Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010

Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010
Finalist for society, politics, history blogs

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Monday, February 28, 2011

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY TO PHILIPPINE PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION!


Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Good evening from this side of the planet!

It is the 25th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution—the people power revolution that overthrew the dictator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos—as I write this note. Completely attuned to the celebratory mood of this special event, I hereby greet my fellow Filipinos a Happy Anniversary to our People Power Revolution!

As I’ve been saying these couples of years in my blog articles, I was among those youth who constituted the generation of political activists at the time that Martial Law was enforced throughout the Philippines archipelago c. 1972-‘86. Though never incarcerated for my political convictions, I suffered nevertheless from the military-police brutalities during protest rallies and the paranoia caused by constant surveillance by military intelligence operatives.

I still recall well how many of my own fellow activists—those with whom I directly associated with and/or worked with—were detained, with some of them mercilessly tortured. Some advanced level activist cadres decided to join the insurgent New People’s Army, inclusive of couples of my Brothers in my campus fraternity.

In my campus theatre group U.P. Repertory Company, our very own theatre director Prof. Behn Cervantes would be in and out of prison for his political beliefs. Being among his disciple thespians who were advocates of social realist theatre, I and my fellow actors were politicized along a Left radical bent. Every now and then, couples of our leaders and members in the UP Rep would land in detention cells for their political convictions.

In September 1977 did we activists launch the Batas Militar Ibagsak or BMI Rally at the Avenida in old Manila. From then on, series of protest actions were protractedly launched and sustained, each time reaping for us new advocates and recruits. On the 1st semester of school year 1978-‘79, a close core activist whom I worked directly with was detained, forcing me to go into hiding for fear that I would be next in line for detention. I was compelled to take a leave from studies that semester just to stave off potential arrest.

Along the way, many of my fellow activists died in the hands of torturers. Some others who joined the insurgents were killed during encounters with army troops, inclusive of a fraternity brethren who decided to get active in the Manila-based urban guerilla unit. A fellow thespian in the UP Rep, Bong Medina, was summarily executed, his body later found floating in the polluted Pasig River in the early ‘80s.

If there was any great thing that Martial Law did for us, it was its eventual politicization of many Filipinos along distinct ideological lines. The same politicized compatriots swelled the ranks of mass movements, thus helping to form base formations for direct action that would become the forefront of an autonomous civil society.

The forging of a strong civil society was the hallmark of Philippine political life altogether since the heydays of the dictator Marcos. It was the terrain where dissent gelled, enabling bolder moves to overthrow the dictatorship. Special events such as the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino did catalyze the swelling of ranks of dissenters, but such events do not make strong civil society.

With democracy re-established right after Marcos’ overthrow, civil society continued to strengthen all the more. The Philippines thus became a model for democracy across the globe due to its strong civil society. State-society synergy (to use the lingo of neo-Weberians) found greater avenues for expression, and civil society compensated for democratic governance amid a weak state.

A full quarter of a century hence, governance institutions in this country remains to be weak, a situation that factors in the wide income gaps between rich and poor, large poverty incidence, and endemic graft & corruption. Yet civil society remains strong, and this world of volitional associations provides the foundations of mutual trust that can get people together to dialogue with state and market players for the sake of threshing out issues and solving problems.

The continuous reconstruction of democracy and a strong civil society are the granite-rock legacies of EDSA Revolution to the whole world. Many other 3rd world dictatorships closed shop due to mass risings that followed the ‘Philippine way’, thanks to a new legacy of strong civil society. This legacy is available for the young generation of the day who aspire to build better world via democratic governance, notably the Arab youth.

Still carrying the flame of the EDSA Revolution with me, I do hereby commiserate with my fellow Filipinos who wish to build a strong state, and to the Arab young ones who clamor to overthrow their perpetual presidencies and archaic royalties in order to build a better world via democracy and respect for civil liberties.

Mabuhay ang Filipino! Mabuhay ang Inangbayan!

[Philippines, 25 February 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: http://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website & Mixed Blogs:
MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com

Sunday, February 27, 2011

VALENTINE’S GREETINGS TO ENTHUSED READERS

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra
February 2011

Valentines’ Greetings to you all!

My goodwill greetings are hereby extended to enthused readers and fellow analysts who continue to appreciate and spread my notes about social life, wisdom, arts & culture.

About three and a half years ago, there was scarce information about me on the internet. Today, as I’ve spread my messages of Light and hope to all of the corners of the globe via the blogs and social networks, many enthused souls responded through reading, exchanges of notes, and citations of my works. Finally, after your appreciation and support of my cyber-crusade, information about me on cyberspace increased by gigantic strides, thus enabling my inclusion in most famous persons websites.

Special thanks to the following online news, magazines and portals for citing my notes as among the top blogs on cyberspace:

http://asiafinest.com
http://clpl-india.com
http://humanitariannews.org
http://newestnews.net
http://pul.se
http://sociology.alltop.com
http://thedailyreviewer.com
http://topcityblogs.com
http://www.nonprofit.org

Many thanks too to the following hundreds of sites that have cited, discussed and debated on various notes of mine about a diversity of topics and themes:

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

KHADAFY IS DEMONIC!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Good evening to all fellow global citizens!

First of all, I extend my solidarity to all struggling Libyan pro-democracy people. Being among the youthful political activists that overthrew the dictator Marcos in my beloved Philippines twenty-five years ago, I do identify well with the young patriots of Libya and Arab states that are clamoring for democratic governance via civil dis-obedience or ‘people power’.

As to the Jurassic perpetual president of Libya, Col. Moammar Khadafy, I have only a single word to describe him today: DEMONIC! Khadafy had ceased to be a human being, had crossed over to the terrain of the demonic, and had lost all sense of touch with reality in his country and the planet.

I couldn’t say exactly as to the precise time that Khadafy had been dominated by his own Inner Demon. He could have very well been formerly human, but judging by the way he exhibited his cruelty towards his very own people, he had ceased to be human at all.

Let it be clarified that I have no penchant for demonizing the estranged leader of Libya. On the contrary, I was once among those who sympathized with Khadafy and the socialist movement that he led. His movement overthrew the archaic state of Libya and replaced it with a republican form, albeit under his authoritarian stewardship.

Being then enamored to militant nationalist 3rd world movements that veered towards the Left, I strived hard to study the same movements and the ideologies that underpinned them. I was likewise involved with a domestic nationalist movement here in Filipinas.

From a cousin of mine did I receive a copy of Khadafy’s ‘green book’, which to my own amusement espoused an Arab form of socialism. Khadafy was well attuned to the secular nationalist to socialist ideologies then raging popularly among Arabs, exemplified by the Ba’ath Party ideology.

But time had elapsed, and the ideological trappings of the patriotic dictators of Arab lands have ossified. Entrenched in power for so long, there was only greed and lust for power, aside from lust for blood, that characterized the governance by the said authoritarian regimes.

From ‘green book’ socialism to militaristic obscurantism, Khadafy’s incumbency has borne witness to the shift from rational-legal modality to the Demonic Mind. To direct air force planes to bombard peaceful demonstrators, on top of the savage gunning down of the same protesters by blood-thirsty troops, is indicative of the lost of touch with conscience and reason.

Khadafi and his close minions are no longer human beings and should by all means be overthrown from power. Not only that, they should be tried for war crimes by the United Nations or equivalent international body. They should pay heavily for their crimes against the Libyan nation.

I won’t be surprised if, at this very moment, more sane minds in Africa are now hatching contingency measures such as to send a continentally-sanctioned invasion force to flash out the dirty & demonic regime of Khadafy. Africa should act fast and sweepingly decisive and demonstrate the same political will that it exhibited to flash out demonic regimes such as the previous genocidal regime of Rwanda.

Such an option is only a contingency ‘plan B’ option and need not be resorted to. The people of Libya are getting the upper hand in the move to institute democracy in their nation, they represent the nation in fact, and the nation should be prevail over an unjust, demonic regime that had lost all legitimacy to govern.

Khadafi is not the Libyan nation, and the nation is not Khadafi.

Hail the pro-democracy youthful patriots of Libya! You shall overcome!

[Philippines, 22 February 2011]

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‘CLASH OF GENERATIONS’ IN ARAB TURMOIL

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Magandang araw sa inyo! Good day to you all! To the Arab pro-democracy forces, kudos for your initial successes in Tunisia and Egypt!

The unfolding democratization of Arab republics via people power means has got many sympathetic eyes aglow outside the Arab world. That includes this analyst who was among the youthful professionals that militantly brought down the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

The clash within the Arab republics should not be equated, however, to a simplistic ‘clash of ideologies’. Neither is the conflict some ‘clash of civilizations’ that is being propagated today by the global oligarchy through sub-altern extremist groups.

I would prefer to highlight the conflict as a ‘clash of generations’. Though no fan of the Japanese technocrat Kenichi Ohmae, I am in tune with his thesis that the conflicts of the future will be one of ‘clash of generations’.

Much earlier than Ohmae, the Frankfurt school thinkers Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas already articulated on the discourse of the youth taking the cudgels for world-changing endeavors. The social turmoils of the 1960s up through the early ‘70s were largely initiated by the Youth, in far contrast to previous ones that were led by the working class astride a socialist ideology.

Fact of the matter is, the working class (via socialist parties) has been tailing behind in those conflicts of the past. In the Arab turmoils of the day, the influential Islamic groups have been quite tailing behind in initiating the protests versus the Permanent President regimes. It were the young ones—youth and young middle aged citizens—who initiated and manned the protest actions, though they may have seen light in some token senior citizen figures.

One shouldn’t make the slap-stick comedy that the Arab revolutions—that toppled perpetual presidents in Tunisia and Egypt—were genuine successes of ‘anarchist’ movements. That goes back to old hat 19th century ideological discourse, and as I’ve stated earlier, the clash is not one of ideologies.

The Turmoil (with capital T to stress) in the Arab republics is one of ‘clash of generations’. It practically pitted the old versus the young. The older ones, who support the entrenched political elites, are those grounded in ideology cum clientelist politics. The younger ones, who are largely ‘netizens’, possess an outlook or perspective that is more global or trans-ideology, though their emerging discourses tend to appropriate from available ‘nation’ and ‘people’ discourse of old.

The Arab revolutions have some remarkable features that contrast with the people power revolutions that overthrew military dictatorships of the late 20th century. The earlier revolutions (such as my own country’s in 86) were largely led by the ‘middle class’ or ‘middle forces’, while the Arab revolutions were initiated by young ‘netizens’ with a rather de-centered social feature or one that can’t be reduced to the class question.

Some quarters may hazard some reflections, using Edward Said and Antonio Gramsci, that intellectuals were the core articulators of the social turbulence. That would be belaboring the obvious by highlighting the micro-facets of the change, or those structures and processes that even kindergarten minds can easily perceive.

There is an over-arching change going on in the psyche of the younger generation Arabs of the day, and it pays to observe and use the logic of induction to conclude about what that change is. Or better still, employ ‘logic of abduction’ as what Charles Sanders Peirce innovated on, by holding in abeyance any hypothesis about the phenomenon, and generate the hypothesis, discourse, and conclusions later.

For now, let us bring the message across to global Western oligarchy to desist from further manipulating the Arabs’ turmoil for their ulterior motives. Like the turbulence going on in the global economy that isn’t susceptible to oligarchic manipulation, the Arabs’ ‘clash of generations’ is no stuff for manipulation by the same evil oligarchs who comprise the secret government called ‘new world order’.

The oligarchic cabals should recognize by now that their strangulation of peoples’ psyche and souls for nigh eons is now coming to a close. It is now time to consider moving away from polarities towards cooperation, consensus, and Oneness that is, in fact, the compass of the future.

[Philippines, 21 February 2011]

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Monday, February 21, 2011

ARAB TURMOIL DERAILS WORLD WAR III AGENDA OF GLOBAL OLIGARCHY

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Arab social turbulence has been rocking the world news straight for many days now. Let’s continue our reflections on the subject, and see how the turmoil dovetails on the agenda of the global financier oligarchs to wage a World War III by pitting a Sunni-Israel alliance versus Shiite Iran.

Since the 3rd quarter of of 2010 yet, the Israeli forces have begun large scale trainings and preparations for a frontal attack on Iran. That secret training was being done in Romania, probably with echo trainings elsewhere. The war should happen within months’ time since inception of preparations, which means the first semester of 2011.

I’ve already written articles last year concerning that Sunni-Israel alliance going to war versus Iran. My analysis was that ancient racial memories, long dormant in the collective unconscious, are awakening again, and those memories revive the old hatreds between the Semites and the Persians.

However, the recent social turbulence in the Arab republics—whose presidents seem to be chief execs for life—has become a new ‘flavor of the year’ for the Arabs. The turbulence could have brought enormous alarm bells on the Anglo-American-European financiers who may have been caught unprepared by the turmoil incidence.

Thus, in the event of sustained widespread social turmoil among Arab republics, the global oligarchs’ options for solidifying a Sunni-Israel alliance will be short-circuited. The oligarchs will be forced to rely on the sheikhdoms & emirates, the bastions of archaic political cultures, as base for the Sunni counterpart of the alliance.

The sheikhs & emirs were actually integrated into the power orbit of the global oligarchy and form a part of the intricate web of elite networks led by the Northern/Western financiers. Saudi Arabia’s nobles have in fact prepared well for a larger conflagration with Iran, as evidenced by the voracious arms purchases worth hundreds of billions of dollars that they have been undertaking.

In the event of an all-out war between the Sunni-Israel or Semitic Alliance versus Shiite Iran (Persia), the same elites will cash in gargantuan sums out of speculative & portfolio finance that will be moving out of the region during the hot confrontations alone. Then, when war will be over, they will buy estates and wrecked enterprises in Iran and contiguous countries at cheap dirt prices. They did that in Europe after the 2nd world war, and in the Eastern European countries after the collapse of the Stalinist states in 1989.

But here now comes the social turbulence, and we can only surmise what thoughts the same oligarchs have about the events there. Chances are that they are being challenged to cash in on the turbulence right away, by moving ‘smart money’ in and out of the affected Arab region during the turbulence.

Another X event that could happen is when the turmoil will engulf the sheikhdoms & emirates as well. With such internal political fires taking their toils on the archaic Arab states, a World War III will become less feasible. Israel will be compelled to go it alone versus Iran, and that is a terribly suicidal option.

The only option left for the global oligarchs is to engineer the prepositioning of their organized forces inside the Arab states, both republic and archaic, notably the Sunni fundamentalist sects. The Muslim Brotherhood, to recall, was constituted decades ago yet by the British intelligence, for purposes of advancing their polarity agenda.

The fall of the Arab republics into the hands of Islamic groups will surely be a boon to the global oligarchs. The next challenge for them will be to get the new Islamic theocracies to crystallize a tactical alliance versus Iran, and enjoin them in the Zionist war versus Shiite Iran.

But to manipulate Arab politics so as to install Shiite theocracies into power is “suntok sa buwan” as we say in Filipino. That phrase translates to “punch the moon,” or next to impossible. The option is high stakes gambling, and that is outside the agenda set by the oligarchs a long time ago now (see notes about the American freemason Albert Pike, whose 19th century agenda of war pre-defined the larger conflagrations of the 20th and 21st centuries).

Let us all continue to watch the unfolding events in the Arab region as a whole. As of this writing, the stock markets and petrol trade across the globe are being rattled by the social turbulence.

[Philippines, 18 February 2011]

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ARAB REPUBLICS’ PERMANENT PRESIDENTS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you fellow global citizens!

Political turbulence is manifestly the most featured template of the day for Arab republics. The bone of contention by polarized forces is whether to extend incumbent presidents’ terms. So let me share some reflective notes about the intriguing subject.

As a keen observer of political economic events, I can verily see that Arab republics have the penchant for electing presidents who would be chief execs for life. In the Vatican they do the same: elect a Pope for life. Albeit, the Vatican is no republic but a theocracy that has evolved its own structures, processes and culture through time, and so the Vatican’s chief exec can sit prettily for life unhampered by possible protests that would see His Holiness’ overthrow.

Republics are modern forms of states, and Arab republics chose democratic governance as the process for choosing leaders and/or policy-makers. Expectedly, republics must show exemplary behavior by changing national leaders periodically and give way to others who are perceived as responsible and capable of meeting the job expectations of a chief exec.

Even the Peoples Republic of China follows the norms of governance for choosing leaders. True, the Communist Party has a monopoly of governance in the rising star of Asia, but Chinese do choose the leaders from among qualified Communist cadres. Since after Deng Shao Ping, no one has ever become president or prime minister for life, so nobody can ever satirically remark a “Pope Hu Jintao” to denigrate China’s very capable president.

Unfortunately, the Arab presidencies haven’t been complying with the accepted norms of republican leadership. Take the case of Iraq that was for a long time governed by “Pope Saddam” as chief exec. “Pope Saddam” seems to be the model of the presidents of Syria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and other Arab states that traversed the republican trajectory of statehood.

Had it been clearly stipulated in the charters of the republican states that their respective presidents will be chief execs for life, the constituents will not begrudge the nation’s echelon whatsoever. But that isn’t the case, as charters do clearly stipulate the fixed terms for chief execs, and that is where tensions can arise in the course of tenures of over-staying presidents.

Grand deceptions can indeed be cooked and cooked well so as to be digested by obedient herds of constituents, as the Arab presidencies have perpetually flaunted on their folks. But no one can fool all the people all the time, and sooner or later there will be outbursts of detractions coming from a diversity of oppositionist forces.

The Arab republics’ Permanent President (with capital letters to stress the point) had already come full circle, and can no longer be recycled in an unending vicious circle. The phenomenon of ‘rising expectations’ has finally caught up with the system of national governance of perpetuity, thus causing huge explosions of public outrage across the said states.

‘Regime change’ is now the most urgent task falling upon the shoulders of responsible constituents. Relentless protests are waged, akin to the protests waged versus military dictatorships in developing states in Latin America and Asia in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Portugal’s parallel overthrow of its long-term dictatorship took place much earlier in the 1970s. Dubbed as the ‘velvet revolution’, it was followed a bit later by the Philippine ‘people power’ revolution that overthrew the dictator Marcos. The same phenomenon of massive, relentless protests marked the political landscape in these countries and others that was capped by the overthrow of the existing permanent presidents.

Arabs are latecomers in the matter of people empowerment, but it is “better late than never.” The die has been cast on the side of people power, and so one by one shall the permanent presidents be taken down. Arab republics’ constituencies are showing courage and audacity in fomenting change, risking lives and limbs to achieve the goal of reforms, and they are inspired by the recent precedents of Tunisia and Egypt.

The momentum of change through people power has already picked up. Arab presidents should better heed the demands for their graceful exits now, or else they face the option of a full-scale civil war of which no one will be winner in the long-run.

[Philippines, 18 February 2011]

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NAZI HEALTHCARE AGENDA RISING IN AMERICA

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

It is night time as I write this note. The easterly winds have been blowing, seemingly reminding us here of the coming hot days. While this happens, winter has been bringing storms in America, storms that accompanied the torpedoing of the new health bill, the torpedo ‘storm troopers’ being the neo-fascistic ‘Tea Party’ of the Republican Party.

The world is watching the unfolding events in America concerning health care. This analyst is among those keenly interested, as the matter of making health care accessible to everyone in my own country has been a mind-boggling challenge for the development experts. We have been scouting around for models of health care accessibility, and the concept of ‘universal healthcare’ that some experts are espousing in the USA is worth examining.

A question that arises from the unfolding events is this: is health care headed for a new summer in America, or is it moving towards a long winter? The enthused readers can go ahead and choose to discuss the matter, and generate their own opinions about it.

My own reflection about the matter makes me conclude preliminarily that America’s health care is heading towards a parallelism with the Nazi health care of the Hitler’s heydays in Germany. Nazi policy in health means a dichotomous delivery of access to health: make those strongest physically and mentally have access to state-sponsored health care, while close the access to those who are the weakest.

To reduce the cost of sustaining a state-sponsored health care program, eliminate those who are the weakest. Round up those with lingering ailments, the lame and blind, the ‘subhuman’ or below-normal intelligence, and so on, line them up on the wall and machine gun them to death.

My own reading of the events in America makes me see, among other things, the increasing closure of health care to the impoverished families and individuals there. Poverty now exceeds 40 Millions of Americans, with the Blacks and Latinos comprising the greatest percentage of ethnicities below poverty line.

It seems, as of now, that no one single political force has a monopoly of Nazi-type health policies there. True, the fascist wing of the Republicans, coming under the names of ‘Tea Party’ and ‘neo-conservatives’, have deep, elitist, condescending scorn for poor folks and colored peoples who are receiving too much state attention via welfare subsidies for health. But that is belaboring the obvious.

There are forces within the Democrat Party—masquerading in the mantle of liberalism—who would have none of the drift of America towards a Welfare State akin to what befell Europe. They know that America’s coffers don’t cough up enough funds for subsidies, so what they do is pretend to be pro-people by voting for bills that allocate greater state subsidies for health care.

Such forces are making use of political parties as Trojan Horses to wage a sadistic attack against the poor people of America. They will brook no quarters in excluding the poorer folks, including immigrants, from mainstream health care, and they commit the heinous act through rigmaroles of legislative fiats.

While such new Nazis, and real Nazis to stress the point, fiddle their superficial policy agenda and do backroom maneuvers that concern health care, hundreds of thousands of poor folks die yearly of every kind of ailment there. By dilly-dallying on the galvanization of the ‘universal health care’ idea alone, numerous dying folks are already being sacrificed in the altar of Evil there.

Let us all watch closely the events concerning health care, and see what happens after another year will elapse. If it will be so easy to forecast that more Americans are being kept out of the health care circuits, then rest assured a Nazi killer agenda is in place to satisfy the sadistic lust for blood by demoniacs in the Establishment.

That being so, the rest of the world, more so the emerging markets, will add another reason to their rising list of rationales for ignoring America as a recognized leading state by showing leadership through example. The year 2012 will be a clear turning point, when nations will decide whether there is still an iota of leadership that America can demonstrate.

Health is wealth, and a nation that closes health care access to its people is a nation without soul and conscience. Other nations should move on in life without that soul-less state to reckon with.

[Philippines, 17 February 2011]

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

APPLAUSE TO UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS ON ITS QUADRICENTENNIAL

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

This writer hereby extends Big Kudos to the Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas on its 400th Anniversary!

The University of Santo Tomas or UST, established 400 years ago in the Intramuros district of (old) Manila, has finally grown, matured, and reached international acclaim as an institution of higher learning. It had added milestones to its earlier feat as the oldest university in the Philippines, which renders it worthy of the accolades on its quadricentennial.

I still recall as a young school boy in the 1960s, that my teachers as well as history & geography textbook authors cited the UST as the nest of brilliant youth who later became great minds. Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, obtained his first level of university education from the UST (he took up advanced studies in Europe after the UST stint).

More patriots followed after the footsteps of Dr. Rizal later. The late Manuel L. Quezon, president of the country during the USA’s colonial occupation, was among them. A visionary whose thoughts were to linger long after he was gone, Quezon is among the great patriots of the motherland. He underwent collegiate education in the noble UST.

The UST did not only churn out great men in past eras. In this current context, we have the likes of Bienvenido Lumbera, one of the literary giants of the ASEAN and a National Artist, among UST’s alumni. And so is Brilliante Mendoza, CANNES Film Festival awardee as Best Director, among the long list of upcoming luminaries of the Philippines and the ASEAN.

If there is any coterie of minds that I would give due credit for re-inventing UST that enabled it to be among Asia-Pacific’s top 200 universities, it is the Filipino Dominicans and the Filipino professors who resonated with the innovative designs of their priestly sponsors. The new breed of Dominicans dared to transform the university’s teaching force from one of purely teaching tasks to one of scholarly research faculty broke the long tradition and moved the UST out of stasis.

Without meaning to denigrate the White Dominicans from Europe who dominated UST’s echelon for too long a time, I would have to state candidly that it was during their stewardship that UST stagnated. Thus, it was known for its oldness bereft of the qualitative substance of being a progenitor of new philosophies, arts movements, and scientific R & D.

UST’s faculty was merely tasked to teach, and was assigned huge teaching loads (e.g. teaching 24 units), hence disabling them from engaging in productive research and/or artistic productions. It was during the stagnation phase that the much younger universities—University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University—became international universities, breaching the UST’s records by several notches.

I asked some pals of mine in the 80s and early 90s—who were teaching in UST—to share their own opinion regarding the relative stagnation of the UST. Without batting eyelashes, they blamed the over-bearing and subtly racist predominance of White Dominicans for the long stasis. Accordingly, the latter were of the mindset that they came to PH to civilize the Filipinos, a condescending if not arrogant attitude.

I was appraised of the situation within the campus and of the arduous efforts of Filipino Dominicans to make their dent in a context where Jurassic colonial tradition was still strong. By the 1990s the innovative Filipino Dominicans and UST professors were finally making headway. As a result, the UST made it to the top 200 universities in the Asia-Pacific in the late 1990s.

Research institutions have since been evolving within the present campus in the Sampaloc district. Some professorial pals of mine, who were products of the U.P. and DSLU and who took up doctorates in top universities abroad, have decided to base themselves in UST. They are now taking up the cudgels of re-engineering their respective departments, thanks to the new policy environment crafted by Filipino Dominicans.

Finally, as UST’s professorial pool has been up-scaling their research & development capabilities, building research institutions and generating research & publications products, the university is on the way to move UST to the next level, which is that of ‘world university’ status. I am highly supportive of the re-engineering, even as I’m confident the university will get there in the foreseeable future.

[Philippines, 15 February 2011]

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FILIPINO FASHION DESIGNERS IN HOLLYWOOD: SHOWCASING MANILA AS ASIA’S FASHION CAPITAL

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening! Magandang gabi!

Manila media just recently released the good news about Filipino fashion designers making it good in Hollywood. Led by Monique Lhuiller, who hails from an entrepreneurial family back home, Hollywood entertainers’ eyes marveled over the works of the Pinoy fashion designers worn by some famous Hollywood personalities.

As a sociologist and economist, this is what I can say of the matter: Philippine fashion design had already reached a very high level of maturity at this juncture. Both domestically and overseas, Filipino fashion designers are making waves precisely due to the mastery of their respective crafts.

Like their counterpart in motion pictures & mass media production, who are able to found institutions of higher learning—inclusive of graduate schools—for motion pictures & tri-media production, the fashion designers have reached a level of mastery and esteem enabling them to teach the craft to enthused learners. I have no better wish, as a sociologist studying popular culture, than to see couples of fashion institutes rising sooner or later in Manila and Cebu, the nation’s top metropolises.

Just recently, the fashion design guru Pinoy Moreno won his National Artist Award. Some people in the art & culture circles raised some eyebrows about the matter. There surely are people with astigmatic interests, who just couldn’t see the very positive implications of awarding a fashion designer as National Artist. The Award is a testimony of the maturing of the fashion industry itself, and should be welcomed without reserve.

The wave-making trend of Filipino fashion designers is also a testament to the rise of Manila/Philippines as the Fashion Capital of Asia. This trend should be stressed to the world, at a time when the global economy has grown. Filipinos are no longer the copycat morons as far as fashion is concerned, we have graduated to that of trend-setter or avant garde in the fashion & culture domain.

Not only is the Manila/Philippines the Fashion Capital, it is also the Shopping Capital of Asia. It boasts of malls that are spacious and exquisitely designed in architecture, malls that serve as retail outlets and/or display centers for some of the works of fashion designers.

The Jurassic trend of Filipinos having to fly overseas just to buy some good fashion and quality garments is long gone. The trend now is for Filipinos to invite kins and friends overseas to come visit Manila and other key cities to do a shopping spree and appreciate the fashion designs done by our topgun designers who are also Asia’s fashion gurus today.

Incidentally, around 6/7 or 84% of fashion designers are in the couture business. So any enthused appreciator of our designers’ works should deliberately visit the couture shops to enjoy the exquisite works of the fashion masters. Only 1/7 or roughly 16% of the fashion designers are in the RTW business, either as consultant designers or as designer & owner of the business.

The likes of Ben Chan, for instance, are among designers who also own RTW chain of shops. The Bench brand owned by Chan happens to be the forward linkage for his design works. Both high end and mass markets are catered to by the Bench brand, and I’d say my own kudos to the likes of the noblesse gentleman.

Those in the fashion design as well as the shoe design should better look up to the motion pictures & tri-media production their models of institutional strengthening. The challenge is for both sectors to set foot in the universities to install special departments or institutes for fashion design. Fashion design should better broaden to integrate shoe design into it, and the broadened sector should establish a presence in the University of the Philippines or U.P. as exemplified by motion pictures & media production.

Clothing technology is already present in the U.P. The presence of clothing in my alma mater should be a stepping stone to opening up a learning institute for fashion design since this new domain of arts & culture is giving a very positive name for the Philippines.

As a long-time educator, I recognize that setting foot in the premier university is a yardstick of the maturity of any sector in the country. Fashion designers, from couture to shoe design, better count me among their appreciative allies. May the tribe of fashion gurus—coming from our masters of the fashion craft—increase and multiply.

[Philippines, 13 February 2011]

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PHILIPPINE ECONOMY 46th LARGEST WORLDWIDE, CAN GO UP SOME MORE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Let me continue to tackle the matter of glad tidings for my beloved Philippines. I feel the exuberance and optimism of fellow East Asians who wish to share the joy of the growing economies we have here with the rest of the world.

For this note, I will focus on the Philippine’s national income, an update particularly of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP and the Gross National Product or GNP. The Philippines is one of ten (10) members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, a grouping of cooperating nations that will integrate economically in 2015. PH’s growth pattern contributes in no small measures to ASEAN’s growing economic might.

In 2009 PH ended the year with a GDP of around PH P7.67 Trillions. Nominally, that translated to around U.S. $186 Billions. At that time, Net Factor Income from Abroad or NFIA, derived largely from overseas remittances and offshore operations, was around$17 Billions. GNP, which adds up the GDP and NFIA, totaled $203 Billions more or less for that year.

2009 was quite a bad year, as the Great Recession of the Northern economies affected PH by a lowering of the merchandise exports. GDP grew so minimally at a mere 1.5% that analysts thought it couldn’t rebound soon enough. The forecast for 2010 was around 5-6% growth range, already considered a very optimistic forecast.

2010 proved to be a relatively bountiful year for PH, as it grew 7.5% during the first three (3) quarters alone. Election spending pumped up the growth rate to a certain extent, while exports and imports grew up at fat sums as the Northern economies were able to re-absorb higher volumes of merchandise imports. The yearend growth could be at 7% more or less.

A figure of $13 Billion is therefore expectedly added to the old 2009 GDP, to yield a 2010 GDP figure of U.S.$199 Billions. NFIA, based on overseas remittances, ends up at $18 Billions, so the GNP for 2010 stands at a least figure of $ $217 Billions of nominal income.

Manufacturing and services are proving to be the most consistent growth drivers of PH economy on the production side. Agriculture turns out to have a weak performance carried over yet from the 2009 incidence of the strong typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

With infrastructures and energy gearing up for larger projects, the growth will be sustained at a very positive level, ranging in the area of 6-7% for 2011. Exports will be sustained at upscale rate, and so will be imports. So we expect excitement in PH growth for 2011. We just hope that agriculture will be able to catch up and breach the 5% growth target at least, then sustain it at that level for the long term.

Consumption-wise, domestic consumption has gone up at an appreciable trend for 2010. Overseas remittances continued to sustain driving up domestic consumption. Private consumption was at all-time high, which contributed to heated retail sales of past 10% and housing & realty continuing its dynamic trend. Government consumption is the one that needs catching up here, a sluggish pattern that is a carry over of past years’ trends yet.

Accordingly, PH garnered the 46th largest economy out of the 200+ nations worldwide in terms of nominal income. At that position, it is clear that PH is among the middle income countries, or that it is way out of the old ‘poor country’ status it had till the years 2002-‘03 when the middle income status was attained.

As the Northern economies are going through stagnation, it is best that PH should target higher growth rates and attain them decisively to be able to move up the ladder of prosperity. In a decade’s time, PH can facilely surpass the performance of European countries one after the other, till it can reach the level of Italy’s or France’s economy as early as 2025.

I am optimistic that in the long run, PH can breach the No. 30 largest economy worldwide. The momentum of growth and prosperity is already there, and a large labor force is proving great as harbinger of wealth production. A large population, with a rising middle class, is also contributing immensely to sustaining consumption in the long run.

As early as 2030, PH can be on the Top 25 economies and maybe even better. PH economy should better double every seven (7) years or so for a straight twenty-one (21) years to be able to make it to the top. When it does so, ASEAN’s aggregate income will surpass Japan’s and possibly the USA’s and EU’s. Let’s all look forward to seeing that day come in the future.

[Philippines, 12 February 2011]

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Friday, February 11, 2011

FILIPINOS 104 MILLION STRONG: 94 IN PH, 10 OVERSEAS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang gabi! Good evening from PH’s suburban boondocks!

The Philippines just conducted a census last year, 2010, and the result shows a sum total of 94 Million heads in the archipelago. The population growth of 2 Million heads per year is also indicated, showing an increase from the 1.7 Million heads annual increase ten in the year 2000 (when the last census was conducted).

The 2 Million annual growth is already a total result in itself. Accordingly, about 500,000 fetuses are aborted every year in the country, a figure that has alarmed population and health experts. Never mind if the national charter bans abortion, women who commit unwanted pregnancies simply decide to go abortion.

94 Million Filipinos, at a time of economic boom and rising incomes, is a cause for celebration. With a rising middle class at hand—who form the demand base of consumption-led growth—we expect a steadily growing number of Filipinos who comprise the family income bracket earning U.S. $6,000-$30,000 annually. 20 Million Pinoys are in that category today, which will expectedly rise in the next couples of years.

Thus, PH qualifies as an ‘emerging market’. It has first of all a large population, and millions of people falling within the middle class spenders with incomes ranging from U.S. $6,000 to $30,000. Many heads working and earning well translates into economic wellness for a country, so we should welcome this development.

Now, let us not forget the Overseas Filipinos or OFs who comprise an estimated 10 Million heads across 200 countries more or less. These OFs earn an aggregate income of U.S. $400 Billions annually, $20+ Billions of which is remitted to the Philippines as Net Factor Income from Abroad or NFIA. Of the $20+ Billions, only around $18 entered legally established channels of remittance annually.

That means the OFs remit 5% of their earnings to the motherland, and that is good enough. No matter what misery-inducing policies the global elites would slap Pinoys with via the World Bank-IMF-WTO Group, the most demonic being the austerity policies of the IMF, the Philippines can survive thanks to the OF remittances. Let the evil elites shackle PH with crippling low credit ratings and low entry of ‘smart money’ and investments by them, we will still survive thanks to the remittances and our own domestic investments.

The signs are pretty clear that fecundity, the capacity to give birth, is high among Filipinos. This for me is a cause for celebration. Let us sustain our high birthing capacity and increase the number of middle class people by the year, and we will all the more exude our economic and social power as a people.

Contrast that high fecundity to the trends in Japan and Russia, where their populations are falling by the year. Russia has been alarmed a decade ago yet about falling population, and identified the phenomenon as the top national security problem. Japan just began to experience a falling population, and this early look at how alarmed and panicked the Japanese stakeholders are of the consequence of diminishing population.

Not so for my beloved Philippines. We will be producing 2 Million+ Filipinos annually in the archipelago and overseas for many years to come yet, and we shall use the burgeoning population as leverage in negotiating with other nations and regions. The global oligarchs can no longer be fooling us at this time, whacking us with oppressive policies that produce deplorable conditions for our poor folks.

Abroad, our own Kabayans are now crystallizing a consciousness as an Overseas Filipino Nation, and I do welcome this progressive development. United by culture, language, and shared experience, the OF Nation will wield the stick to leverage vis a vis governments, market players, and interest groups in their host countries. They can no longer be fooled in the negotiating tables, much more enslaved and butchered like unwanted pests by sociopathic monsters without responding in a pro-active way.

Clearly, the days when White Americans sang “Brown monkeys have no tails” in the archipelago, a sordid racist song they popularized upon invading the Philippines, are over. The figure of 200 Million Pinoys can be breached by 2050, at a time when PH will be a wealthy nation, huge and wealthy to lead the ASEAN Union.

In sum, 104 Million Filipinos should be welcomed as good news. It is the leveraging power of Pinoys in the new era of Urban Philippines, whence 68% of Pinoys are residing in urban communities here.

[Philippines, 11 February 2011]

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RE-ECHOING CLEAN ENERGY

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


In the province of Ilocos Norte, in northern Philippines, is a pilot project for wind energy… Hydraulics application has already seen the rise of dams that generate at least couples of thousands of megawatts of power… Geothermal energy will be breaching the 3,000 megawatt level soon, making PH the world’s top geothermal power producer.

There are more such narratives of nascent and maturing power producers that tap alternative energy sources, or energy other than fossil fuel. We have vast reserves of natural gas in the country, which is fossil-related though clean energy in classification.

Solar power is a sunrise industry, and the good news is that our engineers here have exceeded the capability level of those in California and elsewhere in producing state-of-the-art solar panels. Ocean power research & development is proceeding at rapid pace, with installations projected in pilot areas in the short run.

Wind power potentials of the Philippines itself is projected at past the 70,000 megawatt level, which is a whopping figure that is over five (5) times the current electricity needs. Already, over 3,000 megawatts of wind power projects are in the pipeline, either as on-going or soon-to-start-installation projects.

In Manila, shuttle vehicles powered by electricity ferry shoppers at the Araneta Center and the Mall of Asia or MOA. Jeepneys in Makati using electricity are also shuttling shoppers as well as employees around the classy Ayala Central Business District, the country’s financial center. Tricycles powered by electricity are also rising, while motorbikes powered by electricity are now in use in Palawan.

The news about the usage of alternative energy is increasing by the day in the Philippines. Hopefully, the industrialized Northern countries will move ahead in shifting towards clean energy despite the economic downturns they are now experiencing. Emerging markets are surging ahead in this very dynamic field, and this phenomenon is causing me a sense of fulfillment and happiness being a habitué of the ASEAN.

In previous articles, I already shared the information about China’s perfection of the nuclear fusion technology. The news first reached my attention in 2007, and at that time it was projected that the first commercial prototypes for fusion breeder plants will be out in 10 years time. That means that as early as 2016 China will launch nuclear plants powered by fusion technology.

So dynamic is the field of alternative energy R & D that the sources of ideas for it are like oceans of thought. There simply are too many options for deriving alternative energy, so that in the not-so-distant future the starships for traversing space will be fueled by clean-recyclable-inexhaustible energy.

Let’s take the planet itself and its constant motion. As the planet moves around its axis, torque is generated. Torque is a potential source of energy, and for as long as the Earth revolves around its axis, torque will be inexhaustible. This is one area that I wish to be involved in the R&D phase itself.

Airplanes, airships, rockets and satellites can be fuelled in the future by torque among many options. By airships I mean maritime ships of today that can be retrofitted and re-engineered to be able to fly in the air, though at low altitudes, thus turning into a more efficient passenger vehicle more than today’s airplanes.

Another planetary source of energy for tomorrow is albedo. Around 1/3 of the heat that gets to the Earth from the Sun and other celestial sources escape as albedo. My thesis is that the escaping albedo can be tapped as an inexhaustible source of energy.

Necessarily, the policy environment and institutions that will propel clean energy and make it the sole energy source in the future should be prepared and strengthened early enough. Incidentally, the Philippines is among the countries with an exemplary policy environment for clean energy, and so industrialized and emerging markets can emulate the experience of my country in this line of endeavor.

The long-term goal, of course, is to rid the planet of fossil fuel. At some point in the future, extraction of oil & gas should be put to a stop. Prolonged extraction is causing imbalances in the geological structures of the planet, imbalances that can be irreparable in the long run. It would be best to carve out a global policy architecture to cease all fossil fuel extractions in the future, and enforce this strictly.

I would be celebrating the day when fossil fuel will cease to be the source of electricity and vehicular power in the foreseeable future. As far as electricity generation is concerned, the Philippines is almost there. But I shall wait a bit till electricity will be totally clean and using non-fossil energy sources.

[Philippines, 09 February 2011]

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COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY THROUGH FESTIVALS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Magandang araw! Good day!

We just had couples of festivals in Filipinas. Manila held its annual Black Nazarene with around 6 Million devotees participating; Cebu, its Sinulog festival centered on the patron saint Sto. Niño (divine child, child Jesus) that drew 2 Million participants; Kalibo in Aklan, the Ati-atihan that also centered on the Sto Niño; and, other towns in the Visayas and Mindanao, festivals of the Sto. Niño.

More such celebrations and/or festivities are going on around the world today. Despite the inclement weather in flood-stricken areas, peoples around the world deserve to celebrate life through community undertakings with spiritual symbolisms as core unifying signifiers. They are spectacles to the appreciative eyes, wonderments worth documentations for special television features.

Fragmentation of community bonds had already caused so much damage on the human psyche across the planet. Suicides and crimes have gone up at startling speeds and scales since the predominance of modernity and urbanization, and alienation is still moving up the scales of pathology today.

We are all puzzled about the effects and causes of social fragmentation, and challenged to reverse the trends towards a new order of harmony, balance, cooperation, and respect for the ‘integrity of creation’. The situation is leading to madness of a grand scale never before faced by mankind, madness that is the indicator of an even larger malaise of a Dark Age.

There is not a single country left in the world today unaffected by the rapid and sustained fragmentation of community bonds, and the crescendo of violence, crimes and suicides. Even suicide is used as a tool for sectarian violence, as suicide bombers use their bodies to destroy those whom they hold with deep resentment.

It is too late to go back to a primordial past, a past of relative calm and peace, as the wheels of history or ever moving forward. So we are challenged to re-invent the worlds we live in while time moves and the rugs under our feet are changing. The greatest challenge is to build a ‘culture of peace’ marked by a ‘dialogue of cultures’ or tolerance of differences.

As part of building that culture of peace, it is of fundamental import to see folks embarking on and sustaining spiritually or religiously-oriented festivals. The thought-forms of a very positive nature released by devotees during such an occasion is sufficient a regenerative force to reduce crimes, induce healing of wounded community bonds, and replenish energies for confidence-building among erstwhile estranged members of a larger community.

True, there are some thefts and petty crimes committed during the conduct of special events of community festivals. There also are deaths due to stampedes in some other festivals, such as the deaths in the latest India festival. But such incidences are more the exception, the sacrifices that are X sub-events attendant to a major event.

Take the case of the Sinulog in Cebu. How many crimes were committed in Cebu while the Sinulog was going on? Chances are that the crime rate on that day itself was negligible, inclusive of possible petty crimes of thefts done by pick-pockets on unsuspecting devotees. The same is true for the Black Nazarene in Manila, ergo for all the other community festivals done across the world.

To further demonstrate what I’m driving at, let me cite to you a study done couples of decades back yet. A significant group of Maharishi yoga fellows meditated at the same time, with focus on the theme of reducing crime rate in a certain city in the USA. Mind you, indeed the crime rate in that city on that particular day went down to half of its regular crime rate!

Now, some may say that is a miracle of sorts. I’d say it is the product of very positive high frequency thought-forms that are, in physics, of a very high level of energy. The energy elicited by the prayerful folks were sufficient enough to reduce crime rates. How much more to obtain fulfillment of the wishes of the devotees concerned, materialization of such wishes could have been fulfilled, reinforced as they are by attuning to the energy of that event of being together in prayers and celebrations.

So the message for everyone else is, whenever a large community festival is being held, which to a great extent is marked by prayerful moments by huge flocks of devotees, attune yourself to that event. No matter if you may not approve of cult engagement, never dis-engage from nor throw dagger-hostile thoughts on those events or towards the folks carrying them out. Devotion done together is a wonderful human phenomenon, itself worth watching and attuning to.

I am all too glad that many such festivals are held each year across the globe. Cities and towns that don’t have such festivities and are now deciding to launch their own version of them are increasing by the year. These are all indications of the personal and collective efforts to junk madness and fragmentation going on in our daily lives in all countries of the world.

[Philippiines, 08 February 2011]

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Monday, February 07, 2011

PEACE TALKS BETWIXT PH GOVERNMENT & REBELS RESUME

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

We have a glad tiding of news coming from the Philippines as the stalled peace talks between government and rebel groups will resume again very soon. A heartwarming news this one is, as Filipinos are now very sick and tired of local wars. It’s time that total peace be achieved very soon.

To recall recent history, Maoist and Muslim insurgencies broke out in the Philippines way back in the early ‘70s. Martial Law, declared in 1972, was instrumental in further swelling the numbers of insurgents, leading at one point to conflicts bordering civil war proportions.

The Maoist New People’s Army, military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines or CPP, a ragtag band at its inception, grew to a huge size across the major island groups along the way. Smaller factions split off from the CPP-NPA, it shrank in size in the past decade, yet it continues to be a threat to the central government.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF was a splinter group from the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF. The latter, original Muslim insurgency group agreed to a negotiated peace settlement in the ‘90s yet, so only the MILF eventually pursued the old dream of an independent state for provinces where Muslims have a strong presence. While the MNLF held a secular ideology, the MILF was largely a sectarian, Islamic movement.

Talks between both rebel groups and government stalled during the incumbency of the Gloria Arroyo regime. It was unfortunate and tragic a consequence of failed talks, as battlefronts across the islands continuously experience ambuscades and confrontations between warring forces. Collateral damage had already downsized, but it continues to be a phenomenal consequence of the hot wars.

I just hope that the peace talks won’t be for show, like a zarzuela of sorts. Like most compatriot Filipinos, I have grown tired of the wars though I see legitimacy in the advocacies of the insurgents. I myself am of the opinion that social causes are at an all-time relevance, yet these social causes can be fought for through legal and electoral means.

Filipinas has already urbanized across the decades, and urbanization is proceeding at a rapid pace. 2% of folks are added to urban population every year, while 2% are deducted from rural population during the same period. At 68% urban population today, Filipinos can better be convinced about pursuing social causes and advocacies via the ‘urban way’ of mass movements, civil society, and electoral contests rather than the bloody armed way of the old rural Philippines.

The Maoist Left and other Left groups have already proven the relative success of the ‘electoral way’ to institute structural and economic changes. It may be time now to fold up all rebel groups from the most secularly-oriented groups to the most sectarian-fundamentalist groups. The rugs under our feet are changing and the pace of change is fast, so ideological blocs should be fast enough in retooling themselves and co-directing the compass of change via the ‘urban way’.

Meantime, Norway has committed itself as a 3rd party to the talks with the Maoists, while Malaysia has done the same to the talks with the Muslim rebels. The Filipinos down the ground welcome the peace talks, and wouldn’t squirm at the venues of talks whether these be domestically located or overseas. What matters most is peace talks are resumed and warring parties are holding genuine dialogues.

So far, confidence-building measures were already done by the Aquino regime, with the release of political prisoners from the Left. Not only that, even the political prisoners from the military rebel group Magdalo were also released (the mutiny group is ragtag/no peace talks are necessary between it and government). Development projects in areas covered by Muslim rebels are being scaled up.

A nice beginning for the year 2011 indeed, as the crucible of dialogue pervades among warring camps. Let dialogue be the strategic expression, as conflict folds up and is consigned to historical archives.

[Philippines, 06 February 2011]

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RUSSIAN STATE’S KINDNESS TO THE MAFIA OLIGARCHS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Russia’s federal state had exhibited kindness so far to the mafia oligarchs, one of whom is in jail (the top honcho in the energy industry). This is a clear departure from the Soviet days when organized crime leaders and subordinates were jailed by the thousands in ‘gulag archipelago’ conditions.

The Soviet days are long over in Russia, yet democracy is struggling to take root and governance institutions are strengthening from the fragmentation induced by the anarchic policies of Yeltsin who was, in reality, an agent of the British MI6. It will take some more time for democracy to show strength and resiliency, but clearly the urgency of clipping the powers of the mafia oligarchs is a matter of national security in FSB (KGB) country.

To replay recent history, the former Soviet Union fragmented in ’89 during Gorbachev’s leadership. The Russian Federation was then led by Yeltsin, puppet agent of the Anglo-European oligarchs, and got the largest shares of the pie of Soviet wealth, resources, and military assets (nuke missiles included).

Independent Russia, like the other states, was immediately confronted with the problem of shifting to a market economy. Enterprises were state-owned, and so a sacrosanct policy of the Western puppet Yeltsin was to privatize the firms upon the behest of the International Monetary Fund.

The question thereafter was: who in Russia possesses the money to buy state firms, such as those in heavy industries, oil & coal? Legitimate persons just couldn’t afford those firms no matter if the company prices are dirt cheap, so the option of buyers was the Russian mafia (organized crime groups) of which around forty-five (45) ‘families’ were the largest and most awash with money.

Such mafia groups were far more powerful, wealthy and dreadful than the Sicilian mafia from which the term ‘mafia’ originated. Without further ado, upon the go-signal from Yeltsin’s regime, mafia families gobbled up whatever firm they could lay their hands on. As a result, during the last years of Yeltsin, 80% of Russia’s corporate assets and incomes were in the hands of the mafia.

The dreadful scenario of the mafia taking hold of the nuclear and military assets of Russia soon confronted the patriots of the country. It seems that in the last instance, the FSB (former KGB) was the only institution that can mount a challenge to and clip the gargantuan influence and economic power of the mafia that was rapidly producing the new oligarchy of Yeltsin-era Russia.

And so the FSB, acting as a patriotic fraternal order of sorts, deposed Yeltsin in a silent coup of sorts. Putin, former KGB operative, became the favored leader by the chekka that decidedly took down Yeltsin. With Putin in power, returning Russia to a state of civility was now a huge task laid upon his shoulders.

Returning civility and re-asserting state sovereignty means taking back to Russia its economic powers. It was time to let the new mafia oligarchs taste justice and stop them from further fragmenting the federation. Russia was already on the verge of total fragmentation, and could have been balkanized into mini-states with Russian oligarchs taking over their own respective mini-state to govern, plunder and loot.

Thus was the British oligarchy and its MI6 dirty operators stopped from further destroying Russia and looting whatever they can from its fragile economy by buying dirt-cheap enterprises and joint venturing with Russian mafia families. Putin’s strong arm tactics, with aid from FSB, were necessary in order to restore Russia to its civility and sovereignty, without which the federation could have fragmented at the turn of the new century.

Observably, the FSB is the only solid institution that can face up to the dreaded mafia families and the Anglo-European oligarchs. In China, the equivalent group is the Communist Party that wields draconian powers to direct the compass of growth there. In Turkey, the Army is the one that performs the equivalent of a solid patriotic core that continues to modernize the country and prevent a restoration of the Caliphate.

Each country has its own set of gargantuan national security concerns to look up to, so one better understand Russia from within the context of its colossal dilemmas with the Frankenstein of mafia power. An oligarch in Russia is synonymous to a mafia godfather; oligarchic wealth, derived from criminal operations.

Hard tactics are best to clip the powers of mafia Frankensteins. However, such tactics can no longer recline on Stalinist repression or elimination as Russia is facing a new history of democratic governance. The ‘rule of law’ must be advanced to the max in a global context of strengthening democracies.

[Philippines, 04 February 2011]

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DRUG WAR IN MEXICO: HEIGHTENED PARANOIA TOWARDS MAFIA

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to all fellow global citizens!

In a previous article, I wrote about the possibility of mafia states rising to power. As tackled, Belarus could very well be the start of such a mafia state should it get entrenched for long, so the events there are worth watching. Meantime, a drug war ensues in Mexico, and so let us do some reflections about that war.

Over 36,000 were already declared dead due to the drug war in the country of patriot Emiliano Zapata. The war that was declared by then president Calderon ensues ceaselessly, deaths thus rising in seemingly exponential fashion by the year. That war is proving too tragic for the NAFTA country, and bodes ill for the entire North America as both the USA and Canada are experiencing their own hotfires of economic malaise.

To recall, Colombia was the nest of drug cartels’ power just about a decade ago. With the effective clipping of the powers of drug lords there, drug lords’ lairs became more diffused thereafter, no longer to be ever concentrated in just one country in Latin America.

Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, and other countries are now experiencing the growing powers of mafia lords in Latin America. Mexico seems to be the most vulnerable to entrenchment by the drug cartels since the country is just a step away from the United States that is the main drug market in the Americas.

Americans indeed are the most voracious drug users, so that one may wonder whether Americans are still holding own to their nature as humans—that they haven’t already tipped over to their demonic side. A research done in the early 1980s yet showed that as much as 40% of high school students admitted to having used a narcotic at least once, with 20% admitting to having used narcotics repeatedly.

That was the 1980s cited, and it is now 2011 or the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Drug use there has been growing steadily, and so it is safe to infer that over half of Americans are hooked into narcotics. Those heavy users of drugs may be less than 10%, but that still counts around 25 to 29 millions of Americans forever dependent on narcotics.

Next to America would be the European Union or EU. Nobody knows exactly the level and frequency of drug use there. But given the huge 450 million population, even just a 5% heavy usage would translate to 22.5 millions of Europeans heavily dependent on narcotics. At least over a hundred millions more are moderate or non-dependent users.

So it isn’t difficult to see why drug trade is so lucrative a business. In my country alone, drug production and trade is a whopping $10 Billion industry, and that estimate could well be under-estimated. Drug user count here is moving up the ladder too, while the Asian and American markets are also active destinations of drug exports.

Going back to Mexico, it may not be accurate to just cite the American market as the sole impetus for drug production and trade there. Mexico itself has a large population, enough to absorb a very large portion of locally produced narcotics. And there is South America that very well serves as a huge backyard in the Latino world for any salivating drug lord to flood with low prized narcotics, thus ensuring big bucks to the criminal honchos’ pockets.

With a string of conservative governments installed from the late 90s through the present, the paranoia towards drug cartels is understandable. The same conservatives unleashed the sword of a crusade versus the drug lords who are now being hunted down in the same way that heretics were tracked down and massacred by the Church during the infamous Inquisitions around the globe.

Insurgents used to be top national security threats in Mexico, but that fizzled out much later. The last insurgent group Zapatistas were a ragtag peasant group in an erstwhile urban-led Mexico, and that group’s potency fizzled out as soon as its uprisings were mounted.

Now the drug mafias comprise the major national security threat to Mexico, or that is what the Inquisitionist conservatives want Mexicans to believe. So huge is the anti-drug Crusade that the entire machineries of military and police are engaged in large-scale offensive operations that are akin to facing men-at-war in a conventional war between conflicting nations.

Keen observers are noticeably irked at the rather excessive force being used to stump out drug mafias in the country. The paranoia is simply too much, the force is excessive, and so expectedly the ‘collateral damage’ of the war is proving too much for ordinary citizens caught in between the violent fireworks.

Mexicans should better exert efforts to bring down that paranoia and bring back the Mexican central government to reality. Mafia groups ought to be stumped out all right, but the war need not be in the vogue of a full-scale war akin to engagement in a world war.

[Philippines, 03 February 2011]

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

WILL BELARUS BE THE START OF MAFIA STATES?

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


The month of February is the 2nd month of the year. 2 in numerology signifies change, whether this be change for the better or for worst. So let me take up with you the matter of change in states from legitimate to mafia regime.

The question worth reflecting is: is it possible for a mafia state to gel in the foreseeable future? We are witnessing today the rise to the executive department of a mafia power in Belarus, so let us continue to observe the events in that country.

By mafia state is meant the rise to power of a mafia group—a group engaged in organized crime—to state power and sustaining that power in the long run. Such a rise would then demolish the accepted rules of the game of governance, though the mafia regime may show semblance of legitimacy through electoral victories.

During the incumbency of any mafia regime, it is possible that mafia operations across the country concerned will become the norm more than the exception. Mafia groups will then declare cities and/or regions within the country as their enclave, and bless those elected and appointed officials there being the strategic powerbrokers.

From the advent of the Great Depression through the recovery era of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, around five (5) cities in the United States were reputedly under the control of mafia groups. Had such a trend gained momentum in the manner of a domino effect, city after city and then state after state in the USA could have fallen into mafia hands, and it would just be a matter of time before the federal government itself will become the enclave of the most powerful mafia godfather in America.

The scenario of a mafia USA didn’t take place as early enough the trend towards a domino effect was nipped in the bud. Humbled by the power of central government that jailed the topnotch mafia lords, the mafia then became subordinate operators that can be tapped by Establishment rouge elements for sabotage and assassination operations, e.g. the assassination of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert.

Fast forward to the year 1998, when the Philippines’ presidency of Joseph Estrada gelled. A scary regime it was, as Estrada himself was a growing mafia lord and his Mafiosi pals expropriated the presidential palace by night as a ‘midnight cabinet’. So corrupt was that regime, that the damage it had done to crime solution, fiscal balance, and good governance seem irreparable. It was overthrown in January 2001, and so the mafia state was nipped in the bud before it would calcify in the long run.

As the Philippine mafia was basking in power in 1998-2000, Colombia was showing a peculiar situation. Though its central government was no mafia at all, drug lords were literally the power brokers there. Drug lords were the real government in Colombia, while the central government was only the virtual government. It took about a decade for the legitimate state to re-assert its power and efface the power of the mafia lords who eventually faced squid tactics of elimination.

The situation of a mafia state almost calcified in Russia during Yeltsin’s incumbency as president. So sudden was the shift to capitalism then, as state enterprises were ordered privatized (from their original state-owned status). The only people with huge funds to buy state firms were the mafia families in Russia, so that before Yeltsin bowed out of power 80% of Russia’s corporate world was already in the hands of mafia lords.

That conundrum in Russia was reversed only with the ascent to power of Putin and the FSB (former KGB). The FSB knew that the emerging oligarchs of a capitalist Russia were actually mafia lords. It is within the context of dominating mafia power that the state sampled some oligarchs for jailing as a signal to all mafia groups that their powers are delimited. At a certain juncture, the mafia there knew that it cannot mutate to a political power broker without suffering the consequences.

Yet no matter what measures are done to clip mafia power, sooner or later there will be one state in the world where a long-term mafia state will succeed. It seems that Belarussia is the first such state to endure if ever. As of today though, forces in Germany and Poland are already working out to stamp out the Belorussian mafia from an enduring power entrenchment, and so the events there are worth watching.

A mafia state is like a ‘pacman fever’ (to recall that old video game), that once it is entrenched and endures through time, it can gobble up experientially other states as well. Those most contiguous to it could be the first to be infected. That is why Poland and Germany are bothered so badly, they are mobilizing resources for an overthrow of the mafia presidency in Belarussia.

[Philippines, 02 February 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

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