A breather?

Pretty quiet today, since it’s a holiday, so a good chance to catch up with global going-ons .Dollar steady as Fed rate cut calms market, the news says today, continuing a story, Fed moves to restore balance, that began last week.

How turbulence turned to calamity on Wall Street. makes for a good read, as does The first cut is the deepest. The world of markets can provoke peppery blogging, too! See Market Ticker for a sample: the blogger is really, really upset:

My prediction: Bernanke just insured a market crash. Not today, probably not Monday, perhaps not for a couple of weeks or a month. But he insured that it will happen because he pulled the rug out from under the market’s view of the Fed being an instrument of ORDERLY markets. Now when the jitters over the next dislocation in the credit markets occur (which will be in the next days or weeks, not months or years) nobody will know what he’s going do or when and they will expect DISORDER.

Nouriel Roubini, in more academic language, says The Forthcoming Fed Rate Cuts May Not Prevent a US Hard Landing (the peppery blog above came from a comment in this economist’s blog).

How’s this for an ironic pairing of news items? All news must be good news, says Chinese government and China bridge death toll rises to 64 .

My column for today is That LP-NP feeling. On a related note, see Postcard Headlines.

In the blogosphere, Howie Severino takes a look at a recent Dan Rather report on problems touch-screen voting machines. His blog entry and Rather’s report can be connected with the departure of Carl Rove, who supposedly engineered the Bush victories. As History Unfolding points out,

The flaw in this picture was pointed out by Sidney Blumenthal in Salon. Rove did not mastermind a George W. Bush victory in 2000; he masterminded a defeat. Bush lost the popular vote by a substantial margin. In Florida a very measurable majority of voters went to the polls intending to vote against him, but four things went wrong. First, hundreds were prevented from voting by a pre-election purge of the rolls that relied on the broadly similar names of Florida voters and felons from other states. Second, the misleading ballot in Palm Beach cost Al Gore at least a few hundred votes. Thirdly, the votes (as we learned many months later) were miscounted in Republican areas, giving Bush a crucial couple of hundred votes. And fourthly, Al Gore asked for only a partial, not a full recount, and five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices stopped even that, (Congratulations are in order for Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune and Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe, both of whom managed to write their analyses without referring to a 2000 “victory.”

And it kept going on past 2000:

Rove spent the last six years and a half years securing President Bush’s power with a mixture of fear, hatred, and corruption. 9/11 enabled the President to step into the role of protector of America’s safety, while portraying the Democrats as too soft, both because they wanted to preserve American civil liberties and to fight only those wars that would actually help, rather than hinder, the war on terror. The gay marriage issue helped mobilize the hatred of those who fear sexual difference, especially, I suspect, within themselves. And the whole federal government was largely reshaped to serve the political purposes of the Republican Administration. The rush to privatize government services continued apace, creating more and richer contractors who could make more and bigger campaign contributions. We are now learning how various agencies received political briefings during campaign seasons and apparently targeted programs to key Republican districts. And last year, Rove apparently helped orchestrate a plan to force U.S. Attorneys to bring spurious vote fraud claims against Democrats by firing some of those who refused to do so. Not since the 1870s, when the federal government was much smaller, has it been so brazenly used for purely political purposes.

Also in the same blog, is this splendid entry on the concept of “Executive Privilege”, a discussion extremely relevant to Filipinos confronted with a very similar set of issues.

First, this passage:

Berger’s premise, as in his early book Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems (which I believe I discussed in an earlier post), was historically unassailable: that the Framers, while writing the Constitution, were building upon British legal traditions. Not only had they been trained in those traditions, but they had always believed that they offered the world’s best guarantees of liberty. Because George III had, as they saw it, managed to subvert even the guarantees offered by the British Constitution, they were unusually sensitive to the inevitable dangers of abuse of power, especially executive power, and they therefore provided themselves and their descendants with the best tools to fight them that anyone ever has. Unfortunately, as Berger showed very conclusively, they did not bother even to codify some of the most basic powers (just as they did not codify the right of habeas corpus, even while declaring that it could only be suspended by the Congress in time of invasion or rebellion), because they assumed them.

They did, of course, give Congress the right to impeach and try the President, Vice President, and other civil officers, and to remove them from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In Impeachment, Berger drew on English precedents and constitutional debates to show that to them, that clause included not only criminal acts, but acts tending to corrupt the body politic (Madison, in this connection, even referred to abuse of the pardon power as an impeachable offense), or even, critically, the pursuit of disastrous policies – a frequent grounds for impeachment in early modern Britain. And as Berger argued, and as Parliamentary history showed, the power of inquiry – to compel testimony and documents from ministers about their conduct – was, obviously, an essential concomitant of the power to impeach, since the Congress could hardly try to punish behavior that it could not find out about.

Then, this:

Regarding the question currently before us – whether the Congress can compel executive officers to testify – Berger found no unequivocal precedents. He did, however, find that the Supreme Court, as early as 1838 (in Kendall vs. United States) had explicitly rejected the claim that executive officers were subject only to the direction of the President and could disregard orders (even in the form of laws) from other branches of government. Berger would explain the lack of distant precedents by the general recognition that the power of inquiry went along with the power of impeachment – and surely, if the executive had ever gotten away with a refusal to allow its officers to testify before Congress, he would have known about it.

Berger has been dead for many years, and alas, the chances of the legal academic community producing another like him have fallen considerably. Our debts to our British forbears have become unfashionable, as “critical legal theory” transforms Anglo-American jurisprudence into a conspiracy to preserve the supremacy of white males. In fact, we enjoy liberty today because British aristocrats originally wrested it from their monarchs, allowing the lower orders to contend for the same rights. Because law rests on precedent, the past is actually more alive in the law than in my own historical profession, but this, too, could pass.

Then, jam sessions on Manny Pacquiao.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

29 thoughts on “A breather?

  1. “In fact, we enjoy liberty today because British aristocrats originally wrested it from their monarchs, allowing the lower orders to contend for the same rights.”

    Which is what we should do today. Wrest it from the elites, and refine the laws of executive privilege and citizen’s power to stop an over-reaching president.

    “9/11 enabled the President to step into the role of protector of America’s safety, while portraying the Democrats as too soft, both because they wanted to preserve American civil liberties and to fight only those wars that would actually help, rather than hinder, the war on terror.”

    Which just bolsters my feelings more, that 9/11 was allowed to happen by the neo-cons exactly bec of that. its the oldest trick in the book. lacking legitimacy, you start a war and present yourself as THE leader and protector of your people. nothing could be further from the truth.

  2. devilsadvoc8:that’s so ‘watchmen,’ dude. but then again, didn’t goebbels say (and a whole bunch of people besides) people are more likely to believe a big lie than a small lie? so, there must be more than a grain of plausibility to the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

  3. MLQ3,

    As a commentor in a previous blog post noted/quoted:

    Brilliant minds discuss ideas.
    Average minds discuss events.
    Small minds discuss people.

    Politics in the Philippines is largely a discussion about the posturings and agendas of our moronic politicians rather than the underlying principles.

    Jumping off from your closing statement in your INQ7 article…

    “If we must tolerate parties as a necessary evil, and while I myself prefer Alexander Pope’s wish (“I find myself … hoping a total end of the unhappy divisions … by party-spirit, which at best is but the madness of many for the gains of a few”), and if institution-building is the order of the day, then Doy’s version of a Last Hurrah, a proposal to establish a two-party system by legislation, met with disbelief at his deathbed, perhaps deserves reexamination today. But only after 2010″

    Note that there has been no emphasis on what exactly we mean by “party spirit”. Beyond the above passage, I note that the discussion was about WHO buried WHO in what year, WHO constituted what party in what year, and all that.

    Maybe I should ask the questions most people are afraid to ask (because we belong in a society that would rather discuss people than IDEAS):

    (1) What exactly does either party (be it the NP or the LP) stand for?

    (2) What IDEAS do either one espouse/embody INDEPENDENT of the morons that populate them in whatever period?

    (3) If there is gonna be a two-party system, along what lines of principles do the opposing parties oppose each other?

    There is no information whatsoever in your INQ7 article that can shed some light on even the most child-like questions such as those above.

    To be fair, if you check out all these wikipedia articles on Philippine politics, you will also find practically zilch information about what IDEAS and PRINCIPLES any parties mentioned there stand for. It’s all a discussion of events and people (kind of like reading the political equivalent of celebrity tabloids). So you’re in good company. 😉

  4. benigno, since politics is a human activity, i think these things are indivisible from the people who represent them. as i said, it’s equally about issues and personalities.

    you’re welcome to read my brief history of the liberal party, and my previous columns, where i’ve discussed the issues of the past and how individuals reacted to, represented, and espoused them.

    you do the legwork. and you can begin with realizing i am not inclined to make the same assumptions you do.

  5. Well, if we are unable or dis-inclined to explain in SIMPLE TERMS what the Liberal and Nacionalista parties stand for then:

    (1) What hope do we have of getting the AVERAGE voters (remember those?) in the THINKING loop; and,

    (2) What alternative do we give to the AVERAGE voters to the more preferred activity of slogging through the mind-numbing arrays of personality speculation that characterises most discussion during election campaigns?

    Ask any parent whose had to explain the birds and the bees to young kids. Most will tell you that if you bullshit kids, they merely come back with more difficult questions. And if they grow up in a household of bullshitters, chances are they become rebellious teenagers.

    I see an analogy here that fits the character of Pinoy society at large. 😉

  6. benign0: in *simple* terms the LP was the equivalent, in its time, of today’s globalization-oriented people, its policies were generally inclined towards free trade, the welcoming of foreign investments, and a closer relationship with the united states. the np was generally inclined towards economic protectionism, more skeptical of collaboration with the usa, and more interested in currency controls and the nurturing of domestic industry.

    there were other dynamics at work, too, the lp stronger in southern tagalog and western visayas, the np stronger in cavite, bulacan, northern visayas, etc. neither particularly enthusiastic about land reform, and so on.

    in contrast to today, election inspectors were paid with stipends from the government which eliminated a large part ofd what makes elections today expensive; and with entire regions inclined to be np or lp, the parties had dues-paying members in some areas and their own war chests independent of whoever happened to support the parties. party spirit was strong enough in some areas, so that families would not patronize an np sari-sari store if they were lp, and vice-versa.

    these distinctions disappeared after 1972, when marcos sought to eliminate both of the old parties and their networks, beginning with eliminating elections altogether and then restoring elections only when he’d created a super-party, the kbl.

    the lp today is by instinct still globally-inclined, though warier of the us because of the martial law experience, the np (on paper, anyway) is inclined towards protectionism.

  7. Manolo, but that’s the problem with todays parties, don’t you see? they neither bother to affirm the issues that they stand for nor do they stand by it (if ever they did) once they’ve won. so we still have the ol problem of politics of personality vs parties. i think all concept of party loyalty has been destroyed post-Marcos, and all chances of the citizenry distinguishing bet parties and personalities along with it. so what hope have we of restoring a two-party system much less the ideals of one?
    Rom, more plausible than Bush claiming they invaded bec of liberty.

  8. mlq3,

    That wasn’t too hard, was it? 😉

    So in summary (hope you don’t mind if I simplify further):

    (1) The LP is outward-looking and inclined to openness; while,

    (2) The NP is inwward looking and inclined to isolationism.

    We need to do something about this whole business of these principles just being “on paper”. I see this as the fundamental problem of our society. We as a society don’t MATCH the doctrine to the practioners.

    On paper it sounds like this. But out there where all the discussion is undertaken and where the media puts its money, it is all about personality, tsismis, and speculation.

    We need to get back to the principles that are set on paper. In other words, Pinoys need to learn to READ and COMPREHEND again (rather than merely see and HEAR — which is the more seductive world — and the EASIER but BRAIN-DEAD path to learning — offered by mass media).

    You’ve just now demonstrated how EASY it is to get back to basics and explain the principles to the mind of the proverbial eight-year-old. Isn’t politics a lot clearer when reduced to these basic principles? When these basic principles are (a) understood, and (b) political parties are evaluated based on how aligned their platforms are to these principles, AND (c) political analysis is underaken on the basis of the former two (items a and b), then I believe we will be a bit more productive in this whole business of SELECTING LEADERS AND REPRESENTATIVES, don’t you think?

    Only then can we REALLY consider ourselves to be a “democratic” society. 😉

  9. benigno, again, you make assumptions that i dont necessarily subscribe to. i am more interested in exploring an alternative to political parties, and by temperament i think it’s more productive for politicians and the electorate to engage in coalition-building on the basis of individual issues. presented with a menu of issues that matter to the voter, the voter can then determine which candidate is more inclined to act on the basis of the issues that matter to the voters.

    having said that, i do think there is a growing yearning among the electorate for a tidier system, and one that produces leaders with a strong mandate, without which nothing substantial can get done. hence proposals to revive the two-party system, for legislation punishing promiscuous turncoatism, and for campaign financing to come from the government. each of these proposals is thorny.

    parties in themselves are vehicles and what makes for an attractive vehicle makes for mutable parties: there is a major difference between labor and then new labor, and at the heart of it was taking power from the conservatives, regardless if new labor basically had to reinvent itself to the dismay of traditional laborites. the transformation of the republican party to the party of big business under mckinley is another case in point, and even demographics affects things, viz. the shift of the deep south to a bulwark of republicanism after generations of being a bedrock of support for the democrats.

    something interesting is going on, here at home, and part of it, i’m convinced, is due to exposure abroad of filipinos who see how things are done elsewhere. for example, in general, at election time, the networks view debate programs among candidates as money-losing and audience-hemmorhaging ventures. going into may 2007, the networks (mass tv, for ex. gma7, and cable, for ex. anc) were surprised that there was audience demand for debate programs among the candidates. gma7 even had to replay its two-day senatorial debate, audience demand was that strong.

    the center for media freedom and responsibility recently issued a report saying its survey of media showed media outfits, print and tv in particular, devoted more time to discussing issues, the stands of parties and candidates, and publicizing these to the electorate.

    of course this part of another change that i was just discussing last night with a french historian who found the changes interesting. if you’ll recall, many observers of the past election pointed out the era of the “miting de avance,” and the political rally, died between 1998 and this election. it was replaced by the era of tv ads, which originally had a tremendous impact on a superficial level: effectiveness was measured in terms of a catchy jingle, etc.

    but you have a few things at work here. first, the option of working abroad gives the electorate a certain detachment: elections are not make-or-break affairs in the public mind; if you do not engage the electorate or do not bring up issues that matter, they can stay home rather than express their displeasure through political participation. second, since the old political rallies and stump speeches no longer work -not least because the old political prime time for such things, the evening, is dominated by prime time tv and people would rather stay home and watch shows than listen to old-fashioned stump speeches- the politicians, who can no longer assume people will simply vote, have to find other ways.

    locally, in the provinces i’ve visited, people tell me the politicians are back to going house-to-house; and where gatherings take place, they have to be smaller, more intimate, in the nature of a real dialogue instead of the sing-and-dance affairs of the 80s and 90s. in terms of national campaigns, people have to be convinced by what they hear on the radio and see on tv, and again, what worked last time won’t work this time, and there seems to be a trend to demand something more substantial than a catchy jingle.

    the french historian said they have the same development in france, where large party rallies aren’t attended anymore, and where political involvement has to be obtained through a more direct approach, such as small tete-a-tetes and ads.

    this means, i think, that there will actually be a public demand for debates for the presidential elections (if we have them) in 2010, and there will be a demand for candidates to be able to say something intelligent about the issues. even the go and tu senatorial slates spent more time on their coalition platforms than would have been the case for similar coalitions in the recent past.

    there are some very disturbing trends, though, independent of the electorate. first, the atomization of the political landscape by means of gerrymandering, second, the growing influence of gambling, drug, and smuggling money precisely because the electorate itself can tune in and out and can’t be assumed to be automatically engaged; third, the real erosion of institutions such as the comelec and the afp and even the courts; and a real deterioration in the public level of education which means candidates are unable to bridge the information gap, even if they want to.

    but on the whole, i’m actually optimistic.

  10. So in summary (hope you don’t mind if I simplify further):
    (1) The LP is outward-looking and inclined to openness; while,
    (2) The NP is inwward looking and inclined to isolationism.
    – Benign0

    That would be too simplistic and would only contribute to dumbing down the discussion. ‘Openness’ and ‘Isolationism’ connotes far more than Manolo’s description. As an example, it does not do justice to Mar Roxas’ (who belongs to LP) plan to revisit incentives given to multinationals. You have to go beyond your dumb down level and study more to be able to keep up with the discussion.

  11. “As an example, it does not do justice to Mar Roxas’ (who belongs to LP) plan to revisit incentives given to multinationals”

    What are you talking about, dude? Doesn’t this fit the very description “outward-looking and inclined to openness” which I used to described the LP? I suggest you THINK first before putting fingers to keyboard, dude. 😉


    I don’t think I disagree with your proposal which is, as you said yourself, still based on issues (i.e., coalitions of politicos with similar individual issues). I simply used your article as an example to point out how, in typical Pinoy discussion, political “parties” can be discussed without ever getting down to the whole essence of what these political parties are about.

    Whether it is parties or “coalitions” that are used to define communities of politicians doesn’t really matter to me. The important thing is that:

    (1) the essences of said parties and/or “coalitions” are firmly grounded on a clear idea, issue, platform, and/or philosophy;

    (2) this essence is clearly spelled out during campaigns; and,

    (3) people learn to see past moronic sloganeering and rah-rah campaigning and focus on matching party/coalition doctrine to the actual rhetoric of their member politicos.

    For example, it can be argued that every “united opposition” we’ve seen since 1986 was some sort of “coalition” (even if some of them fancied themselves as “parties”). Through the campaign periods they’d went through the motions of reciting common taglines, engage in a lot of hand-holding; making believe that a robust “platform” underpins their bid for power as a “party” or “coalition”.

    But the reality is that all of these so-called “coalitions” were nothing more than election-winning-machines. These coalitions, as you yourself pointed out a couple of blog posts back, then descend into petty bickering once their members are in power and all semblance of like-mindedness simply vapourises.

    Considering the developments you’ve pointed out, however (an increased demand for issues-based debates and a reduced appetite for Fiesta Politicsâ„¢), I must agree that there is some basis to be optimistic. At least Item 3 in my list above seems to be in the process of being realised.

    It’s all up to Items 1 and 2 becoming realities in the next couple of years leading up to 2010. 😉

  12. benign0, Roxas was thinking of removing some of those incentives which is a step away from ‘openness’. Reality is more complex than your powerpoint bullets.

  13. Liberal and Nacional,

    Ah, it’s irrelevant now guys. Everyone is a liberal and a nacional at the same time. All corporations even Danding’s are dependent on foreign money.

    People, I believe, have always been divided philosophically as well as in their gut instincts, between Conservatism and Liberalism. Even uneducated people fall in either political dichotomies. Conservatives believe in an eternal morality that was as true a long time ago as it is today. Liberals believe that human beings evolve morally, that morality is improved the more human beings learn about the world in the sciences, the historicity ( a Jesuit terminology this one) of human civilization. Even in a family, you can find these two dichotomies, that’s why I believe that gut instinct had a lot to do with whichever you lean politically as a person.

    I think, Manolo and Benign0, that we should begin with these most basic of political designations.

    My own opinion is that the Philippines never had a Golden Age, hence Conservatism is less valid politically.

  14. I just want to add that even inside the Catholic Church, they are divided between Conservatives and Liberals for the same underlying reasons.

    The problem with the Philippines is not economics. We’re pretty much between a rock and a hard place. Ethically and morally, we are divided and this is where political parties must begin, but not merely on moral questions but on outlook, which directly affects our economy too.

  15. “Maybe I should ask the questions most people are afraid to ask (because we belong in a society that would rather discuss people than IDEAS):”

    From Beinigno:

    If and when we discuss ideas you label us as mall minded till kingdom come(kahit lagyan mo pa ng smiley emoticon ang sama pa din ng dating)

    “Small-minded talaga – til kingdom come.”

    August 16th, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Without discussing as a person but can I separate that idea from the man wrote it?

    OK, the idea is bs, with out calling you the same.

    satisfied, I separated the idea from the person.

    And because we do not live in a perfect wold.

    let me quote you again:

    No problemo, Karl. It’s all about the issues, not the people (in a perfect world, that is).

    August 15th, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Next time Benigno suggest people to write a book with the authors always place anonymous,instead of a name, not even a pen name.

    Let us see how it works.

  16. brian, that’s a very interesting take-off point. i remember you observed that conservative thinking was “hard-wired” in my brain, and to a certain extent you made a valid point. i remember pondering your letter and deciding i could describe myself as a conservative liberal. but one person’s self-description won’t necessarily be accepted by another.

    my view of course is that it is unwise and undesirable to throw the baby out with the bathwater: that i would even agree there wasn’t such a thing as a “golden age” but that every age has something positive to bequeath to the next; that a society is best served appreciating that it has to build upon the positive aspects of what has come before, as it provides a firmer foundation for the building up the future.

    at the same time, there is much that can be improved, if there is awareness of what came before, and in particular, of the things that have endured, again positively or negatively. otherwise you’re condemned to an eternal present which accomplishes nothing but degrading whatever’s already been built.

    but this shouldn’t obscure the fact that there is very little to miss, politically speaking, anyway, in terms of what came before. we’ve changed so much in 20 years never mind 50 or 100. much of it is for the better. this is what i meant with the old obediences going away, and something else being formed, though we don’t know exactly what that is. a person so conservative as to be reactionary would bewail it; someone like me will perhaps spend time mourning some of the good things (which you wold dispute as never having existed) but will embrace what is to come; others, like you, will be saying it’s not changing fast enough, or thoroughly enough.

    certain things can be assumed and i think, are widely assumed at present. that the governing class, the commercial and social classes used to command and control, are generally despised, not least because they have proven themselves nasty, brutish, and incapable of even appreciating what’s in their self-interest; that appeals to the past do not work on them, so why should it work on everyone having to endure the consequences of their misgovernance and abuses?

    but at the same time, the inherent conservatism of society as a whole has proven more durable than perhaps, anyone expected. this is what randy david calls the crisis of modernity.

    some lessons are there, i think, as to how the impetus towards modernity was not only identified, but harnessed, in the past; but the impact of such lessons depends, of course, on a shared knowledge. without that shared knowledge, well then, you have a real problem when it comes to more radical solutions.

    these more radical solutions also, ironically, require a shared sense of history, an appreciation of what’s come before: as well as articulating an analysis of society’s defects -and the solutions- that people find relevant and worth obtaining. the crisis in the left to my mind, for example, is that their analysis and prescription for change has become old-fashioned and conservative in its own way.

    so where are you left? again another irony: a return to studying the things that refuse to change quickly; and in a sense, the obstinacy of the public when it comes to political behavior (i.e. elections are the only bonafide way to change regimes, etc.); can a way be found to nudge these forward, so the net effect is the loosening of control by the old forces that controlled things, the expansion of those with access to governing and policy-making, and so forth?

  17. Nice to hear from you again, Manolo! And that was a very nice exchanges with Benigno. I like your reply on Brian too! If only we keep that kind of discussion here…..

    BTW, I always believe that person and ideas can be separated, if we want to.

  18. cvj, last I recall we were talking about principles here and matching it with reality. The gap between the two is what I described as a fundamental issue in Pinoy-style “democracy”. You merely highlight the point I make: What is Roxas doing in the LP if he espouses a progressive removal of these incentives? And what does his fellow LP politicos think of his moves? Aren’t they bothered that he is going against the principles of the LP (if any)?

    mlq3, yes, not only consensus but advancement in thought can be routinely achieved when thesis and anti-thesis are routinely allowed to slug it out. Problem is that personal attacks tend to creep in in most Pinoy “debates”. 😉

  19. “my view of course is that it is unwise and undesirable to throw the baby out with the bathwater: that i would even agree there wasn’t such a thing as a “golden age” but that every age has something positive to bequeath to the next… ”

    Golden Age, meaning what people perceive as a perfect past. Every culture is divided politically into conservatives and liberals. Our problem in this country is that we watch too much TV and Hollywood films where conservatism has pretty much been relegated to a brutish, primitive identity. Not so. I am a liberal but I believe conservative thinking is extremely important. Liberals tend to idealize humanity to a fault, i.e. have a fanciful view of humanity. Yes, I think one can be a left-leaning conservative like you, Manolo. There are many of that in the U.S.

  20. “the crisis in the left to my mind, for example, is that their analysis and prescription for change has become old-fashioned and conservative in its own way”

    I think this applies to a lot of “innovations” in politics that Pinoys undertook in the last 20 years. Edsa “revolutions”? Boring. Senators marching in the streets with the plebes?. Quaint. Celebs dancing the ocho ocho on a platform in the middle of Ayala? So last century. Sob-story-jailbird-mutineers-turned-senators? Embarassing. Cheating presidents. Priceless.

    Just like we over-produced and commoditised lechon manok, shawarma, lapidas and dikdikans made from Romblon marble, OFWs, and jeepneys, we are world-class at mediocritising and trivialising ideas. Same goes with our commie compatriots and their ho-hum proletarian struggle led by their Dutch-coddled Maoist relic of the 70’s.

    And don’t get me started with our movie industry… 😉

    My point is, Pinoys do not have a culture of breaking out of the mold. We are our own imprisoners. And numero uno is our bizarrely foolish beholdenness to a southern-Luzon dialect that we were led to believe is our “national language”.

  21. Let me just continue by saying that with my suggesting we espouse the two basic political mindset I am throwing all current politicians with the bathwater. Goons and opportunists all (practically). They are not the political animals that Aristotle claimed all humans are but animals with a hobby for politics. I think I described them as greedy termites in a previous comment. Not to exaggerrate, our politicians have been conditioned to keep their heads above current history, as if current history is some sort of calamity that they had nothing to do with and were only passing through, as it were. Who or what conditioned them to this kind of thinking?

  22. What is Roxas doing in the LP if he espouses a progressive removal of these incentives? And what does his fellow LP politicos think of his moves? Aren’t they bothered that he is going against the principles of the LP (if any)? – Benign0

    Unless you are an extremist or unable to think beyond powerpoint bullets, you have to allow for a diversity of beliefs even within a given ideological framework (whether liberal, conservative or nationalistic). If it were not the case, China would have stuck with Mao’s little red book instead of moving on to Deng’s ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’.

  23. Hello, I’m a long time reader (and lurker) of mlq3, and I just couldn’t stop myself from replying to this statement:

    “What is Roxas doing in the LP if he espouses a progressive removal of these incentives? And what does his fellow LP politicos think of his moves? Aren’t they bothered that he is going against the principles of the LP (if any)?”

    I just wanted to say that this seems to take an extremely narrow view of what liberalism (and by extension, the Liberal Party) is. Liberalism has come a very long way from the classical liberalism of Adam Smith, et al. From what I’ve been reading about the LP (which sadly does not get enough media coverage), they do have a legislative agenda (accessible on their website) which seems quite within the more “social” liberalism (check out wikipedia for a surprisingly accurate summary of all the different types of liberalism practiced today) that’s practiced in some parts of Europe.

    In short, it pays to do a little research, even the internet kind.

  24. Oh and I guess for a little transparency:
    I have a friend who works for an LP-member politician, although I am myself not an LP supporter (my politics run to the left of center).
    I’m a Pinay graduate student/ordinary citizen living in Manila who just wants to make an informed political decision. Blame Aristotle, who I had to read as an undergrad.

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