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.
For the second installment in my AGOT series I want to talk about one of the bigger parties in our country: the KBL. Founded by Marcos during the dictatorship years as a coalition party for all his allies. It was of course the dominant party back then, but has long since waned in power.
When you first think of the KBL what is the first thought that comes to your mind? I guarantee it will be one of these two things. First and the probable answer of most of the youth these days is, who the hell are these guys? Second and the probable answer of people in the older generation is, Marcos loyalist. Which actually perfectly illustrates the position of the party now. On the one hand they have terrible PR and direction, so that the younger segment of the population is unaware of them. On the other they have the older population who has already made up their mind about them. Of course in typical Filipino political party fashion they have found that the proper answer to their problems is to do nothing and hope for the best when it comes to elections. Awesome.
The first thing the party needs to do is focus on the youth. One hundred percent. Take the forefront in issues related to the youth. Raise awareness in issues that affect them. Take stands on issues today that benefit them. Most importantly pick the side that is the most popular with them. More than any other party the youth are literally the future for the KBL. Everyone who lived thru martial law will already vote for them based on their feelings for Marcos. The anti Marcos forces already have a negative outlook towards you and will be very hard to shift, while the loyalists a smaller but more committed group will vote for you whether you pander to them or not. There really is no incentive for the KBL to target the older generation when the younger ones will be more receptive.
Of course this is in the short term. In the long term you have to make yourself acceptable to the the whole population again. Getting rid or having the Marcos family leave the party was a start. Next, Natural attrition will play its part in this as people who remember what you did die. But the process can be hastened. Like the lakas party in the previous article they must take more stands in issues so that they will not be defined by their one and only misdeed. Some people who are against Marcos may actually forgive you for it if they like your current agenda. One thing they must not do is to apologize for the Marcos years. That would only remind the public of what you did and would needlessly antagonize your member base.
Overall I give this party a fail, but a close to passing one. They are in a very difficult tactical situation and it would be difficult to form a plan of action. Ironically the Marcos family seems to have realized the approach i mention here. If you look at Bong Bong’s achievements you will see that there are plenty of youth oriented accomplishments. However it does seem that they did not pass on this knowledge to their former party.
I’ve had a little bit of a dry spell recently. I just couldn’t see aything I wanted to write about. SO to break the monotony I decided to write about about our political parties. So for this article and any article with a prefix like this I will be focusing on one of our political parties. Analyzing their strategy and of course commenting on it.
We begin with Lakas. The particulars like when it was founded, where, etc. are relatively easy to find thru wikipedia so I won’t bore you by rehashing them here. What is important is that they were a very popular party before. Having, what I think is the most successful presidency in our history after martial law in the Ramos administration. No coup or Edsa attempts happened, unlike every other administration, the economy was doing well till the Asian crisis, and there was no real flare-ups to derail us. Sure there were still corruption charges but that is to be expected. As I said before our system requires public officials to be corrupt. Couple that with the leadership role the party and its members played in the ouster of Estrada and you had the party in a very favorable position.
Enter Gloria. We all know what her administration was like. Corruption charges everywhere, a list of broken promises, Edsa attempts, etc. I don’t really need to go any further. I honestly think the whole thing could have been handled with proper PR, which none of her people really had, but it is what it is. This administration spent all the goodwill that the party had built up over the years, and didn’t really leave anything for it to work with. As a result they now have a very unfavorable image among the people.
The party is in damage control mode right now. They are trying to sever any connections they may have had with the previous administration and would prefer it if the populace forgot any role they may have had in it. Like any party who doesn’t really know what they are doing they just follow what other people have done before them and hope it works. What do criminals do when the law is searching for them after a crime? They hide. They lay low until the heat is off and they can operate again. The problem is they are not a criminal organization. They are a political party which will have to participate in the coming elections. If you spend all the time between then and now hiding, I wonder what will become the one single issue that people remember and define you by? It really doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.
What they should be doing is taking the forefront on any issue. Rh bill, corruption, drug mules, it really doesn’t matter what. Of course they should support bills that are popular or that would help the country, but that is not really important. What is important is that they will be remembered for something other than Gloria. They could be the party that stood up to the church, backed the church, stood up for labor, etc. Sure some people will dislike them for their stances and other people may like them for their stances but they will base their decision on things other than the previous administration. When the election comes the Gloria issue will still hurt. There is really nothing that can stop that. But the party will be defined by multiple issues so people may vote for them on other grounds.
Overall I would give the party failing marks. It’s not really difficult to reach the logical conclusion of their current political strategy and it is a wonder they are still doing it.
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.
Filed under Policy, rants
Well the church is at it again with the RH bill. Masses and other services calling for divine intervention on the bill. Instructions for the faithful to wear specific colored clothing to show their displeasure at it. Of course you also have the declaration of one priest that anyone who supports the RH bill is not a christian and the declaration of an archbishop that anyone who supports it is a terrorist.
I don’t think anybody else has said it, so I think I will be the first. The RH bill will fail. It will not get passed. It’s not because the bill is bad. It’s not because there is no need for it. I really do think that the bill is sound and very much needed for our country. It will fail simply because the other side wants it more.
The church does conduct plenty of activities to promote it’s view of the RH bill. It also has a weekly forum in the form of the mass to get it’s point across. But those can be overcome. The main problem is that there is no organization amongst the groups who support the RH bill. There are no organized activities. I do believe that a majority of our countrymen want the bill pushed thru as it has obvious benefits. There is a very real danger though that the silent majority will be overrun by a vocal minority. There are a few moves made by individuals to promote the bill, but those are few and far between and have no coherency between them.
I think the RH bill supporters have a total of one face book page where all the news is posted. A page which has not been updated since February or March. In fact I posted there a month or two ago. I stated my support for the bill and asked whether there were other sites or groups who support the bill and what I could do to help push the bill along. There has been no reply yet. I don’t think the RH bill even has an internet forum page for it’s supporters.
It’s not too late. The biggest advantage to the bill is that it is a very good bill. Which means that far less effort needs to go into supporting it than to opposing it. Less doesn’t mean almost none though so some effort is still required. At the very least a website with forums and a link to it from the various organizations which support the bill. This doesn’t even have to cost money as there are some sites in the net which will let you create a free forum based site. An online petition would be relatively easy to set up as well. Especially with a functioning forums. Of course it would be better if any real time rallies or petitions could be organized.
Whatever happens though needs to happen soon. The opponents of the bill are gaining too much ground. I would be perfectly willing to help out any group which supports the RH bill. If anyone reads this and knows of such a group please leave their name and contact number/s in the comments section. It would be a shame to let a great opportunity that the bill gives us pass due to inaction.
Filed under rants, Religion
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.
Filed under Policy, Politics
Osama bin laden is dead! Wootness! Though as one of the newly designated terrorists by the Catholic Church I wonder if I shouldn’t be sad? I mean world terrorist number 1 is dead. I jest though. Everyone should be happy that he is gone.
When I first heard the news, my reaction was “Great! How does this effect the terrorists?” I honestly believe it doesn’t. There are just too many of them, too spread out amongst too many groups for the death of one man to really matter. More than half of the current groups don’t really owe any allegiance to him and with the pressure put on by the US manhunt on him I highly doubt that he was leading his own groups throughout this time. I think it would be more likely that command and control has devolved down onto various organizational lieutenants.
What it is is a huge symbolic victory for the United States and its people. The man who orchestrated the attack on their home ground has finally been brought down and they should rejoice. Well done.
This symbolic victory does bring about a very real danger to the war on terror. A danger so great that it could end up costing the U.S. the entire war. With a victory such as this under their belt the U.S. could very well say that they are done with the war on terror and withdraw all the troops from the hot spots in the middle east. Giving away all the gains they have made. Both for themselves and the world in general.
Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is really the only group who are fighting the terrorists that have the capability to win. Sure Israel and some other nations do their part and I thank them for that but if the U.S. withdraws from the war then the war is effectively over. The Israeli army will go back to purely patrolling their own area and making sure that they are safe from attack. The world forgets about terrorism. Or at least puts it in the back of its mind. And we will have another 9/11 in ten years or so. Another generation of Americans will go there and fight because this one didn’t get the job done.
Celebrate the victory you have now. Cherish it. After all you do deserve every moment of it. But do not be content with it. Always look for more victories. Bin laden has heirs. Other terrorist organizations have leaders. There are plenty of targets out there. Till the day the world is finally rid of terrorists.
Filed under foreign, rants