The President wears Prada

Last night I finally got to watch “The Devil Wears Prada “and its Imeldific wisdom: “They all want to be like us.” The movie reminded me of what it was like working for the President. And why I was happy to leave.

London Prayer Vigil
Prayer vigil in London for victims of political killings in the Philippines

A friend tells me that Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay expects to be suspended from office at anytime, together with his vice mayor and the entire city council. Surely the government can find a turncoat or two to man the New Order in Makati? Or can the Department of the Interior appoint an officer-in-charge for the city?

In the forum in which he spoke, Binay also predicted that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of the so-called “people’s initiative,” by a vote of something like 8 for and 7 against, with Justice Puno being the ponente: a prediction that did, and didn’t, surprise me.

The same friend asked for my comments and I said well, the other scuttlebutt is that only two justices feel strongly about the case, and their feelings are strongly against the so-called initiative. The same scuttlebutt assumes it would be easier for the Justices to go along with the two who feel strongly about things. But while the Supremes might be inclined to vote against the Palace in the case of signatures and the House’s desire to ignore the Senate, they would be willing, as they always have, to delay their decision in order to buy time for the Palace.

This is the problem with speculating about the Supreme Court: who can really say what they have in mind, and who can say, with conviction, that certain assumptions really hold water? We will know, when the Supremes decide, and probably never know for sure why they decided the way they did.

Anyway, I told my friend, my view since last year has been pretty simple. The real fight will begin after 2010. Everything going on now is a skirmish. So I’m willing to hold some of my fire and even go into hibernation, advocacy-wise, after the plebiscite (which the government can be expected to win, unless something unexpected happens) for a couple of years. Who knows, we might actually get a better government, or at least, a few years of quiet and growth, just like after martial law was imposed. But it will start to fray at the edges and the fraying will start when the President’s expected to step down, and doesn’t; and when her husband starts muscling in on the rest of the Polo Club set.

Is she riding the tiger, then? My friend asked. I explained to him that it’s more like Chiang Kai Shek’s era, at least in the beginning. The warlords (whether provincial bosses like Chavit Singson, etc.) have been confirmed in their turf and rackets; the soldiers given carte blanche in theirs; the technocrats enough room to cling to the illusion they’re allowed to meaningfully tinker with things, and the upper and middle classes kept happy enough so that they can pack their bags for emigration abroad in peace. But eventually the different factions will begin to irritate each other… She isn’t riding the tiger, she is one of the tigers.
Anyway, in today’s news…

A new pastoral statement by Catholic bishops, in which they advocate a constitutional convention:

It is said that the presidential form of government is a source of corruption among other things. We should ask a different question: Is it the presidential form that is the source of corruption, or the people in authority who corrupt and abuse the system? Any form of government will have its positive and negative characteristics; but the people who run the government are very crucial; they can either corrupt it or make it serve the common good. Any system or form of government in the hands of honest, just and incorruptible people will be a source of good for the governed. Will the parliamentary- unicameral form of government not be corrupted by the people who will create it?

It is in this light that we have made our position clear on Charter Change from the moral standpoint, and we reiterate it:

“Changing the Constitution, involving major shifts in the form of government, requires widespread participation, total transparency and relative serenity that allows for rational discussion and debate. This is best done through a Constitutional Convention.” (CBCP, January 2006)

Heeding the exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est that the Church “is called to contribute to the purification of reason” (# 29), we would like to ask these and similar questions to guide the discussion, discernment and debate on the charter change. Are you convinced that the Charter Change as presently presented by our governing politicians is really for the common good? Are you convinced that the “people’s initiative” is genuinely the people’s activity, and has its real source in the people? Do you want our legislators to convert themselves into a Constituent Assembly where they alone will rewrite our Constitution, and have it only approved by us in a plebiscite? Is it enough to say YES to Charter Change?

We are in a democracy. Should not then the citizenry be made to participate by electing their delegates to a Constitutional Convention?

The Palace insists it’s not interested in a constitutional convention, even as it continues to set the tone for things to come: parliamentary elections next year, which prevents a senate debacle. Where does that leave people regaining their citizenship, or who are being encouraged to register to vote abroad? It prepares their votes to be used in a constitutional plebiscite. After which, their vote becomes academic, unless overseas Filipinos will be allowed to vote for party-list candidates (but nothing else).

Supreme Court intervenes in PCGG-Senate spat; other commissioners hunker down; according to Vic Agustin, it’s all an unseemly fight over corporate perks. The House is freaked out over the Senate’s aggressiveness.

What’s interesting in this news item on the President giving Palparan a job is not that she’s clinging to him, but the other details: that Sec. Arthur Yap was surprised Palparan believes in a civic component to anti-insurgency efforts; that National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales is being groomed to be the next Secretary of National Defense, with current Sec. Avelino Cruz due to be kicked upstairs somewhere (my personal theory, which is just a hunch, is that Cruz hasn’t been calling the shots at DND since February last year; there is no civilian supervision over the AFP, which knows exactly how much the President owes the generals).

Bolante’s bail bid turned down. Is the Palace helping him?

The MT Solar was overloaded, among other things. Remedial measures proposed.

In Thailand, professors and students continue to push for Thaksin to quit.

In the punditocracy, the Inquirer editorial argues a kind of separate, military, republic has been established. This reminds me of a passage from the Analects of Confucius (Lionel Giles translation):

Tzû Kung asked for a definition of good government. The Master replied: It consists in providing enough food to eat, in keeping enough soldiers to guard the State, and in winning the confidence of the people. — And if one of these three things had to be sacrificed, which should go first? — The Master replied: Sacrifice the soldiers. — And if of the two remaining things one had to be sacrificed, which should it be?— The master said: Let it be the food. From the beginning, men have always had to die. But without the confidence of the people no government can stand at all.

Rasheed Abou-Alsamh says the First Gentleman is running wild, and justifies his call for nursing students to retake portions of their qualifying exam.

Dan Mariano wonders if the Solicitor-General should be lawyering for proponents of Charter change.

JB Baylon defends the Senate as an institution.

Maya Baltazar Herrera wonders if there’s a generational vacuum in leadership.

Overseas, the Sydney Morning Herald on the cozy relationship between government and the broadcast media;

What happens when zoo animals get depressed.

In the blogosphere, southeast asian press alliance points to Singapore’s Lee dynasty fetish for defamation suits (and since the First Gentleman possibly likes banking there, maybe that’s where he got the idea of filing suits left and right). Bryanton Post on the consequences of law pay for Filipino journalists (I’m for opening up media to foreign investment).

In Malaysia, the Prime Minister’s expenses for a security system gets scrutinized; and the ruling party leads for fighting to take place behind closed doors.

blurry brain finds a copy of the recently-signed Free Trade agreement between the Philippines and Japan.

chizjarkace is skeptical when it comes to a future parliament:

Others may argue that people may change members of the parliament if they are not satisfied with what their representatives are doing but is that really possible? Maybe in the imperial manila that is possible but I doubt if it is in other parts of the country where patronage politics and political warfare is very much evident. Granting that the members of the parliament in the greater manila are changed constantly, still that cannot be assured in distant provinces. In the provinces, most of the public facilities such as hospitals and schools belong to the incumbent politician. And unless the people support that politician they can never use those facilities without any unwanted hindrances. It is a given fact in the land that in the rural areas politicians is giving the needs of the people but only some of them is giving it without expecting any in return, and that return will only be acknowledged if it is given in a form of a vote. Do the people there have a choice? Of course they don’t unless they are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children. Even if how much wicked their politician is, they wont dare challenge him if they don’t want to suffer any unwanted consequences. So in the end the parliament will be the having the same people again and again until the time we’ll never know when.

Victory Gardens for Naga: A Nagueño in the Blogosphere on urban agriculture.

I’m a Baby condemns Catholic schools that discriminate against the children of single or separated parents.

debatista irritated with a news report on LPG-fueled cars.

Tagged by Lonely Vampire Chronicles:

Seven Songs

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your LiveJournal/blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Well, here goes:

1. Little Boxes, Pete Seeger
2. I’m Sitting On Top of the World, Bobby Darin
3. Clarinet Polka Yodel, Mary Schneider
4. Happy Days Are Here Again, Max Bygraves
5. We’ll Meet Again, Johnny Cash
6. Brother Can You Spare A Dime, Chad Mitchell Trio
7. I’ll Be Seeing You, Iggy Pop

Tagging: Fool for Five, Pinay in Barnsley, Maimed by Rock and Roll, Filipino Librarian, Gigi Goes Gaga, Currystrumpet’s Collage, Madame Chiang.

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    • Arbet on September 15, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    I hope it’s not a hassle, sir, tagging you.

    • mlq3 on September 15, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    arbet, why should it be a hassle? medyo unfashionable lang nga taste ko sa music…

  1. In the forum in which he spoke, Binay also predicted that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of the so-called “people’s initiative,” by a vote of something like 8 for and 7 against,

    yeah, i expect something like that too, 8-7.

    paguusapan ng mga arroyo justices kung sino sino ang boboto ng pabor at hindi. i would not be even surprised if carpio and corona would vote against P.I. cuz in the end, arroyo has enough justices to give her what she wansts, at maa-prove pa rin ang PI.

    • Arbet on September 15, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Sir, if you see my list, I’m even more out-of-place!

    I could have listed my oldies list. You know, Engelbert, Tom Jones, and the like. =P

  2. But while the Supremes might be inclined to vote against the Palace in the case of signatures and the House’s desire to ignore the Senate, they would be willing, as they always have, to delay their decision in order to buy time for the Palace.

    Yes. I think this is the more likely outcome.

  3. I couldn’t open up I’m a Baby‘s blog, but this discrimination is for real, despite being of varying degrees of severity in various schools. I don’t know how it is in Ateneo, but in La Salle, the discrimination is subtle. In particular, teachers frowning at kids who don’t have middle initials and insisting that they provide one.

    The frowning itself is bad enough because it sends kids the signal that they somehow are doing something bad, or that their familiy situation is somehow dishonorable.

    The insistence that there be a middle initial is even worse.
    This puts tremendous pressure on children to explain things they shouldn’t even be bothering with at that age – after all, it isn’t their fault that they are being raised by single parents.

    Subtle, sure. But very sickeningly real.

  4. Dan Mariano says: Sigaw ng Bayan—despite the lavish support it apparently gets from the ruling coalition—is a private group. Comelec, on the other, is a constitutional body. In the legal conflict arising from the movement’s bid to revise the 1987 Constitution via a signature campaign, the OSG is obligated to defend the poll body, right? Wrong. In many cases, the OSG has taken an adverse position to government agencies. Most notably, in recent memory, recall SolGen Benipayo’s stand against the COMELEC in the matter of automated counting machines.

    The SolGen is the tribune of the Filipino people (to use an oft-repeated phrase – one of the high-flown utterances favored by the SC). This means that if the SolGen thinks that the government agency he is supposed to represent has adopted a position that is to the detriment of the people’s interests, then he is within his authority to oppose that agency.

    Nachura’s position now only means that he thinks Sigaw ng Bayan has the right of it: that the law on people’s initiative should be considered sufficient; or that the Supreme Court erred in its decision in Santiago v. COMELEC. I figure he will say that he is not for SnB’s petition per se, but that he only wants to uphold the people’s right to an initiative. He will say that this right is a matter entirely distinct from SnB’s petition, i.e., upholding the right of the people to an initiative does not necessarily mean upholding the petition of SnB; that petition can still be found wanting (because of the signatures being fake or whatever).

    Sounds a bit like splitting hairs to me, but it is a valid distinction. If the Court agrees with him, then the law will be upheld as sufficient (thus overturning Santiago), but SnB’s petition will get tossed back to the COMELEC, which will then be tasked with determining whether the petition is good enough to be the basis of a plebiscite.

    and this is where all those stories of a grand collusion come in; a three-cornered conspiracy involving the COMELEC, the Supreme Court, and Sigaw ng Bayan.

    • justice league on September 15, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Whatever the Supreme Court decides; it must still do so on valid grounds. And there are enough valid grounds to prevent the so called People’s Initiative and the Constituent Assembly participated by the Lower House alone.

    One Voice knows those grounds and I’m glad that unlike the politician proponents of the present Chacha; One voice has kept that to themselves for now. The Chacha proponents are in for a big surprise come the showdown in the Supreme Court.

    • mlq3 on September 15, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    antonio, that’s interesting -and scary.

    justice league, let’s hope so.

    • elinca on September 15, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    It is interesting to note what Benedict Anderson says in his speech “Democratic Fatalism in Southeast Asia Today” ( ) and he mentions the Philippine situation. He advocates instability (i.e, a bloody revolution.} He says America won’t be the country it is today without the American Civil War; France, without the French Revolution; Great Britain, without all those bloody rebellions,etc.)

    The Philippiones had the People Power but no blood was shed. It has been holding election for almost 100 years now, but it has done almost nothing to alleviate the poor or make real changes in the way it governs. Perhaps, the filipinos need to see BLOOD to wake them up in their lethargy. And not only isolated uprisings as happened in remote areas, or like EDSA 2 or 3. It will require a massive unified campaign, like EDSA 1 but with violence.

    “Instability is necessary,” he says, “for what would oome later, and that is stability. Stability means more transparent government, more transparent government means more economic development.”

    The sociological truism “we get the government we deserve,” applies to every nation, every country.

    I cannot comment on Gloria because I don’t have first hand knowledge: I don’t live there. I live here in the good ol’ U.S.A., sitting in my comfortable chair while I watch you guys wrangling about Philippine politics. If you think you deserve to be governed by Gloria, then do nothing.

    I don’t think a change to a parliamentary form will change anything. A bloody revolution is scary, but if it is the only hope in a nation mired in hopelessness…

    • Mita on September 16, 2006 at 12:22 am

    I don’t think a revolution is necessary, a change of mindset could bring us more results.

  5. MLQ3, scary talaga. Something else that’s scary? Check this out: airline and airport employees are now exempt from taking off their shoes at the final security checkpoint.

    • elinca on September 16, 2006 at 2:34 am

    But how do you change the mindset of a people who wallow in apathy? You of the media, or people like you and me who use the internet may rave and rant endlessly, but is the noise amplified enough to reach the impoverished majority? Will it bring about a change of heart in the oligarchy? Or if they hear, do they care?

    MLQ quotes Confucius saying, “without the confidence of the people no government can stand at all.” Yes, we let Marcos rule for 20 years, but he was toppled eventually. Will you then let Gloria hold on to power as long as Marcos did? Marcos was gone because of a peaceful revolution. But did People Power change anything at all?

    The vast majority of Filipinos are poor and uneducated. Apathy is a way of life. Mediocrity is accepted everywhere. Smug complacency has gotten them nowhere.

    Perhaps. what is needed is something drastic.

    • tbl on September 16, 2006 at 2:43 am

    i don’t think revolution is needed, it will not solve anything. filipinos are civilized enough to understand the ramifications of bloody revolution. pinoys always argue with each other, it looks like a hobby to some people but WE NEVER SHOOT EACH OTHER. the wild west is looooooooooong gone, just like the reds, they are both gone forever.

    • tbl on September 16, 2006 at 2:57 am

    hi elinca,

    good news! the proposal of COBURN (R-OK) and Obama (D-IL) was approved by both the house and senate yesterday. Bush promised to sign the bill ASAP.

    at long last, everyone will be able to check in the web all the recent federal contracts, grants and loans. USA doles out $300 billion per year . we will be able to monitor this beginning 2008. congratulations, Okie from Muskogee and Obama. both are first termers in the US senate.good job!

    btw, Obama thanked the bloggers. he said blogsphere people helped them thru the process by being “noisy”( my terminology) in the web.

    i wish same thing will follow in our “lupang hinirang”.

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 3:15 am

    Elinca, I believe Benedict Anderson is respected in his field having produced such works as ‘The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World’ as well as the frequently cited ‘Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism’. Respected or not, however, it’s still dumbass reasoning along the lines of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” as applied by the Americans in the Vietnam War (and Iraq). Sitting from a comfortable chair in a first world country, it has become all too easy to advocate violence as a solution to some far away country’s problems. Violence may indeed come, but it should be looked upon as a consequence to be feared, not a remedy to be applied. The Philippines should instead follow the example of South Africa in the early 90’s, where the white minority took the necessary steps to head off violence by dismantling apartheid.

    • tbl on September 16, 2006 at 3:16 am

    i agree with you, the vast majority of filipinos are poor and that is one of the reasons for this diaspora.however, i believe that the vast majority of filipinos are educated. the last time i saw statistics, RP has one of the highest literacy rate among the developing may argue that being literate is not the same with being educated. education has different levels, at least the vast majority of pinoys are literate.i still believe in the ability of our kababayans….i am a pilipino

    • elinca on September 16, 2006 at 3:40 am

    so am I, tbl. Altho I’ve been in the U.S. for 24 years, Pilipino pa rin at heart. The Coburn-Obama bill sounds good, even if I don’t agree with Coburn’s ultraconservative stance.

    cvj, perhaps that is exactly why I advocate violence because I live thousands of miles away, sitting in my easy chair–it won’t affect me. But sometimes you need someone who lives outside “the box” looking in to get a broader perspective, and if there is no other alternative, it might just happen.

    Confucius also says: “Government is good when it makes happy those who live under it, and attracts those who live far away.”

    I love the country of my birth, but the Philippines has no attraction for me right now.

  6. yo, elinca. if you care so much about filipinos that you eagerly prescribe bloodshed, why the heck aren’t you over here with the rest of us? bleed with us, and maybe your words will make a little more sense

    • tbl on September 16, 2006 at 3:54 am


    we maybe in the same 747, from manila, hawaiii then sf, ca? that was a long time ago, 24 years. however, i am still attracted ro rp, i still like my hs and college co -alums. the places are so magnificent. the rockies, smokey mt, appalachians,ozarks, you name it, rp is a lot more exciting. ask manolo, he knows where the best place in rp is. just check bb, its all there. you might change you mind…then you may change your statement, “philippines has no attraction”.

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 4:17 am

    elinca, i accept that if there is no other alternative, violence might just happen, but its cathartic effect is overrated. From his cave, Bin Laden also thought ‘out of the box’ and it’s arguable whether as a result, the Americans have become a better people.

    • elinca on September 16, 2006 at 5:16 am

    yo, antonio, I would like to participate in your bloody revolution, but the thing is, I’ve never held a gun in my life. Will a pocket knife do? I am also a coward.

    tbl, the 747 that flew me in took me from Manila, to Hawaii, then to L.A. I stayed and raised a family there for 10 years, but have since moved to Michigan. I agree the Philippines is a beautiful country, nothing will compare to it.. But it’s not the country I find repulsive, it’s the people who run it.

    But,cvj, Bin laden advocated violence but it was directed to people outside America–the muslim extremists were not americans. Revolution, must come from within.

    Now I must tend to my garden. One of the perks in living in a First World country is having a garden and not worryng someone would steal my tomatoes. Nobody goes hungry here.

    • kimosabe27 on September 16, 2006 at 6:03 am

    “Bin laden advocated violence but it was directed to people outside America–the muslim extremists were not americans”…

    Apparently, the same can be said of Christian extremists,they are not americans, more like Germans . Breaking news, the Pope opens the floodgate to an eventual crusade. Samuelson must now be deliriously ecstatic. His Clash of Civilizations is coming into being.

    • vic on September 16, 2006 at 8:42 am

    Me too here, I love my adapted country and the last thing I would like to see in the Philippines is a bloody revolution that will just change the form of governance or the characters but may or may not make lead to any substantial change in anything. I won’t take that route. Any revolution but a bloody one. I have lived in relative peace and prosperity in a country who has no history of bloody revolution, a little bit of everything maybe, and was able to evolve to a very mature democracy.

    elinca. “Nobody goes hungry here”. have you been to the food bank and look at the faces of the people lining up? Did you ever heard the statistic that even in our very rich First world countries, there are literally thousands of children who go to bed hungry? Yes, we do have “poor” people here, hungry and desperate and you don’t need to look far.

    • iraya on September 16, 2006 at 9:18 am

    Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas!

    We do need a change in mindset. Our self esteem as a people is too low. Right now, we are working on a campaign for GOOD CITIZENSHIP. We believe that is where we should start. Inspire our people to be good citizens. GOOD CITIZENSHIP as a movement won’t divide us. It may be the only thing that could unite us. Please do support our cause once we set it off the ground. Our tag line…..

    Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas.

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 11:14 am

    elinca, once the violence starts, would it really matter who advocated it? Are the victims of the Oklahoma bombings any less dead than those of 9/11?

    • tbl on September 16, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    usa is not immune to problems such as poverty, lack of healthcare, criminality and others. they have their share of all the problems similar to the philippines and the rest of the world. however, it does not manifest in a widespread manner. we can see poverty in the southside chicago, pockets of new york city, detroit in michigan,appalachians and most recently seen in mass media…new orleans. people are starving here that’s why there are the second harvest, food banks and shelters. well, that’s one difference between usa and others, there are well organized ngos working hand in hand with the local government in helping the poor.still, there are some starving americans, just the same.

    • manuelbuencamino on September 16, 2006 at 3:55 pm


    Osama succeeded in destroying democracy and freedom in America. It is not the land of freedom and democracy that it was before Sept 11. Just look at all the policies adopted and laws passed after Sept 11.

    Osama really dealt America a bad hand. America took a turn for the worst after 9/11

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    MB, i agree that with 9/11, American democracy is in grave danger. General Tommy Franks, who led the attack on Afghanistan and Iraq said that he doubts if the US Constitution can survive another 9/11 style attack. (Such an attack does not have to come from the Islamists as long as it is made to look like it.) Bin Laden’s timing was impeccable, striking just at the right time with George W Bush at the helm. The world has since been made to suffer under the Bush-Bin Laden roadshow. I doubt if President Bush fears the judgment of history, since, as ‘The Onion’ says, he can always end it.

  7. Bush’s people are so busy interrotgating 9/11 suspects in his CIA prison and probably believing that more tortures on the Islamofanatics will lead Osama to Saddam, they’ve had no time to think of a way to smoke Osama bin Laden out of his terrier hideout.

    Bush and Blair went on a destruction rampage in Iraq based on a lie. Blair is now paying for it – he has zero credibility in the UK; will Americans make Bush pay for his perfidy? Bush’s hated liberals are trying but the neo-cons and Christianofanatics? Nah!

    What is scary is that Bush, according to Mick Smith, The Times’ investigative journalist who brought out the Downing Street Memos to the public, has vowed to do something about Iran before he leaves the White House.

    Completely fatuous! What does Bush think he’s gonna do? Drop a nuke on Tehran on the eve of his departure from the White House so that Islamofanatics will stop using nailbombs against the West?

  8. The US Senate has recently made public a CIA report belying the existence of a stockpile of WMDs in Iraq which was used by Bush as a pretext to invade Iraq. BBC news on line carried the story some two days ago.

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    Bush is relying on the blurring of collective memory for survival so it bears repeating that the original justification for the invasion of Iraq were the dangers posed by Saddam’s alleged WMD stockpile and the insinuated Saddam-Al Qaeda connection. However, i believe what allowed Bush & Co. to get away with such flimsy pretexts is the support of a significant part of the American public who had to satisfy their primal urge to hit back after 9/11. Afghanistan was just not that big enough of a target to satisfy their bloodlust. Now with another 3000 American war dead and probably a hundred times more Iraqi deaths, a lot of these same Americans are slowly coming to their senses.

  9. Completely spot on, cvj!

  10. American neo-cons and Christianofanatics are just as dangerous as Islamofanatics.

    They are both fanatics and fascists! The first are prepared to use the nuke on little Moslem children while the latter will use nailbombs on little Western kids.

  11. Someone posted this ultimate truth in the Times’ weblog: “Any stupid idiot can start a war. It can be a lot harder to stop, and it takes a lot of wisdom and hard work to prevent one.”

  12. James Madison, the 4th President of the United States, who in August of 1793 wrote:

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

    • cvj on September 16, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    Anna, i agree with your take on the essential similarities between the religious fanatics. The real ‘Clash of Civilations’ is not between ‘Islamofascists’ and the rest of us. What distinguishes our times is the relentless attack on secular, cosmpolitan culture – New York, Bali, London, Madrid, Baghdad and Beirut being the main battlegrounds so far. In this, Bush and Bin Laden are effectively allies.

  13. dear mlq3, i would like to invite you to my partner’s post ( maybe you could send that to someone we both know…(coughs, “gani cruz”…coughs again “gani cruz”) hahahaha!

    and of course, the only song on my mind right now is “All of My Life” from “The Mirror Has Two Faces” which is our theme song and the background of the video he made.

    Thanks for linking me before! 🙂

    • mlq3 on September 17, 2006 at 10:02 am

    jerome, happy anniversary to you both!

    • Tony on September 17, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Anna… even if you or your favorite gay friend were idiots, you still don’t have what it takes to start a war. Now, the current Pope, he can start a war!!

    In regards Islamofascists and Christiano-fascists, the goal is to put a stop to both. Having said that, if you think long enough, Christian fundamentalists and Muslim fundamentalists differ. The religions of choice are different, for one. Women’s rights will differ, too — just think of women’s rights in Pakistan versus women’s rights in Malta or even in England just before the Mayflower sailed away. Even though both groups are wickedly wackos, the world that comes out when one group versus the other dominates will differ.

    So where would you want to take your chances…. in a society run by Islamo-fundamentalists, or in a society run by Christiona-fundamentalists?

    • cvj on September 17, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Tony, in the Middle ages, that would have been a genuine choice a person had to make, but today it is just another false dilemma. (During that time, it would have been better to live among the Muslims as they were more tolerant of infidels.) To be useful at a practical level, the whole range of choices which takes into account other reasonable alternatives must also be considered. One choice we should reject is a world where conflict is continuously instigated by the Bush and Bin Laden types. That would lead us back to theiddle Ages.

  14. Tony,

    I think you are barking at the wrong tree. Not ONE of my gay friends is an idiot. They are all brilliant, intelligent and highly cultured men and women.

    Taking chances? I dont want to answer question coz I ain’t a gamblin woman.

    • Tony on September 18, 2006 at 1:02 am

    CVJ… you would have gotten away with whatever you wanted to say (because I would not bothered to research on truths versus half-truths), but you did not answer my question — women’s rights in Pakistan now versus was women’s rights in the 1620’s when the Mayflower sailed away from England. And what false dilemma do you talk about? Of the two different worlds promised by two of the people you have labeled fascists — Bush versus Bin Laden– just do your own personal survey and ask 100 of your friends (and enemies… don’t matter) as to which one they will pick. By the way — the Christiano-fanatics are in your midst, working against sex-education and HIV/AIDS/condoms bills. The Islamo-fanatics? Ahhh.. have triggered a bomb on the SuperFerry14.

    Anna… my contention (and the odds are that I am right, but I may be wrong) is that neither you nor anyone of your friends have enough moxie and political connections to start a war. [This is one of the non-emotional reasons for being interested in Bin Laden — how he was/is able to foment so much follower-action.]

    Anna de Brux versus Anna de Somalia or Anna de Brunei.. I bet 10 euros that your passports do not have any stamps from Syria nor Cuba even though these 2 countries are among the safest in the world for tourists of any religious affiliation.

  15. Tony,

    You are still barking at the wrong tree and howling the howls of the mad.

    Who said about starting a war? My friends, gay and not gay DO NOT want to start any war. Your contention is out of contention as it is.

    You can bet 100 euros if you like but I can tell you this early that you’ve just lost a fiver – I’ve been to Cuba, mate! And I agree, Cuba is one of the safest in the world for tourists, religious or not.

    But what is exactly your point?

    • cvj on September 18, 2006 at 9:17 am

    Tony, your question poses a false dilemma because it limits the choice to only two possible worlds as defined by Bush and Bin Laden. Today’s reality offers more alternatives so i’m entitled to decline choosing between the two scenarios you offer. Besides, whatever women’s (or gay’s) rights we have today has been achieved inspite, not because of, the Christian conservatives who, as we can see in the USA, want to turn back the clock. You try to paint the Christians as ‘good’ and Muslims ‘bad’, but we know that there is good and bad on both sides. The American Christians (and Israeli Jews) do their damage more efficiently via laser guided bombs.

    • cvj on September 18, 2006 at 9:29 am

    As to your interest in how Bin Laden is able to foment so much follower action – he has Bush to help him out. Bush was the one who created chaos in Iraq which allowed it to become another front for recruiting Islamists fighters. Bush and Bin Laden are part of the same tag team.

    • Tony on September 18, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    cvj… false dilemmas — having to choose from only two alternatives when there are additional choices to choose from — must really cramp your style. Does this mean that your mommy still dresses you up in the morning, considering that one has to choose from a rainbow of colors?

    • cvj on September 18, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    Tony, you’re right. False dilemmas are designed to cramp a person’s ‘style’ [of thinking]. It is often used as a means to oversimplify and frame the argument such that the option which is closer to a person’s comfort level is taken. Given an environment of fear and uncertainty, such a technique often works by giving the listeners the impression that there is ‘no alternative’. Clear thinking, an awareness of available options, and a healthy imagination can overcome this mental roadblock. On the other hand, fear and prejudice deprives a person of these capabilities.

    • Tony on September 18, 2006 at 11:48 pm

    cvj… The false dilemma you posit is a false dilemma. Creating a ranking between two choices is doable even if there were three-hundred alternatives available. For example, if the choice is only between Bangkok, Thailand versus Marikina, my sentiment is that a US citizen is better off to retire in Bangkok. [Between London and Madrid, I’ll rank Madrid higher. Between Jolo and Lipa City, I rank the latter higher.]

    I sincerely thought that I asked a no-brainer when I asked you (and Anna) as to how you would rank better/worse — a society dominated by Islam-fundamentalists or a society dominated by Christian-fundamentalists. In my opinion, living in US-of-A(even with Bush or another Bush-clone as president and even if Coulter plus twenty pro-Falwells or Rumseld-clones get elected to the US congress and Roe-v-Wade gets overturned) is a better choice to a Filipino family (versus that Filipino to live in Saudi Arabia or Egypt of today).

    If you ask me my top 3 reasons for saying this — I’ll just give you one — the constitutions. I prefer the constitutions of current Christian-oriented societies. Both as written and as practiced within the societies, (my personal opinion is that) constitutions of Christian-oriented societies are more progressive and accomodating of the differences among peoples.

  16. Then what you ask me is out of contention Tony.

    I am living in Christian dominated Europe. So, does that answer your “no brainer question?”

    cvj was right when he said that what you presented a false dilemma; you limit the answers to choose from as I read them to two: Christianofanatical society vs Islamofanatical society.

    Why you should be so fanatical about posing a false dilemma involving a non issue is beyond me.

    Unless of course you believe that Europe is a Christianofanatical society, which it is not. If that was what you meant when you posed your lose-lose scenario, then we have a problem because your underlying premise that there are only two sets of societies in this world to choose from is absolutely false, – it goes out of the window.

    However, that you’ve changed tack and re-hashed your presentation, I will agree: “If you ask me my top 3 reasons for saying this — I’ll just give you one — the constitutions. I prefer the constitutions of current Christian-oriented societies.”

    Obviously, my Christian culture is what I would be more comfortable with. But this goes without saying that I would not be comfortable in a Christianofanatical setting – to me any fanaticism to a dogma is just ast intrinsically as bad as Islamofanaticism.

    Just won’t work. Hitler tried his Christianofanatical doctrines some 60 years ago and was promptly defeated.

    Majority of Europeans, as you perhaps know, will not support fanatical ideologues – from either type of fanatics, Christians or Islamists.

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