Archive for November 2013

NAZI HEALTHCARE AGENDA RISING IN AMERICA

November 27, 2013

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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PORK BARREL SCAMS’ ADDRESSING IS POSITIVE SIGN FOR GOVERNANCE

November 20, 2013

PORK BARREL SCAMS’ ADDRESSING IS POSITIVE SIGN FOR GOVERNANCE

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Pork Barrel talk has become outlandishly stylish a gibberish of sorts for all stakeholders in the Philippines. Public outrage has been relentless since the scam involving a certain Janet Napoles’ and her politician beneficiaries’ plunders via the pork barrel were exposed to the light of day.

 

I may have been silent about the matter in my own blogs, as I preferred to write more positive developments about the sciences and technologies over the last two (2) years. My acquiescence however shouldn’t be equated to being apathetic about public issues concerning good governance. On the contrary, I was ever a social activist since my youth days, and I do silently support the tax payers’ crusade to ax those found criminally liable for diverting tax monies to their own pockets.

 

First of all, the Philippines is blessed with a Strong Civil Society. Social activism and dynamism for nigh three decades past already have been coming forth from civil society. The constant, sustained engagement of civil society with the Philippine state has in fact been a hallmark of good governance measures. Many economic and social reforms of a national character did spring off from civil society formations, and those reforming tasks continue till these days in order to solve problems of marginalization and mass poverty.

 

Contrasted to the Strong Civil Society, which renders it among the exemplars for studies internationally in political science and sociology, is a Weak State. Patrimonial interests of diverse natures continue to wield power and influence over the Philippine state and its purses which continues the history of ‘bureaucrat capitalism’ or ‘crony capitalism’ in the Philippine context.   

 

Albeit, in fairness to state players, reforms of governance institutions have been ongoing for over a decade already. For instance, the tax bureau, audit commission, justice system, and public works department have undergone reforms. The results of such reforms paid off as the Philippines’ credit standing, global competitiveness, and related indicators zoomed up very significantly as of late.

 

Now here comes the pork barrel scam centering on this obnoxious evil figure Napoles, even as another brewing scam investigation involves a shadowy ‘Madam Arlene’. Napoles engaged legislators and local government officials, while Ma’am Arlene engaged the Supreme Court and justice system. The Napoles-centered scam is now being addressed, while state bureaucrats search the Earth for the shadowy Arlene.

 

As of this writing, the Supreme Court already decided 14-0, declaring henceforth that the Philippine Development Assistance Fund or PDAF, pork barrel in layman’s term, is unconstitutional. This is truly a landmark decision, thanks to the civil society groups that lobbied the Supreme Court to rethink its earlier decision on the matter. So even the judicial branch of state is addressing the pork barrel issue, brooking no quarters with its added declaration that those state officials who personally benefited from pork barrel over the last 20 years are liable for criminal offense and should be penalized thereof.

 

Which brings us to the conclusion: the Pork Barrel Scam is a positive thing for good governance. The scams are being properly addressed, and it doesn’t need a sophistical mind to see that any social problem that is appropriately addressed is a positive thing. A social problem that remains un-addressed is a negative thing, such as many crime cases that remain unreported or unresolved.

 

Being a positive thing, the moment that the criminal cases will begin to show progress, as one by one the involved politicians will be incarcerated for their indubitable evil, the rating of the Philippines in the global competitiveness indicators will move up again. I have no doubt about this development. Napoles is in jail, and before her there was the corrupt former president Erap Estrada who spent 7 years in jail, so it should be clear to intelligent observers that it is a different time in the Philippines today as big fishes are getting criminalized and jailed for their heinous or sordid crimes, therefore the competitiveness of PH will go up along the way.

 

Eradicating graft in itself takes a long time to execute, and nothing can eradicate graft completely. The sociologist Emile Durkheim said in his classic books over a century ago that there shall always be criminals, as there shall always be deviants in society, for we are not a people who are complete saints but rather ones who have to deal with our own ‘insatiable desires’ that propel us to commit deviations (‘sins’ in church language) such as crimes.

 

Society and its institutions can only progress step by step towards desired ends. So will it be for instituting reforms towards good governance that will hopefully lead to a Strong State in the future. Civil Society is really strong in the Philippines, while the business community is nearly a Strong Market as corporate governance reforms were instituted over the last 2 decades. Witnessing the transformation of the Philippine state into a strong one isn’t far-fetched, but this will proceed on parri passu basis and not as an overnight phenomenon.

 

[Manila, 20 October 2013]

MANILA: ASIA’S FASHION & SHOPPING CAPITAL, GRADUATES TO DESIGN CAPITAL

November 13, 2013

MANILA: ASIA’S FASHION & SHOPPING CAPITAL, GRADUATES TO DESIGN CAPITAL

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Good Day to you fellow global citizens!

In 2011, I published an article titled “FILIPINO FASHION DESIGNERS IN HOLLYWOOD: SHOWCASING MANILA AS ASIA’S FASHION CAPITAL” (See: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com/2011/02/filipino-fashion-designers-in-hollywood.html). In that article, I highlighted the maturity of Filipino fashion design, so much that it had reached a level of continental and global acclaim.

Manila has been the fashion and shopping capital of Asia for over a decade already. It once enjoyed that status alongside another ASEAN city, Bangkok. Unfortunately, or tragically, a huge flood beset Bangkok fairly recently, which caused the pull out by many global industrial investors based in it. Bangkok’s own fashion designers left on a diaspora, which took Bangkok off the list of very important cities in the global fashion circuits.

Manila henceforth enjoys a celebrity status for being the sole Fashion Capital. In the latter part of the 20th century, that envious status belonged to both Tokyo and Hongkong. But as the Bob Dylan poetic line “the times they are a-changing” hauntingly reminds the big players in all fields, so did Manila move up to overtake both Hongkong and Tokyo in the fashion field.

As the title suggests, Manila is also the Shopping Capital of all Asia. That means from East to West, North to South of the continent, Manila is THE SHOPPING CAPITAL. Shopping malls in Manila have the best mall architectures in the whole continent and count among the world’s best, e.g. Gateway Mall’s winning the World’s 11 Best Mall Architectures couples of years ago, which enhanced the power of Filipino fashion and Manila’s shopping magnetism.

That title of Shopping Capital used to belong to both Hongkong and Tokyo as well. So you could just imagine the slide of both cities to 2nd fiddle as Manila and Bangkok zoomed up meteorically to take that crown, though sadly Bangkok did slide down (God forbids that it will lost the crown that it enjoyed for a short 10 years).

 

Today, there’s another milestone event that is shaping up: Manila’s graduation to a Design Center for the whole of the ASEAN at least. That’s just a minimalist statement coming from the industrialists of ASEAN. Come to think of it, a country or city that had reached Fashion & Shopping Capital continent-wide will likewise get the crown of Design Capital for the whole of Asia.

Filipino consumers might be wondering where are all those Filipino fashion designs being bandied by the tri-media and cyberspace. Well, fellow Filipinos, you only see fashion via the RTWs viewed by your focals every week in the shopping malls, and RTW fashion constitutes only 16% or 1/7th of the totality of work by fashion designers in the Philippines.

84% of all Filipino fashion designs are generated for the couture business. Many fashion designers in fact do sub-contracting for some bigger fashion design firms whose very own end-users are individual couture fashionistas and corporate retail outlets. With all the great fashion designs going around in Manila and Cebu, all that a Filipino needs to do is get ideas from them, design their own clothes, and look for good cutter and ‘sastre’ (tailor or dress maker) in the wet market to finish the product.

By being a Design Capital means that Filipino fashion designers will  train fashion designers from across Asia and the oceans and also welcome those emerging designers from other countries to do sub-contracting for the big players in Manila. Hopefully fashion institutes will catch up for installation and training of the young designers across the world.

In my own honest opinion, the top universities in Manila—University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University—should launch fashion departments within their own backyards. It is now time to do so. Pitoy Moreno, top fashion designer, already won his National Artist award, so that recognition should translate into the university’s adopting of the fashion as a line of the arts.

Let’s all expect exciting developments to come regarding the fashion world and it’s partner institution the mall retail business. If generating great fashion sustains the enticement of retailers to ever build majestic mall architectures, then shall there’s joy and fun indeed in visiting Manila and the Philippines by enthused tourists both domestically and internationally.

[Manila, 08 November 2013]

FILIPINO BEAUTIES CHARM THE WORLD

November 7, 2013

FILIPINO BEAUTIES CHARM THE WORLD

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Gracious day to all ye global citizens!

 

Megan Young, who hails from the city of Olongapo, recently won the Ms World pageant. It is precedent setting for the Philippines that won the pageant for the first time. The victory looks like the last step in  the great pyramid of Cheops, as all the previous steps mark the victories of Filipino young women in the other pageants.

 

Filipinos are definitely in ecstatic awe for the victories of their compatriot beauties. A gladdening news such as the win by Megan Young is enough to trample the fiery news about sickening events such as plunder of tax money by politicians & dirty business operators, and the rampaging Misuari bandit forces in Zamboanga that almost torched a city.

 

The list of majestic beauties is getting longer by the year, as year in and year out Filipino women win pageants across the globe. Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup, aside form names that my short term memory could hardly recall (gigabyte limits!), were among the top marvelous divas that walked the planet prior to Megan Young.

 

What makes the Filipino beauties stand out is that they’re not only physically beautiful or walk with superb elegance, they also are intelligent. Go back to the television presentations of Megan Young’s performance during the Q&A, and you can affirm for yourself the smartness of the beauty. Shamcey Supsup was an honors graduate of the topgun University of the Philippines, and was among the board topnochers in architecture.

 

Such marvelous divas are exquisite ambassadors of goodwill for which they are naturally fit for. Their body beauties also make them perfect models for wellness, which should push women across the country and planet for more efforts to stay fit and go the wellness path to perfect health.

 

The Filipino beauties of late have shown much more sophistication than the beauties of the previous decades, if I’m not mistaken. Many of the latter beauties fell prey to the deceitful tongues of lotharios, besides many lack the culture savvy of the present generation of younger beauties.

 

Filipino women are among the prettiest in Asia. As per my own assessment, the women of the Philippines and Thailand are Asia’s most beautiful. While there may be subjectivity to my judgement, I’d say look at the beauty contests and see the performances of the Filipino and Thai women.

 

For all the majestic pageant beauties of the Philippines, mabuhay!

 

[Manila, 04 November 2013]

PHILIPPINE ECONOMY TOPS ASIAN GROWTH, FIREWALL AMIDST POLITICAL TURMOILS

November 2, 2013

PHILIPPINE ECONOMY TOPS ASIAN GROWTH, FIREWALL AMIDST POLITICAL TURMOILS

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

For this particular note, I will go back to my reflections on the Philippine economy, while I look forward to expand to ASEAN concerns as ASEAN integration nears by 2015. Philippine economic growth tops ASEAN, which makes it the leading ‘tiger’ of the region today.

 

For a recall, Philippine economic performance showed past 7% growth for the last four (4) quarters already. As of middle of 2013, PH growth was at par with China’s which seems to show some sputtering after past two (2) decades of double digit growth. China’s very own growth pattern may decline even more in the years ahead, thus permitting the PH economy to be on top if it shows a sustained trend over the next couples of years.

 

Economic performance can only be as good as the economy players themselves. While economic policy environment, which is the terrain of politicians and bureaucrats, plays a very vital role in stimulating economic development, in the last instance it is the performance of economic players that counts most.

 

As a matter of fact, it is on the side of the state—with poor expenditures for infrastructures during the first two years of the Aquino administration—that produced a lackluster economic growth. Bad governance stalks the Philippine state, which ends in an overall Weak State, though governance reforms are in order.

 

Incidentally, across the decades, the Philippine economy built a ‘firewall’ that protects it from political caldrons here and abroad. Along with other Asian economies, the Philippines also built a ‘firewall’ against turmoils in the global economy that are caused by the economic weaknesses of the North (Japan, USA, EU).

 

As economists put it, the Philippine economy just entered a ‘virtual cycle’ of growth, thus ending a long arduous history of ‘boom & bust’ cycle. Much of the growth comes largely from the domestic demand itself, showing the great purchasing power of domestic institutions, households, and individuals when combined. Income from international trade plays only a secondary role in the country, which enables it to outsmart the vagaries of the unstable global economy.

 

In the past decades, so much of ‘organization re-engineering’ and corporate governance were infused into the Philippine business structures and processes. Business culture was also properly addressed by internal stakeholders, chambers of commerce, and management professional societies. The result, of course, is better adaptive capacity thru better competitiveness and higher productivity.

 

The trend in Philippine manufacturing had so far shown a consistent generation of high value-added by its labor force, followed by services. The two sectors have shown dynamism so far, thus making them the big drivers of the domestic economy. Agriculture is very sluggish in this respect, which challenges food producers to make up and move up their labor force’s value-added capacities.

 

Note also the trend of consistently high Net Factor Income from Abroad, which will continue to grow in absolute terms over the next decades. Remittances from overseas Filipinos (workers/professionals) continue to grow, contributing past $20 billions annually to the national income. Furthermore, overseas Filipino investments are growing by the year, in highly diversified concerns, so let’s anticipate the repatriations of profits from such business concerns to surpass remittances from overseas workers in the foreseeable future.

 

So far the credit standing of the Philippine economy has been moving up. Fitch’s, Moody’s, Standard & Poors’, and other institutions have been optimistic about the Philippine economic performance and good governance measures, which made them shore up the credit ratings nearer and nearer to the triple A mark.

 

The Philippine economy is still a Middle Income economy as of this moment. It if grows consistently at 7% per annum for succeeding years, then it can double its size in every 6 years. By 2025, PH economy will be 4 times its present size. At the end of that year, PH economy will have entered a ‘mature’ developed economy, and joins the club of 1st world nations.

 

[Manila, 28 October 2013]