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Sep 04

Americans debate impeachment

There’s a strange parallel going on between the souring of public opinion concerning George W. Bush, and the long-curdled public standing of President Arroyo. Much as it’s been pointed out that the Republican playbook is used chapter-and-verse by the administration, Americans and Filipinos, with their shared (but far from identical) political systems are both wrestling with political concepts of American origin, most emphatically the idea of Executive Privilege (which, it can be argued, was invented as a concept only in 1956, and then adopted in turn by our courts). This in turn brings up the pros and cons of impeachment, and the purposes of investigations. See this engrossing article, Carts Before Horses: Impeachment Inquiry First, Ask Questions Later:

In other words, they say, no inquiry should commence until proof of the president’s guilt has been unearthed – proof which would, of course, make the inquiry superfluous! The Watergate investigation that dethroned President Richard M. Nixon would never have been launched under such an Alice in Wonderland standard of proof, because it began with nothing more than two obscure figures, E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy, known to have both White House connections and associations with the Watergate burglars… The House does not require, nor should it await, proof beyond a reasonable doubt of misconduct. To wait for such proof subverts the whole purpose of an impeachment inquiry.

Watergate is of course, one of the most interesting political scandals of contemporary times (see this nifty site), and demonstrated the power of even the threat of impeachment particularly in the wake of the White House tapes (see the listener’s guide as well) and the legal cases they provoked, including United States v. Nixon (which were provoked by Nixon’s views on presidential power).

The American experience, and continuing debate is helpful, if only because it helps clarify some of the muddled thinking concerning things like impeachment and Executive Privilege here at home: at the very least, the American debates (often ferocious) demonstrates that there are different ways of tackling those issues; there may be a dominant interpretation, for example, but it can be said the dominant view hasn’t been supreme all that long, and may one day become a minority view. Which is good or bad depending on how you view the dominant approach right now.

In the news today are two upcoming Congressional hearings (even as the Palace continues to attend to its defenses, see Puno named acting Palace adviser on political affairs; to think at one point, it seemed he was down, but obviously, not out). One in the Senate, see Senate to summon characters in scandal and ‘Hello Garci’ probe on; Ping wants Manila cardinal grilled (Amen to that!). Another in the House, see House schedules question hour on national broadband deal. Both are necessary and healthy, though not necessarily productive of either legislation or any findings.

Even as RP scores poorly in APEC study (the productive approach: there’s a list of things that could stand improvement), opinions on the latest GDP figures from Liling Briones and Tony Abaya (a stimulating read, as always). See the Philippine Experience as well:

Many economists and even businessmen does not agree with the figures. My small business had dropped about 12% in earnings. Some of my tenants are actually behind in their rental payments. This is the gauge I use that business especially the medium-scale and small-scale businesses are actually slowing down. People have less spending power. Utilities are actually going up further hampering growth. This is the reason why NAPOCOR and Meralco are proposing lowering its costs in economic zones. In the coming months, Meralco will be charging us another P6.23/kWh more to recover their claimed losses. I just wonder why they can recover whatever they lost while we can only charge our losses to experience?

All I hear is the entry of BPOs who are actually just replacing those who have chosen to relocate elsewhere. The endless sale in the malls shows that retail is not moving. Just take a look at how credit cards are offering zero interests just to push the public to buy.

John Nery takes an interesting, biblical, look at the schism within Couples for Christ and its effect on Gawad Kalinga.

tonyo responds to my blog entry (and similar sentiments, see The Paradoxic Ley Line) on Jose Ma. Sison:

The US-inspired demonization of all leftist ideas and personalities could be the explanation for the avalanche of anti-Sison and anti-left commentaries. No second thoughts are given in the calls for Sison’s head. These self-proclaimed liberal democrats loudly fight for civil rights and due process “for all” when it is their kind who bear the brunt of persecution, but they turn into fascists when persons like Sison who are being hurt.

The ongoing demonization of Sison provides the left the opportunity to clarify its role in society, its aspirations and its record.

Ninotchka Rosca said it best: “The more you put Sison down, the more you raise him up in the eyes of the people.”

Postcard Headlines (who has a great roundup) says the debate hasn’t gotten traction with the public:

However, for most of this country’s citizens the whole thing doesn’t mean a thing. Despite the different views on the arrest’s implications taken by the conflicting parties, the ordinary people (the masses outside of the Left’s sphere of influence and the middle classes) still go on with their lives.

In the end, majority of Filipinos follow other news and interests and continue looking for means to sustain their families and send their sons and daughters to school.

Red’s Herring reflects on Ramon Magsaysay.

ISAW says obsolete-style attacks were made against the Manila Standard Today website.

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31 comments

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  1. Karlo

    MLQ3,

    Thanks for mentioning my blog entry here.

    And also for the kind words(I won’t be getting them from some friends this days). hehehe

  2. DJB

    Tonyo,
    What can you do? Joma is a demon. Just ask Joy Kintanar (who is twice a widow, since she used to be married to Edgar Jopson, an early fatality in the NPA). Now even the Dutch think so, especially after the Theo van Gogh incident. They don’t want remote control murderers lurking around their public welfare system and catching a Dutch Treat whilst making revolution on the other side of the world. But since they kept him there for so long, they should keep him there forever. There’s already plenty of talent in the Cebu Penitentiary. And no, the more Joma is put down, the more irrelevant Ninotschka Rosca becomes.

  3. Jeg

    The more you put Sison down, the more you cause a lot of people to google him. Postcard Headlines is right. In street inumans, Sison’s arrest is hardly ever a topic. It’s way below the increase in the price of rice, milk, and the looming power rate increase.

  4. Karl Garcia

    “The more you put Sison down, the more you cause a lot of people to google him. Postcard Headlines is right. In street inumans, Sison’s arrest is hardly ever a topic. It’s way below the increase in the price of rice, milk, and the looming power rate increase.”

    I agree with Jeg, ergo I also agree with Karlo.

    Watch out for that power crisis,but please not another round of band aid solutions. Milk price increases is already giving me the creeps.

    Band aid solution to milk price and rice price and others, smuggling what else.

  5. Schumey

    Thanks Manolo for the mention again. The reality on the ground is a better gauge than some technocrat’s number-crunching. If only the government has the political will to invest in the country by taking a small piece of our dollar reserves, then maybe the borrowing will somehow stop. Just take $6 billion from the $26 billion reserve and it could go a long way. No need to borrow another $1.8 billion next year for projects.

  6. Karl Garcia

    Update:

    coup rumours..The INC is worried.

    Don’t worry,rumours pa lang.

  7. leo

    mlq3,
    Do the debates really mean anything for the US Congressmen?
    Does Bush have a way of bribing, harrassing, witholding releases to US Congressmen the way Gloria did to thwart the impeachment attempts?
    In the Philippine congress, debates are meaningless in that it did not really sway the lawmankers’ decision on the impeachment, money was the only consideration. GMA had mastered the arts and science of bribery. She could be wacthing Bush with some sense of superiority complex: “Bush is stupid fool if he allows the impeachment to get to first base. He could have a lot to learn from me. Beat them Bush boy! Bribe them to hell. “

  8. renmin

    DJB-

    Edgar Jopson a “fatality of the NPA”? And you learned this from which AFP press release?

    And for that matter, how can joy kintanar (or inca tabara) be in a position to “know” and to “offer testimony” that Sison ordered her husband’s assassination? Unless she’s been living with Sison in Utrecht as well, all they may have to say is hearsay.

  9. Karl Garcia

    I wish both of our houses in control by the opposition like the US,at least they can dare bush into impeachment when they want to and can do something about it. Unless of course Bush has that deep of a pocket like what Leo is opining.

    Sa tingin ko naubos na sa warchest nya,o mauubos pa lang,kaya kahit na ilan buwan na lang ang natitira sa term ni Bush,(until dec 31,2008 di ba?)They might go for an impeachment if they will find it feasible.

  10. Leon

    Do Maoists know how to read? Renmin-wannabe-PolPot, “fatality IN the NPA” and not “OF.” K?

  11. Devilsadvc8

    Schumey, gov’t borrowing is the effort-free, idiot-friendly way of fattening one’s retirement fund without having the added responsibilities of actually paying for it yourself. that is the only loan wherein those who conceived borrowing won’t be the ones paying. it’s twisted, but that’s LIFE. yeah, the greatest sob story of our nation’s life. so what else is new?

    don’t worry, the tipping point is near, and I’d doubt the pigs will even realize it when it comes.

  12. renmin

    Leon- point taken, stupid mistake on my part. but no thanks for the name-calling.

    DJB- i apologize for that portion of my comment.

  13. supremo

    “Do Maoists know how to read? Renmin-wannabe-PolPot, “fatality IN the NPA” and not “OF.” K?”

    renmin might respond with “This is politically motivated”

  14. DJB

    renmin,
    i honor the lives of those honest young men and women who have fought for the NPA. Edjop was 22 years old when he died. Countless others have been immolated on the altar of Joma’s godless religion of violence and dogmatism. Little did they know Joma would end up eating his own children and doing our own version of the Killing Fields of Cambodia even before he had seized State Power. Can you imagine what he must be capable of?

    I hope a nice big strong Dutchman or two who never take NO for an answer will help him discover the uncharted parts of his twisted soul and that hell can be on this side of the grave.

  15. BrianB

    DJB,

    If there is one thing I truly hate about my countrymen, it’s their propensity to adopt a semi-impressive man’s faith and beliefs and their willingness to give up his own culture, as if it’s a vice he has to give up.

    I’ve read Sison’s writing, I’ve Marcos’s books. These two men can’t write. Their thinking is worse than Malcom X’s, mixing up dogmatism with a little bit of logic. Even my grandmother can out-debate these two men given a fair judging panel.

    I think it’s probably just the English.

  16. Devilsadvc8

    lead-in runs: Why men like Larry Craig continue to court danger in public places…
    http://www.slate.com/id/2173112/

    “Thus, without overthinking it or attempting too much by way of amateur psychiatry, I think it’s safe to assume that many tearoom traders have a need, which they only imperfectly understand, to get caught. And this may be truest of all of those who are armored with “the breastplate of righteousness.” Next time you hear some particularly moralizing speech, set your watch. You won’t have to wait long before the man who made it is found, crouched awkwardly yet ecstatically while the cistern drips and the roar of the flush maddens him like wine.”

    So in truth, when Abalos and co. voted down gay activists wanting to form their own party-lists, they were only being armored with “the breastplate of righteousness” more commonly known as hypocrisy.

    Homophobes are homosexuals on an entirely different level of denial.

  17. BrianB

    “their willingness to give up his own culture… ”

    their willingness to give up [their] own culture,

  18. Manila Bay Watch

    Dean,

    Surely, you understand now why many Iraqis feel the same way about Americans in Iraq?

  19. Manila Bay Watch

    Sison’s problem too is that he’s been extremely, extraordinarily and unfairly virulent against the Dutch, insulting them as free riders on US among others, something I imagine has naturally not endeared him to Dutch authorities.

    He knew full well that the EU terrorist tag was not to be treated lightly, yet he ignored the signs – he must have been shocked when they pounced on him. He had probably convinced himself that he was virtually “immuned from arrest” on political grounds.

    What Sison failed to grasp is that technically, he has no legal status in The Netherlands and by extension in the EU – he’s illegally staying in Holland and therefore extremely vulnerable but he took things for granted. His presence on Dutch soil is in contravention of EU immigration laws and so, is holding by the skin of his teeth. His high profile persona has equally done him great damage – no EU country will touch him with a 10-foot pole not if they can help it.

    He’s also ignored that times have changed in Europe since 9/11 (and the Dutch, some Europeans say, are not exactly the most fair-minded people in the world, so watch out Joma and Joma sympathizers!)

  20. BrianB

    “The protests against the persecution of Sison has also been deplored by the Inquirer in an editorial. Inquirer’s arguments are nothing new and not different to the unintelligent and unfair demonization stories against Sison. The premise for Inquirer’s call for a trial of Sison is legal flotsam: The High Court has already dismissed it along with other trumped up charges.”

    Is this really how communists talk? Let me ask the communists one thing? Who killed their comrades and dug up the mass graves and buried their comrades there? Communists are even more opaque than the government. Why should we trust the communists? They chose to be elitist and battle corruption as a minority sub-culture. Why should we extend our hands to help them? They chose to segregate themselves from simple folks, from the majority. Do they expect us to understand them? Isn’t it obvious to them that they care more about ideology than human life? They have gone farther from the simple concerns of ordinary Filipinos than the Philippine jet-set crowd. Their biggest vice is to them their greatest virtue: intellectual vanity.

  21. baycas

    Part of Sec. Raul Gonzalez’s mystery ailment is prostate enlargement. He recently had a microwave treatment for it. (information from an unimpeachable source)

  22. manuelbuencamino

    40 years ago Joma won over a lot of young patriots by singing “cover versions” of Mao’s songs.

    Today, his scratched records are still played by loyal sing along fans like ninotchka rosca, tonyo, and renmin.

    The original song was not that good after all and the cover version is even worse.

    It’s old. He’s old. Get a life and move on! It’s a song not worth killing or dying for.

  23. Bencard

    mst reports that the philippine government is preparing to come to the aid of sison in keeping with its policy of helping citizens in trouble in foreign countries. if this is true, its the right thing to do. like i always say, the rays of the sun reach even the forces of darkness, and the benefit of the law is available even to those who try to undermine it.

  24. BrianB

    “i always say, the rays of the sun reach even the forces of darkness, and the benefit of the law is available even to those who try to undermine it.”

    Nice to be a high profile communist.

  25. Bencard

    what does ‘postcard headlines’ expect – hysterics, wailing and gnashing of teeth, hammer & sickle red flags at half-mast, on the left; discreet applause on the middle; or triumphant cheers on the right? joma sison has become an anachronism, an ideological dinosaur that should have ceased to become “news” a long time ago, were it not for the sensation-mongering media looking for a “good” copy.

  26. Karlo

    what does ‘postcard headlines’ expect – hysterics, wailing and gnashing of teeth, hammer & sickle red flags at half-mast, on the left; discreet applause on the middle; or triumphant cheers on the right?

    That is funny sir. Seriously, I expected nothing like that to happen (although that would really be a hilarious sight. 🙂 ).

  27. ishmael ahab

    MLQ,

    Thanks again for mentioning my blog in one of your posts.

    With regards to Sison. I think that he should be punished if it is true that he is behind the death of Kintanar and many others. What he did is downright murder. And even if he did not give the go signal for the murders but he have knowledge of the murders, then he must be also be punished for command responsibility like Gloria should be punished for the murders of activists and journalists by Palparan and company.

    We must not tolerate acts like murder. We must not tolerate what NPA did. NPA should also be punished. They are still not in power yet and look what they had done to their comrades and former comrades. What will happen if they succeed in ruling this country. Remember Stalin, remember Mao, they had killed many people just to assure that they will stay in power. Despots masquerading as communists.

  28. Iya

    “Taya sa Jueteng” as a gauge for economic growth

    Just wanna share this from my blog:

    Just this weekend, we conducted a leadership training which kicked off with an overnight immersion in a poor community in Quezon City. The sharing of experiences was very rich but I was particularly struck by this part of one story:

    “Dati rati and taya ng mga tao dito sa jueteng may tig P100, P50. Ngayong mahirap na talaga ang buhay kasi piso piso nalang ang taya nila.”
    — from a 50-year old kubrador in Feliciano, Bgy. Maligaya, Q.C.

    (NO manang. Life is better. We have a 7.5% GDP growth!)

    I found it interesting to think of using “jueteng bets” as a measure of whether or not economic growth reaches the poor sectors of society.

    If indeed it’s true that we have a 7.5% growth and indeed it’s true that the amount the poor bets on jueteng is going down…then probably we have maintained the status quo…meaning…the rich still gets richer and the poor still gets poorer.

  29. Devilsadvc8

    Mag-antay na lang daw tayo ng trickle down. Di pa daw sila tapos sa taas magpakabusog sa buhos ng 7.5% growth na iyan. Mga aning! ano kami, mga asong pinag-aantay ng tira-tira? eh kung isara kaya nila ngala-ngala nila, hane baka bumuhos yang trickle down nila na sinasabi..

  30. Bencard

    no, buencamino. i think “disgraciado” means disgraced. ofw’s are not disgraced in any manner, shape or form. maybe we can call them ‘bayaning di sinadya’.

  31. Bencard

    devils, bakit di ka magdelihensiya sa sarili mong pagsisikap? bakit ka maghi-hintay ng “tira-tira”? sino ang nagsabi sa’yong gawing yan? maghanapbuhay ka sa hnorableng pamamaraaan. wala namang nagbabawal sa’yo, di ba? si juan tamad lamang ang nagbubuka ng bibig at naghihintay na mahulog ang bayabas (lol).

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