Saturday, December 31, 2016

George didn't wake us up before he 'go-go'

"I'm never gonna dance again guilty feet have got no rhythm though it's easy to pretend I know your not a fool." -- WHAM! in "Careless Whisper."

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY -- In the past Christmases, George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) "gave us his heart." 
We didn't give it away. 
But last Christmas 2016, the reclusive British pop icon who once pricked his fans to "wake him up before you go-go", decided to "go-go" for good without waking us up.
He bade farewell on Christmas Day, December 25.
And the world of pop music wasn't saved from tears.
At 53, the Charismatic composer-singer, who serenaded the world as member of the dynamic duo Wham! with the spine-tingling "Careless Whisper" in 1984, succumbed to heart attack in Goring-on-Thames, United Kingdom, doctors said.
In our high school days, Wham! blossomed into a full-scale phenomenon with their 1983 debut album Fantastic, which charged to the top of the charts. 
That's my first date with Wham! However, when I first saw Wham's! frame, I thought it was Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael's best friend and partner, who was the lead vocalist.
At that time, another George--Boy George of the Culture Club--was giving Michael and Wham! a run for their money in Great Britain's new pop boom.

ALBUM

According to the British newspaper, theguardian, Wham's! second album, Make It Big (1984), turned them into a global success story, spinning off singles such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Freedom and Everything She Wants. 
In 1985, Wham! achieved a massive publicity coup by becoming the first western pop group to visit the People’s Republic of China. The visit was filmed by the director Lindsay Anderson as Foreign Skies: Wham! In China (1986).
Like in the cases of other pop stars who died at the height of their popularity, George Michael's death was also shrouded with controversy. 
There were reports that several weeks before his death, George, who had open relationships with males, became reclusive and refused to display himself in public "because he did not like his new looks."
Michael was also reportedly engaged in drug offense and was arrested and fined in 2010 drugs offences after admitting driving under the influence of drugs, having crashed his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo store in Hampstead.

OBITUARY

His obituary stated that "in June 2012 Michael released the single White Light to mark the 30th anniversary of Wham Rap!. In March 2014 he released Symphonica, which became his seventh solo album to top the UK chart. This month, it was announced that he was working on a new album with producer and songwriter Naughty Boy. Also in the pipeline was a film, provisionally titled Freedom: George Michael, due to accompany the reissue of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. With Michael as narrator, the film would feature stars including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Mary J Blige as well as the supermodels who had appeared in his Freedom! ’90 video."
The obituary added: "His mother, Lesley, died in 1997. He is survived by his father and his two sisters, Melanie and Yioda. George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou), singer and songwriter, born 25 June 1963; died 25 December 2016."




Happy New Year, Philippines!

From Hillsborough, New Jersey, I greet my countrymen in the Philippines a prosperous New Year 2017. 
With its emphasis on romance and indulgence, New Year's Eve might seem like a totally secular celebration.
But underneath all that glitter and sparkle is an ancient holiday with deep spiritual roots. For centuries, and in similar ways, people have been observing the end of one year and the beginning of another, according to beliefnet. 
Ancient Romans reportedly celebrated with six days of carousing that would probably be familiar to us today. St. Boniface, a missionary from England who visited Rome in 742, was appalled at how the Romans celebrated Kalends of January, as the New Year was called, with "dancing in the streets, heathenish cries, sacrilegious songs, tables laden with food and women wearing amulets and offering them for sale."


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sealing off police guns a stupid edict

"Elevate those guns a little lower." --  Andrew Jackson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY -- We laud Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronaldo "Bato" Dela Rosa for finally breaking the usual practice of sealing off policemen's guns ahead of the New Year festivities.
We were among those in the media who criticized the move, which was the brainchild of past PNP leadership starting during the time of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada.
We considered the order as "unnecessary" and "suicidal."
When the guns of our lawmen were sealed off, they could not respond to emergency cases or crimes. They would be like sitting ducks if armed criminals or terrorists attacked them vice versa.
The purpose of sealing off their guns was to prevent them from firing indiscriminately during New Year celebration.
This was on top of the "stern" warning from the PNP hierarchy that they would be dealt with accordingly if they used their guns to celebrate New Year.

PROFESSIONAL

Stern or whatever warning is also not necessary for professional cops or military men. Only scalawags and bad eggs will disobey and ignore lawful orders.
Each year since the order was made, reports showed that many innocent civilians, some of them children, were injured and killed after being hit by stray bullets fired during the New Year's eve.
Either the stray bullets came from the firearms of some rogue cops or undisciplined military personnel who ignored the order from their higher command, or from the guns of trigger-happy civilians.
There are many loose firearms in the hands of drunken maniacs who don't give a hoot if innocent bystanders and children are injured or killed  as long as they will fire these guns during the New Year revelry.

DOUBLE

Police should double their efforts to round them up as preventive measure. There should be no ifs and buts for those caught in possession of these unlicensed guns.
There should be no exemptions. No padrino or political considerations. No palakasan. No kumpare or kumare system. 
Eliot Spitzer once said: "Yes, people pull the trigger - but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror."
In fact, even without a New Year celebration or election gun ban, possession of loose firearms is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. 
An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Iloilo biggest winner in anti-drugs war; biggest loser in shame campaign

"A good reputation is more valuable than money."
-- Publilius Syrus

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY --  In the government-led battle against illegal drugs in the Philippines in 2016, Iloilo City could be the biggest "winner" if the number of murdered and "neutralized" drug lords, small-time traffickers, and drug addicts is used as the barometer.
With a population of 424,619, Iloilo City could also be the biggest "loser" when it comes to the "shame campaign" initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte immediately after he assumed office in July.
Among those slain in the brutal crackdown against drug pushers was the Odicta couple, Melvin and Meriam, of Iloilo City. They were killed by unidentified gunmen in Caticlan Port in Aklan on their way back after "surrendering" to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno in Quezon City in August.
The Odictas were the country's biggest names in illegal drug trafficking to fall in 2016. Following their death, some of the couple's top runners were either killed in "encounters" with police or arrested.

'SHABULIZED'

Aside from naming Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, ranked No. 5 in the 2014 World Mayor, as alleged protector of illegal drugs, Duterte also called the "City of Love" the "most shabulized city" in the country.
The tag, strongly belied and disputed by Mabilog and other local officials, demoralized some Ilonggos, especially those living in other parts of the world who suspected politics behind the "smear" drive.
Duterte also named three other prominent Iloilo mayors as "narco-politicians": Alex Centena of Calinog, Siegfredo Betita of Carles and and Mariano Malones of Maasin.
Like Mabilog, they all cried foul.
Duterte based his accusations on the list provided by his intelligence henchmen who had been tipped off by narcotics agents, some of them were reportedly allies of political rivals of those on the list.

SHAME

The shame campaign, which caught many local chef executives whose names were on the list flat-footed, didn't prove the guilt of the maligned mayors and governors.
Duterte, in fact, had flip-flopped and apologized to some of those he mentioned in the list, underscoring suspicions that he was fed with half-baked if not unverified reports from the field.  
Two of them, Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao and Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, however, were killed by police in separate encounters--all related to Duterte's nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.
Some three thousand suspected drug traffickers and drug addicts have been summarily executed since Duterte and his national police director, Chief Supt. Ronaldo "Bato" Dela Rosa launched the "all-out" war against illegal drugs in the country.

RIGHTS

Human rights advocates in the Philippines and abroad have criticized the apparent state-run extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and asked the president to halt the carnage.
They expressed alarm that some of those killed by lawmen in alleged "shootouts" were suspected pushers and young drug addicts and not convicted criminals.
Senator Leila De Lima, a former Commission on Human Rights commissioner, questioned the EJKs saying criminals are presumed innocent until proven by the court. 
Duterte, who vowed to wipe out criminality in the country within six months starting in July, responded with derision and called his critics "SOB."
When the president and Dela Rosa could not meet the six-month deadline, Duterte asked for extension.
Killings are feared to escalate anew in 2017.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An over acting speaker

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law" -- WINSTON CHURCHILL

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY -- I find the call of Philippine House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez to investigate the alleged plot by former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to oust President Rodrigo Duterte not only funny but OA (over acting).
Alvarez's call was prompted by a report on December 27 by the Manila Times that Goldberg has allegedly left a “blueprint” on how and why Duterte should be kicked out or a “recommendation to the US State Department for the removal of the Philippine President from office.”
Alvarez was quoted in the news as saying, “If true, this has serious consequences not only on our country’s political stability but also on the economic and social fabric of our nation. It would also have grave repercussions on our relationship with the United States."
Alvarez added: “In view of this serious allegation I am calling for a congressional investigation to find out if there is basis to this reported ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte."
If true, but how true?

SOURCE

In that news, writer Dr. Dante Ang, publisher of Manila Times, quoted only "a source". 
In fact, the title of the story already revealed everything: "US ex-envoy plotting Duterte fall – source."
The story did not have direct allusion to any US Embassy official in Manila or Lisbon, Portugal, the news' dateline. No direct quote from any former or concurrent Goldberg subaltern. 
No official statement from the US State Department. Only a source. Ang's "source" outlined or summed up Goldberg's alleged "strategic recommendation ostensibly to the State Department for the ultimate removal of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte from office."
News is news. A source can either be credible or sham. A source can either be true or poisonous. It can be a molehill that became a mountain when translated into straight news.
Not everything that is reported in the newspapers though warrant a congressional investigation. If reporters invoke "sources" in their stories, our legislative body can't resort to knee-jerk reaction if it finds the media stories "alarming."

RESOURCE

If Alvarez will call for a House probe on the allegation, who will they call as resource speakers? Not the Americans, of course.
Not Dr. Dante Ang. Not the employees of Manila Times.
Ang can never be compelled to reveal his source or sources. The Supreme Court has ruled that any journalist can't be obligated, compelled, or coerced in any forum to name his sources. 
This will shield credible sources "who requested strict anonymity for fear of retribution or retaliation."
The law also protects journalists from self-incrimination just like the ordinary citizens.
If invited by Alvarez's House investigation committee, we doubt if Ang will cooperate. 
The Americans, as well as those who have no love lost for President Duterte, will only laugh while over-acting Alvarez, et al waste the people's money in a House investigation that will reveal nothing.

-o0o-

The wisdom of having three branches in a democratic government is to have a check and balance.
This explains why the executive, legislative, and judiciary are co-equal in the government structure.
The president can't execute any major executive fiat without concurrence from congress. The president have the veto powers if it finds the law passed by congress lacking in substance and inefficient. 
If the court finds the acts of the executive and legislative branches to be unlawful, it can always interfere by invoking the legal parameters.
The speaker of the House can be a political sympathizer or ally of the president, but he can't use his office to act as mouthpiece of the executive body.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Respect, Kindness)

Treat everyone with respect and kindness. Period. No exceptions. 
-- KIANA TOM :

Kindness should have no expiration date, no timeline, no recess, no selection process. We must be kind even to those who don't respect us. Respect, however, is only for those who deserve it, not for those who demand for it. Being kind is a virtue; being respectful is a judgement.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Portuguese - Feliz Natal!
French - Joyeux Noël
Italian - Buon Natale!
Arabic - I'd Miilad said oua sana saida
Chinese - (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Croatian - Sretan Bozic
Danish - Glædelig Jul
Dutch - Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Filipino - Maligayang Pasko
Finnish - Hyvaa joulua
German - Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Indonesian - Selamat Hari Natal
Irish - Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Japanese - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Korean - Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Russian - Pozdravlyenie s Rozjdyestvom i s Novym Godom!
Swedish - God Jul
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Urdu - Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Welsh - Nadolig Llawentworthy

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pinoy victims of EJKs, 'You've got a friend' in James Taylor

“When you stop growing you start dying. An addict never stops growing. A user is a continual state of shrinking and growing in his daily cycle of shot-need for shot completed.” 
― William S. Burroughs

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY -- When a visiting friend asked me in September this year to accompany her to the place where John Lennon was assassinated in New York City 37 years ago, I first pointed to her the former residence of James Vernon Taylor in the Upper West End Avenue in Manhattan.
Taylor lived in the next building from Lennon.
"I'm interested on John Lennon's apartment. Bring me there," the friend badgered me.
We walked from Central Park's Strawberry Fields (where Lennon's ashes had been scattered by Yoko Ono after cremation and where Lennon's "Imagine" song had been playing non-stop) before proceeding to Dakota, in the gate of Lennon's apartment where he was shot in the head by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980.
It was Taylor who first had an eerie encounter with Chapman, then 26-year-old Texan, 24 hours before Lennon's murder.
Could he have prevented the assassination of one of music industry's most talented, charismatic and highly-regarded artists in history?

INTERVIEW

In a 2010 interview with BBC, the now 68-year-old American singer-songwriter and guitarist, revealed that Chapman "...had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested, and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon. And it was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John." 
After Lennon was officially declared dead in the nearby Roosevelt Hospital, Taylor alleged he heard Chapman "shot--five, just as quick as you could pull the trigger, about five explosions."
Taylor, born in Boston, Massachusetts, stayed in New York City as he was on a methadone maintenance program to cure him of his drug addiction.
Yes, fellas. The singer who popularized "You've Got a Friend", "Fire and Rain", "How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you)", "Handy Man", "Your Smiling Face", was a former drug addict.
Taylor was in the news in the Philippines after he cancelled his Manila concert in February 2017 in protest of the extra-judicial killings (EJK).

MESSAGE

In his personal blog (www.jamestaylor.com), the five-time Grammy Award winner, wrote dated December 20, 2016:
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February. So it saddens me to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand. 
The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law. 
I offer my heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends but I must now announce that I will not be performing in Manila this February. All tickets sold will, of course, be fully refunded. I am grateful to my promoter, Renen de Guia, for his patience and understanding. 
This decision will, in no way, affect my plans to perform as announced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
James Taylor

-o0o-

To all victims of EJKs in the Philippines, as well as other drug dependents targeted by summary executions, let's listen to a song from "a friend": You've Got A Friend

By James Taylor

When you're down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you've got to do is call
And I'll be there, ye, ye, ye
You've got a friend
If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you'll hear me knocking at you door
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call...

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friends)

Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. 
-- EURIPIDES :

It's OK to show love to friends during happiness, but there should be no expectations of a quid pro quo or strings attached. The true essence of friendship under an ideal Christian precept is when friends are in trouble, we attach all the strings unconditionally to ensure they won't fall.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Forget, Forgive, Don't Hate)

If you want to forget something or someone, never hate it, or never hate him/her. Everything and everyone that you hate is engraved upon your heart; if you want to let go of something, if you want to forget, you cannot hate. 
―C. JOYBELL C : 

The more we hate, the more we retain some of our egregious memories. The salient portions of our past could be blessings in disguise and should be dispatched with utmost reverence and gratitude. The more we forget, the fastest the emotional attachment will simmer down. And we can move on and reinvent ourselves.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Monday, December 19, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Giving, Sharing)

Sharing is sometimes more demanding than giving.
 -- MARY CATHERINE BATESON : 

Giving is the language of heart. Sharing is the language of soul. When we give, there is a feeling of bliss and supreme level of exhilaration. When we share, everybody is happy; everyone is a winner!
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Thank you for the inspiration, Graciano Lopez Jaena!

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” -- Tecumseh

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We commemorate Graciano Lopez Jaena’s 160th birth anniversary on December 18, 2016.
The reason why Ilonggos are so proud and probably the most-inspired journalists in the Philippines in this generation is because of fellow Ilonggo Lopez Jaena.
Could the son of Jaro, Iloilo City, who died in poverty, have been swallowed by the prevailing system that decimates the moral fiber of many enterprising journalists had he lived in today’s generation?
Born on December 18, 1856 and died on January 20, 1896, Lopez Jaena was not only an outstanding journalist, but was also an orator at par with the country’s and even the Asia’s best.
As the first ilustrado to arrive in Spain where he started the Propaganda Movement against our Spanish colonizers, Lopez Jaena became revolutionary when he formed a triumvirate with Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcel H. del Pilar.
But he became well known for his newspaper, La Solidarid.
No wonder contemporary journalists in Iloilo today flood the Western Visayas community with newspapers.
Almost every freedom-loving and lovers of letters and literature want to become newspapermen or to own and manage their own newspaper in the Ilonggo-speaking populace.
It runs in the Ilonggo blood.
Before he became famous, Lopez Jaena was first sent by his parents to study at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro which had been opened under the administration of Governor General Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada.
In the seminary, he served as a secretary to Claudio Lopez, his uncle who was the honorary vice consul of Portugal in Iloilo.
But he had ambition to become a physician. Lopez Jaena convinced his parents that he needed to enroll in a university in Manila.

ADMISSION

He was denied admission at the University of Santo Tomas because he did not have a Bachelor of Arts degree when he was at the seminary in Jaro.
Lopez Jaena was appointed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital as an apprentice.
He eventually dropped out due to financial difficulties and returned to Iloilo.
His assimilation with the poor ignited his feelings about the injustices common in that era.
Lopez Jaena’s potentials as a reformer and writer became apparent at the age of 18 when he wrote the satirical story “Fray Botod” which depicted a fat and lecherous priest.
Lopez Jaena ribbed Fray Botod’s false piety which “always had the Virgin and God on his lips no matter how unjust and underhanded his acts are.”
The story was not published, but a copy circulated widely in Iloilo. The infuriated friars could not prove that Lopez Jaena was the author, thus he became off the hook, so to speak, temporarily.
The son of Jaro refused to testify that certain prisoners died of natural causes when it was obvious that they had died at the hands of the mayor of Pototan town, thus he was pilloried.
He continued to agitate for justice. When he received threats on his life, he sailed to Spain in 1879, where he pursued the Propaganda Movement.

LAND

In the land of our colonizers, Lopez Janea became a leading writer, propagandist, and speaker for reform of the homeland.
He finally pursued his medical studies at the University of Valencia but did not finish, thus incurring the ire of Rizal.
Lopez Jaena defended why he did not finish his medical studies by saying, “On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor’s cape.”
“The shoulders do not honor the doctor’s cape, but the doctor’s cape honors the shoulders,” Rizal intoned.
The national hero died of tuberculosis in poverty on January 20, 1896, 11 months short of his 40th birthday.
He was buried in an unmarked grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste of Barcelona the following day.
Marcelo H. del Pilar’s death followed on July 4. Rizal was killed on December 30 by firing squad in Bagumbayan.
Their deaths ended the great triumvirate of Filipino propagandists, but their works contributed in the liberation of their compatriots from the Spanish colony.
Lopez Jaena’s remains have not been brought back to the Philippines.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Duterte to Defensor: Federalism on my mind

"Federalism should be able to maintain unity among all. But this does not mean that we should boycott regional voices and the voices of ethnic groups." -- Khil Raj Regmi

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY -- We were not surprised to learn that President Rudy Duterte admired Iloilo Governor Art Defensor as mentioned in a Philippine regional newspaper recently.
In 2015 when Duterte visited Defensor in the Iloilo Capitol, the future Philippine president sent former Cotabato governor and now agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol as his advance party.
Duterte was aware he would be late in his appointment with Defensor because of tight schedules in his Iloilo sorties. 
Duterte knew Pinol was in good speaking terms with Defensor, a fellow Ilonggo, thus the former Davao city mayor was confident Pinol would be a perfect emissary. 
"Diin na si Mayor Duterte?" Defensor asked Pinol as he entered the Office of the Governor. "Manong Art, on the way na sila na traffic lang. Nag press con pa sila didto sa Diversion Road."
While waiting for Duterte, Defensor signed some papers on his table.
Pinol was entertained by prominent capitol officials led by Board Member Demy Sonza and Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.
"Mayor Digong (Rudy Duterte) has so much respect for Manog Art (Gov. Defensor). He believes that Manong Art, being a seasoned public servant, can understand the depth of his advocacy about federalism," Pinol told Sonza and Defensor's subalterns who surrounded him and took photos with him.

WELCOME

When Duterte arrived about 45 minutes later, Defensor accorded Duterte, who belonged to another political party, with a warm welcome.
They did not talk about politics. Duterte made known his intention why he was there and why he had been going around the country: to promote federalism.
Duterte did not seek Defensor's support for his presidential bid (Duterte had repeatedly rejected calls from supporters to run for president saying he was only interested to promote federalism).
He enumerated the reasons why there is a need for the country to shift to federal form of government. Defensor, a veteran lawmaker and expert in political science, lent his ears to Duterte.
Duterte knew that Defensor was one of the only few public officials in the country today who have not been tainted with corruption. 
At the back of Duterte's mind, whether federalism will snowball, Defensor can survive because he believes that the Iloilo governor is clean and untarnished as a public servant. 
Duterte knew his visit wasn't a waste of time because he was explaining his platform to the right person.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Hello, Tundra!'

"My favorite animal is a polar bear. They're going extinct, and I really don't want that to happen."  -- Quvenzhane Wallis

By Alex P. Vidal

BRONX, New York City -- My meeting with Tundra was accidental.
In the first place, I never knew Tundra was a superstar. I had no idea he was once a Youtube sensation.
Tundra made headlines in the past for having defied his species' median life expectancy. He was supposed to be dead at 20, but I learned he was 24 years old.
The respected conservation group Polar Bears International notes the lifespan of wild polar bears to be only 15-18 years. 
Yes, fellas, Tundra is a wild polar bear living in the Bronx Zoo. It was my first time to see a wild polar bear. The three kids watching Tundra while the polar bear was coming out from the rock cliffs were chanting, "Tundra, Tundra, hello!"
I joined the chorus. With mixed emotions, I shouted, "Hello, Tundra" while taking some photos. Tundra was moving gracefully, and it was not hard to notice a mammoth marine mammal going to a spacious pool because of its unique size and color.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) estimates that there are between 20,000-25,000 polar bears in the world.

CARNIVORE

Polar bears like Tundra are the largest land carnivores in the world, rivaled only by the Kodiak brown bears of southwestern Alaska. 
They sit at the top of the food chain in the biologically rich Arctic. The most carnivorous of the bear species, polar bears feed primarily on the fat of ice-dependent seals. 
The remains of these seals provide food for many other Arctic wildlife species, giving polar bears a vital role in their ecosystem, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
According to Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo, Tundra was born at the Bronx Zoo.
Tundra became the talk of the town after a recent online article stated that Tundra was suffering from exposure to extreme heat, thus it has heightened some people’s concerns.
Breheny assured the fans of Tundra that the bear "has experienced many New York summers and has never had any heat-related health issues. "
Tundra's exhibit is well shaded by rock cliffs and large pine trees as the sun moves from east to west over the course of the day, added Breheny.

SWIM

The polar bear exhibit has a large pool, where Tundra can swim and submerge or just sit and rest in the water on shallow shelves at the pool’s edge. 
The pool’s temperature is kept cool with a constant flow of 55 °F water. Tundra’s keepers record the pool’s temperature on a daily basis, and during the week that the recent article was published citing 91  °F air temperatures, the pool ranged from 60-62 °F.
Breheny explained further: "The article has several images of Tundra sleeping beside his pool. Polar bears are intelligent and adaptable. The fact that he was photographed relaxed, choosing to sleep in the sun and not the shade, or not laying in shallow water or swimming in the pool is indicative that the sun and air temperature were not bothering Tundra as the article charged.  
"There was also reference to the fact that Tundra is alone in his exhibit, deprived of companionship. A basic knowledge of the biology and behavior of polar bears shows, with the exception of females with young cubs or during the breeding season, adult polar bears are solitary animals. This is especially true of adult males. It is quite normal for male polar bears to be alone. But this does not mean he has no interaction."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I saw a tiger

"A tiger does not shout its tigritude, it acts." -- Wole Soyinka

By Alex P. Vidal

BRONX, New York City -- Considering that there are at least 3,890 tigers left in the wild, according to the recent data of the World Wild Life, I consider myself lucky to have seen--and actually came closer to--an actual tiger (Panthera tigris in scientific name) recently in The Bronx Zoo.
Located in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, within Bronx Park, The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and among the largest in the world.
The Bronx Zoo tiger, captured by my iPhone camera as it walked in a restricted area until it dived into a small lake, was the largest cat species, most recognizable for the pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. 
Only a built-in glass bigger than a regular office aquarium separated this writer from the tiger. 
It was a thrilling experience, to say the least.
The species is classified in the genus Panthera with the lion, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard.

ENTRANCE

In the entrance, I was greeted by two signboards one with a message, "The World's Tigers Need Your Help" and the other, "Only 5,000 Tigers are Left in the Wild--we are committed to there being more."
The message was clear: much more work is needed to protect this species that’s still vulnerable to extinction after a century of decline.
According to the WWL, the largest of all the Asian big cats, tigers rely primarily on sight and sound rather than smell. They typically hunt alone and stalk prey. A tiger can consume up to 88 pounds of meat at one time. 
On average, tigers give birth to two or three cubs every two years. If all the cubs in one litter die, a second litter may be produced within five months.
WWL said tigers generally gain independence at two years of age and attain sexual maturity at age three or four for females and at four or five years for males. 
Juvenile mortality is high however--about half of all cubs do not survive more than two years. Tigers have been known to reach the age of 26 years in the wild.

SUBSPECIES

Males of the largest subspecies, the Amur (Siberian) tiger, may weigh up to 660 pounds. For males of the smallest subspecies—the Sumatran tiger—upper range is at around 310 pounds. Within each subspecies, males are heavier than females, added the WWL.
"Tigers are mostly solitary, apart from associations between mother and offspring. Individual tigers have a large territory, and the size is determined mostly by the availability of prey. Although individuals do not patrol their territories, they visit them over a period of days or weeks and mark their domain with urine and feces," explained the WWL.
"Across their range, tigers face unrelenting pressures from poaching, retaliatory killings and habitat loss. They are forced to compete for space with dense and often growing human populations."
Also in the Bronx Zoo exhibits are: Jungle World, Monkey House, Madagascar, World of Reptiles, World of Birds, African Plains, Wild Asia Monorail, Baboon Reserve, Congo Gorilla Forest, Children's Zoo, Butterfly Garden, Mouse House, Himalayan Highlands, Astor Court and Sea Lion Pool, Russell B. Aitken Sea Bird Colony.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

'Imelda, you shall die!'

“Assassination has never changed the history of the world."
--Benjamin Disraeli

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The 45th year since the failed assassination attempt on former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos was on Wednesday, December 7.
The date coincided with the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing and the bolo attack occurred less than three months after the declaration of Martial Law.
“Everybody was still adjusting to the new life under authoritarian rule, which somewhat resembled the Japanese Occupation at least in terms of a curfew that restrained the population’s taste for boulevard alcoholism and nightclub psychedelia,” Manuel F. Martinez, a 1971 Constitutional Convention delegate, narrates in Assassinations and Conspiracies.
In spite of the civil tension, Mrs. Marcos braced for another day of public functions.
In connection with the nationwide campaign for cleanliness and beautification, an awarding ceremony was scheduled on that day at Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City.
“The rites at Nayong Pilipino proceeded smoothly, with Mrs. Marcos onstage receiving one by one the awardees and shaking hands with them,” recalls Martinez.
“Her guards, naturally, were not on the stage but a short distance away, for who would think any attempt on her life would be made in that most friendly environment.”
In terms of parks and plazas, South Cotabato bagged the grand prize for being the model province.
The municipality of Kiamba won the cleanest award.

STAGE

Among those who went up the stage in the group that would receive the award was a man in all-black suit and pants who pretended to be part of the delegation.
“When his turn came before the First Lady, he whipped out a bolo and made two determined thrusts at her. A split second before the attack, as photographs later showed, she was looking sideways and did not see the bolo already leveled horizontally a few inches away from her abdominal region,” observes Martinez, a former copy editor of Asiaweek in Hong Kong.
According to Martinez, Mrs. Marcos “was quick enough to parry with her arms and fingers the first blow.”
She incurred lacerations at the back of her right hand, on the right forearm, across the index finger and the ring finger of the right hand, according to hospital report.
“In short, without help from anyone, she defended herself. She fell down from the second thrust,” Martinez stresses.
This was how Martinez completed his narration of facts on that fateful day:
Quickly, 22-year-old Linda Amor Robles of the Department of Education, who was secretary of the cleanliness committee, covered Mrs. Marcos with her own body and suffered a huge three-inch wound on her back.
The First Family a week later, when Imelda could walk around with a sling around her arm, visited her in the hospital.
Tourism Secretary Jose Aspiras also shielded Mrs. Marcos by taking some of the blows.
He sustained a head wound that took nine stitches. Others who tried to cover her were Social Welfare Secretary Aldaba Lim and Josefa Aquino, the wife of Highways Commissioner Baltazar Aquino.

DIVERT

The would-be assassin, diverted from the fallen First Lady, continued to hack wildly until he was shot dead by guards who had jumped upstage.
The whole scenario happened before a shocked, unbelieving television audience around the country who were watching the awarding ceremonies.
Mrs. Marcos was immediately flown by helicopter to the 9th floor of the Makati Medical Center.
Shortly afterwards, President Marcos speedily came to her side, grim and unsmiling, and soon he ordered the scene replayed again and again.
Because they had no equipment or tape at the hospital, a television station replayed it for him on the air, and Filipinos saw the many replays themselves for hours.
Marcos’ anger mounted as he watched them, sometimes banging his fist with tremendous force on a tabletop.
He asked why the assailant was killed—he should have been captured alive to tell the whole story, since it was possible someone ordered him to do the job, which may have been a conspiracy.
In Stalin’s regime, the would-be assassin would have been used as witness to incriminate innocent people and send them to death.

INTERROGATE

It was said Marcos interrogated the guards who shot down the bolo wielder, for it was not impossible that one of them was part of the plan and shot the assassin to silence him.
Later on Marcos told reporters he was satisfied that the guards could not be blamed for immediately killing the man.
On television, the President assured the nation that the First Lady was safe and recovering.
He said he wished he were there when the incident happened.
He added that when he declared Martial Law “we knew we would pay the price, but I cannot forgive myself that she herself had to pay it.”
But instead of being daunted, he said, he would even more resolutely proceed with his program “to eradicate and eliminate all threats against the stability of our society and to push through the (martial law) reformist program.”




US Navy building more attack submarines

"I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea." 
-- H. G. Wells


By Alex P. Vidal

GROTON, Connecticut -- United States Navy submarines have developed by leaps and bounds.
US Navy now have three major types of submarines: ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines and cruise missile submarines. 
From the conventional diesel-fueled submersible, all combatant submarines are nuclear-powered, according to retired Fil-Am Navyman Reynaldo Amuan, who accompanied this writer in a tour of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine, here December 5.
The current force is composed of 1. Ohio class (18 in commission) – 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), 4 guided missile submarines (SSGNs); 2. Virginia class (11 in commission, 5 under construction, 2 on order) – fast attack submarines; 3. Seawolf class (3 in commission) – attack submarines; and Los Angeles class (43 in commission, 2 in reserve) – attack submarines
Ballistic subs have a single, strategic mission: carrying nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Attack submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and subs, launching cruise missiles, and gathering intelligence.

AGGRESSIVE

As part of an "aggressive move" to counter and address Russian and Chinese submarine expansion, the US Navy wants to build more attack submarines "at a faster pace than currently planned."
The Navy and its industrial partners have the ability to build 2 Virginia-class submarines per year once production of the Ohio Replacement Program nuclear-armed submarines begins in the 2020s, says The National Interest quoting a former Navy Director of Undersea Warfare.
The current status-quo effort to build two Virginia-Class boat per year, however, will reportedly drop to one as construction of the Ohio Replacement Program, or ORP, begins in the early 2020s.
The Navy has reportedly completed a special analysis of strategic imperatives and industrial base capacity on the issue which has been submitted to Congress for review.

SHORTFALL

Navy leaders have consistently talked about an expected submarine shortfall in the mid 2020s and that more attack submarines were needed to strengthen the fleet and keep stay in front of near-peer rivals such as Russia and China, disclosed The National Interest.
Addressing the US Navy submarine shortage is now reportedly of critical or growing importance given China's growing ability to hit the United States with a nuclear-armed missile. 
"The Navy, naturally, seeks to maintain its considerable technological advantage in the undersea domain, something which could increasingly be challenged in coming years," it added.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Sorrow)

Sorrow is easy to express and so hard to tell.
-- JONI MITCHELL :

Sometimes our facial expressions can adequately deliver the silent message. And if only the heart can speak, it will not wait for the mouth to do the story telling.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Laughter)

A day without laughter is a day wasted.
-- CHARLIE CHAPLIN :

Nothing to worry actually if there's no laughter within 24 hours. We can't force ourselves to laugh if our intention is only to make our day complete. Smile is the best substitute. A smile will not only fill the vacuums in our boring day, it will also magnetize goodwill and propagate positive vibration.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Favor)

That man is worthless who knows how to receive a favor, but not how to return one.
-- PLAUTUS :

Some of those who give favors normally don't expect any return from anyone especially if their acts are "heartily-given." But this doesn't give the recipients imprimatur to behave like assholes and abuse the givers' kindness and benevolence.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Silence)

He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.
-- ELBERT HUBBARD :

There are silence that become louder when accompanied by a mind-blowing physical expression. If we can be easily baffled, shaken and shell-shocked by this psychological game, there is no guarantee that we can't be demolished and torn to shreds when it is translated into words and action.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Appreciation)

I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.
 -- ELBERT HUBBARD : 

If life is a journey, abundance in material things can never guarantee genuine happiness and satisfaction. A journey has the beginning and ending. It doesn't have permanence. It is better to have a limited supply of things we appreciate in the beginning and enjoy a light travel, than to have a plethora of things we don't necessarily need and be suffocated in the end.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Grandma Edeza's tears

"Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?" 
-- ERIC CLAPTON

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY --  Would a grandson know his grandma's name if he saw her in heaven?
Being emotional and namby-pamby are not supposed to be the traits of somebody born under the zodiac sign of Pisces like Edeza.
But the 69-year-old grandmother of six from Ajuy, Iloilo in the Philippines has been known to be comparatively a wimpy senior citizen, or someone who easily sobs in a slightest whiff of forlorn.
"When it comes to my family, I easily break down," confesses misty-eyed Edeza, who was 35 when husband, Rogelio, died.  
Edeza says the tears were not because she missed her husband, who was older by eight years. "Almost all my loved ones are gone now except for my three children and six grandchildren," she laments.
Her parents--Cesar of Pres. Roxas City, Capiz and Exal of Ajuy, Iloilo--separated when she was a baby. Edeza's only brother, Sundril, died of throat cancer when he was 72 last year.
Exal had seven children with her second husband.

MOTHER

"I grew up without any love for my mother because immediately after I was born, she handed me over to my grandmother, Restituta," Edeza recounts in tears. "But I was able to communicate with her and we reconciled before she died." 
Edeza and Rogelio have four children: Samuel, Regine, Shella, and Sarex, who died of throat infection when he was 40.
Samuel, 48, lives in Canada while Shella, 43, is in Ajuy, Iloilo. Regine, 47, lives with her mother in Maspeth, Queens
Edeza takes care of Regine's two children: Alvin, 16, and Pilar, 9.
Before arriving in New York in 2006, Edeza worked as domestic helper in Hong Kong from 1982 until 2001 where she became president of Ajuy Association.
"I love all my grandchildren, but I care more for Pilar because she is just a little girl; and Alvin because of his current situation," says Edeza.
She plans to come home in the Philippines "for good"after three years "because I missed my other granddaughter, Kate, who is 16 years old." Kate is Shella's daughter. 

JUVENILE

Edeza fetched Alvin from the Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn on December 1 five days after police "invited" the teener over a misdemeanor.
Upon arrival, juvenile center authorities chided Edeza. "You're not supposed to come over today. You're doing Alvin a favor. You should make him feel that he isn't a baby anymore; that he should start to behave like a grown-up," New York City Administration for Children Services chief Jody tells Edeza.
"But I need to because tomorrow I'm working and nobody will fetch Alvin," answers Edeza.
After being informed by a juvenile center staff that "Alvin had no clothes to wear on", Edeza hurriedly bought a winter coat from the nearest shop.
After waiting for about 30 minutes, grandma Edeza was reunited with Alvin in the center's waiting area. Grandma Edeza offered the coat placed inside a plastic bag.
"I don't need that," Alvin barks in a rude manner, pointing his finger at the plastic bag. Grandma Edeza repeated the offer and got the same admonition.

STAFF

A senior center staff came to grandma Edeza's rescue and tried to persuade the sullen young man, but was altogether rebuked.
Vexed by what she heard, Jody admonished Alvin: "You don't speak like that to your grandma. You better behave or we will bring you back inside (the center)."
Alvin soft-pedaled. Grandma Edeza wept.
Jody directed the center security chief to escort Alvin back inside the center's main area. Alvin protested to no avail.
When social worker Princess arrived, the tree-Edeza, Jody, and Princess-went inside the main area "to tell Alvin what we expect him to do once he has been released."
After 45 minutes, Alvin was a free man. As they walked outside the center going to the train station some four blocks away, Alvin's demeanor toward the old woman developed into belligerence. 

SLOW

"C'mon, you're so slow. Hurry up. Which way is going to the (train) station?" five feet and eight inches tall Alvin growled at the four feet and 11 inches tall grandma Edeza, who was gasping for breath amid the cold temperature.
"I'm too frail to walk fast and my legs are in pain. Don't be in a hurry. I'm not familiar with this place, too, because I'm also new here," grandma Edeza appealed in discordant voice.
"Terrible. So where did you pass when you came to the center?" the impatient grandson boomed further.
Apparently tired, grandma Edeza was writhing and complaining of chest pain. Alvin thought she was faking it. "You feel weak because you don't cover your head. C'mon walk fast."
Walking on wobbly legs, she stopped, gripped an iron gate in the sidewalk and closed her eyes. She was in tears.
"Alvin, I noticed you're not wearing the coat that I gave you. Please it's cold protect your body. Never mind me," grandma Edeza hisses.
Alvin ignored her and continued to walk.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Desires)

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.
-- ARISTOTLE :

When we deal with enemies, we risk only losing a battle but won't be humiliated in losing a good fight. But when we tackle our desires, we risk losing our dignity and self worth if we end up the ones being swallowed whole by desires.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thank you, William Shakespeare

“Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” -- William Shakespeare

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We should credit the unscrupulous publishers who published the 18 unauthorized versions of William Shakespeare’s plays, made some money perhaps, and managed to get away with their shenanigans.
We understand there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era, thus his plays were reportedly published in quarto editions.
Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived, it was learned.
According to william-shakespaere.info, a collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after Shakespeare’s death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of William’s plays in the First Folio.
Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print, it was learned further.

QUOTABLE

Writer Guy Wright believes Shakespeare is the most quotable playwright and poet in the world until this generation.
“I doubt that there’s anyone reading this who goes through a normal day’s conversation without quoting Shakespeare,” Wright writes in Word Power.
“Once in a while we realize we are doing this,” he adds, “but most of the time we lift his lines to season our speech and sharpen our opinions without the slightest thought of the source.”
Wright cited the examples below:
When you call a man a “rotten apple,” a “blinking idiot” or a “popinjay”…When you say he “bears a charmed life” or is “hoist with his own petard”…When you proclaim him “a man of few words”…

COMFORT

When you speak of “old comfort,” “grim necessity,” “bag and baggage,” the “mind’s eye,” “holding your tongue,” “suiting the action to the words”…
When you refer to your “salad days” or “heart of hearts”…
When you deplore “the beginning of the end,” “life’s uncertain voyage” or “the unkindest cut of all”…
“By golly, you’re quoting Shakespeare,” hisses Wright.
Here are more:
When you use such expressions as “poor but honest,” “one fell swoop,” “as luck would have it,” “the short and the long of it,” “neither here nor there,” “what’s done is done”…
When you say something “smells to heaven” or is “Greek to me,” or it’s a “mad world” or “not in my book”…

COMPLAIN

When you complain that you “haven’t slept a wink” or that your family is “eating you out of house and home,” or you’ve “seen better days”…
When you speak of a coward “showing his heels” or having “no stomach for a fight”…
When you nod wisely and say, “Love is blind”…or “Truth will come to light”…or “The world is my oyster”…
“You are borrowing your bon mot from the Bard. Shakespeare was the greatest cliché inventor of all time,” Wright explains. “Without him to put the words in our mouths, we would be virtually tongue-tied, and the English language would have a lean and hungry look.”

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Love, Understand)

There are two kinds of people in the world -- those you love, and those you don't understand.
 -- UNKNOWN : 

If we do not understand them, we can never love them. They will remain in the opposite side of the fence, and this is a sad and tragic reality.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Capitalism's motivating force

“The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.” 
-- Karl Marx
By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- In Das Kaptial, Karl Marx, a German philosopher and social scientist, proposed that the motivating force of capitalism is in the exploitation of labor.
Marx believed that labor’s unpaid work is the ultimate source of surplus value and then profit both of which concepts have a specific meaning for the author of the Manifesto of the Communist Party.
We will not dwell on Das Kapital in this article.
We have no illusion that we would be able grasp the book’s depth and permanence in the minds of many followers of the socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of social classes, money, and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish a social order called communism.
Political and social scientists are more knowledgeable on this subject matter.

SUFFERING

We are more curious about Marx’s thinking when he wrote: “Religion suffering is at one and the same the expression of real suffering and a protest against a real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
Marx mentioned this in the “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Rights.”
We will notice two things right off the bat, according to author Michael Macrone.
First, Marx says that religion is the opium, not the opiate, of the people—a small difference, but worth getting right. (Opium is a particular drug, while opiates are a class).
Second, Marx is very fond of italics.
Characterizing religion as a painkilling drug, shocking as it still is to many, was even more radical in its day, Macrone explained.
And yet Marx, more than condemning religion itself, was actually critiquing the condition of a society that would lead people to it.
Nonetheless, forever after we would hear about “Godless communists,” implying that Marxist thought lacks values and morals.
This isn’t quite true, argued Macrone. What Marx really meant was that religion functions to pacify the oppressed; and oppression is definitely a moral wrong.

IDEALIZATION

Religion, Marx said, reflects what is lacking in society; it is an idealization of what people aspire to but cannot now enjoy.
Social condition in mid-century Europe had reduced workers to little better than slaves; the same conditions produced a religion that promised a better world in the afterlife, observed Macrone.
Religion isn’t merely a superstition or an illusion. It has a social function: to distract the oppressed from the truth of their oppression.
So long as the exploited and downtrodden believe their sufferings will earn them freedom and happiness hereafter, they will think their oppression part of the natural order—a necessary burden rather than something imposed by other men.
This, then, is what Marx meant by calling religion the “opium of the people,” explained Macrone. 
It dulls their pain but at the same time make them sluggish, clouding their perception of reality and robbing them of the will to change.
What did Marx want? He wanted the “people” to open their eyes to the harsh realities of 19th-century bourgeois capitalism.

SQUEEZING

Macrone pointed out that the capitalists were squeezing more and more profit out of the proletariat’s labor, at the same time “alienating” workers from self-realization.
What workers deserved, and could have if they arose from their slumber, was control over their own labor, possession of the value they created through work, and thus self esteem, freedom, and power.
To that end, Marx, called for the “abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people.”
He wanted them to demand “real happiness,” which in Marx’s materialist philosophy was freedom and fulfillment in this world.
Since the rich and powerful aren’t just going to hand these over, the masses shall have to seize them.
Thus class struggle and revolution. 
Would that it was that simple, concluded Macrone.


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Forgiveness, Trust)

If we are bound to forgive an enemy, we are not bound to trust him.
 -- THOMAS FULLER : 

Forgiveness is a virtue while trust is a choice. To trust an enemy is not a mandatory string to be attached on a package deal of forgiveness. We may forgive, but we don't forget, of course; and as long as we remember, our cognitive power will put trust in the backseat. 
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Mistake)

Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can't accept your imperfections, that's their fault.
 -- DR. DAVID M. BURNS : 

When we are mocked and rejected because of our errors, we mustn't vow our heads in shame. It's more derogatory and disgraceful to quit without trying to bounce back than to permanently fall after a gallant attempt to correct our mistakes.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL 

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Suspicion)

Suspicion is the cancer of friendship.
--PETRARCH :

If our friends fail to "like" our Facebook posts, we shouldn't be quick to conclude that "they have changed a lot" and/or "are motivated by jealousy and envy." Ouch. Either we have become too big for our breeches or just plain and simple paranoid. This will only happen if we magnify unimportant things into major events and, thus, offend the wrong persons and shatter relationships.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Fear)

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
 -- MARIE CURIE : 

Ignorance is the precursor or No. 1 cause of our irrational fears, paranoia, prejudice, discrimination, bitterness, sadness, and cruelty. If we can at least be culturally literate and magnanimous, learning and understanding will altogether complete our intellectual development and healing process.
--ALEX P. VIDAL 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A kiss and tell Lothario

"Classy bitch, don't kiss and tell. Smack her ass and then wish her well. Life sucks, better give em hell."
-- Mac Miller 

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Any public official, or private individual for that matter, who intends to engage in illicit affair must beware when choosing a partner.
If she is a woman and makes a mistake of picking a kiss and tell Lothario like Ronnie Dayan, God have mercy on her.
If he is a man and thinks his decision to admit that he is the lover of Ai-Ai delas Alas or Dionisia Pacquiao will give him instant fame, God have mercy on Ai-Ai and Mommy Dionisia.
If he is a matinee idol and Kris Aquino discloses in a gossip talk show she had sexual relationship with him, God bless that guy.
Even in a permissive society that accepts any male-female, male-male or female-female dalliance, those who will kiss and tell are considered as traitors.

DISCUSS

Those involved in any romantic or sexual affair are not supposed to discuss their relationship's  prurient details in public--unless they are under duress or drugged.
Dayan, former bodyguard of Senator Laila De Lima, was neither under duress nor under the influence of any substance when he shamed an enamorata, who happened to be a prominent national figure, in a congressional hearing.
The hearing was supposed to be conducted "in aid of legislation" or to establish De Lima's link to illegal drug trade, not to determine the degree of the senator's sexual appetite.
Kris Aquino was not under the influence of drugs or liquor--and was not under shotgun testimony--when she announced on national TV that she had STD or sexually transmitted disease after having a tryst with comedian Joey Marquez. 

ADULTS

What transpired between two consenting adults should be "treasured" privately and valued mutually. Since they both "benefited" from the affair, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth if any of them brags about their conquest.
A quarrel that resulted in break up is not an excuse for one party to expose the relationship's lurid content. But not Dayan. 
Even if he was under the behest of the congressmen, he could have just admitted his affair with De Lima and stop there; without prejudice, of course, to his testimony that he received millions from drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
Dayan revealed something about him other than being a Lothario that the public did not know before he made the testimony that turned into a slut-shaming binge: he had no utang na loob or debt of gratitude.
In his seven golden years of erotic liaison with a former boss, he probably made money. He was "on top of the world", to say the least, if testimonies of those privy to his closeness with De Lima, a former justice secretary, were to be believed.
Prosecutors and even judges who wanted promotions sought his "blessings", among other "sidelines." 
No to mention the "tips" he probably got for his alleged errand job for De Lima and the drug lords, if his admission in the House hearing was true.
You don't kick a former boss-lover who is already down.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Don't slap a woman

"Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in." 
-- Mary Wollstonecraft

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- It's not nice for a man to slap a woman. Even in imagination, a man should never hurt a woman emotionally and physically.
If you want to know a man, listen to the language he uses to describe a member of the opposite sex after he has been jilted by the latter.
It's not pleasant to admit slapping a woman especially if she is a lover or former lover, a wife or former wife. 
Especially if you are having or had emotional attachment with her. Especially if you are having or had sexual liaison with her; if you benefited a lot from her concerning your carnal needs and fleshly desires.
She shouldn't be called a "slut" or "maniac" to justify dumping her like a waste so his macho tormentor can tarry-hoot with the next nymphet. 
It's not good to be a misogynist. Like envy and irrational jealousy, it's an aberration of the mind.
A woman is a special creation of God. She represents the image of our mother, sister, girlfriend, wife or partner in life. 

MARY

We have the Blessed Virgin Mary as the symbol of purity, the epitome of piety and righteousness, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Without a woman, no one could biologically bring us here in this material world.  
She labored hard, sacrificed a lot, and carried us in her womb for nine months. She feeds us. She gives us life. She sings for our joy and benefit.
No woman should be ridiculed or put to shame because of her sexual experiences or desires even if she is a criminal or enemy of the most powerful man in the universe.
After all, we are all sinners. In fact, many of us have committed more sins than her.
Magdalene, Cleopatra, Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterley, Princess Diana, Kris Aquino had their own share of infamy in the department of lechery. 
They have been slandered and persecuted. But men of antiquity and modern times treated them with respect and adulation because they are women--and because of the great things they contributed for mankind.

LOVE

Like men, women also fall in love with passion. They, too, have emotions. They also fail and get frustrated and hurt. When they fall for men, they give their best; they give it all.
If some of them happen to be naive they become susceptible to exploitation and abuse--and sometimes end up as sex slaves, if not tortured and murdered.
Women in general are loving and decent human beings. God intended to give them a special role in society, and they should enjoy equal rights, privileges, and happiness with men.
Let's hear it from Barbra Streisand: "I am a woman in love and I do anything to get you into my world and hold you within. It's a right I defend ever and over again. What do I do?"
To fall in love, to enjoy a satisfying sex life, to live with dignity and respect, to practice freedom of choice, is the right that every woman should fight and defend in a masochistic society governed by some do-gooder and hypocrite congressmen.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is a Burning Spirit.
It Kindles the hearts of mankind.
Like tympanum and lyre it plays them,
gathering volume in the temple of the soul.
Holy Spirit is
Life-giving-life,
all movement.
Root of all being.
Purifier of all impurity.
Absolver of all faults.
Balm of all wounds.
Radiant life, worthy of all praise.
The Holy Spirit resurrects and awakens
everything that is.
(Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen)