Saturday, 25 September 2010

Burnley College bans students and visitors from wearing veil

 I was reading an article from and can't help but wonder of the differences between theists and secularists.

[In 2009, the same college sparked a row when Shawana Bilqes, 18, was banned  from wearing a burka, a move she claimed forced her to abandon a HE Diploma course. "It is not possible to maintain essential full communication if the face of any student is not fully visible," said the then principal John Smith.]

Should be fascinating once a lecturer or student comes in and cites religious beliefs in wearing a motorcycle helmet or a balaklava to class. Isn't a teacher's task difficult enough without having someone making it harder for them?

Muslim majority countries like Egypt, Syria and Turkey already ban the hijab from government buildings. Egyptian clerics want to ban the face veil as not in keeping with Egyptian culture.
Turkish women come to London to attend universities and college, which allows the hijab.

By Thor, Hercules, Raiden and whatever gods people may worship, where the heck are we supposed to draw the line?

As I keep stating, a secular society MUST suffer the existence of religious groups. That also means that secular society should not have that religous belief thrust upon them.

We also work with that old quote from Jesus "Give unto Caesar, what is Caesar's and give unto God, what is God's."
I think it was to do with a question about taxes, but in this case, education would also come under Caesar's domain.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Radical Islam's Fellow-Travellers and United Against Fascism

 I was just reading the recent blog post from Maryam Namazie and was struck by an article by Nick Cohen.
 Radical Islams Fellow Travellers

Leon Trotsky wondered what it would take for the artists to break from the cause of the Russian Revolution that would eventually kill many of them. I see the same things happening with so-called anti-fascist movements in Western societies. As if, there is only either the one or the other. No other points of view.

Defending the freedom of speech is one thing, but that does not mean agreeing with their views. People should do well to remember.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe

Politicians in the Philippines once contemplated naming their state "Malaysia", but in 1963 the existing states of the Federation of Malaya, plus Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a new federation adopted the name first.

Maharlika was another name considered, but it was found that the original meaning meant something like a male sexual organ.

Before the Spanish period, the archipelagoes of Southeast Asia were under the influence of traders from the Hindu-Malayan culture, such as the Majapahit Empire, which was then supplanted by Islamic conquest by the Sultanate of Malacca. The Sultanate itself had converted from Hinduism to Islam in 1414.

We have also been influenced by Buddhism from the 7th Century.

As for Malaysians, the people I have met in Britain were friendly, but I gather that the government and the religious nutjobs don't care for non-Muslims and their rights to freedom of religion.

To not want to be called Filipino due to your religion is the height of stupidity. If you really desire to return to your "roots", then you would have become an Animist, a Hindu or a Buddhist.
About Philippines
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe

How do you rid a country of systemic corruption?

Campaign for Human Rights and fight to strengthen the Justice system in the country.

Philippine Jury International

Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines

There are various groups involved in activism and we are doing our bit in the fight. The entrenched power groups of the Oligarchs in the Philippines are outnumbered and we will win in the end.
About Philippines
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Why has Philippine media given Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a honeymoon period?

Why has the Philippine media given Gloria Macagapal Arroyo a honeymoon period?

with the same vigor that the public hounded President Benigno Aquino III, demanding to know what he was doing while a busload of Hong Kong tourists were being held hostage. The public deserves to know what Arroyo was doing on the day 57 people including journalists were massacred by some of her closest political allies on November 23, 2009.

Questions asked by people like Trixie Cruz:


I was wondering why there is no national outrage that she is still walking around free. Why is there no national outrage that those who opposed Gloria Arroyo are still either in jail or suffering the effects of blowing the whistle on her? I suppose its also because the executive must take the lead. 

  • Where are the investigations? 
  • Where are the audits being conduted? 
  • What are the results?
  • When do we see actual cases being filed against GMA and her co-horts? 
  • If the government needs the public to assist it, where is the call for witnesses?

What the hell is going on?

Aquino is leaving it up to others to take the lead in the prosecution (political or judicial) of GMA and her cohorts. But he cannot do that. It is one of his campaign promises.

There doesn't seem to be any movement in what appears to be an increasing toothless Truth Commission. 

The more important question for everyone is,


Thursday, 9 September 2010

Deep cuts in DFA Budget dashes OFWs’ hopes for change

Deep cuts in DFA Budget dashes OFWs’ hopes for change

This latest move of chopping off millions meant to protect the rights and welfare of our OFWs is simply unjustifiable. When a child leaves home, a parent does what is humanly possible, despite the distance, to make sure that he or she is alright. The Assistance to Nationals Fund and the Legal Assistance Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs is the budgetary equivalent of that.

With such drastic budgetary cuts, this administration might as well have cut lives short.

“Kayo ang boss ko!” Prove it to millions of OFWs and their families here at home, Mr. President. This is in your power to change. Do not cut the budget for the DFA’s assistance to nationals and legal assistance fund. Parang awa mo na.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

What do you mean "Only in the Philippines"? by Trixie Cruz
 This was originally posted on Trixie Cruz's facebook note. I thought it was a travesty to remain there. Here's hoping she starts her blogger account soon.

When the smoke cleared and the bodies were counted, as Mendoza's story slowly is spread to a visibly shaken nation, I am shattered by the vicious remarks brought to my doorstep courtesy of Facebook. I see words like "Only in the Philippines" and "nakakahiya tayo."  Here are my countrymen, talking about themselves as though everything that had been done wrong at the Quirino Grandstand was a national trait, as though stupidity were possible only here and the only ones capable of it are Filipinos. And then, I remember with sadness that it is also my own countrymen, who, when seeing a beautiful place in the Republic say with awe, "Ang ganda dito, parang wala tayo sa Pilipinas!"
Of course P/Insp R. Mendoza comitted a criminal act. Of course the police officers and media persons and networks could have handled matters in a more sensitive and timely manner. But it also especially hurts when these mistakes are ascribed as national traits. Only in the Philippines daw. And only Filipinos could screw up this badly.
The vultures can't resist jeering and insulting. Stupid media. Stupid cops. Stupid Mendoza. Stupid by-standers. The Filipino nation is stupid.

Excuse me?

Our ancestors believed in the concept of an afterlife when many other peoples of the world were still figuring out how to make stone tools. Our forebears crossed the Pacific years before the Vikings crossed the Atlantic. They cultivated rice when many others were still living in caves. They had the first revolution in Asia that united no less than three disparate linguistic groups through a leader named Diego Silang whose wife became his successor. This nation produced women leaders and warriors when much of Europe still considered the female gender as mere chattel. My country abolished slavery two hundred years ahead of the so called New World. My country, whose history and treasures remain mysteries to its own children, cannot and should not be defined by the mistakes of yesterday's events

And we will not be defined by this tragedy. But we must learn from it. And the first lesson should and ought to be not to add any more hurt to a nation prostate with grief. So much blood ignites so much passion. But we can either flagellate ourselves until there is nothing left of our self esteem. Or we can turn this into an impetus for change. Real change.

So, I will mourn today. I will grieve for all the victims, yes Mendoza included. I will mourn for all the ignorance that makes an embarassing display of itself in times of crisis. I will mourn for the good men and women of the PNP who feel the brunt of the national outrage, but who will go to work tomorrow and still go after the bad guys, still keep us safe. I will mourn for media persons who must live with the effects of their live broadcasts.

But after that, I will choose hope and faith in my countrymen.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Trial by Jury in The Philippines

The Philippines today practices a judicial system where courts are controlled and verdicts are handed down by judges. Judges appointed by officials. That causes a compromise for the fulfillment of constitutional provisions.
One such way is how the sovereignty and power of the people should be what illuminates the authority bestowed on public servants as provided by the Article II, Section I of the Constitution. Bench trials, most importantly, are prone to the vicious fangs of influence and bribery. A judge can be easily coerced into decisions by higher-ups who assign them into the courtroom. Or by rich defendants using cold, hard cash. Or by cold-blooded killers who can threaten them and their families’ lives.
Now, how can we remedy this? How do we empower the ordinary, but sovereign, people to be able to hand down decisions of grave importance? How do we avoid the intimidation of those who handle our cases? How do we serve justice equally for men of influence and men of slums? How do we put the judicial system back into perspective?
By adapting the Trial By Jury System.
In using following this, a panel of registered voters, people of the private sector, are convened into two major types of juries. The Grand Jury, which decides whether or not there is enough evidence to indict a defendant and try him in court. And the Trial Jury, which decides on cases which are under the privilege of law triable by jury.
That implementation “is the only anchor yet imagined by man that can hold a government to the principles of its constitution” in Thomas Jefferson’s words. When you think about its merits, you will realize how it could be the next best thing to happen to the Philippines since independence.
Since these juries work independently and may not be influenced by people in power like judges or public officials, they have the total confidence and ability to indict or convict anyone from the lowliest of hobos, to the highest of authorities. This ensures the principle of justice being blind. Power-blind, money-blind and color-blind.
The jury system itself is independence. It breaks courts from the bondage of the corruption. It frees the people to use the power their Constitution has given them. After all, bullying a 12-man jury would be much of a longshot compared to paying one judge for a verdict in your favor.
A big plus is that this raises civic participation in the legal system. When people decide trials, they get involved. And involvement is what uplifts people to a level where people in the seat of power are aware of the capability of the masses. This is real Representative Democracy.
A body in our country is currently lobbying for an initiative by the people to implement a Grand Jury System here called the “People’s Jury Initiative.” They are preparing a national election/plebiscite, targeted for 2010, to put the system into action.

Of course, jury trials, like any other method created by man, would never be flawless. As former US President Jimmy Carter says,
“The law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges and juries. In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect.”
Justice starts with our own works, and how we treat other people. But, in the end, we can likely put our faith more confidently in a system presided over by our peers rather than bureaucratic puppets. Would you agree?

straight outta comic-con: the cutest chun li ever | angry asian man

straight outta comic-con: the cutest chun li ever | angry asian man

The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe

That reply, reminds me of the book "Freedom for Sale" by John Kampfner.

People would be willing to give up freedom for the chance to be prosperous and to have some security. Opposite to Benjamin Franklin's adage "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

Singapore's government delivers and will remain in power till they fail in their task.

Stalin followed Machiavelli's The Prince and eliminated all dissent early on and now is thought of fondly, even with 100 million of his own people dead.

Both Suharto and Marcos failed due to not having delivered even as autocrats. Marcos failed earlier due to the much higher incidence of corruption. Now we have oligarchs who prefer to bring back the practices before Marcos came to power.

Filipinos and Global Filipinos should watch those people and ensure we destroy the status quo.

Philippine Jury International.
About Philippines
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe

@Sarah Starrett:

[Dirty, lack of education, incompetent police, disease, corruption, drugs, pollution... and you're proud of your nasty beaches and trash filled mountains without trees? ]

You do realise that many of your points could also be used to describe the country of America? Hollywood waxes elquent regarding the virtues of the American police, yet the various American police reality shows and watching the news, gives the impression of trigger happy police officers.

From across the pond, America does not look too welcoming.

As for nasty beaches, I am not sure which part you visited, although I can point to the fact that the Philippines has some world class diving locations.

Perhaps you are talking about Manila, but those I have met tell me that the city offers some of the best cuisines in the world.

As for education. Thousands of Filipino Doctors and Nurses are employed in the American hospitals. British NHS and the Middle-east. They've even started turning up in Iceland and the rest of European Union.

You are American, but I would not regard you as a prime example.
About Philippines
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It by Frederik Kaufmann, from Harper's

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It
by Frederik Kaufmann, from Harper's

The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention. That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment.

Agriculture, rooted as it is in the rhythms of reaping and sowing, had not traditionally engaged the attention of Wall Street bankers, whose riches did not come from the sale of real things like wheat or bread but from the manipulation of ethereal concepts like risk and collateralized debt. But in 1991 nearly everything else that could be recast as a financial abstraction had already been considered.

Food was pretty much all that was left. And so with accustomed care and precision, Goldman’s analysts went about transforming food into a concept. They selected eighteen commodifiable ingredients and contrived a financial elixir that included cattle, coffee, cocoa, corn, hogs, and a variety or two of wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known thenceforward as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. Then they began to offer shares.
As was usually the case, Goldman’s product flourished. The prices of cattle, coffee, cocoa, corn, and wheat began to rise, slowly at first, and then rapidly. And as more people sank money into Goldman’s food index, other bankers took note and created their own food indexes for their own clients. Investors were delighted to see the value of their venture increase, but the rising price of breakfast, lunch, and dinner did not align with the interests of those of us who eat. And so the commodity index funds began to cause problems.

( very, very long, but a very worthwhile read, and included a few pictures- give it a shot? )

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sherforce Project India: Outsourcing enforcement east

In around September 2002, Claire Sandbrook and her team were asked to create the National Information Centre for Enforcement - or NICE for short. Soon after, the project moved East, with excellent results. Excellent for Sherforce Bailiffs. 

I have always found that outsourcing call-centres will be a disadvantage to the consumer, if there is no oversight from the originating country. 
When you call the number provided by the Sherforce Debt Collectors, it will always connect you to an Indian call centre. They also tend to be some of the most abrupt people you can encounter that you are left with the impression that they were trained to be rude.

Outsourcing offshore keeps labour costs a low as possible. Outsourced labour including management time is typically 30-40 per cent less expensive than the same UK model. But cost savings are only part of the story as it leaves all the agents in the United Kingdom with some plausible deniability.
Insolvency notices are classified and scanned out to India every day. The India team downloads the folders of scanned images, and enters the data into the NICESheriffs system. I presume that they are more careful in securing data in comparison to the British government?

Carla Bruni 'Deserves To Die,' Iranian Media Says

Europe and America used to have women drowned for being Witches. If they floated, they were witches, if not, then god be with them.

Isn't it always the way in these theocratic countries, usually translated to Patriarchal and misogynistic societies that strong women are whores and prostitutes?

The nutjob representatives of these Islamic countries proclaim that they are protecting the chastity of their women and criticise that non-Muslim women are lascivious. At the same time, they stone to death women who have the temerity to stand up for their rights as human beings.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost