Wednesday, June 1, 2016

So some of you think Donald Trump is crazy? Get a load of the Philippines’ new “president.”

Back in April, Filipino presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was not only expected to apologize for but withdraw as a candidate for an “off-hand” comment in regard to an incident while mayor of Davao City, scene of a prison riot in 1989 where a dozen or so missionaries were taken hostage—one of them, an Australian woman, was gang raped. Duterte “joked” that although he was “angry” that it happened, he apparently thought that the woman was too “beautiful” for a bunch of criminals, and he should have had first crack at her. The media predictably expressed its outrage, for anything to do with the real and alleged victimization of women will always be the subject of outrage. But also causing “outrage” is Duterte recent assertion that he believes that “corrupt” journalists “deserve” to be killed. Of course, the media is made-up of alleged “journalists,” so of course this is a dire matter to them as well.

The problem is that Duterte is just taking a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook, and he has said a great many things that the U.S. media has not taken as much interest in. Like Trump, Duterte is an outrageous personality taken to making deplorable statements, and he seemingly doesn’t give a damn what people think about them. It is all very Trump-like, but also very Trump-like is the fact that his kind of deliberately inflammatory statements seem to have a large fan base—so large, in fact, that he has just been elected president of the Philippines by a landslide margin. Apparently there is a significant crime problem in that country, which must explain why his promise to “eradicate” crime in his first six months in office by killing 100,000 criminals was not found to be overly disturbing. Perhaps voters thought it was all a bunch of hot air, but bellicose language was a shot of “fresh air” for a country that has seen more than its “fair share” of murders and assassinations--we might "hopefully" conjecture.

How he will go about his vigilante killing spree, if indeed that is the plan? According to the UK The Guardian, “Outlining some of his other plans for his war on crime, Duterte said he would give police special forces shoot-to-kill orders and send them into the main jail in Manila where prisoners run drug trafficking operations.” Sounds like a license to simple go in prisons and shoot people down on whim—like they did during the war years in Nazi Germany.

But criminals are not his only targets. It is not just “corrupt” journalists who should be killed, but “He also said he would enlist junior soldiers to kill corrupt top-ranking police officers who were involved in the drug trade. ‘I will call the private from the army and say: ’Shoot him’,’ Duterte said. He urged police not to wait until he assumed the presidency, and start killing criminals immediately. ‘Now, now,’ he urged them.” This might all merely be a threat to police involved in corruption to shape up or face the “consequences”; I mean, they do have a court system that upholds a “constitution” and civil rights, don’t they? 

Now, Trump hasn’t called for his followers to “kill” anyone, although violence has been conducted in his name in and outside his campaign rallies; not only does he not apologize for these incidents, but he sometimes actually “justifies” them. I have no doubt that Duterte has been taking a keen interest in Trump’s shenanigans, which also seems to have acquired a “fan” in North Korea’s lunatic ruler. But Trump’s pronouncements are only half as crazy as Duterte’s—which means that American voters only have to be half as crazy as Filipinos.

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