Posted tagged ‘McCain’

LOIN EMPOWERMENT: CHURCH CRANKY POLITICAL DISCOURSE

October 29, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Religious fundamentalism is among the mega-waves of the moment. Secularism, which was a 19th century wave yet, had reached its full circle around the 3rd quarter of the 20th century. From 1980 onwards, with the advent of Islam Fundamentalism and Religious Right (Christian Right, Hindu Right), secularism has been taking the backseat as fundamentalism’s seductive new dogma delivered their devastating blows on erstwhile ‘enemies of God’.

Catholic fundamentalism has been riding along this mighty wave since then, and had already dealt its own devastating blows on perceived God’s enemies: (a) Irish Republic Army partisans killing thousands of children-women-aged ‘collateral damage’ folks; (b) Croatian Army, armed by the Opus Dei, storming the Serbian bastion, killing thousands of ‘collateral damage’ folks, and declaring a separate republic, along a largely contorted notion of ‘nation’ (ethno-nation); and (c) Christian militias armed to the teeth in many parts of the globe, causing enormous damages and misery on the affected folks.  

More such violent genocidal campaigns will be fomented by Catholic crypto-fascists in the months and years to come yet. This is not to count those hundreds of millions of deaths caused by the Crusades, Inquisition, imperial conquests of Catholic powers (Spain, Portugal, Bavaria, Hapsburg, etc). During the Philippine Revolutionary War against Catholic Imperial Spain, no less than half a million Filipinos died, while millions died more due to the forced labor, population resettlements, and abominable cruelties by the Catholic Spaniards.

If we reflect on all of those past genocidal campaigns done by the Catholics, and add the death tolls inflicted by contemporary terroristic adventurisms of Church partisans, we may wonder what ‘pre-emptive right’ do Catholic cryto-fascists possess that render them as indubitably clean, spotless, pure souls who cry wolf whenever issues concerning population control and/or reproductive health are raised, in the name of a new distorted moron one-liner ‘pro-life’.

The same puritanical quacks, none of whom lives a life that is unblemished and sagely worth our emulation, are again in the heat of raising the same fear-based ‘pro-life’ in the electoral campaign in America. Here in Manila, the same puritanical  quacks have been on the rampage over the legislative victory of the long-awaited Reproductive Health Bill, using the same pathetically bankrupt one-liner ‘pro-life’ spiced with highly nauseating lies about “the destruction of Philippine way of life” by the noblesse legislators. Nay, the same quackery has been raised by the fear-mongers to convince Filipino-Americans not to vote for Obama next week, for Christ’s sake!  

Come to think of it, if we examine the underlying logic of the puritanical quackery, we can see the fear of Church Hierarchs & lay leaders in a rapid diminution of church devotees across the coming decades. The political economy of church operations clearly reveals thus: the more people participating in church life, the greater the power of the purse of the Bishops, priests, religious orders, and lay organizations. This reality of political economy explains why the Church today remains very powerful, because it is the world’s wealthiest corporate entity taken in the aggregates, whose wealth no nation or corporate group can ever surpass.

To restate the thesis in another manner: loin power means purse power. Following from that logic, purse power means greater prestige and political power by the Church. A diminished loin power, due to the meteoric ascent of ‘reproductive health’ and/or ‘pro-choice’ discourse in the realms of legislation and administration also means the consequent decline of the purses of the Church operators.

As the issues and defenses are raised across partisan lines, Islamic partisans are mobilizing their forces of engagement, ready to start a World War III in their region, a war that could embroil the entire planet in another 30 Years War and see the eventual erasure of nations in a Post-Westphalia regime. Catholic militias and terrorists are increasing by the numbers across the globe, evidenced in my own country by the return of the infamous Tadtad and Ilaga groups that have regrouped and mobilized to engaged marauding Jihadist terrorists in their Mindanao backyards.

Since the Church is awash with cash, gold bullions, estates, and hedge funds anyway, every Catholic diocese may as well begin arming militias and related partisans who would be tasked to run after Catholic infidels or those who do not follow the faith in the manner so dictated by Paleolithic fogey dogma. In order to defend the ‘pro-life’ line, kill more, bomb more, cause miseries on more people, in the name of God! Praise be to God!

Urbanization is another mega-wave in our planet today, a wave that brings with it the ever-widening individuation of the human psyche. Herd discourse such as those peddled by the Pied Piper puritanical quacks, which induces a retreat to the folk spirit or folkgeist and is tantamount to retrogression of the species, has no place in an increasingly individuating psyche. Spirituality may also increase with time, but this spirituality will be of the ‘seeker’ or ‘freethinker’ type, a spirituality that is not susceptible to mind-bending manipulation by the folk spirit Pied Pipers. 

This could be the reason why, in the Philippines, amid the much ballyhooed 86% membership of Filipinos in the Vatican church or corporation, the devotees have voiced a predominantly pro-reproductive health inclination according to official nationwide surveys. Obama has got nothing to do with this inclination, the legislators’ pro-active measure on population & development has been in Congress for nigh two (2) decades now, but we do see the increasing individuation among an increasingly sophisticated urban habitué led by the urban boheme & intelligentsia.

The same Catholic puritanical quacks are joined by Christian Right groups in the USA in waging a last-ditch attempt to derail the popular gains of Obama versus his contender McCain as per latest survey. The same sickening discourse, characteristic of mental bankruptcy and mediocre “understanding” (sic!) of the human condition, is being mass-disseminated by a loose alliance of cryto-fascists, all working to subtly use loin power to keep their groups in hegemonic positions in the private sphere.

What nauseating, pathetic buffoons these folkgeist progenitors are! If they have nothing worth talking about, nothing worth their ilk, they better wrap up and mobilize for armed partisans and face their infidels in the Middle East. While the same puritanical quacks, both Islam and Christian, would be busy slaughtering each other, as they did hundreds of years back, the true peace-loving, life-loving,  dialogue-wielding, universal love-driven citizens of Earth would be collaborating in their efforts for lasting peace and development worldwide.

[Writ 27 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

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AMERICAS’ DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

August 13, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Let’s continue our news sharing about development-related matters. Across the Americas comes news bits, from penguin populations in Argentina to environmental news in Brazil, up through governance news in Venezuela.  

[01 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to DevEx database news.]

Argentina

Penguin populations have plummeted at a key breeding colony in Argentina, mirroring declines in many species of the marine flightless birds due to climate change, pollution and other factors, a study shows. Dee Boersma, a University of Washington professor who led the research, said the plight of the penguins is an indicator of big changes in the world’s oceans due to human activities. For the past 25 years, Boersma has tracked the world’s largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. Since 1987 she has observed a 22 percent decrease in the population of these penguins at the site. (Reuters)

Brazil

Brazil’s new environment minister, Carlos Minc, called all sugar cane mills in the northeastern state of Pernambuco an environmental “disaster of disasters” and fined them USD 75 million. In a crackdown called Old Green Mill conducted jointly with the environmental protection agency Ibama, Minc said that all 24 mills in the state had committed a series of crimes. Since he took over as minister after conservationist icon Marina Silva stepped down several weeks ago, Minc has targeted Brazil’s powerful farmers, ranchers and miners, who are riding a global commodity boom, and blamed them for fueling deforestation. (Reuters)

Colombia

Republican John McCain, in an unusual trip to Colombia as a US presidential candidate, called on President Alvaro Uribe on July 1 to make further progress on human rights while pushing the US Congress to vote on a trade pact between the two countries. McCain kicked off a three-day trip to South America and Mexico by meeting Uribe in an effort to tout his positions on trade and showcase his foreign policy experience over that of Democratic rival Barack Obama. McCain pressed the Colombian president to make further progress on human rights issues while highlighting the success of efforts under his administration in fighting the FARC. (Reuters)

Haiti

Aid for Haiti is falling short as the Caribbean country is buffeted by urgent needs to help feed its poor while developing domestic food production and jobs, a UN official said on June 1. The UN System is an umbrella group that represents all of the international organizations and conventions that have been created by the world body. Permanent coordinator of the UN System in Haiti Joel Boutroue said the UN System plans to collect USD 131 million in funding for near- and mid-term programs to support local food production and the creation of new jobs in the poorest country in the Americas. (Reuters)

United States

US President George W Bush has signed a bill removing Nelson Mandela and South African leaders from the US terror watch list, officials say. Mandela and ANC party members will now be able to visit the US without a waiver from the secretary of state. The African National Congress (ANC) was designated as a terrorist organization by South Africa’s old apartheid regime. A US senator said the new legislation was a step towards removing the “shame of dishonoring this great leader.” (BBC)

Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez was personally involved in covering up his nation’s role in an Argentine election scandal, according to a court statement by a witness who might testify at a criminal trial in Miami. The claim was made by Franklin Duran, who faces trial on charges of acting in the US as an unregistered agent of Chavez’s government. Prosecutors say Duran conspired to silence a Florida businessman who toted USD 800,000 in a suitcase from Caracas to Buenos Aires, where the valise was seized Aug. 4. Prosecutors say the cash was intended for the campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was elected president of Argentina on Oct. 28. (Bloomberg)

AMERICAS’ DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

August 11, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Let’s continue our news sharing about development-related matters. Across the Americas comes news bits, from penguin populations in Argentina to environmental news in Brazil, up through governance news in Venezuela.  

[01 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to DevEx database news.]

Argentina

Penguin populations have plummeted at a key breeding colony in Argentina, mirroring declines in many species of the marine flightless birds due to climate change, pollution and other factors, a study shows. Dee Boersma, a University of Washington professor who led the research, said the plight of the penguins is an indicator of big changes in the world’s oceans due to human activities. For the past 25 years, Boersma has tracked the world’s largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. Since 1987 she has observed a 22 percent decrease in the population of these penguins at the site. (Reuters)

Brazil

Brazil’s new environment minister, Carlos Minc, called all sugar cane mills in the northeastern state of Pernambuco an environmental “disaster of disasters” and fined them USD 75 million. In a crackdown called Old Green Mill conducted jointly with the environmental protection agency Ibama, Minc said that all 24 mills in the state had committed a series of crimes. Since he took over as minister after conservationist icon Marina Silva stepped down several weeks ago, Minc has targeted Brazil’s powerful farmers, ranchers and miners, who are riding a global commodity boom, and blamed them for fueling deforestation. (Reuters)

Colombia

Republican John McCain, in an unusual trip to Colombia as a US presidential candidate, called on President Alvaro Uribe on July 1 to make further progress on human rights while pushing the US Congress to vote on a trade pact between the two countries. McCain kicked off a three-day trip to South America and Mexico by meeting Uribe in an effort to tout his positions on trade and showcase his foreign policy experience over that of Democratic rival Barack Obama. McCain pressed the Colombian president to make further progress on human rights issues while highlighting the success of efforts under his administration in fighting the FARC. (Reuters)

Haiti

Aid for Haiti is falling short as the Caribbean country is buffeted by urgent needs to help feed its poor while developing domestic food production and jobs, a UN official said on June 1. The UN System is an umbrella group that represents all of the international organizations and conventions that have been created by the world body. Permanent coordinator of the UN System in Haiti Joel Boutroue said the UN System plans to collect USD 131 million in funding for near- and mid-term programs to support local food production and the creation of new jobs in the poorest country in the Americas. (Reuters)

United States

US President George W Bush has signed a bill removing Nelson Mandela and South African leaders from the US terror watch list, officials say. Mandela and ANC party members will now be able to visit the US without a waiver from the secretary of state. The African National Congress (ANC) was designated as a terrorist organization by South Africa’s old apartheid regime. A US senator said the new legislation was a step towards removing the “shame of dishonoring this great leader.” (BBC)

Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez was personally involved in covering up his nation’s role in an Argentine election scandal, according to a court statement by a witness who might testify at a criminal trial in Miami. The claim was made by Franklin Duran, who faces trial on charges of acting in the US as an unregistered agent of Chavez’s government. Prosecutors say Duran conspired to silence a Florida businessman who toted USD 800,000 in a suitcase from Caracas to Buenos Aires, where the valise was seized Aug. 4. Prosecutors say the cash was intended for the campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was elected president of Argentina on Oct. 28. (Bloomberg)

US WATCH: TRANSPORT U.S. BACK TO PROSPERITY

July 24, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

The final feature of the US ‘real economy’ worth featuring is transportation & communications. This is among the most productive sectors that produce real wealth, contrasted to the ‘casino economy’ of predatory finance that produces wealth from out of wealth itself, producing really nothing worth our value. Broad as it is, let me focus on the transport sector.

 

Time was when the railway industry took off, inducing growth as soon as the railways hit the West. The continental divide among the US states was bridged quickly, intra-trade exponentially increased. Soon enough, foreign trade also increased in leaps and bounds as maritime shipping grew and matured quickly, making US articles of trade be exported to all corners of the planet.

 

Trains, ships, airplanes, automotives, trucks, heavy equipment, tractors, and other state-of-the art prototypes came out of America’s workshops to propel growth not only in the US but in other countries as well. “Made in the USA” products became household words everywhere, including my Wild Wild West province of Cagayan in Northern Philippines, precisely due to the miracle of the transport sector that was broadly a facet of the ‘real economy’ of America. I was a child in the 1960s and early 70s when the “Made in the USA” was chic and almost a cult-level cliché.

 

That era now is now consigned to the dustbins of a remote past. Sure, America still produces state-of-the art transport prototypes. But look, railways have stagnated (is there a mag-lev there now?), automotives are shrinking by the day (laying off and displacing thousands of top quality industrial technicians), while the cutting edge technology for almost all prototypes, save for military transport, have already been surpassed by Asia.

 

McCain and Obama should better do their homework and understand the catastrophic future that awaits America if the transport sector remains neglected and ceaselessly ravaged inch-by-inch by the infernal fires of predatory finance. The policy makers there better salve the ailing sector quickly, and get back those laid-off topnotch industrial technicians to work before they lose every iota of motivation to even get involved in the sector they grew up with but which rejected them (how traumatic!).

 

If there’s any sector to begin with, it’s railways. Better renovate the railways, and establish maglevs in all the major continental routes of the US. And quickly take the initiative to establish cross-border maglevs with Canada and Mexico. Later, establish maglevs connecting Alaska with Russia via Siberia, thus connecting US to the Asian land mass.

 

Sorry for sounding ‘interventionist’, fellows in America. We Asians are as concerned with your economy as you are, and we would want your economic leadership to again rise to the fore. If America does that, other nations will then move on, propelled by growth in the ‘real economy’ because America is doing so. Failing to do that, the economic baton will transfer to Asia, and it will crash our hearts to see our fellow Earthans of America sinking in esteem by the day, because of their collapsing prosperity.

 

We are all siblings on Earth, this is certain, that’s why we share words of wisdom about your economic conditions. May you finally have a reform-oriented President comes this coming electoral contest.

 

[Writ 07 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

US WATCH: S & T CUTTING EDGE EROSION

July 22, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

 

As I’ve been stressing in previous articles, “it’s the economy” that count much as top agenda to be addressed by policy makers, bureaucrats and growth stakeholders in the USA. And this should be the primary concern of the political bigwigs when election comes by the end of the year.

 

A policy shift that will veer away America from the destructive flames of the ‘virtual economy’ founded on predatory finance, back to the ‘real economy’ based on tangible outputs in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructures, S & T, and transportation & communications.

 

This time around, do make reflections on the S&T facet of America’s economy and society. For over two (2) centuries the USA was a hallmark of development, precisely due to the ingenuity manifested by its entrepreneurs who built the mighty industrial economy. The S&T facet of production has been a well established fact-of-life in America, and I should stress that facet here means ‘cutting-edge’.

 

Without S&T cutting-edge, America would still be a backwoods economy today, much like some backwoods states there. But since the founding fathers of America laid down the foundations of growth and prosperity—foundations based on the ‘real economy’ or ‘physical economy’—and propelled by the collective will to drive relentlessly till the grand visions are achieved, America has risen meteorically to where it is: a mighty economic juggernaut, the object of high esteem by many nations.  

 

But when the ‘virtual economy’ began encroaching on every economic sector there, most specially after the collapse of the gold standard, gradually did the priority for developing S & T erode. Today that erosion is severely felt, as many analysts from the West have heralded the admission that Asia had already surpassed the essential technological cutting edge of the West as early as 2007 yet.

 

Let’s take solar technology for instance. Solar panel design had already reached maturity in California, home to solar energy development. The early take off of the industry there prompted the investors to immediately establish branches overseas, one of which is the Philippines. One leading company was so surprised that its Filipino engineers (Philippine-based) had already surpassed the innovation designs of their California counterparts (Americans) before the end of 2007 yet.

 

Now, as you go from one economic sector to another, most specially the productive sectors, and assess the cutting edge situation of technologies, then you can see the reality that America & EU (West) were already surpassed. It won’t take long before the wealth boosted by the Asian cutting edge will move up, making Asian regions surpass both the US and EU in terms of GDP.

 

Well, the other option is the ‘neo-con’ option: nuke all competitor nations back to the stone age. If you do so, say if you nuke the Philippines today which designs and produces ½ of the worlds Intel chips, think of the consequences. Nuke India, China, ASEAN, South Korea, come on demonic neo-cons! Enjoy your Nero madness with wild abandon!

 

I’d rest my case.

 

[07 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

US WATCH: INFRASTRUCTURE DECAY, NEEDS MASSIVE REDEVELOPMENT

July 19, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

A bridge has fallen, the Mississipi river flooded Orleans like some pathetic third world city, airports are too cramped up as they are incapable of containing the surge in passenger & cargo levels, the East Coast experienced the emergency shut down due to grid overload (causing massive blackout), railway tracks are thinning out and overall capacity is on downward trend, and more.

They seem to be unrelated, but for economists and sociologists the trends all tell the same story. Pieced up together, they indicate crumbling infrastructures. Not because the structural engineers of America are sloppy, and definitely not that the heavy equipment sector couldn’t provide quality machines to reinforce the burgeoning infrastructure need of the juggernaut US economy.

The true story is that, as the economy shifted to the ‘virtual economy’, there was the systematic abandonment of infrastructure as a priority for fiscal and budgetary allocations. “Leave that to the private sector!” was the slogan for infrastructure. Even the famed fast lanes of America are already being sold out one after the other to the highest bidders, financial speculators all led by the likes of Felix Rohatyn & partners, thanks to deregulation and liberalization.

The thing is, most of America’s major infrastructures—airports, wharfs, roads, bridges, dikes, dams, power distribution, and more public works—were built in the 50s and 60s yet, at the height of the post-war boom under the aegis of the New Deal. Such infrastructures now require massive renovation, with entire replacement for those decaying beyond salvaging.

Did the civil engineers of America speak about the matter clearly? They did, and they have been saying alarming things since the 1990s yet. At the height of the ‘bridge over troubled water’ fiasco, they came out with the report that ¼ of America’s roads and bridges needed major repairs and replacements as soon as possible.

The other sectors’ experts have spoken as well. In the airlines industry, no less than state officials have forewarned that if no renovations (toward expansion) will be done on airports in 10 years’ time, there will be major crisis in the airlines sector. The possibility of emerging markets overshooting the USA’s cutting edge in air transport delivery also looms ahead in the short run.

With no reversal of policies in sight, chances are that, in 20 years’ time, the USA will be an apocalyptic landscape of fallen bridges, impassable roads, rotten wharfs, fallen dikes and inoperable dams, rotten buildings left to nature, and forest cover claiming back once bustling cities.

Only a timely policy reversal can nip the apocalyptic future in the bud. That is, if the political bigwigs in the coming election—McCain and Obama—do their homework well, comprehend the problem deeply, and begin large-scale strategic solutions to colossal problems in infrastructures.

[Writ 06 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]  

US WATCH: AGRICULTURE DECAYS, BIOFUEL MATTERS MOST!

July 18, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Agriculture remains to be among the most protected sectors of the US economy. Enough to cause ceaseless chagrin on the members of the WTO, who have been demanding that the EU-USA-Japan trilateral belt better play by the rules and remove the trade barriers in agriculture.

But the overall alarming trend in America’s agriculture is the rapid shrinking of arable lands altogether. Lucky enough that America is blessed with millions of acres of arable land, but the liberalization of land use conversions affected this mighty economy strongly like in other countries. Prime agricultural lands are being transformed into commercial and residential lands, most specially those southern regions that practically fed the whole America for nigh centuries long.

Agriculture is following a general trend of economic decay. The historic practice of mono-cropping alone had already created havoc on the soil quality in many places across the US. Compounding the decay problem is the pressure by WTO members for the sector to bring down the trade barrier, thus possibly bringing in floods of cheap food imports from Europe and the south.

Just recently, the inflated marketability of biofuels led many a planter to shift to massive corn production, for the sole purpose of raking profits on alternative fuels. Of course, many hedge funds and enthused investors had cashed in on the biofuels craze, and news came out that even Bill Gates had invested in this ‘greenfield’ energy source.

Estimates put the amount of corn planted to biofuels as more than enough to feed over 110 million people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed for sure! But feeding mouths is hardly the priority in the US agriculture today, the core focus being the next round of looting on the consumers’ purse by driving food prices upwards both due to the biofuels craze and speculation on food stocks.

So, what say you, voters of America? Let’s just hope the political bigwigs contesting the presidency will indeed take the interest of ‘food security’ at its core. Failing to do so, America itself might end up with inflated food prices in the couples of years ahead, and believe it or not, the Depression era of seeing people without food on their plates may come back. The difference being that the Great Depression was only quite temporary, while this coming ‘food insecurity’ will be around for a very long time.

This brings to mind what the late John Meynard Keynes declared cryptically, “in the long run, we shall all be dead!”

[Writ 06 June 2008, Quezon City, MeroManila]