Monday Morning Ramble

Let me ramble on this blog, as structure is sometimes sooo confining.

Two Senators in One
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago runs hot and cold with me. She is hot with her sponsorship of the bill she just introduced entitled: “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity.”
Now this bill addresses many of the same issues as the Cybercrime Act. Indeed, it declares the Cybercrime Law null and void, dead and buried. The new law was written by the people who must live under the act – bloggers and publishers and internet operators  – rather than by the police. It was the police, after all (the Justice Department), that supplied legislators with the language for the Cybercrime Bill. That is why that bill was detached both from practicality and, possibly, constitutionality.
 So the perspective of this bill is infinitely different and much more respective of free expression. The two aspects of the bill that interested me most were: (1) intellectual property rights, and (2) libel provision. Here’s a short interpretation of each section:
  • Intellectual Property: Any material published on the internet is considered copyrighted when published. The penalty for stealing someone else’s original work is damages plus legal costs. This effectively makes the complainant whole without draconian penalties. Only material cases would end up in court. Nuisance cases would fall to the wayside. The “bias” is toward open expression.
  • Libel: The plaintiff must prove malice and damage. If successful, the award is damages incurred. The law specifically allows for criticism of public officials. The dark-ages value of jailing those found guilty of libel for 12 years (the penalty in the current Cybercrime Law, which is being held back from implementation by Supreme Court’s Temporary Restraining Order) is thrown out. 
Is that beautiful, or what? Thanks to The Pro-Pinoy Project for putting the text of the bill on line. Click over there if you want to read the details of the proposed legislation. And big thanks to the group of people who crafted this legislation.

The section on libel is appended to this blog at the end.

Back to Senator Santiago. As I wrote a few blogs ago, she is also on the rant about the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the U.S. and Philippines. She has been upset about that document since the Nicole incident many years ago. Currently she is angry that a contractor to the U.S. Navy may have dumped improperly treated waste into domestic waters, and she holds the VFA up as the reason. The rub, unfortunately, is that her public rant risks sowing discord between allies. With China drooling just off the coast.
It would seem to me that a change in this document, if warranted, could easily be pursued quietly between partners. Why does she rant in public? (1) Possibly because she wants to apply pressure on the U.S. to change the document, or (2) She is interested in the limelight, and doesn’t really care about the well-being of the Philippines.
Neither is a particularly honorable way to proceed. “Just sayin’ . . .”
Wemmins and Jesus
I’m happy to see Senator Cayetano upset with the old men of the Senate, those calcifying crustaceans of ancient bearing and  distorted moral foundation, Enrile, Sotto and maybe even Recto. Women need to run riot in the Philippines to end the lock that those unbendable political sticks have on laws that protect women. And immediately after RH is done, women ought to demand the right to divorce. Marriage is a contract, you know? It is not a slave sale or indentured bondage.
Get God out of the picture and put some common sense and compassion into those marriages where the husband is physically abusive, plays with other women, or refuses to support the kids. Or where the woman does those things. Trust me, trust me, trust me, Jesus is not a sadist and he is compassionate toward women. He was written into the Bible to temper the anger and hostility His Old Man displayed throughout the Old Testament. So let’s just get right with Jesus, eh?
Small Philippines, Big Philippines
I’m rather believing the social health of the Philippines depends on two factors: (1) continued use and expansion of the internet, and (2) building a large middle class that has values apart from desperate need.
  • The internet can be an educational supplement, you know, like taking vitamins. It allows people to find social enlightenment through interaction with others around the globe. I believe enlightenment is antigravity matter that flows uphill to the most respectful, learned and responsible level.
  • The middle class, to sustain its middleness and its classiness, must set aside the envies and grasping needs that lead to anger, theft and cheating.  Young people are the hope, and OFW’s returning home bringing the disciplines learned abroad, respectful of law and order and responsibility.
President Aquino has a small vision for the Philippines. I said that in Saturday’s blog. He does not have a large vision. His is authoritarian, controlling, dast I say, anal? It is not vibrant and uplifting. He does not see freedom and transparency as fuel for ideas and honor and productivity and REAL pride.
Sure, I could be wrong. I would be happy, happy, happy to be wrong. But I see him complaining again about the media and I know he is thinking small.
The possibility exists that he will waste the grand rush of good will that put him into office.
The internet is unforgiving of people who are okay with a Small Philippines. . . 
Whither Weather?
I like the weather in the Philippines. Our area is cool and breezy except for the middle of the day, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. For these past few weeks, we have been riding on the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which slides north and south as it moves east and west, much like a snake in the grass. So we get splatterings of rain and gustiness of wind now and then. Here’s the official Wiki explanation of things:

  • The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known by sailors as “the doldrums”, is the area encircling the earth near the equator where the northeast and southeast trade winds come together. The ITCZ appears as a band of clouds, usually thunderstorms, that circle the globe near the equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the trade winds move in a southwestern direction from the northeast, while in the Southern Hemisphere, they move northwestward from the southeast. When the ITCZ is positioned north or south of the equator, these directions change according to the Coriolis effect imparted by the rotation of the earth. For instance, when the ITCZ is situated north of the equator, the southeast trade wind changes to a southwest wind as it crosses the equator. The ITCZ is formed by vertical motion largely appearing as convective activity of thunderstorms driven by solar heating, which effectively draw air in; these are the trade winds.
And here is link to a fine, live satellite view of the Pacific courtesy of the U.S. Navy, those evil allies who hired the Malaysian contractor who dumped stuff into the Bay and drove  Senator Latin Santiago nuts. “The humiliation! The humiliation!”
The Wise Men and Women of the Society
I am developing a pretty rich understanding of the social psychology that makes the Philippines click. Or fail to. I figure the Society of Honor will soon be the foremost place on the planet to go to understand the ways and whys of the Philippines. And YOU my trusty readership are the masters, the teachers, the mysterious people in brown robes, hoods pulled over shadowy faces, who wander amongst the trees muttering their counsel to the Oracle, Joe of Am. Except for Angry Maude. She screams, of course, obscenity laden tirades, but what can we do about that?
Ahahahaha, I can see the characters now. There’s Edgar, right over there on that stump, huge tome in hand, citing Greek and Zoroastrian wisdoms and enumerating them the way an engineer orders tasks. One hand is waving now and then in the air as he pulls out yet another profound finding and adds it to the list as 6.3.
Johnny is cracking Sancho Panza jokes at Mariano who is drunk in the corner babbling strange Englitches whilst DocB translates them into Latin. Cha is mostly slapping her forehead. Others are wandering and wondering, as good gurus are inclined to do.
We shall set ourselves up as a Society of Honorable Oracles. If you are Filipino, you can come to this place to gain wisdom. Or if you are alive with an inquiring open mind, you can come here, too.
I wonder if there’s any money to made in that. Counselors to the lost, or to foreign investors, or to the political leaders in the Philippines. Oh, I already said lost. Sorry.
I see no need to be penurious about our wisdom.

ADDENDUM: Extract on Libel from the Magna Carta . . .

Section 33. Internet Libel . . .
 A.I. Internet libel. – Internet libel is a public and malicious expression tending to cause  the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, made on the Internet or on public networks.
 A.2. Malice as an essential element of internet libel. – Internet libel shall not lie if malice or intent to injure is not present.
 A.3. Positive identification of the subject as an essential element of internet libel. – Internet libel shall not lie if the public and malicious expression does not explicitly identify the person who is the subject of the expression, except if the content of the expression is sufficient for positive and unequivocal identification of the subject of the expression.
A.4. Exceptions to internet libel. – The following acts shall not constitute internet libel: 
a) Expressions of protest against the government, or against foreign governments; 
b) Expressions of dissatisfaction with the government, its agencies or instrumentalities, or its officials or agents, or with those of foreign governments;
c) Expressions of dissatisfaction with non-government organizations, unions, associations, political parties, religious groups, and public figures;
d) Expressions of dissatisfaction with the products or services of commercial entities;
e) Expressions of dissatisfaction with commercial entities, or their officers or agents, as related to the products or services that the commercial entities provide;
f) Expressions of a commercial entity that are designed to discredit the products or services of a competitor, even if the competitor is explicitly identified;
g) An expression made with the intention of remaining private between persons able to access or view the expression, even ifthe expression is later released to the public; and,
h) A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions, or of any matter of public interest.
A.5. Truth as a defense. – Internet libel shall not lie if the content of the expression is proven to be true, or if the expression is made on the basis of published reports presumed to be true, or if the content is intended to be humorous or satirical in nature, except if the content has been adjudged as unlawful or offensive in nature in accordance with existing jurisprudence.
Violation of Section 33. A. 1. (Internet libel) – This shall only give rise to civil liability and the amount shall be commensurate to the damages suffered.

33 Responses to “Monday Morning Ramble”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Miriam for senate president. Guingona for majority floor leader. Go Go Go!DocB

  2. You think that will be a constructive paring, or you just want to watch the fireworks?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just taking out JPE is enough. Miriam, Drilon, Pia would be fine. Now JPE may not realize it but he's actually blocking Pnoy's priority bills (save probably the Cybercrime and the National Budget). He's lollygagging (JoeAm's term). But this would be tricky because of the coming polls.DocB

  4. Cha says:

    On the lady Miriam: 1. It's called bipolar mood disorder.2. Why do I get the feeling the lady is positioning herself for something in 2016?On the Magna Carta: 1. Loving item A.4. Exceptions to internet libel. Let's see what the onion skinned legislators will do to this. 2. A.5 made me laugh. Header should be changed to: Truth and Sense of Humor as Defense

  5. Well, you raise a good point, and have me thinking. Who among the senators has "fire in the belly"? You know, a drive, an obsession to produce? Of the batch there, they seem rather restrained. Santiago and Guingona might be the best choices, only I might suggest flipping them and put Guingona in as president. That is in an ideal world where the Senate would have brains enough to say "we want to be productive, not just a pompous bunch of dignified farts".Maybe the ideal would be to vote Angara the younger into the Senate and put him in the driver's seat in a few years, young and brash and ambitious and the most prductive writer of laws around . . . yet respectful of his elders. Guingona until then.The point is the Senate President should be driver, not a old cranky curmudgeon interested in his personal agenda over public good. And someone willing to write according to the SENATE'S perceived priorities, not the President's.

  6. 1.1 I thought bipolar was a tooth.1.2 You are enumerating like Edgar. Is that contagious?2.1 Right. But you know, it makes sense. Their job is to listen to the public, complaints, angers, suggestions. Not just how-are-you and praise. Their job description is essentially being re-written to say you will listen to what the people are saying. No matter what they are saying.2.2 Hey, A.5. is my favorite, for sure. Satire rules! Because then I can say "Sotto is an idiot." It has to be satire because everyone knows he is not, in medical terms, an idiot. Most likely.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Miriam again! With her "Pick Up" LinesHere are "Christmas Wishes" for her:Miriam, wish you were dirt, always thrown into the trashMiriam, wish you turn pretty…. on doomsdayMiriam, wish you were a fly, swat and smashedMiriam, wish you were good grapes, stomped for sour juiceMiriam, wish you were a baseball, pitched screw alwaysHappy Thanksgiving!Johnny Lin

  8. Well, I dissed the loud Senator last blog, but I have to be fair to give her credit for sponsoring the Magna Carta. We have no agenda here but the truth and an occasional joke.Happy Thankgiving to you, too, Johnny.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Check out the Corona Impeachment. Miriam looks like the only one that can go head to head with JPE. Miriam can hold her own. Even Trillanes beat a hasty retreat but not Miriam. Bipolar beats dementia anytime.DocB

  10. Anonymous says:

    JoeNot to preempt your next blog on Kim Henares, who is the toughest?Could you put the shooting pictures of Kim, Leila De Lima and Virginia Torres together with this caption, who is next toughest of them all? Alongside Miriam's picture wearing a crown! He he he Johnny Lin

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Mmm. It’s a brilliant day outside. The sun is shining.2. I stepped out and there was a gentle breeze. The surrounding greenery smiled. So many shades of green, interspersed with yellow, silver, red and purple.3. A Jacaranda tree stands just outside the window, shedding its purple flowers on the driveway.4. Out west I can see the blue mountain range, a deeper blue than the sky. I’m not sure if these are the Glass House Mountains, but I would like to think so.4.1 Wikipedia: The mountains were named by explorer Captain James Cook on 17 May 1770. The peaks reminded him of the glass furnaces in his home county of Yorkshire.”4.2 More: “…the most identifiable of all the mountains is Mount Tibrogargan which appears like a giant ape sitting by the roadside staring out to sea.” Did not expect that bit of poetic image to lie buried in the Wikipedia.5. Some days I cannot see the mountain. My mom-in-law always notices the fact. She, too, is an observer of nature. Time to breathe. Time to smell, to take in the fresh, clean air.6. A day in the life. Another day burdened with history yet free to change its course.7. Carpe diem.

  12. Cha says:

    I draw the line at decimal points 🙂

  13. That would be amusing. I may just concoct something.

  14. Uplift accomplished. Thanks.Australia is good for that, for sure. It stands equal to the States for beauty of natural formations, apes staring at the sea, mountains rising to the sky, canyons carving past eons of geological history, looking for reasons.When I was there in 2004 I spent some time in the Daintree National Rainforest north of Cairnes, climbing through the jungle and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. The names there are all depressing. The main point of land is called "Cape Tribulation", so named by Captain Cook when his ships got stuck inside the reef and had trouble getting out; his ship ran aground on a reef and sank (Endeavor Reef). The settlers tried establishing a town there, but the jungle was forboding; they couldn't grow anything. The population today is 101 people, mostly serving tourists.The "one" in 101 was my guide to climb up to the rock spires named Pieter Bott. I was the first outsider to make this trek, as it is a harrowing, exhausting and uncharted climb. My diary is recorded in my pants (right column), torn and stained with blood from the leeches, those lazy begging bastards always hitching a ride and grabbing a free meal.

  15. Coco says:

    1. Looking through the window, I see Facebook, I see copying music, I see the most hilarious U-tube clips, I don’t see blogging sites, must be because of the fog. 2. When I step out a see a middle class struggling with the basics, with minimal salaries they don’t ask what is the best school, but what school can they can afford, how to pay all the extras the school charges. No extra peso to spent on consumption and drive the economy. I see a middle class with 60 hrs working weeks and a few children and little energy for political activity left. I see a middle class with one big dream though : “Getting out”, at whatever cost, get out of this country were we are treated as slaves. (A bright doctor colleague had run a rural hospital, worked for an NGO at a good salary, got a one year post-masteral in public health from a renowned institute abroad, when her contract finished she studied and pasted the nursing exam to work as a nurse in the USA – dream to get out accomplished)3. Are we not taking netizenship too serious? Or is it Monday morning?

  16. hello joe,this is where we hang out: resources coming up. bear with us while we get stuff together.

  17. that is to say, we're working on a primer, infographics on key parts of the bill, and suchlike — we want to make it a quick read to persuade you good people that we want a bill that makes sense for everybody.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There were pics of DeLima and Torres shooting like Kim and yhere was a picture of Miriam circulating when she had her 50th wedding anniversary.

  19. I got De Lima. Not yet Torres or Queen Santiago.

  20. Edgar lifts us up and Coco crashes us down.Gadzooks.The internet class is small, but its expansion is and will be steady, if not rapid. So, yes, there is a lot of reality outside it that has nothing to do with it. But the opinion makers of the Philippines are also a small class, many keyed into the netizens. One can influence without being a mass.The goal ought to be to make the next generation's reality a little brighter, and opportunities within the Philippines more robust. It's a process, little steps added together to make a tromping sound . . .

  21. I appreciate the link. I'll feature it in the side panel.You have alread convinced me that this is a vastly different and more positive bill than that cop-writted cybercrime disaster. Thanks to you and your crowd for the good thinking. Here's to fighting the real cybercrime and energizing ideas and positive work through free and open dialogue in the Philippines.

  22. Anonymous says:

    JoeGoogle Miriam facebook photos/album. Scroll down album, you will see a pic of Miriam silhouetted shooting a gun too

  23. Coco says:

    I aggree, not all have or want to have the same visibility and not all have the same willingness to drive things forwards but people interested in politics are likely to recognize quality and to gather in interesting places. Promise never to post a comment on a Monday morning anymore. (Or after reading that the average CEO of a S$P 500 corporation had 43 times the salary of an average US worker in 1980 and 380 times that salary in 2011 – AFL CIO – and wondering what that ratio is in the Philippines, if Pnoy sees it as a problem)

  24. Ah, yes, that would tend to produce a bit of grump. You must not be a CEO. Keen deduction, what? Alas, I must publish on Monday so that good people may learn to fight through the pain. It's a discipline useful throughout life, given that those stupid Mondays refuse to go away.

  25. Cha says:

    Hey Ed, I get a great view of the Blue Mountains too as I approach my house coming from the east. Though my house faces North so I lose the view from inside. I am wondering now if we might even live close to each other! I am pretty sure we're not from the same suburb or I would have bumped into you already (there's only a handful of Filos in mine). So are you anywhere near northwest of Sydney?

  26. The Miriam solutions:Problem: Hunger.Solution: Chop up some of the hungry peopleand feed them to other hungry people, untilno one is hungry anymore.Problem: World Peace.Solution: Remove all humans from the planet.Problem: OverpopulationSolution: You know what the solution is-sterilized the population!One last problem, this is a particularconcern to me. This is the biggest problemof my life: STUPID PEOPLE.Solution: Kill them! Only I, get to decidewho lives.

  27. Left-handed, I see. That explains a lot.

  28. baycas says:

    Stupid people…THE CORRUPT ONES as well…Solution: Robespierre must reign again? This time in PH?

  29. Thanks, I appreciate the link, and your recollecting my interest in the legislation.

  30. hello again, joe. the folks of cobbled together our first primer: (you can read and download it on Scribd, too).we'll be improving it continually as the days go by.thanks for putting up a link for us. we appreciate your interest and support.

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