Thursday, June 16, 2005

No Way Out 2

One sure way to put out a fire at sea is to sink the ship. The Philippine public's reluctance to take to the streets to oust President Gloria Arroyo, internationally famous for paying ransom to Iraqi terrorists, and domestically notorious for having conspired to electorally defraud her rival, Fernando Poe Jr., has been been based on the desire to preserve what remains of the constitutional process. Having discovered that none of the current crop of leaders can uphold the substantive aims of democracy, the weary Filipinos have decided to preserve its mere form. That was the fire on board. Gloria Arroyo's magnificent solution was to file charges against the National Bureau of Investigation (the equivalent of the FBI) agent who recorded her in the act of plotting with electoral officials to steal the elections. The charge? Sedition. The Philippine newspaper ABS-CBN reports:

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday filed inciting to sedition charges against Samuel Ong at the Department of Justice (DOJ). The case against the former NBI deputy director stemmed from his call for the overthrow of the Arroyo administration after he claimed last Friday to have the master copy of wiretapped conversations between the President and an election officer. State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said the NBI submitted news clippings that contained Ong's seditious remarks as evidence. ... Earlier NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco said the agency had information on Ong's whereabouts, but would not pursue him until an arrest warrant is issued.

Ong is actually in the keeping of the Catholic Church hierarchy, surrounded by crowds of reporters and camera men. But in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the Pearl of the Orient seas, officials pretend to a secret knowledge of his location, seeking to demonstrate their competence in their customary and farcical way: "the agency had information on Ong's whereabouts"; their motto, 'always outwitted, but never fooled'.

The cycle is complete. Because Philippine institutions cannot remove venal officials, people take to the streets to oust them directly thereby weakening the institutions still further. And because every replacement is just as corrupt and incompetent as the last, the weakened institutions are even less able to oust their successors and in response to institutional failure another round of street unrest follows. Before jet fighters acquired engines with a thrust greater than their weight,  air combat was characterized by a steady loss of energy as dogfighters turned in circles at ever lower altitudes. The same is now true of the Philippines. The dogfighting circles of corrupt presidents alternating with "People's Power" movements that kick them out has taken its institutional energy right down to the deck. But if anyone thinks there's no more room to drop he would be mistaken. By prosecuting the man who blew the whistle on her theft of the Presidency and charging him with sedition, Arroyo is demonstrating the falsity of what she would be advised to affirm: that her retention somehow preserves the institutions which she is even now destroying. Shipboard fire? Sink the ship.

The opposition to Macapagal has been kept back -- so far -- by fear of what might follow another extraconstitutional eviction of a President. But at some point they will realize that Arroyo is manufacturing chaos just efficiently as any mob; and then they will troop, with heavy heart, back into the streets to effect a change that isn't; to promise a hope that no one believes in; to invoke a future that doesn't exist; in the name of a country that has long ago been forgotten.


Presidents can usually survive being hated. It's being laughed at that's fatal. One of the aftermarket cellphone ringtones now being sold  in Manila is a reproduction of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's edifying conversation with election officials, as she prepared to rig the elections.

"Hello! Hello! Hello! Garci (the name of the election official)
So, will I still lead by more than one million?"

The response to this tide of ridicule has been the typical official bluster admixed with a confession of helplessness. Here's the Philippine equivalent of the attorney general trying his hand at standup comedy without being quite aware of it.

"They are liable under the law," Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said of mobile phone users keeping or spreading the ring tone. Gonzalez earlier warned people that the possession and dissemination of CDs showing that Ms Arroyo had pressed for the rigging of the presidential election violated the Anti-Wire Tapping Act of 1965. ...I told you already that nobody can control somebody from doing something that he wants to do whether it is against the law or not," Gonzalez said when asked repeatedly whether the DoJ (Department of Justice) was going after those spreading the ring tone.

"One school of thought, and I think many of you will agree with that, is that the more you entertain these things, the more it would whet the appetite," he said. On the other hand, if you do not enforce the law, you are also accused of being inutile, that the government is weak. We have to balance this. We are studying the balance," he added. Gonzalez said the DoJ would not go after mobile phone firms for the spread of the ring tone.

Asked whether he believed it was Ms Arroyo who was speaking on the tape, Gonzalez said: "I am not a voice expert. Yes. Yes. To some extent. But I will never admit that that is the President (speaking)."

These are the very same Filipino officials who can be relied on to unswervingly fight the Abu Sayyaf "to some extent" after "studying the balance". The staunch allies in the War on Terror. God help us all.


Blogger desert rat said...

So... maybe the Marcos Years were not so bad, after all.

6/16/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Marcos was bad. Some of those who followed were bad as well. What was tragic is that people expected what followed to be better. Zimbabwe Pundit had a post arguing that Mugabe was better than Ian Smith -- at least in principle. But a mental universe in which two equally matched evils are the only choices is one of doom.

Recovery is possible, but it is a long process, similar to that facing a cancer patient; and there is little room for misstep.

6/16/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the Philippines needs a time of micro-politics.

I think that economics and politics are very similar. It takes a lot of energy to operate economies and governments. The economy has to be efficient enough to justify the over-head costs. The political institutions have to be strong enough to support the stresses that national government creates. When the economy is not efficient enough or the institutions are not strong enough, it’s time to pull back and concentrate on the possible, for the good of the long hall.

Too many good examples of “what doesn’t work” on a national scale can be found in Africa and parts of Asia. Even in the worst of the national basket-cases however, the local communities are doing Ok (assuming they aren’t experiencing war or genocide), just on a small scale. They have economies that work well at the village level and institutions (usually tribal) that work Ok for small communities.

Probably the only “natural” political and economic unit is the hunter-gatherer tribe. Anything else requires enough work and energy that certain people must specialize their labor towards administration of everyone else.
Perhaps it’s simply time for the Philippinos to admit that their institutions simply aren’t robust enough to run a large nation.

It’s much easier to run a smaller state, or even a principality, than it is a large nation. Chances for corruption may increase, but when everyone knows their neighbor, it’s a closed system. If they’re luck one of the Phillipino principalities may end up being the Singapore of their archipelago, showing them the path to growing strength.

6/16/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

To use the dogfight analogy, you seem to be saying that the Phillipines is running out of airspeed, altitude and ideas. A usually fatal combination.

6/16/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

a sobering post ... political corruption is disheartening and cruel.

6/16/2005 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ed onWestSlope said...

"their motto, 'always outwitted, but never fooled'"

This entire post shows a humor which accompanies tears. In the business world, the business 'circles lower and lower, until a crash and ultimate replacement by a more competent business. The same is happening in too many countries, with the loss of life, security, and hope. And the clowns are replaced by a new troupe. Tragic.

6/16/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

We don't want to hear this, we'd prefer to pretend it has no relevance, but when The Glory of God established collective decision-making processes, He ensured that they 1)work; 2)to the benefit of humans who employ them; 3)despite human individual shortcomings; and 4)His method CANNOT be twisted to the corruption of human values now evident in the institutions of Christian faith, most noticeably the 'whore who sits on seven hills (Rome)', the Roman Catholic church.

Christ promised that when He returned, He wouldn't pour the new wine of His love and knowledge into the old wineskins of churchianity.

The people of the Phillipines (and elsewhere) HAVE a rational option, IF they are allowed and encouraged to exercise it.

6/16/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

I apologize for the OT but please read this if you have the time. I stumbled upon it and it's too good not to link:

Proud, Pro-American Iraqi.

6/16/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I think Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is doomed. Her presidency is held up by nothing but the fear of worse and she is doing her damndest to show that nothing could be worse than she already is. Tick. Tick. Tick.

But declaring Gloria doomed is not the same thing as welcoming her replacement. Philippine society being what it is, the forces best able to out-bug, out-intimidate and out-bribe her are the wise guys. And they'll get in, because that's how the politics of desperation works.

6/16/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The wise guys. Who/what do they fear?

6/16/2005 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Take an example. Mark Jimenez, a.k.a. Mario Crespo, one time Democratic Party operative in Arkansas, confidante of the Clintons, trader of note with Colombia, wanted by the FBI. He flies to the Philippines and becomes a Congressman. He was technically a US citizen, but never mind. A wiseguy, right?

He becomes the right hand man of former President Joseph Estrada, the special adviser for Latin American affairs. The US takes three years to extradite him. When Estrada weakened, Jimenez lost his clout. The marshals came for him and he is sitting, so far as I can determine, in a US jail. Who do they fear? Only the gringo and just barely.

(Do a Google on Mark Jimenez. It's a barrel of laughs.)

6/16/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Oh, brother--do I ever get the picture. You're talking about those guys.

6/16/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

They're for sure always interested in a little sojourn inhabiting the legal institutions, It's a sort of re-set. I think the USA 90s were instructive as to about how long the sojourn can last without an upsetting sea change in crime and punishment theory.

6/16/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Here's a short primer on Mark Jimenez from the Jewish
World Review
. An excerpt:

"Jimenez is a Philippines-born hustler who came to the U.S. in the mid-1980s. He established Future Tech International, a computer firm that exported parts to lucrative markets in Latin America, and settled in Miami. Jimenez's multi-million-dollar fortune bought him easy access to the Clinton-Gore White House and other cash-starved Democratic campaigns.

Jimenez first met Bill Clinton in 1994, according to the Wall Street Journal, and soon after contributed more than $800,000 to various Democrat causes. Jimenez golfed with Clinton, socialized with now-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, and attended one of the infamous fund-raising coffee klatches at the White House. He lobbied the administration on behalf of Paraguay, where his firm had major business interests. A month after the coffee meeting, Clinton allowed the country to continue receiving U.S. aid despite restrictions on other Latin American governments that fail to control cocaine smuggling.

In all, Jimenez visited the White House 12 times between 1994 and 1996. He even shelled out $100,000 toward the restoration of the former president's ancestral home in Arkansas. ... "

6/16/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Brings back memories of the Mena, Arkansas airport. And it would be Paraguay, wouldn't it?

No wonder Enron, Global crossing, the half-dozen enormous banking and brokerage scams, the Oil for Food scam, and so much else ballooned in the 90s; the lid was off.

6/16/2005 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

..The lid was off and the "hogs" were rooting through the storehouses, spoiling more than they were consuming.

But it was OK, because to the average US voter the "hogs" are still the beautiful people. Sad.

6/16/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Just for fun, we all know this is just tin-hat crackpot stuff, but just for grins, google [clinton body count]. Lotta bad luck around that boy.

6/16/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Here's just one off the top:

6/16/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Great stuff, buddy. Wonder how Monica got so lucky.

6/16/2005 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard, Belmonters:

What of the 'Great Game,' Pacific edition?

With Indonesia and Philippines operationally dysfunctional, what role will they play in the contest shaping up over Western Pacific dominance between US/Australia/Japan and China? Or maybe there is no contest. Thoughts?

6/16/2005 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

This is what the Great Game looks like from the trenches. And yes, it is possible to be a good guy, but Pollyannas need not apply. So when the New York Times goes on and on about Abu Ghraib and some dimwit from Amnesty International talks about Nazis, I am absolutely convinced, from a personal point of view, that he's blowing smoke out of his ass.

How do you fight evil? Not by being evil yourself, but you've got to be able to make them fear you, or at least think twice about crossing you when you meet up in a dark alley. Because your paths will cross. Most definitely cross.

6/16/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Jeez, cosmo...that's a tall order this late in the eve. One thing for certain, the Anzac, Japanese, USA combine is nothing to be trifled with.

Sam, some say Linda Tripp saved her by running her up high-profile in time.

6/16/2005 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Evil is very active, very busy. Helps mightily just to be there in the way, calling it by its name.

6/16/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Come on Buddy, I KNOW you're up to the task!

Wretchard writes: "How do you fight evil? Not by being evil yourself, but you've got to be able to make them fear you, or at least think twice about crossing you when you meet up in a dark alley."

Precisely. Fighting fire with fire is sometimes necessary, despite Leftist parlor games about 'hypocrisy.' How many members of the greatest generation waded waist-deep into the butchery of places like Iwo in defense of democracy, then returned to raise families and fashion the world we know today? What would the world look like if they hadn't?

Sorry to wander, but I wonder if the battle for the Western Pacific -- a la 'unrestricted war' -- isn't already underway, with much more going on in both countries than we can see.

6/16/2005 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Buddy. You're fast! Well said.

6/16/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Cosmo, if you take out the emotion and just look at it militarily, Japan, for her size and weight, flung a pretty awesome war machine across the Pacific. It took a titanic effort by the allies to push her back. Japan is no joke, and the Anzacs, well just look at the record. The Marines haven't lost a step, either.

PRC had best concentrate on commerce. But as Wretchard's description of entropic power circles attests, sometimes you send vast armies against distant enemies because you have a more proximate problem in the office down the hall.

6/16/2005 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/17/2005 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/17/2005 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

Some of those who followed were bad as well. What was tragic is that people expected what followed to be better.

Errrr... wasn't Fidel Ramos better? ;)

And the mark jimenez post was a dumb one, wretch. nobody in their right mind would think of mark jimenez as a viable presidential candidate.

not all of the commenters on this blog are ignorant of the philippine situation, wretchard. and some of them actually do live in the philippines.

6/17/2005 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

Wretchard, your anaysis of the Philippine situation is as pessimistic as you are overly optimistic in iraq. And the argument you are repeating right now is the same one being used by Ignacio Bunye and it's pro-Arroyo allies in the media.

And it's not just re the stolen 2004 elections that should bother you, Wretchard. It's also the way this administration tried to cover up and use mafia-like tactics to silence the whistleblowers.

Please do yourself a favor and download the Paguia tapes (36 minutes) in PCIJ BLOG and read the transcripts first.

6/17/2005 01:35:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

The US of A controls cocaine smuggling by making it profitable. Prohibition.

All the rest is window dressing.

6/17/2005 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Presidents can usually survive being hated. It's being laughed at that's fatal.

A similar comment in relation to the EU referendum on There is a French maxim saying nothing kills as surely as ridiculousness.

A good bellweather of societal mores is what commedians are pushing in clubs. In Australia where I live, commedians (if you'll forgive the term) could get laughs from the audience by simply saying two words - 'John Howard'. And for triple laughs - 'F... John Howard and George Bush'. How the Comrades cracked up.

Mmmm... Things have changed. And then we have South Park.

Point is, if people are laughing at the ring tones, maybe the battle is being won?

But W, it does sound tough and hard in the Phillipines; strains even my optimistic outlook on life (everything looks better after a hundred years).

Turning to Cosmo, what a big question "What of the 'Great Game,' Pacific edition?"

I feel things are changing in front of our eyes. Remember, a fish will be the last animal to discover water. There is a new World Order emerging. Wish I could work it out.


6/17/2005 03:19:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Cosmo, W,

First, forget the NYT, AI. The former's a rag, the latter's sold out.

Now, what about Indonesia? I get the impression that since SBY was elected, things have changed radically for the better. Of course neither side can make this obvious - so we'll have the odd flag burning ceremony to keep the haters occupied and the MSM in photo ops.

But what's Aussie up to? Initially in East Timor; then to the Solomons; first into Indo following the tsunami. John Howard has stated that he would take pre-emptive action against failed Pacific regimes that threathen Oz. What's going on? Aussie is not doing this on its own. It's all been cleared in advance.

I was at a presentation by a senior US official in Oz. He tells the story of the Ozzie intervention in East Timor.

Needless to say, the Indos didn't like it, and were ready to invade East Timor and beat us up. Pecs were flexed, testosterone ran, but just when the point of contact was to be made, the news got out that the US Pacific fleet was just over the horizon, and the an attack on Oz was an attack on US. The odd US warplane took off from a US carrier.

Well, swollen organs suddenly collapsed. An Indon general became a possible war criminal. Megawatti was ditched, and SBY was elected. Peace broke out.

So Cosmo, that's Indonesia, Australia, US. Looks alright to me.

Where's Japan? Pre-occupied with North Korea militarily, China economically. They're also playing the game (what is the minimum we can do and get away with it.)

The Phillipines? It's the key to the whole of SE Asia, from a US coastline perspective.

The New Zealanders? Well, the Canadians of the South. So desparate for 'acceptance' by European nobility that they've said goodby to all principle.

Now for the optimistic bit. Ireland and the UK are US bases in Europe. Why can't the Phillipines become the US base in Asia? It will complete the hedging-in of China - Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, The Phillipines. India to the West. You would'nt want to be China, really.

Simultaneously take over Africa.

Game, set, match?


6/17/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


We've got the Middle East.


6/17/2005 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Zubari Zubari said...

It took me almost an hour just to get a taxi into town from the Manilla airport.
I mean, there were hundreds of cabs, but I couldn't GET one.

I mean I could get one, but I couldn't get them to turn the meter on.

"$2o, US, okay, you pay."

"No, turn on the meter."

"Is cheaper, no meter, is cheaper."


Finally one guy agreed, the meter.

Stopped at a corner, another guy jumps in, passenger seat.

"He's my cousin; we just going downtown, okay."

Too late to say yes/no, off we go."

We get downtown.

"$20, US, okay? You pay."

*&6*@ **%#$#$# &&^$$!

Out came the knives.

Oh look, cops drive by, slowly.

I shout for help.

Laughs all around (except me - Ha Ha Ha).

The Phillipines sucks.

6/17/2005 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Cardozo Bozo said : "It’s much easier to run a smaller state, or even a principality, than it is a large nation. Chances for corruption may increase, but when everyone knows their neighbor, it’s a closed system."

When the US was initially set up, we were a hierarchy of sovereignities. The county and municipality were the primary basis of government, dealing with police, resolving disputes in the courts, and keeping the roads maintained. The state governments handled most of what was left, and the infant federal government handled national defense and foreign affairs

The advantage of having most government be county-based is that it's easier for an individual to mount a challenge to the power structure when he notices corruption -- lots of individuals have the resources to communicate their outrage to most of the voters of a small county, and organize a solution

6/17/2005 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hm--so if the rulers and would-be rulers are all corrupt and/or incompetent, and the society is palpably sick of revolution, where does that leave things? Do you think the nature of this person and her government is to cannabalize the country (intentionally/unintentionally, directly/indirectly)? Or do you think it will be more a matter of a slow desication of the place?

Sounds depressing either way.

On the Abu Sayyaf score though, do you have a sense of why they haven't all been hung from trees yet? I know they have a big archipelago and I'm sure the situation is complex--but I'd imagine proportionately less so for Them than it is for me, for example. Are they useful to the/a Filipino government? If that is the case, if they are some sort of Syria, then I think we have a problem the US ought to be sticking its nose into.

6/17/2005 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

By the way Akira that was hilarious--sorry for your misfortune but that's such a universal experience it makes me chuckle these days.

6/17/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


Let's not get lost in Taxis, Taxi fares, worse - taxi drivers.

Much as my unreciprocated love affair with Condi troubles me, could Mark Steyn - the future does not quite belongs to the Middle Kingdom be onto something a bit more serious.

Is it all about India? The jewel in the crown?

Is it the Anglosphere all over again?



6/17/2005 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

Maybe it's time to offer them statehood. They rejected that after WWII; they might be ready for it now. The US would gain a mess, true; but we would also gain a real destruction of Abu Sayyaf, bases in an strategically critical part of the world, and economic benefits as we pump in the resources to raise the standard of living there.

Plus, it's good advertisement for what democracy and capitalism can do to a failing state, to fix it using democracy and capitalism. Perhaps with such a modern example, we could convince other failing states to adopt the formula shown to work.

6/17/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Nice link to the Steyn piece, thanks mate. This was news to me:

"China is the Security Council member most actively promoting inaction on Darfur, where (in the most significant long-range military deployment in five centuries), it has 4,000 troops protecting its oil interests."

A couple of people have mentioned the US getting more involved in the Philippines. We just pulled out of Subic Bay and Clark Airfield in 91 and 92. Hm?

6/17/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

ADE wrote:

Now for the optimistic bit. Ireland and the UK are US bases in Europe. Why can't the Phillipines become the US base in Asia? It will complete the hedging-in of China - Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, The Phillipines. India to the West. You would'nt want to be China, really.

Simultaneously take over Africa.

Game, set, match?

The Phillipines was the major US base in Asia for a long time, but we gave it all up. I'm not sure I'd be adverse to recolonizing the Phillipines, but I think it would probably be too bloody to be worth it. It was rather bloody enough the first time, after all. It would also be very expensive: most of the facilities at Clark Field were destroyed by a volcano eruption some years ago, if I recall, and I doubt the naval facilities at Cavite would be useful as is.

As corny as it sounds, though, I think we do bear ultimate responsibility for the Phillipines given our having been the last colonial power, and given the way in which the Phillipinos supported us while caught in the middle during WWII.

So, if the US were invited back to clean the place up and restore the relatively honest administration that existed before WWII, I think we should do it.

What is about the countries that were Spanish colonies? Every single one of them is corrupt to the core!

6/17/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

catornasci, take a look at the French record, esp in the subsahara, while you're looking at the aftereffects of the colonial period.

6/17/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

But, but.... the French brought culture and l'gloire francaise to its colonies......
< /snark>

The frogs do indeed have a dismal history, but then again so does almost everyone else in Africa. There's not one state in subsaharan Africa that's not a total basket case, worse off in almost every way except titular independence than it was before the evil White Devils left.

6/17/2005 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Something is very wrong with the Phillipine people if they cannot elect upright, outstanding candidates to important posts.

IIRC, the last good leader was Ramos. After him, it has been a disaster.


6/17/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

catorenasci, this will help Africa, unless there are silk strings attached.

6/17/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

You have to understand how the Spanish colonies were set up. California under the Spanish were these giant land grants. If San Francisco Bay had been discovered 150 years earlier, California would be like all the other former Spanish colonies. A thin super rich crust over a pit of poverty.

America and the gold rush shattered the large estates. That was what helped create the dynamic California of 1849-1967, when we started to attract all the fools from the rest of the world who came to Frisco to wear flowers in their hair.

6/17/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Catrensci: The best answer to that question that I have heard was provided in a letter in the Santa Barbara News Press in the mid-80's. I saved it and have it somewhere, but basically it pointed out that the New World was discovered at basically the same time by Spain and by England, each possessing identical technology but having two basically different philosophies. The Spanish believed in an autocratic, controlled society while the English leaned more toward personal freedom. This led Spain to make much greater investment in the new world, sending expeditions, while England basically just let people get on a boat if they wanted to - but neither group had any basic material advantage over the other. The results are now clear. The letter summed it up as "Don't blame the Anglo culture."
A U.S. Citizen once asked a Mexican why his country was such a mess comapred to the U.S. The Mexican replied "Because you took from us the best part of our country." Knowing that there was little or no difference in topography and climate between New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California and the neighboring Mexican areas, the American asked "What part of the country is that?"
The Mexican replied "Why, the part with all the good roads, of course."

6/17/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

RWE, that pretty much nails it. Just enough power concentrated a little higher up the authority chain, and the whole thing tips into (eventual) institutionalized diversion of capital before it can multiply its impact.

6/17/2005 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

State Secrets:
. Secretary Rice .
. Secret Weapon

6/17/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dan said,
"On the Abu Sayyaf score though, do you have a sense of why they haven't all been hung from trees yet?"
Hope someone answers.
My guess is the aforementioned universal corruption, including non performance bonuses.

6/17/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


I am in agreement with you. Essentially before and after Ramos things have been bad. Aquino was constantly fighting off coups, Estrada and GMA are major cookie jar raiders.

People I know say the same about FVR but his six years were pretty darned quiet.

As far as Marcos goes I know many a Filipino (my wife among them) who thought he was a great man and were not happy to seem him go. I have hard time saying myself as I was not following the Filipines closely then and have not bothered looking to close at his govt. Though, my gut insticnt is his departure was a good thing especially when one know what the cost of him being in power would have been.

One last note. One old woman I know who was young during WWII (not too young, she must be in her 80s) told me she preferred the Japanese discipline to American liberty. I don't buy that product.

6/17/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Marcus, as AQ #2 Zawaheri said on a tape today, elections and liberty are not good for the people. I'm sure he and the old woman have the same philosophy. There's no civic value greater than the fear which creates obedience.

6/17/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


That comment absolutely floored me when she put it out there. She is a retired school teacher now living in the Toronto area. I can not remember what I said in return, probably not a whole lot.

I tell you though, those of us reading and commentating here have a very good idea what the Japanese were about then. I read a story about a POW getting disemboweled for budging in the water line.

Also, where does one go to get that ring-tone?

6/17/2005 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech." How pathetic is that? Not just for the Microsoft-spined Corporation, which should be ashamed of itself, but for the Chinese government, which pretends to be a world power but is terrified of words.

Does "Commie wimps" count as forbidden speech, too?

You would think bloggers have already developed security evading pig chinese?

6/17/2005 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

You know, that 'ring-tone' mystified me, too. maybe that author will elucidate. The Japanese units were pretty barbarous toward Filipinos, I don't think there's any doubt about that. The Battle of Manila was horrific and few here in the USA know a thing about it--too near the end, and the war itself by then too much a foregone conclusion. That the city wasn't simply surrendered speaks volumes about the blood-red vision of those conquest armies. I admire Japanese culture, and will never understand the Pacific War's brutality as anything other than a warning--the same one sounded in Europe--about ever permitting those sorts of governments to get that powerful to begin with. All else is impenetrable.

6/17/2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

I don't know, but I feel that in the Phillipines, people are particularly susceptible to cults of personality. Why on Earth would anybody still think Marcos was a good leader after his shennigans(sp)?

Estrada too. He was an actor. He played tough, good guy roles. So what? Can he balance a budget? Understand the intricacies of the economic system of his country? Analyse government efficiency?

Why, and how the hell did he get elected in the first place?!?


6/17/2005 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


The line I usually hear is Marcos was a good guy streered in a bad direction by ......Imelda.

I think a buddy of mine and a statement of his captured the problem best. He told me when Marcos was in power things were much better the crime was a lot less, the trains ran on time ganoon ganoon ganoon. I then asked him if the crime was really down or discussion about crime was suppressed. It got him thinking.

6/18/2005 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


Frankly the only hope of the Phillipines is to request America take over again. It's a hard step, a harsh one really, but it would dramatically improve the political, social and economic situation.

6/18/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Madison said...

A link to a Canadian connection.

6/20/2005 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mark in Texas said...

Here's the transcript of an interview with GMA in the Financial Times.

She is advocating a new constitution with a parliamentary style government and devolving more power to local government in the hope that federalism will work better than what they have now.

What do you think her chances of pulling this off? How well do you think it will work if she succeeds?


6/21/2005 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Y.H.N. said...

If the politiciant are corrupt then obviously you need a new form of government!

7/25/2005 02:47:00 PM  
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3/08/2007 03:46:00 AM  

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