The Philippines is No. 56 in the Failed State Index. Global Guerrillas explains what failed states are, and the criteria for determining a failed state: the definition relies heavily on the CIA, or to be precise, a policy paper on defining what failed states are. The Global Policy Forum has links to articles on failed states.
Overlooked yesterday was Rigoberto Tiglao’s acerbic commentary on the impeachment charges. One thought triggered by his admittedly partisan pointers: if the impeachment fails because of the incompetence of those pushing the complaint, would any popular action against the government be justified?
Very interesting pieces. Just a few points.
(1) IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m interested that Valenzuela claims that Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bolivia has recently become one of Latin AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s democratic success storiesÃ¢â‚¬Â. This is presumably a different Bolivia from the country whose last two presidents have had to resign after street riots and the threat of civil war and is the most politically unstable state in Latin America today. So unstable in fact that, according to Bush and Co, it is being target by Castro and Chavez as a country with revolutionary potential.
(2) When Thatcher was forced to resign I rejoiced for a week, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure that allowing a handful of Tory grandees to force a prime minister elected only two years earlier to go is to be applauded (from a democratic point of view anyway).
(3) In theory I like the idea of plebiscites. Let the people judge. The best example is probably the Swiss cantons, where almost everything is put to the vote. On the other hand, wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t plebiscites be open to the same kind of vote buying and coercion as elections for public office?
This also reminds me, a reader, who is also a blogger (but who doesn’t want his email or blog quoted), suggests that everyone read Juan Ponce Enrile’s privilege speech promoting charter change.
In the news and the punditocracy, the movie “Masahista” does well abroad (in which blog did I read of that Filipino horror movie supposedly doing well abroad, because the producer of “The Ring” was impressed with it?); Federico Pascal describes being slightly puzzled over the way the President kept thanking him for his help; Dong Puno and Alex Magno are both focused; Connie Veneracion writes on child labor; Tony Abaya discusses ethanol.
In the blogosphere, Miron notices a general decline in interest in politics:
We are sensing this in the form of fewer hits in even the hottest news sites; the sparser and cooler exchanges in chatrooms and blogs; and the waning ratings of primetime news programs: Viewers are sick of this shit.
There are some end of World War II in the Pacific related posts: by The Unlawyer (coolest part of the blog entry: a link to an audio file of the Emperor Showa broadcasting the surrender of Japan); Love & Light (a Filipina living in Japan); there’s also a series of blog posts on the Department of Education (which still lacks a leader since Sec. Butch Abad quit with the rest of the Hyatt gang), and its harnessing business and civic groups to help deliver textbooks: I believe Piercing Pens was the first to blog about it; mongster’s nest does, too (somewhat skeptically); Jove tackles the question too, in this post, but spends much more time describing his first interaction with the President’s defense team.
There are some meditative posts: Edwin Lacierda takes a cue from Blaise Pascal and writes his own “PensÃƒÂ©es,” or thoughts; Paeng muses on how risk-averse the “middle forces” and businessmen are; Banketa Republique has some thoughts on economics and economists; Leon Kilat writes on where he got his name.
And bloggers on blogging and journalism. Buzz Machine reproduces the thoughts of a journalism professor, Jay Rosen, calling for a reexamination of the profession:
The ethics of journalism begin with propositions like: the world is basically intelligible if we have accurate reports about it; public opinion exists and ought to be listened to; through the observation of events we can grasp patterns and causes underneath them; the circle of people who know how things work should be enlarged; there is something called Ã¢â‚¬Å“the public recordÃ¢â‚¬Â and news adds itself meaningfully to it; more information is good for it leads to greater awareness, which is also good; stories about strangers have morals and we need to hear them, and so on. These are the ethics I would teach firstÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
JJ Disini asks if bloggers are parasites, and answers, no:
Information is supposed to flow freely and bloggers who link back to their source are just being courteous. To require bloggers to pay a royalty to cite news items in my view would be an impermissible burden upon the freedom of expression. If democracy thrives because of the free exchange of ideas, then bloggers (particularly, political bloggers) should have the right to make use of news items for purposes of comment and criticism. Intellectual property law recognizes this, calls its “fair use” and removes it from the exclusive rights granted to copyright owners.
Finally, Howie Severino observes that blogging at work can lead to trouble, but sometimes it may be good trouble.