Emil Guillermo: After Broadway exit, "Allegiance" makes nationwide one-night stand, Dec. 13
December 10, 2016 5:59 PM

If you don't have enough to argue about during the holidays with your family and friends (I mean, the Trump thing might get old before the inaugural), maybe it's time after Pearl Harbor Day to dredge up the controversy over "Allegiance."

Just a musical? Or a dangerous revision of history?

George Takei was on the Howard Stern Show the other day explaining the show's fate as being caught up in the year of "Hamilton."

As if all "Allegiance" needed were a few rap lyrics?

I'm sure the creators hoped for something along the lines of a "South Pacific" meets the internment. Our darkest Asian American story given the big musical treatment. One that might make you laugh, cry, sing, and think. You leave the theater humming to the memory of a freshly-told love story amid a tragic history too often forgotten.

Instead, "Allegiance," the Broadway musical based on George Takei's story of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, received lukewarm reviews and was spurned at the box office. 

If only it had attracted more people, it might still be running in New York, with plans of a nationwide touring company. That was not to be, as the show closed unceremoniously in mid-February.

If you missed it, don't despair. You get an early Christmas gift, the chance to experience "Allegiance" at movie theaters all across the country, but for one night only, Dec. 13.

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Takei filmed the show and packaged it with interviews and behind-the-scenes clips so you can see for yourself what all the fuss was about, critics be damned. 

Though iterations of the musical ran in San Diego as early as 2012, I've never seen the show and didn't make it to New York. I'm actually looking forward to the filmed version at my local movie house in California, not far from a strip of state Highway 99 that commemorates the 442nd.
 
I want to see if the show has the power to make me care if they play it a bit loose with the facts.

That's been the biggest non-theatrical criticism of the project. Does it fudge too much?
 
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In telling the fictional tale of the Kimura family, "Allegiance" would appear on steady ground, story-wise. Takei plays "Grandpa" and sings better than Captain Sulu. The big voice is Lea Salonga, who plays Kei, his granddaughter. Filipina actor Salonga, who won a Tony in 1991 for the role of Kim in "Miss Saigon," is used to playing multi-ethnic, pan-Asian roles. And then there's Telly Leung, from "Rent" and "Glee," who plays Kei's brother, Sammy. 

The show portrays the conflict within the Japanese American community, especially among the younger generation. Do the young men join the military and show loyalty to the U.S? Or do they resist? And what of the young women?

The problem is in the portrayal of the civilian-based concentration camps. Too banal for Broadway, so of course things get juiced up. Producers conflate two camps, Heart Mountain with the worst segregation center at Tule Lake, near the CalIfornia-Oregon border, and made them look worse than they were, according to Frank Abe on his blog.

Abe produced and directed the PBS documentary, "Conscience and the Constitution," and was a former national officer of the Asian American Journalists Association. During "Allegiance" previews, he was the musical's most vocal critic. Abe was concerned about how life was depicted in the camps, as if it were a Nazi POW camp, which it was not. There were no guns and no violence in the camps, he said.

"Camp was degrading. It was dehumanizing. But this heavy-handed treatment inflames emotion at the expense of fact," Abe wrote.

And then there's the case of the JACL's Mike Masaoka, whose real name was used in the production, unlike other fictitious characters. Masaoka never spent time in camp, but was the first to enlist in the much vaunted 442nd. He encouraged the incarcerated to join the military to prove their loyalty.

Of course, others resisted. So who were the real patriots of the Constitution?

Abe complained that the melodramatic way resisters were portrayed in "Allegiance" was "a mockery of the true accomplishments of the resisters."

For example, no one burned draft cards, nor did anyone riot over the war/loyalty issue, said Abe. Resisters were principled in their stance, knew they would face prison time and a major fine, and didn't whine. He also noted that they never faced charges of treason nor a capital crime, as implied in the musical.

 And none of what was going on was secret.

"America knew full well what was going on in the camps," said Abe. "The great majority applauded eviction, incarceration, JACL shows of patriotism, and the prosecution of so-called troublemakers."

And that's the danger of saying, "Oh, well, it's just a musical."

Because it isn't.

"Should Allegiance stand, it risks supplanting the truth of the resistance and the Japanese American experience in the popular mind," Abe said. "Japanese America did not fight - I did not fight - to set the record straight through redress and restoration of the resisters, only to have verifiable fact sacrificed for a curtain call."

Maybe the producers put a bit more wasabi on the history to heighten dramatic effect. It's not history. It's show business, based on a true story.

But we also live in a time of fake news and fake politicians. We need to revere and preserve the truth, so there's no confusion when one asks, "What happened?"

I regard the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, along with the Filipino Veterans of World War II, as the two stories that give Asian America its moral standing. They should be seen as our sacred stories.

And the truth needs no embellishment.

Nevertheless, I'm still looking forward to the showing on Dec. 13th.

The poet Ezra Pound once said, "Only emotion endures."

I'm not expecting a history lesson. I just want to see how the musical ensemble makes me feel about the U.S. rounding up 120,000 innocent Americans of Japanese descent.
 
If the film experience of "Allegiance" hits on some part of that emotional truth, that would be enough to make "Allegiance" worth seeing.

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Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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You can purchase tickets to the Dec. 13 screening of "Allegiance" here.



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Emil Guillermo: On Pearl Harbor Day, Mike Honda hopes everyone remembers our history lesson
December 7, 2016 11:38 AM

This year on the day before Pearl Harbor Day, President Obama, said in his final address on national security that terrorists can kill innocent people, "but they don't pose an existential threat to our nation."

He wasn't talking Jean-Paul Sartre.

Before Trump-Think becomes official, the outgoing president made one last pitch for sanity and calm.

Going after the fascists during World War II was one thing. But we aren't facing anything near that sort of threat.

Obama continued, "We must not make the mistake of elevating [the terrorists] as if they do. That does their job for them. It makes them more important and helps them with recruitment."

To do otherwise would also mean that, as a country, we have failed to learn one of the lessons that Dec. 7, 1941 should have taught us.

Certainly, we honor the veterans, the survivors of the surprise bombings on the morning of Dec. 7. But on the "date which will live in infamy," Asian Americans in particular recall more than just the horrific event that led to the U.S. entering World War II.

It was also the day that led to the surprise attack on innocent Americans of Japanese descent, who would soon find that their nation would throw out the Constitution and let them know it no longer applied to them. 

It took one day for the U.S. to declare war on Japan on Dec. 8, and then, just over two months for President Roosevelt to declare Executive Order 9066, on February 19, 1942.

The day that tore Asian America apart.

Mike Honda was little more than six-months-old on Pearl Harbor Day. 

By the time he was just a year old, Honda was with his family, in a camp, a child of the internment.

Now, Honda is hoping that we don't forget history as a Trump administration could put into place promises of a ban on Muslims, extreme vetting, or even a Muslim registry. 

"It pushes me to step up and speak up and say something. Because if we don't say something, we allow them to get away with that nonsense," Honda told me in an interview. "That's why we went to camp in the first place. Nobody in Congress said no." 

Since 2001, Honda has been that leading national voice in Congress, representing California's 17th District, and as the chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

He has been a vital moral presence for Asian Americans nationally--but soon, no longer as a member of Congress. 

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On Nov. 8, Honda lost to Ro Khanna, another Democrat and an Indian American, by a huge 61 percent to 39 percent margin. 

"I wasn't happy; I thought it would be a little closer than that," Honda said, still looking for answers. He's not sure if it was the change atmosphere that overcame the national electorate that defeated Hillary Clinton and elected Trump. 

Or if it was the well-financed and well-run political campaign of Khanna, a serial office seeker who targeted Honda's seat four years ago and garnered high-tech money and the support of local press to pound Honda down.

Another issue was his ethics case involving the use of campaign funds. Honda has always told me it was a non-issue, that it was a matter of Congress' own rules and not federal law. In other words, it looked worse than it appeared. 

But that's all Khanna needed to diffuse the power of incumbency and drive a wedge into Honda's base of longtime labor support. 

"I don't think we did a good job on their spin," Honda said. "His campaign was well run, spin and image, at the same time tearing down another person. That's politics. A lot of things I didn't say about him. It wasn't what I wanted to throw out there. I told the truth, but I didn't want to demean his character. I stayed on his record and what he does."

Or hasn't done.

The district has lost a congressman with seniority, who brought tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to his district, and will now be represented by a freshman. 

And Asian America has lost a fighter in Congress whose voice will be missed.

I had thought that at age 75, Mike Honda deserved to call his departure from Congress. But that's not to be. And another run for office, he told me, is unlikely.

Honda said he's seeking another way to influence public opinion now, in the same way the heroic civil rights leaders in the past brought about change, through activism and civil disobedience.

"Politicians are not able to do it. They're not set up for that," Honda said. "Look at LBJ during the fight for equal rights in the '50s and '60s. He said 'I know what I'm supposed to do. Make me do the right thing.'"

So Honda leaves Congress an activist at heart, ready to make his mark in a new way.

He remains an advocate for Asian Americans, but especially on human rights issues such as the comfort women of World War II, organizing victim countries to fight human trafficking, and challenging the Japanese government to apologize. 

Honda called Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe "a punk and a liar," 

Domestically, Honda remains a staunch LGBTQIA hero, having come out in support of his 8-year-old transgender granddaughter, Malisa.

And he will continue to speak out against efforts to ban or register Muslims and against immigration restrictions, including any reversal of DACA. 

Despite his congressional loss, Honda remains a voice and a symbol for the nation, the example of the high road. 

A child of the internment, he's a reminder to America of the mistakes it has made.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: How Trump's business partner in the Philippines, Jose E.B. Antonio, does business with Filipino Americans
November 30, 2016 2:59 PM

Filipino Americans in California are wondering about real estate transactions being initiated by Filipinos on tourist visas, who are selling retirement condos in Manila as unlicensed sales agents. 

It may even be a case of human trafficking. 

The story is important because of the man whose properties are being sold.

They belong to Jose E.B. Antonio, one of the richest men in the Philippines and prior to the election of Donald Trump, named the Philippines' special envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs.

Antonio also happens to be a ginormous Asian F.O.T.

That would be "Friend of Trump," but he's actually more than that. 

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The New York Times
' top story headlined "World of Potential Conflict For a Developer President: Many Trump Partners Have Ties to Foreign Governments as Work Spans Globe," actually put Antonio in the lede.

As chair of the Century Properties Group, he's building the $150 million, 57-story high-rise on the edge of Manila's Makati district, so tall it can be seen for miles around by the predominantly poor masses of the city.

And the symbol of capitalistic opulence is called.....Trump Tower Century City, of course, where you can "live above it all."

Yes, the Philippines has been branded by Trump.

Just like America.

The ongoing questions of conflict of interest may be resolved soon, as Trump has tweeted that he's leaving his business.


We'll see how he's going to do all that.

Now, what about Antonio? 

He's still the envoy on business and trade to the U.S. for the Philippines. 

And Juvenal Castro knows how Antonio conducts business. 

Castro, 77, is a retired Navy officer who lives in California. Last year, Castro helped out a distant relative and three others who were visiting on tourist visas from Manila. The visas were for cultural dance performances to take place in September and October throughout California's Filipino communities. 

The performances took place. But the dancers' main job wasn't to move to the music. 

It was to sell Antonio's real estate, a violation of their visa.

"Oh yeah, they try to sell me too," Castro told me, though he didn't buy. "[The dancing] looks like a smokescreen. They were selling properties in the Philippines."

The smallish condos were being sold for anywhere from 10-15 million pesos.

15 million pesos, at 46 pesos per $US dollar.

That's $326,000, an alluring price for a middle-class Filipino American looking for a cheap retirement.

"They used my dining room for paperwork," said Castro. "I don't think they understood the law."

They understood sales though. They went to places where Filipinos gathered in malls and restaurants, and Castro said he saw white boards of their activity, amassing a figure near $124 million pesos in sales---$2.7 million during their time.

The California Bureau of Real Estate confirmed it is against the law for foreigners to solicit for foreign properties on U.S. soil without a California license. 

But it may also be a case of human trafficking, says Maria Elizabeth Embry, a Northern California anti-trafficking advocate. She said the visitor visas arranged by Mr. JoJo Quiroz, the dance entrepreneur, and by Antonio's Century Properties brought 16 Filipino citizens to the U.S., and they were forced to work long hours by companies seeking to skirt labor laws.

Embry has written an open letter to President Duterte of the Philippines asking for an investigation of Antonio's business practices of deploying Filipinos to sell properties without a license in the U.S.

"The appointment of Mr. Antonio to a position giving him diplomatic immunity is nothing but a disgrace to the local and international diplomatic community," Embry wrote. 

President Duterte has not responded.

I attempted to reach both Antonio and Quiroz and have yet to hear back.

While Antonio is the head of Century Properties in the Philippines, Quiroz does appear to be a licensed real estate agent in California. 

Still, the initial solicitors brought in from the Philippines on visitor visas were neither authorized to work nor licensed to sell real estate in California. That would be a violation, and if fraud or widespread misrepresentation about the properties were involved, the California Bureau of Real Estate said it could refer the matter to law enforcement for possible criminal action.

For now, Juvenal Castro, who housed four of the sellers in his spare bedroom for a few months, said most of the dancers moved on. Some went to New York and New Jersey, and some have since returned to the Philippines. 

He doesn't know if anyone on the east coast, lured by the Trump brand, was sold any properties.

But this is a case of stinky fish--it goes to the head.

That would be Jose E.B. Antonio, who remains a special envoy to the U.S., and a big F.O.T.

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Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.



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Emil Guillermo: Obama pardons turkeys; should we pardon Trump?
November 23, 2016 6:20 PM

President Obama may not be able to place Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. But he's doing what he can in his final days. Like giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to luminaries like Maya Lin, the creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
 
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And of course, he pardoned his last turkey the day before Thanksgiving. Actually two, Tater and Tot from Iowa. The president said one will have to be vice-turkey. 

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Pardon me. But if Obama really wanted to save some turkeys' lives, he'd talk about vegetarian options like seitan "birds," or Tofurkys. An estimated 45 million turkeys will be gobbled up this year.

Not at my house. I'm having round mounds of something that approximates a carcass. Browned vegetable carcass, yum! At least, no animals were harmed.

That's something to be thankful about. And a bit more humane than the 2016 presidential campaign, which only threatens half the United States of America.

Still, if Obama can pardon two turkeys, can we muster up the holiday spirit to pardon the president-elect? Just at dinnertime?

Trump seems to be trying hard to confound everyone with his actions that seem to confirm that most of his campaign pledges were lies.

The man who inspired cheers of "Lock her up," now says he's not going to pursue a special prosecution of Hillary Clinton for whatever cooked-up charges he put in people's minds during the campaign.

I like the result, but what a great liar!

Trump's choices for his top advisor jobs also seem a bit puzzling.

But what would you expect from the least experienced and least qualified person ever to be elected president.

Trump's a beneficiary of the White Republicans' double standard on affirmative action.

So I wasn't surprised to hear Trump pick one of his former critics, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador.

They won't dare fly the confederate flag at the U.N. now!


NIKKI HALEY TO THE U.N.? NOW THAT'S UNCONVENTIONAL
Haley's qualifications? Experience? She's been on a few trade missions, but compare Haley with the current ambassador Samantha Power, and it's embarrassing. Power, a former journalist and Harvard academic, won a Pulitzer for her book on genocide. With Power, the U.S. had a tough and deep thinker who understands global affairs and the philosophy of moral intervention.

Haley is like Trump, learning on the job. An apprentice. So far that's the Trump Doctrine.

Haley's parents are immigrants from India.  Nice, but... her stand on the issues? She's a political conservative on climate change, which means she won't come out and say humans are responsible for global warming. Don't expect her to fight for the Paris agreements.

But think of the common good. Someday, you won't have to cook your turkey or Tofurky with a stove.

You'll be able to cook it quite well in the naturally unnatural open air.

Haley is the first woman and a person of color officially named to the Trump cabinet. There might have been two Asian American women, with Michelle Rhee, the former head of the DC public schools, on the shortlist for education secretary. But Trump has picked billionaire Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor from Michigan, who no doubt helped that state turn red.

DeVos is an advocate for school vouchers, where you get money and spend it where you want. Even private schools and charters. That should make conservatives happy. But she's also a big advocate of "Common Core," which many conservatives hate. Like most of Trump's picks, DeVos is rich and white. And again, with no real experience as an educator, only as an activist. Now she has the keys to the education kingdom. Her husband, Dick, is an heir to the Amway fortune. What's next? Funding schools with multi-level marketing sales on all consumables? 

Of course, DeVos is not the name people are waiting to see pop up in the headlines. That would be Mitt Romney, a Trump lambaster, now being considered for secretary of state.

I don't know what qualifies Romney in the international stage. Organizing the Utah Winter Olympics? The man who lost to Obama is white and wealthy with no diplomatic experience. Indeed, Trump would be showing more diplomacy than Romney by nominating him.

If it happens, it would be yet another Trump apprentice, learning on the job.

But maybe he's waiting for Black Friday to make that announcement. Or that day could be Ben Carson's day to be named HUD secretary. What does the brain surgeon know about housing? Yup, he too will be learning on the job.

Last week, I mentioned the appointments of Sen. Jeff Sessions. as attorney general, and Steve Bannon, as chief strategist.

These men unfortunately are not like the other picks so far. They are extremely well qualified to lead the dismantling of civil rights in America. That's a problem. Big League.


WHITE NATIONALISTS COME ALIVE
Last weekend, when neo-Nazis were gathering in Washington, you could hear these exuberant phrases: "Hail Trump, Hail our Victory!"

Some even reported the verbs translated to the German "heil," as in you know who.

Not exactly, "Happy Thanksgiving."

These were the words of Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, and if you haven't seen the video of his weekend gathering of neo-Nazis, emboldened by Trump, don't do it on a full stomach.

You'll be sickened by his throwback racism, reminiscent of the '30 and '40s. And not just in Europe. In California, white nationalists successfully led a movement to exclude Filipinos from the U.S. It was sheer white purity. And it's all being revived by Spencer, inspired by Trump.

"For us as Europeans, it is only normal again when we are great again," Spencer said on the video.

 And it's clear he's not an advocate for diversity.

"America was until this generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity," Spencer said. "It is our creation, it is our inheritance and it belongs to us."

Well, unless he thinks of us as being on the same team, I'd say we all better unite and denounce this guy. Fortunately, when asked in his New York Times editorial board meeting, Trump was pretty direct about Spencer and his group of white nationalists.

TRUMP: First of all, I don't want to energize the group. I'm not looking to energize them. I don't want to energize the group, and I disavow the group...What we do want to do is we want to bring the country together, because the country is very, very divided, and that's one thing I did see, big league. It's very, very divided, and I'm going to work very hard to bring the country together.

I mean, I'm somebody that really has gotten along with people over the years. It was interesting, my wife, I went to a big event about two years ago. Just after I started thinking about politics.

And we're walking in and some people were cheering and some people were booing, and she said, you know, 'People have never booed for you.'

I've never had a person boo me, and all of a sudden people are booing me. She said, that's never happened before. And, it's politics. You know, all of a sudden they think I'm going to be running for office, and I'm a Republican, let's say. So it's something that I had never experienced before and I said, 'Those people are booing,' and she said, 'Yup.' They'd never booed before. But now they boo. You know, it was a group and another group was going the opposite.

No, I want to bring the country together. It's very important to me. We're in a very divided country. In many ways divided.

So you see The Donald has feelings. He knows half of the country despises him. But he's new at this. He's his own apprentice.

Trump can learn a lot from the man he tried to derail on some birther nonsense.


GIVING THANKS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
President Obama, after pardoning Tater and Tot today, had his own sentimental feelings about being the outgoing president. He listed off some impressive accomplishments: six years of job creation, the longest streak ever. Low unemployment. Wages rising. Inequality narrowing. Housing market healing. The stock market tripling.

Think of the dark economic days of 2008. The president has given us a lot to be thankful for.

Do you have health care when no one would give it to you or your family? Do you have a house that's right side up after the mortgage crisis. For many Asian Americans in California's hardest-hit housing markets, Obama's refinancing programs have helped home owners.

"That's worth gobbling about," the president said.

Then he tipped his hat to our country's great diversity, calling it "the source of our national strength," and that "out of many we are one."

"We are bound not by any one race or religion," said Obama,"but by the adherence to a common creed that all of us are created equal. And while accepting our differences and building a diverse society has never been easy, it has never been more important."

The president said, "We have to see ourselves in each other because we all have families we love."

After the campaign he ran, it's hard to see Trump, the former birther, saying those words.

But let's hope he learns from Obama.

The president has been the best handcuffed, gridlocked president we've ever had.

As we move toward our uncertain future, he's given us reason to curb momentarily our political anxieties, and be thankful. 

We've had the last eight years. We're going to have to fight to make sure we keep moving forward.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: Duterte can't bury past with Marcos, as the politically "inconceivable" continues in the Philippines and the U.S. of Trump
November 18, 2016 12:10 PM

If you haven't noticed, we live in a time where the political trend is quite simple. 

Things that would never happen before, that were once thought to be downright "inconceivable," are happening right now, and with stunning regularity. 

And it's not fake news, it's real.

We're seeing it in the U.S. and, of course, in the democracy built in its own image, the Philippines.

Despite protests heard round the world and in the U.S., it finally happened.

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, heavily preserved, unburied since 1989, finally got covered up with some hallowed dirt.  

Once they got a green light from the Supreme Court in the Philippines last week, Imelda Marcos and her family couldn't wait to put the country's democratic embarrassment into the ground as a hero.

The "hero's burial" for Marcos was another win for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the Filipino Trump, who manages to do as he pleases, justice be damned.

"I'm just being legalistic about it," said Duterte to the media. "He was president, he was a soldier. That's about it."

Duterte was spectacularly modest about his political achievement. This time, his wish was to honor his personal hero, a man who Amnesty International says imprisoned 70,000 people during martial law, tortured 34,000, and killed 3,240 Filipinos. 

Small numbers compared to Duterte's current effort to fight "shabu," the Asian form of crystal meth. The anti-drug effort by police has officially racked up 2,500 deaths. But Philippines media says the death toll is closer to a number that outdoes Marcos--4,000. And the number includes innocent civilians. 

These are the so-called extra-judicial killings that have concerned President Obama and members of the U.S. Senate. Duterte responded by calling Obama a "son of a whore."

Duterte talks tough and has years to to catch up with Marcos, who not only imprisoned, tortured, and killed his political opponents, but also plundered the country's treasury and enriched his family by more than $10 billion. 

That's more than double what Trump's worth. 

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Marcos, propped up by the Reagan and Bush Administrations as he ruled the Philippines with an iron hand for nearly three decades, was laid to rest Thursday in the country's national cemetery for heroes, the Libingan ng mga Bayani, in Manila.

After being on display in his home province in northern Luzon, Marcos was quickly flown to Manila buried in an almost secret way.

No press was allowed (does that sound Trumpian?). It meant that protesters had no advance warning of the ceremony. Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo called it a "hidden burial." Others called it just plain "sneaky."

Sort of like the man being dubbed a hero.

Even though political opponents were planning to file an appeal, the Marcos family and the Philippine Army were able to rush the body to burial. 

And then the Marcos posted scenes from the burial on social media.
  
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It was an insult to the thousands of protesters worldwide, including many of the four million Filipinos in America, nearly 20 percent of the Asian American population. 

Most of them came to the U.S. for just one reason---to escape the Marcos years.

They didn't want to be among the thousands who died or the millions repressed because of Marcos' autocratic rule.

Allowing the burial legitimizes the Marcos repressive dictatorship and sends a sad, dark message about Duterte to the Filipino people and the world. 

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Democratic rule? Rule of law? Does it exist in Duterte's world? Or did they bury all that too with Marcos?

TRUMP'S INCONCEIVABLES  
In this era of outsiders, anti-elites, nationalistic strongmen, and disruptive forces in world politics, the burial of the denounced dictator Marcos was just the latest inconceivable to occur. 

In May, the victory of Duterte, a local mayor with a strong law and order bent but little international experience, became a leading indicator for what was to follow. In June came the Brexit vote. And then here in the U.S. on Nov. 8, we had the election of the least qualified man ever to become president.

Takes a bit of the edge off Duterte rehabbing the plunderer Marcos as a hero. But it's still a bona fide inconceivable. 

It's not that much different from Trump rehabbing and pumping oxygen into GOP retreads like Rudy Giuliani, who defended "stop and frisk," or Newt Gingrich, the man behind a plan derided as the  "Contract ON America."

And then there's Steve Bannon, the Breitbart News boss who became chair of the Trump campaign last summer. In a July 2016 column, Bannon called the mainstream news focus on African Americans being shot and killed by police as the Left's "plot to take down America."  

As the editorial head of Breitbart, he's taken shots at Muslims, women, trans people, as well as people of color and immigrants. And all with that glow of a happy flame-throwing white nationalist. If Ailes and Fox had moderated and become the mainstream, Breitbart under Bannon was the white ethnic media.

Last year, when Bannon, the editor, interviewed Trump, the conversation turned to foreign students on H1-B visas returning home instead of taking jobs or starting companies in the U.S. Trump was cautious and wanted to keep talented people in the country.

But not Bannon. "When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think..."  Bannon didn't finish his sentence, but implied his disapproval, typical of his Eurocentric, pro-white beliefs.

Now he has the president's ear, not as a "journalist," but as a senior advisor.

Inconceivable? At one time. Not anymore.

And the hits keep on coming. Just this morning, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) accepted his nomination as the 84th attorney general of the nation.

Sessions is a man who was once turned down for federal judgeship because of his pro-white outbursts. He referred to a black attorney as a "boy," called a white attorney a race traitor, and criticized the NAACP and ACLU as "un-American" groups that "force civil rights down the throats of people." 

Besides that, Trump thinks he's a swell guy.

This is the man who will head the Department of Justice. My Lord, we will miss Loretta Lynch.

Inconceivable just a few months ago. 

But it's all part of something we've fought before.

Now we are challenged to fight again the old ghosts revived in these new Trump times, just to keep from being buried alive.

*     *     *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


Posted by:Emil Guillermo | 0 comments

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