This came out a while ago, but I just saw the news coverage.  Really dope to see our folks on TFC calling out GMA on human rights months before the Maguindanao massacre…

For 8 years, we’ve been calling out HRVs by GMA and many folks though we were crazy or making it up.  Or we were red-baited that it was all a conspiracy or “communist” propaganda.  Did it take the massacre of 57 people including 30 journalists with all of the women raped to have the world finally take notice?

Those 57 are the continuation of the 1,000 other extra-judicial killings allowed or perpetrated by the Philippine Military.  Is it any wonder that President Arroyo’s allies, the Ampatuan family, felt they could massacre so many people and get away with it?


network  movie poster

Network (1976)
dir.  Sidney Lumet
121 minutes

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!!”

Before the 24 hour news networks and especially Fox News, the movie “Network” gave an ominous view of corporate-run news pushing the edge in search of ratings & profit.

It begins with respected broadcaster Howard Beale played by Peter Finch doing what we often joke about when watching the evening news….  what if they just flipped out and called bullshit on the news?  Imagine hearing that from Dan Rather one night.

Howard’s populist rants strike a chord with ordinary Americans facing a worsening recession, rising oil prices, corporate consolidation of media & loss of faith in the government…  something that sounds strikingly familiar.  Of course, the corporate planners work on how to exploit and maximize profits from the situation after suffering low ratings for so long.  Before you know it, they are soon hashing out programming deals with armed “revolutionary” groups and communists for the shock value.

Towards the end, the CEO of the giant media conglomerate (who looks a little like George W. Bush) takes notice of the situation and gives essentially a speech of imperialism’s New World Order.

It’s a great movie exposing the absurdities of corporate media conglomerates and the internal strategies that make them run.  It could be followed up by the documentary “Outfoxed:  Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” but wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

sister stella l

Sister Stella L
dir. Mike de Leon
96 minutes

Recently at the Filipino Community Center, I was shocked to listen in on a discussion of Ferdinand Marcos amongst some elders.  Shocked because they were still “pro-Marcos” since he supposedly developed the country and was good, except for those human rights violations.

The idea that Marcos developed the country’s economy and infrastructure but was overshadowed by abusing civil liberties is a surprisingly sentiment in the community.  However, in watching movies during this time critical of Marcos, we can see what kind of development was really in the works.

In Mike de Leon’s “Sister Stella L,” Vilma Santos plays Catholic nun Sister Stella Legaspi.  Searching for meaning behind the words in the Bible that teach people to serve the poorest of the poor, she is led to the picket line of striking workers.  Gradually, she begins to see her role as a Christian to be amongst the poor and the oppressed in society.  Eventually, the management (and military?) try to break the strike through terror and torture, something that is happening to this day.

Different strategies of the strike are debated as well as the “sides” between the workers and capitalists.  Although there is a simplistic framing of the “evil capitalist,” the issues raised by the union leaders ring very true today, especially in this economic crisis.

No Filipino movie could be complete without a love story, or at least the background of one which thankfully doesn’t dominate this movie.  Vilma Santos shines as the unsure but strong-willed nun in the beginning to a militant defender of the people by the end.  It is a similar role she plays 18 years later in “Dekada ’70.”  The movie ends in an almost-cheesy PSA but the message is clear and bold coming out after the Ninoy Aquino assassination.

“If we do not act, who will act?  If not now, when?”


The quote also reminds me of Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog when he was in Seattle last year, as he would end his presentations with a similar line.

It’s also good to see the real-life Sister Stella L recently with BAYAN-NY as they protest against GMA’s State of the Nation Address.

as found on numerous posts…


This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

And then I log on to the internet — which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration — and post on and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

So much media attention on the elections of Iran.  A lot on the massive rallies, including security forces apparently shooting into the crowd, possibly killing one.

I don’t recall that much US media coverage on the rallies in the Philippines, the breaking up of opposition parties who oppose GMA, attacks on the Philippine Press, or even of the shooting and killing of “pro-reform” demonstrators.

While the world seemed concerned about the abduction of Americans in North Korea, hardly a peep about an American tortured by the Philippine government.

Oh US media…  you don’t even attempt to hide or conceal your bias anymore, do you?