Monday, August 7, 2017

STUFF that I talk about: Freedom of religion, Julian's WikiLeaks licks, Superpower band aids, “Low Intensity Conflict,” the Japanese, Gasoline talk, and other stuff (from my Facebook Page).

FREEDOM of Religion? Many years before Donald Trump came to power and "travel ban" got into the heartland like the plague, I have read and heard about a lot of slurs--and namecalling and dissing--of the Christian faith. I myself has been told many times that Merry Christmas! is politically incorrect and culturally insensitive. A friend's child came home once weeping and wouldn't want to go back to school because she said she was bullied by schoomates for handing a Christmas card to another pupil, and was told by the teacher that it is not "correct" to greet Merry Christmas at all. Then these days, I hear of many Muslim people being stopped or questioned for their faith. Recently, children of Muhammad Ali were detained in a Florida airport and asked, "What is your religion?" Is it unconstitutional to make a Catholic or Baptist or Mormon or Seventh Day Adventist etc uncomfortable or awkward or is it unlawful for a police officer or airport staff to stop someone who may be Muslim? Is the word "unconstitutional" or "constitutional" the key? Let's see.
         The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.


         More than that, America tells the world that this country is where utmost tolerance of Faith happens. I came from a country that is 80.5 percent Catholic Christian yet I see an active co-existence of religions. Almost all summer feasts are a melding of Christian and tribal/indigenous peoples rites. Non-Catholic or non-Christian students are allowed non-adherence to flag ceremony or wearing of ROTC/military uniform, some girls are okay not to wear pants or sports shorts on Physical Education drills etc. No problem. Not even up for discussion. Muslim traders freely and peaceably engage Christians in commerce in open markets. A vocalist for my band years ago who is half-Muslim sings rock `n roll on a usual rocker outfit and then wears burqa when she worships in a Muslim mosque. It is common disrespect to even ask her why. My family and clan have been dealing business with upland tribes (who are not necessarily Christian) for many many years; some ended in intermarriages as well. Muslim Mindanao island has been granted autonomy as a people. (You may google ARMM for more info.) There may have been some pronounced insensitivities leveled at other religions (beyond Catholicism) but those are kept within one's private enclave. In other words, those are not tolerated by community and society and government.
          America is 70.6 percent Christian. In a 2013 survey, 56 percent of Americans said that religion played a "very important role in their lives," a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation. Yet recent surveys say the US is becoming less religious. Irreligion is growing rapidly among Americans under 30, says a 2012 study. This is another aspect of people sentiment that, I believe, played a huge part in current election behavior in America. While half of the citizenry profess religion (and/or Christianity) the other half, doesn't. And since only 50 percent of Americans vote, that'd mean the 70.6 percent Christian fraction do matter in terms of voter-groundworking. That'd mean, election advocacy should focus on that cultural data. America cringes over economic woes, irrelevant of adherence or non-adherence to a church. That is a fact. Hence people could come together as one community for common benefits, beyond religion or irreligion. Mutual goodness.


         What's going on these days with Muslim nationals in America should be a wake-up call for the entire nation. We are guilty. As a cop stops a motorist who looks like Arab (hence Muslim?) then lets him go--a neighbor complains about Christmas decors in a family's own backyard then goes back to work. It is not really a question whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional, lawful or unlawful. I believe, making someone feel like an outcast or outsider due to his/her religion is downright inhuman.

SPYING ACCORDING to MR JULIAN. First, I am not saying that Julian Assange's WikiLeaks leaks are untrue. Of course those are SO TRUE. It is as clear as daylight, as clear as a zombie walker's bite off a Walking Dead cast's butt on Sunday AMC. But don't we know all these already? Especially in this era of "internetting”? I am not even talking about Homeland Security's "warrantless" cellphone searches or Mr Snowden's supposed bombshell years ago--and how about going back to McCarthyism and/or the Red Scare from 1947 to 1956, characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet Union's agents. In fact, surveillances and spying on citizens is a global thingy since way back when. But let's time-machine our app to the year 1947, when president Harry S. Truman took steps to counter the Soviets' influence in Europe via a program called "Containment."


         Even during the Chinese Civil War in 1949 when the United States backed Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang against Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army, spying was a strategic weapon. US involvement was a focal issue. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) sliced down Truman's defense budget, yet he continued fighting the Cold War (against the Reds) albeit effectively. Spying were all over in ensuing years as the US and allies battled Communism's growing influence: Cuban Revolution of 1959, Berlin Crisis of 1961, conflicts in the Third World (1953 Iranian coup d'état, 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, Congo Crisis, Vietnam War, coup d'etats in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Operation Condor, Six-Day War, Task Force 74, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Ogaden War, Angolan Civil War, Indonesian invasion of East Timor etc etcetera). I can go on and on and on and cite Washington involvement/s which Mr Assange supposedly leaked as well, right? Damn, don't we know all these already?
         Then there was the so-called "Second Cold War" from 1979– 1985. Then the supposed end of the "War" when Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed the INF Treaty at the White House in 1987. Those were the years when the Soviet economy was stagnant and faced a sharp fall in foreign currency earnings as a result of the downward slide in oil prices in the 1980s. What is the common denominator in those spying years? USSR/Russia and the United States. Julian Assange? Tell me what is the connection. And then he threw another diversionary bone. And damn some of us just bit it. And how Kremlin loves this! Expect some oil treaty singing soon.


         BTW Russia isn't as "poor" anymore as the time of Perestroika and Glasnost. Yet still Vladimir Putin and his cohorts don't know how to diversify. The Chinese helped them out but hey they want to up their game some more. Maybe he needs the art of the deal? I digress. Back to my NBA game. Warning: You ain't going to distract me starting March 14. March Madness, ha! Spying on my ceviche and Blue Moon is fine though. Whatsoever. Whatsover.

IT saddens me to think that some (or a lot of) people aren't aware that when a superpower aids a smaller nation—it is not one-way dole-out system. Such a thing never happened in the history of humankind. The aid comes with certain conditions that are forged via bilateral agreements, summit conferences, and treaties. Nothing is free or “I will rescue you like I am Super Mother Teresa!” in this world. Hence, no nation should exert power over the other just because the former is perceived as “super” against the latter which is seen as “weaker.” 
          There are always negotiations, compromises, then agreements for mutual benefits. Some people need to put more attention to historical data and current events more than the crisscrossing strobe lights of Facebook walls and billboards. Read and find out. Ask and listen. Life isn't a set program. It is a continuum. Years ago, the silent smiley dude from Guangzhou was just handing out Lo Meins somewhere in Haight-Ashbury. Now he's the big boss at Bank of China that just bought out your favorite 5-star hotel. The tiny nation that used to beg money from the IMF recently loaned millions of moolah to the same lending organization. There's no more Cold War, only WikiLeaks. Times change. Powers tilt. And now there are gluten-free ramens.

I WANNA say this again. If I criticize your candidate, that doesn't automatically mean I am for the other candidate. And if I say something good about another candidate, that doesn't follow that I am about to say a bad thing about your bet. I could reverse the equation next. The world doesn't always involve polar extremes. That just happens in election time--because the social order calls for votation of leadership/governance or pertinent issues. But humans are not black and white. We compromise. We negotiate. Then we agree, 4 or 7 out of 10. Then we live our life on our side of the fence—and come out on fiesta time or Super Bowl and enjoy. Enjoy!



LOW intensity conflict or LIC is the use of military forces applied selectively and with restraint to enforce compliance with the policies or objectives of the political body controlling the military force. The term can be used to describe conflicts where at least one or both of the opposing parties operate along such lines. As those who are informed would certainly concur, the 1 Percent is the “political body” that excises compliance. Such subliminal trick in the shadows (sic) is more accentuated by “divide et impera” or Divide and Rule—or gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures, and especially prevents smaller power groups from linking up, causing rivalries and fomenting discord among the people. Then zoom in on Social Media and how it worked toward that end before election day. Remember The Matrix? The plug at the back of our neck has taken over smart-sense.

I HAVE been receiving press feeds from the office of Narendra Modi, prime minister of India. He is an interesting leader. His policy initiative for "inclusive development" is praised by many financial analysts. "The Indian stock market's greatest hope!" says one. He is also adept at using social media. The second-most-followed leader in the world (with over 17.9 million followers on Twitter as of February 2016), behind only Barack Obama. And ranked #2 behind Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a list of 30 top-performing world leaders by a Japanese market research firm.
         Meantime, look out for India. The long-term growth prospective of the Indian economy is positive due to its young population, corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. The Indian economy has the potential to become the world's 3rd-largest economy by the next decade, and one of the two largest economies by mid-century.


         BTW, India is the 3rd largest producer of crude steel. It also has one of the fastest growing service sectors in the world with annual growth rate of above 9 percent since 2001, which contributed to 57 percent of GDP in 2012-13. The IT industry continues to be the largest private sector employer in India. India is also the third largest start-up hub in the world with over 3,100 technology start-ups in 2014-15. India ranks second worldwide in farm output. The Indian auto mobile industry is one of the largest in the world with an annual production of 21.48 million vehicles (mostly two and three wheelers) in FY 2013-14.

FACTS. Or facts to ponder. In re recent Berlin market attack. A record-setting 1.2 million first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the 28 member states of the European Union in 2015. That's more than double the previous year. Three main countries of origin for asylum-seekers in 2016: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Compared with the previous year, the number of Syrians seeking protection doubled to 362,800, the number of Afghans nearly quadrupled to 178,200 and the number of Iraqis multiplied by seven to 121,500.

         According to Pew Research, Germany has been the primary destination for asylum-seekers since 2012 — a position it previously held in the late 1980s and 1990s when it received nearly half of Europe’s asylum applications. Over the past 30 years, at least 3.6 million applications were filed in Germany. That’s nearly one-third of applications in Europe for that time frame.
        In 2015, the highest number of first-time applications for asylum was registered at 441,800 in Germany. After Germany, the other top nations for accepting refugees were Hungary (174,400, or 14 percent), Sweden (156,100 or 12 percent), Austria (85,500 or 7 percent), Italy (83,200 or 7 percent) and France (70,600 or 6 percent).



OIL/GASOLINE TALK. America will not run out of gasoline. Never. Just a little bit of “Hey, easy up on driving to here and there, okay?” Even if Saudi Arabia dries up—Texas, California, Alaska and North Dakota etc still have so much reserves, most of them inactive due to environmental lobbying. The United States is the world's third-largest producer of crude oil—behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the US was the largest oil producing country in the world, following oil discovery at Oil Creek Pennsylvania in 1859. America rose to power due to oil that kicked up industrialization many years ago. Oil is power. It's just that we consume oil so much! Americans rank #1 globally in oil consumption. We consume approximately 19 million barrels on a daily basis, or 6.9 billion barrels per year. President Obama mobilized some oil fields in the West Coast on his first term to slow down a bit importation but faced massive protest from people who love to drive that vehicle but are against diggings. From being a major exporter, the US turned into importer of large-scale products (from oil). That, I believe, is one major reason why Washington let China at WTO (2001) and Russia (2012)--making globalization the name of the 1 Percenter game. China is 4th behind the US in oil production. Canada is 5th—remember the Keystone pipeline issue?


THE JAPANESE. Yes, the Japanese. Their work ethic and fun madness. When I say Work, I am talking about the #3 economy of the world—for a country that is smaller than California. And for a people that are planet earth's top 3 in life longevity. Facts. Do I know Japan that much? I don't pretend I do know a lot beyond fillet'ing a tuna for sushi or “Watashi wa, anata o aishiteimasu!” But I spent some time in Japan in the `90s and I have quite a number of relatives there who intermarried with the Japanese--like my Aunt Connie, sister of my dad. “Kon'nichiwa, oba?” Japan also occupied us in World War II—but that's the past. We forgave and forgot. In fact, Japan is on top 3 of aid givers to the Philippines these days, especially at a time of typhoon calamities. And well, Japan is near where my islands are—we shop, we frolic, we work out there.


         Yes, the Japanese are earnest at work and chill at leisure! Do you know that the fun TV shows “Wipe Out” and “Iron Chef America” were all original Japanese? “Takeshi Castle” and “Iron Chef.” Hello Kitty is Japanese. “Haro, Kiti?” Many favorite Hollywood movies are remakes of mostly Akira Kurosawa gems like “Seven Samurai” and “Yojimbo.” His Kagemusha” and “Ran” also influenced a lot of those gigantic CGI battle scenes. Horrors like “The Ring” (Ringu) as well. My daughter Donna loves Japanese movies. My son Duane's many creative madnesses is shibari contemporary art. Etc etcetera. Do you know that elderly porn is a bestselling UG business out there as well? Who says the Japanese are all work and ninja? An 87-year active fisherman that I met in Shukunegi revealed to me the Secret of Life: “Sake in the morning. Sushi in the afternoon. Sex in the evening.” Anata wa watashi o rikai shite imasu ka? Hontoni? Shinken ni? Dig? Dig.
EVIL HAS NO COLOR. G7 or Third World. Left or Right. Evil Has No Nametag. Evil is Evil. News. The Republican Party's office in Hillsborough NC has been firebombed. As expected, Social Media blared with vitriol, accusations, analysis, theories and stuff. Public opinion is always good in the long run albeit annoying at times. But what irks me, and I say this with due respect to some good friends of mine, who probably said words out of disgust and sadness—is when we categorically single out or liken such darkness to certain groups of people or ideology or even economic standing. I just read some people post that such an evil act (GOP bombing) is synonymous to a Third World mindset. That a poor country is automatically connected to a gruesome display of political (if it is) mindlessness and violence. Which is of course historically inaccurate.


         While election-related chaos and killings do happen in impoverished nations, it doesn't mean they have monopoly of this evil. America has its own share of internal mayhem perpetrated by groups like Weather Underground and Symbionese Liberation Army, Japan has the Red Army and Germany, Baader-Meinhof etc etcetera. If we want to stretch that further, small underdeveloped countries don't or never invaded another country to excise pain and misery upon the vanquished—as the case with superpowers. Makes me expound deeper why at the recent Asean summit, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte presented a visual recitation of the Bud Dajo massacre during the American colonization of the islands in late 1890s/early 1900s when US media went to town criticizing him for killings in his Drug War campaign. It's a simple case of look at yourself in the mirror first before you look at me. Bilateral (friendly) agreements don't bear mutual gains if we start things off with accusations—more than we discuss how to jointly solve problems. Evil is evil. It has no skin color or social standing et al. Yet it lurks in the shadows of humanity's smiley-faced front office. We can minimize or slow its onslaught down by at least being sensitive enough not to point fingers at others who happen to be different from us. Peace!

[Religious art by  Sanjay Patel and Frederic Clay Bartlett]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ME, AMERICA, and The World

I AM sometimes told, when I join in Facebook discussions, that I don't know anything about America. I think it's one of those “uninformed” retorts that need to be corrected. Truth is, many countries—from East Timor to Trinidad and Tobago, Chad to the Philippines—have baseline knowledge of America more than America is aware of what's going on actually in say sub-Saharan Desert nation (unless one goes to the university and be an “expert in Kenya” or gain “doctorate in a subject called Myanmar”). I was once or twice asked in my talks before students if the Philippines is a province of India or if we speak English back home. That's understandable. They honestly don't know. They weren't told. Meantime, America—by way of its foreign policy, economic protectionism, media giants' octopus grip on “global culture,” and Hollywood—peddles or informs the universe what's going on in here, 24/7.


          Let's zoom in on me as a Filipino who talks about America a lot. First, technically the Philippines is a colony of the United States of America for 46 years—beginning with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898 following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in Spanish–American War to the “recognition” of the independence of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946. My hardline Leftist comrades will argue that, of course—they believe we haven't been outside the cloak of Uncle Sam. Anyhow, the education of what America was didn't just commence with the introduction of English via “benevolent assimilation” carried out by a group of schoolteachers called Thomasites dispatched by President William McKinley in 1901. We taught the kind of textbook English that prevails to date. Nope, not the kind that Moon Zappa and the Valley girls taught via Universal Studios. We still accentuate the “g” in the verbal action “ing,” for example. Our Constitution was patterned after the US Constitution although it has been considerably modified or some entries amended through the years to fit our sociocultural truths. Still, when Filipinos chide each other of “colonial mentality,” that means adherence to anything Stateside. Major survey firms like Pew Research lists Filipinos as #1 in terms of people who love America.


          History-wise and literature-wise, our early education got lots of America so that I could memorize all the US presidents, recite famous poems by Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, and sing Stephen Foster songs at age 7. There was even a time when I could rattle off all US states and their capital cities and identify quotes by Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. We are “so America” that our Asian neighbors ridicule us as “mere brown Americans.”
         Meantime, as a journalist (since age 14), the country's media doesn't run of supply of news and opinion of Washington's foreign policy and “invasions” (because we willingly send troops to fight with America in ALL her wars) etc etcetera. We are a super-obedient ally. If there's some that weren't shared us, it's the details of the Civil War and the Indian Wars. Obvious, I guess. So I took it upon myself to read and research those—not just via books and google/wikipedia but by actually traveling and talking with people in the heartland. As a journalist, editor and publisher in America, I also covered internal politics, Wall Street economics and so on and so forth. Everyday I get news dispatches from dozens of establishments and organizations, White House Press Office and activist nonprofits etc.
         Do I know enough of America? Nope. I still read and read and read—I even read showbiz magazines like People and US Weekly. And I watch and watch and watch. It's like a grand stage, America—especially these days of Trumpism and a Left spectrum that never fails to bite his distractions. I reckon, it's interesting to watch America these days. Even Hollywood joins in like they haven't really taken part in all these political pasodoble and rhumba. And with Social Media and Facebook and all, not to know anything about America is close to dumbness. And I don't think the rest of the world is dumb either. They just don't talk as much as we do in the U S of A.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Rituals and Holidays and Christmas

CHRISTMAS, celebrating the birth of the Christian God. Thanksgiving day, giving thanks for the blessing of harvest? Do we point the cursor at religious feasts? Spanish explorer in San Elizario, Texas in 1598 or in Saint Augustine, Florida in 1565, or the Virginia Colony or the Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619? The New England Calvinist Thanksgiving? Or do we gather and mourn this day to restoke the fires of anger in our chest, memory of that tragic day in 1637 in Mystic, Connecticut, the blood of the 700 Pequot humanity?


          Or what is Saint Patrick's Day, or what the Irish call, “Lá Fhéile Pádraig”? The death date of the most commonly-recognized patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick—who brought forth Christianity in the land? Or do we also pause and light a candle to those who perished from the creeks to the pulpit in the name of religion? Or what about Christmas Day? An exalting convergence central to the Christian liturgical year? Mistletoes and Santa Claus? Or should I turn back the pages of time that it was the Christian cross that subjugated my people and pummeled their beautiful, wealthy earth to submission?
          Or is Thanksgiving simply an Earth Fare turkey baked with Food Lion stuffings, Saint Patrick's Day is a keg of Guinness, Christmas is an ornamented tree circled by colorful gifts recycled from Goodwill, flea market, and Dollar Tree purchases? Maybe. For whatever it is, and whatever historical, political, or commercial backstory or front-story that we choose to interject with these holidays, these are simply moments of pause and ease. Moments of family, friends, community.


          So let us cease to crowd our template of dogmatic hatred with more hatred. Holidays will never be “just another day,” because “just another day” is a tedious grind in the workplace, lumbering traffic of harassed souls in the street, necks and wrists bloodied by credit card gallows, and unmitigated smoke of war in the prairie of our discontent. There must be a day or days when we just have to easy up on the psychoanalytical bombast or sociopolitical bravado of knowing too much and too deeply, lest our spirit starts to slip slide away to a swamp of numbed, synthetic existence.
          Rest the redundant bickerings with mom or dad, set up the chess set for bro and cousin, start the grill with compadre and comadre while Bee Gees music plays along, hand over a slice of appleberry cake to the new neighbor, share a PBR or Guinness with whoever happens to be without a family around that time and talk about Kobe or LeBron or Pacquiao or Kim Kardashian, nothing heavy.


          Somewhere in an island-galaxy so far away, I was born in and around a wounded humanity that bury their dead in thousands after almost 6 months of calamities, and they weep and weep days and nights—enough for tears to nourish the earth again for springtime harvest and summertime revelry. On Christmas season, they pause and take it easy for more than 30 days—and just live, just live like what life is all about. Let life and love happen while these gifts are still beating from within and without. There are no Thanksgiving or Saint Patrick's Day where I came from. But there are people, diverse people from 7,107 islands who speak 19 languages and worship a dozen or more different gods—who gather when a holiday ensues and just, well, they just gather. It's all about a holiday of hearts that talk and speak with a singular language. Maybe that language speaks about love, sumptuous turkey, or queso de bola, or best brew ever. Whatever it is, it's all good.
          MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and all!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

SOME post-election posts (or notes). Copy-pasted from my Facebook Page. I didn't update or edited these entries from the original posts. (Part 2)

ELECTION is over. But some people are still arguing about it. I ask myself, would those friends who were actually friends before all this election fray got rolling--will finally shake hands now that electio is over? I got friends here (friends that I know in person and friends that I haven't met at all) who unfriended themselves believing I have a preferred candidate or political party. They get offended that I criticize their politico or politica like the person is their god and the party their Church. Well, I criticize both and I appreciate good deeds as well. Both sides. I guess, you could say that there's more to criticize these days than those that we have to commend. We just have to present alternatives. 


          I try. But if one is a fanatic of this and that--no word that tends to question means anything. Some even say they supported my fundraise concerts--so why can't I support their bet? Well, my concerts gave help to people--and I wasn't running to be Senator of Habahaba. More so, my community projects and gigs don't support partisan politics or specific religion. It supports everything that comprises a community. Facebook maybe, just maybe, is good at revealing true colors of humanity. Whatever the color is. You see, it's just election--four or six years from now, there will be another election. Is that how short the life of one friendship?

xxxxx

IN this world of power tilts, surprising realigments and contradictions, Kremlin's machinations via WikiLeaks fed the fire inside the Democratic front by widening the crack between Bernheads (socialists) and Hillarysts (centrists)--thus dividing the camp so the ruling class rules again. It worked. Trump is in power. Russia entered WTO in 2012 (okayed by Congress which were generally Republican) which means Russia has a say now in sale of crude oil to the US and elsewhere. Vladimir Putin aligned with Donald Trump because, among other things, Trump eases up taxing the rich (investors = Russians and Chinese). Meantime, oil whether it is Opec or Russia is gold to the Koch brothers.


          Another backgrounder. George Soros aligned himself with Hillary from PAC days and even funded groups on the left side like Black Lives Matter and cannabis legalization to balance the brinkmanship internally and win the progressives—as what he did in the 90s in Southeast Asia by derailing Asean's march to less reliance or independence from the West (West = OPEC oil and security machinations in South China Sea). Russia and Indonesia (who's got oil) are non-OPEC members. Russian oil companies owe Chinese banks lotsa money. Before elections, Soros was in Indonesia, HQ of Asean—which was always anti-Washington (Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar etc). How does Duterte and Trump play up in all these? Russia-China-US 1 percent matrix. Beijing operates behind the scenes as always in regards US affairs—but Kremlin has a poster boy in Putin. PR-wise Russia is less evil than China these days in the eyes of American heartland. Duterte-China, Russia-Washington/Trump. Meanwhile Soros regroups. That's how I see it. Irrelevant what kind of drivel or twaddle comes out of the mouths of Beavis and Butt-head.

xxxxx

TAXES. Taxes are such an issue. But it's not entirely that bad if taxes translate to increased social program accessibility—like in the cases of Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Japan where total tax rates are around 50 percent and more per capita income.
        Fact check to Donald Trump. The highest taxed nation is not the US. Argentina (but I desist from discussing that for now). Tax rate per capita in the US is 24 percent. But Canadians are taxed lesser at 21 percent. The Canadian province of Manitoba has a 0 percent corporation tax rate for small businesses. In most surveys however Canada ranks No. 1 overall for providing a good quality of life. The country is tops for its well-developed education system, job market. In fact, Canada was rated in the top five in all but one of the nine attributes – affordability, where Asian countries dominated.


         Meantime, wanna know that in rich Qatar, tax rate is just 11.3 percent! Lamborghinis and Ferraris rule the parking lots out there with camels. No kidding. But seriously where I'd pursue business (in case I end my American journey)? Singapore. A low tax ate of 18.4 percent. Many companies from around the world choose Singapore as a base for their Asian operations.

xxxxx

FREEDOM of speech. I know. We know. No one stops no one from speaking their mind. So I will—and continue to invite unfriending, of course. I couldn't wrap my mind with this absurdity of absurdities. This is directed to Democrats or progressives/liberals who boycotted the election because they were overcome with anger and grief that Bernie Sanders wasn't chosen to carry the Party banner against Donald Trump—or to those who voted the 3rd candidate as a form of subtle protest that their bet didn't make it instead. I posted time and again that the pre-election signs or forecast were pretty much even. Hillary Clinton needed the Sanders votes. I assume that Sanders supporters knew that—and the larger assumption or certainty is Trump will clobber Clinton if the other half of the Democrat throng don't participate. It was either Trump or Clinton, it's as simple as that.
         Now I don't see the point why Sanders supporters are so noisy that Trump is the new President. I wonder wouldn't they be noisier or less noisy if it's Clinton? For me this not just a crack on the left side of the road—the damage is a lot worse than that. It also magnifies a national problem that is even beyond what the current protest is shouting. Their fear of hate, racism, misogyny etc under Trump is overtaken by the fear of a collective weakness to fight hate, racism, misogyny because those who profess to fight them are more concerned with individual end than the welfare of the majority.

         A divided people is a divided country, tempest in the yard is the ruin of the house. Yet since the Conservatives/Right seems tighter and bonded, I could see that if their President fails to deliver what he promised, it's them—those who voted for him—will be the power that'll bring him down not those who didn't. Why? Because they are united as a people.

SOME post-election posts (or notes). Copy-pasted from my Facebook Page. I didn't update or edited these entries from the original posts. (Part 1)

DID presidential candidates “play” the voting public? I believe the word isn't “play.” Maybe as Jeff Beck (the guitarist, not the other Beck) said, politicians “lie.” They lied because they knew it'd be easy to lie than to sell facts—facts that will against them. Elections are about winning—whatever it takes. And in American elections, always a very few percentage show up. Lowest was the 46 percent in the Clinton/Dole race in 1996. This last one was the second-lowest. So candidates are actually talking to a “few” captured audience—that is why catchphrases and sloganeering worked. Like rahrah in a ball game. 


          Trump promised these, Sanders promised those—cakes from polar extremes. Yet the story behind it all is—OIL. Oil is more than gold. Saudi Arabia is slowly but surely losing clout with America and West. The Saudi-led OPEC countries have been threatening to cut oil output as Russia and non-OPEC members battle them for pricing. Two weeks ago, OPEC agreed to reduce its own production by 1.2 million barrels a day. This developed following Russia's previous announcement that it had already announced plans to cut output by 300,000 barrels a day next year, down from a 30-year high last month of 11.2 million barrels a day. Mexico also pledged to cut 100,000 barrels, Azerbaijan by 35,000 barrels and Oman by 40,000 barrels. The US' main oil imports come from Canada, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Russia and SA are the world's top #2 crude oil producing countries; the US accounts for nearly 20 percent of the world's total oil consumption per day.
          There is no such thing as making America great again. It is just a matter of handing over the baton to the next leader who can negotiate better with oil giants. All the Mexico talk is bull. Mexico is still the US' #3 trade partner and it's a next-door neighbor plus a huge population that is an economic force than illegal nuisances. Russia could be the #2 exporter of oil to the US which will make the Kochs happier since they could deregulate pricing et al by virtue of Russia's entry to WTO in 2012. And China despite Trump's anti-China rhetoric is still the China whose crap clogs US retail and been lending money to all corners of the world, especially to giants like Brazil and Venezuela and yes, Russia. Trade balance, military spending (while Pyongyang continues to bait Washington to keep on spending on military hardware), pharmaceutical 1 percent's machinations in Afghanistan and Myanmar/Indonesia (Asean) via George Soros etc. 


          The Assange leaks were obvious—yet it could sway elections. But don't people know that it's all Russia while the dude lives in an Ecuadorian embassy? Ecuador and China have lotsa investment deals. Trump is dealing cards, not running a country based on new policies that should go beyond stone age protectionism. What has done so far—Carrier and the Mexico transer and appointment of environmental czars who makes folly of climate change. Is that making America great again? It's the same scribblings on the white board. But well, these win elections especially that candidates are talking to only half of the populace.

xxxxx

ONE very effective campaign game changer that worked for Trump was the WikiLeaks Hillary email fiasco. Julian Assange is a genius—a genius hacking xxxxxxx harlequin. Right on time, right on target. He knew that a huge throng of Democrats (mostly Sanders believers) will easily bite his candy—they did. I know of a number of Democrats who switched to either Trump or Johnson or decided not to vote at all after the email leaks came out on crunch time. I believe that jacked up Trump votes easily. After the fact, I am more interested to observe how Washington deals with Kremlin/Russia than question or protest Trump's victory. He won, period.

xxxxx

WHEN it comes down to it, it is fine that followers of two political polar extremes stay glued to their belief—as long as the crack isn't so wide so that compromise and negotiation are still possible. I believe that it is much better than when people are seemingly bunched on just one side. That'd eventually allow dictatorship or autocracy—even if at the get go one-person governance commands majority allegiance. Those who will oppose him/her become rebels whether we define them as Right or Left. Yet as in the nature of humankind, I don't believe all of us will agree as one—although universal good and evil seem to tread a parallel balance like black and white. We are not like that. We are either half-weirdo or a bit saintly. Many times the insane becomes cool and mutate into a rock star--and the sane turns out boring and never get a date. Humans are that unpredictable and contradictory. So Trump voters and Hillary believers, it's okay to argue—as long as somewhere somehow you'd all line-dance to the Bee Gees' “Night Fever” on syncopated cadence.

xxxxx


IF majority or all of those who voted for Trump are racist, sexist and xenophobic as their leader, and then the leader won--then something is really ailing with America. Really bad. Not the government or President-elect per se but it's own people. These are Americans as in heartland America. And if we study the demographics, these are mostly Americans who got ran over to poverty in the last ten or 20 years. That hardship pulled their American-ness out of the hole--because they found a voice. They don't see their America anymore in retail stores, in media, in a politically-correct pop culture, in basic structures of society--especially when America masterminded the entry of China then Russia to WTO and let globalization dance for the 1 Percent. So when a despot like Trump came out swinging, they heard some of their muffled voice in his rhetoric. They don't see good life in another Democrat. They don't see good like in another Republican like Bush either. They see it in someone who promises a new order by spouting an anti-GOP girth and fuck the corporations/let's reclaim America bombast--who also didn't have a public office portfolio which only fired up his line. That's how Adolph Hitler rose to power--by appealing to the disenfranchised German majority who's been relegated to the background. And he rescued the economy in the next 4 or 6 years--before got totally insane.        
In America, in the polar extreme of disgruntled America--are those who opted for Bernie Sanders who promised his throng a sociopolitical system that hasn't been tried in the US (not even with FDR's New Deal in mid-1900s), the same "voice" that Trump sounded albeit on a different sociocultural spectrum. A new system. Those voices communicated with a disgruntled mass--polar extremes but those were the words that many wanted. Hillary Clinton is a centrist. So they didn't see her as their messenger or deliverer--it's more the ethnic communities who liked Clinton. The difference though in terms of Trump/Sanders voters, Trumps went out to vote but Bern people opted not to--which is tactically flawed. Truth is, it's either Trump or Hillary for president--but by dividing the Dem's vote, that'd only catapult the GOP bet to presidency, which happened. Meanwhile, I observe many arguments and discussion on Facebook--and I can say both sides exude both rude and disrespectful tact. That was a nasty election--and not just because the Conservatives are nasty--it's because it is general nasty. And social media gave people somehow the "license" to talk ill of these candidates and their followers. I am called moron and idiot and stupid by Bern followers and "go home to your Third World dump!" (my country of birth is not 3rd world) by Trump fanatics although all I did was present facts. Bottomline, it comes down to who got a mass base that was intact despite partyline schism, Donald Trump. While the Democrats need to go back to the drawing board how to instill partyline allegiance from its mass base and leadership. It's after all a united front that instills power, whether it is by means of democratic elections or revolution. Which the Democrats/progressives failed to show. That for me is worrisome.

xxxxx

FACEBOOK is fun as long as you don't take it seriously. It's like these: Hey, Trump has lots of dandruff, that's not good for a president. I just voted, look at my face. I saw this lady on Sam Edelman boots that looked like wading boots. My mom is a nasty little rightwinger bitch! You know that I just read Hillary emailed Michelle this awful squirrel casserole recipe? Assange just hacked my ex-husband—Julian is my hero! By the way, I will be cooking Beef Bourguignon tonight but I guess, uh, no. My deadbeat boyfriend couldn't even hold it for freakin' three minutes! I think I will break up with him tonight. Bernie would have waived my parking tickets. Look at my new socks—recycled from spring rolls wrappers. President Kirk is a moron! Namaste to y`all! Dafuq with what?



xxxxx

WHAT's good thing after an election? Time to bring out the notepad and list down what have been promised. Time to REALLY figure it out if those make sense--and then begin the true duty or responsibility of a citizen. Expectation check. Time for deliveries. Since the truth is, whether you voted for Trump or Hillary or still meditating a Bernie mantra--you are going to pay the rent this month, swipe a debit card for gasoline, and provide yourself and family health insurance. Let Life resume! Taco, please!

xxxxx



AFTER the primaries, it seemed very clear that whoever the Republican Party's bet was, it is still very likely that that candidate will beat a Democratic Party rival. Why? The problem isn't the GOP. The problem is the Democrats' mass base--it is already cracked. In the same way that rank `n file Conservatives are angry with President Obama's administration, a huge chunk of the other side (mostly Bernie Sanders followers) also feel betrayed by the outgoing president's two-terms. But then the Right remained tight—not exactly the hierarchy per se, but their voting bailiwicks are formidable—and even spread through some states that were first thought as majority Dems. 
          Meantime, the GOP in Congress built a wall against Obama's signature bills in re immigration reform and gun control et al. Those stayed as is Bush's time. Also, within the Dems, Sanders should have acted as a party stalwart and not a so-called people liberator. Instead of rallying his supporters toward Clinton's side to ensure the defeat of Trump, he distanced himself. Trump's victory of margin isn't a landside, it was close. Which means, if Bern people voted for Hillary and not the 3rd option—or they didn't boycott the election, the Democratic bet would have a better chance of winning. At this point, the Democratic Party needs a lot of regrouping and rethinking—on how to at least narrow the gap or vacuum in their house and backyard. Meantime, inhale exhale—and enjoy some tacos.

xxxxx


TRUMP is what he is. Hillary is what she is. Bernie is what he is. Obama is what he is. Frank Underwood is what he is. These are individuals with their respective "I am what I am" that stays in them--that is why they ran as President of what is supposedly the strongest nation in the world. We can't just change them no matter how we namecall or judge them. But what must change is people's attitude and behavior on election time. The only way to winning is via a united front. And a united front makes a strong nation--irrelevant who sits as President. A united front installs a leader--a united front brings down a leader. However, a divided throng only brings forth a bad Taco. That is the truth. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Standing Rock and the Memory of Macli-ing

STANDING ROCK and the memory of Macli-ing Dulag. The Standing Rock protest in North Dakota sends memories of my long coverage and involvement (as journalist, NGO worker and activist) with the Kalinga people's fight against construction of a dam back home in the Philippines many years ago. The protest led to the assassination of Macli-ing Dulag, a Kalinga leader in the Cordillera Mountains on the island of Luzon. I grew up in the Cordilleras. Its central city, Baguio, is my family's second home-city. My dad and many relatives worked in mining towns up there and some kin dealt or collaborated businesses (fresh produce and farming) with most tribes--some of my brothers still do with a number of villages.

          Macli-ing was a Pangat (tribal chief) in the highland village of Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga-Apayao. A farmer by profession, Dulag was also a road maintenance worker for the government. He staunchly opposed construction of the Chico Dam, a hydroelectric project along the Chico River proposed by the Marcos government and was to be funded by the World Bank. Indigenous peoples in the area, including the Kalinga and the Bontoc, resisted the project for three decades as the proposed dam's reservoir threatened to drown 1,400 square-kilometers of traditional highland villages and ancestral domains in the mountain region.
         On 24 April 1980, elements from 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army opened fire on Dulag at his home, killing him and wounding a companion. His murder unified the various peoples of the Cordillera Mountains against the proposed dam, causing both the World Bank and the Marcos regime to eventually abandon the project a few years after. The Kalinga People resisted the proposed dam project for three decades. The project was finally shelved in the 1980s and is now considered a landmark case study concerning ancestral domain issues in the Philippines. Yet even after the project was shelved, strife in the mountains didn't stop. The Marcos regime finally ended in 1986 following a people-power revolt.


          During the time of the ensuing Corazon Aquino administration, I immersed myself in advocacy work that led to the drafting of the local government code or devolution of powers from national governance to communities--which eventually ironed out in the amended Constitution that stipulates that local governments "shall enjoy local autonomy," and in which the Philippine president exercises "general supervision." Congress enacted the Local Government Code in 1991 to "provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of local units."
          Pondering the memory of the Chico Dam/Kalinga protest and observing the current Standing Rock protest shudder my spirit. Indigenous peoples or tribes are peaceful souls who opt to live their lives apart from the mainstream--until their land/s are violated. The Standing Rock Sioux is against an oil pipeline that would run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Although local government autonomy doesn't work in the US, Indian reservations do have similar treaties and agreements signed when the Indian Wars ended in 1924.
         
Like the struggle of tribal groups in the Philippines north and south, the conflicts in America were mostly local, involving disputes over land use. Particularly in later years, conflicts were spurred by ideologies such as Manifest Destiny, which held that the United States was destined to expand from coast to coast on the North American continent. In the 1830s, the United States had a policy of Indian removal east of the Mississippi River, which was a planned, large-scale removal of indigenous peoples from the areas where Europeans were settling. Particularly in the years leading up to Congressional passage of the related act, there was armed conflict between settlers and Native Americans; some removal was achieved through sale or exchange of territory through treaties.
          I just hope that the protest move (apart from what the Standing Rock Sioux started) doesn't   fizzle out like the fate of the Occupy protest. This time there is a clear objective or demand--unlike Occupy's abstract or sweeping demands for reform. And I hope a leadership talks and negotiates with government emissaries this time--than what it was when activists insist that "we are all leaders and we are all followers too." I remain positive that this cause will win. My spirit has subsided into a mere observer of life these days--and what I can do most is simply share some stories and wisdom that I lived through my life's journey.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Assange Mystique and Mystery: Political Hacking is not Journalism. It is Trouble-making, Thievery and Espionage.

THE following are some of my Facebook posts on the subject of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

IT is amazing and also sad that many people hail WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. I am not saying that his hacks are untrue or truthful. They could even be 100 percent factual. When people hack you expect to get the full data, not just what your source (as a journalist) told you. What is bothersome to me is—why Mr Assange focuses only on Washington and/or his preferred “enemy” in the US? What about George Soros and his current brinkmanship waltzes in Southeast Asia? Or North Korea's nukes? Or Moscow's oil companies' boardroom chats? Or details of Beijing's bilateral agreement with Manila? Or Exxon's internal emails in re climate change and the Koch's new pipeline Congress lobbying strategies? More so, can he hack Ecuador's Rafael Correa's dealings with Chinese president Xi Jinping? Of course he can—but he won't. After all, China sunk $11 billion into road construction, mining works and sprawling hydroelectric dams in the tiny Andean country since 2008. 



          That's just some of what Ecuador gets from Beijing—and I am not talking about gluten free lo meins. Correa isn't buddy-buddy to Obama or White House at all. Meantime, Assange enjoys caviar and Dom Perignons at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Now, need I talk more about Russia? Russia entered WTO in 2012—and they are toe to toe with Saudi Arabia as the world's #1 crude oil producer. Russia is not a member of OPEC. Figure that one out. If Assange wanna be the champion of press freedom (which he isn't a member), government transparency or whatever—then keep on hacking. But hack `em all, dude!

TO ME, what went on in the Oval Office or NSA boiler room or Washington's secured lines yesterday is pretty much what goes on today or tomorrow. Washington. Beijing. Kremlin. Pyongyang. London. Manila etc etcetera. NOT just White House. As a 56-year old journalist, there are still things that I wanna know that I believe are significant to survival of the everyday human and earth. At the same time, there are also things that I already know which others don't know—but then would that really matter much since at the end of the day, I only fed some people's thirst at prying open sealed cookie jars—as against the truths behind the poison in the cookie. As a writer, I want to give the people names of those who put poison in the cookie. What's the deal with the jar? That can be broken (as Assange did)--but I wanna know what's in that cookie, what makes that cookie different.
       I read through those WikiLeaks stuff from 2010—and most concerns US/Washington's meddling (via the shadows) and/or involvement in other countries' internal strife or affairs. Like Snowden's “expose” on government espionage upon its citizens. That's been happening since time immemorial—even before the internet. Washington's involvement in coup d'etats etc—that's been the name of the game of US foreign policy since time immemorial. Do I need to know who sent choppers atop Malacanang Palace to fetch the Marcoses on Feb 26, 1986? Does it matter? I know. We know. What point? These WikiLeaks distracts people from the very core or gut of what really affects them. Yes, maybe governments may put some politician/s in jail? Other countries do that already without help from Mr Assange's leaks. They know. Their media know. They don't need to go surf WikiLeaks. But we also know that taking out one two three hundred bad eggs in the government means a replacement of another set of bad eggs—since we haven't really touched the MIB that hatches the eggs. Meantime, these high-grade exposes distracts us from the truths of the matter—ie oil pipelining kills the earth, kills people etc etcetera.


After 9/11, after Katrina/Sandy, after all the shootings and massacres in the streets and public places—we are so hung up on NSA snooping and Washington's intervention in say Timbukseven? WikiLeaks knows a lot, that's obvious. What if what Assange knows gets into the hands of those who don't really care about collateral damage and stuff—in the name of their greed and global dominance? And what about Russia and China? Universal evil isn't just a monopoly of Assange's enemies in Washington. He knows that. Until he balances his ambition to be some kind of god, he is just one highly-paid, highly-sought out hacker—who knows how to play media, including social media, that as you said (and I concur) manipulate the language and make lies truthful. Moreover, superpowers should exchange infos for mutual/positive gains not sidebar comments in each other's meeting rooms—both camps wouldn't like that, TMI. “Sidebar comments” and governments' internal secrets are theirs. Expose them—they will only regroup and keep other secrets away. That's how things are. I am not saying that WikiLeaks' leaks could be fake, they could be factual. What I am saying is—it won't help the world in the long run if all you do is expose than present a bridge so that these powers could sit down and talk. But Assange wants to play god. He wants to police the US because he believes the US is the root of all evil. And in a way he said in a Time interview that Russia and China are easier to reform. Really? What a narcissist!



THIS is the time when many people desperately long for a hero. A hero that purportedly gives them the truth—no matter what the truth is and whoever gives it. That person is the hero. The “hero” who breaks the cookie jar that was sealed a long time ago. Hurrah! But do we know what really is that cookie? Do we really need that cookie? Who makes that cookie? More importantly, what is the real motive of the “hero” who broke the cookie jar? There will always be WikiLeaks in this world—yet when we look in the mirror? It's the same pair of empty eyes that channel a wounded soul, looking for answers yet unable to heal—because we don't really know the source of the pain. The truth should not just liberate us like--hey now we can fly like an albatross up the blue sky of enlightenment! The truth should also heal us and make us complete again. And keep our feet firmly planted on the breathing ground.

IF WikiLeaks “leaks” about lobbying machinations by the Koch brothers especially in regards pipeline/environmental issues on committee level hearings, or how Moscow's oil magnates and Beijing's banks plan out oil diggins in Antarctica, or how Washington lets loose George Soros in South Asia in the advent of Asean's tact vis a vis US, and so many more than ACTUALLY affect earth's population, Ecuador/China partnership in Mr Assange's continued so called journey, and the under the table deals that Snowden and Assange worked out with Moscow while they were on the run—instead of targetting US political personalities that only shake the global order in the name of the One Percent—then maybe I will believe Julian Assange. It is convenient for him to hack American politicians but not other major players. I see him as a (internet) terrorist in the mold of Carlos The Jackal, nothing else.

LET me share my $1 cent to the current Hillary email mishandling fiasco. I tend to ignore it as insignificant in my book without careening to either of the presidential candidate's fence. First, all these “email shenanigans” are sourced to Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks. I am not a tiny bit fan of Mr Assange. I've time and again refused to accept his so-called media credentials. He is a highly-paid international hacker left right and center. If all these leaks and exposes happened maybe 30 years ago or even in these current times but written/published by respectable media organizations, then we should pay attention.
          Hence, whatever WikiLeaks/Assange “exposed” against Washington and its officials remain dubious to me, irrelevant they were factual or not. Assange is obviously under Moscow's payroll and his continued stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London reeks of Chinese coddling. Read Ecuador-China economic team-up. Be reminded that Beijing has been giving out loans all over South America—with Brazil, Argentina and oil-rich Venezuela as top beneficiaries. And where did Julian dude form WikiLeaks? In Iceland in 2006. One of few countries known for disregarding extradition treaty with the US. He had all these figured out from the get go. Why doesn't he leak pertinent info from Kremlin or Beijing or maybe the Koch brothers' pipeline-related Congress lobbying or maybe George Soros' shady designs in Southeast Asia? If you tell me Vladimir Putin doesn't have any interest in influencing the election, then you are not paying attention. Russia is currently #1 producer of crude oil globally. Enough said.

       Second, this is damn a week to election. A scandal before citizens cast their ballot? Many including US allies should smell “politically-motivated.” It's a no-brainer. Yes, it may influence voter attitude but what? Put her on trial? As I type this up, the Weiner angle came up. Of course. The latest emails came to light during a separate inquiry into top Clinton aide Huma Abedin's estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner. What'd happen is, FBI director James Comey delays or holds up his inquiry's findings after the election. Then let's see.
Meantime, I suggest you vote smart—but beyond tabloid scandals. This is a nasty kind of election. But I believe the American people will go past this and decide wisely who should be their next chief executive.

OH well, this guy is a genius in shaking the power system that is Washington. Hillary Clinton emails? I don't think so—she isn't the main target. It's Washington that he is after. All his 2010/11 “leaks” too these current emails are all about the US or about other government's “secrets” that involve Washington somehow. Tunisia. Zimbabwe. Afghanistan. Middle East. And some media organizations of course picked them up—like a free jackpot bounty (sic). Scoops are cool in the newsroom. Now the dude has already given the world so many Washington-related leaks. Time to give us some about Beijing and Moscow. Assange once told Time when asked if he wanted to expose the secret dealings of China and Russia the way WikiLeaks has done with the US: “Yes, indeed. In fact, we believe it is the most closed societies that have the most reform potential." Yet he hasn't done anything to leak or expose wrongdoings in those countries. Meantime, he also pointed out that, today, China may be easier to reform than the US. Who does he think he is? God?



WITH the latest WikiLeaks Hillary email leaks Julian Assange starts to sound like a secret agent tracking down cheaters on Ashley Madison or a dad on the lookout for his teenage kids' internet shenanigans. Boring. He simply sounds like the Mother Superior of the Universe policing his Washington targets like the US is his classroom or convent. One day Beavis and Butt-head will kick his bored ass. Anti-Hillary/Obama people or pro-Trump voters should wake up that this dude isn't after politicians. He is after Washington--trying his mighty best to influence the juggling of key appointments or placement of elective officials in the White House and Congress. He is a danger to public safety and national security. I still vehemently stand my ground in saying he is NOT a journalist. He is a super brilliant hacker a.k.a. internet thief. That's what he is.
          And what I usually get or read in re pro-Assange people? "Read this link" "Have you read his leaks and watched the interview?" I get pissed. I wanna know what/how people think. WikiLeaks is not some Secret of Life book of enlightenment or the Kama Sutra of Politics or something. People refuse to dig in because probably, as in Matrix, the plug at the back of their neck is stronger than their mind. Some people even believe Assange should win the Nobel Peace Prize. WTF! ETs are laughing.