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Nov 13

Smokescreen

Tomorrow night on The Explainer on ANC: understanding surveys.

Fight to the death: Panfilo Lacson will go for the Manila mayoralty; which makes Atong Ang even more of a strategic necessity.

Anyway, even as the President’s son prepares to carpetbag his way to victory in Bicol (which makes its anti-dynasty war cry the pot calling the kettle black), the Palace goes on the offensive versus a not-particularly-inspiring lineup for the opposition. But if you think the opposition slate sucks, the administration slate is -well, nonexistent. (Read Efren Danao’s depressing digest of failed anti-dynasty legislation).

Want to bet the coming sale of government shares in PLDT will be in aid of the coming elections? The action’s going to be in government owned and controlled corporations and its private sector holdings, since looting the treasury’s going to be a bit tougher during campaign season.

Newsbreak continues its interesting series on local governments and their finances: focusing on health expenditures and taxing businesses.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Practical languages (on a related note, see A Nagueño in the Blogosphere for news on the DepEd’s decision to suspend implementation of its 2001 review of the alphabet) .I’ve already gotten emails from readers wondering about my strong statement against Catholic schools that insist on an invocation before the national anthem. Readers may want to refer to my column, Country first always.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas SJ once again explains the difference between constitutional amendments and revisions; the Inquirer editorial thinks the idea that the House can ignore the Senate is pretty hare-brained.

Manuel Alcuaz, Jr. gives a rundown of election automation proposals -and attitudes. Bong Austero isn’t too keen on criticisms of the beautification of Cebu City.

And Capitalism’s moral bastards, courtesy of Paul Zak.

In the blogosphere, it’s interesting to me how the political scuttlebutt in the States mentions Rep. John D. Dingell, one of the most powerful but low-key of House Democrats. Before the elections, I had a chance to spend an evening with the Manila chapter of Democrats Abroad, and when I mentioned Dingell they all knew him.

Last year I was able to pay a visit to Rep. John Dingell, who is now the longest-serving member of the US House of Representatives. He was my father’s high school classmate and friend. At the time we last met, a Republican defeat seemed a remote possibility, and like many Democrats, Dingell seemed droopy but defiant. Now he’s back in power in a big way.
He seems headed towards a more flexible attitude towards global warming (an interesting entry is how his constituents are working out how to lobby him to adopt a liberal attitude), and in favor of energy sufficiency; and he’s in favor of net neutrality.

TPM Cafe’s Rachel Kleinfeld says the old political distinctions between liberals and conservatives is obsolete. I don’t know about that, but read History Unfolding for a sobering look at the difficulties that might arise, if people are too quick to assume a Democratic victory will reverse US policy in Iraq:

As I think about this more and more, what seems remarkable to me is that the US has hung on to so much influence in the Middle East for so long. That was the achievement of the GI and Silent generations whom Baker, Hamilton, Scowcroft and Bush I still represent, but their work has been destroyed by their Boomer offspring, who suddenly wrote off the Arab regimes (such as Syria) that had actually been doing their best to be friendly. This may well have happened anyway; the last six years have accelerated the process.

Punzi says the President’s order to utilize alternative means for dispute resolution will fail.

Ellen Tordesillas (who got a death threat recently) points to the damning testimony of a printer.

Bunker Chronicles says constitutional change has become a circus.

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  1. cvj

    In American politics, as far as Neocon thought is concerned as well as in terms of policies towards Israel, the distinction between ‘left/liberal’ and ‘right/conservative’ is murky to the point of being meaningless. Here’s a view from a ‘conservative’ which mirrors TPMCafe’s point and equates the Neocons with the ‘Jacobins’ of the French Revolution:

    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9476

  2. hvrds

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/13/us/politics/13tester.html
    Jon Tester of Montana, probably one of the last few original Jeffersonian Democrats is going to the Senate.

    His was the prototype of the men that build America literally from the ground up. Today both the Jeffersonian Democrats and FDR’s mass base comprise less than 20% of the U.S. labor force. They will all be replaced by the incoming knowledge workers.

    Who will be the Democrat champion for that next age? That is what was unique about America. Can you transplant that historical evolutionary experience elsewhere? No. Can a country leap frog or as ‘Nichood’ Ramos says it all the time pole vault over history. Not very likely….

    “For all the talk about the new Democrats swept into office on Tuesday, the senator-elect from Montana truly is your grandfather’s Democrat — a pro-gun, anti-big-business prairie pragmatist whose life is defined by the treeless patch of hard Montana dirt that has been in the family since 1916.”

    “You think of the Senate as a millionaire’s club — well, Jon is going to be the blue-collar guy who brings an old-fashioned, Jeffersonian ideal about being tied to the land,” said Steve Doherty, a friend of Mr. Tester’s for 20 years. “He’s a small farmer from the homestead. That’s absolutely who he is. That place defines him.”

  3. john marzan

    hmmm… this seems significant. the baker commission is recommending a cut-and-run solution for the bush admin.

    http://www.instapundit.com/archives2/2006/11/post_310.php#000300

  4. hvrds

    That was a very good piece on languages in the Inquirer today. But it is more than languages. It is unfortunate that here in the Philippines education has been commoditized and subjected to the vagaries of markets and prices.

    The majority of Filipinos now for almost a generation and a half have suffered with the deterioration of that most important productive capacity. The quality of most of the young men and women entering the work force today who were born in the late 70’s and 80’s are going to be hard pressed to get gainful employment anywhere.

    HongKong is considered the freest and most open market economy in the world. It has always been primarily a service economy based on its factor endowments. Strategically situated in the S.Eastern part of China. However the government makes sure it subsidizes the most important productive capacity it has, its citizens. Education is free for most of its citizens under strict governmentr regulations and standards..
    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/nov2006/gb20061110_025651.htm

    “Strong curriculum. While apologists for the U.S. education system attribute the success of many Asian children to cultural factors, that’s only a part of the story. What the children are expected to learn is far more important.”

    “My nine-year-old niece, for example, was one of the approximately 373,700 students who attended a Hong Kong primary school last year. She was admitted to the free but independently run school by competitive examination, a rarity in the U.S. these days.”

    “The school follows a government-set curriculum that’s no cakewalk: She’s required to master two languages (Chinese and English) to full fluency, study a musical instrument, study science and math, wear a uniform, perform well academically, and behave.”
    Controversial Concepts

    “Hong Kong’s education system is now producing class after class of graduates well-positioned for the needs of the future global economy. They are multilingual, diligent, disciplined, worldly, excel in the basics, and have a realistic sense of competition on a global scale.”

    “The Hong Kong education system includes concepts many Americans consider controversial, at least when it comes to education: choice, competition, involvement of private and religious groups in a subsidized system, pressure to perform placed both on schools and students, and insistence on multi-language fluency. Yet Hong Kong has moved well beyond the controversies into full and successful implementation of these concepts.”

  5. FILIBUSTERO

    POLITICAL DYNASTY is GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY … BUT NEVER AN ARROYO DYNASTY !!!!

  6. FILIBUSTERO

    “Opposition girding to bushwhack Arroyo”

    I doubt it so much if they can accomplish that.

    They should just put up or shut up….

    rego said this on November 11th, 2006 at 10:03 am

    YES with your SUPPORT REGO – WE CAN WIN BOTH SENATE AND THE HOUSE … LET US VOTE AND SUPPORT ALL THE OPPOSITION CANDIDATE THIS 2007 AND SHOW GMA WHAT WE TRULY FEEL !!!
    LETS END HER FAKE REGIME ONCE AND FOR ALL !!!

  7. Carl

    Nous avons un imbécile à bord.

  8. DJB

    It’s wrong to think that the problem with Philippine education is that we either don’t have enough money or that we are not willing to spend enough of it on public education. In 2006, Deped and Ched together got 150 billion pesos, the biggest single piece of the budget after debt service. Now some people suggest we should spend even more and to heck with the debt. But even that wouldn’t help if you don’t do curriculum reform and get rid of all the subjects that we used to call “extracurricular” but which now costs the people billions. Then we wring our hands and say, we aren’t spending enough on education.

    In math and science the Philippines ranks higher only than Somalia and Botswanna! No wonder, 60% of the curriculum is the thing called Makabayan.

  9. UP student

    hvrds… You should get up-to-speed about US-of-A “No Child Left Behind” Law where you’ll see that the US has “listened” to your opinions regarding —- “The Hong Kong education system includes concepts many Americans consider controversial, at least when it comes to education: choice, competition, involvement of private and religious groups in a subsidized system, pressure to perform placed both on schools and students, and insistence on multi-language fluency. Yet Hong Kong has moved well beyond the controversies into full and successful implementation of these concepts.”
    As for teaching Chinese in the public schools (yes.. Chinese) John Marzan and ronnie.pedfan will be amused that many American school curriculum are being updated to include the teaching of Chinese, AND that Chinese has become more popular than French. And it is the PTA who are pushing the schools to teach Chinese. The parents want their children to be better-prepared for the world-economy of 2015.
    So US-of-A schools will teach Tagalog, too, should the Philippines manage to invade Indonesia and Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Burma and Tagalog becomes a major world-language-of-business.

  10. UP student

    LAWS WITH EXPIRATION-DATES : During the years that the Democrats were the minority, they begrudgingly allowed the Republicans to pass laws as long as the laws had EXPIRATION-DATES. This made, and makes, a lot of sense. In the next years, the Democrats can let expire those laws that they still disagree with, especially when the law really did not work!!
    Laws-with-expire-dates should be a strategy copied by Philippine opposition parties.

  11. Bencard

    As a Bicolano (born in Camarines Sur), I am pleased immensely by the report of Phil. Inquirer that Dato Arroyo could be a candidate for congressman in the province’s 7th district. I’m sure my native province would welcome and support him with open arms (except of course the Arroyo bashers, of which we have our share, unfortunately). I sincerely believe that Dato’s representation would be good for Camarines Sur, in particular and for the country, in general.

    I take exception to mlq3’s characterization of Dato’s political plan as “carpetbagging”. We are all Filipinos and our freedom to live anywhere we want within our country and elsewhere is a fundamental right. Birth in a certain place is not a requirement to be a candidate for office in that place, so long as one has the requisite citizenship and residence qualifications. Certainly, Dato Arroyo did not migrate to Camarines Sur from an alien country or planet. He chose to live and study there since 1994 and learned the dialect. Should we not accept Dato just because he happened to be the son of the current president (who probably did not even dreamed in 1994 of becoming one)?

    The perjorative word “carpetbagger” was ones applied to Ted Kennedy, J.J. Rockefeller, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush (to name a few) only by their political enemies. One man’s hero is another one’s villain, but all (except Kennedy who died prematurely) served, and was embraced by, their constituents very well.

  12. Amadeo

    Big business may indeed be ill at ease before a US congressional committee on Energy and Commerce under the leadership of Cong. Dingell of Michigan, who as reported is unabashedly not pro-business. But we will have to see what he does with his most passionate issue trying to nationalize US health care, which passion he inherited from his father who was also a congressman. Given the already oversized problems associated with Medicare and Medicaid.

    Cong. Dingell is himself a phenomenon, and maybe many of the Democratic winners in Michigan, given that the state is among the worst off economically. With unemployment rate hovering almost 8% and its mainstay the auto industry in not so good shape.

    Thus, while global warning and net neutrality issues may command great global attention, he ought to be conflicted between that and what he needs to do for the district which direly needs his representation.

    Pork barrel? Earmarking? We’ll have to wait and see.

    And re the mention above of the US public school system(K-12), readers should now be on notice that it essentially is not in good shape, to say the least, especially in highly urbanized areas where immigrants congregate. And true to what DJB has pointed out, funding would be the least of its problems. And if Asian Americans are doing well in K-12 levels, I would opine that it is largely in spite of these under-performing schools.

    There are exceptions of course. And US private or public higher learning institutions are a different case, since they march under their own drumbeats.

  13. UP student

    John M… It’s not Baker Commission… Democrats Carl Levin, Harry Reid, Joe Biden yesterday pushed for “Cut-and-run”. New York Times reports:
    —The Democrats — the incoming majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada; the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan; and the incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware — said a phased redeployment of troops would be their top priority when the new Congress convenes in January, even before an investigation of the conduct of the war.
    “We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months,” Mr. Levin said in an appearance on the ABC News program “This Week.” In a telephone interview later, Mr. Levin added, “The point of this is to signal to the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that they are going to have to solve their own problems.”
    As far back as June 2006, Republican-controlled Senate rejected two amendments on troop reductions backed by Democrats. One called for all United States combat troops to be withdrawn within a year.
    [NOTE: James Baker ker has already made some of his views known. In television interviews, he has expressed skepticism that a rapid withdrawal can be accomplished without setting off chaos or civil war. He also expressed doubts doubt that partitioning the country will work.]

  14. elinca

    Bencard, Ted Kennedy is still very much alive, and kicking.

  15. Bencard

    Oops, Elinca, I meant Robert (Bob) Kennedy. I’m sorry. Thanks.

  16. Bencard 2

    Oh please, give us a break with your pro Gloria Pidal family propaganda.

  17. Bencard

    Whatever you are, don’t use my name in vain…you crap-slinging twerp. Only commies use propaganda, and I’m no commie.

  18. elinca

    Ted Kennedy is the icon of liberalism. When you think “liberal” think of Ted. He favors same-sex marriage, he is pro-choice (abortion), and champions legislations that favor the poor, the elderly and the minority. He co-authored the No Child Left Behind act that provides more school funding for low-income area kids and make schools and teachers more accountable. He also, I think , authored the new immigration act which is non-discriminatory. The old immigration act favors European (white) immigrants. He has pushed more of the liberal agenda than anyone else I know. Long live TED! ! !

  19. mlq3

    bencard, back when i still supported -and worked for- the president, i vigorously criticized the entry of her son mikey for public office. and while dato is 100% nicer (and probably, smarter) than mikey, i still believe that if he wants to run, the time to do so is after his mother’s presidency. he’s carpetbagging.

  20. hvrds

    “No child left behind policy is a joke.” Public school systems in the U.S. solely depned on real estate taxes and there is no national government susbsidy. Neither is there state grants. The system is broken. My nephew is a public school teacher and a former principal in Brooklyn and sometimes we tease him about his job. He has had to teach the children of the inner cities and it is not a joke. He could write a book about what he has to go through every day. U.P. student needs a ‘good heads’ up about the failure of the public school system in the U.S. When you hear of parents deciding to let their kids learn Chinese as a language they are in the minority. I highly recommend that U.P. student read the columns of David Brooks in the NY Times who had a very good line about the state of the education system in the U.S. The Philippine system is even worse off.

    Uneducated Workers of the World Unite !!!!!

    May 29, 2005
    Karl’s New Manifesto
    By DAVID BROOKS NY Times

    I was in the library reading room when suddenly a strange specter of a man appeared above me. He was a ragged fellow with a bushy beard, dressed in the clothes of another century. He clutched news clippings on class in America, and atop the pile was a manifesto in his own hand. He was gone in an instant, but Karl’s manifesto on modern America remained. This is what it said:

    The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. Freeman and slave, lord and serf, capitalist and proletariat, in a word oppressor and oppressed, stand in opposition to each other and carry on a constant fight. In the information age, in which knowledge is power and money, the class struggle is fought between the educated elite and the undereducated masses.

    The information age elite exercises artful dominion of the means of production, the education system. The median family income of a Harvard student is $150,000. According to the Educational Testing Service, only 3 percent of freshmen at the top 146 colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population. The educated class ostentatiously offers financial aid to poor students who attend these colleges and then rigs the admission criteria to ensure that only a small, co-optable portion of them can get in.

    The educated class reaps the benefits of the modern economy — seizing for itself most of the income gains of the past decades — and then ruthlessly exploits its position to ensure the continued dominance of its class.

    The educated class has torn away from the family its sentimental veil and reduced it to a mere factory for the production of little meritocrats. Members of the educated elites are more and more likely to marry each other, which the experts call assortative mating, but which is really a ceaseless effort to refortify class solidarity and magnify social isolation. Children are turned into workaholic knowledge workers — trained, tutored, tested and prepped to strengthen class dominance.

    The educated elites are the first elites in all of history to work longer hours per year than the exploited masses, so voracious is their greed for second homes. They congregate in exclusive communities walled in by the invisible fence of real estate prices, then congratulate themselves for sending their children to public schools. They parade their enlightened racial attitudes by supporting immigration policies that guarantee inexpensive lawn care. They send their children off to Penn, Wisconsin and Berkeley, bastions of privilege for the children of the professional class, where they are given the social and other skills to extend class hegemony.

    The information society is the only society in which false consciousness is at the top. For it is an iron rule of any university that the higher the tuition and more exclusive the admissions, the more loudly the denizens profess their solidarity with the oppressed. The more they objectively serve the right, the more they articulate the views of the left.

    Periodically members of this oppressor class hold mock elections. The Yale-educated scion of the Bush family may face the Yale-educated scion of the Winthrop family. They divide into Republicans and Democrats and argue over everything except the source of their power: the intellectual stratification of society achieved through the means of education.

    More than the Roman emperors, more than the industrial robber barons, the malefactors of the educated class seek not only to dominate the working class, but to decimate it. For 30 years they have presided over failing schools without fundamentally transforming them. They have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down.

    In 1960 there were not big structural differences between rich and poor families. In 1960, three-quarters of poor families were headed by married couples. Now only a third are. While the rates of single parenting have barely changed for the educated elite, family structures have disintegrated for the oppressed masses.

    Poor children are less likely to live with both biological parents, hence, less likely to graduate from high school, get a job and be in a position to challenge the hegemony of the privileged class. Family inequality produces income inequality from generation to generation.

    Undereducated workers of the world, unite! Let the ruling educated class tremble! You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win!

    “I don’t agree with everything in Karl’s manifesto, because I don’t believe in incessant class struggle, but you have to admit, he makes some good points.”

  21. hvrds

    Why everyone in government, the executive, legislative and judiciary have to get educated and fast. Most especially the justices in the SC. Our system of laws are based formerly on the Spanish Civil Code (Roman law) supplanted by British Common law or Anglo Saxon law. That makes it a requirement for justices in the SC to have gone through the mill in the judicial heirarchy. They must had to try cases throughout their careers. That is the true education in the practice of law. A lot of the justices never went through the judiciary mill. Anglo Saxon law is essentially empirical history being applied to cases.

    Case in point in monetary policy — It is a creation of law. The evolution of this technology must be understood by all most especially those that formulate fiscal and monetary policy, the law makers. Our BSP now does not target money supply. They target inflation. Implicitly targeting an exchange rate band. They disregard money. The U.S. Federal Reserve is having problems with money in todays financial markets. It no longer is the same money that it was some years ago. How do you explain that to a country made up mainly of peasants? How do you explain that to a country that in some respects is still a pre-monetary society? This is a problem in levels of differing evolutionary psychologies.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3f0d4406-7346-11db-9bac-0000779e2340.html

    Central bankers need money in monetary policy
    By Wolfgang Munchau
    Published: November 13 2006 19:17 | Last updated: November 13 2006 19:17
    If there is one area where Europeans are from Mars and Americans from Venus, it is monetary policy and the role of monetary aggregates.
    Last week, the world’s two most prominent central bankers publicly disagreed. Jean-Claude Trichet, European Central Bank president, argued in the Financial Times why monetary analysis would remain an essential part of the ECB’s tool kit. Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, said a central bank would be unwise to rely too heavily on money since financial innovation had been causing disturbances to monetary statistics.

  22. cvj

    bencard, factually speaking, propaganda is not restricted to the ‘commies’. anyone, regardless of ideology, is capable of practicing propaganda. nowadays, it’s more commonly called ‘spin’.

  23. UP student

    hvrds… you really don’t know how the US Federal government uses money to incent states and localities to its recommendations. Too bad.

  24. Red's Herring >> Iraq, just another Wild Wild West

    A Democratic victory will reverse US policy in Iraq?

    […] Will the Realists regain their dominance in American foreign policy as a result of the Republicans mid-term elections debacle?

    If history is any guide at all, there appears just one intellectual project steering the ideological trajectory of American survival and national security that blurs the narrow partisanship of Republican and Democrats. Simply put, the rhetoric of this ism asserts that American democracy is secured if the Wild Wild West in many parts of the world are converted to democracies. Unfortunately, by this democracy is meant pro-American, regardless of whether in the truest sense of the word it is a democracy or not.

    Hence, if the Iraq War is seen by foreign policy elites as both a lucrative venture and a noble task, the “bang bang you’re dead kind of” course will stay notwithstanding a new Democratic U.S. Congress. In all likelihood, only a people-powered anti-war movement of a Vietnam era proportion will overrule the obtaining elite consensus of Wilsonian internationalism.[…]

  25. UP student

    Red’s Herring… you may want to read the White House document (available on the web) that defines the US National Defense Strategy. You may find it to be a clear articulation of the intricacies of “bang-bang-you’re dead” that you write about.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html

  26. jackryan68

    “and while dato is 100% nicer (and probably, smarter) than mikey, i still believe that if he wants to run, the time to do so is after his mother’s presidency. he’s carpetbagging.”

    Amen to that Manolo. Actually, it’s a divisive issue in the 1st district of our province. There are those who believe this sellout by Nonoy Andaya is an insult to the intelligence of local residents. The other side, of course, is typified by bencard, and it’s transactional politics at its best.

  27. Bencard

    mlq3, suit yourself, but as far as “carpetbagging” is concerned, it seems Dato is in good company in the U.S., as I pointed out above. By the way, P. Lacson is not originally from Manila, is he? How about Lim? Going back to the subject of Dato,I still can’t figure out how being a presidential son could be a drawback to his political aspitration. It should not, and it would not, as far as I”m concerned

    Jackryan68, I don’t know much about “transactional politics”, but isn’t politics in the Philippines mostly “transactional”?
    With so many political parties and factions, no politician can succeed at anything without a little “transactional” activity.
    Isn’t that right? Why would anyone make it sound like a dirty word?

  28. Bencard 2

    Bencard,

    For a person who likes to show he’s got something between his ears, you really don’t have anything, do you? You still don’t get it, do you? People don’t like your bogus president Gloria Pidal. Haven’t you grasped that yet?

    Dato’s drawback is not his being Dato but he’s being related to Gloria Pidal. Dato is carpetbagging. Does Manolo have to draw it for you, you little, insignificant twerp!

  29. Bencard

    Bencard 2 or whatever. I may be as idiotic as you are simply by responding to you, but who, may I ask, appointed you as spokesperson for the “people”?

  30. Bencard 2

    Bencard,

    And WHO appointed YOU as spokesperson for Gloria Pidal? Explain your dogged admiration and adoration for one who is not worth the ground YOU walk on.

  31. Bencard 2

    Bencard,

    And WHO appointed YOU as spokesperson for Gloria Pidal? Explain your dogged admiration and adoration for one who is not worth the ground YOU walk on.

  32. anna de brux

    Just by quickly scanning the latest entries, one would think Bencard had seriously gone bonkers and had started talking to himself. Very funny! Heheh!

  33. Bencard

    anna, I was just gonna say, I thought it was YOU trying to get a rise of me. The style is almost unmistakable. But then again, you seem to have a little more originality whereas this impostor is like a ‘special”child who hasn’t got what it takes but who desperately want to play with the big boys. Pathetic!

  1. Popular Science

    Popular Science…

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…

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