Tuesday, June 14, 2005

No Way Out

An old jokes goes, "first prize in the raffle is a round trip ticket to Cleveland; the second prize is two round trip tickets to Cleveland". In some cases, more is not better. Publius Pundit has a roundup of the protests threatening to upend Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after a leaked wiretap showed how she plotted electoral fraud against her defeated presidential rival, the now-deceased Fernando Poe Jr. But whereas in the old days nearly everyone would have welcomed the fall of a crook and fraudster, the prospect of the Nth "People's Power" revolution has filled many Filipinos with dismay. Not out of love for Gloria Macapagal but out of fear for what may follow.

The essential problem facing the Philippines is that all its public institutions have been thoroughly corrupted. And as when all the bottles in the bar contain poison, there is little point in swapping one drink for another. Philippine newspaperman Max Soliven despairs of improvement in these terms. He says Gloria Macapagal

is fortunate that those who plot her downfall don’t come to the fore with clean hands. Nor can they offer our distressed and disillusioned nation leadership of a more inspiring kind. All the "cures" being offered appear worse than the disease. But I’ve said that before. The problem with being a so-called opinion writer is that you find yourself repeating yourself. Over the decades I’ve written this column, when I review those old clippings, the crises seem to be similar to each other, even though the names have changed. Of course the amounts involved get bigger and more scandalous by the year. Almost half a century ago, one of our most popular columnists, who died some years ago, wrote as he frothed at the mouth: "The Philippines is going to the dogs!" The dogs have had a good long wait.

Several Filipino bloggers adopt the same despondent attitude. The Yasminka site has this exchange among several posters. (Loose translation supplied where appropriate)

I was there in EDSA 1 and 2. ... we were in the same place fighting for the same cause... but I'm sick of this drama.

I've had it. I don't want to stand up and be counted again. I'm tired. I want government to work. i want rule of law. I want politics to be boring. I want our country to run normally without having to rely on revolutions and coups evey few years or so.

This street stuff has gotten real old. Worn out, and I second your motion:  "I want government to work. I want rule of law. I want politics to be boring. I want our country to run normally without having to rely on revolutions and coups evey few years or so."

I agree! My heart breaks each time my dad sends me a text message and his mood lacks the optimism that he used to have. I am tired of our politicians' continuous debate over the numbers racket the pols run (jueteng) losing sight on what they should be doing. All these debate are just to foster their wish to trample on their fellow politicians instead of doing what they were set out to do. Sometimes I wonder maybe they are guilty of the very same thing that they are accusing their colleagues with. In other words, "why trade on thief for another"

They don't want a new President who will be no different from the previous. But they don't get to choose. The really tragic thing about the failing Philippine state is that simply because something makes no sense doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. The dysfunctional nature of Philippine politics, taken to its ultimate conclusion means that if some kind of People's Power revolt doesn't take place, a coup attempt will or a rigged election will happen if all else fails. That's what a collapsing polity means. Those with academic tastes can read The Strategic Implications of the Rise of Populism in Europe and South America, from the Army War College which talks about what happens when populations in despair decide to follow the inevitable demagogue.

Populism can make its presence felt among any group of ordinary people in any democratic country which is being subjected to stressful forces. As a result of such stress, this group of people may identify itself with a leader who they believe can provide them with more material support and hope for the future than the elite politicians running the country. Indeed, the whole dynamic supporting populism relies on the fact that some group of ordinary citizens does not view the government as legitimately and properly representing their interests. As a consequence, they lose respect for the institutions associated with representative democracy (political parties, legislatures, courts) and are perfectly willing to bypass these institutions when necessary through recourse to direct political action. Such direct political action often (though not always) involves some measure of illegality. ...

Populism always expresses itself in the form of a direct and unmediated relationship between “the people” and their leader. This leader is typically charismatic―meaning that, by force of personality and sheer animal magnetism, he or she can form a direct bond with followers. In the modern media age, this dynamic and outspoken leader is also usually handsome/beautiful or otherwise ruggedly “compelling” in a movie star kind of way. And there is good reason why populists possess these personal attributes. Given the grip that elite politicians have on traditional representative democratic institutions and the media, the populist leader needs to present his or her ideas theatrically to bypass these institutions and to reach the “chosen people” directly. ...

When a demagogue comes to power in a world or a regional hegemon, the result is a tragedy which the world will remember for a century.

In Europe, Benito Mussolini exploded onto the Italian democratic political scene in 1919 when he first ran for a seat in Parliament. A short 2 years later, the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III, asked him to form a new government. While Adolph Hitler emerged less quickly within Germany’s post-World War I democratic Weimar Republic, he eventually formed part of a larger cluster of populist politicians who governed on two continents.

When institutions collapse in a Third World country the result is still tragedy, but one which is ignored.

71 Comments:

Blogger george said...

California's Schwarzenneger represents a mild form of populism. And I'm not complaining (yet.)

6/14/2005 03:53:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Mayer said...

Excellent post. And I am very much looking forward to reading "The Strategic Implications of the Rise of Populism in Europe and South America." Do you know any more similar works?

6/14/2005 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Actually, you can read it by following the link and downloading the PDF file.

6/14/2005 04:08:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Wayne said...

I get what you're saying but considering that the history of man is very much more about bad governments than good I can't get too excited at one more failure. Corruption in government has always been the norm. Most sheeple will accept anything from their government without trying to change things.

6/14/2005 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I am starting to follow this set of scandals very closely.

I talked with a sister-in-law the other night. She started and runs a successful printing business in Manila and she was concerned (duhh) about all of this. I think your point about if not GMA then who? Is a good one, I in fact mention this last very point last night on my blog.

I supported the election of GMA (as much as this non-Filipino can) but have fallen out with GMA. However, I can think of few things worse for the Filipines than a coup.

The elites fight, the economy stagnates, the peso falls, and the people suffer.

6/14/2005 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jack Wayne said...
"Most sheeple will accept anything from their government without trying to change things."
---
That would mean a country founded by men of an opposite persuasion would be exceptional, wouldn't it?
RR certainly fully appreciated that and loved this shining city on a hill as all citizens should.

6/14/2005 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

"When institutions collapse in a Third World country the result is still tragedy, but one which is ignored."

Except where they have resources which could make the First World stumble. Oil, and the real weapon of mass destruction - the oil stop cock - for example.

There is nothing wrong with the First World protecting its lifestyle. The problem is that other worlds find it more difficult.

The solution for the Third World is time. Bit by bit, we get there. I have never been to the Phillipines, but I suspect that it is a lot better than Africa.

"Bit by bit we get there". And where is "there"? It's the West. The best thing the First World can do for the Third World is to stop apologising for itself.

ADE

6/14/2005 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Hal said...

Americans are no different than South Americans and Europeans. We have heard the globalist, free trade, free immigration sales pitch and we are still waiting for the benefits to trickle down to us po' folk.

Republicrats at the top of the heap better believe we are looking for someone who will listen right here at home -- someone who will listen on immigration and job theft -- someone who will listen on free trade with our sworn enemy, China.

They are free to call us "Vigilantes", like President Bush recently did or "Populists" like the author of the report, or "white trash racists" like the lefties do, or "xenophobes" or "isolationists" or "paleocons" like the neocons do.

Take your pick. It really doesn't matter. Time is running out both in Europe and in the USA, as the author of the military report senses.

6/14/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Jack Wayne said: Most sheeple will accept anything from their government without trying to change things.

This isn't always true. As in Georgia, Lebanon, etc. And people are dying in Iran rather than take it anymore.

If that were really true, there would be no America. There would be The American Colonies.

Individuals make a difference. Gavrilo Princip or Mother Theresa, it *does* matter.

For me, here, the Club for Growth is a way to stop some of the worst excesses of big government. Of course, it doesn't always work --witness Thune and his "Porker of the Month" award for trying to obstruct base closings in his state. Keep it up, guy, and no more election funding for you...

One of the reasons I read Wretchard, aside from his sublime style, is his optimism. He often sees the tertium quid that no one else can...or will.

In fact, the large numbers of people who read him are an indication that people are not sheep, that they are looking for a better way.

~D

6/14/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

I strongly disagree with Wretchard, who i usually agree with, on his analysis of the philippine situation.

So what is he saying, let's NOT replace gloria, who CLEARLY cheated and has no business being president?

And I don't buy this ehem... B.S. re no "credible alternatives".

6/14/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/14/2005 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wretachrd--

Can you tell us what influence the Catholic Church has in politics there?

~D

6/14/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

George, (slightly OT)
It will be interesting to see with how much enthusiasm California responds to the just announced special elections to be held this Fall. I believe Schwarzenegger's strength lies in the fact that, unlike politicians, he does not need politics. I'm sure he has more pleasant things to do than preside over partisan bickering. Senate Pres Pro Tem Don Peralta said, "this special election is not about the legislature, it's about the governor wanting to star in another war movie." Democrats say Schwarzenegger is more interested in challenging, than cooperating with, his opponents.(source: Bloomberg newswire 6/14/05 William Selway) That's an interesting perspective. Not only are challenges all but banned at the grade school level, they're not allowed in politics either.

6/14/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

jrod comment:
Not only are challenges all but banned at the grade school level, they're not allowed in politics either...

Yeah, Arnold's a real spoiler that way. That's why his brand of "populism" works -- he's always putting his thumb in the eye of the professional pols. It makes people laugh.

Besides the thumb in the eye, there's his foot-in-mouth comment about *closing* the borders. Ooops...don't notice that he suffered much for that one. Anyone else would've been killed.

BTW, I have a relative who likes him so much that when she went to get her driver's license changed back to her maiden name, she noticed they didn't require any ID, just took her word for it. When she inquired they told her "it didn't matter." So she pondered whether or not to return to her original name or take Arnold's. She said it was a real struggle...

6/14/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Maybe its time to consider a different paradigm, say, consensual government WITHOUT parties, without corruption, by using rational collective decision-making methods firmly based in respect, ration, study, due diligence and a positive love of God.

Yes it IS possible, the Baha'is in every nation have been living this system and demonstrating its practicality and applicability since at least 1963.

Look for yourself.

6/14/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

sounds good, Carradine. But where do you put the irrational that is part and parcel of being human?

Until you can jettison the unconscious, beware utopias. They always turn out badly.

And if you do manage somehow to get rid of all the messy, ugly parts, there goes the need for art, poetry, music, etc.

We need both sides of ourselves for the dirty, mud-pie business of creation.

6/14/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Philippine story is not a cause for cheer. At first a Spanish Colony, a US protectorite and finally an Independent State. Dysfunctional though it may be. Patriots are exhausted and success will drop onto which ever Pol has the endurance to hang on. We spent time and treasure to launch this Philippino experiment. Iraq redux?

6/14/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

hey desert rat--when you said "We spent time and treasure to launch this Philippino experiment..."

I read it as "Philippino excrement"...maybe I better go do something productive for awhile; I'm starting to see things.

BTW, Carradine: my mis-reading is a good example of the irrational, no? And I don't even have a particular animus toward the Philippines. It's just my dirty, little kid mind. But that's what I was trying to say and now this is an illustration...

IMHO what the world needs more of us home-baked bread. Which is what I'm going to go do.

~D

6/14/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

Anointiata delenda est said:

"Bit by bit we get there". And where is "there"? It's the West. The best thing the First World can do for the Third World is to stop apologising for itself.
*************
I think that we should all take a moment and think about this. So many people in this country are ready to ascribe blame for any world problem on us or our ancestors. If we are so intolerable that we must constantly apologize, why do people still seek to come here and to emulate us?

6/14/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lady ~D is starting to read like that schizophrenic Jerk "D,"
...this is getting scary.
Wonder if Baron tries to keep her on or off her meds?
---
"BTW, I have a relative who likes him so much that when she went to get her driver's license changed back to her maiden name, she noticed they didn't require any ID, just took her word for it. When she inquired they told her "it didn't matter." So she pondered whether or not to return to her original name or take Arnold's. She said it was a real struggle..."
---
If Arnold were Tsar of the Universe, the problem would be solved overnight.
Then we could could confront our imperfect humanity with a better chance for sucsess.
...Or at least survival.
On the morn of 911, I knew the danger was the Wuss of the Soul of W.
(just kidding of course:
Trying to bring out the Neocon Nukes of Belmont.)

6/14/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"If we are so intolerable that we must constantly apologize, why do people still seek to come here and to emulate us?
"
Maybe W should have stood his ground when they trashed him for saying the word "Crusade."

6/14/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Back to business as usual:
Apologies from the State Dept.
This time from an Intellectual Pianist,
Instead of of the Political General.

6/14/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Personally I don't assess blame, except as part of an understanding of how a challenge came to be.
The important thing is the response to the challenge.
Zimbabwe, Sudan, Congo are African Challenges of the moment. Liberia was last years. To this we can add thousands killed in Thailand by Islamist terrorists and now the lack of stability in the Philippines, all of this is putting SE Asia on the edge of Chaos.
In South America, Chavez and Castro have fired up the Marxist March. Boliva, Ecquador and Columbia are all under assualt.
Loose nukes are just a side bar, although serious, problem.
A Global War needs an enemy, if we do not identify those folks we will never beat them.

Either these things are interconnected, as I believe, or each challenge stands alone

Some much to do, so little time, so little will.

6/14/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just think:
With Arnold as Tsar,
and Patton as "Secretary" of State,
We'd be done already.
And ready to start all over again.

6/14/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gordon said...

We are told very little indeed about the real nature of foreign governments but such knowledge is essential if we are to estimate the future course of a nation. The MSM almost never tell us what a particular nation's politics are like and the unstated assumption is that everywhere is prettywell the same.
However sometimes information slips through a crack. I remember a BBC reporter in a rare non PC comment saying that 95% of the political class in Argentina was either on the tke or the make. Now obviously this fact should have a determinant effect on how Argentina's financial problems should be approached, but it is not part of the upfront analyses.

6/14/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Argentina is a wonderful place, great weather and abundant resources. Once one of the worlds most prosperous countries the Peronian Socialism took a Great Nation down the path of bankruptcy and irrelevance.

6/14/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reminds me of an Author who said Haiti was 95% Catholic and 100% Vodun.

6/14/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Wayne said...

Dymphna,

I don't maintain that ALL governments are bad - just most of them. And I don't claim that there aren't moments when countries strive for freedom. But take all of the thousands of goverments over the history of man and you can include theocracies, democracies, republics, plutocracies, benevolent dictatorships and etc. and you will not be able to name more than a few that you would want to live in. And even fewer that lasted a lifetime (100 years). We have a very old government in the US and it is in the death spiral. I don't come here for the optimism. I come here for the same reason people watch car races - to experience the wrecks.

6/14/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

The quoted portions in Wretchard's post from the Army War College Study describe Hugo Chavez and the situation in Venezuela to a T.

I think with the great oil wealth of that country, he's going to be more a problem to the United States than Fidel Castro ever dreamt of being. A true disaster. "When a demagogue comes to power in a world or regional hegemon, the result is a tragedy which the world will remember for a century."

Crisis coming to a continent near you.

6/14/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agree w/ el Jeffe.
---
"Peronian Socialism took a Great Nation down the path of bankruptcy and irrelevance.
"
---
Here we have the NEA dumbing us down to PC Mindlessness.
...
Saw a guy with a "Proud to be a Hawaii Teacher" T-Shirt on at Costco.
So I asked him if it was possible to maintain order in the classroom.
You could just TELL all his answers were 100% true.
Says he's never really had a problem.
Taught for 2 years at a "correctional facility."
Says he demands respect from the kids.
Says he CARES ABOUT THE KIDS, and they know it.
(Doug brings up the usual crap about Parents Complaining and Administrations Folding.)
Says:
"Yeah, I've gotten some phone calls from parents.
But I don't let it bother me, and they know it."
Doug says,
But isn't order in the classroom a big problem here?
Teacher says,
A lot of teachers JUST DON'T CARE.(and the kids know it)
Doug Says,
Burned Out?
"They're in it for the Vacation."
Thank you, NEA, --- a bunch of lazy, commie, self-centered dumba... jerks enlightening our youth.
The Real Teacher I met,
...teaches Business and Marketing to Juniors and Seniors.

6/14/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The United States of America was formed by and for a vision of what a nation should be. This is embodied in our most basic documents. I really like what one blogger somewhere said in reference to the EU constitution: "A constitution should be almost poetic in form." Old Europe for the most part did not create their forms of government; they copied and modified. The Phillipines and many other Third World countries did not develop the concept of a democratic republic; they had it given to them. They adopted it as much because any nation that could fill the seas with warships and cover the sky with warplanes clearly was worth listening to. So too it was with Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.
But in much of Old Europe and many other places, including the Phillipines, it appears they never had the vision behind the idea. They essentially were handed a set of operating instructions and told to build a nation. They could not be handed the vision. In Old Europe they have tradition of kings and aristocracy to keep them plodding along - "hobbling along" in the words of Thomas Jefferson. In Eastern Eupoe and Iraq they have the fresh memory of the extended horror they endured at the hands of tyranny; that may well prove to be enough. In the Phillipines and many other places they do not have even that much.

6/14/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger jp said...

I attended an event which featured Hillary Clinton in NYC last night. I blogged the event at http://americansforfreedom.blogspot.com

here's an excerpt:
The last thing that I thought was most interesting, was that the Honoree of the Senator Clinton-Guest-Hosted event was none other than Bernard Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Loral Space & Communications. I was amazed that she would willingly share the stage with him....because Loral was the company accused of leaking and selling satellite secrets to the Chinese with the support of the President.....the same Chinese who were accused of giving illegal political donations to.....none other than Hillary Clinton's husband in 1996 for his re-election bid.

6/14/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger texasviolinist said...

The legacy of Spanish Catholicism is troubling. Everywhere you find it you find horrific corruption. Is there a link to Islamic culture (i.e. from the Muslim conquest of Spain) that influences it thus?

6/14/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Loral, Reno, Gore, Los Alamos, Win Ho Lee, the 10-yrs-too-soon PRC missile sub...lots of forgotten--and never explained, investigated, nor understood, little items in there.

6/14/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Guest-Hosted event was none other than Bernard Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Loral Space & Communications. "
---
Only a Pol protected for life by a Newspeak Press could be so brazen.

...backed up by the Hillary Clinton Testicular Lockbox.

6/14/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Manchurian HillBillies (as in Hil and Bill, not as in Arkansas/Appalachia).

6/14/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't think so, texas. I think corruption is normal, and ineradicable, but I do think it is linked to the persistence of tribal practices, or the factional activities of monarchies. I think the real problem is deeper, and as typical: the fact of the matter is most cultures only transform to the extent that the Roman Republic was based on, Clientage. I do for you, you do for me. That's the basic motor. The rule of law as something abstract, even as abstract as it is here (and I'm currently learning about the Commerce Clause stuff here in law school), is just alien to most cultures.

I do, however, not like Spanish culture, not in the least, and I think the reason is that Reconquista stuff, having partially Arabized them in manners and culture. There is something not only Meditteranean but positively arid and Middle Eastern about it, a whiff of the desert and the vendetta, that I just don't like.

But what's the history of the Philipines? Was it part of some greater, deeper, ancient culture, like the culture of China? I don't think it was part of China's; I haven't read anything about that and I'm already up to the Taiping Rebellion. Was it just full of aborigines, as Taiwan was when first discovered by China in the 17th century? (Interesting fact, by the way: Taiwan had actually been colonized for the purpose of trading way-points by the Dutch and Spanish decades before the Chinese had any interest in Taiwan; it was only when the Manchus had to root out a pretender to the Ming throne that they established any real interest, and even longer before they incorporated it into Fujian problems, and then only incompletely).

6/14/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Taiwan shares that peculiar distinction with Israel and South Africa. The 'interlopers' were there first.

6/14/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

John,

I'm not saying don't replace Gloria Macapagal. Do so by all means. But it won't make a difference. What's required is a two-point lift: the Philippines must reform the Armed Forces of the Philippines and replace the President. The existing Constitution, for all its defects, should remain intact.

If those two tasks are accomplished, there will be enough steerageway to lift the Philippines up. As matters stand, changes have been two piecemeal to work. About the only way to get enough energy to reform the Armed Forces and change the President at a stroke is to do this in partnership with Philippine allies, because you will need them to deal with the backlash from crooks who are now in the Army who will never go of their own accord.

6/14/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Corruption is like gravity. Always present, and stronger as the power to fight it diminishes. The root, grave, is where you are when you can't live with it anymore. Either the grave, or a grave situation.

6/14/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

To continue, in an ideal scenario, the Philippines has to reform its Armed Forces and change the President to an honest person simultaneously. Then -- and this is practically fantasy -- it has to reduce the size of its government by at least 80%. All the fountainheads of graft have to go. As long as they exist, they will poison the Republic. All those Commissions, Boards, national banks, national airlines and innumerable agencies should be abolished. In exchange, the allies should guarantee the Republic against a coup and write of all debts and ensure that they will not let the Philippines engage in sovereign borrowing again.

The Philippine State, which is the cancer, should excised and the whole nation given a kind of chemotherapy, of which the most effective is to forthwith title every piece of land to its actual occupants, including and especially the uplands. This will be a titanic transfer of wealth from the State to the actual people of the Philippines and insurance against the State ever reacquiring these assets again. It will create a vast asset base against which entrepreneurs can commercially borrow. They won't need any more dinky and stupid "UN" and "development" assistance. Freed of the monkey on their back, Filipinos will fare as well as they do in Japan, the USA, Europe and Australia. The only difference between the expatriates (who practically keep the Philippines afloat) and their desperate relatives is that the former are not saddled with this huge cancerous State, which is nothing more than an instrument of rapine for whoever gets into power. That's why changing Gloria Macapagal by herself will do nothing to solve the problem.

Unfortunately, the prevailing ideology in that archipelago is manufactured in the political science department of the University of the Philippines (a State University, of course), which believes in more nationalization, more regulation, more government bodies: in a word, a bigger monkey on the Filipino back.

6/14/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Which party best represents that view, Wretchard, and how strong is that party?

6/14/2005 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The only difference between the expatriates (who practically keep the Philippines afloat) and their desperate relatives is that the former are not saddled with this huge cancerous State"
---
We softies consider Hawaii a huge cancerous State, but the Filipino's navigate their way around it almost effortlessly.
...While contributing way more than their share to it's defense.

6/14/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's a rotten shame that the Filipino and American friendship/alliance has to continue under that forsaken 1970s template.

6/14/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sorry OT,

Did you guys see the report that Bin Laden is in Iran and the Mullahs know about it? Anybody know anything more?

6/14/2005 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam,
You give me the excuse to join you w/an ot. (where did all the posters go?)
I went to Wiki, and noticed this group of headlines, which I think reflects the strangeness of today's ongoing events:
---
Executive Deputy President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, implicated in a high-profile corruption trial, is dismissed by President Thabo Mbeki.
A major opinion poll suggests that only 30% of Irish voters would vote yes in a planned Irish referendum on the European Constitution.
Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson is unanimously elected the next President of the UN General Assembly.
The 2005 trial of Michael Jackson concludes with the singer found not guilty on all counts.

6/14/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Nice roundup, Doug. Here's more info on the Bin Laden story:

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/6/12/
183535.shtml

6/14/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Wretchard,

Your comment on the transfer of title of land to the landless in the PI is a good one. IIRC this is something Henry DeSoto is working for not just in the Filipines but all over in the industrializing world.

In fact in a recent conversation I heard some Filipino friend talk about the pain of land ownership. They had to pay someone to keep the squatters off. So they were contemplating just selling it off. I almost piped up and suggested they plot it off and give it away to some of the landless.

6/14/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Buddy,

No Philippine party will articulate the viewpoint I've put forward. Least of all the Philippine Left. Strangely enough, there isn't a Philippine Right in the way anyone would recognize it -- an advocate of smaller government, lower taxes, relatively free enterprise. That tradition doesn't exist in the Philippines and I suspect in many Latin American countries.

What passes for conservatism in the Philippine is a blind attachment to the past, especially to past inherited money. Conservatism is a penchant for speaking pidgin Spanish, persisting in traditions whose origins no one can remember, without a shred of reflection. What passes for progressivism, on the other hand, is an equally blind adherence to intellectual fashion of Europe and Berkely, lagged three decades by people equally unreflective. The reason? Both the Left and the Right are branches of the same ruling class. And at some point, as scions of the left age beside the scions of the right, they recombine in marriage or the corrupt halls of the Philippine legislature, no farther apart than a thumb rubbed against a forefinger.

The party which represents something closest to conservatism is not a party but a movement -- the movement of the middle classess overseas. These are the guys that work, start businesses, become nurses, join the US Navy or sail the seven seas as merchant crewmen. These are the folks who know, know about work, saving, loyalty and responsibility. In some sense, they are an Ark through which Philippine culture survives. Maybe it's all for the best. When the elite yahoos in the Philippines all finish killing each other off, at least the guys from Stockton and Daly City can come back to pick up the pieces.

6/14/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

I'm not saying don't replace Gloria Macapagal. Do so by all means. But it won't make a difference.
Don't you realize you are just repeating the Malacanang Spokesperson's "talking points"?

And it is total horseshit to say that it's better to keep Gloria (even if she stole the last election and has no right calling herself president), because her replacements are "worse" or "just as bad" as her. Not only is that not true, but letting her stay and turning a blind eye to her corruption, incompetence and illegitimacy will only make matters worse.

If we don't correct this situation now by asking her to step down and call for a snap election, then these 2 worse-case scenarios will likely happen:

1) Military Junta with a Pervez Musharraf-like figure taking over our country.

2) Another Edsa replacing GMA with the last legitimate presdient we had, Joseph Estrada.

What's required is a two-point lift: the Philippines must reform the Armed Forces of the Philippines and replace the President. The existing Constitution, for all its defects, should remain intact.
Yes, but can we replace this president first? Or do we have to do it "simultaneously" like what you are suggesting? It's obvious that GMA is incapable of reforming the AFP since it was the military that helped install her to power in 2001.

And if I recall correctly, the military (and the police) under the previous administration wasn't as politicized or corrupt as the one under the Arroyo administration (because Estrada did not owe his presidency to the military, but via the ballot box).

Check Arroyo's cabinet and government appointments, there are many ex-military people holding top positions in government, probably rewarded for their role in Edsa Dos. Check out how this administration whitewashes the investigations against corrupt military officials like the ones involved in the Lamitan hostage situation (the Burnhams), or how they treat Gen. Carlos Garcia with kid-gloves.

In short, if you want to reform the military, the first move is to replace GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO. Then elect a president without any legitimacy problems. I suggest electing Sen. Lacson, who has done a magnificent job reforming the Philippine National Police under the previous administration, to make changes in the AFP.

6/15/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

W,

You are right about title to land holding, and of course a court system which can enforce the title. That is a sine qua non.

The issue of the return of the Phillipine diaspora is interesting. It reminds me of the return of the Irish diaspora, with the remarkable results that has produced. In the Irish case, there was a trigger, the opportunity presented by the EU (pace, Doug, every cloud...) and also the emergence of the dominance of the Anglosphere. In many ways, Ireland is America's base in Europe.

Will the Phillipines need a similar stimulus? What could it be? America's base in Asia? Perhaps too hard - given Subic Bay. What is the basis of Phillipine law? If it's common law, that would be a great start.

ADE

6/15/2005 02:18:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Anointiata Delenda Est,

Any international involvement in the Philippines can only be justified as a risk-reduction exercise, not in the expectation of strategic gain. It's a sinkhole. Its national leaders resent help. They'll take every penny you give and hate you for it. They'll reject advice and hate you if you were right. Especially if you were right.

Because of these characteristics, international help will always be of limited use. For better or worse, the Philippines has to save itself, a fact that isn't altered by the unlikelihood that it will ever do so. Therefore its allies can only ever take the defensive by firewalling themselves against the toxic byproducts of an extremely dysfunctional society, primarily through skepticism and the interposition of barriers. If that sounds cruel, it is nothing more than what Filipino expatriates do. In order to survive, they emigrate, putting a lot of clear blue water between themselves and the detritus of failed schemes, movements and enthusiasms that effervesce in Philippine society. Then they pick up the pieces. You firewall the place, throw some relief over the fence and then you hope, and then you hope again.

6/15/2005 03:17:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wretchard, as sad as the situation is, your love of the country shows through every word. Solzhenitsyn had the same sense of an inhumanly powerful blind status-quo, beyond the power of man to change. But there was a Gorbachev in his future even as he wrote of the endless political 9th circle.

6/15/2005 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy,
Perhaps some Universal Human Attribute?
In my revolutionary days at school, in my German Classes, I would read German authors from the past expressing their love of their homeland.
Being a "revolutionary" "thinker" I, of course, scoffed.
Now, back in touch w/things much more central to my being, I easily understand.
(and I STILL wish you would watch: "The Best of Times." :-)

6/15/2005 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ADE,
I am a young thing, and have yet to learn patience.

6/15/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yeh...Wretchard reminds why a healty political climate needs two honest political parties keeping an eye on each other.

6/15/2005 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretchard said...
"they emigrate, putting a lot of clear blue water between themselves and the detritus of failed schemes, movements and enthusiasms that effervesce in Philippine society. Then they pick up the pieces."
I wonder how often this is the case:
A warm and outgoing guy I know (has done well in management in Steve Case's Plantations.) talks romantically of some elements of society back on the farm in the Philippines.
He is second generation:
Doesn't really understand his parent's passionate dedication to Republican Politics here.
Not very Political, just gets along, votes Democrat.
(Has one of those unsmiling wives that I have finally learned to not even try to please.)

6/15/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The parents can probably see what the youngers can't--that once old-money owns the left and right both, "the people" no longer count.

If the young wife dislikes your politics, just get yourself on of those Greek fisherman's caps--she'll love ya then, you'll look so revolutionary.

6/15/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

My wife watched some cool English movie about a Greek guy that owned a restaurant simply because it provided a venue to meet tourists, and then take them out on his brother's boat to bed them.
(as always, I peeped in, said "I'll have to watch that," and went back to my addiction ...wife does not even bother to roll eyes anymore.)
I forgot the GOP activist's son is not really second gen in the sense that he grew up there on the farm, but is second gen in the sense that his folks are here too.
(no doubt came first ...he still goes back to visit, wonder if they do.)
But here comes the worst part: (Guilty Admission Alert, ex dem)
I had these flat glass lensed, round framed, dark glasses, blue wool cap, Fatigue Jacket...
...and a desmodromic valved, single cylinder Ducati.
Those were the days, my (ex) friends.
I hate you, Buddy.

6/15/2005 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Go read Baron's new post on hate.

6/15/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Jp shares this juicy morsel: "the Honoree of the Senator Clinton-Guest-Hosted event was none other than Bernard Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Loral Space & Communications. I was amazed that she would willingly share the stage with him....because Loral was the company accused of leaking and selling satellite secrets to the Chinese with the support of the President...."

Loral wasn't just "accused" - they paid $20M in fines, though they "never admitted guilt" as my liberal friends would point out. Yeh, right.

Hughes (now part of Boeing) also paid up, I believe.

This was after Pres. Clinton transferred responsibility for controlled technology from State to Commerce!

Ah, what the heck, the Clinton's needed the money. All they gave away was the ability to deploy multiple satellites from a single launcher. China was having a problem in that area, blowing up several launches, something to do with the payload shroud.

What's the big deal with giving away such secrets? Can you spell MIRV?

Monica, Whitewater, Travelgate, lying under oath, lying to our faces on national TV, lecturing us on the "meaning of is" - all that is small potatoes compared with the POTUS assisting our most serious strategic enemy in strengthening their most threatening weapon systems against us.

And nothing ever came of it, because Janet "The Waco Firebomber" Reno never saw any reason to investigate. Move along, nothing to see here, pay no attention to those hundreds of guilty please, fines, hundreds of visits to the White House by agents of China, the fact that Loral and Hughes paid record fines, nothing happening here.

Obviously it's no problem, Hillary is still using Schwarz in public.

ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!

6/15/2005 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony,
That's why all us patriotic Belmonteers have to spare no effort in the recall Schwarzenneger campaign in CA.

6/15/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Microsoft Censors Blogs
Only in China -- for now. Just a wee bit of censorship. It is more important to get out the message. Remind me again, what message is that? A little censorship here. A little censorship there. Not a big thing. Few will even notice that words such as 'freedom', 'democracy' and 'demonstration' are seen no more. Who will ever remember the meanings of the values of 'human rights' and 'independence' if the words describing them are banned? The rights for which the blood of patriots has been spilt will become rare antiquities of bygone times. These are the American values that "some" American companies are passing along to the world? Find your pocketbook and close it shut to Yahoo and Microsoft, Mr. and Mrs. American Consumer.Remind these so-called "multi-national" corporations just where they would be today if it were not for values such as freedom which have allowed them to become so successful. For any Internet corporation to ban the very values that it exploited for its own success is the height of hypocrisy. The world is watching.BBC NEWS Technology Microsoft censors Chinese blogs .

. kerfuffles.blogspot.com

6/15/2005 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Microsoft's MSN Spaces site is run by its joint venture partner, the state-backed Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd.

Microsoft said people who used its MSN Spaces service were required to abide by its code of conduct.

The code says that users are not allowed to upload, post, or distribute any content which "violates any local and national laws that apply to your location".

6/15/2005 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Tony, despite concerned associates' heads ups for months and months, the Reno Justice did more than nothing about Win Ho Lee at Los Alamos. In effect, tho everyone and his dog knew exactly what was going on, Reno in effect--in effect--covered Lee while he finished up his espionage project for the PRC military.

I'm with you, Arrrghhh!!!

6/15/2005 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Claudia Rosett critique of a world poverty plan.

6/15/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Buddy,

I've been thinking about this idea of Hillary appearing with Schwarz, a guy who ran a company that paid $20M in fines for passing Classified information to the PRC.

To me, this guy is tainted goods. I don't know what the regs are, but can you imagine what would happen to anyone in the military or even a civilian contractor with Classified level clearance would get if they did this? They'd be branded as traitors at the very least, right?

So, I was thinking, how come Hillary, the new hawkish, centrist Hillary, doesn't worry about that?

After a couple of hours it has finally occurred to me - just recently over 56,000,000 Americans voted for a guy for President who called all his fellow troops in Vietnam and the entire chain of command up to and over the Pentagon "war criminals."

So, what's Hillary got to lose by consorting with traitors?

(Apologies to Wretchard, who seems to eschew American politics in this blog, with good reason.)

6/15/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony said,
"(Apologies to Wretchard, who seems to eschew American politics in this blog, with good reason.) "
---
Unlike the Bejing/Microsoft Consortium, though he will not filter or ban you for it.
Nor will posts be stripped of words like "freedom."

6/15/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey Tony,
Are you not aware that John Kerry
*SERVED HONORABLY IN VIETNAM*?

6/15/2005 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Tony, what you just pointed out is the scariest fact slouching around the planet today. That so many people could vote for the likes of John Kerry. I really have a hard time coping with that fact. He should've won maybe 20%. THAT 20%, you know who I mean.

BTW, Wretchard to me throws all sorts of light on American politics--just not directly. Backlighting silhouettes and sharpens outlines.

6/15/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger PaulPsy said...

Doug:

I just had a hard drive crash and had it replaced with the original Windows XP. I can no longer access Fox News polls-I haven't triet other Fox stuff yet. I'm a complete computer novice, but was paranoid after I tried two polls and had no problem accessing other articles I wanted to read. I was struct by your mention of Microsoft and remembered Gates selling the dollar sort. Am I really paranoid , or they really after me?

6/17/2005 10:06:00 PM  

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