Be thankful you live in this country

I TOLD a relative, a longtime migrant to Canada, that first chance he gets, he should move back here while the pandemic raged since it is safer here than his adopted country. He laughed; he thought I was joking and said something ridiculing my advice. Irritated, I just told him to look at the worldometers.info/coronavirus statistics.

As of this writing (December 29), the Philippines is ranked 29th in that list with the No. 1 slot occupied by the worst country hit, the United States. We’re three ranks better off than Canada with the two intervening slots occupied by Bangladesh and Pakistan. We’ve improved from rank 19 three months ago.

30 top countries hit by pandemic WORLDOMETERS.INFO/CORONAVIRUS. ACCESSED 12.29.2020

Cases here, a country of 110 million, total 470, 650 for a cases/per 1 million population ratio of 4,267. Canada, a country with just 38 million has 554,419 cases for a ratio of 14,627 cases per 1 million Canadians. We’ve had 9,124 deaths due to Covid-19; Canada has 15,009.

Can you believe this: in terms of the pandemic’s impact, we’re practically on the same level as Switzerland, which has total cases of 438,384 for a population of just 9 million.

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Be aware, beware of the reptilian brain

THE senseless killing last week by a policeman of a mother and her son in the course of a neighborhood squabble, and in front of the policeman’s teenage daughter, should remind us again of that reality most of us do not know or are oblivious over because we haven’t been educated about it or because of our religious beliefs.

The reptilian brain, rampaging in Tarlac and in Minneapolis. SCREEN GRABS 

This is the fact that we humans are not magical creatures created by some deity in his image: we are the end result of 3.7 billion years of evolution. Our brains were not manufactured by some intelligent designer but evolved through time, its prime directive being, as it were, to survive.

One thesis proposed back in the 1960s mainly by neuroscientist Paul MacLean became popular because of its simplicity: we have a “triune brain,” that is, what we think of as our brain consists of three brains: the reptilian complex, the paleo-mammalian complex (limbic system) and the neocortex. These structures were sequentially added to the forebrain in the course of evolution.

What we think of as our brain which allows us to philosophize, socialize and be civilized in general is the neocortex, those two large hemispheres which figure in the usual depiction of the human brain. It was the last to develop through evolution, appearing first in primates. The second brain is the limbic brain which first emerged in mammals, which is largely responsible for our emotions.

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The real origins of Christmas

ONE of the most powerful, persistent fake news that has been around for many centuries is that December 25 is the birthday of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, the biggest religion today with 2.4 billion adherents. This is not opinion or conjecture, but has been a well-established fact, even by Catholic scholars.

Saturnalia (1783) by Antoine Callet: The first Christmas celebrations?

The only other competing thesis of course, is that the man called Jesus has never existed. Indeed, ancient religions all had similar man-gods — born of a virgin, with a God as invisible father — even born around December 25 — or near the December 22 solstice, that marked the beginning of the end of the “dark and cold” period of winter.

In the first place, the widely accepted account of Jesus’ life, the New Testament, doesn’t of course mention the date of his birth, by whatever calendar the Jews or the Greeks used in that time. In fact, the Bible’s reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) points to a spring date.

Guess who designated December 25 as Jesus’ birthday? The Roman Empire did, after it made Christianity its state religion. (And the fact that it was the largest such empire in the world in that era, and had Europe as its descendants, explains how Christianity became the world’s biggest religion — and not that is the “truest” religion.)

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What that ICC fake news reveals

Last of 2 parts
ON Monday, I incontrovertibly proved as totally false the report by the Philippine Star, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as United States news outlets that the “International Criminal Court (ICC) saw reasonable basis” that President Duterte’s war on drugs had resulted in “crimes against humanity.”

It wasn’t the ICC which said that. It was merely its prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who even reported that she hadn’t completed the preliminary examination of the charges against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration — which is the very first step in that court’s processes.

That report by those incompetent or biased anti-Duterte news outlets is just like reporting that the Manila Trial Court found somebody guilty of murder when it was simply the fiscal who received the complaint but hadn’t even finished his examination who said so.

Revealing tweets (NUPL refers to the National Union of People’s Lawyers, another of Jose Maria Sison’s organizations, headed by his personal counsel Edre Olalia).
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No ICC ruling vs Duterte

First of 2 parts
THE Philippine Star* last week ran a front-page story headlined “ICC sees crimes against humanity in Philippines drug war.” Its lead read: “The International Criminal Court has found ‘reasonable basis’ to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in President Duterte’s war on drugs, which has reportedly killed over 20,000 people since 2016.” The next day, Duterte’s critics were ecstatic over the report, with the Philippine Daily Inquirer banner story screaming: “Drug War Critics on ICC Report: Reckoning Near.”

These are outright lies.

They are “journalism” of the most despicable kind: They spread false, fake news. (The Star article even used the “20,000” figure, which has been proven to be totally without basis, with the government’s figure of about 6,000 fatalities accepted by most.)

ICC did not say that!
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Gotcha, Gabriela?

That may be facetious sentence but given Red fronts’ expertise in deception and in using our democratic and legal systems to advance their armed insurgency, that term best describes the recent brilliant move of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).

It’s been an open secret that one of the Communist Party’s source of funds has been through its front organizations, masquerading as crusading NGOs, which easily fool gullible bleeding-heart liberals especially in Europe to donate substantial amounts of money to them.

An SOP in fact was for an NGO to have the same project funded by several foreign entities each of which aren’t aware of the other funders.

P260M
The communists have generated substantial amounts through such means. An article in Small Wars Journal, a US online magazine which specializes on insurgencies around the world for instance pointed out: “The CPP-NPA has been receiving an estimated annual income of Pesos 260 million or $5.2 million from foreign funding agencies and NGOs.”

Another rally, the usual Red slogans PHOTO FROM ABS-CBN ONLINE
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Kudos to Gatchalian, boos to Salim

I SALUTE Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian for doing his job and demonstrating what political will can do.

With traffic at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in the first week of December creating a hell-on-earth for more than half a million Filipinos, he cleverly did what he could do within his jurisdiction. He suspended the business license of NLEX Corp. to operate in Valenzuela City, where it has seven toll stations.

With that kind of leadership ability, Gatchalian, just 41 years old, could — or should — be president someday.

No permit, no authority to collect tolls: it became a freeway, clearing like a miracle the traffic there which at its worst had led to congestion even in Valenzuela City’s inner roads. This is what state power should be doing, responding swiftly to alleviate its citizens’ suffering.

Indonesian-controlled firm raking in billions from tollways PHOTO, DATA FROM COMPANY REPORTS
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Carpio’s shameless double standard and intellectual dishonesty

“I WOULD have resigned right away as that was a culpable violation of the Constitution,” retired associate justice Antonio Carpio told the Judicial Bar Council in July 2012 when he was being interviewed for his application to replace Chief Justice Renato Corona who was ousted in May that year.

Carpio was referring to allegations in 2012 that Corona had not filed accurately his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), which was one of the reasons for his impeachment.

But now Carpio is claiming that SALNs aren’t much of an issue in the case of Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen, against whom an impeachment complaint was filed just a week ago, one ground for which was his failure to file 15 SALNs,

Carpio wrote in a column that Leonen need not worry that he didn’t file his SALNS, as there is a technicality (which is wrong, as I will show below) that the “prescriptive period “for such a crime is eight years — and the 15th year for which Leonen didn’t file such a document was 2009.

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Corona’s ghost returns to haunt Yellow hypocrites

“Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen may be even a worse offender of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) Law than the ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. That law (called the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) requires all state officials and employees to file their yearly SALNs.

“Sereno was removed from her post in 2018 for having failed to file such reports for six years, an offense for which her colleagues decided that she had no integrity and, therefore, could not have been appointed as chief justice.

Leonen failed to file his SALN for 15 years, from the time he joined the University of the Philippines (UP) faculty from 1989 to 2003 and for the years 2008 to 2009.”

I had thought that it was an open-and-shut case. My column wasn’t “speculation,” as Yellow news outfits referred to it, as it was the official reply by the Ombudsman to a freedom of information (FOI) request that I had filed months before.

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Drilon’s ‘P33B’ dud: Devious, desperate or dumb?

FOR several days last month, the Yellows’ most senior senator, Franklin Drilon, alleged that the Duterte government had a huge P33-billion stash of funds squirreled away in an obscure agency, implying massive corruption in the administration or that a war chest was being prepared for the 2022 elections.

What Drilon thought was his bombshell of an exposé was a total, colossal dud; very nearly fake news exposed. After a few days that Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez rebutted his allegations, the senator started shutting his mouth but still giving some false statements that the finance department had responded positively to his claims.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) bannered Drilon’s allegations; all of the other broadsheets totally ignored them or buried them in their inside pages. I can’t say though if the PDI was hewing to its vocation as the Yellows’ mouthpiece or if Drilon controls its editorial staff, especially since all of the bannered articles on the alleged issue was written by one senior reporter DJ Yap.

Next day, he says it is P33 billion.
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