Saturday, August 29, 2009



By Kevin Stoda, just back from Manila

This last July 2009, IMPACT magazine in the Philippines published an article by Charles Avila. The article was entitled, “How bad really is the Philippine Economy?” Avila began his piece by reviewing the results of the high level U.N. summit in London June 2009.

In short, that hyped-up summit was considered by many to be a failure. “The first major conference on the financial and economic crisis to involve all countries ended with rich countries blocking substantive reforms demanded by developing countries. The UN conference did however push key issues up the international agenda, such as the need for a better system of international reserves, and for genuine policy space for developing countries.”

Avila notes, “The aim [of the UN summit] was to identify both emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis—increasingly perceived to be the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression—especially on vulnerable populations. The hope thereafter was to initiate a needed dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture, taking into account the needs and concerns of all countries of the world.”

Avila’s overall assessment for developing countries around the globe, and Philippines in particular, today is: “Prospects for an early recovery have faded, forcing countries to prepare for a prolonged downturn in trade, investment and employment.” This is quite in contrast to the claims by some economists around the globe that China and other countries were not all that badly affected by the global economic crises.

Avila charges, “The stark reality is that the situation in the world’s developing countries—which contributed least to the crisis and yet are the ones most severely affected—has led some economists to warn of ‘lost decades for development’ which could have catastrophic consequences for rich and poor countries alike. It seems to be bad news all around.”

In his report, Avila turns for evidence on labor and quality of life in the Philippines (and in other developing lands) to the “ILO, the United Nations’ International Labor Office” which points out that “global unemployment in 2009 could increase over 2008 by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million if the situation continues to deteriorate. Giving a report it called ‘realistic, not alarmist’ the ILO said that last scenario of 50 million unemployed would easily mean some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty. The number of working poor—people who are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the US$2 per person, per day, poverty line, may rise up to 1.4 billion, or 45 % of all the world’s employed.”

The ILO report for this year states clearly that “the proportion of people in vulnerable employment—either contributing family workers or own-account workers who are less likely to benefit from safety nets that guard against loss of incomes during economic hardship—could rise considerably in the worst case scenario to reach a level of 53 % of the employed population . . . .”

The bottom line for Filipino readers of that particular IMPACT magazine is that “in the Philippines, in its latest survey, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported last May that unemployment among Filipinos has risen to a record high of 34.2 percent. This would translate into 14 million Filipinos who had no jobs during the first three months of the year. Of that number, some 2.9 million had lost their jobs within the previous three months. Of these 2.9 million, 13 percent voluntarily left their old jobs, while 12 percent
were retrenched—9 percent were laid off and 3 percent had unrenewed previous contracts.”


Like many Asian nations, a large number of Filipinos go abroad each year to earn money.

In both the United States and in the Middle East, Filipinos often stay for generations and annually subsidize development in the Philippines to a great extent. As of 2008, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) stated that “the number of Filipinos deployed abroad grew by 25.9 percent to 1.005 million last year compared with 798,731 the year before. And last year they sent home $14.4 billion, equivalent to 10 percent of gross domestic product. This year Manila is projecting remittances to exceed $16.4 billion, despite the crisis which could make the figure difficult to achieve.”

However, as Avila points out several times, there are already clear signs that “first world” jobs have dried up in the current recession. This means that remittances, i.e. which subsidize the countries’ development due to the failure of Philippines’ structure of crony capitalism and politicians, are expected to be lower than anticipated for the rest of this year—and next one, too.


Due to widespread economic corruption and cronyism in the Philippines, foreign investment and lending in the country is consistently below what its many natural resources would lead one to expect. As noted above, this underdevelopment and corruption leads many Filipinos to try their luck abroad each year.

This widespread dissatisfaction with the Philippines political economy is also reflected by the fact that international investment exposure in the form of foreign banks is lower than in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, this very lack of exposure to international banking standards has been a blessing for the Philippines in 2009 as the country has, in fact, been less affected by bank closures and financial stress than has been the case for other developing states in Asia.

The worldwide economic squeeze is also reducing inflation in the Philippines this year as a whole. However, since early summer, the US dollar has been rising against the Filipino peso. National interest rate cuts in the Philippines are continuing with the hope that such cuts will lead banks to lend more. NOTE: Whether this policy will function as desired is questionable based on USA and Japanese experiences over the last decade.

Meanwhile, the national debt burden has hampered the nation’s credit ratings both nationally and internationally. This means that at a time when Philippine government spending is needed, fiscally and politically the time for developing and implementing is not quite right. On the other hand, 2010 is an election year, so pork barrel spending is likely to be deployed soon by the most powerful congressmen and kingmakers.

EXPORTS? and Production?

Like many Southeast Asian states, the Philippines is dependent on the exports of natural resources—e.g. from coco nut oil to fish to timber. The call for bigger spending projects this year have led to a greater national call for more mining, but horrible abuses by the mining industry in the past in the archipelago are likely to keep investment in large scale coal mining off the table for the next year. Meanwhile, lack of production of all types in “first world countries” today has significantly reduced the market for national resources.

Avila is interested in social welfare production and improvements for his homeland. So, he turns to the economist, Paul L. Quintos, to understand the global mess that the Philippine’s economy is embedded in.

Quintos, who is considered a radical but logical economist (quite like Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman), “quite perceptively wrote last year that the current global financial crisis — with the US economy at its epicenter — is merely the latest and so far most severe in a series of financial crises that have erupted since the 1970s. At the most basic one finds the capitalist system itself to be in fundamental contradiction between social production which enables great strides in productivity on one hand, and the private ownership of the means of production which ensures that only a few profit from production by exploiting the many. The contradiction inevitably leads to crises of overproduction relative to the capacity of people to buy the productive system’s commodities and products. Before long, real production that cannot realize enough profits gives rise to shadow financial products that enables some to make tons of moneys until reality catches up with the shadows, derivatives and other profitable mental figments and thereby manifest real crisis.”

According to Quintos [here cited by Avila], “In 1980, the value of the world’s financial stock was roughly equal to world GDP, itself bloated. By 1993, it was double the size, and by the end of 2005, it had risen to 316% — more than three times world GDP. Government and private debt securities accounted for more than half of the overall growth in the global financial assets from 2000-2004 – which indicated the role of leverage or debt in driving this process. In 2004, daily derivatives trading amounted to $5.7 trillion while the daily turnover in the foreign exchange market was $1.9 trillion. Together they added up to $7.6 trillion in daily turnover of just two types of portfolio capital flows, exceeding the annual value of global merchandise exports by $300 billion.”

Early on in the 2008 financial crisis, Quintos had already asserted: “While the value of financial assets is ultimately grounded in the value created by the working class in the process of production in the real economy and cannot [should not]diverge too far from it, asset bubbles can form for a period of time driven by ‘irrational exuberance’ (in the words of Alan Greenspan). The positive expectations of financial speculators feed on each other, bidding up asset prices in a seemingly endless virtuous cycle. But like all ponzi schemes, reality eventually takes over and all it takes is one negative development, e.g. rising home foreclosures, to reverse expectations and send the entire house of cards crashing down.”

This is exactly what happened.

Meanwhile, Quintos has predicted that both the global economies short and long term responses in this crisis will continue to be to put pressure on workers to give up still more earnings and benefits. This continued pressure on employment has affected the Philippines adversely for many years as University of the Philippines, Professor B. Diokno, has noted “In 2007, 924,000 new jobs were created; in 2008, the number was down to 530,000. This level of job generation is unacceptable for an economy that is expected to generate between 1.0 to 1.5 million new jobs every year.”

Furhtermore, “[a]ccording to Diokno, a responsive jobs creation program should address five sets of unemployed and underemployed workers: those who are currently unemployed (2.7 million), those who are underemployed (6.6 million), those entering the labor force (1 to 1.5 million), those who will lose their jobs at home, and finally, Filipino overseas workers who will lose their jobs abroad.”
Avila, in early August 2009, noted that the Philippines government has discussed--but not yet implemented a large 330 billion peso spending program. This program is alreacy called the PERP (Philippines Economic Resiliency Plan).
According to Avila, the plan includes:

• PhP160 billion in incremental government allocations;
• PhP100 billion for government corporations, financial institutions and the private sector;
• PhP40 billion for corporate and individual income tax breaks; and
• PhP30 billion for temporary additional benefits from the social security institutions – Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System – and Philhealth [national healthcare program]

However, this plan is very short on details and with a major national election brewing in the Philippines for Spring 2010, it is not likely that any well-integrated spending plan will be implemented till then.


China, South Korea, and a few other Asian countries have already developed & targeted investment and redevelopment plans. Many were passed and implemented in the past year—while countries like the Philippines are dragging behind the response-curve during this global economic crisis.

On the other hand, many Asian nations—from Dubai to Hong Kong—have had to be bailed out from abroad over the past year.

Nonetheless, China is legging behind in the area of structural reforms. Lack of such reforms will keep China from disentangling itself from the same sort of historical national inequalities and economic bubbles across its geographic and economic landscapes that developed nations are facing today.

In this manner of failing to tackle structural change in 2009, China and the Philippines are quite similar. They are lands divided between (a) economies of the wealthy and (b) economies of the impoverished. This division leads to institutional corruption and cronyism which will continue to hamper growth and progress for these nations as a whole for decades to come.

On the other hand, the USA (which behaves like a developing country these days) certainly has multiple economies as well.

For example, already those who are enamored with the elite American banking and Wall Street way of life are discussing a better economic world but most Americans still suffer and will continue to suffer despite signs that the recession or depression may be over for the upper-level US economy.

In short, as Max Fraad Wolf, author of “One Nation, Two Economies” stated recently on Democracy Now this past week, “[E]veryday, . . . mainstream Americans kind of felt like they’d somehow skip [the recovery] it. They had an outlook on the US economy that I would call ‘it’s fine and dry down here at the bottom of the hill, but, boy, they’ve got quite a rainstorm up there on the top of the hill.’ And as often happens, when there’s a rainstorm on the top of the hill, the water finds its way to the bottom of the hill. And that’s what we see with nine-and-a-half percent unemployment, with 350,000 foreclosures a month, and with, you know, crazy stories coming out yesterday of people in California, which has better than ten percent unemployment, not even bothering to look for work anymore, but to get into backyard prospecting for gold that may have been left behind 150 years ago. I think that’s a pretty quirky indicator, but it’s not a good sign.”

In other words, if the developing world (including China) wishes to follow the USA capitalist model—as the Philippines has traditionally done—greater and greater divisions in national development are too be awaited. However, Charles Avila and other reformers in the Philippines would prefer a national revolt to get the political economy properly jumpstarted for all Filipinos.

This is why Avila concludes his piece for IMPACT magazine with his allusion to the Philippines’ People Power Revolt of 1986—which toppled the then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Avila notes, “To be sure, unless people-powered participation is organized by change agents of all persuasions, the plan will be short of details and long in sub rosa appropriations and last minute looting may lead to worse economic misery and heightened social unrest—or, maybe, at last, to real change.”

Such a revolt would be the Chinese Communist Cronies’ Nightmare.

I know the USA needs a people’s power revolt.


WHO IS THE REAL MARTIN SHEEN? The World Needs to get to Know and Imitate this Man


By Kevin Stoda

I have lived abroad most of my adult life, so I have been able to observe first hand the disconnect between real life and Hollywood as seen by observers around the planet. That is LIFE IS SOMETIMES STRANGER THAN FICTION.

In the life of American actor, Martin Sheen, over the past thirty years not only have many Americans been unaware that he is one of the most arrested men in Hollywood history. Most of the world TV audience have been oblivious to even a greater degree. Despite this fact of over 60 arrest, Martin Sheen served on the internationally reknowned TV series, WEST WING, as President of the United States for many years.

The reason that such a lawbreaker could serve in such a role is because Mr. Martin Sheen is a practitioner of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE a la Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Berrigan brothers.

Many Americans, raised in a culture which develops a soldier's world view through TV and film, ignore these "crimes" of Sheen's. They just put their hands to their ears when he speaks the truth and calls for the close of the Ft. Benning, GA former School of (Torture) the Americas and gets arrested protesting there year after year. They ignore his cry for freedom and justice--and just enjoy the program.

A recent Democracy Now program discussed a bit Martin Sheen's view on life and freedom.

That short reference in an interview led me to look up articles online describing Martin Sheen's world view. I believe that the PROGRESSIVE interview from 2003 is one of the best. All Americans who want a better America need to consider the courage of Sheen and his role models, such as Daniel and Philipp Berrigan. Here is the complete interview from:

The interview was written up by David Kupfer.

Martin Sheen is a pacifist, a social and political activist who has not shied away from putting his body on the front lines, and a devout Roman Catholic. After rediscovering his faith twenty years ago, he began his activist work in earnest. "I learned I had to stand for something so I could stand to be me," he said as we talked.

The star of The West Wing and a winner of a Golden Globe award for his role on that show, where he plays U.S. President Josiah Bartlet, Sheen has used his fame to call attention to many causes. Recently, he was one of the most visible celebrities against the U.S. war against Iraq. "I am not the President. Instead, I hold an even higher office, that of citizen of the United States," Sheen wrote in The Los Angeles Times on March 17. "War at this time and in this place is unwelcome, unwise, and simply wrong." Sheen says that NBC executives have told him they're "very uncomfortable" with his activism, although NBC denies this.

Sincere, modest, down to earth, Sheen is a reformed drug and alcohol abuser. The heart attack he endured during the filming of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines led him on a four-year spiritual journey that culminated in his return to Catholicism. He carries a rosary in his pocket ("Keeps me from cursing," he says) and is an almost daily communicant. Known worldwide by his stage name, this son of immigrant parents (his father was from Spain, his mother, Ireland) was baptized Ramón Estevez. His early years were spent in Dayton, Ohio. The Estevez family was poor and, from an early age, instilled Sheen with strong Catholic morals and working class values. By age nine, he was earning extra money as a golf caddie at a local country club, with hopes of becoming a pro. In 1958, at eighteen, he borrowed bus fare from his local parish priest and headed for New York to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. To avoid ethnic bias in hiring, he chose the first name Martin after a good friend, and Sheen after Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who had a popular TV show in the 1950s. He remains proud of his Hispanic heritage and is quick to say that he never legally changed his name.

Sheen has created an impressive body of work, from his acclaimed 1964 Broadway performance in The Subject Was Roses, through extraordinary parts on television (he starred in the first TV movie about homosexuality, That Certain Summer, in 1972, and in The Execution of Private Slovik in 1974, and portrayed both Robert F. Kennedy in The Missiles of October and JFK in Kennedy). His films include Badlands, Catch-22, Apocalypse Now, Gandhi, and Wall Street. He's been married to his wife, Janet, for more than forty years and is father to four children, Charlie, Emilio, Renee, and Ramón, all thespians.

Over the past twenty years, Sheen has repeatedly protested political repression in Central America, promoted more liberal political asylum policies in the United States, publicized the atrocities of the Salvadoran death squads, supported the closing of the nuclear test sites, and marched with the Reverend Jesse Jackson to protest so-called immigration reform legislation in 1993. He was also an early demonstrator against abuses by the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories in the late 1980s.

Sheen was a featured speaker at an anti-war rally January 18 in San Francisco. His stirring oratory was met with thunderous applause. He delivered similar mini-sermons at subsequent peace gatherings in Los Angeles and in San Francisco prior to the bombing of Iraq. For this interview, I met up with him at the annual National Religious Education Congress in Anaheim following his talk before 900 Catholics in a workshop on spirituality and justice.

Question: Why are you so active in social justice and peace issues?

Martin Sheen: I do it because I can't seem to live with myself if I do not. I don't know any other way to be. It isn't something you can explain; it is just something that you do; it is something that you are.

Q: You've been arrested more than sixty times, in opposition to the School of the Americas in Georgia,
apartheid, racism, homelessness, nuclear testing. Do you recall your first time?

Sheen: My first civil disobedience arrest for social justice was in 1986 for protesting the SDI [Reagan's Star Wars initiative]. It was on Forty-second Street at the McGraw-Hill Building in New York. That arrest was one of the happiest moments of my life and, equally, one of the scariest.

Q: What are your views on nonviolent civil disobedience?

Sheen: It is one of the only tools that is available to us where you can express a deeply personal, deeply moral opinion and be held accountable. You have to be prepared for the consequences. I honestly do not know if civil disobedience has any effect on the government. I can promise you it has a great effect on the person who chooses to do it.

Q: What did you mean when you said, "Your faith has to cost you something, otherwise you have to question its value"?

Sheen: Once you follow a path of nonviolence and social justice, it won't take you long before you come into conflict with the culture, with the society. You can't know what is at stake or how much it is going to cost you until you get in the game. That's the only way, and the level of cost is equal to the level of involvement.

Q: What do you think of the way certain conservative media outlets have been handling those critical of war?

Sheen: I have taken a big hit for being a spokesperson for the Virtual March on Washington, the MoveOn [] effort. They [rightwingers] went after the show [The West Wing]. A lot of these rightwing people have been after NBC to kick me off it; that was their whole thrust, to get rid of me. When you rile people up, and they get ugly, it's not a fair fight anymore. The anti-antiwar activists recently flooded the Burbank office and shut down the NBC switchboard.

Q: When has it become criminal to express yourself in this country?

Sheen: Right now.

Q: What's your reaction to your critics in the media?

Sheen: Their opinions are very lucrative to them; mine are very expensive to me and my family. That is the difference. That is why I can't get involved in this debate. Because we are talking about two different things.

Q: You're coming from a more humanistic perspective?

Sheen: Exactly, and a spiritual perspective. And they get paid for their opinions, and mine cost me.

Q: But you don't take it personally, do you?

Sheen: I don't, only because I don't know the people who are attacking me. But you cannot not be affected by it and remain human. And also I am not in this alone; I have a family, and they are subject to a lot of scrutiny at times. It is not pleasant at all. You just have to maintain your faith, and your sense of humor. Above all, not take yourself so seriously, and realize that you're not in there alone. God has not abandoned us. I don't know what other force to appeal to other than almighty God, I really don't.

Q: You support our military?

Sheen: I have been accused of being a traitor, and I have been accused of not supporting the military. Nothing could be further from the truth. The leaders are the ones who make the decisions. The soldiers do not have the choice. I support the soldiers as human beings. This Administration has led us into an area without vision. Bush has no clear understanding of what is being asked of the citizens, and the military is under his direction.

Q: Assess the Bush Administration.

Sheen: In order to understand this Administration it is helpful to have a background in [Alcoholics Anonymous's] Twelve Step, because it is real clear to those of us who understand the Twelve Step program that these are very dysfunctional times. We live in a very dysfunctional society, and this is a very, very dysfunctional Administration. The proven way for this Administration to keep power is to keep us all in fear. As long as we are afraid of the unknown and afraid of each other, he, or anyone like him, can rule. It's like they will take responsibility for protecting us. It's when we take back the responsibility for protecting ourselves that they get scared. I am amazed by the level of arrogance within the Administration.

Q: When we met twenty years ago, you told me: "Murder is being conducted in our name around the world and we're paying the price here at home." What has that price been?

Sheen: This supposed idyllic society we have is the most confused, warped, addicted society in the history of the world. We are addicted to power, we're addicted to our own image of ourselves, to violence, divorce, abortion, and sex. Any whim of the human character is deeded in us 100-fold. We're number one in child abuse, pornography, divorce, all of these categories; that's how we get paid back. You can't project something on someone else that is damaging that person and not become that yourself, it seems to me.

Q: What are your views on abortion?

Sheen: I cannot make a choice for a women, particularly a black or brown or poor pregnant woman. I would not make a judgment in the case. As a father and a grandfather, I have had experience with children who don't always come when they are planned, and I have experienced the great joy of God's presence in my children, so I'm inclined to be against abortion of any life. But I am equally against the death penalty or war-- anywhere people are sacrificed for some end justifying a means. I don't think abortion is a good idea. I personally am opposed to abortion, but I will not judge anybody else's right in that regard because I am not a woman and I could never face the actual reality of it.

Q: What is a radical Catholic, as you've called yourself?

Sheen: That is someone who follows the teachings of the nonviolent Jesus and takes the gospel personally, and then pays the price. I fall into that category.

Q: Which politicians do you admire?

Sheen: I don't really have a great deal of confidence in politics or politicians, but there are certain elected officials that I admire very much, such as Dennis Kucinich from Ohio, Barbara Lee, Congresswoman from Oakland, Howard Dean, who I'm supporting for President.

Q: Who have been your spiritual influences?

Sheen: Terrence Malick (director of the film Badlands) is a deeply spiritual, bright, articulate man who had a profound influence on me at a critical time. Twenty years ago, I left India and went to Paris to do a film which I was not wild to be doing because I was not feeling focused at the time. I had just experienced India for the first time, and it had a very profound impact on me. I went to Paris and ran into Terry, who'd been living there for a couple of years, and we got reacquainted and got very close, and he became a mentor in a lot of ways for me. He was able to see where I needed to focus and was able to guide me to a little clearer place. He would give me material, books to read. Finally, the last book he gave me was The Brothers Karamazov, and that book had a very profound effect on my spiritual life, and that was like the final door that I had to go through. I finished reading that, and it was May Day, and I went into what turned out to be the only English-speaking Catholic church in all of France. I had not gone to church in years. I came across an Irish priest. I told him I'd stayed away from the faith for a long time, and I'd like to make a confession. He said you come to see me Saturday afternoon at the appointed hour, and I did. That was for me the journey home. Terrence was key to my awakening. Also, many of my beliefs were influenced by Dan and Phil Berrigan and the Jesuit community they helped run in New York.

Q: How did being a golf caddie affect you as a boy?

Sheen: Those years on the golf course as a caddie, boy, those people were something. They were vulgar, some were alcoholics, racist, they were very difficult people to deal with. A lot of them didn't have a sense of humor. They didn't know your name. It was always "caddie." This was before golf carts were used. If they needed to play, they were either going to hire a caddie or pull one of those rolling carts themselves. They weren't about to carry them when they could get you to carry them for a few dollars. Some of them were so cheap, selfish, and stingy. They taught me so much [laughs]. I am so grateful to those people. Because the bottom line was, for me, I thought, don't let me become that! It was one of those valuable lessons about what not to be, what not to do, how not to do something. They were ignorant, arrogant people, and they thought they were very charming and thought they had the world by the tail, with all the money and power they had.

Q: How has the game of golf helped you to develop your life philosophy?

Sheen: Anybody who plays golf will tell you that you play against yourself. I am a very conscientious golfer. I count every stroke. I learned to play that way. That is the only way I can play. It taught me to be honest. There is no greater virtue than honesty. The game is basically about yourself. Because you can cheat at golf, but you are only cheating you, so what is the point? If you are gambling and you cheat to make money then you are a thief and a liar, so it is exponential. Golf is fundamentally about being honest. I see people hit eight shots and tell me they shot five. I never say a word. It is a reminder to me of what is at stake.

Q: What was it like to work with the Living Theater in New York?

Sheen: It had a very profound effect on me. I started with them when I was nineteen and spent two-and-a-half years with them. Through them, I was introduced to Women's Strike for Peace, the ban the bomb movement. It was an avant-garde theater, filled with very liberal, progressive, intelligent, passionate, heroic people. Julian Beck was one of my mentors and heroes. He introduced me to the Catholic Workers' movement.

Q: Your favorite roles?

Sheen: Badlands and Apocalypse.

Q: Is The West Wing a liberal fantasy show?

Sheen: The key word about The West Wing is show. It is not a reality show. It has nothing to do with reality. We have a phrase we use sometimes: "Present issues of great importance," and hope this will cause some measure of public debate, because the issues are so important. But we don't advocate it, we can't be sure it is going to happen, and most of the time we don't even know what effect the show is going to have, if any. But sometimes we ring a bell, and you can't unring a bell. Sometimes we can bring an issue to the forefront and just mention it, and by just mentioning it, whether it is global warming or women's rights, or the environment, we bring attention to it. What we try to say is that it doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat or conservative or independent. You are equally responsible for your place in the culture, and you must make a contribution, and you must accept responsibility for what goes down on your watch. You have no excuse if you are a conservative not to be concerned about the environment. You are equally responsible. Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting. On the show, we are not trying to get people to eat their vegetables; we are not trying to get people to become Democrats. We are basically trying to encourage people to get involved with public life so that politics isn't left to the wealthy and privileged.

Q: Did you ever consider running for President?

Sheen: The Green Party asked me to consider running with Ralph Nader in 1996, but I nipped that idea in the bud. I said I was flattered but I was not into politics and that I was not interested.

Q: Even after all your training on The West Wing?

Sheen: I am not a politician or a public servant. I am still a journeyman actor and a peace and justice activist. I'm a pilgrim trying to win my freedom and serve as best I can in the time I have, with this gift I've been given.

Q: Are you worried that this nation might be going down the tubes in a hurry?

Sheen: It is slip-sliding away. The last couple of years, we've witnessed the slow unraveling of a lot of very good legislation that was put into place by a lot of hard activism.

Q: What is your greatest hope for our species?

Sheen: That we survive, and come to know ourselves, and win our freedom.

Q: And your greatest fear?

Sheen: That we are not going to make it.

Q: Do you despair, or do you have hope?

Sheen: No, no, I never despair, because George Bush is not running the universe. He may be running the United States, he may be running the military, he may be running even the world, but he is not running the universe, he is not running the human heart. A higher power is yet to be heard in this regard, and I'm not so sure that we haven't already heard, we just haven't been listening. I still believe in the nonviolent Jesus and the basic human goodness present in all of us.

If all of the issues that I have worked on were depending on some measure of success, it would be a total failure. I don't anticipate success. We're not asked to be successful, we are only asked to be faithful. I couldn't even tell you what success is.

David Kupfer is a writer whose work has appeared in The Progressive, Whole Earth, Adbusters, and Earth Island Journal. He lives on an organic farm in Northern California.


health insurance is good enough for the members of the Congress of the United States. . . it’s good enough for all Americans

The following speech should be read and discussed by every single American by tomorrow morning. If it is read and discussed America would have health care for all by Labor Day. --KAS

AMY GOODMAN: Well, this is Senator Kennedy speaking in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, in April, 2008, one month before he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: But it brings me back, my friends, to another thought, and that is the whole issue of health insurance and universal coverage. It has been the passion of my life. It has been the passion of my life.

And it has been the passion of my life since the earliest days of my life, when we had been exposed to a sister with mental retardation and we saw the special kinds of care that she needed and the attention that she took; seven months in a hospital after a plane crash; three children, two of which have had cancer, cancer of the lungs; son who lost a leg to cancer as a young child. I was exposed to really the challenges of healthcare, and I was always also exposed to the very best in healthcare.

And one of the searing memories in my life is being in a children’s hospital in Boston with my son who had lost his leg to cancer, and he was under a regime that was going to take three days of treatment every three weeks for two years in order to be able to be in this process or this system, this treatment, that offered the best opportunity. And it was being paid for, since it was an experimental, by NIH. And they paid for probably the first four months that I was in that particular regime. And after that, it had demonstrated some success, and they stopped the payments.

But for all the other families, they didn’t have the kind of health insurance that that had, with $3,000 for every family, every three weeks. And I listened to these families, whose had—their children had the same kind of affliction that my child had. And they said, “Look, we’ve sold our house. We have the $30,000. We have $20,000. We’re able to afford it for three months, for four months, for five months. What kind of chance does my child have to be able to survive?”

I knew that my child was going to have the best, because I had the health insurance of the United States Senate. And I knew that no one, no parent, no parent, in that hospital had the kind of coverage that I had. That kind of choice for any parent in this country is absolutely unacceptable and wrong, my friends.

And I can tell you this: when every member of the United States Senate comes in and signed into the United States Senate, they signed a little card in two places, and one is their signature for their salary, and the other is for their health insurance. Their health insurance. Now, Senator Brown of Ohio, to his credit, will not accept it until the people of Ohio get it. Every other member of the United States Senate—every other member of the United States Senate has accepted it. And for the fifteen times that I have fought on the floor of the United States Senate that we ought to have universal comprehensive coverage and to listen to those voices on the other side that have universal and comprehensive coverage and say, “No, it is not time. We can’t afford it. It’s the wrong bill at the wrong time”—my friends, if that health insurance is good enough for the members of the Congress of the United States and good enough for the President of the United States, it’s good enough for everybody in Montgomery County, everyone in Pennsylvania, and everyone across this country.

AMY GOODMAN: The late Senator Ted Kennedy speaking in April 2008 in Pennsylvania.


Friday, August 28, 2009

CITIBANK and COHORTS’ takeover American’s Loans and Credit: “Banks at Risk of Failure Has Reached 15-Year High”

CITIBANK and COHORTS’ takeover American’s Loans and Credit: “Banks at Risk of Failure Has Reached 15-Year High”

By Kevin Stoda

Democracy Now noted today, “Banking regulators are warning that the number of banks at risk of failure has reached a fifteen-year high. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said the number of ‘problem banks’ had risen from 305 to 416 during the second quarter. The FDIC has already shut down eighty-one banks this year. This comes at a time when the nation’s largest banks are getting even bigger due to a series of federally arranged mergers and taxpayer bailouts. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo now each hold more than ten percent of the nation’s deposits, despite a rule barring such a practice.”

I have just returned from the Philippines, a country overwhelmingly dominated by CITIBANK credit cards and loans. There, I was able to share with Filipino nationals how Citibank has made life incredibly difficult for me for three decades. I also noted in various interviews that most Americans and foreign states (depending on Citibank’s predatory lending practices over the last half century) have not been happy with the growing debt and dependence.

A quick websearch shows that Americans are upset with Citibank. Whether it is in its student lending (i.e. often buying up student loans behind the backs of the borrowers), credit card swindles, or bad mortgages, CITIBANK leaves a bad taste in American users mouths.

Citibank has even been targeted in many smaller U.S. government investigations on fraud related to government credit cards. However, in the Philippines (where cozy capitalism and banking reign in an unholy alliance) little is done to get Citibank and other banks to behave better.

NOTE: Interestingly, Dubai investors have noted that although Citibank soaks the American taxpayers, it has helped the UAE state to survive the economic collapse of these past two years.

Meanwhile, Citibank Philippines is the largest foreign bank in the country. As well, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos worldwide also depend on Citibank credit cards and accounts to send monies homes to their families.

Naturally, Japanese Banks and other Asian banks also are involved in fraud and unnecessary debt in the Philippines, i.e. alongside Citibank.

Interestingly, the Philippines is still paying off a lot of bad bank loans to Citibank and other global financiers dating to the Ferdinand Marcos Dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.

Naturally, other USA banks, like CHASE need to be investigated. Moreover, the request still stands, which I made over a quarter of a year ago to fully nationalize Citibank (and other banks, including Wells Fargo) which is still squeezing American and foreign debtors while soaking up tax payer moneys.

Juan Gonzalez of DEMOCRACY NOW has noted, “We turn . . . the spotlight on President Obama’s massive foreclosure prevention program. Many of the lenders that helped fuel the housing crisis by issuing risky subprime loans are now lining up to receive more than $21 billion in taxpayer money intended to help bail out borrowers. At least twenty-one out of the top twenty-five participants in the Making Home Affordable program specialized in servicing or originating subprime loans, the report says. The funds come from the government’s $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, which gives lenders taxpayer subsidies to lower mortgages that might otherwise end in foreclosure.”

How can the country of the Philippines (or other smaller developing lands) ever go after the foreign bank giants like Citibank if America doesn’t go after them when the spotlight is on them fully as DN is doing now.

Come on Obama, set a global example and takeover these banks—stop throwing money at them!!!!!!!

Filipinos and others need America to set a fiscal and policy example by investigating the fraud of these big banks, which have helped destroy much of America’s middle class over the past decade.


Citibank and Me (1),

Citibank and Me (2),

Citibank and Me (3),



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Despite Germany turning down his wife's Visa, Kevin Returns to Gemrany tgo Empower Germans to funciton in the 21st Century better

Dear Friends, Family and Loved ones,

Yesterday, Victoria and I headed down to the ancient city center of Manila to the walls or INTRAMUROS.

Most of the Walled City had been totally obliterated between Feb. 3 and March 3, 1945 due to Japanese burning and Allied Bombing of the capital. Intramuros is 450 hectars of the most historical parts of the capital of Manila, founded here by the Spaniards in 1571.

Only the church, St. Augustin survived the fighting in 1945.

Maria Victoria and I took a horsedrawn cart around the entire old town.

Along the way, we were able to recall the great devastation of that city in 1945, i.e. which included mass graves of 100,000 people and soldiers in the end, due to the carnage.

Santiago Fort was also a beautiful and sovering stop.

It is best remembered as the place where the national hero, Jose Rizal was kept in prison before his trumped up courtmartial and execution. Dr. Jose Rizal was sort of a universal man, a la Goethe, who was an artist, medical doctor, poet, naturalist, and dreamer of a new Philippines.

There is not a city in the country which doesn't bear a street or park to this hero, who died just after his marriage in 1896. (We stayed near Rizal street in El Nido last week while on Palawan.)

Interestingly, Rizal wrote and inspired his national compatriates first through many of his publications in Germany in the 1880s. Rizal had studied in Spain, France, and Heidelberg. Like my wife (Vik), Rizal was fluent in 6 or 7 languages.

He became even more influential as a patriate writer in exile in Berlin, Germany before returning to his homeland in the 1890s.

Alas, I will have to fly back to Europe myself tomorrow. Yes, I will be in Germany--yes, I would like my wife to be able to join me from the Philippines, soon.




Saturday, August 22, 2009


The League of Women voters wrote and asked me to get this information out to you all. Ask Congress to act NOW.



ACTION ALERT: Urge Your Senators to Support CEDAW

The Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the most comprehensive international treaty promoting the advancement of women worldwide. It establishes a legal framework to which all governments must adhere, to ensure the equality of women in various areas of life including politics, law, employment, education, health care, commerce and domestic relations. The United States remains the only democracy in the world that has not ratified the CEDAW Treaty, putting our country in the dishonorable company of states such as Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or click here to enter your zip code and send them an email. Urge them to support ratification of the CEDAW Treaty for the Rights of Women today!

The CEDAW Treaty provides a universal standard for women's human rights. It provides a fundamental framework for ending international violence against women, ensuring girls access to education, and promoting economic opportunity and political participation for women. The United States should strive to be a leader and set an example for the rest of world in its commitment to women and expanding women's rights by ratifying CEDAW.


1. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators' offices. Urge your Senators to support ratification of CEDAW.

2. Click here to enter your zip code above to urge your Senators to support ratification of CEDAW.

3. Send this alert to other concerned citizens - your grassroots network, your friends and coworkers. Encourage them to contact their Senators today!


Sign up to receive Action Alerts directly by email. Don't miss an opportunity to take action!

It's easy to sign up and the League will never share your email with others:

For additional information, please contact LWVUS Grassroots Lobbyist Christina Vamvas at


Thursday, August 20, 2009


Dear Family, Friends, and Readers,


As I get ready to fly back to Germany—and out of my temporary exile (and temporary exit from Europe)—from the archipelago of the Philippines and my first honeymoon travels with my wife of nearly 8 months (Maria Victoria M. Baradero)during the next days, I need to note that I have had a great 4 to 5 weeks journeying across Luzon and Palawan. I have made friends in all places and look forward to learning Filipino.

Victoria and I had originally married with the plan of going and living together in Germany for two to three years. We are still fighting discriminatory immigration laws to do so.

Germany is a peculiar sort-of-federal-state where local governments and parochial peoples determine who lives where--or even come to settle within their borders. So, the local bureaucrats have circumvented European Union law since June 23, 2009 and stated to me bluntly that I would have to earn much more than 30,000 Euro (42,000-plus dollars) a year to bring my wife to live in Wiesbaden, Hessen.

Imagine if every small town in America were able to set immigration rules for the new-comers to the USA!! There would be whole areas—possibly as broad as a thousand miles long--where 0% new immigrants would be permitted to live due to peculiar discriminatory tendencies there.

Therefore, most anyone-who-looks-at-the-matter sees Victoria’s-visa-turndown (in Germany) as due to current local biases—i.e. the clear result of discriminatory immigration practices against peoples from poorer and less developed lands around the planet. (The current deadlock on Viks’ visa might also be the result of a decades long bias to allowing Eastern Europeans of German ancestry to migrate to Germany while prohibiting North American immigrants of German ancestry, too. In short, if my German ancestry were taken into account, Vik may have had no trouble emigrating to Germany as my spouse. However, American emigrants are not desired in the German system normally.)

This is not the first time that Filipinos, like Maria Victoria (my wife), have experienced this sort of discrimination. There is intra Asian and international discrimination everywhere—despite what the Declaration of Human Rights says about the right for each human being to emigrate.

You see . . . Victoria grew up in a poor family in the rural areas of the most underdeveloped region of Northern (and Western) Philippines. The Philippines is a country very similar to the nation of Nicaragua that saw its dictatorships toppled over 30 years ago—only to find most of its society and multicultural peoples under the thumbs of entrenched interests. However, whereas Eastern European and other states around the globe had been transformed after revolutions of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, continuity in under-development has been the Philippines destiny (as it has been Nicaragua’s) to-date.

Even in her homeland, the poorer are often severely discriminated against in terms of school and university access. Maria Victoria got around this by getting a scholarship or work-study job with the Catholic Church in order to gain a university education.

Vik later worked as a nanny in both Abu Dhabi and then in Lebanon in the 1990s. Finally, she came to Kuwait in 2002 where the legal system was even worse than in those other Arab countries, i.e. in terms of protecting domestic servants against family abuse and outright inhumane treatment.

However, Victoria then ended up staying almost 7 years in Kuwait, though. She worked various jobs including in a Chinese restaurant and in a pharmacy.

Along the way, Vik found a new world of love and safety in Christ through Kuwait’s International Church of Christ membership. I was a member there, too.

I invited Maria Victoria and another Filipina to earn extra money by cleaning my flat in Kuwait while I taught in various businesses and universities. Then one spring we began to fall in love, so we began to date.

I was struck by Victoria’s adventurousness and growing commitment as a disciple of Christ. She was very serving in the church and always caring of others.

This adventurousness and her love and caring ways has been evident during our honeymoon journey. For example, concerning being adventuresome, Victoria has done several new things on this honeymoon journey that she had never done in her life before. Just three days ago, she learned to kayak with me on the island off the coast and in the open waters off El Nido. (I have been canoeing and kayaking since I was in boy scouts. Vik is 42 years of age.) She also swam in the deep blue sea far from shore for the first time in her life in both El Nido and off the coast of Port Barton over the past two weeks.

Our next adventure may be either to apply for a USA visa for Victoria—or a Filipino visa for me. On the other hand, God may have bigger surprises—like having children or working elsewhere.

We are committed also to Palawan and all the family of Vik’s whom I have gotten to know here. We are even dreaming of building a house here if that is our destiny. (Perhaps, I can help bring solar power to Port Barton, where there is currently only 6 hours of electrical power each day.)

Likewise, we hope to keep building our ties with many different churches in Palawan, Luzon and the island of Negros (where Vik was born). On my coming November visit to the Philippines from Germany, I plan to visit Negros Island and meet more of Victoria’s large family.

Prayers for us and our journey are welcome.


Kevin Stoda
Puerta Princessa, Philippines


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

21st Democrats and Others need to Walk the Walk and Get Americans Health Care


Dear Kevin,

Have you been watching insurance companies hijack health care reform with misinformation and stall tactics? We can’t allow this. We have to hold them and their Republican cronies accountable. This year, of the top 10 PACs, only 21st Century Democrats is fighting to pass real health care reform including a public option. The other, right wing PACs are just trying to put money into the pockets of the health insurance lobby. Give to 21st Century Democrats to show your support for health care reform. We need your help to let Democrats know we want real reform. The Democrats we support must be confident we’ll have their backs when the insurance companies and Republicans come after them. That’s what 21st Century Democrats does – elect and reelect stand-up progressive Democrats.

We support the grassroots activist, the field organizer, the first-time candidate, the challenger to the conservative incumbent. For over 20 years, we’ve helped elect progressive Democrats in tough races across the country — leaders like Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer and Tom Harkin. Instead of losing faith while Blue Dogs hold up health care reform, we must take action now. Together we can create a true progressive Democratic majority. Let’s take the fight to the Republicans and their lobbyist cohorts. Give today and help us push for health care reform without delay.

Thank you,

Jim Scheibel Chairman

21st Century Dems


Monday, August 17, 2009



By Kevin Stoda

Since last spring I have been polling progressive American voters on health care and more than 85% of those participating desire:

"Single Payer medicare type system now, of course, for everyone"

Yet, Obama seems to be running health policy out of the back door of corporate medical care & health lobbiests.


According to one of my readers on OP-ED NEWS:


writes "healthcare" bill just as Exxon wrote energy bill & Philip Morris wrote

the tobacco bill. All done in secret so Obama can maintain the illusion that he

is for we the people, when in fact has betrayed us every chance he gets.

Only Bo Obama is real, & you can be sure he isn't fed China dog food.

The reason the bill is a hoax is because it has nothing to do with health.

It is more of the same old symtom management scheme. Google

"The leading causes of death & injury in the U.S". & you will find that MIPIC

is killing more people than heart disease, & cancer. These IATROGENIC

deaths include both in & out of hospitals & amount to almost

800,000 per year. A small fraction of that number die without "health" insurance.

. But here is the real kicker. Heart

disease is not a disease, but a lifestyle that causes pathological

changes in the body in response to the trauma inflicted on it.

Most people know that thumb sucking leads to braces on the

teeth, & many know that eating grease clogs the blood vessels.

But why worry, there are drugs advertised 24/7 that will control this

condition. So eat drink & be merry until your first bypass.

Cancer is the rapid uncontrolled abnormal cell growth that takes place

in the body when cells die from exposure to carcinogens such as x-rays

& tobacco. It turns out that mammograms are self-fullfilling prophesies.

Other new high powered diagnostic x-ray procedures are even more

dangerous since the damage done is cumulative, like over exposure to the

sun. Health can't be purchased in a bottle or a building, it takes a lifestyle

which includes proper diet In moderation, exercise, rest, & comfortable




Friday, August 07, 2009

MEETING FAMIILY IN PALAWAN--during a Kind of Exile in the Philippines

As readers of my blog know, I have been in a sort of exile from Germany due to the fact that my wife's visa application was turned down on very questionable grounds in June. We are treading water in my wife's homeland until the review of my wife's visa is re-undertaken as it legally needs to be according to EU law and right of spouse to join husband.

Dear Friends and Family,

On Wednesday, I met my sister's only surviving brother, Tong Tong, at his home in the middle of a mango plantation where he lives with his wife and three children. In a ll the joy of my visit, he butchered a Filipino hen and cooked a delicious and healthy soup. No one has butchered a hen for my meal for over three decades when I last worked on a farm in France. (I was the one who held the chicken down that time.)

Tong Tong showed me also his rice fields--which he harvests and plants by hand. Believe me that is tough work. He also is a tree grafter--which reminds me of my Uncle Gerald back in Missouri.

Before Uncle Gerald worked in tree gardening and nutty nut tree work, he was in the navy and sailed the world.

However, I am not certain if he ever landed in the Philippines where my wife is from. My brother Paul, however, did land on the big island of Luzon in the 1980s a few times, when the USA still had a navy base at Subic Bay.

Today, Victoria's sister came via Jeepney with her kids to visit us. Here is what a Jeepney looks like:

They are based on WWII Willy Jeeps.

Tomorrow all day is the biggest family reunion and I will need to learn and practice Tagalish-- a mixture of Filipino and English. Wish me luck. I meet my father-in-law Andres Baradero from Negros tomorrow, too. He is coming in from Southern Palawan where there are apparently no cell phones--only satellite phones. Tong Tong went out last evening to find him near the town of Tuba.

On Sunday, we will travel back with Maria Victoria's sister to Port Barton and stay for a few days.

I will get out my English Filipino dictionary and try my best in the meantime.




Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Is there anything Big Coal won't do?

I received this message from CREDO. Everyone! Go to the link and write the Attorney General a message now, OK??

Is there anything Big Coal won't do?

Maybe not. We can add identity theft to the list of what their paid minions have already done.

In the aftermath of the House's incredibly close vote on global warming legislation, one member of Congress — Tom Pierello of Virginia — has revealed that he received forged letters from local nonprofit groups — the NAACP and Creciendo Juntos — trying to convince him that a vote FOR the legislation would hurt poor people, minorities, and the economy.

These fraudulent letters were sent to Mr. Pierello by Bonner & Associates, a well known Washington lobbying firm with a very troubled history of phony grassroots pressure on behalf of special interests like cigarette companies, drug companies, and coal companies.

How many other members of Congress were misled by forged letters? Were votes changed? There is only one way to find out. Will you tell Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate and prosecute these blatantly fraudulent and illegal acts?

With billions of dollars of profits, not to mention the health of the environment, at stake, this kind of reprehensible behavior needs to be stopped.

Here is a sample letter to the USA Attorney General:

"Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,

I write to urge you to investigate Bonner and Associates and their clients for producing and delivering fraudulent letters to Representative Tom Piriello and possibly other members of Congress. This activity degrades our democracy and violates our laws, and those responsible must be identified and brought to justice.

These letters were manufactured to derail critical legislation on behalf of massive corporations that already spend millions in lobbying against sensible environmental regulations. This is identity theft of a very dangerous sort. Absent a vigorous response by the Justice Department, this fraud will undoubtedly continue and expand. I urge you to aggressively investigate these activities."

GET to work, AMERICA!!!


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Corazon Cojoangco Aquino Passes Away--Taking the Limelight Off of Philippines President Arroyos Visit to White House

Corazon Cojoangco Aquino Passes Away--Taking the Limelight Off of Philippines President Arroyos Visit to White House

By Kevin Stoda
, Manila

Corazon “Corry” Aquino, icon of the Philippines’ first People Power Revolt in 1986, and the country’s first female President, passed away today.

Meanwhile, Gloria Arroyo, the current female president was in Washington D.C. with a record number of Philippine Senators and larger entourage to improve relations with the USA today and to get more respect for Filipino citizens and efforts on behalf of the USA military forces around the world.

President Arroyo’s administration is fairly unpopular. She is supported by less than 40% of the people, and some observers are worried she might become involved in a coup of sorts to stay in power. Earlier this past month, the president’s office was involved in obvious bribes of governors of various provinces. Human rights records have not improved under her administration.

“On one hand you have a newly elected, young, idealistic, dynamic, US president; a superb orator who just happens to be Black, and who told world leaders during his inaugural address "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history.... On the other hand you have a lame duck Philippine president who has been dogged by one controversy after another since taking office, and who hopes to legitimize herself in the eyes of her constituents and the world by standing side-by-side with President Obama in the White House.”


“While at law school [“Corry” Aquino] met her future husband, Benigno Aquino and married him in 1954. The marriage united two of Tarlac's most prominent families. Aquino's husband belonged to a family whose involvement in politics went as far back as the last century. One year after they were married, Aquino's husband was elected mayor of the city of Concepcion at the age of 22. Her husband was considered one of the Philippines' brightest political hopes.”

Later, “[a]s her husband rose in prominence, he became an outspoken critic of the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. When Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, Aquino's husband was one of the first persons arrested and put in jail. During the long years of her husband's incarceration from 1972 to 1980, Aquino's role as a quiet wife slowly changed. Becoming her husband's main link to the outside world, she was instrumental in having his statements passed along to the press and to activists outside the prison walls. From inside his cell, Aquino's husband even ran for a seat in Parliament, with his wife conducting a large portion of the campaign.”

Finally, “Ninoy”, as Mr. Aquino was lovingly known by the greater Filipino population, eventually went into exile under the continuing dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. When Ninoy Aquino arrived back in the country after free elections were called in 1984, he was assassinated within 24 hours.

According to all accounts, “[t]he public reacted angrily to the Aquino murder. Rallies and other forms of resistance sprang up in cities and towns all over the Philippines. During the next two and a half years all segments of the population, including the upper and middle classes, joined the struggle to get rid of Marcos. Finally, yielding to pressure from his people (and the U.S.), Marcos called for presidential elections to prove he still had widespread support.”

Soon, “Benigno Aquino's widow Cory, a self-described housewife, ran against Marcos. The election was marked by widespread fraud, with Marcos' thugs beating up election workers and scrambling voter roles. The government declared Marcos the winner.”
After protesting the results of the Marco’s manipulated election before a crowd of 1 million Filipinos in Manila, things quieted down until in February 1986 when “Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos defect from the Marcos government. Enrile and Ramos barricade themselves in the Defense Ministry headquarters in Manila, along with a small group of sympathetic troops. They say they are prepared to die rather than continue supporting the corrupt Marcos regime.”


Then the manifestation of people power took place as never seen before in the Philippines: Here is the basic tale.

-Marcos' soldiers and weapons are met in the streets by tens of thousands of ordinary Filipinos who are surrounding Camp Crame to protect the rebel officers.
-As the tanks start forward into the crowd, people sit down in front of them.
-The tanks stop.
-People offer the soldiers candy and cigarettes, asking them to defect and join the rebellion. Young girls walk among the soldiers, passing out flowers.
-The blocked tanks start forward again. The people sit tight, holding their ground.
-The tanks stop again.
-A Marine commander threatens to start shooting. Priests and nuns kneel before the tanks, praying the Rosary. No shots are fired. Finally the tanks turn around and withdraw as the crowd cheers.

In short, for the 1980s and 1990s a new age had dawned. Similarly peaceful revolts would take place all across Eastern Europe leading to the downfall of autocratic rule in many corners of the planet.

Later, Corry Aquino was formally elected president of the Philippines. “Aquino promised to promote the right to assemble peaceably, and free speech along with prosecuting corruption and abusers of human rights.” She then released over 440 political prisoners.

Her popularity waned and she faced 7 coups in the six years of governance. However, she is much more loved today than ever. The Philippines will mourn her death greatly.


One of the greatest failures of both the Aquino and Arroyo administrations has been the failure to reign in corruption—especially involving their own supporters and family members. The U.S. had left less than a dozen (politically and economically powerful) families controlling the Philippines when its decades-long imperial occupation of the archipelago ended in 1945.

Only President Ramos, Aquinos successor even made a half-hearted attempt to reform the broken system of cronyism among this oligarchy controlling the 7000-plus isles of the Philippines.

An example of the depths of dismay among the Filipino population at the lack of progress against corruption in the country comes from my discussion with a taxi driver yesterday. I had asked the man, “What cars are produced in the Philippines?”
The tax-driver stated, “None.”

Then I enquired, “What companies are producing buses or trucks?”

The reply was, “Only Jeepneys are produced here.”

Jeepneys used to be the undisputed kings of the road in the Philippines—but they are based on a WWII Willey Jeep technology. However, Japanese and foreign built cars and trucks and buses dominate the road now in 2009.

I asked, “Why does a country of 80,000,000 people not produce its own vehicles?”
The driver stated, “Corruption is the reason. No one wants to invest here where so few skim off all of the profits.”

My wife, also of the Philippines, nodded in agreement.

When will the Philippines get justice and less corruption?

Come on PEOPLE POWER!!! Return again and finish the job.