Trio of new Cold War officials running US foreign policy, including that on China

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IN the current dangerous times in which we face the prospect of a nuclear war among the superpowers, it is certainly shocking, and extremely worrying, that in the June 27 US presidential debate, President Biden’s behavior showed that, as the acclaimed investigative journalist Seymour Hersh explains in detail in a piece I post below, there is no longer a functioning president.

If you watched the debate, streamed live June 27 (US time), you’ll certainly doubt if Biden understands the intricacies and nuances of geopolitics that could lead to nuclear war — and humanity’s extinction. His view of the Russia-Ukraine war is the 1950s Cold War, thinking that if the US allowed Russia to defeat Ukraine, it would result in a domino effect that would prompt Russia to invade Poland and many other Eastern European nations.

I don’t think he would understand what the Philippines’ disputes with China are, only that in his mind, China is still the Communist China, which had wanted to help communist North Korea invade the US puppet state South Korea in 1950, which General McArthur would have nuked if President Truman had not fired him.

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Ayungin incidents: A diabolical propaganda operation

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I HOPE gullible Filipinos, or those awed by the US media apparatus, found enlightening, and atrocious, the recent Reuters investigative report — confirmed by the Pentagon — that an American “psywar” command from 2020 to 2021 ran a black propaganda operation to discredit Chinese anti-Covid vaccines as ineffective mainly through social media*. (https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-covid-propaganda/).

Analysts point out that this operation aimed at discrediting Chinese-made vaccines led to skepticism over all kinds of vaccines among Filipinos that could explain the fact that the country had the worst inoculation rates in Southeast Asia resulting in about 50,000 deaths.

If the US military can do this in the case of Chinese vaccines, they have done and are doing similar “psy-ops” over our dispute with China over the South China Sea in order to demonize it as a “bully” and an expansionist power. The Americans aren’t doing this to help us pursue our claims in that sea region but to paint China as the new Evil Empire, even if our Filipino servicemen are hurt or even killed. They will just segue to claim Taiwan is another “country” China would be bullying soon.

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DefSec Teodoro belies Executive Secretary Bersamin

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ON Monday, I wrote a piece whose title is its gist: “We have become a leaderless nation.” With certain recent developments, I rest my case. President Marcos can’t even set policy on an urgent issue facing the nation, our conflict with China.

His Defense Secretary, Gilberto Teodoro, has publicly defied his alter ego, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin who had announced a de-escalation in government’s rhetoric against China.

On June 17, China Coast Guard vessels had several inflatable boats block Philippine Coast Guard crafts from supplying the platoon of Marines at the BRP Sierra Madre grounded 25 years ago at Ayungin Shoal. The Chinese even got to board the Philippine boats, brandished pick axes and spears to puncture and deflate dinghies to sink them.

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We have become a leaderless nation

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THE China Coast Guard’s pouncing on our vessels to prevent them from supplying the beached BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal reveals what has become of this nation since President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. took power: We have become a leaderless nation.

Of course, Marcos, with his family, wields the powers and enormous benefits of the presidency under the Constitution, but he has done after two years little, if any, to lead the nation.

By leadership, I mean what former president Duterte did. He waged a war against drugs, even if bloody, and broke the back of this scourge. He accelerated infrastructure construction through his build-build-build program. He enacted a Comprehensive Tax Reform Program which has strengthened government finances. He doubled our soldiers’ and policemen’s salaries, which was a factor in the low crime rates during his term. He all but dismantled the communist insurgency. Why, he undertook seemingly small reforms, such as the cleanup of the Manila Bay coast and the “detoxification” of Boracay, that demonstrated how much government can do if it puts its mind to it.

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Delusion or publicity stunt, or both

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NOW what?

I would think that after several attempts by the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard to deliver construction and repair supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, which were easily foiled by the China Coast Guard, the latest June 17 being the most violent incident, the following would be inarguably clear.

These attempts were the result of President Marcos Jr. and his military brass’ deep delusion that they could ignore China’s position that Ayungin Shoal, which it calls Rén’ài Jiāo, is part of their sovereign outlying archipelago called Nansha Qundao. This was declared as such in Chinese maps in the modern era and enshrined in their laws, among them in its 1958 Declaration on China’s Territorial Sea.

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End foreign-controlled Meralco’s 15-year monopoly

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“RAILROADING” has become an ugly term referring to the irregular legislative process in which bills are rushed into approval.

In an open and free society, it has become unacceptable for a major reason — it deprives the people, or at least those who will be impacted, of the chance to have their voices heard.

In some cases, it means legislation stamped as priority or urgent by the ruling administration which means passage of bills is a matter of national urgency or, in some cases, of national security.

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New Senate building: Cost zoomed from P4.8B to P23.3B

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THE Senate should be ashamed of the cost of its new luxurious offices in posh Bonifacio Global City. It would be scandalous if it did not investigate this disgrace to the nation.

When the project was first announced in 2018, then-senator Panfilo Lacson, who was in charge of it, said the planned Senate building would cost taxpayers only P4.8 billion. I immediately wrote a column — the first of six such pieces from 2018 to 2022 on what I called a monument to the Senate’s profligacy — reporting that my sources in the construction business laughed at his estimate and that it would at least cost P10 billion. Lacson issued a press statement that said: ”I based [my] figure P4.8 billion project cost as submitted by AECOM [the US firm that won the bidding for the project] on facts; Mr. Tiglao based his on opinion. “

Post in Facebook page ‘Emerging Philippines’: Cost shocked Escudero.

Well, the more recent facts given to Senate President Francis Escudero are even larger than my estimate. He revealed the other day that it had cost P23.3 billion, five times what Lacson said it would cost in 2018.

While obviously careful not to insinuate any anomalies in the project, which would implicate his former colleagues, Escudero said: ‘Nung nakita ko ito, medyo nagulantang ako at hindi ko inasahan na ganun kalaki aabutin ang gagastusin para sa ating magiging bagong tahanan (When I saw this, I was somewhat startled; I didn’t expect that it would be that expensive to build our new home).”

Lacson’s explanation through text messages sent to media didn’t clarify anything. He said not a single peso of the P10.3 billion was released to the Public Works Department since Sen. Nancy Binay, who succeeded him as accounts chairman, had “objected to the DPWH’s requests for variation orders (VOs).” But whether those funds were released or not to the Public Works Department is irrelevant, explaining why the project “bill” has reached the staggering amount of P23.3 billion.

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The other threat in the South China Sea (Philippine West Sea): Vietnam

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WHILE President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his military brass have been on overdrive to condemn China’s alleged aggressiveness in Philippine West Sea, another claimant, Vietnam, has been on an island-building spree, doubling its hectarage of reclaimed land in the disputed areas in the first five months of this year. Prodigious anti-China basher, former justice Antonio Carpio, who is married to a Vietnamese, has never ever criticized Vietnam for ignoring our claims in the Spratlys. Vietnam is the only claimant that got to grab in 1975 an island, Pugad Island (Southwest Cay), from us, although by subterfuge.

Vietnam has occupied the most features in the Spratlys — four islands and 29 reefs. The Philippines occupies eight islands and two reefs. China occupies seven reefs, which it transformed into artificial islands from 2012 to 2013, and three shoals, including Bajo de Masinloc, which the Philippines abandoned in the 2012 Scarborough stand-off.

As sure as the sun rises in the East, if China vacates its occupied artificial islands in the South China Sea, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam will be landing its troops on each and every island, and it has been preparing to do so for a decade.

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Diokno spews the same lie Rappler first made in 2017

IT’s unethical for “human rights” lawyer Jose Diokno to lie to a Congress committee hearing, claiming that the Office of the President (OP) itself under President Rodrigo Duterte listed 20,322 drug war-related deaths among its accomplishments in a 2017 report.

This lawyer merely repeated that falsehood first made by the news website Rappler back in 2017, which that vehemently anti-Duterte outfit continuously updated such that the gullible International Court of Justice was easily persuaded that so many Filipinos were killed in that president’s war on drugs that he has to be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”

Where does it say there were 20,322 drug-war deaths?

Diokno hates Duterte so much that he has stupidly or maliciously followed the same trick in manipulating figures to claim there were 20,322 drug war-related deaths from July 2016 to November 2017, even telling a congressional committee that the figure was mentioned in the 2017 year-end accomplishment report of the Office of the President.

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