Three pictures

Yesterday my wife and I went to meet my sister. On the way to the mall, we spotted this temperature gauge. Made me wonder whether it is measuring the heat outside or the political ferment of the people opposed to the charter change moves of Gloria Arroyo. Either way, it must be miscalibrated. If it is the heat outside it is measuring, 51 degrees is way too hot. At that temperature, plants should be wilting and people falling off due to heatstroke. If it is the political turmoil caused by chacha, it is under reporting. Instead of halfway the boiling point, it must be over it already as the palace is so busy keeping the pressure from increasing: by threatening the people who would be going to the rallies, bringing out the red bogey, and flexing its police and military muscle. However, they seem to forget that as long as a material reaches a phase change, adding more heat would only keep it at that phase. Serves them right to ignore physics...

The temperature has certainly risen at UP where the administration under Emerlinda Roman has done an ASEAN-like cancellation of the traditional UP Lantern Parade. Citing possible "damage to property" as a reason, Chancellor Cao emailed faculty and deans about the cancellation at about noon.

The real reason? The UP Board of Regents is meeting to decide on the 300% tuition fee increase and the students have trooped to the Quezon hall to demand that the regents explain it to them in person. Just like De Venecia and his ilk, the UP BOR went to another building at the UP College of Law and passed their decision on the increase which effectively makes the state university less and less accessible to students.

Just like their master, Emer Roman (and Cao) would go to great lengths to push with their agenda rather than face the students and faculty for a full accounting. Walang pinagkaiba, parehong natatakot sa protesta. Let's await the arrival of the storm first quarter of the coming year...

Of course there is the need to patiently study the upcoming situation and prepare. The need to arouse, organize and mobilize the students, faculty and the people to face the crisis in education and in our country. There is hope, as this last picture portray, where workers, peasants, and the people greet the new child reading a book.

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DPRK and the US: Who threatens whom?

As the year winds up, there have been several news items outside the country that have made heads turn. One of them is the nuclear testing of the DPRK (that's Democratic People's Republic of Korea) last October 19, 2006. The media of course have repeated the US line of the supposed threat of WMDs that the DPRK testing signalled and that the testing itself was contrary to international law, so much so that it merited a UN resolution on the country.

What wasn't said in the papers is that the DPRK is not anymore a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and more importantly that it is the US who has already nuclear arms pointed at the DPRK in South Korea and Japan. Its two largest concentration of bases outside of Germany is in South Korea and Japan which it can saber-rattle every time it feels "threatened" by the DPRK. This coming from a country with the largest arsenal of nuclear weapon, the largest army and biggest deployment of bases overseas and despite the clear policy of non-aggression by the DPRK.

To know more about US bases and military access agreements read the following paper at AGHAM's website. My favorite line inside that paper: (On US bases) Its mere presence intimidates and gives coercive power for the US to gain concessions from the host and allows it to interfere, in most cases with impunity, in internal affairs, commit crimes and violence on local people, wreak grave social costs and environmental destruction.