Categories
It Happened to Me Stranger than Fiction

I found a signed limited edition book by Ferdinand Marcos in a dumpster

Ferdinand Marcos being sworn in at his second inauguration in 1969
Marcos being sworn in at his second inauguration in 1969. Public domain photo.

Last Monday, I stumbled across a social media post that led to a very rare and relevant (at least to me) find: a limited-run book published in 1971, written and autographed by Ferdinand E. Marcos.

On Monday, September 19th at about 3:30 p.m., my friend Tom Leber, a local realtor and manager of several properties, posted this message on Facebook:

Another “what tenants leave behind” story…. One of our commercial leaseholds, which used to be a book store, just moved out and emptied the store into the dumpster in the back. If anyone is interested in dumpster diving for a library of brand new books.

The address was pretty close to our house. A minute later, I was in my car, and ten minutes later, I was facing this beast:

The dumpster, filled with books, along with a discard child’s car seat, and some regular garbage.
The dumpster. Photo by Yours Truly.

I ended up taking dozens of books on all sorts of topics, but there’s one that’s of particular interest to me: Today’s Revolution: Democracy, written by the former head kleptocrat of the country of my birth (and father of the present head kleptocrat), Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Here’s a photo of the book’s cover, taken against my laptop cover for contrast:

Cover of the book “Today’s Revolution: Decocracy” by Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The book’s cover. Photo by Yours Truly.

Here’s the first page:

Inside page of the book, which has “Malacañan Palace, Manila” printed and a signature that reads “With my compliments,” and Ferdinand E. Marcos’ signature.
The inside page. Photo by Yours Truly.

Malacañan Palace is the residence and office of the Philippine president — basically, it’s the Filipino equivalent of the White House in the U.S..

It’s hard to tell if the “With my compliments” autograph is a printed image or an actual by-hand signature, but the next page definitely has a real autograph that looks like it was made with a Sharpie:

The page before the title page, which is signed “Honolulu, 3 Sept. 1987 / To Shoco Cada (?) / Thanks for the visit and / Best wishes, / Ferdinand E. Marcos””
The autograph. I’m trying to figure out the name after “To” — is it “Shoco Cada?” Your suggestions are welcome. Photo by Yours Truly.

The dateline of Honolulu, 3 Sept. 1987 fits — Marcos had fled the Philippines the year earlier after the snap election he declared in 1986 turned into a snap revolution. Luckily for him, the U.S. had no qualms about safely spiriting a friendly dictator away in an Air Force C-130 to Hawaii via Guam, along with the following luggage:

  • 22 crates of cash valued at $717 million
  • 300 crates of assorted jewelry with undetermined value
  • $4 million worth of unset precious gems contained in Pampers diaper boxes
  • 65 Seiko and Cartier watches
  • A 12 by 4 ft box crammed full of real pearls
  • A 3 ft solid gold statue covered in diamonds and other precious stones
  • $200,000 in gold bullion
  • $1 million in Philippine pesos
  • $124 million in deposit slips to banks in the US, Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands

(And I thought I “travelled heavy” by flying with my accordion!)

I immediately pulled out my phone and Googled for images of Marcos’ signature, and the signatures in the book seem to match the ones online, right down to the big swoosh after the “s”:

Marcos signature, sample #1. Tap to view the source.
Marcos signature, sample #2. Tap to view the source.
Marcos signature, sample #3. Tap to view the source.

It appears that a limited run of these books were printed, if this inscription after the title page is to be believed:

Page after the title page, which reads “This is a private edition of 1,000 copies, of which this is no. [blank]. Copyright 1971 by Ferdinand E. Marcos / All rights reserved”
A limited edition. Photo by Yours Truly.
In a clash with its purported thesis, Today’s Revolution: Democracy starts with a decidely un-democratic addendum in which Marcos explains that he had to suspend habeas corpus (simple definition: the right to be seen by a judge or court before being imprisoned) as a result of the bomb at a political rally of the Philippines’ Liberal Party at Manila’s Plaza Miranda on August 21, 1971, where 9 people died (one of whom was a 5-year-old) and nearly 100 were injured.

Nobody really knows who was responsible. Marcos and his cronies blamed radical groups like the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, but most historians and even the CIA believe that Marcos was the one behind it. It’s believed that the bombing was carried out to be the rationale for Marcos’ later declaration of martial law in September 1972 (which got a nod from Nixon, who was told that the Philippines was under communist terror attack), which in turn set in motion my parents’ decision to emigrate to Canada.

The book itself pays a lot of lip service to social and economic democracy, liberal society, “revolution” in a sense that’s pretty close to the American Revolution, and warnings against being blinded by ideology. But throughout the book is a strong subtext where Marcos tells you who he really is: a third-world strongman with the confidence that comes with the backing of the U.S. during the era of the Cold War (the U.S. Air Force had Clark Air Base and a Navy base in Subic Bay).

How did this book find its way from Malacañang Palace to the Marcos’ high life-in-exile (in a waterfront house worth $1.5 million in 1986) in Hawaii to a dumpster in Tampa? There’s probably an interesting story there.

Categories
America The Current Situation

“Quiet! I’m declassifying documents.”

Talosian (Star Trek alien with giant, veiny head) with caption “Quiet! I’m declassifying documents.”
Thanks to Star Trek Shitposting for the find!
Categories
America The Current Situation

The “I just said ‘It’s declassfied’” excuse

Donald Trump as “Jeannie” from “I dream of Jeannie,” saying “Declassified!”

In a new interview with his personal fluffer, Sean Hannity, Donald Trump test-ballooned his latest defense for illegally (and potentially treasonously) keeping U.S. government secret documents on his private gold club/residence:

“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified’.

Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it. … There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be.”

It’s an understanding of secret documents that’s equal to the “I said so” rule of schoolyard games, or perhaps Michael Scott’s understanding of bankruptcy on The Office:

There were over 300 such documents stored at Mar-a-Lago, which is not a facility up to the task of securing such things. The search was a result of an earlier finding of other secret documents at the site.

Categories
Florida The Current Situation The Good Fight

The fake brochure that DeSantis used to con the migrants into boarding the plane to Martha’s Vineyard, and other facts about this cruel political stunt

DeSantis may have been inspired by a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show

A still from Tucker Carlson’s xenophobic “Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard” segment.
He should just ’fess up and call the show The Tucker Carlson White Power Hour.

A couple of days ago, Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz astutely tweeted that “when GOPers do depraved stuff it’s worth looking for the Fox host who suggested it.”

To no one’s surprise, the Fox host who suggested it was the host of Fox’s own White Power Hour: Swanson frozen foods heir Tucker Carlson, host of an old-timey whitefear-and-ragestoking evening show.

The migrants were given fake brochures about Massachusetts’ refugee benefits

DeSantis insists that the migrants boarded the plane voluntarily, but the migrants say that they were misled by a “blonde mystery woman” named “Perla,” who offered them McDonald’s gift cards, a free flight to a “sanctuary,” and other assistance. 

The newsletter Popular Information obtained a phony brochure written in English and Spanish that was provided to the migrants, pictured below:

Designed (poorly) to look like an official brochure, it says that migrants who arrive in Massachusetts would be eligible for a lot of benefits, including:

  • 8 months’ cash assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Transportation to job interviews
  • Job training
  • Job placement
  • Registering children for school
  • Assistance applying for Social Security cards

Popular Information got the brochure from Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-based law firm representing 30 of the migrants.

DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske told Florida’s Voice that the brochure was legitimate and that the information it contained was accurate. However, what she omitted is even more important:

  • The brochure was not produced by the State of Massachusetts, nor is it official. It’s a “homemade” document pieced together from cut-and-pasted text from various Massachusetts government sites.
  • While the benefits listed exist, the migrants to whom they were given are not eligible for them. While refugees are eligible for such benefits, these migrants are seeking asylum, and refugee benefits don’t apply.
  • The devil is in the details. In trying to provide DeSantis with a loophole, Fenske insisted “the brochure does not say migrants immediately have access to the benefits.” But it worked — the idea was to convince them that those benefits were forthcoming, and all they had to do was board the plane.

Boston-based immigration attorney Matt Cameron summed up the situation quite well:

“DeSantis clearly does not know the legal difference between refugees (who are eligible for resettlement benefits) and asylum applicants (who are not).

It’s legally no different than promising someone who you know to have had no military service that they will be eligible for veterans benefits.”

Cameron also said the brochures “are either evidence of criminal intent or criminal stupidity.” My feeling:

Loki: “Bit of both.”

FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) paid a secretive Oregon-based company to fly the migrants, and now that company’s website is offline

Here’s a record of a payment from FDOT to one “Vertol Systems Company Inc.” dated September 16, 2022 for the sum of $950,000. It’s courtesy of the @TampaniaBlog Twitter account:

They tweet:

In fact, if you go to the Transparency Florida site, you’ll see that FDOT has already paid Vertol Systems a total of $1.565 million dollars:

Vendor search result from Transparency Florida showing $1.565 million in payments to Vertol Systems

Typically, you’d be able to go to Vertol Systems’ site and see that they’re based in Oregon’s Hillsboro rather than Florida’s Hillsborough County and that they’re in the business of “specialized aircraft solutions specific to unique requirements.”

But you can’t. The site has been taken down…

…and quite interestingly (yet unsurprisingly), their LinkedIn company profile is unclaimed:

A Texas sheriff is launching an investigation into these flights, since they were a join operation with Texas

From the Daily Beast:

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar confirmed the investigation during a press conference Monday “to clear the air for everyone,” alleging that 48 migrants were “lured under false pretenses” to stay at a hotel for a couple of days, shuttled to a plane, flown to Florida, and eventually transported to Martha’s Vineyard, where they had been promised work and solutions to other problems.

From Sheriff Salazar’s Twitter account:

DeSantis’ plan is backfiring

And garbage human that she is, Christina Pushaw, Rapid Response Director for DeSantis’ reelection campaign tweeted this:

Here’s a screencap, just in case she deletes it, as she is wont to do:

Categories
Stranger than Fiction

Worst. Mnemonic. Ever.

This is a good set of checks to perform before attempting a forced landing of your airplane, but the mnemonic that the book came up for it is terrible.

In the middle of a crisis situation, you’ll probably forget how many “S’s” there are, or that one of the “S” checks is for “S(c)ivilization.”

Categories
Florida

Yes, there’s such a thing as Florida Poutine!

The Florida Poutine Co. truck is run by someone who used to live in the Montreal area and makes their own cheese curds. In proper Montreal style, they also sell les steamés and les toastés (Montreal-style steamed and toasted hot dogs; they’re significant enough to get their own Wikipedia entry).

I especially love that there’s a pronunciation guide on the side of the truck that tells you how to say “poutine” like a proper Quebecois: “puts-in.”

Here’s the menu:

It might be a while before I get to try them out, as they’re based in Myakka City, which is due east of Sarasota and southeast of “Bradentucky.”

Categories
funny The Current Situation

Pictures aplenty for Sunday, September 18, 2022

Maybe the Queen’s will said “In the event of my death, the corgis should go to the groomer” and they misinterpreted the request.


Can we please make this the official logo for cryptocurrencies? And while we’re at it, American healthcare?



(Cough, cough)Ron DeSantis(Cough)


If you’re really a “Little Mermaid purist,” you should insist on the original way-more-gruesome version. Remember, it was written by Hans Christian Andersen, who was not only a nightmare writer, but also a nightmare houseguest.


Brett Favre is guilty of at least two heinous crimes:


Maybe it’s just unfortunately sign placement, but you might think twice before getting the beef jerky.


A guy once tried to fight me after I said that The Star-Spangled Banner is in 3/4 time (possibly because he thought all 3/4 songs are waltzes, and he believed that waltzes are wimpy).

But it is in 3/4 time. You could either just listen to the song and count, or you could consult the sheet music.



Once again, an important public service message:


A reminder for those of you who believe there’s a “War on Christmas” and who were upset about Pride Month earlier this summer.


As the gas prices continue to drop, I’m posting this as a reminder to you dolts who posted or bought into the Biden “I did that!” stickers we saw on gas pumps all summer.

Also:


Seriously, are you even good enough to qualify for impostor syndrome?


Whoever wrote this doesn’t believe in the God-given right for every American to have a gun and diabetes. “The beeping actually helps — it’ll cover the sound of me reloading!”



“Hey, it’s a 9-millimeter gun! That’s metric! See? I USE THE METRIC SYSTEM!!!”






Listen to this doctor…

…and not this one:



At last, the reason I went into tech instead of medicine like the rest of my family.


Once upon I time, I used to associate an American flag on your social media profile as meaning “having a can-do attitude.”

These days, it’s more often than not that it means this instead:


It’s an iron-clad law of humor that the butt is always funny:


It would appear that way.


As a super-social guy, the incessant “I hate going outside and dealing with people” posts drive me crazy, but this one at least made me chuckle:


And finally, let me leave you with this blessing: