Wednesday , September 20 2017
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Ghost of Macoy

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was dangling martial law some months back, I really thought that it was just empty talk. He tends to exaggerate to scare people, the bad guys in his sight.

Now it’s for real. After the City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur was infiltrated by heavily armed and organized warriors who declared their sympathies with the terrorist group ISIS, war broke out when government forces attempted to arrest their leader. Pres. Duterte immediately declared martial law covering the whole of Mindanao.

The ghost of the Marcos martial law brings concern to those who lived through the years of suppression and military rule when those deemed enemies of the ruling family either would go to jail or lose their assets or both. Martial law critics are going to court.

Based on the video seized by the military in the Marawi battlefield, it appears that there was an organized plan by the Muslim outlaws to cripple the military detachment and take over the city. There is no other way to call it but rebellion.

It appears that Duterte has legal justification to declare limited martial law in Mindanao since the Philippine Constitution empowers the President to invoke this emergency power in the event of rebellion. It is unlike the Marcos martial law that was preceded by fake ambush and bombings.

While I want the government forces to have all the tools needed to pulverize these terrorists and end the fighting as quickly as possible, I find it hard to cheer for the declaration of martial law. The memory of Marcos’ martial law still looms large.

So far, there is no indication that the Duterte martial law is taking the color of the Marcos martial law. It is too early to tell. I had relatives who vacationed in Mindanao far from the conflict areas and they did not feel any restrictive effects of martial law.

For now, let’s just hope that the rebellion is quashed and the threats to the security of the people are minimized and martial law is not extended to the entire country and the people of the Philippines will live happily ever after.

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President Donald Trump is egging Congress to get to work and pass the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The House already passed its own version and the ball is now with the Senate.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the House bill will result in 23 million people losing coverage by 2026. This estimate is based on an estimate of how many people would be covered in 2026 if Obamacare were to continue. Democrats have brandished this CBO score to derail the Republican initiative.

How credible is the CBO score? In March, 2015, CBO predicted that the Obamacare insurance exchanges would cover 24 million insured by 2017. Factcheck the prediction and it is way off by half. In 2017, only 12 million Americans gained insurance from the Obamacare exchanges.

What is the alternative to the Republican solution? Liberals and progressives are actually pushing for a single payer system. How affordable is that to the state and the taxpayers?

Vermont and Colorado flirted with single-payer health care but had to drop the idea when studies revealed that they will have to tax their citizens and businesses to death to cover the costs.

California is now toying with the idea and wants to be the leader in the country as the most benevolent state. An analysis in the Senate however has an ominous picture. The cost for a single-payer system would exceed the state’s current annual budget. It would require the state to raise an additional $200 billion yearly to sustain a single-payer system.

It would be nice to provide everybody with food, clothing, shelter, job and healthcare. Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees.

 

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