The sub-“uber” class

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The diversion of pork barrel funds, of which Janet Lim-Napoles and several members of Congress have been accused, could be implemented not only with the collaboration of congressmen and senators and other high level bureaucrat-capitalists. It also needed the sustained efforts of a class of individuals familiar with the way things are done in this country and its government. Their peculiar and criminal skills have enabled them to amass vast fortunes for themselves as well as their principals and co-conspirators. Those skills are well-suited to, and mesh smoothly with, government practice and the dominant values of Philippine society.

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Lawmakers, lawbreakers

President Benigno Aquino III delivers the 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint session of the Congress of the Philippines.
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The conventional wisdom is that the Philippines has good, even great laws, but that the problem is in the implementation, which is done either badly or not at all. The country, so say the conditional and eternal optimists, would otherwise be an earthly paradise via legislation.

But anyone who’s been following the decisions of the Supreme Court should have reason enough to question the validity of that claim. In its most recent rulings, the Court was practically warning the citizenry to scrutinize every major piece of legislation ground out by the Congressional lawmaking mill—they’re likely to be constitutionally flawed.

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Just another imperialist bully

A large temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. The Forbidden City can be seen in the background.
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The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 led to the dominance of Deng Xiaoping and his like-minded colleagues in the Chinese leadership. To Mao’s insistence that China should hew to the socialist path of development, Deng argued that “it doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black so long as it catches mice” — i.e., that capitalism could just as well, and even better drive, China’s development.

Thirty-eight years later it seems that Deng had a point. Although socialist in name, China is now a capitalist society. It has the world’s second largest economy, and its cities throb with all the appurtenances of progress and development. China has also reclaimed its place among the world’s powers. No issue of global significance, whether Iran or North Korea, can be addressed, resolved, or even discussed without China’s participation, concurrence, or at least its silence.

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