Saturday, March 25, 2006

Answering Comments (updated)

(updated: colors changed for easier reading): I thought to give one post to answer some of the comments posted by Domingo and Anonymous
Their views are in blue. My response shall be in hwite.

A. Lets first discuss Mr. Domingo's comments.

GMA was "proclaimed elected" after canvassing by Congress with a vote of roughly 39% of total votes cast, which means that about 61% (100% minus 39%) of the electorate during the 2004 elections did not vote for GMA.

A reminder: The Philippines claims to be a democratic and republican state, but the Constitution allows the executive to be chosen by less that 50% plus 1 or by a mere plurality (not the majority) as in Gloria's case of just 39%.

yes thats what the consitution says. i don't really remember the exact figure but yes, PGMA is indeed a minority president. Ramos was a minority President and please if anyone remembers (because i don't) Erap's figures, correct me if i'm wrong, he too was slightly a minority or at best just a little over. so for the sake of argument,we have had at least 2 minority presidents in the last 4 presidential elections (counting cory's) or 3 out 4 if it turns out erap was also a minority president.

and yes, that is one of the fatal flaws of our democracy. in certain countries, they have a run off election between the highest number of votes when there is no clear majority. in certain countries like the United States where a two party system almost guarantees a majority (because people who abstain/have a spoiled vote could always be more than the people who actually vote/votes are tallied). so yes that is a mistake. and no one seems to care that that is a problem and should be one of the first things we ought to change in our constitution. i think it also helps fuel our nation's divide as much as the lack of strong party system. so those are three items for reform--- 1) no more minority presidents 2) a strong party system 3) national divide that must be made and i'm happy you pointed that out. it is in fact very obvious and often missed out on.

Since surveys of just a 1,200 universe cannot compare with the exactness of election results (fraud or cheating has to be proven yet), such results ought to be the starting percentage basis to compare with preferences to be taken in surveys later.

The 65% who now wants her to quit in 2006 is only about 4% over the 61% in 2004 (65% minus 61%) who never wanted her to be President in the first place.

Is a difference of just 4%--at 3% margin of error and 95% confidence level at that--significant?

Does Pulse Asia really think it is? Or do they think all Filipinos are that dumb--do not know how to add, do not know how to subtract.

let us first asssume that pulse asia has done things the scientific way. that they in no small way doctored the results. so great we agree on that point it is an honest to goodness scientifically sound survey! that said if you remember your stat subject in high school/university, a sampling is used to represent a population. or the more exact term as quoted from the wikipedia is: "Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of individual observations intended to yield some knowledge about a population of concern, especially for the purposes of statistical inference. In particular, results from probability theory and statistical theory are employed to guide practice."

the percentage of difference is of course important as it is a element for an analyst to consider the facts, to determine "is it within the range of acceptable results"

Certainly, the 61% who opted to vote for the other candidates in 2004 would not mind if GMA quits now--or preferably drops dead.

i'm sure they wouldn't.

Surveys are interesting only if they show significant shifts in comparative preferences within a timeline that is relevant (data from election results, for instance), not to mention "intensity of preferences" for or against, if properly assigned the right question to answer.

exactly. it's all in the question and all in the interpretation of these "numbers". number don't lie but it is in our analysis of events that these numbers gain life or that you put it "spin" on things depending on who does the analysis. and therein comes what Sir Francis Bacon said, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."

But they are boring if the survey-takers think that all Filipinos can easily be fooled, or propagandized into believing, that their so-called analysis of the results of a survey these spin-weavers spun--which no doubt is altogether insignificant--is proclaimed to be significant

these are of course tools of the trade. weapons in a war to convert people from one side to another. of course some people think like you do and some of us use these facts to convince people of another. what isn't propaganda? in this day and age--- perception matters and this is what the anti-arroyo/opposition have failed to achieve. yet as much as these are weapons--- we use them to look into what people are generally thinking or believing. for both camps it gives them feed back into what they are doing right and what are they doing wrong. of course it would depend on who is doing the analysis and if they actually listen to it.

moving on... let us for the sake of argument, hold your facts as truth. as you say majority believe that pgma hasn't captured the hearts and mind of those who voted against her--- well, isn't that what she's suppose to do? if her actions and her words translate to something good for Filipinos, does it not logically follow that they are convinced that she is doing a good job? so what people are saying, she hasn't convinced the majority she's doing a good job at all--- a year and a half is a long time, the ought to be some dent in that number, we expect nothing significant but some change would be nice. so for me, she has not done much--- she has only maintained her ground. this is following your comparison with election results and the survey. she hasn't made a dent yet on the majority. which means, she has to work harder. and show results and not just press release.

anyway, pulse asia also asked who is best to lead this country--- and the survey answered that people don't know or have not made up their mind. so what those people in the majority are saying they don't like her or don't like how she's doing her job? it is this: "sure we don't like her but we're not firing her, just yet". that to me is very significant of the mentality our people have right now. she is president in our mind. and fires a shot in the bow across her critics: prove her to be a lier and a cheat as well as, tell me what YOU can do so I can give YOU, her job if you prove to be the more capable one otherwise, shut the hell up. that is very very significant for both Mrs. Arroyo and her Critics. and i hope they actually listen.

to me that's what this is saying. and as i've posted several times already, i don't like mrs. arroyo's style of leadership, i don't think she's the best for this country, but right now she's all we've got. and the opposition has to rise up to that challenge, innovate and capture our hearts and minds.

B. Now Mr. Anonymous writes the following:

It's time to consider Anarchy then. That is, strictly speaking, assemblies with no formal rulers or formal governments. The end in sight would be a society consisting of networks of "voluntary associations of autonomous individuals" on a mission of mutual aid, and self-governance. It's not such an impossible dream as many may think. Much of the recent history of the internet may be summarized as virtual examinations of this ideal. Take open source, for instance. Open source communities, if you think about it, are anarchistic colonies.

According to the Wikipedia, this is how anarchists describe themselves (anarchism):
The word "anarchy," as most anarchists use it, does not imply chaos, nihilism, or anomie, but rather a harmonious anti-authoritarian society that is based on individual self-determination and personal involvement."

in that respect, yes open source communities are based on self-determination and personal involvement but there is a structure and a form to it like the development of the linux kernel for example. there are procedures and a mechanism by which contributors add/edit/fix/develop for the kernel--- from the developer it goes to the project mainter and eventually finds itself to the hands of Linus. along the way, approval comes to a designated lieutenant of Linus or Linus himself approves the upstream code. so there is a structure.

what is interesting as you point out is the do it yourself mentality. and it is happening around us in the philippines. it is why people fly off to distant lands and try things out. it is why people start small businesses or develop new and creative ways--- all without any involvement with government. this "government" is needed mentality of our people-- especially of the older generation has got to change. our people believe that everything should be made available by the government.

even the changes that Arroyo and her ilk are asking for in their new constitution does not encourage entrepreneurship or the do-it-yourself mentality--- they want to control every fascet of society. they don't want to encourage innovation, to liberate people from the clutches of poverty by giving them to borrow from the good book, "the ability to fish for themselves". what these people want is to encourage the status quo.

bong augustero wrote this in his blog: it is time for ordinary Filipinos to take the discussion and the crafting of the solution out of the hands of the politicians. For crying out loud, who actually listens to them? I know I reach for the remote control everytime someone of their ilk comes on television.

It is time to listen to the dreams of ordinary Filipinos. It is time to come together to listen, sincerely and with an open mind, to the sentiments of the people whose only desire is a better future for their children. Who knows, we might be in for some major surprises and true enlightenment.

All these may be unrealistic daydreaming. Call me an idealistic fool, but as someone said, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

But it is time to get to work.

i've seen personally how the big boys play. i've been there. i've done my own share of evil things and you know what, that isn't satisfying at all. doesn't help innovation but only makes things worst for Filipinos everywhere. how the big boys play, is all about what's in it for me, how can i profit from this? they don't care whether something is going to help people or if it is cost effective in the long term for Filipinos (note: not government but Filipinos).

Indeed, we want change? it doesn't matter whether or not our so called leaders choose to create the means to empower people by allowing a mechanism like Federalism to stimulate the economy. doesn't matter. it doesn't really matter all that much who argues what on tv. it doesn't matter that the cost of electricity is so bloody high that people who would want to start real innovative IT companies are constrainted in their innovation. we work with what we've got right now. who cares what the politicians argue about. still it shouldn't deter people to yell at the top of their lungs what change they want.

what matters is this: the more important thing is that we make dreams and we make our dreams happen for us, right now.