Category: Persuasive

The Greatest Threat to Democracy

Copyright belongs to Karremans Johannes of the European University Institute (for the image above)


(updated 10/20/2020, 23:04 HST)

THE greatest threat to democracy is a dictator, who abuse and misuse power against his own people, who have vested their trust and put him in the highest office of the land in hopes that their lives would be better. To grip onto power, the ungrateful chief executive cares less if he breaches that trust; worse, the ungrateful chief executive cares less if he violates people’s rights. For a dictator’s MO (modus operandi) is as follows:

            A dictator has no respect for the rule of law; he has no respect for civil liberties. A dictator is a fiduciary in breach of his duties; in his duty to care, in his duty to protect; in his duty to serve . He is someone whose moral compass is malfunctioning, because of his tight grip on power.

            A dictator has no reverence for the sacredness of that very rare privilege to lead his nation to a greater good. He has no reverence for true democracy (Obama, 2020). He has no reverence for that humbling privilege to serve his citizenry—what can be more unpatriotic?

            A dictator does not care if he overlaps and infiltrates the greatest institutions and agencies of the republic. Wittingly or unwittingly, he taints the sterling reputations of those institutions and agencies–as he demands loyalty (ironically, amid his betrayal). His message is to “make it clear” that he is in command. And that all should align their undertakings to his theatrical rhetoric regardless of its constitutionality and reasonableness.

            A dictator is vindictive to his own people, who voice their opposition against his ill-leadership. He cannot and will not tolerate peaceful protests, fearing that he would lose command, and his power would be outnumbered by the people who exercise their rights to free speech. He takes advantage of a national emergency, such as the current global pandemic of Covid-19 to deter and even punish his critics and protesters using abusive policing.

            A dictator abuses and misuses the weaponry of his nation against his own people who disagree with him. He twists facts. He misleads his people on unfounded, baseless, merit less conspiracy theories, all nothing but paranoia. He disseminates false or disinformation, to avoid transparency and accountability. He sows division, hatred and fear to divert people’s attention to the very fact that he simply cannot lead. He is a stranger to diplomacy, decency, and empathy; and a total alien to humility.

            A dictator abuses his nation’s resources and will resort even to criminal means for the sake of power. Power power power. To him, power is all that matters.

            A dictator treats public service as a business enterprise to enrich himself at the expense of his own people who continue to sink in poverty—what a very sad reality!

            The good news is people do have the power against dictators by exercising their rights to vote. They must ensure fair and honest election. They also must ensure elections are taking place accordingly. Because every election is an opportunity for the people to change the course of their history. Every election is an opportunity for the people to improve their lives and to make their nation rise to the occasion and overcome dictatorship. Every voting citizen must responsibly exercise the right to vote.

            Lastly, dictatorship is not leadership. And an autocrat is not much of a difference. As both engage in a subtle treason against a democratic republic; against “. . . the government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Lincoln, 1863). Because in a democratic country the citizenry pledge allegiance never to a party more so, to a  dictator, nor to an autocrat; Rather, to the nation and sovereign “. . . government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Lincoln, 1863). United States of America is the greatest inspiration of democratic nations. A north star of the free world, U.S. must relentlessly denounce dictatorship, autocracy and communism. It will be monumental and inspirational for the people of those nations to hear U.S. President Donald J. Trump rebuke the evils of dictatorship, autocracy and communism that are happening in the Philippines, in Russia, in Belarus, in Turkey, in China, in North Korea and perhaps somewhere else. It is hard to dismiss the fact that President Trump is seen too cozy with the dictators of those nations mentioned above, which according to many national security experts, the President’s personal choice of friendship and adversaries poses immense endangerment to U.S. It is important to note that historically, dictators and autocrats are men, abusive men who are so obsessed with power. Also note, although the late and former United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher (1925-2013) was widely criticized for her conservatism; but no one can accuse her of dictatorship. Her toughness in men’s world was warranted.

            Personally, I strongly believe that dictators and autocrats are not only the greatest threats to democracy; but, likewise, they’re the grave humiliations and embarrassments to great republics, disgrace to humanity and to civilized societies in this twenty-first century.



Lincoln, Abraham. (1863). The Gettysburg Address. The Library of Congress.

Obama, Barack. (2020) Democratic 2020 National Convention.


Copyrights belongs to Associate Professor Tom Gerald Daly, University of Melbourne (for the image above)

Can Zuckerberg Bring Down the Great Firewalls of China?


A modified version of an academic essay. . .

Can Zuckerberg Bring Down “the Great Firewalls” of China?

In this very competitive age, when the Internet rules and a handful of technologies are available to the most of us, operating globally—is never an impossible task—especially, for a  successful networking Website like Facebook (herein referred to as “FB”). However, for a communist country like China, those digital possibilities are still challenged by distance,  also by the robust culture embedded to the Chinese people and their “ways” of doing business–and as reflected by their nation’s economy, and as critically and politically imposed by their government. Although it’s truly challenging, multinational companies like FB should never give up innovating ways to penetrate the globe and maximize their potentials.

Currently, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are banned in China. Although there are local social networking Sites, those three including Google, are struggling to get in.

On a personal note, I am not a huge fan of FB, neither of its thirty-one-year-old founder, Mark Zuckerberg. But being away from my families and friends: I could not help using FB to stay in touch with them.  I am not completely into it, because of the many issues of privacy (as too much personal information is collected from us, users) and safety (against identity theft, predatory marketing and selling). Last, but not least, FB is over populated. In fact, according to the author of International Management, Helen Deresky,” . . .if Facebook is a country, it is the third largest nation (first is China; and, second is Russia).”

With the latter being said, and as an aspiring global manager: I understand why Zuckerberg seems relentless in his pursuit to “nail” his success as a Cyber mogul. Because I believe that his business agenda, is to ensure that every citizen of the Earth is truly connected globally, and that FB is accessible anywhere.

Is it bad, or too ambitious? Well, it depends to his critics’ opinions (and as influenced by their culture). But isn’t that’s the most rational business move for any multinational company; “. . .to approach global expansion; and to specifically address such approach,” (Randall 2015) by simply tailoring or customizing FB’s accessibility and overall presentation specifically suited for every nation and in accordance to culture and society?

In regards to tactics, one of Zuckerberg’s approaches is building relationships by making the site available in different languages. He also actively attends events, ceremonies and speaks before the Chinese audience.  Furthermore, he (through FB) has been closely monitoring quality of media shared by anyone in the Site, so as not to offend anybody. And I believe, he’s really doing it right.

Because in reality, we do not know the exact circumstances of any of those disagreements between nations. And many wars and conflicts, are culturally rooted by religion and language. Perhaps if we are able to speak in the same “succinct” and simple language of the World Wide Web; and, at the same time, we can comprehend beyond our fellows’ words, perhaps we have good potentials to be better communicators. For whether we admit or not, many of us are somehow CQ (cultural intelligence) impoverished and/or insensitive–because it’s really not that easy. In fact, I used to be one. Although I learned the hard ways, I am glad I am now enlightened. For corrective steps are doable, and all that is needed, is conviction manifested by a strong will.

Nevertheless, and going back to FB, to improve its chance to penetrate China, Zuckerberg and his business managers should engage to the Five-Steps of the Negotiation Process:

  1. Preparation
  2. Relationship Building
  3. Exchange of Task-Related Information
  4. Persuasion
  5. Concessions and Agreements

Moreover, FB should consider the issues that led to “Cultural Misunderstanding-The Danone-Wahaha Joint Venture in China Splits After Years,” of Legal Dispute,” (Deresky 2014). He should also pay attention to all cross-cultural negotiation variables (listed at page 156 of our textbook).

Indeed,  Zuckerberg is truly ambitious, but as one of his critics, I appreciate his fierce beginning. I wish I have his valiant guts. I think it’s very humbling (not just lucrative) to be able to connect the world–for the culture and the language that enabled us to thrive, are the very same reasons behind most of the misunderstandings among nations and races. And FB are addressing all these burdens by continuously innovating ways in bridging cultural gaps

Finally, according to an academic article, Zuckerberg started “FB when he was 19, but because of his extraordinary beginning, everyone tends to underrate the role he has gone on to play,” says Silicon Valley eminence Peter Thiel, who himself has had an outsize role in the tech revolution. ‘Keeping the company relentlessly focused on the long-term future, he is the opposite of a quarter-to-quarter Wall Street CEO, and that’s why he deserves to be recognized as a great leader.’ We couldn’t have said it better ourselves,” (Colvin). All he has to add (to what he’s already doing), is to thoroughly and continuously create cultural profiles of the United States and China (to make a comprehensive side-by-side comparison) and enhance the likelihood of his success in bringing down the “great” firewalls of the latter. In addition, he should really persevere because Microsoft succeeded in getting in. The multinational company of Bill Gates “won” the Chinese by just customizing Bing.
To end, let’s reflect on the role of culture in the blogosphere. As blogging is not different to any global businesses–for we are speaking here, dealing here, and interacting here with our blogging friends coming from different cultures. But amid all challenges, this is our great chance to live more meaningful lives (and I can’t stress that enough). As this Web, is enabling us to give our views, to share our passions, but just as we have to be welcoming and respectful of those of others. A win-win situation is never far-fetch for anyone who has the will and would dare do it. Most importantly, it’s not so hard to listen or read deeper beyond the person’s words. For isn’t it ideal that we responsibly assess first our surroundings (and be considerate of everyone) by using all of our senses, before we even speak of our interpretation (that could sound more of a bias judgment)? Although we may not be able to touch in this virtual world, we still can talk with and listen to one another with compassion.

Colvin, G., & Volcker, P. (2015). Intrepid Guides for a Messy World. Fortune, 171(5), 75-95.

Deresky, Helen. International Management, 8th Edition. 2015

International Business. T, (0004, June). Google, Facebook and YouTube Outshine Others in Web Globalization. International Business Times.

Randall, Linda. Discussion Question 2: Facebook in China. 2015

Social Nets Engage in Global Expansion, Struggle. (Hotlines) (Brief article). (2007). AdWeek 48(36), 4.


































An Insight on a Digital Menace: Cyber Bullying—and the Need to Create a Culture of Respect

Cyber Bullying

We are in the twenty-first-century. And whether we like it or not; admit it or not, we now exist in a world that largely depends on technologies and the Internet. And happiness nowadays can be defined in “bits” and bytes. The sad part of it however,  it comes with a price–as there are risks involved in being online. Moreover, none of us is safe in this cyber world. Worse, justice could be elusive—damages could be so punitive—and that compensation might be next thing to impossible. Extra caution is a must!


What Constitute Cyber bullying?

According to  the well-known Canadian (from Alberta) educator, Bill Besley: ‘Cyber bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell-phone, pager and text-messaging, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Websites (such as blogs), and defamatory polling Websites–to support deliberate, repeated hostile behavior(s) by an individual or  a group, and with the intention of harming others,’ (Keith et Al 2005).

And although ‘cyber bullying’ is similar in its intent to hurt others–through power and control–it is different due to the use of  technologies,’ (Keith et Al 2005).

Take for example, in the very recent hacking of Sony’s databases, and  allegedly by North Korea: Apparently, the root is the comedy film, the Interview (now showing in theaters in selective cinemas due to threats by the latter). As the movie humorously depicts the assassination plot of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (in such hilarious ways)—which the latter consider as an act of war.

The pricey consequence has caused Sony violated copyrights, and looming legal battles not only from its employees (whose information are all stolen), but also from Hollywood stars as well. This prompts U.S. President Barack Obama to denounce the act and confirms North Korea as the culprit (as per Federal Bureau of Investigation). And that the Chief Executive assures sanctions against North Korea (but refuses to give specific due to tactical and security reasons).

Regardless, I can’t believe that up to now, the perpetrators continue to harass theater owners here. It’s frustrating because we are in America. Democracy is our religion. North Korea can ban the film, but to continue harassing Sony and the theater owners–just because someone don’t know what humor means—or could not take a joke —that does not sound right at all. With such attitude, is Mr. Un fit to be a leader? I don’t think so. Yes, he can act like a god in his own dungeon, but please, not in the United States. Because this is a civilized country, united by the truest essence of liberty. Free speech is not a privilege, but our rights.


Personal Attestation

Blogging since 2006, I experienced stalking once; I was bullied several times; I encountered countless of con artists; but I survived. At some point, I was affected. However, overtime I learned to adapt and embrace the invaluable lessons:

(1) To keep in mind cyber bullies are but virtual.

(2) To stay away from any “vexations” to the spirit (thanks to Desiderata);

(3) To write what matters, and what matters to me—are all that should matters to me and my blogs.

Bottom line, cyber bullies are as distorted as their thoughts. They’re desperate for attention—and the dose, is simply to ignore.

In the real world though, if someone does us harm, we can easily go to the authorities and assert our legal rights to stop any offensive act; and/or, to file claim and compensation for the damages we endured. Sadly, via the World Wide Web—such rule does not easily nor readily applies. This is because there is no common law that governs and binds all countries (neither of course, us, their citizens), nor a common ground (such as court) that can bring a cyber bullying case into justice. If ever there is any, or there would be any, litigation could be expensive; extensive and exhausting.

Finally, recent surveys are showing cyber bullying is a pervasive problem in the society. In fact, reports on its prevalence and victimization results to cyber bullying increasing yearly. Moreover, its grim impact–personally–to victims may include physical injuries, and self-inflicted harms (such as suicide, caused by depression and low self-esteem), drug addiction and an increased use of alcohol.

Bullying is hostility.  Cyber bullying is real and it’s happening. It’s insidious. It’s violence. It can happen to anyone of us. Worse, the bullies can act anonymously, even innocently. Some bullies online are dysfunctional groups of people acting and misbehaving as a group—beware! Some cyber bullies even have mental and psychological conditions–be vigilant! There is a very thin border line between being analytical, critical and purely psychotic–it is best to know the difference. Most importantly, it is empirical to learn how to protect ourselves, and how to respond (or not to respond) if we encounter one. Please blog safe, and be wise!



1.Dılmaç, B. (2009). Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber bullying: a Preliminary Report On College Students. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 9(3), 1307-1325.

2.Keith, S., & Martin, M. E. (2005). Cyber-Bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 13(4), 224-228.

3.West, B. R. Rhemy (2013, October 31). Bullies Who Hide Behind a Screen. Newcastle Herald, The (includes the Central Coast Herald). p. 38.

The Challenges of Social Networking

social-marketing-twitter-vs-facebookSocial networking sites are one of the most in demand online destinations on the World Wide Web. In the United States of America, Facebook and Twitter top the list of the most popular Web Sites. The question is which among the two meets users’ social networking needs? Should social networking be limited to the people they know? Regardless, social networking sites should serve their utmost purpose in enabling their users connect with their families and friends–to enjoy the freedom of expression–by letting them express their individualities in their respective pages and sites without compromising their welfare and the confidentiality of their information. On the other hand, user should likewise consider the risks in posting and sharing information online. For the Internet and social networking have their challenges too–they have advantages, but they have given disadvantages as well. To be mindful of both, will lessen the likelihood of anyone getting into troubles. To be neglectful of both could be very pricey (tangibly and intangibly speaking), and the damages to one’s being could be beyond repair. Therefore, caution is highly encouraged.

In the world of social networking, geared with wide array of collaborated activities, wherein users can interact with one another, Facebook beats all sites. And to Mark Zuckerberg’s delight, its younger sister Site, Instagram is not so far behind. However, many users of Facebook have cancelled their accounts and has moved to Twitter, and their unanimous concern was the plague of hackers, identity thieves, and con artists. However, are users really safe on Twitter?

Currently, Twitter users enjoy the site’s micro-blogging (posting in brief) features. It is widely used by public figures; politicians, entertainment personalities, and athletes. Twitters can “tweet” or send or post messages of 140 characters. The concept of instant messaging is what Twitter is selling. And it is nearly the same thing as Facebook’s Status, wherein users can post about 200 characters on their respective wall (Web page). If the messages exceed more than the allowed characters, the site will direct users to its note page that looks like a blog or a journal.

On privacy, in an article featured at Issues & Controversies, Twitter’s inability to secure private information was exposed. The article further stated that “there have been other incidents where people’s tweets have gotten them in serious troubles and major controversies” (1). Just like what happened to Octavia Nasr (editor of Mideast Affairs of CNN). In 2010, she tweeted an expression of sadness over the death of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Faddlah, a Muslim cleric thought to have close ties with an Islamic militant group. (2)

In the same year, Facebook automatically reset all privacy settings for all their users’ profiles, as sighted in that same article at Issues & Controversies. (3) Despite this development, Facebook users still complain about heavy marketing and advertisements, that many believe pose great risks to all its users, as they collect private information. The New York Times editorial once wrote in 2010, that Facebook allow its users to share their “tastes” and interests so freely with their families and friends, but at the same time it collects information and provide them to advertisers along with users’ other preferences. (4) In that same article, Zuckerberg defended FB; claiming its features and services, were simply the glowing trend of the Internet age.

Personally, I agree with Zuckerberg, and that’s the toughest challenge of the Internet and social networking. And it is the very reason too, why I cancelled my accounts on both Facebook and Twitter. Because I am simply tired hearing nutty excuses from a lousy businessman like Zuckerberg. I am simply tired of his alibis for not doing good business amidst raking billions; and yet he still inconsiderately disregard everyone’s safety. I don’t think he and the rest are really doing their best to make it safe for all of us. Yes, this is the Internet age, however, shouldn’t they (owners and operators of social networking Sites) have the responsibilities to keep us safe? For although they’re Sites are free, but there are risks that can ruin our credit scores, our reputation, our names, who knows, even our lives. Therefore businessmen like Zuckerberg and all other networking site owners and operators who are making fortune out of our enthusiasm and interests, should really have that sense of responsibility in ensuring our safety, or at least our information’s security by strictly upholding confidentiality and protecting our privacy. Moreover, to date, there is no law; no international law that can bring any cyber crime to justice. For though there are laws in place in every country, they are all weak and they have so many loopholes, and they are never applicable to cyber criminals operating outside their jurisdictions.

Worse, Site owners and operators like Zuckerberg refuse to be regulated.

And because they refuse to be regulated, they are making the Net a wilderness of this Digital Age. Because by simply being neglectful, they are letting various “species” of predators infiltrate the World Wide Web–and in so doing, they are compromising our privacy. And although, we are thankful for the knowledge, the revolution and the empowerment that comes with it, we just can’t disregard the daunting reality, that we are getting so prone to notorious modus operandis operating globally; and whose crimes are getting meaner and more sophisticated just as innovation of technologies inevitably spur in every bit of a second.

In this regard, it is best to keep in mind: We, indeed, have responsibilities to ourselves; and, that is to be safe and stay safer by being vigilant in safeguarding our information online.

In a research study, entitled Clash of the Titans, written by Malhotra Gunjan, Maheshwari Aditya, and Raju Abin G, for the Institute of Management Technology of India, the scholars stated that most privacy risks at Facebook exist because users carelessly post their personal information on their Websites. (5) “Facebook members reveal a lot of information about themselves and are not very aware of privacy options or who can actually view their profile” (6).

The truth is no social networking Wesbite is free from the disadvantages and limitations of the Internet. Because the “bad geeks;” hackers, identity thieves and con artists are too smart and too diligent to find ways of doing their evil works. And the self professed “good geeks” like Zuckerberg are too stupid, too lazy, and too greedy to just collect billions of dollars out of our accounts, trust, and vulnerabilities–so sad, but very true, and pretty scary!

Therefore we should own the responsibility of securing our information. For it will never hurt, to be mindful of both advantages and disadvantages of both Internet and social networking (and blogging should not be an exemption). For when we post private information in a public domain, they are of course free to the general public (which include the bad geeks). For when we post private information to a public domain, we are apparently waiving our rights to privacy.

On a more personal note, yes, I used to have accounts on both Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook, I did used it to connect with my families and friends. I used it to play cyber games. I did used Facebook to post my progress in academics and to share them to my family. On Twitter, I used it to promote my blogs, my posts, and my blogger friends’ blogs and posts. However, allow me to reiterate: They are closed already–and I have no regret. Because I realized I would never be safe on any of them. Moreover, both accounts were hacked–and some bad geeks used my accounts to send messages on my behalf and without my consent–I was so embarrassed, but I couldn’t blame anyone except myself–for in social networking caveat emptor (buyer’s beware) applies. And I should have known better.

Finally, when one chooses a social networking Site, one must first identify the purpose, because it could narrow down the selection criteria. Some people use those Sites to sell something; to announce or promote a product or an event, or an organization, but some just want to connect. Regardless, it is a must to know the purpose in opening an account for one to maximize and enjoy their services and be safe at the same time. Most importantly, one should keep in mind, that the Internet has limitations and risks. For being online, our private information are never safe– the “bad geeks” have their ways, so we should always be cautious .

In conclusion, connecting with families and friends, or to the World Wide Web should not be so troublesome. It should not be troublesome only if everyone of us would behave ethically; and we would e-deal responsibly. For regardless, if one chooses Twitter over Facebook, or any networking Sites like WordPress, extra caution is a must when posting information anywhere on the Web. Let us not give the bad geeks, neither the lousy businessmen “easy money” by letting them take advantage of our vulnerabilities–let us stop being vulnerable by imposing regulations among ourselves. Yes, we are in the Digital Age, and this age is not going anywhere. But this is something we are now sharing with our kids; something we will leave for the next generations to rely on. It is too late to act now, for our kids and our kids’ kids.  Because for all we know, the “bad geeks” aren’t humans. Yes, they are not aliens, but they could be bots (short for robots)–heartless; ruthless, and definitely, shameless.  Beware!

Writing Stamp:

Academically written by: Sabiniana Balagtas Baliba
Submitted to: George Garneau, Ph.D.
For: English 100,
As required by: University of Hawaii,
Kapiolani Community College
On: 27 February 2012
In: Modern Language Association format
Edited and published as posted.

Are We in the Viral Age of Loneliness?

20130417-053717.jpgSabiniana Balagtas Baliba
George Garneau, Ph.D.
English 200
2 May 2013

Are We In the Viral Age of Loneliness?

As technology is vastly revolutionizing our lives, the World Wide Web is pulling us from our world of reality. In fact, Canadian writer Stephen Marche writes, “Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.”

In the Atlantic article Facebook Making Us Lonely, Marche further writes: “According to the Los Angeles coroner’s report, she lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor and fellow actress, a woman named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in her mailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers’s body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.”

Marche passionately argues: “She lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor and fellow actor, a woman named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in hermailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing, that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers’s body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.”

Vickers’s death indeed, was so horrifying. Because apparently before her passing, she was too hooked on fan Internet sites that she ended up isolating herself from families and friends. (Marche) What was even more horrible, even the coroner could not tell the exact date of her death, for her cadaver was extremely decomposed already when a friend found her.

However, in a research study, science and medical experts Emma L. Pelling and Katherine M. White stress, that the “high-level Social Networking Websites (SNWs) use is influenced by attitudinal, normative, and self-identity factors.” What this study means is that the impact of social networking depends on one’s individuality, and not in general.20130417-060350.jpg

Realistically speaking, the account of Vicker’s death is not credible enough for anyone to question the humongous contributions of Internet and technology to our lives. Yes, both do pose some challenges, just like everything else in this world—for in everything, even in everyone (and that includes us), there are always two contrasting sides—for that is the irony of life, the greatest irony of life! Moreover, one should not generalize that all social networkers are like Vickers—who prior to her death have long suffered from depression—as the late former starlet also faced other issues of stardom, aging, and etc. Therefore, to conclude that she died because of social networking, and that all social networkers, like us, bloggers, are either lonely or narcissist, is wrong. Because we are not like Vickers, and it is not fair to compare us to her.

The narcissism that narrow minded and cynical people see in us, social networkers, is actually self-confidence brought by self-efficacy—as we are now so empowered by a great deal of knowledge and information, that no encyclopedia has ever did to humanity before. Most importantly, the burden of addressing all the dilemmas surrounding the effectiveness of the two powerful mediums of Internet and technology lies in our hands. For we should know better our responsibilities to ourselves—we must ensure that everything works to everyone’s greatest advantage—and that is not being narcissist, rather, that’s being wise.

In fact, another research study for social behavior and personality, published by the Society for Personality Research, scholars I-Ping Chiang, Yi-Hsuan Chiang, and Yu-Chi Lin, of the National Taipei University, discovered that on blogging (which is one of the most popular social networking activities): “People prefer to leave messages and make recommendations about Sites that are within their realm of interest, such as the blogs of friends or people with similar interests.” What this means to me, is that blogging and all social networking activities are enriching our lives.

20130417-065519.jpgPersonally, terrified of Vickers’s death, I honestly pondered if writing and blogging is doing me any favor at all. As I actively write and submit articles to various websites. In fact, I have accounts in all blogging sites too. I also send essays and my creative works, poetries and sentiments to Yahoo! However, deep solitude made me realized the blessings of this medium. Moreover, it is my nature, that when I am in doubt of anything, I always use my two hands in gauging all issues in life—on my right, I weigh all the goodness—and on my left, I weigh all the evilness. If the goodness is more than the evilness, then I will strive to straighten the latter. However, if it is the other way around, then I drop; I quit; I junk and get rid of anything that will not make me a better person.

Therefore, and in response to the statement of Marche, that “the drive for isolation has always been in tension with the impulse to cluster in communities that cling and suffocate,” that is not true at all. For in the blogosphere, we highly support one another. In fact, we subscribe to one another’s Sites. Yes, we may not see likes and comments all the time, and it is not because, we do not like each other’s posts, it is just that, we have personal lives to tend to. On our dealings with one another, we, of course, put cautions, as we know there are also limit to social networking too.

Regardless, the truth of the matter is, we, social networkers, bloggers, are not lonely creatures on earth. Moreover, the Internet is not in any ways making us lonely, neither, narcissist. In fact, we are passionately, and unselfishly sharing our knowledge and expertise (e.g. photography, arts, and writing; even our poetries, along with our personal journals), and we are truly enriching the World Wide Web. Because our blogs mirror how the Internet is enabling us to speak truthfully about our joys and tribulations, our successes and failures, even our dreams and downfalls. Our readers can cherish and apply the good lessons they learned from us—and they can avoid our mistakes and blunders in life, to make theirs better than ours. We, bloggers, are the new and fresh faces of journalism. We are making the Net humane.

In conclusion, indeed, the Internet and technology revolutionized and continuously revolutionizing our lives, and that the World Wide Web is pulling us from our world of reality, the old, boring, lonely and boxed reality. Thanks to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, for through their ingenuities, and the proliferation of social networking sites, we are able to keep our passions burning, thereby, enriching our lives, thereby, enriching the World Wide Web, and in our most unique and humble ways. The Net is making us more knowledgeable and sociable. Most importantly, through social networking, through blogging, through this blessing, we are making ourselves great collaborators—for collaboration is a trait and a virtue, a major key to succeed in all walks of life and professions. We are thankful for our blogs! We are thankful for the Internet!

Works Cited

Barbour, Michael, and Cory Plough. “Social Networking In Cyberschooling: Helping to Make Online Learning Less Isolating.” Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning 53.4 (2009): 56-60. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

Doohwang, Lee, Kim Hyuk Soo, and Kim Jung Kyu. “The Impact of Online Brand CommunityType On Consumer’s Community Engagement Behaviors: Consumer-Created Vs. Marketer-Created Online Brand Community In Online Social-Networking Web Sites.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 14.1/2 (2011): 59-63. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

I-Ping, Chiang, Chiang Yi-Suan, and Lin Yu-Chi. “The Antecedents and Consequences of Blogging Behavior.” Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal 41.2 (2013): 311-317. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

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Miller, Robert, Kristine Parsons, and David Lifer. “Students And Social Networking Sites: The Posting Paradox.” Behaviour & Information Technology 29.4 (2010): 377-382. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

Pelling, Emma L., and Katherine M. White. “The Theory of Planned Behavior Applied to Young People’s Use of Social Networking Web Sites.” Cyberpsychology & Behavior 12.6 (2009): 755-759. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

Porter, Alan L., et al. “Research Coordination Networks: Evidence of the Relationship Between Funded Interdisciplinary Networking and Scholarly Impact.” Bioscience 62.3 (2012): 282-288. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.


Just Write

20130320-032352.jpgIf you think clear, you can write!” William Zinsser

The saddest thought for us, writers, is to think that no one would ever read our writing. However, why entertain thoughts that pull us down, when we can think of beautiful things to lift our spirits? Because it is very critical for us, to have the confidence and clear minds each time we write, and just as the William Zinsser emphasizes on his New York Bestseller’s, On Writing Well.

20130320-032428.jpg Personally, being an avid fan of writing, I read a lot of autobiographies of famous writers. Ironically, a lot of big names in writing and literature, either died of sickness triggered by depression or anxieties (or both), or by suicide–thinking no one was reading their works anymore and fame have abandoned them. To name one, was Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 to 1961), but there were a lot more, like Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter Thompson, even the great Edgar Allan Poe died committing suicide. Some of those suicidal deaths were not even published. However, in respect to our profession (as well as to the departed souls), I won’t delve on how they died. Rather, on the WHY or the reason for taking their own lives–fame (or the death of it) was the common denominator for most of those suicide cases.


A friend (a poet and a fellow blogger too) led me to write this essay. He wasn’t too happy yesterday of his readership. So, I told him, “You know what? You are better than any “wanna bes” out there. Just keep writing! Because you are doing good.” And I mean it; I sincerely do. Actually, my readership is not even a quarter of his. In addition, there are some who can’t even construct a sentence, and he’s not like that (not even an inch closer). In fact, his poems are poignant that too often I find myself sniffing, sometimes, even sobbing (seriously, I did, and for so many times). Nonetheless, if you are on the same boat, I suggest that you finish reading this post, and keep this in mind.

Regardless, if you’re writing or not, or you are writing professionally or not, you can’t rest your happiness on anyone. You shouldn’t even let anyone define your happiness. For more than writing, your well-being matters. However, if writing is your passion, just write with all your heart. If writing is what you do for a living: then you can’t let emotions get in the way of you performing your work. If you are writing for fun: but you aren’t happy with how things are going, then stop! That’s how simple it should be! Because you shouldn’t clog your minds of unhealthy thoughts. Again, more than writing, your well-being matters the most.

Therefore, when you write: Just be confident! Always clear your minds (and vacuum all those unhealthy thoughts away), just as Zinsser remind every writer to do so. Value your readers, but don’t let readership haunt you. Because part of being a writer, is to be creative, but it’s impossible to be creative, if you would “box” yourself, and limit your thoughts with just pleasing your readers. For doing so, you are depriving your writing of your own voice and style. Moreover, we, writers, have to be open minded, optimistic, and imaginative as possible. Most importantly, we shouldn’t think of fame; never think of fame! For many writers like Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson, they didn’t even knew they’d be famous. They just kept writing and remained loyal to their passion until their passing.

Lastly, think clear, and have the confidence each time you hit the keyboard. Write as if you are writing your first love letter; and talk as if it’s your last hour on earth. Bottom line: Think clear, and just write!



Dissecting the Needs for Dodd-Frank


(A persuasive analysis written and submitted in academia; in Modern Language Association’s format.)

Warning: This is an academic research paper, therefore, long and comprehensive, and time consuming. Thank you for your understanding!

Sabiniana Balagtas Baliba
Wayne M. Tanna, ESQ, CPA
6 December 2012


Do the Needs Justify the Act?


Unemployment, foreclosures, eviction, bankruptcy–are the bitter results of the unprincipled practices of Wall Street and the immoral and abusive powers in Washington. (Obama) Therefore, we should not allow such grave unethical practices to happen ever again, because our economy is still dwindling and millions of American families are still struggling; still “crawling” and coping with the aftermaths of recession. We should not allow grave, or amoral practices to recur, for the United States’ economy and our people ultimately cannot afford it—we ought to ensure our nation’s full recovery!


The National Bureau of Economic Research defines recession (limped the nation from years 2007 to 2010) as follows:

. . . Is a period between a peak and a trough, and an expansion is a period between a trough and a peak. During a recession, a significant decline in economic activity spreads across the economy and can last from a few months to more than a year. Similarly, during an expansion, economic activity rises substantially, spreads across the economy, and usually lasts for several years. (“U.S. Business Cycle”)

Insufficient or poor implementations of laws on accountability and transparency in Wall Street and the entire finance sector brought our nation the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 1929. It resulted to our highest unemployment rate, as about eight millions of Americans lost sources of living. In addition, many businesses failed, and there was a significant drop in housing prices. Millions of homeowners (from all fifty states or across the country) lost their houses; their homes foreclosed and they evicted. In addition, retirement and personal savings of many of our fellows were wiped out, and bankruptcy filings skyrocketed too. The saddest part, taxpayers were forced to bail out big banks that failed, not out of misfortunes, but because they were greedy to earn profit for themselves. They did not followed protocols, and even by passed existing laws for their selfish gains. (Obama 2010) As a result, the most comprehensive and stringent financial regulation in the history of United States was created.

Responding to the economic nightmares of recession, on June 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama proposed to United States Congress, bill H.R.4173, now enacted and known as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and herein referred to as the “Dodd-Frank Act” or the Act.(111thUnited States Congress)

The Act consists of 2003 pages, sixteen (16) titles—was proposed to United States Congress in June; and introduced to the floor of the House of Representative in July. A revised version was introduced on December 2, 2009 and another (in the same month) by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Representative Barney Frank (D), and by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D). Because of their involvement and efforts towards its legislation, on June 25, 2010 the conference committee proposed that the bill be named after the two legislators. (111th United States Congress)

The Dodd-Frank Act aimed to promote financial stability in United States by imposing rigorous standards to the finance and banking sectors. Most importantly, the Act aimed to protect American consumers from abusive practices which are rampant in the above-mentioned industries.


The 111th Congress of the United States enacted the Dodd-Frank Act with the intention of promoting financial stability by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system. . . to end ‘‘too big to fail” to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts. . .,” (111th United States Congress)

The sixteen provisions of Dodd-Frank were:

Title I: Financial Stability
Title II: Orderly Liquidation Authority
Title III: Transfer of Powers to the Controller, to the FDIC, the FED
Title IV: Regulation of Advisers to Hedge Funds and Others
Title V: Insurance
Title VI: Improvements to Regulations
Title VII: Wall Street Transparency and Accountability
Title VIII: Payment, Clearing, and Settlement Supervision
Title IX: Investors Protections and Improvements to the Regulations of Securities
Title X: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
Title XI: Federal Reserve System Provisions
Title XII: Improving Access to Mainstream Financial Institutions
Title XIII: Pay It Back Act
Title XIV: Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act
Title XV: Miscellaneous Provisions
Title XVI: Section 1256 Contracts (“Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform”)


The most politicized titles and their few detail were: Title I, Financial Stability, outlines to new agencies charged with monitoring systemic risk and researching the state of the economy; it also aimed to clarify the supervision of bank holding companies by the Federal Reserve. Likewise, to create the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and the Office of Financial Research, the two new agencies will be under the supervision of the Department of Treasury. Moreover, the President appointed the Department Secretary serving as chair for the Council. However, the appointment must be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council were tasked to man three major responsibilities, namely: To identify risks to the financial stability of United States both from financial and non-financial organizations. Likewise, to promote market disciplines by eliminating the expectations of banks. And that they would be bailed out by the government in the event they fail. Last, but not least, to respond to emerging threats to the stability of the financial market and the economy.

The Council was comprised of 15 members (10 voting and five non-voting advisory members)is responsible to uphold and strengthen integrity, efficiency, competitiveness, and stability of the U.S. financial markets; and, to enhance consumers’ confidence in banking and finance.

Another controversial provision of the Act was Title III, also known as the Transfer of Powers to the Controller (of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve). Through the Act, FDIC (Federal Insurance Corporation) was mandated to increase the threshold of deposits insured from $100,000 to $250,000. The purpose was to streamline banking regulations and to reduce competitions and overlaps between different regulators by abolishing the Office of the Thrift Supervisions, and transferring its holding powers to the Federal Reserve.

Title VII, also known as Wall Street Transparency and Accountability, or Regulation of Over-the-Counter Derivatives, was another another title of the Act. According to the recently published congressional research study written by Rena Miller and Kathleen Ann Ruane, “The financial crisis implicated the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market as a major source of systemic risk. . . . Number of firms used derivatives. . . . Which generated enormous losses that threatened to bankrupt not only the firms themselves but also their creditors and trading partners?”

Critics labeled it as the too-crafted “Glass-Steagall for the 21st century,” (“The Dodd-Frank Act’s Push out Rule” ); criticized for its stringency, and/or complete separation of banking, investing, and insurance business activities, as existed previously before the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 199. (“The Dodd-Frank Act’s Push out Rule”)

Title Seven likewise had to ensure the use of the following:

  • Advances from the Fed discount window;
  • Fed credit facility that is not part of a facility with broad-based eligibility under Section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act

FDIC insurance or guaranty; for the purpose of:

  • Making any loan to, or purchasing any stock, equity interest or debt obligation of, any swaps entity;
  • Buying the assets of any swaps entity, or guaranteeing any loan or debt issuance of any swaps entity; or
  • Entering into any assistance, loss-sharing, or profit-sharing arrangement with a swaps entity. (““The Dodd-Frank Act’s Push-out Rule”)

Title X as explained in the Conference of State Bank Supervisors as follows: was the creation of an independent Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“Bureau”), and must be located within Federal Reserve, and led by a Director, duly appointed by the President (and confirmed by the U.S. Senate). Individuals and entities engaged in offering or providing consumer financial products and services were greatly affected by this title. It was also the most contended among the fifteen other provisions. And was accused as the most unconstitutional by critics and the Republicans. (“Title X”)

Title XIV added disclosure and significant guidelines and stringent laws to mortgage lending that dramatically affect brokers, lenders, appraisers, and all others involved or doing their courses of business in the mortgage lending industry. Included in the provision of the Act, was the creation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), also known as the “Bureau” is empowered by law of rulemaking authority.

According to Committee on Consumer on Financial Services, of the American Bar Association, “. . .Title XIV was to become effective when the final regulations implementing the provision are effective. If no regulation implementing a provision of the law had been issued by January 21, 2013, then that provision becomes effective as of that date.”


The creation and enactment of H.R. 4173 tend to inrease transparency and accountability as follows:

  • By improving consumers protection to save every American who is seeking loan, mortgages, credit cards and many others, from the pitfalls of tricky lending;
  • By putting end to bailouts (“to end too big to fail”)
  • By instilling discipline through strict implementation of stringent laws and regulations;
  • By creating a council and bureau solely tasked to monitor and address risks in both in financial and non-financial markets;
  • By ensuring transparency and accountability on derivatives, investments, hedge funds, payday lenders;
  • By incorporating Volcker Rule (named after Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker) restricting banks from speculative investments,
  • By implementing reforms to corporate governance and executive compensation practices;
  • By giving shareholders a say on pays and corporate affairs;
  • By intensifying investors’ protection by ensuring credit agencies are complying with laws and regulations, and that the investors can have an access to legit information and facts;
  • By enhancing Whistle-Blower Protection and Benefits, that resulted from inability of existing policies of Security Exchange Commission to detect multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme (e.g. Bernard Madoff’s Scam of the Century). (Castellina)


Hope, better future, stronger and reliable economy—these among the many others, defined what Dodd-Frank Act meant to me!

I lost my full-time job in 2008, and the following year of 2009, our house went through foreclosure, that led to my mother’s filing of bankruptcy of Chapter 7 (liquidation), so we could save our house. Although she also lost her second job, we, her children, strongly believed that her financial dilemma was brought by the second mortgage that her ex-husband (our stepfather) defrauded her into. In barely two years of marriage, and without our knowledge, he refinanced our house four times (when our mortgage was almost paid off when he came to our lives). He pocketed all the equity monies he got from the refinancing. Through painstaking and costly investigation, we found out that her ex-husband knew someone from the lender, and most of her requirements and signatures were forged. The man connived with a friend, who works for Beneficial, the lender for the second mortgage that he got her into and beyond her will.

Modesty aside, I knew I had to share this testimony to attest such horrendous practices in the finance sectors were really happening, and that my family was living testimony that those nightmares of recession did existed and hampered American lives.

For only through legislation, aided by these kind of testimonies, we can assure such things would never ever happen again.

As a student, and soon to be an accounting professional, I was delighted to hear now, with the enactment of Dodd-Frank Act, lenders, banks, or creditors, the government could ensure all loan contracts must “readable” by ordinary consumers like me, who were non-attorneys and therefore, did not have the capacity to understand technical languages, and legal terminologies. Moreover, through this, ordinary consumers (like me) “won’t get unwittingly caught by overdraft fees,” (Obama).

I completely understand the sentiments of some legislators that the creation of an independent bureau might be a way to avoid scrutiny of the Congress and the Office of the President; and, might be a violation of of the Constitution. However, despite its imperfections, we should not trash the bill just because of some loopholes.

Our legislators should work collectively to define vague terms and fill those loopholes, to make the Act in full compliance of the constitution.

Lastly, we must keep in mind the huge need for the Act! That although there might be certain parts of the legislation that may seemed so vague, opposing members of the U.S. Congress should speak and be heard, to revise or amend the Act, but not to trash it “straight to the waste basket” and just as most Republicans legislators wanted to. Because the American families needed this act (and we still do).

We should urge the GOP and democrats to stop politicizing the Act! Politics should always end once counting of votes is finished, and the election is over. For the elected officials have works to do. Both parties should learn to work with each other collaboratively, no matter how impossible it may seem, simply because they have responsibilities to their constituents who voted and hired them to lead–so, they must lead their people to good.

Most importantly, we have not fully recovered yet from the recession. Although our economy is quite picking up, it is not stable yet. In addition, there are still a lot of us in dire need of help. Our legislators, both from GOP and the democrats should once and for all reach a consensus, not just on Dodd-Frank, but in all fiscal and economic legislations.


Indeed, unemployment, foreclosures, eviction, bankruptcy–are the bitter results of the unprincipled practices of Wall Street and the immoral and abusive powers in Washington. (Obama) Therefore, we should not allow such grave unethical practices to happen ever again, because our economy is still dwindling and millions of American families are still struggling; and still seemingly “crawling” in coping with the aftermaths of the worst recession. We should not allow grave, or amoral practices to recur, for the United States’ economy and our people ultimately cannot afford another recession to take place! We should ensure our full recovery!

We do need stringent laws and regulations that will ensure valued investors that our economy is picking up. We do need stringent laws and regulations that will ensure American families would never go through the same chaotic economy ever again! We do need stringent laws and regulations, for those are reasonable and critical to regain the full confidence of American consumers and investors. We do need stringent laws and regulations, because anything that involves money always presents temptations, but those laws will ensure that even in the most remote situations, no one can play and take advantage of us, consumers, ever again!

We do need the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure, that there will be laws that will protect our consumers’ rights, that in the event of non-compliance, there would be punishments in place for offenders and violators. We do need the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, because we cannot afford to spend our taxpayers’ money to bail out companies who abused American consumers and disregarded law. It does not make sense to bailout those banks and big mortgage companies who deceived our people and hurt our economy. For what lies in Dodd-Frank Act is the financial security of every American.

We should not go through the same things that harmed us so detrimentally, because we are not even done cleaning all the mess of the recession; we have not even recovered yet! For the only way we can truly ensure our full recovery, is to set laws that will make it clear to offenders and violators, they can never mess up with us again! Because if we would not establish such safety nets, after all that we have been through, it only shows we did not learned anything at all! Wouldn’t it be such a shame to our faithful allies around the world that we keep on going back to the same crisis? Let us not overlook that there are many nations depending on us too, not just about peace or war, but also on finance, trading, and banking. For regardless, if one admits or not, the crisis happened, because we let those unscrupulous culprits deceived us. They took advantage of the loopholes in our legal and finance systems. Though they were the only ones who gained from their unethical practices, but it boomeranged not just to them, but to all of us! Let us keep in mind that we all have responsibilities to be diligent and vigilant in ensuring our welfare!

Finally, for more than four months of being in our (business) law class, we learned that laws were born out of some people’s unethical practices. This is why Dodd-Frank did not spawn out of nowhere; its creation resulted from grave, or amoral practices in the finance industry. Therefore, we have to enforce the act! The needs are so humongous, for that’s how bad the culprits of recession have caused our lives, and have caused our nation! For with this kind of dwindling economy, we need laws like Dodd-Frank, that will ensure our rights and welfare is duly protected. Most importantly, America cannot afford another recession. We cannot afford bailing out those careless companies and corporations anymore. Because if we do not stop bailing them out, it is more likely, that America would be bankrupt too. What is worse, no one would bailout our nation, and we are all doomed!


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