[last-minute insertion] TaN: In the recent cases of the shooting of Michael Brown and the death (by choke hold) of Eric Garner are prime symptoms of incompetence (or at least ill- or poorly-trained) of some police officers in handling threats in the field. These are good examples where excessive force were disporportionately used to resolve what could have been simple and easy situations — in other words, overkill.
A properly-trained police officer, in the case of Michael Brown, would have (at most) shot the victim in the leg instead of over-reacting with fatal shots. As to the case of Eric Garner, there were enough police officers on the scene (and on top of the victim) to secure him. Since Mr Garner was already on his stomach, there are other alternative wrestling holds that can ensure immobilization, like leg and arm holds. The neck, in any situation, should always be off limits.
Finally, the War on Terror has everybody, or at least many, so worked up that many of our actions and behavior (and responses or reactions) no longer “make sense”. Many appear to have crossed the line from rational beahvior to overkill. Even common expressions have mutated into extremes — such as “forever” (as in “We have been friends forever”) and as “to the max”.
TaN: The abolition of the OPSF (Oil Price Stabilization Fund) was one of the most unthought-of and stupid decisions of the Philippine government, especially with the manner by which the oil industry is behaving today. With Big Oil merely following the ups-and-downs of the global oil market prices, it is best that we do away with the subject of Economics — specifically the one that deals with forecasting and pricing.
I fail to see or appreciate the point of having students go through the rigors of learning how to determine or forecast the future values and prices of commodities, inflation rates, and what-have-yous when, in the end, all you need is just to tack on whatever profit margin you desire to achieve on top of whatever is the prevailing market price. What is the whole point — just to prove “superiority”, “geniusness”, what?!
With the restoration of the OPSF — and this time ensuring the proper administration of the fund with transparency, with respect to the contract purchase price and not the global market prices, from the oil industry players — the erratic “dance” between the oil and the transport industry may be stabilized. Instead of fluctuating transport fares, “oscillating” as retail oil prices skyrocket and plummet, and causing havoc on household budgets (because transport fares make up a significant portion of daily household expenses, especially for those who have to commute to work that are quite distant), transport fares and fuel costs will stay constant (within a specific duration, inspite of the global market fluctuations).
Think about it. How impractical is it to have transport fares go up and down with the movement of retail fuel prices, constantly re-adjusting to ensure viability (and profit). While it is relatively easy for the oil industry to move its prices, it is a Calvary for the transport industry to keep bargaining and arguing with government bureaucracy to adjust fares — where it is not uncommon for a petition for a fare adjustment to be overtaken by events, like when there is a pending petition to hike fares but it took so long that retail fuel prices have dropped down again to levels where the petition is rendered moot but the loss of revenue during the long wait cannot be recovered anymore.
It is likewise in this regard that my earlier recommendation to enact a law where prices of commodities, especially of prime and/or essential commodities like fuel, may be lowered as many times as desired but can only be raised once every 365 days (from the date when the increase takes/took effect). This will provide some sort of stability in other market prices, especially those that are directly affected by the price movement of the said prime or essential commodity.
TaN: Because of greed and the love of money/mammon and the “invention” and implementation of the concept of property, specifically private property, world hunger and famine cannot be mitigated, much less eradicated. Vast tracts of land (that would have otherwise been put to good and productive use by people who really need them), because they are “owned” by or the rights to their use are in the control of private individuals and mega corporations, these open and untended lands are left unroductive and starving people (who have the skill or talent) cannot make use of the land (for their simple and fundamental benefit, as in growing food for themslves, their family, and their neighbors).
I maintain that a key factor to addressing the poverty issue is — since removal of the right to property is, for all intents and purposes, impossible — either to have all land declared as property of the state and people will only rent the right to use the property (as is most of the practice today with IPRs or intellectual property rights) or a law is enacted and institutionalized where all idle (defined as any piece of land that remains unused, be there any improvement done previously or structure in place for a certain duration) lands (whether public or private) can be taken over by anyone for good or productive use provided the right to the land still belongs to the owner and proper notification (but not necessarily permission) of intention to use the land is given or done (as in a posted sign in public view). The exception here would be protected areas established for purposes of conservation and preservation of biodiversity and (true) sustainable development.
As it is, there is so much idle land everywhere that there is simply no excuse for widespread and rampant global hunger and poverty. Productive and industrious people who are indigent should not have any hindrances to improving their own lives. The right to (private) property should not obstruct nor come in conflict with others’ right to improve their quality of life and their flourishing (as embodied in Buddhist economics).
TaN: It is my unresearched observation that political units that are beyond the ideal population size (in relation to territory) and weak public opinion that are the principal causes of corruption. Just like in the case of Big Government and Mega Corporations, out of necessity that a large population will require a commensurate large bureaucracy, the bureaucracy gets so massive that the numerous layers pose a detrimentally monumental challenge for public opinion or rank-and-file sentiments to pass through the multiple layers of bureaucracy to reach decision makers at the top.
In small(er) populations, the true essense of a democracy can really be achieved and the people at the top level can be responsive to those at the bottom rung because the gap is narrow. The true pulse of the people can be felt readily and there is minimal, if any, distortion of the true sentiments of the masses. It cannot be (called) a democracy if there is no direct participation from the population on how the government is managed. It is for this reason that I argue that there are few, if any, true democratic country in the world (as of this writing).
In large populations, since the bottom has very little opportunity to gain access to the top level, those in between the top and the bottom are prone or tempted to be corrupt, to ask for favors or personal gains, to convey or transmit the sentiments or concerns. The more layers between the top and the bottom, the greater is the probability of corruption.
It is therefore vital that autonomous or sovereign political units not exceed a certain population size limit lest its chances of being vulnerable to corruption increases. And this is a key to a better future for humanity.
TaN: One big problem with Philippine internet access — especially with Sun Broadband, at least from my experience — is that it is pitifully slow, outrageously and unjustifiably expensive, and still insert advertisements from the provider. I would rather stick with the free wifi, which may be slow and filled with ads but at least I do not have to pay for it.
From my limited research into the internet situation in the Philippines, it would appear that PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone company) has its internet users requests sent on a round trip to Hong Kong before going to the intended recipient within the Philippines. Although there is supposedly a so-called IX (Internet Exchange) which sorts out foreign-bound requests and data and routes the domestic-bound ones so they do not have to make a long trip for nothing, it would appear that PLDT has its own idea and is going it alone (sending all requests and data on the long trip abroad) while the rest avail of the Philippine IX (please refer to: http://www.reddit.com/r/Philippines/comments/2aurzq/how_pldt_deliberately_keeps_local_internet) — btw, since Sun has been bought by Smart and Smart is affiliated or identified with PLDT, I am assuming that Sun users are being made to endure the same “hardships”.
There are a few other irritants with Sun but I will reserve those for another time.