Sunday, February 21, 2010


Many have dismissed Dr. Igor Panarin’s prediction that the United States would disintegrate into six “republics” as absurd and baseless.

His theory reportedly has wide following in the Russian government, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, because it bolsters their belief they are superior to the Americans.

Lawyer-accountant Leo Canseco pointed me to Panarin about two years ago.

His views were obviously overstretched, hardly founded on objective reality, and yet I was curious on how they could play out in the intricate dynamics of American racial relations, politics and economic crisis.

Panarin was trained in psychology by the KGB and earned his doctorate in political science from the Russian Academy of Public Administration in 1997.
His areas of specialization are “strategic analysis, information stream management and situation modeling of global processes”.

“I’ve studied the history of the United States and my conclusion is that it has no future,” he said in a March 2009 speech in Manila.

Panarin’s vision of a reconfigured America comprise of a “California Republic” that stretches all the way to Utah and Idaho that falls under the influence of China;

“Texas Republic” that extends as far Arkansas and Florida and falls under the influence of Mexico; “Atlantic America” that encompasses America’s northeastern states including Kentucky and Tennessee that falls under the influence of Britain or the European Union;

And opines that Alaska would revert to Russia. Hawaii falls under the sphere of either China or Japan.

Panarin told his audience in Manila last year that America’s collapse will be rooted in economic and political factors, particularly the growing mountain of debt.

“They have created in the United States a pyramid based on the dollar and they see no other way to solve this crisis,” he said.

Panarin discredited himself by predicting the disintegration should have started last autumn.

One might argue that could have been true if President Obama did not act.
The TARP and stimulus bill were expensive but necessary to rescue Wall Street and pump-prime the economy.

Still, Panarin pointed to other factors that remain sources of concern today – a declining GDP, burgeoning budget deficit and high unemployment.

The budget deficit is projected to reach $2.7 trillion in the next two years. By 2015, it will reach a whopping $4.3 trillion; and in ten years cumulative deficit will hit $8.5 trillion.

The US paid about $383 billion in interest alone for debts in 2009; by 2019, it’s estimated to reach $700 billion a year.

There is legislative gridlock over healthcare reforms, balancing the budget, jobs creation, immigration reforms, etc.

“It has suddenly become clear that the United States is in the throes of a political crisis of historic dimensions.

“There seems to be no obvious explanation for the ferocity of the political struggle between the Democrats and Republicans.

“The present crisis must arise from causes that are of a far more fundamental character. The conflict in Washington must, in the final analysis, reflect deep-rooted conflicts within American society as a whole.”

Those words were written in December 1998 about the political climate surrounding President Clinton’s impeachment.

They sounded so descriptive of what’s happening today.

Ron Fournier of the Associated Press assailed how both Republican and Democratic leaders appear to fudge the truth for political expediency.

“Such distortion and dishonesty cause Americans to be increasingly skeptical of their political institutions and leaders. Once people lose faith in the political system, they’re less likely to vote, less willing to pay taxes, less motivated to run for office themselves and – sociologist say, they’re even less likely to get involved in their own communities.”

Panarin’s prediction may have been discredited by actual events but why are some Americans giving it credence?

He was recently invited by the “Houston Tea Party Patriots” for a speaking engagement in Houston.

Some Americans have apparently found ideological refuge from an ex-KGB analyst’s view of a doomed USA to project their own paranoia and fears.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dollar remittances from Filipinos in the United States shrunk by 6.41 percent last year – indication of lingering Fil-Am money woes as the US economy struggles to get up to its feet.

US-based Pinoys sent home over $7.32 billion last year despite the wobbling American economy.

In contrast, total remittances reached a historic $17.35 billion in 2009 – a 5.61 percent jump over the previous year, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) statistics revealed this week.

The year-end aggregate was boosted in part by an 11 percent increase last December, compared to December 2008.

“The geographical diversification of OFWs has contributed to the resilience of remittance inflows,” the BSP observed.

But the money sent home from the US last year was actually a 6.41 percent decline compared to the $7.82 billion remitted in 2008.

This was the first contraction of money sent home by Filipinos in the US.

The BSP said major sources of remittances were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Germany.
However, the share of dollar receipts coming from Filipinos in the US decreased from 47.6 percent in 2008, to 42.3 percent in 2009.

Some say this is symptomic of economic difficulties in the US, as thousands of Fil-Ams remain jobless, face home foreclosures and struggle with mounting debt.

“Not all host countries were severely affected by the global financial crisis,” the BSP reported, “Middle East countries continue to absorb significant number of deployed OFWs, including those that have been displaced elsewhere.”

The BSP also noted a spike in money transfers since October as overseas Filipinos supported rebuilding efforts of their families affected by typhoons and floods.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Filipinos comprised the 5th biggest pool – and the top among Asian countries – of illegal immigrants in the United States, the latest Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report revealed.

“Mexico continued to be the leading source of unauthorized immigration to the United States in 2009, representing 62 percent of the unauthorized population,” the DHS report said, “The next leading source countries of unauthorized immigrants in 2009 were El Salvador (530,000), Guatemala (480,000), Honduras (320,000) and the Philippines (270,000).”

The total illegal immigrant population actually decreased last year, from an estimated 11.6 million in January 2008 to 10.8 million in January 2009.

Professor Peter Chua of San Jose State University in California estimated the number of undocumented Filipino immigrants closer to one million.

The DHS arrived at the numbers by subtracting the total foreign-born population (31.2 million) with the total legal resident population (20.5 million) as of January 2009.

The illegal immigrant population expanded by 27 percent from 2000 to 2009, the report added.

Nearly one-fourth of illegal immigrants live in California (where there's an estimated 2.6 million). This is followed by Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.

The agency said the average unauthorized immigrant is relatively young (25-44 years old) and male (58%).

In 2008, the DHS arrested nearly 380,000 immigrants and deported 358,000.

The report attributed the decrease in illegal immigration to the US economic downturn.

The majority of unauthorized immigrants entered the US before 2000, the report said,

Saturday, February 6, 2010


(Excerpts from an article I wrote for Pinoy Herald, Feb. 2010 edition)

A blast from the past, the historic Philippine chancery finally reopens its doors in a few weeks.

And to think the structure was in danger of being condemned just last year. A fire gutted its interior, was dangerously decrepit and infested by rodents. The DC government slapped it a $36,000 tax.

Consul General Domingo Nolasco revealed construction is in full swing – they’re using the first floor for consular services – and expected to be completed in March.

“This is going to be a big help for the hundreds of people who have to transact business with the consular section,” he explained.

The present consular office can probably comfortably accommodate only 20 people, forcing the spillover to wait outside – an unwelcome proposition in winter or in the peak of summer.

“We have to be concerned because many come from really far away places, some as far away as Alabama, Tennessee or Florida just to work on their papers,” Nolasco said.

The old chancery stands opposite the present Philippine Embassy building along Massachusetts Ave. NW. It was purchased in the 1930s by Resident Commissioner (the Philippine representative to the US Congress) Joaquin Elizalde. It served as the seat of the Philippine government-in-exile during World War II.

Nolasco said they are still spending under budget, which amounts to $350,000.
He asserts the money spent for renovating the old chancery is an investment.

Consular services not only generate revenues, it will also boost chances the historic edifice’s diplomatic privilege can be restored and the Philippines will be spared paying taxes on the property.


(Excerpts from an article in Pinoy Herald Feb. 2010 edition)

The government is set to tap anew the influential Washington DC lobby group Covington & Burling LLP to help win a reported $439 million Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and convince the US Congress to lift human rights conditions for military aid, among others.

Ambassador Willy Gaa posted a notice in the Philippine Embassy website to renew the services of former US Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, a senior partner at Covington & Burling LLP and chair of its international practice.

Eizenstat said they played “an important role” in pushing for the $198 million lump sum payment to Filipino World War II veterans, as well as the resolution of a longstanding tax dispute between the Philippines and New York City.

Eizenstat was chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, US Ambassador to the European Union and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton administration.

Covington & Burling, established in 1919, is one of the oldest and most influential law firms in Washington DC.

The lobbying contract will run for six months for an undisclosed amount. The earlier contract in January 2008, which also lasted six months, cost $500,000.

“There is nothing unusual. This is just how it’s done here,” explained Consul General Domingo Nolasco.

The website estimated total spending to lobby Congress and federal agencies reached $2.5 billion in 2009 – actually a decline from a peak of $3.3 billion in 2008.

Covington isn’t the only group being used by Philippine interests. Sorini, Samet & Associates is working on Capitol Hill for duty-free exports of Philippine apparel using US-made textiles.

Also, the Philippines reportedly tapped US apparel executive Fiona Ki to identify fabric needs in the Philippines for US textile mills.

If that bill pushes through, it could be worth at least $1 billion for Philippine garment manufacturers.

Eizenstat’s lobby efforts are expected to center on addressing two key sore points – corruption and human rights.

The country is on the verge of winning Compact status with the MCC, but the Arroyo administration flunked the critical corruption test for two years in a row.

Approval is expected in Fiscal 2010, which actually started September 2009, but the Philippines failed to make the grade.

Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) president Reynaldo David said in early January, the bank was ready to support “negotiating for the MCC terms and conditions which will be cut in preparation for the execution of the Compact agreement in Washington DC in April”.

But obviously, the key is overcoming MCC’s corruption concerns, and Eizenstat is reportedly confident he can help.

He’ll also be busy convincing US lawmakers to lift human rights conditions to the $30million Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to the Philippines.

The US Congress placed a $2 million caveat to the military aid. The State Department must certify the government is not using that aid to suppress legitimate dissent.

The Obama administration only last week submitted a foreign aid budget that featured a hefty increase in development assistance but cut in half military aid to the Philippines.


These pictures were taken about 11:00 AM of Saturday, Feb. 6 -- about 24 hours after the first snow flakes fell in Alexandria, Virginia (if forecasts run true, we're in for another 12-16 hours of this).

Traffic is nearly at a standstill but news broadcasts are showing people coming out to the streets despite appeals for everyone to stay home (heard there are snowball fights set in DuPont Circle in DC and College Park, Maryland).

About 13 inches of snow was recorded at the Reagan Airport (as of this posting), although measurements in other parts of Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC show as much as 30 inches, with more coming. The Blizzard of 2010 could beat the 1922 snowfall record (28 inches).

Total snowfall this season is already nearing the 40-inch mark . Reports suggest this could be the "snowiest" winter ever for Washington DC.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Total American aid to the Philippines is projected to increase slightly, giving more emphasis on development assistance and less on beefing up the Philippine military, according to President Obama’s budget for the fiscal year until September 30, 2011.

The State Department’s Foreign Operations budget showed total assistance to the Philippines increasing from $114.7 million in 2008 to $124.3 million in 2010 (estimated).

Development Assistance and the Economic Support Fund (ESF) totaled $55.0 million 2008. This is projected to grow to $71.3 million, although all of it will be in Development Assistance.

Foreign Military Financing is projected to decrease from $27.7 million in 2008 to $15.6 million.

The State Department had similarly recommended a reduction in military aid in 2008-09 but lobbying by Philippine officials convinced the Congress to restore the cut, so the Philippines was actually allocated $32 million last year, according to State Department documents.

However, human rights concerns, particularly over unsolved extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by members of the police and military continued to hound the government, prompting Congress to attach a caveat to $2 million of the total military aid on a State Department certification the Philippines was not using US military aid to suppress legitimate political dissent.

The 2010 budget provides higher amounts for International Military Education & Training (from $1.5 million to $2 million); Non-proliferation and Anti-Terrorism programs (from $4.6 million to $5.6 million); International Narcotics Control & Law Enforcement (from $794,000 to $2.4 million).

US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget is also projected to increase from nearly $25 million in 2008 to $32.5 million).

These amounts have to be approved by both chambers of Congress.

President Obama’s $3.83 trillion budget is expected to face tough sailing in Congress as the American public grows weary of looming massive deficits that’s estimated to reach $1.56 trillion in 2010.