The Department of National Defense drama continues. The short list has expanded somewhat. But the scuttlebutt seems to be that former police general Ebdane is the leading contender. The armed forces, of course, have always looked down on the police as being incompetent and corrupt. Even Fidel Ramos, when he was given the defense portfolio, encountered some resistance because he was a Constabulary and not not Army man.
I’ve posted plenty here on the President’s relying on all the wrong things to stay in power; and her reliance on the police as the ultimate safeguard of her power (together with a small cabal of generals not known for their military skills, but rather, their political abilities or police experience: former police and Constabulary generals, such as Ebdane and form part of her innermost circle). So literally, a police state has been in operation for some time (see Ellen Tordesillas’ blog which has the skinny on Nonong Cruz).
Senate thinks 5 billion pesos has been misspent in the Office of the President; a billion pesos has been earmarked to grow plants in time for elections; an American group says the Philippine budget system lacks transparency.
Speaking of budgets, there’s an interesting couple of articles in Newsbreak on local government units and their revenue remittances from the national government. They serve as a reminder that the country’s been attempting devolution for over a decade now. Indeed, proponents of Federalism are often reminded that much has to be done in terms of implementing existing devolution policies -and getting local governments to learn the ropes and take the plunge in terms of utilizing the income-generating strategies open to them. So read Getting the IRA Right (which points out the bad habit of Congress to legislate unfunded mandates) and They’re Running Out of Manna (which enumerates the various schemes local governments to use to raise funds).
Mediashift live blogged the American midterm elections. Ignatian Perspective recounted what his voting day was like (his wife, who has voted before in their precinct, discovered her name had disappeared from the list of voters). History Unfolding says the media’s been slow in calling contests whose outcomes were clear enough: and that it’s a certainty the Democrats have captured the Senate.
The fallout from the American midterm elections begins. Biggest news, of course, is the fall of Donald Rumsfeld though there was a harbinger of it when the Army Times came out with an election eve editorial saying he should resign (though The Economist had asked for the same thing back in 2004). The Corner on National Review Online of course pooh-poohed the editorial; Fred Kaplan said it was a pretty big thing. Phillip Carter runs through Rummy’s catalog of failure. Incidentally, guess who first broke the news Rummy was doomed? A Comedy Central blog! (so said Boing Boing)
The Seventh Sense points out how massive the Republican defeat is: they lost the House of Representatives and quite probably, the Senate, too. Democrats control the majority not just of state governorships, but state legislatures, too. Read the whole entry. He also says Rummy’s fall means Cheney is in bad odor.
Can’t beat the glee of Bike riding donut guy who says Bush was “de-nutted” or The Rule of Reason who says a long national nightmare is over. Three German students in America, in their blog Atlantic Review, take a look at the midterm elections and remark on the American integration of plebiscites into the electoral process:
Germany could learn some direct democracy from the United States. German voters do not often get a chance to vote on specific policy issues, unlike in the United States where 205 measures were on yesterday’s ballots in 37 states…
Their blog also points to the influential political blog DailyKos, which has its founder saying the end of the electronic voting machine has come. He suggests mail-in paper ballots, instead.
jobsanger, though, cautions that what took place was a protest vote against the Republicans and not necessarily a ringing endorsement of the Democrats. Firedoglake appeals to Democratic party leaders to focus on those that elected them instead of trying to grab credit for the sweep. Media Nation thinks the Democrats had better look into their media management. Scrappleface looks at the top ten positive outcomes of the election for Bush.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Brain of Baler.
The Inquirer editorial and the Asahi editorial comment on Saddam Hussein’s trial and conviction. See Frank Murphy’s dissent in Yamashita case (mentioned in the Inquirer editorial) as well as Max Hastings in The Guardian and Christopher Hitchens and Anne Applebaum and Philip Carter in Slate.
Billy Esposo says the administration has exchanged a stiletto for an axe.
In the blogosphere, Philippine Commentary is irked when people describe democracy as “Western-style” and delves into how Congress has to tackle amendments via constituent assembly.
An OFW Living in Hong Kong doesn’t think midterm elections should be viewed as referenda on the incumbent. I think the reasons he gives are based on too high an opinion of American politics, voters, and politicians (see links above for machines that didn’t work, voter intimidation, disenfranchisement, contested contests, and dynasties in the US of A). Newsstand asks some philosophical questions after noting how some bloggers are popping champagne corks over the Democratic sweep.