Tag Archives: politics

Pretty Pretty Butterflies

I’ve recently heard that Miriam Santiago wants to eliminate the practice of being a “political butterfly” in our country. To the uninitiated a political butterfly is someone who switches political parties every election or when it benefits them the most.

I really don’t even care that the proposal comes from Miriam, one of the most prominent political butterflies in the system. What I do care about is the method that is proposed to solve the situation. She proposes that everyone who changes their party within one year of being elected be forced to give up their position.

What will that accomplish exactly? If you are a politician in a position of power what a party is really after is your vote on the issues. Not whether your name is on their membership list. If a person wanted to jump ship with Miriam’s plan in effect all you would really have to do is stay in your current party and vote with the party you intend to join when applicable. All the bill would have accomplished is to make it so that you officially leave your party one year later than you would have anyway.

If you really want to stop this practice then all you have to do is move to a two-party system and strengthen our parties. I mean could you imagine a person changing from a Republican or Democrat and vice versa every election? With only two recognized parties our politicians would be forced to adhere to one or the other. Constant defections like we have now would leave them with no party to join and get funds from.

This is really a minor issue though. This bill has almost no chance to get passed. It just irks me that some of our supposed brightest minds still solve the symptoms of our problems rather than the root.

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The Greatest Trick

A friend of mine once told me that the greatest trick the Republicans have played is to get the poor south to vote against their own economic self interests for the GOP. Of course it is obvious that my friend was a staunch democrat. I disagree with him though. I think the greatest trick the republicans have pulled is professional wrestling.

I’m not referring to the fact that it is fake. Everyone knows that, as an aside I still maintain that even though it is fake it still requires more hard work and dedication that most of the other “real” sports. What I am talking about is how the GOP has used the program to push it’s agenda.

It’s a stroke of genius really. Wrestling is like our modern day equivalent of the gladiatorial games during the roman era. It reaches a wide, mostly younger audience. Its heroes are mostly emulated and cherished (except for that john cena debacle) and it’s villains usually act like assholes and get the public to hate them. What better way to mold the public’s mindset to favor the republican’s point of view?

First example I could think of right of the bat is the coalition against the war on terror. You had France and other countries refusing to participate. At the exact time they did it you had Renee Dupree come into the scene. With his arrogant French attitude insulting all Americans and telling them what morons they were for supporting the war on terror. With entertainment like this it becomes easier for the American public to discount France’s stance.

Next you have Muhammad Hassan, appearing on the scenes after 9/11 just when the republicans were cracking down on terrorists and limiting some of the freedoms of the public to better protect it against terror attacks. Hassan plays an Arab-American who is aggrieved at the recent racial profiling and complaining about it, till he brings his terrorist clad friends to the ring to help him beat up his opponents. Reinforcing the point that, yes, they just might be terrorists and we do need to limit their freedoms.

There are too many specific examples for me to list here. I just wanted to show you some to establish that, yes, there is a pattern and it is systematic, deliberate, and planned. Next time you watch your favorite WWE show. Watch who acts like an asshole and what their cause is. You will see what I am talking about.

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Game of Thrones: KBL

For the second installment in my AGOT series I want to talk about one of the bigger parties in our country: the KBL. Founded by Marcos during the dictatorship years as a coalition party for all his allies. It was of course the dominant party back then, but has long since waned in power.

When you first think of the KBL what is the first thought that comes to your mind? I guarantee it will be one of these two things. First and the probable answer of most of the youth these days is, who the hell are these guys? Second and the probable answer of people in the older generation is, Marcos loyalist. Which actually perfectly illustrates the position of the party now. On the one hand they have terrible PR and direction, so that the younger segment of the population is unaware of them. On the other they have the older population who has already made up their mind about them. Of course in typical Filipino political party fashion they have found that the proper answer to their problems is to do nothing and hope for the best when it comes to elections. Awesome.

The first thing the party needs to do is focus on the youth. One hundred percent. Take the forefront in issues related to the youth. Raise awareness in issues that affect them. Take stands on issues today that benefit them. Most importantly pick the side that is the most popular with them. More than any other party the youth are literally the future for the KBL. Everyone who lived thru martial law will already vote for them based on their feelings for Marcos. The anti Marcos forces already have a negative outlook towards you and will be very hard to shift, while the loyalists a smaller but more committed group will vote for you whether you pander to them or not. There really is no incentive for the KBL to target the older generation when the younger ones will be more receptive.

Of course this is in the short term. In the long term you have to make yourself acceptable to the the whole population again. Getting rid or having the Marcos family leave the party was a start. Next, Natural attrition will play its part in this as people who remember what you did die. But the process can be hastened. Like the lakas party in the previous article they must take more stands in issues so that they will not be defined by their one and only misdeed. Some people who are against Marcos may actually forgive you for it if they like your current agenda. One thing they must not do is to apologize for the Marcos years. That would only remind the public of what you did and would needlessly antagonize your member base.

Overall I give this party a fail, but a close to passing one. They are in a very difficult tactical situation and it would be difficult to form a plan of action. Ironically the Marcos family seems to have realized the approach i mention here. If you look at Bong Bong’s achievements you will see that there are plenty of youth oriented accomplishments. However it does seem that they did not pass on this knowledge to their former party.

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Game of Thrones : Lakas – Kampi NUCD

I’ve had a little bit of a dry spell recently. I just couldn’t see aything I wanted to write about. SO to break the monotony I decided to write about about our political parties. So for this article and any article with a prefix like this I will be focusing on one of our political parties. Analyzing their strategy and of course commenting on it.

We begin with Lakas. The particulars like when it was founded, where, etc. are relatively easy to find thru wikipedia so I won’t bore you by rehashing them here. What is important is that they were a very popular party before. Having, what I think is the most successful presidency in our history after martial law in the Ramos administration. No coup or Edsa attempts happened, unlike every other administration, the economy was doing well till the Asian crisis, and there was no real flare-ups to derail us. Sure there were still corruption charges but that is to be expected. As I said before our system requires public officials to be corrupt. Couple that with the leadership role the party and its members played in the ouster of Estrada and you had the party in a very favorable position.

Enter Gloria. We all know what her administration was like. Corruption charges everywhere, a list of broken promises, Edsa attempts, etc. I don’t really need to go any further. I honestly think the whole thing could have been handled with proper PR, which none of her people really had, but it is what it is. This administration spent all the goodwill that the party had built up over the years, and didn’t really leave anything for it to work with. As a result they now have a very unfavorable image among the people.

The party is in damage control mode right now. They are trying to sever any connections they may have had with the previous administration and would prefer it if the populace forgot any role they may have had in it. Like any party who doesn’t really know what they are doing they just follow what other people have done before them and hope it works. What do criminals do when the law is searching for them after a crime? They hide. They lay low until the heat is off and they can operate again. The problem is they are not a criminal organization. They are a political party which will have to participate in the coming elections. If you spend all the time between then and now hiding, I wonder what will become the one single issue that people remember and define you by? It really doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.

What they should be doing is taking the forefront on any issue. Rh bill, corruption, drug mules, it really doesn’t matter what. Of course they should support bills that are popular or that would help the country, but that is not really important. What is important is that they will be remembered for something other than Gloria. They could be the party that stood up to the church, backed the church, stood up for labor, etc. Sure some people will dislike them for their stances and other people may like them for their stances but they will base their decision on things other than the previous administration. When the election comes the Gloria issue will still hurt. There is really nothing that can stop that. But the party will be defined by multiple issues so people may vote for them on other grounds.

Overall I would give the party failing marks. It’s not really difficult to reach the logical conclusion of their current political strategy and it is a wonder they are still doing it.

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America World Police

No this is not a rant about the evil American Empire. In fact I appreciate them taking the role of international police force. I get most of the benefits of their actions, a safer world, pressure on terrorists, some sort of control over the more extreme states, etc without having to pay for it.

However it does seem that one of the major factors of their country’s decline is precisely this. They just spend too much playing police. Take the war on terror for example. How much do they spent deploying their military every day? A million dollars? A billion? Those numbers may actually be too small. God forbid a tank blows up. Then you would probably double your day’s expenditure. That’s money that they could be using at home. Creating jobs, developing infrastructure, etc. No wonder China is gaining on them.

There is actually already a growing movement in their country for them to lay down the mantle of world police. You see the criticisms in their culture all the time. From movies like Team America, comments and jokes form south park and other comedians, to people simply posting on blogs on their latest blunders.

Is America to blame for this role though? And can they quit now as everyone wants them to? I would actually say that due to various external and internal factors in their history the U.S. could not help but be anything but the world’s police force. I also think giving up the mantle now would be disastrous for them. More so than the amount of money they sink for it everyday.

Externally countries who hate the States now would not stop hating them if they did not get involved. In fact they might blame them more for not helping in their problems. Even without these problems the poorer countries would still focus their hate on them for being the most prosperous country. Whether that hate is deserved or not. After all the leaders can’t very well blame themselves right?

Internally the citizens would urge their government to stop injustices around the world. After all whether America becomes the world police or not, the holocaust still happens, children still get sent to mines in Africa, the Middle eastern States still fight amongst themselves. The only difference is there would really be no one around to stop it. This is particularly true in times of prosperity. Where the people do not have enough problems of their own and participate in the problems of others. This situation is unique to America. I mean sure citizens in my country could demand that the government do something about child trafficking in Africa, but deep-down we would know that the government does not have any power to do this so we would not expect anything. While people in America would have a valid expectation that there government can indeed do something about these injustices. Of course there are also enormous short-term economic benefits to being the world police which really does make it inevitable.

Still now that it is actually hurting them, they just cannot drop the role. There has already been too much ill will generated in the past. Take the war on terror for instance. If the U.S. army were to abandon every single outpost in the middle east and leave the terrorists to their own devices, would said terrorists say “ thank you, come again!” ? No. They would take it as a sign of weakness and then begin pressing for their revenge. I would not be surprised if there is another tragedy on the scale of 9/11 within 10 years.

Is the US screwed then? Will they be forced to spend all the money on the worlds problems and none on their own?

Probably. I can’t really offer any creative solutions. I mean after seeing what they are going thru I doubt they can convince anyone to take over for them as global gestapo. Sure you can deputize people when they want to be deputized. Like in the case of France in Libya. But as soon as the immediate situation is handled everything gets tossed back to good old U.S.

All I can really offer is a suggestion. Right now the most expensive part of being the world police is the war on terror. So my suggestion will focus on that but can easily be adapted to other situations. Make your carrot, a gilded armored carrot. Then make your stick so long and sharp that whoever gets hit by it will never forget. In fact just make it into a sword.

The gilded, armored, carrot. Everyone who supports the U.S. must be rewarded financially. They must be rewarded so well that they will be able to live lives those who don’t support the U.S. can only dream of more. More importantly they must be guaranteed this life. After all what use is this wealth if they die in the process? US troops must protect them from any and all harm. Even if it means trading American lives for theirs.

The sword. Be harsher towards the terrorists. I would not mind if more of them died “while resisting arrest”. In fact I would not mind at all if the people harboring them die in the shootout. Sure human rights advocates and other people like that will complain. But there really is no other way. You have to show them what it truly means to stand against you.

It will be a long and difficult path. The tactics that have to be used will be harsh. Draconian even. But one day he U.S. may finally find itself safe to rectify its mistake and lay down the mantle of world police.

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Change! Change! Change!

It seems that both the U.S. president Obama and our president here Noynoy Aquino are both suffering from lower than expected approval ratings. Obama’s has been increased a little by the execution of Bin Laden but both presidents still have not recovered the shine that their names had in the elections.

Their defenders blame it on the media and the unrealistic expectations of the people towards them. After all they reason. You cannot expect one presidency to change the course of the country within a year or two of his inauguration. The previous administrations just did too much damage. Of course, they also say the media deserves its fair share of the blame since they only report the negative and not the positive.

You know what? It’s their own damn fault. Look at the campaign Obama ran. “Change you can believe in”. “ A new beginning”. “ A leader who can deliver change”. The whole tone of his campaign was to set him up as this pseudo messianic figure who would deliver the country from the hands of Bush onto the promised land. Noynoy’s being patterned after his campaign did the same thing except changing Bush to Gloria Arroyo. How can you not fail to live up to expectations when you set them that high?

They should have read the wimpy kid series. Specifically the second one that was just made a movie. Rodrick gives pretty good advice. “Learn to lower expectations”. That way when you do your job well people are more appreciative of you. Both presidents seem to be actually doing better than their predecessors. It’s just that they set the bar so high for themselves that it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like Bush promising that the war in Iraq would be over quickly with few casualties. If he said straight up in the onset that it would be a long drawn out affair with many casualties but that it was absolutely needed then the result would have been more acceptable for the people.

I am not saying that it was not a good electoral strategy. It undoubtedly was. They did beat both their opponents by comfortable margins. But in doing so they set up their presidencies to be disappointments for everyone who voted for them. In fact if you think about it. Both presidents did something that is commonplace among all politicians. Lie to the public. Make promises during election time that you know full well you cannot do. Pretty strange for two people running under the banner of change.

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Rallying Cry

Well the church is at it again with the RH bill. Masses and other services calling for divine intervention on the bill. Instructions for the faithful to wear specific colored clothing to show their displeasure at it. Of course you also have the declaration of one priest that anyone who supports the RH bill is not a christian and the declaration of an archbishop that anyone who supports it is a terrorist.

I don’t think anybody else has said it, so I think I will be the first. The RH bill will fail. It will not get passed. It’s not because the bill is bad. It’s not because there is no need for it. I really do think that the bill is sound and very much needed for our country. It will fail simply because the other side wants it more.

The church does conduct plenty of activities to promote it’s view of the RH bill. It also has a weekly forum in the form of the mass to get it’s point across. But those can be overcome. The main problem is that there is no organization amongst the groups who support the RH bill. There are no organized activities. I do believe that a majority of our countrymen want the bill pushed thru as it has obvious benefits. There is a very real danger though that the silent majority will be overrun by a vocal minority. There are a few moves made by individuals to promote the bill, but those are few and far between and have no coherency between them.

I think the RH bill supporters have a total of one face book page where all the news is posted. A page which has not been updated since February or March. In fact I posted there a month or two ago. I stated my support for the bill and asked whether there were other sites or groups who support the bill and what I could do to help push the bill along. There has been no reply yet. I don’t think the RH bill even has an internet forum page for it’s supporters.

It’s not too late. The biggest advantage to the bill is that it is a very good bill. Which means that far less effort needs to go into supporting it than to opposing it. Less doesn’t mean almost none though so some effort is still required. At the very least a website with forums and a link to it from the various organizations which support the bill. This doesn’t even have to cost money as there are some sites in the net which will let you create a free forum based site. An online petition would be relatively easy to set up as well. Especially with a functioning forums.  Of course it would be better if any real time rallies or petitions could be organized.

Whatever happens though needs to happen soon. The opponents  of the bill are gaining too much ground. I would be perfectly willing to help out any group which supports the RH bill. If anyone reads this and knows of such a group please leave their name and contact number/s in the comments section. It would be a shame to let a great opportunity that the bill gives us pass due to inaction.

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