Category Archives: Policy

Pretty Pretty Butterflies

I’ve recently heard that Miriam Santiago wants to eliminate the practice of being a “political butterfly” in our country. To the uninitiated a political butterfly is someone who switches political parties every election or when it benefits them the most.

I really don’t even care that the proposal comes from Miriam, one of the most prominent political butterflies in the system. What I do care about is the method that is proposed to solve the situation. She proposes that everyone who changes their party within one year of being elected be forced to give up their position.

What will that accomplish exactly? If you are a politician in a position of power what a party is really after is your vote on the issues. Not whether your name is on their membership list. If a person wanted to jump ship with Miriam’s plan in effect all you would really have to do is stay in your current party and vote with the party you intend to join when applicable. All the bill would have accomplished is to make it so that you officially leave your party one year later than you would have anyway.

If you really want to stop this practice then all you have to do is move to a two-party system and strengthen our parties. I mean could you imagine a person changing from a Republican or Democrat and vice versa every election? With only two recognized parties our politicians would be forced to adhere to one or the other. Constant defections like we have now would leave them with no party to join and get funds from.

This is really a minor issue though. This bill has almost no chance to get passed. It just irks me that some of our supposed brightest minds still solve the symptoms of our problems rather than the root.

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Unstoppable Philippine Army Juggernaut of Doooooom!

Unless you really have not been paying attention these past few weeks you will know that the dispute over the Spratley group of islands have flared up yet again. You have China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and a host of other countries including our very own Philippines are disputing the territory.

I love our response to the situation. Beef up the army! Talk tough with the Chinese then threaten them with the increased might of the glorious Philippine army! Which has, by the way, has been unable to prevent any of the insurgencies that have plagued our country. Nor have they been able to make a dent in the terrorist organizations operating in Mindanao, Even with US military aid and intelligence. I gather they will send our PT boats against that new aircraft carrier the Chinese are building.

I also have more bitter news for the Aquino government. The U.S.A will not come to our aid in a shooting war, no matter what our treaties say. I’m not even thinking about the interests of the big corporations which have a say in American politics. Of course they don’t want a war with their most profitable trading partner. These interests can be set aside for the right price. After all if America goes to war with China they probably won’t have to pay their massive debt to that country. The Americans will not fight because their people are not ready for it. There is no will for another war and rightly so. They have just begun to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Asking them to fight now would be like asking them to engage in another war after Vietnam.

What now then? The way I see it our country has two options. Fight the Chinese or try and make a deal and get something out of the Spratley’s to our benefit. In essence sell the Spratley’s to the Chinese. Before I detail what each option would entail I would just like to make a categorical statement. We will not be able to claim the Spratley’s ever. China is just in too strong of a position for them to lose this territorial dispute to a country which is probably not even considered a minor power.

If we still decide to fight after knowing this fact, building up our army is not the way to go about it. The gap is just too large. Even if we spent a hundred times what we have just spent to upgrade our military we would not achieve anything close to parity. Our money and effort should be spent on coalition building. Joint exercise with Taiwan, Vietnam and any other countries who are willing. Diplomatic visits and alliances with other countries bordering China. Essentially we have to make sure that if it comes to war we will not be fighting alone. Ironically when it comes to China countries like Vietnam and Taiwan with more proximity and a higher stake in the situation would actually make more stable allies than the Americans.

A better course of action would be to sell the Spratley’s to the Chinese. Of course the nay-sayers will point out that all that oil is worth more than the money we will receive but again I say that we will never be able to mine that oil. It actually has 0 value to us right now. We might as well get something out of it.

Of course it would be political suicide for any leader to actually suggest that the islands be sold. Any “sale” would have to be achieved by subtler means. There are plenty of territorial dispute cases in the International Court of Justice. The Channel Island dispute with the islands going to England for example. Our country could do everything it can to make sure that it will lose any ICJ case that China starts. In return since China can’t really pay us outright they could assume some of our national debt “in the spirit of greater cooperation and charity with its Asian neighbors”. The Filipino people always ready to believe another conspiracy theory could be told that the Chinese bought the ICJ ruling. There we go the Chinese get the islands and we get a greatly reduced debt and no one is the wiser about it.

These are really only examples of the alternative ways we can approach the problem. The main point is that our current solutions of relying on American intervention and upgrading our military will not solve our problem and will actually lead to disaster.

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The Greatest Trick

A friend of mine once told me that the greatest trick the Republicans have played is to get the poor south to vote against their own economic self interests for the GOP. Of course it is obvious that my friend was a staunch democrat. I disagree with him though. I think the greatest trick the republicans have pulled is professional wrestling.

I’m not referring to the fact that it is fake. Everyone knows that, as an aside I still maintain that even though it is fake it still requires more hard work and dedication that most of the other “real” sports. What I am talking about is how the GOP has used the program to push it’s agenda.

It’s a stroke of genius really. Wrestling is like our modern day equivalent of the gladiatorial games during the roman era. It reaches a wide, mostly younger audience. Its heroes are mostly emulated and cherished (except for that john cena debacle) and it’s villains usually act like assholes and get the public to hate them. What better way to mold the public’s mindset to favor the republican’s point of view?

First example I could think of right of the bat is the coalition against the war on terror. You had France and other countries refusing to participate. At the exact time they did it you had Renee Dupree come into the scene. With his arrogant French attitude insulting all Americans and telling them what morons they were for supporting the war on terror. With entertainment like this it becomes easier for the American public to discount France’s stance.

Next you have Muhammad Hassan, appearing on the scenes after 9/11 just when the republicans were cracking down on terrorists and limiting some of the freedoms of the public to better protect it against terror attacks. Hassan plays an Arab-American who is aggrieved at the recent racial profiling and complaining about it, till he brings his terrorist clad friends to the ring to help him beat up his opponents. Reinforcing the point that, yes, they just might be terrorists and we do need to limit their freedoms.

There are too many specific examples for me to list here. I just wanted to show you some to establish that, yes, there is a pattern and it is systematic, deliberate, and planned. Next time you watch your favorite WWE show. Watch who acts like an asshole and what their cause is. You will see what I am talking about.

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Wrong and Crosswise

Well the appointment ban is over and our president is now placing various people who ran under his ticket in positions of power in his cabinet. Business as usual I suppose. I would normally not care. The people assigned are seemingly qualified to run the positions they have been given and they are blessed by the fact that the president does owe them something.

What irks me about the whole situation is the reaction of the president to the media and how they handle the news. They seem to be apologetic about the whole thing and try to downplay the appointment of Roxas and the other appointees. This is just terrible PR. My annoyance just doubles when I remember that one of the main points often repeated by the president and his team is how the media is against them. I dunno, maybe if they learn to put a better spin on things they wouldn’t get hit as much?

Do not apologize for the appointments. Especially if you do actually think that these people are the best fit for the job at hand. I mean the president did choose them to be future senators, congressmen, and a future vice president. He must have had some confidence in their abilities. In fact I wouldn’t even make a big deal out of it. Just a quick announcement regarding their appointment then a press release that would also go on their website as to their qualifications, plans, any other issues like that.

The main issue in the whole thing is of course Binay, and how the people accepted him but rejected Roxas. So address that issue and that issue only. Which is a very simple issue to address. What does it matter if the people voted for Binay? They did not vote for him to make this type of decisions. They supported Mr. Aquino to. They knew full well that when they voted for one as the vice president and one for the president that the president would be making all staffing choices. Usually the vice only gets one department. The argument that it is against the people’s will for Roxas to be appointed is precisely the argument that should validate his appointment. The people gave their trust to Noynoy to make these decisions by voting him in. Whether these decisions are right or not, will be based on the appointees performance. After all, like Diokno they can still be removed if they perform poorly.

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It’s a Trap!!!

Remember when you were a kid? You would ask for lots and lots of candy or chocolate or whatever it is you fancy. You know or at least had an inkling that it would make you sick, but you still asked for it anyway. There would even be a temper-tantrum if you didn’t get it. Why have we not outgrown that yet?

Recently the labor groups have asked for a wage increase. The most militant of them asking for the minimum wage to be increased by P 120 . What’s the wage pegged at now? 400 pesos? 410 pesos? They ask for what amounts to more than a 25% wage increase for every person earning minimum. They claim that that wage level is needed to support a family of six everyday while living in the capital.

Before making my main point in the article let me segue a little. Don’t have a family of six! Try a family of three or four! Why have a family of six when you know perfectly well that you cannot support them? This is precisely why we need something like the RH bill.

 Back on topic now. I wonder what would happen to this group if their wish was actually granted. Alright everybody you now make 25% more. How many small and medium businesses would close down? Faced with taxes, competition from bigger companies, and other challenges, would they be able to continue? The big companies that have factories here would be more able to shoulder the burden of adding a quarter to their payroll for the same amount of work. But would they stay here if they had to? Other countries already offer lower wages than us. We are still competing due to other advantages, but add that much expense and most companies here will pack up and leave. Sure some might stay if they think the cost of moving the factory or call center would be too much, but no new factories would be set up. All those children from the family of six would have nowhere to work when they grow up. The people who would be given money by their request would be out of a job next month.

Yet, the labor groups are upset at the “pro-capitalist” administration for denying them the wage increase. Instead only granting a modest 22 peso increase. I get that they might think that that is not enough but seriously ask for something reasonable! How can you ask for something that will almost certainly drive most of your supporters out of employment and then get angry when it is not granted? These groups would appear more credible and garner more sympathy for their cause when they ask a wage increase that could conceivably granted without driving out all business and then get denied for some reason.

Negotiate in good faith. Ask for what you actually want. Instead of using the whole process as a way to garner points with your members. Showing them that you want huge wage increases for them knowing that the government will never grant it. I honestly would like to see these groups given exactly what they ask for one of these days. Then watch as their own members lynch the leaders.

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Perennial Problems

Time to take a break from Bin Laden and his awesome death and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. In this article I would like to talk about corruption. It is one of our nations biggest problems. In fact whenever someone comes up with a plan to make the country prosper, it invariably ends up beginning with curbing corruption. I’m sure a quick search in yahoo will easily tell you how much money we are losing to it every year.

Time for the ISYW angle! How do we solve this problem? Surely there is an innovative way to deal with this. Well the answer is no actually. There isn’t. There are plenty of showpiece measures such as anti-graft drives, impeachment trials, etc. I am sure they flush out some of the worst offenders. But the gist of the situation is, our system is inherently flawed. Which makes it so that corruption is something we will always have to deal with. We would be better of focusing on other problems. Debt servicing, low employment, etc. I’m sure we can pick one out of the huge list of problems we have.

The main flaw in our system that keeps corruption around is simple. We do not pay enough to have officials that are not corrupt. Our president’s salary is 95000 a month. A CEO of a small multinational company would make something like two million a month. Look at the differential between the two. Then think about the complexity of the job put before them. Our president’s salary is listed as salary grade 33. With the other public officials getting paid even lower than he does. Then consider how much it would cost to actually get into office in the first place.

The system itself is set to fail. We are basically relying on the altruism of every single person in public office. We need every single one of them to pursue their positions out of their selfless love for country instead of any motive of self-interest, otherwise the system fails. Realistically, how many people are like that? How many would give up everything just to serve the country, at almost no pay? One out of our population? Two? Then we see that these people, who are precisely what the system is designed for could very well be kept out of it by the prohibitive cost of obtaining office. Even assuming they get it. How long will the altruism stay? Once they are beggared by the rising costs of living coupled with their low paying jobs.

Of course increasing political wages to the point where they would earn as much as their counterparts in the business sector is not a silver bullet. We could very well still choose people which are corrupt for office. But at least the system is set up so that people who are willing to work for both their own and the nation’s good are accommodated. A kind of guilt is also created. Wherein people who get paid this high amount officially have a obligation to do something to earn it. As opposed to the expectation of graft in our current system, because they don’t get paid enough to survive otherwise.

Sadly this will never get implemented in our country. We just have such a bad image of our politicians that we will not enact this. The reaction of everyone would be that they are already so corrupt. Why pay them more? Even if what you are doing really has nothing to do with the current politicians at hand. But rather setting it up so that we can attract a better breed of future politicians.

The only solution left to us is to ignore the problem. Yes sadly that is it. Instead we focus on performance. In essence you can be as corrupt as you want. Set your graft to as high as you think you are worth. But be sure that you are worth that much. Anti-corruption drives should not focus on the most corrupt. No. They should focus on the most incompetent. Then once they are gone they should focus on those with a high incompetence to corruption ratio. Basically under performers. Then drive them out. You will be left with a bunch of highly corrupt officials. In fact the whole government will probably be made up of them. But they will be crooked officials who perform all their functions to the best of their abilities. In essence we get what we pay for.

That’s pretty much it. Remember always expect everyone to act with their own self-interest foremost in their mind. If you take this into consideration and plan for it most systems you set up will work.

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Christian Jihadi

I’m officially a terrorist! Woohoo! I wonder if I should get one of those “die infidels” fatigue patterned t-shirts. At the very least I should get a red headband. Where should I start? I don’t want to blow myself up immediately. That would be so final. I’m also not sure I will get seventy female virgins. I’m not Muslim so I might get males. That would be bad. Maybe a bus bombing? I could probably kidnap someone too.

Well if you didn’t know yet, this is a colorful way to introduce my topic for today. One of the leading bishops of the catholic church in our country has officially declared that all people who support the Reproductive Health bill are terrorists. Dibs on the name! I haven’t thought of one yet, but I will make sure it is awesome. In fact when it does come out I hope everyone joins my new terrorist organization. Scare the government into enacting the RH bill! Free ski masks for everyone! Bring your own air-soft gun though.

What is a terrorist though? What is more despicable. Someone who kills his victims cleanly? Or cuts off both arms and legs and lets them live. Even releases them to wander in the streets. Even if we assume that everything they say is true and that even condoms kill, the church is even more guilty. At least we only kill. They condemn thousands of unplanned children to live in abject poverty. Wandering from street to street in search of food. The real kicker is we actually have the technology available to prevent this and still the church tells us to condemn them to this. It’s like having the capability to print bibles in all languages but for some reason keeping it all on your own. Preventing the use of new medicines because you thought your ways were best. Oh wait….. they did that too.

But let’s not get sidetracked. The only reason the church is parroting this morality argument is that this is all they have. They can’t argue that its not good to reduce the population of our country. They can’t argue that there are already too many unemployed. They can’t even argue that most of the new children will come from the lower economic sectors. They may try to raise straw-man arguments by saying population density does not equal population growth but any sane person knows that it is only a part of the solution not the entire thing. So they are reduced to making moral judgments.

Which is not even the real reason why they are against it. Like I said in my previous post. The Protestants and Muslims are getting more numerous. For the first time in our history the church is actually in danger of losing its political stranglehold on our country. So while a majority of our people are still catholic its time to make more catholic babies which grow up to support the church.

Well here we are. Fellow terrorists against the church. Feel proud everyone! Wear the badge of terrorist proudly! Join the C.L.F. Go Christian Liberation Front! Don’t like the name? Suggest something in comments!

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