Requiring perspicacity from those dulled by gluttony?

This week’s episode of The Explainer (which you can watch on YouTube) focused on some terms being bandied about in the news, and focused on Warren Buffett’s views concerning the financial meltdown in the USA:

You can also read the transcript over at CNBC.com.

Buffett and many others leveraged their personal influence and prestige to help swing Congressional approval for the bailout bill. This Politico.com story on it reveals the pressures (including fears it represented political suicide) brought to bear on some legislators. Additional behind-the-scenes stories given by opponents-turned-supporters of the bill:

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said that a single conversation caused her to change her mind. She spoke Thursday with California state treasurer Bill Lockyer who told her that if the state’s fiscal situation continued on its current path, California would be unable to pay teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, cops and other essential employees after October 27. Short term credit had become unavailable, he told her, and needed to be loosened up.

And the earthiest analogy of all:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) had a more colorful way to make the same point, quoting LBJ: “It’s like wearing dark pants and p—ing down your leg,” he said before the vote. “It gives you a warm feeling, but no one knows you did it.’

But what followed the passage of the bill was not what American legislators expected, but the opposite: instead of stemming the tide of fanancial panic, the panic continued. And continues. Meanwhile, the confidence of the region is being sapped (see the Bloomberg story on Singapore announcing it’s in a Recession). Observers like AlphaTrends are now pointing out the markets may take decades to recover, based on past experience:

Now as everyone tries to come to grip with what’s going on, the political headlines are, to some, dangerously diverging from the economic headlines. Impeachment season is once more, upon us, and observers like Cocoy are upset that politics is taking center stage:

Don’t get me wrong.

I’d love nothing more than the President getting her day in court. I’d like to see bullet-proof charges presented that would send her and her family to jail but given the lack of numbers, given the current global challenges and the opportunity such upheaval can do, is a tactical move (a play for impeachment) that important as opposed to taking the greater strategic gain?

Why are we not talking about how to best leverage these opportunities?

Because leveraging these opportunities is impossible given the mentality that thinks politics and the political process is, somehow, expendable. It is not. While I do think that we can view this harsh view of the ongoing troubles in Thailand as a cautionary look in the mirror, so to speak:

Every public institution and organization in Thailand is now compromised by this inter-elite conflict and the losers, as usual, are the poor: workers and small farmers. The monarchy has failed to defuse the situation. The queen has openly sided with the PAD mob. The courts are practicing double standards, attacking Thaksin and Thai Rak Thai/People’s Power Party corruption while ignoring illegal coups, mob violence and corruption by opposition politicians and the military.

The military as always is on the side of the conservative royalists. The police are unable to act and the government lurches from crisis to crisis. The majority of academia is hopelessly compromised by its support for the coup and their support for decreasing the democratic space. Democratic principles have been thrown out the window by professors who teach “democratization” and the need for “the rule of law.”

Even the People’s Movement has shown itself not to be up to the job. Instead of building an independent political position at the side of the poor and oppressed, sections of the NGO movement supported the coup, the military constitution and the PAD. Rosana Tositrakul, the so-called NGO Senator, elected from Bangkok, has joined into ultranationalist fanaticism, especially over the ancient Khmer temple on the border with Cambodia that was almost conflated into a border skirmish.

Perhaps being a politically, at least, more pacific people than the Thais (though some time ago Mong Palatino pointed out that no, it’s not as peaceful as we think, it’s simply that those inclined to take arms have quietly melted away into the hills, and their numbers are growing, restoring hope in “great street battles between te urban proletariat and the defenders of the ruling order” -a confrontation devoutly to be wished, incidentally, not just by the NPA but by the Palace itself), and having preceded them in getting into the whole mess of what happens when you frustrate populism (kick out Estrada, kick out Thaksin, replace both with a facade of constitutional democracy but with the population both cases convinced that yesterday’s democrats proved today’s putschists, though masquerading as People Power -thus making impossible distinguishing where People Power ends and power-grabs begin.

While the battle lines have been drawn since 2005, the Palace continues to profit from the equity of the incumbent. It has been successful in propagating the line -and all successful propaganda has at its heart a kernel of truth – that no one has their hands clean since Edsa Dos and the public can’t be budged to take the plunge,considering the conservative forces who’ve decided to opt for the status quo- I do think that those piously pleading for reason, not emotion, and who think it’s even remotely possible for the leadership to look beyond their noses have to be taken to task for their making this lack of foresight not just possible, but inevitable.

Let me set aside the question of impeachment, for now, and tackle the example of the ratification of the JPEPA. The Senate ratified the RP-Japan trade agreement by a vote of 16 to 4. Two years have been spent wrangling over the treaty (see CenPEG’s Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA): Some Contentious Issues for the cons and Solita Monsod’s On JPEPA: Let’s stick to the facts for the pros), but aside from the merits and demerits of the actual treaty, it was a showdown between two coalitions. Essentially, the arguments every administration has made since the beginnings of our republic (see Primer on the plebiscite, October 21, 1939) have continued to win out. There’s a reason for this, and it goes beyond proponents of such things being better-connected, better-funded, etc.: it is easier to sell optimism than fear. Particularly if the status quo leaves so much to be desired (consider: if oppositionists perhaps clarified their optimism in the future instead of fear/alarm over the present, might the Palace’s own fearmongering, deftly combined with pushing its own pipe dream propaganda, have worked as well as it has?).

The point is that if public relations, political discipline, governance and policy-making have all been reduced to a science by the current leadership, then it doesn’t make sense to express the hope it will start acting with foresight and reason, much less stray beyond the cozy confines of what has kept it in power and is keeping it in power -and will keep it in power for the foreseeable future. Not least because the only things that might jolt the leadership out of its cozy situation without leading to “great street battles” (something most people seem quite allergic to) have been so thoroughly neutralized over the past few years.

The Palace has proved itself adept at finding ways to prop up the constituencies it’s built. From a combination of bad-luck, poor judgment, and yes, more self-respect than its opponents have (that is, taking their own principles far too seriously, hence engaging in soul-searching and infighting when the other side has perfected pragmatic stop-gap governance and the Three Monkeys Act) the broad opposition to the ruling coalition has only achieved a stalemate that means it’s lost. And will continue to lose unless Divine Providence intervenes (the way some groups are hoping the current economic implosion will result in creative destruction).

This might well happen but even if you’re hoping for an economic asteroid to wipe out our political dinosaurs, it is an eventuality that most people are hoping will not happen, or are wondering if it’s worth it. Certainly, not a situation they will just roll over and accept.

Which brings me to Cocoy’s question, much as I do agree with many of his observations. The point is not success but rather the futility of expecting foresight much less reforms from the current fat cats. The necessity is not in a cost-benefit analysis of impeachment, but rather, the reality of it’s being a political exercise, precisely at a time when the future is so uncertain and that every opportunity to flex political muscle -however atrophied- provides an opportunity to ensure having a fighting chance in whatever the future brings.

The opponents of JPEPA may have, behind the scenes, assumed failure; but they flexed their muscle both to achieve partial success -it did force the executive to renegotiate at least some things, rather than continue its supine attitude towards the deal- for its more moderate critics and reinforced solidarity among its more hard-line opponents.

Of course it did the same for the administration and its allies in this particular case. “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” as Bobi Tiglao said early on; it has added one more feather to the cap of the ruling coalition while provoking frustration, hand-wringing, and the soul-sapping underdog’s defiance on the part of the opponents of the deal. And it underscores the pragmatic lesson the past few years have have taught: for now, the current incarnation of the administration coalition, remains the game to beat.

While I myself view political parties as unhealthy and that we should work towards Making political parties obsolete, Randy David in his column today has the opposite view, expressing misgivings When civil society becomes political.

But these are two ends of an argument with a vacuum in the middle -the large portion of the middle class, at least, that continues to think that if only purged of “politics,” governance might actually redound to the public interest.

54 comments

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    • cvj on October 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    …considering the conservative forces who’ve decided to opt for the status quo- I do think that those piously pleading for reason, not emotion, and who think it’s even remotely possible for the leadership to look beyond their noses have to be taken to task for their making this lack of foresight not just possible, but inevitable. – mlq3

    I agree. From 2006, I remember that Ateneo professor who,according to Rego, put forward the idea of turning Malacanang into Gloria Arroyo’s ‘prison’ so that she can work for the country. Did he really believe that would work?

    While I myself view political parties as unhealthy and that we should work towards Making political parties obsolete, Randy David in his column today has the opposite view, expressing misgivings When civil society becomes political. – mlq3

    Not sure about being ‘opposites’ but Randy David does recognize the role of Civil Society but believes in a strict separation between advocacy-making (Civil Society’s role) and governance (the State’s role). Inside the State (the institutions of governance), Civil Society no longer exists. They turn into public officials, politicos and bureaucrats, which is as it should be.

    It is unclear to me how a party-less government would work as the distinctions available in practice are One Party systems (e.g. China & Singapore), Two Party systems (e.g. USA,) and Multi-party systems (e.g. Israel, Malaysia). Any working model that you have in mind?

    • KG on October 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    CVJ,

    I guess(4:45 pm)a party-less government is one form of your advocacy of a direct democracy. If there is no model available at least the concept has been articulated.

    The only nation state that comes to mind which is run by an NGO is the Vatican.

    • UP n grad on October 11, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Isn’t the Vatican run like a quasi-benevolent :mrgreen: dictatorship except where there is a better defined process for succession/transfer-of-power (which happens to be 🙄 not by the voice of the people 😎 )?

    And the Vatican “economy” does not worry about creating jobs (nor providing health-care coverage) for the citizenry nor does the Vatican “state” produce any material goods…….. just promises 😛 .

    • cvj on October 11, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Karl, your statement is valid depending on what is meant by direct democracy.

    1. If direct democracy means an active civil society which exists outside government, then this manifestation of direct democracy (or deliberative democracy) cannot be a replacement for the institutions of representative democracy (e.g. the president, governors, mayors, congressmen, senators) that form the government for the reasons i stated above (at 4:45am).

    2. If direct democracy means direct participation in policy decisions via referendum or people’s initiative of the ordinary citizen (like you & me), then you’re right, it can be party-less to the extent that the voting public are unaffiliated to a political party. However, even in Switzerland which holds frequent plebiscites, there is still a representative government in place.

    3. I’m not sure whether a government can be run purely via direct democracy since governing cannot be a part-time job (unless you’re part of the Board of Directors, which by analogy,every voting citizen should be). Like you, i’m open to further developing this concept.

    4. The international arena where you have governing bodies such as the United Nations can be an example of party-less governance. I don’t know if that’s a good model and, if yes, how that can be made to work in our setting.

    BTW, in a comment over at FV, Sparks mentioned that the Party-list system as represented by Akbayan and Ang Kapatiran (although the latter is not really a Party-list) is the way to go. I agree with her and i think the key element is voting via proportional representation.

    • cocoy on October 11, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Because leveraging these opportunities is impossible given the mentality that thinks politics and the political process is, somehow, expendable.

    Exactly. And you know what? We have the same problem as the global economy. Trust has been broken between politicians and electorate. For far too long the electorate had hope our politicians would do a good job. For far too long that trust has been squandered. and here we are. Apathy is in the air and there is no mechanism by which it is being resolved.

    • mlq3 on October 12, 2008 at 1:17 am

    cocoy, i don’t know if i agree in terms of the economy. the response is resentment over officials who preached a minimum of state intervention, the result being renewed state intervention to bail out the market players. the political response is vengeance against the politicians and also, renewed interest in political doctrines skeptical of or hostile to, freemarket laissez-faire liberal democracy etc

    • rego on October 12, 2008 at 1:37 am

    “I agree. From 2006, I remember that Ateneo professor who,according to Rego, put forward the idea of turning Malacanang into Gloria Arroyo’s ‘prison’ so that she can work for the country. Did he really believe that would work?”-CVJ

    I believe that malcanang indeed became Gloria own ” prison cell” when she opted to stay than resign. All her moves and action were being monitored, she was humiliated, judged, embarassed, threatened at talagang binatayan ng husto by her enemies , people like, CVJ and Manolo. Medyo OA na most of the time But then who can prevent this people from doing so.. They made it their preoccupation and career so they must do it. I would even say that Gloria was torured while she was in her malacanang “prison cell”….

    The question to me is not “did it work? but ” was it effective? My freinds and I believe that somehow it is..

    • BrianB on October 12, 2008 at 3:30 am

    A good opportunity to change the market, trim spending among consumers-less food for fat people, smaller cars for A-holes, etc. and improving efficiency in companies with a focus on R&D.

    • BrianB on October 12, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Manolo,

    This is no time to take away the leadership on principle though our individual leaders need to go. I’m going back to my belief that a true conservative party s needed in these times. We need to go back to old values. This doesn’t mean we have to swing to the side of fascism, though wasn’t the depression a precursor to the rise of fascism in Europe? It is a fearsome proposition considering the trends around the world towards fascism but denying the monster exists will simply allow the monster to slip into our bedroom. Face it, take it by the horns and control the urges but by God we need our roots.

    • PSI on October 12, 2008 at 5:58 am

    We all learned from Poli Sci that civil society represent those groups above the personal circle of family but beneath the realm of the State. Italian political thinkers decribed it like this: if the family is the private house and the State is the palace, then civil society is the plaza.

    If there is no civil society, there will only be two groups: rulers and ruled.

    If a component of civil society becomes political, then such becomes part of the political process of the State.

    • mlq3 on October 12, 2008 at 11:09 am

    brain this change in view on your part is very interesting. can you explain further?

    • BrianB on October 12, 2008 at 11:44 am

    What change? For a few years now I’ve believed what we need is a true conservative party–without it liberalism is pretentious.

    • BrianB on October 12, 2008 at 11:51 am

    And even in a direct democracy people need political parties for we can’t demand all of them to understand all relevant issues. Take branding. If you trust the brand and know it suits you you keep patronizing it. It fails you once, you search for another brand – and it’s only during this brand switching that you expect the individual to peruse the label.

    • vic on October 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    BrianB, I am not too sure is there is such thing as political party in Philippines Politics, in Names maybe, but in the truer meaning of the party, I doubt it. I have been a member of the Conservatives since the very beginning, but there were campaigns that the platforms of the Social Democrats looked attractive. We did gave them a chance, Once to led the province of Ontario, but they screwed up that chance Big Time, now the party still exist, but marginalized to the point that even the Unions don’t even support the party.

    The issue in Next Tuesday election, which was called because the Minority Government (Conservatives) no longer functional due to non-cooperation from the opposition boils down to one Single Issue, the Economy and the Leaders are all inventing solutions how to keep the economy afloat, yet not compromising the core ideology of their Parties.

  1. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) changed her mind, but the situation didn’t. So? California won’t be able to pay teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, cops and other essential employees! Would our loan-dependent government fare any better?

    We could cope better if we have stronger local governments. It is conducive to active civil societies or cooperatives complementing, not displacing the government. This could be the mechanism Cocoy is looking for.

    • BrianB on October 12, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Vic, a real conservative party based on principles of necessity re the preservation of our nation.

    • UP n grad on October 13, 2008 at 2:50 am

    to BrianB: I doubht that you are talking about any US or England-model for the conservative party that you are talking about. Are you talking about the conservative party in Sri Lanka or even Hitler’s Nazi Party?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 5:42 am

    This entire financial crisis which is now clearly the effects of a bunch of people who believed in minimalist government and walked their talk.

    Let us not even talk of the Philippines which is still learning what liberal representative government is all about.

    Markets which are in reality social instiuions based on faith and trust founded on a solid foundation of civil society and not civic groups. Civil society is founded on communties participation in governance as the theory of self governance suggests. They are the ultimate check and balance as represented by the rule of law bound by bedrock principles and ideals.

    Remove the bounds of civil society from markets and you will have chaos. Rule of law and the extension financial regulation.

    Why where regulatory agencies asleep at the switch? Their heads were attuned to the religion of let it be.

    It is ironic that when markets fail the same people who disdain government all run to the same for help.

    The governments of the advanced economies are moving using the power of future taxes to pre-empt a global economic collapse broguht forth by the arrogance of men who believed they had solved the problem of the ages.

    In their minds thorugh their intellect they beleived that they could discount the future. They could predict with certain scientific accuracy future events.

    The Gods of Olympus have been proven to be mere mortals.

    A most dangerous void has been created at the highest levels of governance.

    Briliant good men and briliant evil men were the result in the last major crisis of confidence in governance during the last major global crisis in 1929.

    The militarists versus liberal democrats came head to head.

    These are truly very very interesting times….

  2. Opponents were turned to supporters because of pork. We’re talking about the USA here, not Batasan.

    A financial crisis to be solved by funding Nascar and wooden-arrow manufacturers?

    Hello?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 7:52 am

    “Opponents were turned to supporters because of pork. We’re talking about the USA here, not Batasan. ”

    “A financial crisis to be solved by funding Nascar and wooden-arrow manufacturers?”

    “Hello?” (Stupid is as stupid does)

    Lumampas na ang tren hindi pa alam na naiwanan na.

    The U.S. raised the FDIC limit for deposit insurance to $250K. That effectively gives savings depostiors a government guarantee. Countries in Europe to include Australia, New Zealand and the UAE have done the same effectively guaranteeing all depositors. A line in the sand has been already drawn.

    Banking instituions of the world are being nationalized implicitly and the stupid one is still talking about the $700B.

    Taxpayers in these countries most especially the U.S. have effectively taken on a contingent debt greater than that $700 B which is also a contingent debt. The Fed has pumped in already hundreds of billions of additional contingent debt.

    Hoy gising, fiat currency represents the contingent debt of the state…

    When you have a crisis of confidence in the very bastion of economic institutions – banks – the state takes over…

    But that assumes you have strong and effective state institutions.

    Why keep counting the trees that have been felled when the entire forrest is already at risk.

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

    PSI (at 5:58 am), the problem is that the unspoken assumption that Civil Society as a force for good has been called into question by events in Manila and Bangkok. So the question is, what are we to do if Civil Society turns evil?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 9:19 am

    “PSI (at 5:58 am), the problem is that the unspoken assumption that Civil Society as a force for good has been called into question by events in Manila and Bangkok. So the question is, what are we to do if Civil Society turns evil?”

    You cannot have civil society unless institutions already exist.

    Institutions that bound by principles and ideals of broad based democracy.

    Thailand and the Philippines are weak simply because they have not established institutions based on principles but still depend on persons. The issue is the class divide. You cannot build institutions of civil society overnight.

    The words We the people, or We hold these principles or truths that are self evident that all men are created equal…. These are basic belief systems. An ideology.

    This ideology resulted in the the basic definition of human rights. The basic law… These are the chains that are supposed to bind governments.

    Without that you have no civil society.

    Dinky Soliman and most of her ilk are opportunists. Because they soiled themselves by joining the abuse of power and then reformed themselves when they lost access to that power.

    Citizen’s active participation in the exercise of politics is civil society. You can never cross that line and join government. When these institutions are weak that would mean the social format has not yet evolved.

    An enlightened citizenry is the best bet versus the abuses of the government. But hungry stomachs do not have time for abstract concepts. Weak governments pander to the weak and keep them weak and poor. But the root cause material underdevelopment cannot be addressed. It is chicken and egg situation simply because it is a problem of evolution. To understand that you have to try to understand two of the great economic determinists of recent time. Marx and Smith. Them and Machiavelli.

    The citizens are the government. .Not Dinky and GMA.

    Jefferson said it best when he said that government without the free press is dangerous but a free press without government is not.

    Principles and ideas are the bane of evil and unfortunately even good.

    Just like the U.S. government said on how to define pornography. When I see it I will know it. It is not a question of we. Principles and ideas are the same.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Does civil society exist in Singapore? What about in China and Japan?

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

    To be fair to Dinky et al, they voluntary removed themselves from power which is more than can be said for those who remained. I do agree with you though when you say that:

    Citizen’s active participation in the exercise of politics is civil society. You can never cross that line and join government. When these institutions are weak that would mean the social format has not yet evolved.

    On your question, a nascent civil society exists here in SG. I can see that from the NKF scandal a few years ago to the recent Speaker’s Corner activity because of the Financial Crisis.

    • leytenian on October 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

    civil society is linked to the idea of nationalism. I don’t think Philippines have that yet. It is still under the conditionality of the IMF and the World bank that political entities has not been able to bridge the gap. The result of the gap is a civil society of mad people.
    :K)

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “civil society is linked to the idea of nationalism. I don’t think Philippines have that yet. It is still under the conditionality of the IMF and the World bank that political entities has not been able to bridge the gap. The result of the gap is a civil society of mad people.”
    :K)

    Praise the heavens a nascent thought….

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Economic and state institutions in Singapore, PRC and Japan are intertwined.

    You have a highly developed economic and state bureaucracy in tune with market mechanisms.

    In the Philippines it is still primarily a feudal system where royals rule the markets and everything else.

    The entire bureaucracy has evolved not for the benefit of the state but has been distorted for the benefit of the royals.

    Hence the abuse of power for personal gain is accepted as the norm. Royals have an entitlement culture based on their pedigree. They even have their own exclusive clubs and schools that are predominant over everything else.

    All a throwback to the colonials. The Filipino elite is essentially Rizal’s disciples first on being a Spaniard and now an American. The Catholic Church is the glue that binds the whole. Hence the top are essentially Phalangists. For them political economy is an alien concept.

    The real Pinoy, the Indio, the Moros and the other indigenous people are still struggling for identity. They live at the razors edge. The ones who are abroad are the best of them. They keep the entire society going.

    You cannot reform this societal format. Natural evolutionary forces will change it.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 11:16 am

    The only institution trusted above all else in the country is the Catholic Church.

    So far its seems that for the people that count the Supreme Court. (It’s standing now the subject of power struggles)

    The third simply by a process of default are the men authorized to carry and use force. Police and military.

    In a poor country the economic institutions are weak and of no consequence.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    The press is more corrupt than it is not. However it does not mean that it should be regulated by the state. The dissemination of knowledge must have no limitations.

    Obviously issues of a personal nature and issues of ones character are subjects privacy.

    However once one enters the public arena he has to be perceived to be holier than a newborn babe. Hence Singapore’s bureaucracy are all compensated as well or if not better than the private sector.

    Their officials are also well paid. In Western Europe governance is an established profession. Bureaucrats are trained in statecraft.

    In the U.S. governance was thrust on them by history. But they based it on a set of principles and ideals that allowed them to evolve. Those came from the European “Enlightenment” period and they were given a chance to avoid the mistakes of Europe. That process was bloody until they reached that stage of resolving political conflicts across the aisles of Congress.

    Now once again they learning the wisdom of effective governance.

    That is why the call of John McStupid and Sarah Wacko for government to get out of the way during these times is pure insanity.

    How can you talk of cutting taxes when the government is raising the taxes of the unborn with all these bailouts.

    The government is nationalizing the entire banking system.

    How out of tune can one get?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Correction:

    Obviously issues of a personal nature and issues of ones character are subjects more under privacy and slander laws.

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 11:45 am

    You cannot reform this societal format. Natural evolutionary forces will change it. – hvrds

    I don’t believe there is such a thing natural evolutionary forces as such. What we have are tendencies and contingencies which leaves Civil Society (or any collection of individuals) some room to nudge Society in one direction or the other (in whatever direction).

    A few years back, one commenter (Francis) did try to simulate Philippine society (using ‘Civilizations’) and concluded that there is no hope for our generation (unless you kill everyone above five years old). However, that’s no reason to stop us from trying our best.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Yup, once more impeachment, into the breach my friends ride ride ride just like the charge of the light brigade even if chances of it coming out to anything is close to impossible.

    The Goddess ‘Nemesis” might just rise to meet the hubris.

    Just look at what happened to the Gods of the Universe on Wall Street.

    Goldman Sachs looks just like any sleazy operator today running to the state for cover.

    Hank Paulson as Colbert said looks like Colbert’s financial adviser Gorlack from outer space.

    In his testimony to the U.S. Congress Paulson actually also blamed future administrations for this blowout.

    Simply amazing……

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    * When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? John Maynard Keynes

    When you are faced with a 25% unemployment rate do you insist on waiting for markets to self correct?

    Which came first the natural evolution of failed markets or government intervention ?

    FDR came in when the collapse was already two years old.

    Do you honestly think that those most reactionary of reactionaries in the Philippine Congress will change their ways?

    Back in 1982 the debt service of the Philippines surpassed the export receipts. By the time Ninoy was shot there was already nothing left.

    Do you think there would have been an Edsa I without that debt crisis?

    The answer is probably not.

    • PSI on October 13, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Both the administration and opposition have been known to make ‘hakot’ of rallyists-for-hire , where they are paid 100 to 500 pesos per person.

    Is this the ‘singil society’?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Individuals, families, communities and countries all act based on their own self interest. That will always will lead to intended and unintended consequences.

    Can anyone predict the direction of history? Fukuyama himself had to backtrack on his thesis.

    Those tribes in Afghanistan have changed little since Alexander the Great. The geographical layout of the country has tended to isolate these tribes from modern civilization. You are going to bring enlightenment to them? Are you going to try to organize civil society amongst them? What about the tribes in Mindanao?

    The Amazon forest has done the same for the tribes that live in it. . The destruction of the Amazon forest is forcing them to changer rapidly or not they die. Are you going to organize them on their civil and human rights?

    Evolutionary change moves at different speeds depending on many variables. To deny that or be unaware of is dangerous ignorance.

    We are actually natives of this planet.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “Both the administration and opposition have been known to make ‘hakot’ of rallyists-for-hire , where they are paid 100 to 500 pesos per person.”

    Wrong premise. You have the royals in power and the royals out of power.

    There is actually no political struggle. This is still primarily an economic struggle between royals. There is no hallowed principle or ideal being fought over.

    In that sense Erap is dead on. Pera pera lang yan. That man is ignorant about institutions but smart when it comes to royal relationships and making friends.

    Both have their own set of peon’s.

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    hvrds, our people do have the concepts of bayanihan and pakikipagkapwa to build on. The failure to recognize this is part of the elitist’s conceit.

    • BrianB on October 13, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    UP n, model should be from our past. The unfortunately termed KKK or the La Solidaridad group. Church via the examples of Gomburza.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Tignan mo naman, Ateneo drop out si Erap pero he garnered the most votes of any President in Philippine electoral history.

    That made it impossible for “Garci model” to do any monkey business fro JDV.

    But he did not get the majority of votes cast that day.

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    hvrds, yes. if there were a run-off election back in 1998, maybe JDV would have won.

    • joel on October 13, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    just want to point out that the name should be spelled with double T at the end.

    BUFFETT not BUFFET!

    most folks pronounce his name like the unlimited meal on parties but that is not so. With the double T, it’s BA FET.

    • mlwnag on October 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Economists should require help from process and control & automation engineers to model a economic system that will react automatically to different inputs and conditions. We have seen how top government and private economists helpless and ignorant of what is actually happening and keep on saying they ‘have not seen it happened before’.

    Economy is just like a chemical reactor where pressure, level and temperature are maintained including feed, product , by-product flowrates, and concentrations. A steady flow of steam to heat up the ingredient not to overheat. If economy is properly ‘instrumented’ a crash or recession can be prevented.

    Economists are now thinking of circuit breakers which were already in process designs called as shutdown trips half century ago. Economists analyze a trend in a single screen while process engineers analyze hundred trends in one graphic display. Economists uses statistics, averages , moving averages while process control engineers uses Laplace transforms, dimensional analysis, physical science equations, gradients, proportional bands, resets and derivatives etc.

    Economist, process engineers and control and automation engineers should be searching economic equation that will include forex, gold price, stock market index, interest rate, inflation rate, unemployment, productivity, exports, imports, tax rates, tax collection, GDP, crude oil and energy prices and other economic variables. All should be in one equation so if a variable changes it will affect the other side of the equation.

    Real-time balance sheets and income statements will show the healthiness of the a bank or a company at given time.

    • paolo on October 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    so what’s the plan?

  3. JDV should have won in a run-off?! You kidding, cvj?

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    “hvrds, our people do have the concepts of bayanihan and pakikipagkapwa to build on. The failure to recognize this is part of the elitist’s conceit.”

    In the countryside you have clans living close to each other.

    Extended families. That vision of people helping move a home on their shoulders is part of that familial culture. The basis social security is the extended family. Go to North Forbes and almost all the house help are from a particular province since a lot of the homeowners are from there.

    What do you think communal tribes are? Families

    You want to dress it up with fancy words that is ok. Where do you think the word Mafia comes from. Mi familia. The accents changed the sound to listeners and it came out Ma Familia.

    That is is true bayanihan. Even the triads work along the same structure in the past.

    Then you use class contradictions to mouth your arguments. For the guys living in the slums and other garbage dumps eveyrone person who is in a private car is an elite.

    • hvrds on October 13, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    I do not think JDV would have qualified for a runoff. He was to far down the list. I believe that even Imelda beat him.

    Erap, Noli, Ate Vi, Loren will be in the running for the next election. Korina would be a dynamite Presidential bet. Pick one for President or VP (Loren, or Ate Vi)
    Manny, Mar, Ping and the rest of the pack would lose in a clean election.
    Suck it up guys this is the reality. No need for fancy arguments.

    • PSI on October 13, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    “Extended families. That vision of people helping move a home on their shoulders is part of that familial culture. The basis social security is the extended family.”

    Although the extended family provides a good support system in times of need, the concept has a bad negative aspect. Many forms of political corruption are rooted on the extended family: cronyism, embezzlement, nepotism, patronage, etc.

    An authentic and dynamic civil society must correct this nightmarish anomaly.

    • UP n grad on October 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    What is the likelihood that if they discard the term limits and if there are clean elections, then GMA will win in a contest against at least 5 others?

    Reasons — (i) power of the incumbent; (ii) dissipation of anti-GMA votes across 5 others; (iii) the 5 others.

    One would suspect the likelihood is high, else why the support for cha-cha.

    • leytenian on October 13, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    First order of the day is to change our Electoral Law. There must be full disclosure of minimum and maximum donation to a party. Buying of votes is not acceptable . Corporate entities endorsing a presidential candidate must be limited in terms of advertising. What is our Electoral Law? Do we have one?

    • cvj on October 13, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    ricelander, hvrds, yes, jdv came in second in 1998 and could have won in a run-off. he came in second at 15.87% of the vote and it is possible for him to have consolidated all the anti-Erap votes. (hvrds, perhaps you were thinking of mitra?)

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