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Yellow baiting and green oil

There’s an apocryphal story about how Senator Juan Flavier was once passing out photos asking people to caption them. One after the other, the pictures were captioned, until the very last one. That picture was of Frank Drilon. People were at a loss. They couldn’t (or probably didn’t want to) find anything funny to say so they passed it back to Flavier. He looks at it, shrugs, and with a cheese-eater grin goes “Mila’s lechon.”

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This is the Wikipedia‘s definition of “red-baiting:”

Red-baiting is the act of accusing someone, or some group, of being communist, socialist or, in a broader sense, of being significantly more leftist at their core than they may appear at the outset. The term is used mainly with the intention of discrediting the individual’s or organization’s political views as dishonest and/or haphazard. The implication in red-baiting is usually that the target represents an ill-intentioned external force which has no proper place in a given political party, coalition, or union.

New word: Yellow-baiting – the act of accusing someone, or some group, of being significantly more treasonous at their core than they may appear at the outset. The term is used mainly with the intention of discrediting the individual’s acts as dishonest or treacherous to national interests because they involve official transactions with the People’s Republic of China. The implication in yellow-baiting is usually that the target represents an external force which, through the grant of loans to the country, has the intention of subverting our sovereignty.

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It’s funny how the same people who disparage Merceditas Gutierrez’s competence (and credibility) and sniggeringly call her Ombudsgirl (Gabriela ought to be offended. I am, and I’m not even a feminist) are the same people who are now trying to demonize the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) by using an alleged quote from her, as though she were some prophet, about how she was worried that the agreement might be unconstitutional.

Anyway, these same people also say that after Gutierrez voiced her apprehension, the undertaking was re-worded to be compliant with the Constitution. Does the name matter so much? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or should it be “shit stinks whatever you call it?” In either case, I’ve seen some I’ve read some decided cases where the issue hinged on nomenclature. So, yeah, it could be that calling it a seismic undertaking instead of an exploration might have just been a cosmetic change meant to cover up the essential unconstitutionality of the deal.

Still, assuming that oil exploration is indeed the underlying motivation for the JMSU – this reminds of the whole mining issue. Near as I can figure it, it’s the small miners – with the support of big environmental groups and even bigger communist organizations – that want large-scale mining banned. Ironically, small mining operations are actually more harmful for the environment, even though they are so dreadfully inefficient at getting the mineral wealth out of the ground. The net result is that while the dead-end bucolic lifestyle is perpetuated, the wealth lies dormant underground instead of being drawn out (responsibly ans sustainably by large mining entities) and made to benefit the country.

A parallel can be drawn with the JMSU where, it would appear, that some people are willing to forego the benefits of a joint exploration if only to ease their apprehensions of treachery. Of course they will say that all they want is full disclosure, but that’s bullshit. If all they really want is full disclosure, then there is no need for the full-steam-ahead effort to discredit the JMSU and portray it as treason before the all the details are really known. By doing it the way they are doing it now, they only guarantee that no matter how sound the JMSU is, it will never be truly accepted by the people who know only the unsubstantiated, pompous drivel being poured into their ears now. And so like the mining industry, it seems we might be headed for a future where both our claim on the Spratlys and the supposed ASEAN consensus remain whole but where the wealth under the sea (if indeed there is wealth) remains under the sea, simply because we had neither the imagination nor the audacity to do something about it.

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Yay, school! According to Ducky Paredes,  an Ateneo-UP-de la Salle consortium is spearheading research into algal oil. That’s oil from algae – yep. Oil from the green scum in your broke-ass aquarium. The consortium is experimenting on using LED lights on algae to see which colors (or combinations of colors) make the algae grow faster and produce more oil. The consortium wants to present its work at the SEE Forum –  an “Asia-Pacific Academic Network for sustainable energy and environment (SEE) that brings forward the dialogue on global issues of common concern.” Nerds rock!

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