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Oct 23

Advertising a threat

Chief Justice will still party; Senators in a bad mood. Palace in a bad mood, too.

An interesting article on the efforts of the Philippine embassy in Paris, to lobby for benefits for undocumented Filipinos.

How the Marcos loot’s been looted.

The Guardian reports that Hugo Chavez has been all bark and little bite:

Since Mr Chávez announced a land revolution, headlines have focused on expropriations and sporadic violence which reportedly has claimed dozens of lives. A question seldom asked is whether the reforms are widespread and working.

Success would enhance claims that this corner of Latin America is forging a radical and successful alternative to neoliberalism. Failure would bolster sceptics who say chavismo is blowing oil wealth on old-style leftwing populism.

There is no conclusive answer for the simple reason that the reforms have not started in earnest.

In much of the country nothing has happened: no expropriations, no cooperatives, no bold experiments. Since a 2001 land reform act 200,000 families, about a million people, have been settled on to 2.5m hectares, according to the government, with part of a ranch owned by the British firm Vestey among property seized.

Given a colonial legacy which left nearly 5% of landowners owning 80% of the land, that redistribution is modest – and a relief for Fedenaga, the ranchers’ federation. “The revolution doesn’t exist. It’s all slogans,” said its leader, Genaro Mendez, beaming.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Advertising a threat, which tries to explains the real motivations behind charter change -and the real reason behind all those government ads in recent weeks. Rita Linda V. Jimeno confirms that mobilization plans for proponents of the so-called “people’s initiative” are afoot.

Jojo Robles points out our population data is six years old and millions of Filipinos don’t realize they should be registering to vote.

Bong Austero on the difficulty of being honest.

Niall Ferguson on the decline of the American century. Read History Unfolding who argues Americans are now faced, in Iraq, with a dilemma similar to the Germans in 1917: they were stymied in the trenches and so gambled on unrestricted submarine warfare. Which hastened American intervention and Germany’s defeat.

Which country is the best colonizer? from Slate.

In the blogosphere: RG Cruz with the latest skinny on Bolante. More from the PCIJ. As for Philippine Commentary, he thinks the sand’s run out for a plebiscite.

Inkblots 2006 was recently held at UST. Reactions from Miss Selfridge (a thorough overview) and random thoughts (with her views on column-writing, which was the talk I gave). Pictures of day one, day two, and day three from welcome to my life. More from my own little space.

Ang Pinoy Nga Naman is disgusted over more people caring about Makati rather than Naga’s mayor. Confessions at 7:00 AM says the Constitution was designed to be amended a certain way, and revised in another, so live with it. Blurry Brain believes a Senate review of trade agreements is a last ditch effort and what would be better, is to make the process behind such negotiations more transparent.

notes from the peanut gallery plugs what should be a meaty PEN conference on November 25.
Asingianan Journal looks at the Colorum revolt of the early 1930s.

Banketa Republique liked The Banquet. I found it too stylized but what bugged me most is that I have a nagging feeling it made use of another story -but I can’t for the life of me remember which one.

The CAt on the wrestler Batista and baby Pyro’s dream.

Susan Ople plays a guessing game. Everyone’s enjoying the Jollibee scandal. It jolted stepping on poop out of his doldrums.

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  1. DJB

    cvj,

    “there was civilization in iraq” before the invasion? Under Saddam the Iraqis “were largely secular and known to be well educated.”

    And now because of the US invasion which got rid of the “secular component” chaos has descended on Iraq and they’ve suddently turned into terrorist suicide bomber gangs and sectarian militias.

    These are the myths being built in our minds.

    You meean to say we should return Iraq to Baathist dictatorship which was civilized, educated its people well and on top of that it was even “secular”.

    You make pre-2003 Baghdad sound like Alexandria at its zenith, with Saddam Hussein not a mass murderer, torturer or poisoner, but a philosopher king just minding his own business. I guess we were all wrong then about what constitutes freedom and democracy. I guess I got Marcos’ New Society all wrong too. Compared to Iraq it was actually the High Renaissance.

    Well, call ME a fascist and imperialist, but I would have supported 100% an invasion by US Marines led by Filipino-Americans to take Ferdinand Marcos out on September 22, 1972 one day after he destroyed a century’s worth of work, starting with the Cavite Mutiny of 1872.

    Well, it took GWB to change the US policy of supporting foreign dictators, the overthrow of whom is often derided as “exporting democracy”. He enunciated the US rejection of that Cold War policy at an historic speech in 2004. That is the Bush Principle, though I guess he did not call it that. Even Bill Clinton agrees with that, since the process began with him, though as Anna admits, she doesn’t know how he might have finished it.

    But see if you agree with my hypothesis that the United States foreign policy on dictators has changed since George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq.

  2. cvj

    DJB, your first two paragraphs accurately restate my case. The entry of the US into Iraq has changed the dynamics in the region into something the US can no longer control. War introduces chaos and as such is inherently risky and has a lot of collateral effects. At the systemic level, a world at war is not one that is conducive to democracy.

    Saddam is as evil as they come, but it did not give the US license to destroy the lives of ordinary Iraqis who were going about their business. To my mind, George W Bush is an even greater evil (i.e. mass murderer, torturer) but i won’t advocate invading the US to dislodge him because of the risk of collaeral damage.

    As for Marcos, the US need not have done something as melodramatic as sending Fil-Am marines. They should have just asked Marcos to ‘Cut and Cut cleanly’ 14 years earlier.

    One thing Americans have to learn is the courtesy of knocking instead of kicking the door in. This thing about being ‘the lone superpower’ has gone to its head.

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