Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Bishop Bastes LIED

After weeks at the top of TV news and headlines on the front pages, the following article about Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, appeared on the page 11 of the printed Philippine Star (Wednesday, June 7, 2006).
BISHOP ADMITS RAPU RAPU REPORT BASED ON CONSCIENCE, "PHILOSOPHY"

The head of a commission that looked into mining operations on Rapu-rapu island in Albay has admitted that his team relied not on scientific studies, but on "philosophical thinking, probabilities and conscience" when it blamed an Australian firm for mercury contamination in the waters of Albay and Sorsogon. "Our studies were not scientific like those of the experts (from the University of the Philippines and Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources). We focused on the historical background and on our personal knowledge," said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, head of the Rapu-rapu Fact-finding Commission (RRFFC) at a Press Conference the other day.

"Our conscience dictates and the historical background could assure us of our findings. We follow our conscience, that's why when we decide, we are sure we will not falter," Bastes explained.

Lafayette Mining Corp. earlier criticized the report completed by the RRFFC for lacking scientific basis. According to Bastes, before "there was no mercury in the Albay Gulf. But after the toxic spill (of Lafayette), it was found that there was mercury," he said. Lafayette has insisted it does not use mercury in its operations. Later in the briefing, Bastes admitted that the mercuy presence was "very little, but if you think philosophically...there is a high probability" that Lafayette was to blame for the mercury contamination."
Translation: BISHOP BASTES LIED!

This is what happens when a professional moralist, like a Catholic bishop from the province of Sorsogon, decides to put the considerable prestige of his Bishopric in the service of political and ideological correctness, especially the kind associated with environmentalism.

If facts get in the way of what one already believes or are inconveniently inconclusive, perhaps even contrary to a desired result, the good Bishop Bastes shows the way out and around the problem, being the sagacious Chairman of a Fact Finding Commission. Why, just use your philosophical conscience, says Padre Bastes, to guess at what the facts are then come to the conclusion you want to anyway. Along the way, you can throw out provocative phrases into the feeding frenzies of the equally ideological Press, making any wild claim or insinuation whatever, and be guaranteed it will be adequately ventilated in a well-connected world. Later, after admitting being wrong, nay, being intellectually dishonest, how can all the lies that are still circulating in Media and Web ever be recalled or corrected?

Now, far be it for me to wag a moral finger at the good Padré Bástes, (I would prefer a different digit anyway) , but it poisons the well of knowledge from which we must all drink to survive in a dangerous and deprived world, for a man of the Cloth to act so cavalierly with the Truth, and especially scientific truth. The ability to methodically discover the truth via the scientific method, is what distinguishes Homo sapiens from lower life forms, (such as Homo Casuisterensis in religious drag. ) We cannot allow Bishop Bastes to denigrate truthseeking standards, any more than we can let Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or any other liar proclaim Big Lies and expect to go unchallenged.

I can take such crap from ordinary cretins, like politicians or media hacks. But Bishops and their Big Media adjuvants, disgust me intensely, when they exhibit the regressive genes of Padre Padre Salvi and Don Custodio. Or indeed when they create occasions for the environuts at Greenpeace, and the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist international Left, to issue "piling it on" statements like this. which of course the insane propagandists will never bother to correct despite the admission of Bishop Bastes' forked tongue.

How dare this Padre Bastes talk and act and pontificate as if Pope John Paul II hadn't already apologized to Galileo Galilei for three centuries of being in cruel denial of the basic facts, and of the sanctity of the Scientific Method, even to the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church, despite lapses, was ever and always a friend of Science, except in certain very famous instances. But truly, the long history of the Church is on the side of Knowledge and truth. But not Bastes!

In the case for example of Rapu-rapu, all reasonable persons should want that God's truth about the incident be brought out and appropriate measures taken. But what Bastes has done is bastos. He was not appointed by the President to look deep in his mental navel for the answers. That was not what his duty, nor I bet his conscience, actually required of him.

It serves neither Chrisitianity, nor environmentalism, nor the local folks at Rapu-rapu to have Bishop Bastes befouling the air with his lies that facts derived from philosophical consciences such as his are to be believed as Gospel truth. For all we know there really has been an environmental Armageddon at Rapu-rapu, or maybe not. It is precisely this ignorance that is evil, and it is precisely the dishonesty of Bishop Bastes that thwarts the knowledge we need to take the correct action. As wiser men have pointed out, treating Environmentalism as Religion is very unwise, for it leads to bad decisions with unforeseeable consequences for real human beings. It is not only the Catholic Bishops who remember Marinduque and that much ignored and unheeded disaster. But that is at least in part because of mental pollution, which can be worse in many ways than even a toxic spill.

I am prepared to believe there is a truth-seeking sense left in Bishop Bastes, and that he will make amends, even if the Headline Writers won't and the lies he has told will go on in the rest of the foetid atmosphere they've created around the mining issue.

To be sure, there are serious environmental challenges involved in the mining industry, now just getting going in the Philippines. Which is all the more reason for us to uphold scientific integrity in all public and private utterance about so monumental a fact of our future lives, and to combat the kind of B.S. the Bishops are apparently capable of, in spades!

Why Did God Not Give Us Oil? is the question posed in a recent post on the mining issue and Rapu-rapu.

UPDATE: The PCIJ/Blog has two interesting posts up today. The first says Greenpeace wants Islands and Oceans protected from mining.

Hmmm...I guess that still leaves the air for mining then....But in Land HO! Oops It's the Tubbataha Reefs I remember the last time Greenpeace visited the Philippine Archipelago. They rammed the precious Tubbataha reefs with their Rainbow Warship and broke a 1000 square foot chunk off the Living Coral Gem of the Sulu Sulawesi Sea! Oh yeah they paid a small fine for their little scuba diving expedition to that pristine underwater site. That was right after their land and sea attack on the Masinloc Power Plant. I just hope Comrade Jens has recovered from his head wounds--both physical and ideological.

The second is on the "abolition" of the death penalty by a Bishop-sopping Lower House, no doubt at the Palace's beckoning, given the stiffening response of the Catholic Bishop's Conference to chaha. The news is that the CBCP will participate in, a "Prayer Rally" on Independence Day June 12, opposing moves to force Charter Change down people's throats.

I think this new found resolve of the Congress to abolish the Death Penalty in the Philippines will only last until the next sensational criminal is brought to justice. Speaking of which, just minutes ago, CNN Breaking News says that ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI is DEAD -- killed by a coalition air strike on an isolated house near Baquba, Iraq. Here is one instance of "capital punishment" that really ought to be re-applied to his remaining molecules for every man woman and child he murdered in the name of Terror these past few years. Yet it is a happy day for Iraq, I would think and a happy day for the world, that at least one more faltering but certain step has been taken towards true Democracy in that First Arab Democracy of Iraq. It's the beginning of the end for "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."

I think taking capital punishment off the table weakens the Law and its enforcement in the Philippines. I am for a RARE application of the death penalty, not its complete banning. I am against the making all sorts of "heinous crimes" punishable by death. It only demeans the tragic gravity of the application of capital punishment.

UPDATE: (Thanks to the Hillblogger for a Comment that reminded me of this):
I actually liked Greenpeace a whole lot more when they were opposing atmospheric nuclear tests over certain Pacific atolls. But I guess a lot of people don't know or have forgotten that the first Rainbow Warrior of Greenpeace was sunk in Operation Satanic by the French intelligence services in 1985. This is from Wikipedia:
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Operation SATANIC, was a special operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed at disabling the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior, in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.

Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two of the French agents were subsequently arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. Following questioning, they were subsequently charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage and murder. The ensuing scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu, and the subject became so touchy that it was not until twenty years afterward that the personal responsibility of French President François Mitterrand was officially admitted.

24 comments:

Karl M. Garcia said...

How I wish God gave us Black gold instead!

Jego said...

How could he have been head of the commission in the first place?

Why did God not give us oil? Maybe he did. We just have to dig. And God probably gave us uranium. I remember doing research a long time ago on Malampaya and in one of the Inquirer newspaper clippings I came across was a report that Japanese scientists have determined that there might be uranium deposits in the Malampaya area.

And in keeping with DJB's environmental theme, how's this for a turnaround? Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore bats for nuclear power. See this Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html

Time to dust off the Battan Nuclear Power Plant?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Some of my non-French friends in NATO suggest that Greenpeace is a CIA asset.

Never been a supporter of Greenpeace - I prefer to support my Belgian neighbour's Green movement.

Econblogger said...

What were the bright boys (and girls) in Malacanang expecting with this commission? Like asking Jerry Falwell to write a report on the scientific status of evolution.

At least the Bishop admitted the basis of the recommendations. And expose the report for the worthless piece of paper that it is.

I am strongly for fee-based regulation of mining. Dig up our backyard, sure, but pay us for the trouble. And there should be a good geological, biological, and economic basis for setting the appropriate charges. The research to do it all should be affordable if the fabulous trillion-dollar estimates are for real.

Rizalist said...

Oh, HB, very naughty of you to mention the French and Greenpeace in one sentence. I actually liked Greenpeace when they used to sail into French nuclear bombings of Pacific atolls, hehe...I guess the first incarnation of the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by French Mirages..tsk tsk.

manuelbuencamino said...

Zarqawi, those marines who massacred innocent civilians in Haditha, the torturers of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, their superiors, the JI. Abu Sayaf, Al Qaeda and all those other terrorists belng in hell

The Bystander said...

I am against the abolition of the death penalty if only in anticipation for the soon to come conviction of Gloria Arroyo for the heinous crimes she and her ilk have committed against the Filipino people!

I can no longer stomach the hypocrisy of this administration. On paper, it seems they have abolished the death penalty. On the ground, the reverse is true. Their military/paramilitary death squads are implementing the death sentence on political activists almost on a daily basis. And these are being done without the benefit of judicial trial!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Bystander...

Tut tut now...

What if your wish happens and she asks you to defend her?

HILLBLOGGER said...

(Dean, did you see how I wrote my comment up there in the present conditional tense? Hehe!)

HILLBLOGGER said...

Ah Dean,

Great mano a mano here Gloria Macapagal vs Susan Roces Poe

Mrs Poe refuses to honor Gloria.

According to the Inquirer, Susan said, "“The Poe family does not wish to diminish the value of this award by accepting it from Arroyo."

She added, "The Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining is too important and prestigious to be trivialized and I feel that I would be doing my husband and those who believe in him a grave dishonor.”

I say good thinking Susan!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Tell you what Dean, if a Mirage had bombed the Rainbow Warrior, there wouldn't have been a piece of evidence left to identify the boat, er the ship, I mean....

Easy...An underwater "plastic" device would be sufficient.

Rizalist said...

Hillblogger!

You mean you actually don't know about the The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in 1978?

I actually liked Greenpeace when they were opposing nuclear weapons testing by the French and others.

Rizalist said...

Oops sorry, 1985! It was quite a dastardly thing, killed a photographer too. Guess I should put up the link to the whole story of that.

Marcus Aurelius said...

On the DP I think it too should be an option in certain heinous cases, those involving murder. Kill in the commission of another crime you are a DP candidate. Kill and have a long record of past criminal and violent behavior then you are a candidate. We have an advisory ref. on the ballot this fall in WI on the topic

The Bishop does his cause more harm than good. Hysterical claims made on the basis of something other than the truth is a great way to undermine your cause.

Silly Bishop! In general as is pointed out that is a problem many environmentalists have.

Abu Musab Zarqawi. On National Review Online someone hoped the Zarq-Man had a stop near the Pearly Gates enough time to get his 72....clear white raisins before his trip to infernal region.

I have read before the 72 virgins bit is a slight mis-translation. Could be.

Anyway

Rizalist said...

Marcus,
Mistranslation? Better than aa miscalculation I guess. Doesn't seem like there'd be enough to go around, unless of course the calculation is that 71 out of 72 will not be getting a reward at all. Zarq, and his like, just makes the DP sort of indispensable. I do agree it should be reserved for the rare, truly inhuman cases.

Jon Mariano said...

Even rich countries mine their natural resources, why not the Philippines?

We just have to use the natural wealth properly while solving the problems mining bring. Mining itself is not the problem...

Karl M. Garcia said...

We all know the problem are with pressure groups.
The eastern corridor to the pacific silently launcehed during the FVR times was overtaken by the aurora nueva ecija landslides..the pressure group went after the main sponsor's head right away..so another promising project down the drain....

Our environmentalists have the wrong concept of sustainable development;for them to sustain is not to touch.I can see the sustaining part but where is the development?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Don't be silly, of course I know! But it wasn't a Mirage that sunk it..

HILLBLOGGER said...

And really now, Rainbow Warrior was CIA operated spying (Greenpeace continues to be a CIA funded operation) on French military operations then - so let's be honest about this - those guys (soldiers that they were) knew the risk they were taking just as their French counterparts who, if you recall, spent time in prison.

Espionage is a very serious affair. In the US, in the past, convicted spies were put on the electric chair ...

Fair game!

Rizalist said...

HB--Actually it was who I thought it had been sunk by a Mirage! just correcting the record.. they did it the sneaky way. hehe.

Karl, good point. They aren't interested in development.

The "Submariner" said...

Dean, you are forgetting that espionage is all about being sneaky ...otherwise, a spy would hardly be a spy if he wasn't a first-class sneak.

Look at Gloria Pidal Macapagal - she is such a third rate sneak, a cheap liar and a pathetic quack economist, that's why she fails on the leadership front and takes Pinas and Pinoys/Pinays down with her at every turn!

Anyway, my dear Dean, you will be glad to know that THE SUN's FINALLY DEIGNED SHOW HIMSELF HERE! Oh yes!

So, am off to whack a few balls and forget all about Subic-Blackwater sneaks, cheap liars, quack economists, terrorists, Gloria Mandaraya y Sinungaling, Tony Hypocrite Blair and George Warfreak Dumbo Bush...

Life is much too short to waste thinking about these creeps...

Cheers...

Rizalist said...

Is that you underwater, Anna? Hehe. We get to know our regulars. The next two US elections are gonna be VERY interesting. I've been studying 1912...in that one the Republicans lost because they had TWO candidates (Taft & Roosevelt)--real heavies. But they lost to Woodrow Wilson and it changed everything in The Colony. In the US, I predict possibly TWO Democratic challengers, another 3 way race. Hmmm. Who's gonna win?

I think Bush has served his purpose. The Middle East will never be the same again...I am hoping after Europe and Japan, the US can do it a third time...

The "Submariner" said...

Ssshhhhhhh!

That wasn't a clever thing to say...

What are you trying to do, blow my cover?

But hey, I thought I recognized you down there....

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hello Dean...

Am back! This is really funny... read my e-mail.