national interests (as the Philippines, too, should). Beyond that, it will only back the interests of other countries if they align with its own. Because China has vast economic, political, and military clout, it can effectively apply that simple premise to its foreign policy.
That Filipinos would rely on a Mickey Mouse “criminal court” such as the ICC is pathetic. The pathetic nature of the position taken by Morales and Del Rosario is readily-evident in the statement they reportedly issued when they filed their complaint with the ICC back in March 2019 where they asserted, “it is only the ICC that can exact accountability on behalf of Filipinos”. Exceedingly pathetic. Filipinos should be ashamed that it has come to this — a dependence on a “court” with no teeth set up by former colonial masters.
For that matter, the Philippines is in no position to negotiate with China. It is dependent on its Hong Kong territory for the livelihood of more than 100,000 of its citizens that its domestic economy is unable to employ. China is also a major destination for Philippine exports and a supplier of vast quantities of imported capital and consumer goods even as the Philippines, for its part, hardly ranks a blip on China’s overall foreign trade radar. Most important of all, the Philippines lacks any significant naval capability to project power over the maritime territory it presumes to claim.
Perhaps, one can argue, China then is acting like a “bully” by mobilising all these tangible advantages to further its strategic objectives. Well now, isn’t that the way the world and life in general works, child?
Even democracy and the world of “fairness” supposedly embodied by Western civilisation was won by swords wielded by brutish grizzled men. No amount of appeal to “fairness” will win Filipinos a prestigious place in the world order. It will certainly not win Filipinos any advantage when going up against China or, for that matter, any country with the national chops to stake a claim of influence over global affairs.
Unfortunately for former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, she has been made an illustration of the reality surrounding the Philippines’ place in the world. China does things because it can. So can the Philippines. The only difference is that what the Philippines can do is utterly dwarfed by what China coulddo in retaliation without breaking a sweat. This is not because of any fault of China — it is because the Philippines, throughout most of its history since being granted “independence” in 1946, focused on all the unimportant things and neglected the truly important stuff — building capability to take care of itself.
Morales’s and Del Rosario’s quaint ICC “project” punctuates that national failure. Filipinos should not expect their government to back Morales in this debacle. Instead, they should leave her to lick her wounds and learn the important lesson in all this. It is high time Filipinos distance themselves from losers and the legacies of this loser mentality that continue to hobble the Philippines’ march to progress.

About benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

https://www.getrealphilippines.com/2019/05/the-plight-of-conchita-carpio-morales-illustrates-just-how-lame-the-philippine-opposition-is/

The Liberal Party Faithful Are Weeping and Gnashing Their Teeth

May 22, 2019 - by Gogs - 7 Comments.
” Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 22:13
What is ironic about that Bible quote in the context of May 2019 is that if the Liberal Party heeded the advice of the first part of the verse, they would have stood a chance of not living out the second part of the verse. What is also ironic is that the prophecy of Azor Ahai in the recently concluded Game of Thrones proved to be a red herring.
Liberals, Yellows, Otsos, Woke Walkers, whatever you call yourselves now. Weep more and gnash more of your Chel Diokno teeth. Nobody attended your rallies and protests yet you complain you were cheated.You fabricated and circulated the fake news to discredit your opponent and you never owned up to it. You let some LP fanboy take the fall since you are all cowards. You do more in secret   than you ever do in public. Otherwise you would have more to brag about in your campaigns.

They can’t even get a picture right . Source : Rappler . Even their pics are fake.

Basis of Strategy:
1) The Threats and Opportunities to the Industry.
2) The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Company.
3) Personal Values of the Key Implementers.
4) Broader Societal Expectations.
I will start with point #4 since we are talking about a recently concluded election. The votes come from society so it would be prudent to be aware of broader societal expectations. In 2016 you lost your grip on power for a reason. 2019 simply proves that you did not heed any lesson from the 2016 so you truly deserve zero presence in the Senate. You followed the Rappler method of looking at the world: Everything about Duterte is bad and everything about Noynoy is flawless. Duterte emerged in 2016 as the anti Noynoy without having to declare it.

If you attack somebody non stop for 3 years maybe some of that time would have been better spent , you know doing something?

Broader societal expectations went from electing a president in 2010 whose only claim to the Iron Throne was that his mother died to disposing him and all his bannermen in 2016 and 2019. Just because Rappler has been consistent with their view on the world does not mean the world is the way they present it within the confines of their url.
Personal Values of the Key Implementers. Once again, funny how their values conveniently coincide with Rappler’s editorial values. Editorial values that find their way in their reporting. According to this columnist, Rappler has been paid in the past to parrot the political views of the Liberal Party. If you doubt his claim then why hasn’t Rappler sued the author the way Rappler themselves were sued by businessman Wilfredo Keng in February  of this year? Its funny how their first defense on why the charge won’t stick is the story originally came out four months before the law came into effect. A better excuse would have been ” the story is true”. Then again this is Rappler, a media outlet who claims not to be a media company.     I don’t understand people who look down on Fox News yet love Rappler. Fox News at least has been around long before Trump became president. Rappler came in a year and a half into Noynoy’s term and has been slobbering on him ever since.  Take this  time they tried to influence the outcome of Corona’s impeachment trial despite being the new kid on the block. 

Since we are on the topic of Gospels. Good to know while campaigning , one of the Otso heard some gospels for the first time.

We have established that there is no difference between the gospel of the Liberal Party and the gospel according to Rappler. Their personal values are identical.  The personification of their values rests in their chosen President who sat on the Iron Throne from 2010-2016. Neither Rappler nor the Liberal party nor the Otso have ever publicly attacked him but they publicly attack anything and anybody else who does not bend the knee to yellow values. So what they are telling you is that they value that he has done little with his adult life by the age of 50. They are telling you they value his hollow track record in Congress and in the Senate and his actions or inaction in issues like DAP, the Corona Impeachment, Dengvaxia, Mamsapano and his role in placing someone in COMELEC that had to be impeached and is in hiding. They value his “reputation ” enough that he campaigned for them.

Rappler will never accuse their golden boy of any wrong doing so they let Marcos do it

Anyboy who says “stand down” when our armed forces are pinned down deserves to be labelled the Mad King. Rappler responds to this issue in the usual Rappler/ Liberal party style. They made it about Marcos.  We can argue who said what but we can not argue the rest of the military were not ordered to come in and save the day that January morning . We also can not argue that four years later there is as much accountability as there is hair on Noynoy’s head. I also see no such lawsuits suing The Manila Times for the headline ” PNoy ordered AFP, SAF to stand down” . Feb 5 2015.  What I did see was the Liberals doubling down on their precious president. 

Andy Bautista copy cat crime?

I once wrote about the cheating in the 2016 election and the ramifications from it three years later.  In it you can read about undeclared cash, missing officials, deadbeat dads, drenched ballot boxes. If I can add one thing that we know now that we did not know then it’s that Leni must be a product of cheating. None of the senatorial candidates she endorsed got in. She supposedly has credibility with the people and not just yellows yet not one of her babies made the cut?? Andy Bautista must have been really worth the money back in May of 2016.
The Yellows would have done better if they ” cast him into outer darkness” when they had the chance. Reminds  me of another quote I will paraphrase from the Bible:
He who has not sinned must be Noynoy Aquino.
Nope , they are not as “woke” as they claim to be. They ( Rappler, Otso )  are blind to the sins of their poster boy and believed that many do not see what they refuse to acknowledge. That is not woke that is just dumb.  One more thing :

About Gogs

Putting a very sharp needle into the balloon known as Pinoy Pride since 2012.

https://www.getrealphilippines.com/2019/05/the-liberal-party-faithful-are-weeping-and-gnashing-their-teeth/

Political lessons from the ‘Game of Thrones’

BY ANTONIO CONTRERAS       MAY 23, 2019

FOR a while, I saw the politics of many diehard Duterte supporters, aka DDS, in the last two episodes of the HBO mega-epic “Game of Thrones.” The similarity is in the desire to obliterate the enemy, and to wipe out every remnant of the opposition.

Daenerys Targaryen rode her dragon and showed no mercy in incinerating an entire capital, with its millions of inhabitants. It was a pyrrhic victory that unfortunately did not discriminate, and thus took with it the lives of innocent collaterals. The mother of dragons burned an entire city and saw it as a necessary act to ensure that the evil that lives there would no longer be able to rule and oppress the people. She had to destroy Kings Landing to save the entire seven kingdoms. The Americans had the same philosophy during the Vietnam War. They had to destroy villages to save them.

If there was anything that ruled Daenerys Targaryen’s fury, it was the desire not to give any mercy even if the bells had already tolled as a sign of surrender. It is seen in the order to kill anyone who served her enemies, and to feel victorious only when every last one of them is beheaded or burned alive.

I see this imagery in the fury of many pro-Duterte netizens who feel that the near-collapse of the political opposition in the recently held midterm elections is not enough reason to stop breathing fire at them. Some insist that the greatly diminished ranks of the Liberal Party and its allies should still be treated as potentially destructive enemies that have to be neutralized. Someone even pointed out that the debacle of the political opposition makes them even more dangerous, as they have nothing more to lose now. This Targaryen-inspired dictum of burning all enemies until every last remnant of the opposition is eliminated appears to be pervasive among many DDS. It is not enough that the LP lost the elections. The war is not yet over because the Magdalo will get at least one seat in the House, and that Senators Drilon, Hontiveros, de Lima and Pangilinan are still very much around.

Burn them all, said the Mad King. And that is exactly what Daenerys, his daughter, did. Those who served her enemies in Westeros and who survived had to be killed.

But civilized and democratic politics is not like this. Democracy is not about reducing the political opposition to impotence, or of totally wiping them out of the landscape. While one could bask in the feeling of invincibility, like Daenerys riding her dragon flying high in the sky, the view from her perch might not necessarily have been pleasant or satisfying, for what she saw below was a wasteland of rubble, ash and ruin.

It was painful to watch Daenerys marvel at the Iron Throne and touch it, but no one was there to cheer her. Her blindly loyal Dothraki riders and Unsullied warriors cheered her on not out of their free will, but because that is how they had been programmed. It was an empty victory, hollow and meaningless. The power to rule can only find its true meaning not in the adulation of a blindly loyal crowd, or in the silence of deadened voices of dissent, but in the struggle to engage opposing voices and win them over not by violence but by the power of reason.

And this is precisely what makes the ending of the “Game of Thrones” a compelling lesson in how to craft political order in the face of chaos and conflict. Tyrion Lannister correctly captured this when he said that what unites people in the face of historical wrongs and division are not armies, gold or flags but stories. He privileged the power of narratives which he embodied in Bran Stark, a crippled boy who was not a fighter but a thinker, and who had the gift of memory. Bran Stark is imaged as one who is not interested in ruling, and is not predisposed to reproduce his power through his children. This is what made him the best ruler.

Bran Stark is habitus and worldview. He is community. He symbolizes the narratives and memories that weave through the history of our nation, and the political community that we have to build to sustain it. These narratives and memories define our worldviews, and are stored in our cultural constructs and social institutions.

Tyrion Lannister spoke of the essence of democratic governance when he proclaimed that rulers should not be born but chosen. This doesn’t mean that there will be no debate and dissent, and that there is no opposition. The core of political order will always be crafted as outcomes of debate and an honest attempt to reach a consensus, if not of compromise. And opposing views, or divergent perspectives, are a healthy part of this narrative. Sansa Stark, in fact, effectively negotiated with her brother to grant the North an independent status.

This is the major lesson that all of us should learn from “Game of Thrones.” War and mayhem, either actual or discursive, manifested in divisiveness and the desire to annihilate the enemy, will not serve our political community well. Brute force, even if done in the name of the people, the way Daenerys Targaryen wielded her power, can only but end in tragedy. In the end, all of those who won the war against the undead, and against the forces of Cersei Lannister, are all those who are now rejoicing at the electoral victories across the Republic that spelled heavy losses for the despised and hated elites.

But it is not the Daenerys Targaryens who favor brute force, and will not rest until every enemy is dead, that end up advancing the interest of the people and taking the throne. It will be the Bran Starks who use reason and moderation.

https://www.manilatimes.net/political-lessons-from-the-game-of-thrones/558522/

May 23, 2019 – My Love for the Church



Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Patrick Langan, LC

John 15: 9-11

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.
Petition: Lord, increase my love and appreciation for the Church and her leaders.
  1. Christ and His Church: When Christ says, “Keep my commandments and remain in my love,” he is talking not only about the Ten Commandments but also about the Church. What is the Church? It is Christ’s extension through time. We cannot say, “Christ, yes; the Church, no,” because the Church is the mystical body of Christ; the two are inseparable as head and body. The Church, through its sacraments and its solid teachings, makes Christ present for me now, today. It is through this Church that I received the gift of faith. I want to remain in Christ. I want to remain enthusiastically in his Church.
  1. God’s Chosen Ministers: You chose the Apostles to continue your work of redemption throughout the ages. Therefore, Lord, I want to love your priests and your bishops. I know how hard their job is. I see their perseverance. The Eucharist is available all over the world because of the fidelity of priests. Thank you for bishops and priests. Thank you for our parish. I want to support the parish with joy; giving of my time and my financial sacrifices.
  1. The Pope: Lord, I want to love the Holy Father. He is the rock on which you chose to build your Church. Because he has kept the straight path, the world recognizes his moral authority. Lord, I want to learn more about what he is saying. Today with the Internet, it is so easy. It just takes a little interest and a little time. This is one way I can remain in your love. Thus, my joy will be complete.
Conversation with Christ: When you came, Lord, you wanted to heal us through the sacraments, and you set up the Church to administer them. Because you are present in your Church, it has lasted two thousand years. Thank you for giving us this instrument of salvation.
Resolution: I will read something Pope Francis has written. Much can be found on the Vatican website.