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MARILYN Monroe once said, “Imperfection is beauty.”

Why this quote?

We wish to point out the imperfections of democracy.

But we don’t find anything beautiful with government shutdown and with a Philippine administration creating a multi-billion peso fund believed by legal experts to be in contravention of the country’s Constitution.

Plato, the recognized father of political science, said that democracy may tend to perish by excess of its basic democratic principles.

Although, I bet, Plato never thought that a government may shut down even for a brief period.

Additional bet, the Greek political philosopher never thought that an American named John Boehner would one day allow the government of the United States to shut down, even partially.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives are playing (or played) power politics at the expense of the American people whom they swear to serve and to protect their interests.

The government shutdown is happening (or happened) because of the defunding conditions attached by a small faction of Republicans in the House of Representatives to the Affordable Health Care Law, star program of President Barack Obama.

In simple terms, those Republicans were saying prior to the shutdown they would not close the government, if and only if, the Democrats would alter the funding of the Health Care Law, which, Republicans don’t like.

The Democrats did not bite the Republicans’ dog bone.

Thus, the shutdown.

According to IHS, a market research firm in Massachusetts, a partial shutdown of the federal government costs the U.S. at least $300 million a day in lost economic output.

Despite the passage of the Health Care Law by the two Houses of Congress and subsequent confirmation by the Supreme Court and validation by the American people by re-electing President Obama with this Law as principal issue in the last elections, the Republicans stubbornly insist to kill the statute by cutting off its funding or part of it.

Some do not learn from the lessons of the past.

“Those who do not learn from past lessons are doomed to repeat them.”

We will see in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Moving on to Philippines current events.

The Philippine leadership is being accused by critics that it used questionable funds as bribes or incentives or rewards or whatever you call them to congressmen and senators in order to remove from office a Supreme Court Chief Justice that the country’s president disliked.

Critics in Manila are saying the Aquino Administration may have had knowledge of the now celebrated massive pork barrel corruption?

Or possible knowledge in deliberately changing the actual will of the people in the last senatorial elections so that partymates would win?

Very serious charges.

Perhaps, President Benigno S. Aquino III has to start looking for a Daniel, like what King Belshazzar did, who could read and interpret for him the “handwriting on the wall.”

I hope and pray that this president will not suffer the same fate as the Chaldean king did.

Failed state

For the first time since the pork barrel corruption scandal exploded in Manila, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago introduced her valid concern that because of the reported and supposed anomalies in the major branches of PH Government, the native country might slide down into what is called a “failed state.”

Wikipedia defines a failed state as a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government.

A U.S. think tank called “Fund for Peace” is monitoring a list of failed states around the world.

It publishes its rankings by country every year in the reputable global political magazine “Foreign Policy.”

The 2013 Failed State Index has four groupings, namely: “Alert” (countries classified as ‘failed states’ like Somalia and Yemen, among others); “Warning” (countries with probability to become failed states and percent of probability; the Philippines is ranked 60th among 90 countries in this grouping with 82.8% probability of sliding down into a failed state. No. 59 is Mozambique, while Madagascar is No. 61).

The other two classifications are “Stable” (there are 37 countries in this group, including the United States and Japan).

The last is “Sustainable” (13 countries, among them Germany and Finland, which are least likely to become failed states).

The six political criteria that the think tank uses to declare a nation a failed state are: Criminalization and/or delegitimization of the state; Deterioration of public services; Suspension or arbitrary application of law; Widespread human rights abuses; Security apparatus operating as a “state within a state”; Rise of factionalized elites and Intervention of external political agents.
Note that among the attributes of a failed state are widespread corruption and criminality.

I wonder if treating constitutional provisions as mere suggestions, like traffic lights in Manila streets, as the joke goes, could be considered basis in proclaiming a failed state.

***

It seems that President Benigno Aquino III’s luck is fast running out.

He left his country where critics are throwing invectives almost on a daily basis for his administration’s supposed roles in pork barrel scandal and in the creation of a multi-billion peso fund that allegedly misused the people’s monies entrusted to the government for safekeeping and proper handling.

(The latter is the democratic concept of taxation.)

Then, upon arrival in another country (Bali, Indonesia) last Monday to attend a meeting, he was heckled and yelled at by reporters from Hong Kong for his supposed inaction for the killings of Chinese hostages inside a tourist bus by police at the Luneta in August 2010.

We call that “tough luck” here in the U.S.

This president used to be very lucky, especially when elected to his post because of sympathy for Tita Cory Aquino’s passing prior to the 2010 elections.

***

Twenty-four hours after the news that a large farmers’ group filed a plunder case against President Aquino and Janet Napoles together with other former and current government officials for alleged misuse of pork barrel funds, another news that a plunder case was filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and some of her former colleagues in the cabinet grabbed the headlines.

Evidently, it is a case of diverting the attention of the public from the Aquino Administration’s supposed involvement in the pork barrel scam and two other serious charges.

His communications group is good at this.

***

Congratulations to Fe Martinez and company.

Fe had been retained president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI).

It is the group that handles the preparations and actual celebration of Philippine Independence Day each year in New York City with a mile-long parade along Madison Avenue, among other tasks.

It is this observance of Philippine independence which could easily be the largest anywhere in the United States and outside the Philippines.

This is the third term of Fe Martinez as head of PIDCI.

She must be doing a good job.

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