Wrangling over public opinion

Economic news: ADB ups RP GDP growth forecast to 7% while Peso rises to 7 1/2-yr high. A cautionary note: Vietnam close to overtaking RP in shipping–UN.

Postmortem on the transport strike: Transport strike fizzles out.

For several years now, transport organizations have generally been pandered to by, and thus, cooperative with, government. the Left thus had to prove it still had clout with transport operators, never mind if public opinion sided with them or not.

Arroyo seeks return of subversion law while Esperon wouldn’t mind extension as AFP chief (for purposes of comparison, see Esperon: I’m ready to go with clear conscience, which also has Esperon not minding an extension; perhaps a trial balloon, but by whom? Definitely, the President’s decision come the expiration of Esperon’s present term, will be seen as significant).

Good or bad for the Republic? Libyan govt pitches into bring peace to South:

Saif Al-Islam Al-Qaddafi, eldest son of Qaddafi, is on a state visit to the Philippines, where he met with President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday.

He aims to ask the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to reconcile with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from which it split in 1978, Libyan diplomats said. He was expected to have met with representatives of both the MNLF and the MILF later Thursday.

Wrangling over the survey continues: Malacañang on warpath, tags Serge Osmeña:

Osmeña explained how the survey results became public.

“Last Tuesday when I was in Bacolod to visit my 94-year-old mother in the hospital, I got a text from Pulse Asia’s Ana Tabunda. She was briefing ABS-CBN on the regular periodic survey findings of Pulse. That survey had included questions on corruption. I did not know that and I commissioned a handful of rider questions on trust ratings of some leaders and the most corrupt and most honest President,” Osmeña said in a text message.

“Ana asked if I could lift my embargo so that she could disclose my data to ABS… When I agreed, ABS later called me up to ask if they could announce my poll findings on their newscast and ABS inquired why I had commissioned the poll. I replied that the opposition office takes regular surveys to feel the pulse of the citizenry. We have alternated between using Pulse and SWS. Our cost for this rider was in the low six figures,” he said.

Two editorials try to dissect the administration reaction to the survey.

In the Inquirer editorial, they slice and dice through the administration’s objections:

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said in a statement written in Filipino, “is the President’s unceasing service to the millions of Filipinos, not her rating in surveys of 1,500 people.”

The implication is that the universe of survey respondents is too small as to be representative. This comes as news to us, because Malacañang has in fact depended on similar surveys, conducted by the same polling organizations, when they meet its objectives. The President’s election victory over main rival Fernando Poe Jr. was predicted by the surveys, and Arroyo officials used that very trend in the last several weeks of the 2004 campaign to defend Malacañang, in 2005, against accusations of election fraud raised by the “Hello, Garci” tapes. Those surveys had more or less the same sample size, but did we hear any Malacañang official whining about its unrepresentativeness then?

In his blog, Newsstand, John Nery, who has taken pains to dissect many a survey and the process, for those who continue to be skeptical of statistics.

In the Business Mirror editorial, the bottom line, it says, is the issue of trust. It first catalogs the virtues of the President:

It truly is tragic that a President under whose watch macroeconomic stability was achieved under the most challenging conditions, and who has displayed a keen devotion to her work, following a punishing schedule despite her own health risks, is now seen as “most corrupt” even though no court has found her to have stolen a centavo from the republic. Viewed from this angle, it’s easy to understand Malacañang’s deep-seated frustration at the survey.

Then asks, despite these virtues, why is she still being hammered in terms of negative public opinion?

Critics of the Trillanes-Lim group wonder aloud why the “destabilizers” never seem to tire of raising the same old issues against her presidency. Simple: the “same old issues” remain “same old issues” because there was never any satisfactory resolution, in the public mind, to them. In short, no closure.

Worse, in every case, the president was often perceived as being too protective of the parties named in each controversy, whether a relative, political supporter or patron, or a subordinate official. Thus, it has come to pass that at the end of the day, the blame was put at her doorstep.

To every congressional inquiry, her legal advisers have thrown all conceivable means to block efforts to ferret out the truth: Executive Order 464 is a classic, mocking the very principle of checks and balances in a democracy…

There are many more controversies without closure: the Venable contract, the Joc-joc Bolante fertilizer scam, “Hello Garci,” and the alleged corruption in the military even as soldiers die in the field partly from substandard materiel and gear.

And finally, it asks, why does the President get a raw deal compared to say, Fidel V. Ramos?

At the end of the day, some people have raised the question of how come Mrs. Arroyo received a lower score than Fidel V. Ramos, whom critics say seems to have a “Teflon” ability to brush off such megacontroversies as the Centennial Expo, PEA-Amari, the onerous independent power producer contracts, and the multibillion-peso tax-credit scam that happened during his administration.

We hazard a guess: Mr. Ramos has not been perceived to be eager to use every available stratagem–when he was president and after–to block official inquiries or efforts to ferret out the truth. He had the patience to explain himself well, would personally prepare position papers and documents, and would tell his accusers, in and out of Congress, that he did a judgment call each time, and if he were to be made liable for his acts, so be it. He was seen on national TV attending several congressional hearings, facing his accusers. So whether or not people have evidence of any direct participation by Mr. Ramos in any of these controversies, perhaps–just perhaps–people see him as someone not going out of his way to cover up or block the efforts of truth-seekers. After all, the Pulse survey was admittedly tracking perception from the very start: and unfortunately for her, the perception she and her minions have tried so hard to block all inquiries has reinforced the suspicion she had committed something wrong.

Anyone intent on prosecuting a case is convinced they are right and will win; anyone defending themselves in a case is convinced they are innocent and will prevail. Foregone conclusions in any sort of trial is dangerous thing because it means it’s not a trial but a kangaroo court. Part of the brinkmanship of the administration is to completely ignore the majority of her critics who pointed out that subjecting her to accountability procedures also meant she had the opportunity to vindicate herself fully.

In his column, Amando Doronila tackles the survey results, too:

There are valid issues that can be raised about the survey. The first is the time context of the comparison of records of the five presidents. The second, which is less important than the first, is the timing of the survey. Osmeña has said that he had wanted to test political awareness of the public in relation to the 2010 election, which is still far off, making me conclude that the survey is a wasted effort at this stage in terms of immediate political impact.

For the first time, someone has tried to quantify corruption in the case of the President. Newsbreak breaks it down to $164.7 million, a bit over $1 million for every centimeter of the President’s height (150 cm. is the President’s height):

Newsbreak estimates the amounts involved in the alleged major corruption cases under the Arroyo administration. (In US dollars; based on a US$1=42 pesos exchange rate)

IMPSA deal $ 2 million
Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. 14 million
Piatco 20 million
Jose Pidal account 7.6 million
US properties 7.1 million
Fertilizer scam 17.3 million
North Rail project 50 million
NBN-ZTE deal 32.9 million
Jueteng collections 10 million
Palace cash handouts 3.8 million
TOTAL $ 164.7 million

Why aren’t the law-and-order types demanding two things, I wonder: the prosecution of policemen accused of looting the Manila Peninsula, and the Makati Shangri-La for refusing permission to post snipers on its roof? See the Newsbreak story:

The Marines and the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF), who led the assault, were working with limited information.

They did not have prior intelligence information on the plan of Antonio Trillanes IV and Danilo Lim to take over the hotel. They were in the dark on exactly how many armed followers were with Trillanes and Lim–and their positions inside the Manila Pen. All they had was a map of the lobby of the hotel which they got from the Makati police.

The situation was so frenzied at the Pen that the soldiers were unable to coordinate with the hotel staff regarding the map and positions of rebels.

The Marines planned on posting some of their men at the Makati Shangrila–for possible sniper shots but the hotel disagreed and refused to cooperate.

Also, Charges vs Guingona, other civilians at Manila Pen dismissed. On a related note, quarter of people surveyed said they were willing to go out in the streets. To me, this is huge, but of course what remains to be asked is what would the other three quarters do in a situation that would bring the one quarter into the streets?

Incidentally, an interesting Newsbreak story on group dynamics:

In fact, the same October survey shows that 25 percent of the respondents will “do whatever is necessary to have a president resign or be removed from office.”

Here’s the statistical analysis, provided by Pulse Asia executive director Ana Tabunda. While 25 percent of Filipinos may be willing to do whatever is necessary to remove a corrupt president from office, there is one presumption in the survey question. That they are “convinced that the President should resign.” The question is: were they convinced on November 29?

Newsbreak recalls what analysts and historians have shared to us about failed revolutions in the past. That is, no revolution launched during the holidays nor in the rainy season ever succeeded in the Philippines. Filipinos, the analysts said, never like anything to go in the way of a happy Christmas celebration. They, too, don’t want the hassle of getting wet in the rain.

On November 29, the holiday spirit was in the air, primarily due to early Christmas carols and decorations in malls and giving of the 13th month pay. It was also raining.

Overseas, Whither Malaysia?

Will dissent increase? Is Abdullah Badawi in electoral trouble? Will unrest spread outside of the opposition parties to the populace at large? What do the demonstrations mean for investors?

The answers are mixed. Despite a general feeling of malaise over the economy, it actually grew at the fastest pace since 2005 - 6.7 percent in the third quarter - on rising domestic demand and investment as well as commodity exports, although manufactured exports declined somewhat. So far, unrest appears to have been contained largely within the opposition despite widespread grumbling, particularly on the Internet, and does not appear to be concerning investors. The Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) said in its 2008 Economic Outlook for East Asia, released this week, that reduced corporate taxes are expected to continue to lure foreign investment. Nobody is particularly nervous about the protests.

Unless there is a dramatic change, it is inconceivable that the Barisan Nasional, the collection of ethnically-based political parties that make up the national ruling coalition, would lose an election when it is called, expected to be sometime next year. But by Malaysian standards the electorate may deliver a blow to the Barisan, which has ruled the country since independence in 1957. Ethnic Chinese, who make up 23.7 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook, have been disenchanted by rising Malay bellicosity and widespread reports of corruption.

Rural Malays can largely be expected to continue to support the Barisan and the United Malays National Organisation, the leading ethnic party in the coalition because of the benefits delivered to them by the National Development Plan, the successor to the New Economic Policy or NEP in the form of schooling, redistribution of wealth and other assistance. Commodity prices, because of China’s voracious appetite, are up, particularly for palm oil and rubber.

Although urban professional Malays in Kuala Lumpur and other cities appear to be increasingly unhappy with what they regard as the hijacking of the NEP by rent-seeking cronies and a series of events involving local corruption, nothing has galvanized them into real action against the Barisan. For one thing, their options are relatively limited. The jeans-wearing BMW drivers and their companions in the urban areas who have forsaken strict Islamic dress have little in common with the ascetic Islamic foundations of Parti Sa-Islam Malaysia, the biggest Malay opposition party outside the coalition.

In the blogosphere, an interesting account of meeting, and working, with Trillanes in Iloilo City Boy. And a list of winner and losers in The Warrior Lawyer. In Katataspulong, a catalog of lost opportunities for a province. Mongster’s Nest provides a political lexicon for the concluding year. Ped Xing on land reform.

Uniffors takes a look at the ongoing Transco bidding.

And Going Through a (Phase)Book just made me laugh very hard indeed!

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173 comments

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    • BrianB on December 16, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Silent,

    I think it’ all psychological. Look at Mariannet Amper. Crazy kid…!

    • Madonna on December 16, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Again again again.

    Callous, so callous…why focus on witty wrestling matches or discrediting surveys when people are dying? – ramrod

    Welcome back Sir Ramrod. Re: your statement above, agree and agree.

    I mean why nitpick so much about that survey. It doesn’t matter much whether GMA is the most corrupt or not. The GMA administration is very, very, VERY corrupt. Period. Moreover she has evaded/blocked/corrupted/co-opted/neutralized legitimate redress-of-grievance mechanisms that are trying to hold her accountable for her acts. She speaks of the “rule of law” as if she follows it. As Gen Lim said, not only is GMA the most corrupt official in the country today, she is also its top corruptor. She needs to go, the sooner the better. The damages to the nation are ever increasing with her continued misrule and pillage. — ay na_ku

    TO the Cat,

    Read the above. Your strategem is to issue questions not for the sake of arriving at answers, but in aid of your biases. This is usually called INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY.

    To put it bluntly, I have better things to with my time than to indulge “questions” kuno from lazy whiners. Ano ka sinuswerte?

    I you want to get to the bottom of things, you act and become proactive, YOU DO NOT WHINE.

    Oh, yeah dearie I do issue certificates of moral character from time to time. I bet nobody asks you. Mwheehehe.

    • Silent Waters on December 16, 2007 at 11:52 am

    BrianB

    Not trying to be facetious about this. The question is legitimate. One incident does not disprove this.

    My question, as indicated by the site mlq3 sent, underscores the fact that maybe, we Filipinos, want to just be left alone and not be governed by anybody at all. (Am not agreeing with it by the way).

    Maybe that’s what it really is? I can say as a matter of fact (although this is an anecdotal incident rather than proof) than Pinoys in American all want to be leaders in their respective Pinoy communities. Gusto nila sila ang number one so much so that factions and groups abound. Ayaw nila maging sunud-sunuran sa iba.

    Not to discount the shenanigans of any of the administrations involved, but is it possible that it’s just our way of rebellion? For some others, it would be called the green eyed monster as that person is better off. The crab mentality, etc etc.

    I am not referring to the poor who seems to not enough have any time to reflect on what’s going on. It’s more to do with the elites and middle class (oh, CVJ, happy ka na ba na this time sila naman ang tinitira ko? 🙂 )

    Just my middle class thought…(baka kasi may magsabi na middle class thinking kasi ako kaya unahan ko na)

    • BrianB on December 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Silent,

    Our middle class is weak because most of them want to be like the rich. It’s stupid thinking. How many people do you think can be rich in a country, never mind a poor one? What the middle class should do i try to change this system of palakasan and connections, like what I’ve been trying to do since college (even risking financial advancement). Sure, maybe it’s just my personality that keeps me outside the circle of OWE-nership. Still, logic is on my side. I repeat my question: how many rich people can there in a country. Answer: strengthen the middle, give the masses the rights promised to them by the constitution and everyone (excepting the elite of course) will feel a lot better.

    • BrianB on December 16, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Sure, keep complaining but complain to the right people. And don’t complain to me!

    • Madonna on December 16, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Sure, keep complaining but complain to the right people. And don’t complain to me! — BrianB

    Precisely, precisely. Calling all whiners.

    • Mita on December 16, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    silent waters (gee, that sounds like a Native American name..)

    my theory about the Filipino distrust of our government, and anything Pinoy for that matter, is due to a deep-seated lack of self-confidence – proof: voluntarily providing educational/social credentials even when unnecessary. even when we say we are proud to be Pinoy, there will always be a preference for things foreign. just look at our grocery shelves….BUY PINOY.

    this is probably because of our experience being a colony of Spain and the US and having foreigners running things, amongst us, for much longer than we were independent…

    colonization for over 300 years is also the reason why Filipino men tend to be spoiled more than their female counterparts. while the women were socially accepted by the colonizers, someitmes even marrying them, the Indio male was made to feel like second class citizens in their own country. Women, so it is said, over-compensated for this social inequality by spoiling their men.

    This is not my own theory, it’s something I read years ago – source forgotten…

  1. To put it bluntly, I have better things to with my time than to indulge “questions” kuno from lazy whiners. Ano ka sinuswerte?

    Yeah and to me that is INTELLECTUAL PARALYSIS. You do not have the answers, so stop from making alibi.

    YOu with your alternick or handle giving a certificate of good moral character is just like giving a certificate addressed to TO WHOM IT AY CONCERN and signed by ANONYMOUS.
    mwehehe.

  2. Callous, so callous…why focus on witty wrestling matches or discrediting surveys when people are dying.

    Wow another doomsayer. Baka naman sabihin mo magugunaw na ang mundo. So what did you do to stop people from dying?

    Making this senseless comment? sheesh

  3. This is just my observation only so hear me out….from the time of Marcos as I was growing up in my teen years all the way to GMA, I haven’t heard anything good said about the government.

    I agree with you. Kahit sino pa ang ilagay mo diyan,tiyak ding makicriticize as long as there are people whose personal agenda were not met in supporting the winning candidate, there are media people who want to be a personality cult and the usual whiners an turncoats.

    Hohum.

    Just give 90 day-honeymoon stage for a new president-elect and expect for the mud-throwing to start until his term is finished.

    hohoho

    • vic on December 17, 2007 at 2:55 am

    that’s what i wanted to point out. your survey showed majority’s been part of corruption in one way or another. and tom is currently doing illegal cockfighting

    dinapinoy,I already emphasized in my original comment that Tom would rather have his roosters euthanized (with great cost to him)and he is not trying to bribe, or corrupting the officers, but simply breaking the law which they are ready to take the consequences, and if caught repeatedly the cops may eventually ask the courts to register a criminal records on him and the rest of the “lawbreakers” instead of just simply monetary fines and lectures and community service.

    They cockfight afficionados are more of lawbreakers than corruptors and i think there may be some difference between the two….and just like anywhere there are just as many lawbreakers here, but that usually when get caught, they are by law treated equally before the Justice System which in my observation is soo independent and impartial without regards to the individual’s stature. and that makes a lot of difference…and so far not heard or read any politician or elected official intervenes in an individual’s court proceeding, parole or amnesty, but it is all done according to law, by the proper agency so authorized, like the parole board, the prison warden or by the court officer.

    Like for this example: a convicted felon, except for murder and others which requires minimum sentence before being qualied for early parole, can apply for parole after serving One Third of his Sentence and is Entitled to Mandatory Parole after serving Two Thirds. there’s is no need for the PM or anybody to intervene, unless of course the higher court, in the process of Appeal…

  4. A great rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife’s adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death.
    The rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him, the mob forbears, and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. “is there anyone here” he says to them, “who has not desired another man’s wife, another woman’s husband?”
    They murmur and say, “We all know the desire. But rabbi, none of us has acted on it.”
    The rabbi says, “Then kneel down and give thanks that God made you strong.” He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, “Tell the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he’ll know I am his loyal servant.”
    So the woman lives, because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder.

    Another rabbi, another city. He goes to her and stops the mob, as in the other story, and says, “Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.”
    The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. Someday, they think, I may be like this woman, and I’ll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated.
    As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground, the rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman’s head, and throws it straight down with all his might. It crushes her skull and dashes her brains onto the cobblestones.
    “Nor am I without sin,” he says to the people. “But if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead, and our city with it.”
    So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance.
    The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far, they die. Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him.

    Speaker for the Dead,
    Book 2 of the Ender Series
    by Orson-Scott Card

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 7:43 am

    “colonization for over 300 years is also the reason why Filipino men tend to be spoiled more than their female counterparts. while the women were socially accepted by the colonizers, someitmes even marrying them, the Indio male was made to feel like second class citizens in their own country. Women, so it is said, over-compensated for this social inequality by spoiling their men”

    In a survey by *Time* magazine, the Philippines was actually ranked in the Top 5 (taking its place amongst the ranks of highly-advanced secular societies) in terms of opportunities available to women to prosper and grow. Key among the criteria for these rankings if I recall right was the amount of professional participation women exercised within the surveyed societies.

    I interpret that as indicating that it is really Filipino women that are the pillars of Pinoy society. They are compensating mightily for the dysfunction brought about by the general ethical bankruptcy and commercial ineptitude characteristic of many Pinoy men.

    • Jon Mariano on December 17, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Wom ang galing ni Benign0! Believe naman ako sa interpretation niya! Kaya lang mas malala pa yata sa interpretation ng SWS at Pulse surveys. Sheeshh.

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Jon, what Time Magazine says and how Benign0 interprets it reveals the inner workings of Benign0’s mind. No more, no less.

    • hvrds on December 17, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Congratulations MLQ 3 on your column today. I suggest everyone also read Father Bernas column today.

    I have come to realize after my own historical experiences that our schools and universities in the Philippines are predominantly glorified vocational schools. Practical knowledge is dispensed with little substantive rationales. In the physical sciences rationales can only be understood with actual experimentation of trail and error. In the abstract world of politics and economics the historical experience will have to be the empirical proof.

    Simple words like the theory of democracy and other political systems are clearly mis-appreciated.

    Democracy in theory means self rule. It practice this would be almost impossible to accomplish.

    So we have the practice of representative democracy. The fun starts when we try to decide on the process itself and the principles and ideals that form the foundation or rationale.

    Observers clearly point out that prior to the Industrial revolution China, India and parts of the Middle East were the most prosperous points on the planet.

    Why were they surpassed by Europe and the U.S. Clearly the
    Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and then the Enlightenment period saw the split between science and religion.

    The Europeans prospered and advanced almost with rocket speed compared to the previous thousands of years. Obviously it was science that gave the Europeans the advantage in weaponry with which they colonized the less developed areas of the planet.

    All of this bound by the economic principles of property rights and contract law. The political establishment drew from these two basic principles. They served as the basis for the social contract that bound the agents of representative democracy.

    Countries that zealously followed these two basic principles prospered. China has recently installed economic property rights in their constitution.

    Even today when the economic well being of the country is at stake, the government of the U.S. throws away what many economists consider their orthodoxy on free markets and creative destruction, the State and not the market intervenes to establish “equilibrium.” It actually moves to protect the economic property rights of everyone which many call the moral hazard.

    Here off course these are still alien concepts with everyone extolling either Erap and Big Mike/GMA as our Messiahs while they both look after their own economic interests.

    They turn the institutions of the state into vehicles for patronage based on loyalty to their persons and family.

    The mis-education of an entire country accomplished with very little effort.

    The power should rest with those who do the toiling and creating value.

    Today a man from India has ascended to one of the most prestigious position’s in the the royalty of the corporate world, Citigroup in the United States. An electrical engineer who also happens to be a math wizard who took his University and Phd in Columbia.

    He did not know Erap, Big Mike/GMA to enable him to get his position. He did it all on his own.

    Here we still are fighting on why the tillers of the land are not given the right to till their own land. This entire state is a farce.

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    They turn the institutions of the state into vehicles for patronage based on loyalty to their persons and family. – hvrds

    The weak state has always been a problem since the time of the Americans.

    The presence of a forceful leader like Quezon – master of patronage politics and political infighting – does not alter the essential weakness of the state apparatus. To begin with, the transitional state of the Commonwealth era lacked the full sovereignty to chart its political and economic agenda. At this early period, moreover, the Commonwealth state already showed the structural weaknesses that prevented it from acting as an agency for transformative economic projects – even for policies that posed no threat to colonial power. In the case of land reform, for instance, the state was clearly captive of vested landed interests as early as Quezon’s time…

    …The state neither enjoyed the autonomy from dominant classes like the oligarcy nor had a bureaucracy with the independence to implement developmental projects – Temario C. Rivera, Landlords and Capitalists

    The dominance of the landed oligarchy persists until this day and has demonstrated its resilience against war, peasant revolutions, dictatorship and democracy. Today, as referenced by hvrds above, Fr. Bernas correctly stated that Gloria Arroyo has a ‘golden opportunity’ to score for the other side. I hope she is politically astute enough to realize this.

    • Jon Mariano on December 17, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    CVJ, I was really surprised how Benign0 arrived at his conclusion! I don’t know if it is one more dig on the Pinoy…I would like to hear him explian though.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    “CVJ, I was really surprised how Benign0 arrived at his conclusion! I don’t know if it is one more dig on the Pinoy…I would like to hear him explian though.”

    Looks like I hit a bit of a raw nerve here… 😉

    Rather than carry on with your usual ad hominems and speculations on my charming character, why don’t you ask SPECIFIC questions about the IDEAS presented?

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Benign0, i would like to do that which is why i asked you this twice before:

    …In your chart (with the red and blue lines), what unit of measure does your y-axis represent and can you provide the underlying numerical data? Also, can you put dates (not necessariy exact but could be the general time period) for your x-axis? – cvj October 13th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    The chart i was referring to is this one in your website (between ‘wantists’ and ‘contentists’:

    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/solution/

    I need to know the basis of your chart to be able to evaluate its validity either way.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    “Why were they surpassed by Europe and the U.S. Clearly the
    Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and then the Enlightenment period saw the split between science and religion.”

    Protestant societies IN GENERAL surpassed Catholic nations in prosperity and advanced thinking faculties because unlike the Catholic Church, the different Protestant sects were never unified into a single organisation powerful enough to crush or suppress free thinkers and secular/heretical rulers.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    “I need to know the basis of your chart to be able to evaluate its validity either way.”

    That chart represents MY assessment of relative human progress. So it is subjective and open to debate which, as you probably know by now, I am keen to invite.

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    That chart represents MY assessment of relative human progress. So it is subjective and open to debate which, as you probably know by now, I am keen to invite. – Benign0

    But you must have used real figures to construct the chart, right? I’m asking what units of measure and where did you get the values for your y-axis and x-axis?

    • Jeg on December 17, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I interpret that as indicating that it is really Filipino women that are the pillars of Pinoy society. They are compensating mightily for the dysfunction brought about by the general ethical bankruptcy and commercial ineptitude characteristic of many Pinoy men.

    To be fair to benny, jon, I find this interpretation perfectly reasonable.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    cvj, here is a breakdown of your questions and a response to each one:

    (1) “But you must have used real figures to construct the chart, right?”

    (2) “I’m asking what units of measure […]”

    (3) “[…] and where did you get the values for your y-axis and x-axis?”

    My responses:

    (1) I used real figures in a sense that I put in dummy figures to generate the chart in a spreadsheet application. That’s how i TECHNICALLY constructed the chart.

    (2) No units of measure. The chart represents a subjective assessment of human development. If you want to propose units of measures or suggest different slopes on the lines shown, or even propose a different chart altogether, be my guest.

    (3) I already had a visual idea of what the chart looked like and put in the numbers in the spreadsheet app to fit that visual image.

    • mlwnag on December 17, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Less than 4000 americans have died already in Iraq, more than trillion dollars already spent, billions of dollars lost in mortgage mess. Yet Americans are not complaining.

    Here we are arguing for unproven 147 million dollar corruption which is only 12% of OFW remittance per month. We seem to be spending to much of our energies for nothing.

    We should be thinking of what services or products we can offer to OFW families to compete with the Sy’s, Ayala and Gokongwei’s. If OFW money goes into these big hands, it would not bounce any more. If money goes to small business, it can reverberate and activate other businesses.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    “We should be thinking of what services or products we can offer to OFW families to compete with the Sy’s, Ayala and Gokongwei’s. If OFW money goes into these big hands, it would not bounce any more. If money goes to small business, it can reverberate and activate other businesses”

    Problem is, Pinoys can’t help THINKING SMALL. We’d rather focus energies on the tiddlywink here’s and now’s rather than on the broader systemic issues that underpin our long-term prospects for prosperity and progress.

    • Jeg on December 17, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    mlwnag: …Yet Americans are not complaining.

    Excuse me, but, HUH?

    benign0: Problem is, Pinoys can’t help THINKING SMALL.

    IF that is indeed the case, then how would you suggest we parlay this ‘smallness’ into economic progress? How would you work with this ‘smallness’ for long-term prosperity and progress? Im assuming that arguing that they change to ‘bigness’ is extremely difficult at this point.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    “IF that is indeed the case, then how would you suggest we parlay this ’smallness’ into economic progress? How would you work with this ’smallness’ for long-term prosperity and progress? Im assuming that arguing that they change to ‘bigness’ is extremely difficult at this point.”

    It depends ultimately on what we want to ACHIEVE as a people over the next 10 to 20 years.

    If we are perfectly content with muddling along in mediocrity the way we currently doing, then thinking Small isn’t quite the bad idea that I portray it to be.

    On the other hand, if we see ourselves as a people destined for greatness, then thinking small simply ain’t gonna cut it. Yes, changing to “bigness” is “difficult at this point”.

    The questions therefore follow:

    If NOT “at this point”, then at what POINT do we muster the resolve to change?

    If it is “extremely difficult NOW, do we see this challenge getting easier TOMORROW? Five years hence? Ten years hence? A hundred years hence?

    • Bokyo on December 17, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    …They are all marked by the same attitude to law: What is legal is what we can get away with.”
    pdi ed. 12/17/2007

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I used real figures in a sense that I put in dummy figures to generate the chart in a spreadsheet application. – Benign0

    ‘real figures’ = ‘dummy figures’???

    (2) No units of measure. The chart represents a subjective assessment of human development. If you want to propose units of measures or suggest different slopes on the lines shown, or even propose a different chart altogether, be my guest. – Benign0

    You pulled those imaginary units out of your ass and the best you can do is invite me to do the same? I thought your site was supposed to be ‘Get Real’?

    (3) I already had a visual idea of what the chart looked like and put in the numbers in the spreadsheet app to fit that visual image. – Benign0

    That’s not how studies are normally done. Normally, such charts are a visual representation of empirical results (i.e. real data) backed up by real research. Putting an idea into chart form using ill-defined units is not scientific and gives a false sense of precision.

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Format correction:

    (3) I already had a visual idea of what the chart looked like and put in the numbers in the spreadsheet app to fit that visual image. – Benign0

    That’s not how studies are normally done. Normally, such charts are a visual representation of empirical results (i.e. real data) backed up by real research. Putting an idea into chart form using ill-defined units is not scientific and gives a false sense of precision.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    cvj,

    There is the technical aspect of generating the chart, and there is the communication objective aspect of generating that chart. Obviously you are quite bogged down on the technicalities to regard the broader point behind that chart.

    You gotta think BIG, dude. 😉

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    So you used ‘dummy figures’ to accomplish your ‘communication objective’ and you call that thinking big?

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    “That’s not how studies are normally done. Normally, such charts are a visual representation of empirical results (i.e. real data) backed up by real research. Putting an idea into chart form using ill-defined units is not scientific and gives a false sense of precision.”

    Thing is, I never said that this chart is an outcome of an empirical exercise (which, indeed requires well defined units and a true “sense of precision”).

    What that chart ACUTALLY is is an ILLUSTRATION of a conceptual construct. So your criteria seems to be a bit inappropriate in this instance.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    “So you used ‘dummy figures’ to accomplish your ‘communication objective’ and you call that thinking big?”

    Think of it this way:

    Right now, I am engaged in a LOW-LEVEL discussion with you around the technicalities behind generating a chart that is intended to be an ILLUSTRATION of a HIGH-LEVEL concept.

    • cvj on December 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    In that case, the burden of proof to back up your conceptual construct (which you label ‘Employment of Capital’) is still with you.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    “In that case, the burden of proof to back up your conceptual construct (which you label ‘Employment of Capital’) is still with you.”

    Actually I see it as valid until such time as SPECIFIC counter-arguments to it can be presented.

    Up to the challenge?

    • Jeg on December 17, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    benign0: On the other hand, if we see ourselves as a people destined for greatness, then thinking small simply ain’t gonna cut it.

    Unless youre thinking creatively; be great by being small. Why does BIG = Good, and small = BAD? This is the western, protestant-work-ethic model that has ravaged the environment and exploited peoples. This is the western model that’s based on mathematics where such a thing as infinity exists, and therefore an illusion that growth can be sustained forever is deemed possible. Smallness is the wave of the future. Unless Bigness kills us all first, that is. [wink]

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    “This is the western, protestant-work-ethic model that has ravaged the environment and exploited peoples. This is the western model that’s based on mathematics where such a thing as infinity exists, and therefore an illusion that growth can be sustained forever is deemed possible. Smallness is the wave of the future. Unless Bigness kills us all first, that is.”

    But this is also the model that also virtually eliminated hunger in their societies and, as a result, freed human minds to explore the possibility of vastly wonderous achievement (many of which have been realised).

    It is the same model that is currently being employed to solve the environmental problems it ironically created. It may not be perfect but at least you can see it at work. Third Worldism for its part also creates its own environmental disasters. The problem with Third World societies is that it lacks this model of achievement to fix what it destroys.

    • Jeg on December 17, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    But this is also the model that also virtually eliminated hunger in their societies and…

    …created hunger elsewhere. And death. The voyages of exploration (and if I may add, exploitation) by the western powers werent exactly Disneyland.

    as a result, freed human minds to explore the possibility of vastly wonderous achievement (many of which have been realised).

    ‘Achievement’ is debatable. See my comment above. More and more they are playing catch-up to the damage their model has done. The Chinese didnt have this model and were doing quite well on their own. The Ming emperors tried their hand at expanding their empire until the Confucian bureaucrats concluded that the ‘outside world had nothing to offer China.’

    The problem with Third World societies is that it lacks this model of achievement to fix what it destroys.

    What did Third World societies destroy?

    • Jon Mariano on December 17, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I think that the conclusion Benign0 arrived at is representative of the chart he presented based on dummy data to prove an idea.

    • tonio on December 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    and the nice part about this for him is that he presents a model which he essentially considers right (in his own mind, it is, see?) and challenges other people to prove him wrong.

    he wins either way.

    • inodoro ni emilie on December 17, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    benigs, pull down your meaningless chart. it makes a laughing stock of you who propounds on big aphorism like “great mind talks ideas”.

    great minds don’t engage in intellectual dishonesty as putting caption like this in a contrived chart, “Above diagram shows different points where the course of our development WAS DETERMINED”.

    was determined? by whom? you make it sound as if this was definitively
    arrived at by an academic consensus.

    as cvj rightly observes, if such ideas are mere expurgations from your ass, then flush them down.

    “Right now, I am engaged in a LOW-LEVEL discussion with you around the technicalities behind generating a chart that is intended to be an ILLUSTRATION of a HIGH-LEVEL concept.”

    need to save face? then put a caveat. like, warning: “all this incipient idea is the product of pure imagination meant to further put down pinoys.” because, let’s call spade a spade: that’s all there is to this manipulative contrivance.

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    “…created hunger elsewhere. And death. The voyages of exploration (and if I may add, exploitation) by the western powers werent exactly Disneyland.”

    You assume here that nations do what they do out of some altruistic motive.

    The truth is that it is mainly economics that drive people to do what they do.

    Inidoro, Tonio, and Jon,
    Tough luck, dudes. What I do is put forth theories here that, despite all your foot-stomping, don’t seem to find any convincing alternative or competing ideas from your parts. You are right Tonio. I win either way. 😀

    • inodoro ni emilie on December 17, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Actually I see it as valid until such time as SPECIFIC counter-arguments to it can be presented.

    you make it sound as if what you are proposing is a scientific theory whose strength lies in its falsiability.
    big difference is, science relies on empirical not on dummy data.

    • Jon Mariano on December 17, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Finally, Benign0 exposed his own falsehood by admitting dummy data is the basis of his BIG idea cum theory! The best I can compare him is to a quack doctor…

    I can’t imagine what people would say if Pulse Asia or SWS would claim the same for their surveys…

    • benign0 on December 17, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    “The best I can compare him is to a quack doctor…”

    That is of course easy to do, ignoring the fact that the utter failure of the Philippines to prosper is an indisputable fact to which I use a conceptual chart to illustrate the underlying principle.

    It does not necessarily follow that “dummy data” = “dummy theory” in this instance, considering that as I have already mentioned to Mr. cvj, the dummy data was used to generate the chart that served as an illustration to the concept described in the essay.

    Tough luck for small minds. 😀

    • Jon Mariano on December 17, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Sorry Benign0, you’ve unmasked yourself as a sham. You’re right, it does not necessarily follow that dummy data = dummy theory, but it can! For something coming from Albert Einstein one would give much weight, but coming from Benign0? Oh well. Hahaha!

    • Jeg on December 17, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    You assume here that nations do what they do out of some altruistic motive.

    Im assuming nothing of the sort, as in my example of China. They went out, saw the world, and decided they didnt want it. The Western powers on the other hand went out, saw the world, and decided they wanted everything. Because they thought BIG. Now have to help clean up their mess. I wouldnt mind us cleaning our own mess, but come on…

    (By the way, the only way you can debate cvj on your ideas is if you provided facts, and absent that, it’s just pointless. You still have time to dig up some facts. There isnt a deadline as far as I can tell.)

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