Thursday, November 30, 2006

100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases

(Via Althouse.) Here's the article.

Here are some of my faves:

Come on down! (Johnny Olson, et al, The Price is Right)

D'oh! (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)

Don't make me angry... (David Banner, The Incredible Hulk)

Heh heh... (Beavis & Butthead, Beavis and Butthead)

Here's Johnny! (Ed McMahon, The Tonight Show)

Holy ______, Batman! (Robin, Batman)

Homey don't play that! (Homey the Clown, In Living Color)

Schwing! (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, Saturday Night

Tell me what you don't like about yourself. (Dr. McNamara & Dr. Troy,

Welcome to the O.C., bitch. (Luke, The O.C.)

Well, isn't that special? (Dana Carvey as The Church Lady, Saturday Night

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How the Atienza's helped Manny Pacquiao become a "Manileno"

Here's how. Just in time for Midterm elections for 2007?

PLUS: UFC: Ali Influenza vs. Manny Pacman

Sino ang Magwawagi?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Some Useful Thoughts on Pork Barrel from Captain's Quarters

Sabi niya:

Are Americans in love with pork? I find that hypothesis doubtful. Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has crusaded against pork in Congress, ran on an explicitly anti-pork platform in Arizona for his re-election campaign. He promised to keep pork from flowing into his district -- and he won re-election by a margin of 74%-26%, outpolling his challenger by 71,000 votes out of 147,000.

Why did Flake win? Voters in his district understand that pork and earmarks are the gateway drug to corruption. Every major corruption scandal has revolved around earmarking federal funds for grants and contracts to specific entities, who have returned the favor by showering the politicians with favors, gifts, and cash -- plenty of cash. Bribery does not work as easily on the macro level in Congress, because it takes so many votes to get a bill passed. Instead, corrupting influences focus on gaining federal money through amendments and earmarks because those are routinely carried as a professional courtesy into the final version of the legislation.

But do our voters understand that about Pork Barrel? Or will their attitude be: gimme gimme gimme more? What's in it for me? Maybe they don't care if pork barrel is a major source of corruption, or that it is not the most efficient way to use our taxpayer money, as long as these pols shower them with pork money during the election campaign.

Read the whole thing. I tell ya, malaking factor ang Pork Barrel sa re-election campaign ng mga tongressmen ni Arroyo. Babaha ang pera sa 2007 midterm elections. Mark my words.

Victoria Secret's 2006 Fashion Show Gallery

You know you want it!

Here's the link to the Victoria Secret's 2006 Fashion Show Gallery. NSFW.

My favorites are Karolina Kurkova and Caroline Trentini.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Max Soliven, RIP (1929-2006)

He's the only columnist in that pro-adminsitration rag Philippine Star that's worth reading.

RIP, sir.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Novel way of solving cases

On the media killings.

From the PDI Editorial:

The Inquirer count puts the number of leftist victims since since 2001 at 256, but that number excludes those who had no formal affiliation with leftist organizations. But no matter how they died, and no matter how they are classified, the one irrefutable fact is that they are all dead -- hundreds of them, and still counting.

And there's another indisputable reality: Very few among them have gotten justice.

Razon, however, said the police have already solved many of these cases. For instance, he said, out of 26 cases where journalists were killed for reasons related to the practice of their profession, 21 have been solved.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which puts the toll at 46 media people, has challenged that claim, noting that only a few cases have ended in conviction.

But Razon said that as far as the PNP is concerned, a case is officially considered solved once the suspect has been identified and charged in court. It does not matter if the suspect has not been arrested, he added.

It's a novel way of solving cases, and it certainly simplifies police work. Just identify the suspect and file charges (maybe trumped-up ones?), and you can stamp the case "solved." If the case is so weak that the charges are thrown out by the prosecutor or the judge, it will remain closed as far as the PNP is concerned. And the aggrieved should presumably take it at that.

Novel indeed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Atong Ang will be used

Sabi ni kuya MLQ3:

The government’s bringing in Atong Ang points to an effort to blow up both the Lacson campaign and deflate Joseph Estrada’s increasing confidence he will be acquitted

I remember noong 1998, pinakawalan ni fvr tabako si rey berroya (who was once erap's deputy at PACC) before the 1998 presidential elections para akusahan si erap of plotting to assasinate FVR at pagiging isang "kidnapping mastermind".

Of course, hindi na tatakbo si erap ngayon, pero Ang has credible information about Kuratong Baleleng and Bentain against Lacson raw. I wouldn't be surprised too if he has info on the dacer case and the hidden bank accounts exposed by corpus and rosebud.

Posting will be light for this week

i'll only blog when something really important comes up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ang billboards ni Ali

I guess matagal na nilang pinaghahandaan ang candidacy ni Ali Atienza for Manila mayor in 2007.

UPDATE: welcome MLQ3 readers.

Getting threatening emails and letters

Ellen Tordesillas got one 2 days ago:

What kind of death do you prefer? To die of cancer? To die of accident? To die of ambush? To die of heart attack due to your libel suit? Masyado kang matapang ha? Puro banat mo sa Pangulo dahil hindi ka napartehan ng gracia kahit kaunti. Your days are numbered.

PCIJ has more here and on an attempt to arrest Newsbreak reporter Mia Gonzalez

My question to other bloggers is this. If you've received a threatening letter or email, do you make it public and report it to the authorities? Or keep it to yourself?

I say yes.

If the letter sender threatens physical harm on you, there's no point in keeping to yourself, given the rising number of journalists being murdered in this country.

This is how they did it in the US recently against another threatening letter sender.

Man Charged in Threatening Letters Case

Tuesday November 14, 2006 3:31 AM

AP Photo DCEV104


Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man was charged Monday with mailing more than a dozen threatening letters containing white powder to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Jon Stewart and other high-profile figures.

Chad Conrad Castagana, 39, appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to face a two-count complaint of sending threats and hoax threats by mail, but he did not enter a plea.

Magistrate Judge Patrick Walsh ordered Castagana held without bail pending a continuation of the hearing Thursday.

The letters, bearing fake return addresses, were sent in recent months to Pelosi, a California Democrat who is in line to become speaker of the House; comedians Stewart and David Letterman; Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York; and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Late Night Talk Show host David Letterman, Keith Olberman, Sen. Schumer (NY-D) and Jon Stewart are all critics of the Bush administration and Iraq.

And take note:

The count of sending threats by mail is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Sending hoax threats by mail carries up to five years in prison.

Sana mahuli rin natin yung tarantado na nagpadala ng sulat na ito kay Ellen.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rosebud Mary Ong throws her hat in the Manila mayor's race

Link from Abs-cbn. I guess we need some comic relief.

Blast from the past: Mike Arroyo vs. Rosebud: Away ng mga corrupt... Pera

Published on page A1 of the January 5, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

BATTLE ROYAL coming up: Mary "Rosebud" Ong vs President Macapagal-Arroyo's husband, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.

In a letter to the President, the controversial police agent yesterday accused Mike Arroyo of blocking her "agent fees" worth at least P3 million, ostensibly to keep her as a "reserve force" against opposition Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.

She also said an alleged Mike Arroyo publicist had told her that the notorious 14K gang would kill her, and that the President's husband had paid a businesswoman P12 million to file a civil case against Lacson in the United States.

Contacted for comment, Mike Arroyo sent a brief text message: "How can that be? I don't even talk to Ping. I have never even talked to Ping. Those are her own conclusions. You know me better than that. Cases vs Ping are still ongoing."

So I guess dalawa na ang pawns ni Mike Arroyo. Yung isa ay si Lito Lapid na tatakbong Mayor ng makati, at yung bayarang agent na si Rosebud sa MayniLA.

UPDATE: From the Manila standard today back in June 4 2005:

Drug raps cost Rosebud her US visa
By Christine F. Herrera

The US embassy has tagged Mary “Rosebud” Ong as a drug trafficker, canceled her visa and permanently barred her and her family from entering the United States, Manila Standard Today learned yesterday.

Ong was found to be ineligible to receive a nonimmigrant visa due to “controlled substance trafficking,” US documents show. “Being found ineligible under this section of law means that you are excluded from entering the United States unless you receive a waiver from the attorney general.”

In handing down the decision, the US embassy ignored the certification and clearance separately issued by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Department of Justice.

Ong, who is under the government’s witness protection program, was allowed by the ISAFP and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to go on a two-week vacation with her children, who are American citizens.

ISAFP and Gonzalez even assigned two ISAFP agents to provide Ong with security.

The ISAFP certification was signed by Brig. Gen. Marlu Quevedo, ISAFP chief, while the justice department clearance was signed by Gonzalez.

Despite these documents, Ong’s visa application was denied.

“During the course of your visa application process you have been found to be ineligible to receive a nonimmigrant visa under the following section(s) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1951, as amended: Section 212(a)(2)(C) Controlled substance trafficking or activities related,” read the ineligibility letter signed by an American consular officer.

Pati yung US embassy, walang tiwala sa certification na ibinigay ng ISAFP at ni Sec. of Injustice Raul Gonzalez.

And read this too.


- Blanquita Pelaez roundup

Napocor behind price manipulations at WESM

From Neal Cruz. Kaya pala ang taas taas ng bill namin kahit na hindi na kami masyadong gumagamit ng kuryente.

Expect more increases in electricity bills cost. Money Quote:

Look at what happened in June 2006, the month the WESM first became operational. Apparently to please the President on the beneficial effects of the WESM, rates were lowered. As a result, electricity prices went down.

But unknown to the President and the public, the rate reduction looked good at first glance, but we know now that the Filipino people are paying for it. Since the rates were lowered, Napocor sold way below its regulated price. Data show that the WESM load weighted average price from June 26 to July 25, 2006 stood at P2.788/kWh. This is 38.5 percent lower than Napocor’s regulated rate of P4.5303/kWh.

Selling at much lower rates, Napocor lost P1 billion in its first month of operation. So it increased its selling price to recover its losses. This resulted in a sharp rise in electric bills for everyone. In the succeeding months, the average price of power rose nearly by 250 percent. In June, the first trading month, biddings resulted in an average price of P2.72/kWh. In the second month, it began to go up until it reached P4.853/kWh in the third month. The amount is expected to hit P6.88/kWh in the next few days.

Erap's Midnight Cabinet Reunion

From Ellen Tordesillas:

Kung gagamitin ng Malacañang si Atong laban kay Estrada at sa iba pang gusto nilang sirain katulad ni Sen. Panfilo Lacson, ibig sabihin noon, aayusin nila ang ibang krimen ni Atong.

And as far as i know, yung mga dating kaibigan ni erap sa midnight cabinet ay mga kaalyado na ni Arroyo.

Mark Jimenez, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visit Chavit Singson on his birthday

Lacson will run for Manila Mayor in 2007

Breaking news. the Manila mayor's race has become more interesting. I also expect Lim to declare his candidacy for the Mayor's office soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nakakulong pa rin si Crispin Beltran hanggang ngayon?

Bakit? On a 21 year old rebellion case filed during Marcos' time?

If they can do that to an Arroyo critic/destabilizer, does arroyo really still need/deserve an anti-Terror Bill? Seems like they're doing just fine detaining people (critics/destabilizer/terrorist) arbitrarily without the bill.

Related post:

- In it's current form, the Anti-Terror bill should not be approved

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Khameini calls US midterm elections results a victory for Iran

Eto siya.

Same claims from the Al Queda leader in Iraq.

Sabi naman ni Iraqpundit: "Doesn't it behoove the Democrats to correct the claim that their ascension to power is good news for the enemies of the U.S.? . . . Democrats don't have a party position on what to do in Iraq. But surely they have a party position on whether they want to be embraced by the likes of Al Qaeda and Iran. Don't they? Speak up, Democrats, or Al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahs will find your silence only too eloquent."

UPDATE: Ann Althouse is depressed re the midterm results:

It's the failure of Americans to support the war. It's the folding and crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies. They're going to use that information.

For how long?


UPDATE: "Through the long, bloody summer and fall of 1864, the South had hung on only because of the belief that the North might tire of the conflict..." REad more...

English is important, but Peter Wallace still needs to STFU

This article from Peter Wallace just rubbed me the wrong way.

Look, I believe English is important, but still… peter needs to do a john kerry and disappear.

You’re turning your target audience off with your clumsy remarks, Mister.

Sabi ni MLQ3:

Much as I, too, favor increased attention and resources given to the promotion of English, it’s notions like those peddled by Peter Wallace that help discredit the proponents of the language.

True. If I were an anti-English advocate, I'd use the Aussie's article to offend and piss off fellow Filipinos who are on the fence on this issue.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mark Jimenez tries to hijack Raul Roco's old party

Money talks. Bullshit walks.

From the Tribune:

Aksiyon set to junk MJ


Mark Jimenez’s entry into the fold of Aksiyon Demokratiko is on the brink of rejection.

The junking of the application of Jimenez, a former Manila congressman (6th District), for membership in Aksiyon has stemmed from his supposedly “unexplained and continuing inability to fulfill his commitments to help the party reorganize its regional, provincial and local chapters.

“While Jimenez virtually promised the moon and the stars when he first talked with party leaders several months ago, when he applied for membership, committing himself to personally undertake and supervise the strengthening of Aksiyon Demokratiko nationwied, he has suddenly refused to carry out his promises,” party leaders yesterday said in a statement.

The leaders were quoted as saying by veteran broadcaster Jay Sonza, Aksiyon Demokratiko secretary-general, that “prevailing sentiment from regional and local officials now points to the imminent rejection of (Jimenez’s application) as they are now vigorously opposing the businessman’s application for membership with the party.”

The party’s local officials are concerned with allegations that Jimenez “does not really intend to help and develop the party become the dominant opposition political party,” Sonza stressed.

They also agree that it is “unthinkable” for the party to accept Jimenez without him having complied with his commitments.”

At the same time, vice president for Luzon and lawyer Batas Mauricio bared that party leaders are questioning the real motive behind Jimenez’s plan to take over Aksiyon Demokratiko.

“They (party leaders and members) want to know whether Mark is interested in pursuing the ideals established by founder Raul Roco or he just wants to use the party to pursue his personal motives, considering his dilly-dallying” Mauricio said.

Roco, Aksiyon Demokratiko presidential candidate in the 2004 elections, died last year.

Jimenez reportedly wants to use the party as a vehicle for his mayoralty bid in the city of Manila or his intention to seek a seat in the Philippine Senate.

Aksiyon Kabataan (AK), the youth arm of the party, “believes the entry of Jimenez into the political party should be subjected to moral scrutiny given the question of his real motivation.”

In a survey, AK leaders and members unanimously rejected the entry of Jimenez into the political party established and anchored on the principle of honesty.

Here's an Oct. 29 article on Sonia Roco joining the 2007 Senate race. There some info there about Crespo joining forces with Mrs. Roco.

NAGA CITY—Sonia Malasarte Roco, the widow of the late Sen. Raul S. Roco, announced on Thursday she had decided to run for senator in the 2007 midterm elections now that the people’s initiative to amend the Constitution had been junked by the Supreme Court.

Saying she wanted to continue her husband’s concerns on women, the youth and education, Roco said she would run under Aksyon-Demokratiko, the political party of her husband in his bid for the presidency in 2004. The party is now headed by Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan.
Roco said she was also open to whatever terms of cooperation they could agree on with Mark Jimenez who met with her in Legazpi City in August where the former lawmaker distributed relief goods to evacuees of the Mayon volcano eruption.

She, her brother-in-law Sulpicio Roco Jr., one-time representative of Camarines Sur’s second district and younger brother of the late senator, and Jimenez joined the relief operation in Albay.

“Mark Jimenez invited me to join him in the relief operation and I accepted,” Roco said.

She explained that Jimenez was a friend of Sulpicio’s from the House of Representatives in 2001 to 2004.

“We have not talked substantially about matters,” Roco said, referring to the possibility of forging an alliance and joining forces and resources with Jimenez.

The 2007 Presidential Elections

I like the idea from de quiros:

Which brings me to my completely immodest proposal. That is for the elections next year to be held not just as regular senatorial elections but to be turned into a presidential election. No need to call for snap elections if the problem is time and money. We can always turn the regular elections next year into a special one to resolve the problem of a fake president.

I recall that One Voice was saying at one point that the elections next year could be turned into a referendum on Arroyo. Well, we just count the votes right and those elections will be a referendum on Arroyo, whether we like it or not. But more than that, a referendum presupposes a judgment on performance, and the problem is not performance, it is legitimacy. You can never reconcile a “Hello Garci” tape, as vicious an assault on decency, never mind democracy, as you can get, with a legitimate president. It is not enough that the elections next year be turned into a referendum on Arroyo, it is imperative that the elections next year be turned into an occasion to vote for a real president.

I don’t particularly care whether we can actually do this or not. I do particularly care that we -- the elements that made Edsa People Power I and II, the institutions of society that still believe this country has a future, and ordinary citizens -- demand to have this. Our collective voice will be heard, our collective will will decree its realization. Heavenly trumpets have been known to shatter the walls of Jericho, and you can’t get more heavenly than defending freedom.

At the very least, a loud and universal call for special presidential elections next year will let it be known that we are serious about doing something about screwing the voters. No, more than that, about the deceitfulness and lying that are spreading everywhere in this country faster than karaoke. In the end, none of the safeguards against cheating will matter if there is no public vigilance against the threat and no outrage against the commission.

At the very most, well, that is the start of punishing a crime. Arroyo continues to rule this country without having won the elections, we will never have clean elections ever. That is like expecting clean elections during Ferdinand Marcos’ time.

Related item from the Tribune.

Conrad de Quiros on the cost of leaving

Eto sabi ng report sa Asian Development Bank:

THE Asian Development Bank has issued a warning: Migrating is hazardous to health. The national health at least. It is urging both the public and private sectors to implement measures to counteract the ferocious brain drain that is impoverishing the country as a result of the swelling flood of overseas workers.

"Brain drain has an impact on foreign direct investment as capital will flow only into economies with perceived adequate supplies of skilled labor in key sectors." Quite apart from that, there is the matter of the ability of the country to produce. "One of the greatest concerns about brain drain is that the continued migration of skilled workers reduces overall productivity."

Dagdag ni de quiros:

It's no longer just ordinary workers we're exporting, it's skilled ones. Indeed, it's no longer even just skilled workers we're exporting, it's professionals and specialists in their fields. It's nurses and doctors, or doctors who metamorphose into nurses at their points of destination. I do know many people from various walks of life -- doctors, flight attendants, print journalists, TV reporters, lawyers and even bankers -- who have left for the United States and are doing blue-collar jobs there. They probably figure wearing a blue collar elsewhere is better than wearing a dog collar at home.

Like I keep saying, I can't blame people for wanting to leave this country. It's not just that the prospect of greener pastures abroad can lure anybody, Filipinos first among them, into wanting to luxuriate in them. It's that the grass at home has grown brown and sparse and full of cow dung. It's not just that Filipinos are being drawn by a magnet to something they're prone to being magnetized to begin with. It's that they're being driven resolutely by their circumstances to abandon this country and leave it not completely figuratively to the dogs.

I know I have felt that way in moments of utter frustration. Who wants to live in a country where thugs are free to seize government and screw the citizens anyway they please in the smug expectation they can always count on those same citizens to say God is trying us like Job, let's just move on or move away? Until I realize that if I did that I would be one of those citizens -- or who are still pleased to call themselves citizens -- that are creating this situation.

Toots Ople for Senator?

Sabi ni Ernie Maceda:

Toots Ople, daughter of Blas Ople, is considering running for the Senate also. She is now on the Senate staff of Mar Roxas. Sonia Roco, an announced candidate, is running under a slate funded by Mark Jimenez.

Sonia Roco running under Mark Jimenez's slate? What?!?

WESM price-fixing leads to higher electricty rates

Akala ko ba sabi ni GMA bababa ang singil sa kuryente natin via WESM? Eh nakikita ko sa bills namin ang taas pa rin ng singil! Naku, ano ba yan! I disagree with the cussing and abrasive tone the author has used in the article, pero aside from that, the article i think is a must read.)

Several cold storage plant owners are raising concerns that at the rate electricity rates are increasing, pretty soon many of them are going to have to close shop because they won’t be able to keep up with operating requirements.

According to members of Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP), the problems they’re faced with today are a direct function of the alleged “massive corruption” being perpetrated by insiders in the so-called wholesale electricity spot market (Wesm), naturally condoned by the National Power Corp. (Napocor), who are able to manipulate prices to their advantage.

CCAP members say as a result, power rates are shooting through the roof instead of easing up at the Wesm, which Malacañang had initially boasted as key to reducing electricity rates.

Anthony Dizon, CCAP president, said the biggest problem refrigerated facility owners are saddled with is the rising cost in electricity which is poised to become the highest in the Asean region, with the way these Napocor dickheads are manipulating the power situation in the country to make themselves a profit. This is because electricity comprises about 40 percent of the total operating cost of cold storage plants (which are run on a 24/7 schedule), which play a vital role in the storage and distribution of meat and vegetable products.

Beginning next month, it was confirmed the electricity consumers will be obliged to shell out an additional P1 per kilowatt hour, unless the Energy Regulation Commission drags its balls on the rate increase being sought by Meralco, which is a farfetched possibility. And as a result, millions of Filipinos are in for another round of increases in the prices of basic commodities.

When this happen, the public will start to feel the pinch being caused by the price increases that were occasioned by the price manipulation in the Wesm. Ironically, the Wesm was intended by its originators as a means of keeping electricity prices at a minimum, so this might fuel the engine of growth of the economy.

The Wesm was opened by energy officials last June 2006 on orders of Malacañang despite the failure to comply with the crucial requirement stated in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001 of the sale of at least 70 percent of state-held power generating assets, which has resulted in the anomalous situation wherein trading in the electricity spot market is lorded over by government officials who are able to dictate on the smaller players.

In one of our previous columns, we pointed out that the concept of the Wesm will not work unless there is equal competition on the trading floor, to prevent collusion among the sellers. Our position is now being borne out with electricity prices on the uptick.

UPDATE: I believe the author of the article is Tribune columnist Herman Tiu Laurel, kahit na hindi nakalagay ang pangalan niya sa webpage. Typo, I think.

Election Fraudsters working early?

From the Tribune:

Fraud ops on; 07 voters list bloated by 8 million

By Angie M. Rosales


Election fraud operations appear to have started this early, with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) already bloating the voters’ list with an additional 8 million voters, an increase in just six months, which statistics senators found impossible and incredible.

Not only was the proposed national appropriations for next year found to bloated but that the number of Filipino voters expected to participate in the May 2007 senatorial and local polls, are also just as bloated. This early, the Comelec took the position that the numbers will swell by at least 8 million voters, in just a matter of six months.

Senators present at yesterday’s budget hearings discovered this, with the finance committee headed by Sen. Franklin Drilon yesterday morning unearthing what they detected as suspicious statistics and unjustifiable figures being presented by the Comelec under its proposed P6.2 billion 2007 budget.

While there is a difference of only P800 million compared to the current expenditures of the poll body, senators, immediately caught on to what they said were overstatements, noting that the increase in the proposed election budget is huge, and is by as much as P1.8 billion, compared to the last round of the electoral exercise two years ago that accommodated the present number of registered voters.

Senators were told by Comelec officials that the increase is based on their assumption on population where the current 41.7 million total voters are projected to reach 49 million by year-end due to the ongoing registration of new voters, whose deadline is on Dec. 31, 2006.

And because of the increase of 8 million in the electorate, the Comelec also told the senators that an additional 94,000 precincts will be created.

With a projection of 49 million voters, the Filipino voting population would be comprised of 57.6 percent, or well over half of the total population of 85 million, which is an incredible voters percentage.

“You cannot avoid the suspicion that the budget is being bloated to this extent. The budget is being increased for national and local elections to P792 million compared to 2004,” Drilon said.

“But more alarming is the proposed increase in the Sanggunian ang Barangay elections,” he stressed.

“In 2002, the budget for the barangay elections was P1.4 billion. For a similar exercise, five years later, the budget will be increased to P2.4 billion or an increase of P1 billion. So that the total increase for the electoral exercise by the Comelec for the national, local and barangay election, if you compare it with the years when a similar political exercise was done, the total increase is P1.7 billion.

“This cannot be justified...You cannot justify that. The total budget in 2004 of the Comelec is P5.4 billion for local and national elections. For 2007, the total proposed budget is P6.2 billion or an increase of nearly P800 million. In the SK and barangay elections, as I said, the budget in 2002 was P1.4 billion; the proposed budget for 2007 is P2.4 billion,” he said.

Drilon was quick in shooting down the assumption of the poll body on the projected number of voters by year end, pointing out that such a huge additional voters’ figure is just not feasible

“Unless they justify it, we will reduce the budget substantially,” he said, referring to the Comelec’s proposal to increase the number of precincts from 216,000 in 2004 to 310,000 for the coming mid-term elections.

“Under their (Comelec) proposal, they want to establish 94,000 more precincts compared to 2004. And yet, there is no substantial increase in the number of voters registered for 2007. As of the end of 2006, second quarter, there was approximately 41.7 million registered voters, which is almost the same as the 2004 number of voters. And yet, in the budget for 2007, there is a proposal to increase the number of precincts by 94,000 on a presumed number of registered voters of P49 million.

“It is certainly questionable to project that between June 30 or July 1 2006, and Dec. 31, 2006, another 7.5 million to 8 million voters will register to justify the increase of 94,000 precincts. This is very suspicious. We will closely scrutinize the budget at this point. The additional 94,000 precincts being established are suspicious,” Drilon said, adding that the initial impression gathered is one that says the budget of Comelec is bloated by about P1.8 billion.”

This was stated by Drilon to reporters in a briefing after the hearing, as he explained the contrast of figures presented to the senators in similar exercises done in the past.

“Moreover, the estimate of registered voters is overstated by, at this point, about nearly eight million,” he further pointed out, citing what he called an erroneous assumption arrived at by poll officials.

“It is not reasonable to accept the assumption that between July 1 and Dec.31, 2006, another eight million voters will register. Therefore, the assumption is erroneous on the basis of what actually transpired.

“They (Comelec officials) said this is their assumption based on population. But obviously, their assumption is totally erroneous. If you base it on the number of registered voters as of June 30. 2006, only 41.7 million registered and only six months remain for the registration period. It is not reasonable to assume that another eight million will vote unless you get (lawyer Raul) Lambino (of the Sigaw People’s Initiative move) to bring signatories to the Comelec,” he said.

The remark was an allusion to Sigaw’s ghost voters.

Read this too from Conrad de Quiros: The Cheating machinery still exists.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rumsfeld out, Gates in

Reaction from some of the foreign and military affairs heavyweights in the Blogosphere:

Gregory Djerejian:

Regardless, what we saw yesterday was American democracy at its finest. We saw the public mount a critically needed intervention, because without it a President well beyond his depth would have likely continued to cast his lot with discredited cocksure ideologues and/or Jacksonian nationalists like Rumsfeld. In Gates, we have an anti-ideologue and a realist. In his role with the Baker-Hamilton commission (a welcome dose of bipartisan sanity in an increasingly moronic Washington, media and blogosphere), he will have had access and been influenced by distinguished peers grappling with what to do next in Iraq in a climate characterized by sober appraisal of the national interest, rather than the agenda-driven hysterical harrumphing afoot in all the usual quarters.

There is a final irony worth noting too, perhaps. With pragmatists and Bush 41 alum like Baker and Gates rising to the fore, the son who marched headstrong into Iraq (like the father wouldn't after liberating Kuwait) is now being forced to lick his wounds and crawl back towards the protective umbrella of his father's former advisors. Neo-con exuberances, faith-based adventurism, and utopian aspiration passing for persuasive policy are now necessarily going to be relegated to the back-seat, in favor of essentially needed sobriety and realism (Gates is far closer to Scowcroft, say, than ribald fraudster types spouting off endless inanities at NRO and the Standard). While it is true Cheney is still around (one of his father's advisors too, but a changed man now no longer respected by his former colleagues in Bush 41), he is a much diminished figure who, to boot, just lost his main ally today.

Wretchard of the Belmont Club:

While I'm sure Robert Gates is an intelligent and competent man, he appears from his resume to be a placeholder for the job of Secretary of Defense. Someone to fill the chair until Nancy Pelosi, the President or someone can figure out what to do. How far to retreat. Whether ever to stop. There was never a Democratic policy on Iraq. And now that President Bush has apparently lost his political mandate, there is now an overwhelming endorsement for nothing.

Dan drezner on rummy's resignation:

If true, the news will provoke a triple "yee-haw!" from the hardworking staff here at

[Why three yells?--ed.] First, this blog has wanted Rummy to retire for quite some time. Second, Gates is a member in good standing of the Bush 41 crowd -- i.e., he's, you know, competent.

Third, if it is Gates, this might reduce some of the paranoia about Joe Lieberman-replacing-Rumsfeld-and-then-being-replaced-by-a-Republican scenario that's been discussed in some parts of the blogosphere. This also kills the Santorum-for-DoD campaign just after it starts, by the way.

Did Erap came up with the Senatorial list out of pique?

Nagtataka si Ellen Tordesillas sa behavior ni Erap when he came up with his senatorial list with balimbings Recto and Sen. Noted.

Ang isa sa dahilan kung bakit nanatili si Gloria Arroyo sa Malacañang kahit marami ang galit sa kanya ay dahil palpak naman ang oposisyon. Lalo na itong si dating Pangulong Joseph Estrada.

Noong isang linggo, nagpalabas ang kanyang abogado na si Rufus Rodriguez ng listahan mga senatorial candidates na susuportahan ni Estrada sa eleksyon sa Mayo 2007. Kasama doon sa listahan niya sina Manny Villar, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan at Ralph Recto.

Hindi pa naman nakalimutan ng madla na si Villar ang nag-short cut ng impeachment process laban kay Estrada noong 2000 nang siya ay speaker ng House of Representatives.

Hindi pa rin natin makalimutan ang “Noted. Noted” ni Pangilinan noong congressional canvassing ng 2004 election returns. Tuwing ituturo ng oposisyon na sina Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta, at Sen. Serge Osmeña ang mga kaso ng dayaan, sasabihin lamang ni Pangilinan at ni Raul Gozales na noong ay congressman na “Noted”, sabay pa ang pukpok nga gavel.

Sabi nga ni Tessie Oreta noon, “Ano ang ibig sabihin ng “Noted”? Ano ang gagawin mo sa ipinapakita naming kasong pandaraya?”. Ah, basta “Noted” lang ang sagot ni Pangilinan.

Kaya na-proklama si Arroyo habang tulog ang taumbayan dahil sa “Noted, Noted” nina Pangilinan at Gonzales.

I agree with Ellen that it's not smart for erap to come up with a Senatorial list this early with names like Recto and Noted Pangilinan.

Siguro Erap felt slighted when Lacson said opposition members do not need Erap's blessing to be included in the Opposition Senatorial lineup.

So Erap went ahead and prematurely put out his own list of "Opposition" Senatorial candidates for the 2007 elections without Lacson's name in it.

The now detained Estrada himself yesterday bared an evidently powerhouse senatorial line-up for next year’s elections that is composed of the big guns of major

opposition parties but the shortlist also includes the names of politicians who figured prominently in what is widely seen as his illegal ouster more than five years ago.

The ousted leader, during an interview with broadcast journalist and former congressman Ted Failon yesterday over radio station dzMM, named the opposition’s senatorial candidates for the 2007 polls: Representatives Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros) and Francis Escudero (Sorsogon); Former Senators Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Loren Legarda, Teresa Aquino-Oreta, John Osmena and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III; San Juan Mayor Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito; re-electionist Senators Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and
Manuel Villar; and lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

More here:

When asked by Failon why some of his known political detractors were included in the line-up, the deposed leader replied, “Matagal ko na silang napatawad.” (I have long forgiven them.)

Estrada explained that he has “set aside his own feelings in consideration of the greater welfare of the country and people to unite the opposition and help them win to put an end to the reign of the Arroyo administration.”


He confirmed that JV, instead of his wife, Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada, will run for the Senate.


When Failon inquired as to why reelectionist Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was dropped from the original list, Estrada said Lacson does not have a political party and although he claimed to lead the LDP-Lacson wing, the opposition’s unity group only recognized the LDP-Angara wing.

So Erap still supports Angara? Kaya hindi kasali si Lacson sa opposition slate? Hindi ba maka-administration na yang Angara (at yang Enrile) na yan? I'm sorry, but this is way dumb.

Mga Fil-Am Losers sa Midterm Elections 2007

Lahat sila puro republicans.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hamas Chief: Truce with Israel is over

From Reuters:

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said Wednesday that a truce with Israel is finished and his group's militants can resume fighting following an Israeli tank attack that killed 18 Palestinians.

Militants will answer the deaths with "deeds, not words," Mashaal told a news conference in the Syrian capital.

"The truce (with Israel) ended at the end of 2005," Mashaal said. "The armed struggle is free to resume, and the resistance is dictated by local circumstances."

Ngek! Hudna lang pala yung ceasefire nila.

Corruption and irregularities roundup

-- Bush has a lot to learn from Arroyo, according to JB Baylon.

-- Transparency International: Corruption remains high in the Philippines

In the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2006, the Philippines is ranked 121st among 163 countries, with a CPI score of 2.5 together with Benin, Gambia, Guyana, Honduras, Nepal, Russia, Rwanda, and Swaziland. (Click on the image to view the 2006 CPI.)

The CPI score relates to perceptions of the degree of public sector corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 10 (indicating low levels of perceived corruption) and zero (indicating high levels of perceived corruption).

The Philippines has in fact been steadily slipping in the TI Index, particularly under the Arroyo administration — at 65 in 2001, 77 in 2002, 92 in 2003, 102 in 2004, and 117 in 2005. From 2001 to the present, the country’s CPI score has not improved beyond 2.6.


Take note: we had one of the highest CPI scores during erap's time (1998 - 3.3, 1999- 3.6, 2000 - 2.8). The higher the CPI scores, the better. The lower the scores, mas malala ang corruption. Crazy, no?

-- Senate unearths P5B waste in GMA’s office. NSA chief has P135 M in unexplained unliquidated advances.

-- P500M ‘Bolantic’ caper caused PNOC chief to quit. Diversion of funds to May campaign feared. More here from the Malaya editorial today.

-- Contents of Arroyo's proposed Charter a secret to most Filipinos

Except for a small group headed by Speaker Jose de Venecia, the full text of the proposed new Constitution remains a tightly kept secret. In fact, in spite of the advertising blitz in media, nominally funded by Sigaw ng Bayan whose petition for people’s initiative was thrown to the garbage heap by the Supreme Court, advocates never thought of publishing the text in a newspaper of general circulation.

Raul Lambino, head of the Sigaw ng Bayan, admitted that he ordered the printing of only 500,000 copies of the draft because printing more would entail huge expenses.

So it came to pass that Sigaw collected 8.6 million signatures but only one half million of them are presumed to have read what they signed.

In that case, Sigaw shoved onto 8.1 million voters documents they were asked to sign but were not told what they were signing was all about.

Read the whole thing.

"Opposition" senator Enrile supports CON Ass

From the Malaya:

SEN. Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday filed a resolution seeking to convene both houses of Congress into a constituent assembly (con-ass) that would introduce amendments to the Constitution.

In Resolution No. 580, Enrile said the House of Representatives cannot, by its lonesome, convene into a constituent assembly.

Enrile said he has been calling for changes in the 1987 Constitution for some time and even delivered a privileged speech on it last year.

Enrile is in favor of shifting to a parliamentary form to put and end to "the political turmoil, social disarray and unrest that have challenged the leaders of this nation and rendered futile all efforts to attain national unity."

Sabi naman ni Lito Banayo: "Why not Con Con?"

UPDATE: Ernie Maceda admits Enrile is part of GMA's camp already:

Enrile crosses the bridge. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile filed proposed Senate Resolution 580 calling for a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass). This is a counterpart to the House resolution being pushed by Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

Charter change has been openly supported by GMA. The opposition, spearheaded by the House led by Minority Leader Francis Escudero and the UNO headed by Mayor Jojo Binay, has consistently opposed both the people’s initiative (PI) and Con-ass.

Senator Enrile’s filing the Con-ass resolution puts him squarely in the camp of GMA. It also gives credence to Speaker de Venecia’s claim that at least five senators are supporting Con-ass namely Miriam Santiago, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, Edgardo Angara and Enrile. This will enable De Venecia to get the 195 magic number he needs to push through his interpretation of the three-fourths vote needed to push Con-ass. Is this for real or just for show? Here we go again. Round two at the Supreme Court. What a waste of time and resources!

Matagal na nating alam na maka administration yang si Enrile at Angara.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tama ba yan, SOLAR?

So dahil ba sa bagong channel ng SOLAR called Basketball TV (BTV), bawal na yung ibang channel na katulad ng ESPN Philippines at Starsports na magpalabas ng NBA sa bansa natin?

Exclusive na ba talaga sa SOLAR via BTV ang karapatan na magpalabas ng NBA games sa Pilipinas?

Eh paano na kung wala kaming BTV (We don't have Skycable), at ESPN at Starsports lang ang sports channels namin na may NBA (dati)?

Since SKYCABLE at HOME cable lang ang may BTV --the lopez group signed a deal with SOLAR para exclusive lang yung BTV sa cable nila-- lilipat na lang kami sa SKY o HOME? Ganon ba yan? Ulol nyo!

Mino-monopolize yata ng SOLAR ang pagpapalabas ng NBA games ah. And SOLAR is conniving with SKYCABLE to wipe out their cable competitors by:

1) making BTV exclusive only to SKYCABLE
2) forcing espn philippines and starsports to stop carrying NBA games.

I like the idea of Basketball TV btw, a channel devoted solely to local and international basketball. there's nothing wrong with creating such a channel. But if Solar will use predatory tactics para papakialaman o tatanggalin yung NBA games ng ESPN o Starsports, then gaguhan na yan.

Ano, pag-tiyatiyagaan na lang namin ang RPN9 NBA games on sat and sunday mornings? It used to be 7 NBA games a week sa cable namin. now it's down to 2 games a week.


UPDATE: Meron nang NBA schedule ang ESPN at Starsports.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Democrats and Republicans in the NBA

Here's the NBA list based on their political donations.

Exclusively Democratic Giving
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar $1,000
Charles Barkley $2,000
Jeanie Buss $5,000
Phil Jackson $5,455
Michael Jordan $18,000
Alonzo Mourning $25,000
Gregg Popovich $2,000
Pat Riley $4,754
David Stern $781,780
Isiah Thomas $5,000

Majority Democratic Giving
George Karl $7,000
Jerry Reinsdorf $346,278
Julius 'Dr. J' Erving $2,300

Playing the Middle
Mark Cuban $7,000

Majority Republican Giving
Jerry Buss $23,550

Exclusively Republican Giving
Richard DeVos $2,866,88 (76% to special interests--24% to Republicans)
Clyde Drexler $2,000
Karl Malone $10,000

Here's the complete list of political donations made by other sports figures in baseball, football, golf etc.

More: Political donations from Celebs (puro democrats sila lahat!)

I hope Ellen makes it in time...

I found this comment from Ellen Tordesillas today:

I’m supposed to leave early this evening for Pakistan for a ten day visit upon the invitation of the Pakistan Institute of Strategic Studies.

I was told yesterday by our lawyer, I can’t leave unless the court gives me permission because arraignment for my libel case filed by Mike Arroyo is on Wednesday Nov. 8. (It was earlier set for Oct. 25 but our lawyers asked for postponement to file a motion to quash. At that time I didn’t receive the schedule of the Pakistan trip yet.)

We are asking the court for postponement of the arraignment this morning. I hope and I pray I can still make it.

Let's hope she gets the permission ASAP. Sayang naman kung hindi makapunta si Ellen.

A Must Read Article from Orson Scott Card

on why the Democrats have to lose this election. (via zakueins)

UPDATE: On why he supports Bush, even if he's a democrat:

if the Republican Party remains in control of both houses of Congress there is no guarantee that the outcome of the present war will be favorable for us or anyone else.

But at least there will be a chance.

I say this as a Democrat, for whom the Republican domination of government threatens many values that I hold to be important to America's role as a light among nations.

But there are no values that matter to me that will not be gravely endangered if we lose this war. And since the Democratic Party seems hellbent on losing it -- and in the most damaging possible way -- I have no choice but to advocate that my party be kept from getting its hands on the reins of national power, until it proves itself once again to be capable of recognizing our core national interests instead of its own temporary partisan advantages.

To all intents and purposes, when the Democratic Party jettisoned Joseph Lieberman over the issue of his support of this war, they kicked me out as well. The party of Harry Truman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- the party I joined back in the 1970s -- is dead. Of suicide.

On why the "War on Terror" is the only possible name for this war:

1. This is not a war that can be named for any particular nation or region. To call it "The Iraq War" or the "Afghanistan War" would lead to the horrible mistake of thinking that victory would consist of toppling certain governments and then going home.

In fact, it is precisely the name "War in Iraq" that is leading to the deep misconceptions that drive the Democratic position on the war. If this were in fact a war on Iraq, then in one sense we won precisely when President Bush declared victory right after we occupied Baghdad. And in another sense, we might not see victory for another five years, or even a decade -- a decade in which Americans will be dying alongside Iraqis. For a "War in Iraq" to linger this way is almost too painful to contemplate.

But we are not waging a "War in Iraq." We are waging a world war, in which the campaigns to topple the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan were brilliantly successful, and the current "lukewarm" war demands great patience and determination from the American people as we ready ourselves for the next phase.

2. We cannot name this war for our actual enemies, either, because there is no way to name them accurately without including some form of the word "Islam" or "Muslim."

It is our enemies who want to identify this as a war between Islam and the West. If we allow this to happen, we run the risk of achieving the worst of all possible outcomes: The unification of one or both of the great factions of worldwide Islam under a single banner.

President Bush and his administration have shown their grasp of our present danger by stoutly resisting all attempts to rename this war. We call it a "War on Terror" because that allows us to cast it, not as a war against the Muslim people, with all their frustrations and hopes, but a war in which most Muslims are not our enemies at all.

That can be galling for many Americans. When, after the fall of the towers on 9/11, Palestinians and others poured into the streets, rejoicing, it was tempting to say, A plague on all of them!

But it is precisely those people -- the common people of the Muslim world, most of whom hate us (or claim to hate us, when asked by pollsters in police states) -- whom we must treat as if they were not our enemies. They are the ones we must win over for us to have any hope of victory without a bloodbath poured out on most of the nations of the world.

On why the US needs to stay in Afghanistan and Iraq to rebuild their country:

Another charge against the Bush administration's conduct of the war is that they are engaged in the hopeless task of "nation-building." And this is true -- except for the word "hopeless."

But what is the alternative? I've heard several, each more disastrous and impossible and even shameful than the one before.

In the New Testament, Jesus once used the analogy of a person who was possessed by a devil. When you cast out the devil, don't you leave an empty house, swept clean, to which seven devils will now come to live, making things worse than ever?

No matter which miserable dictatorship we moved against after the Taliban -- and we had no choice but to keep moving on if we were to eradicate the grave danger we faced (and face) -- we would have faced the same problem in Syria or Iraq or Sudan that we had in Afghanistan: We had to establish order in a nation that had never actually become a nation.

The boundaries on the ground in the Middle East were not formed in the traditional way -- by compromise or war. Instead, European powers drew lines that pleased their fancy. The lines did not create the hatreds that plague the region, but they guaranteed that traditional enemies would have to face each other within these boundaries.

It is in part because of the resulting chaos and oppression that groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the Shiite fundamentalists of Iran have been given an opportunity to offer the solution of returning to the core values of Islam -- as defined, of course, to their private advantage.

If we topple one government and then walk away, the result in any Middle Eastern nation would be civil war, and the probable winner would be the well-funded international terrorist groups that do not shrink from wholesale murder in pursuing their cause.

Just as Kerensky's attempt at a liberal government in revolutionary Russia was almost instantly snuffed out by Lenin's Bolshevik thugs in 1917, so also would any attempt at unified democratic government in Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Afghanistan be quickly converted into Islamo-fascism of one stripe or another.

And if that happened, Islamicist puritanism would be seen in every nation as the "wave of the future." Just as, when Nazi Germany was in the ascendant, the nations of southeastern Europe quickly made their accommodation with Hitler, since the alternative was to be swept away like Poland, France, or Yugoslavia, so also would nominally democratic nations adopt the trappings of Islamicism -- if they weren't already toppled by puritan revolutions from within.

On why the US cannot abandon it's allies without losing credibility:

How do the Islamicist tyrants answer the obvious success and growing appeal of Bush's democracy program?

They kill people, of course.

But they also tell the story, over and over: "America will never stick it out. We'll keep killing Americans till they give up and go away, and then you will answer to us!"

Until they believe that the Islamofascists are never coming into power, many people will remain afraid to commit themselves to democracy.

Under those circumstances, the remarkable thing is how courageously the Shiites of the south have embraced democracy, and how many of them are beginning to trust that we mean what they say.

But against Bush's promises and the actions of our brave and decent soldiers, the tyrants can set the behavior of Bush's political opponents, who are doing their best to promote the propaganda of the tyrants. Every Congressman who says "We must set a timetable for departure" is providing ammunition to the tyrants in their campaign of terror.

Because even more than they fear terrorist bombs, the pro-democracy forces within Iraq and Afghanistan fear American withdrawal. Every speech threatening withdrawal is a bomb going off in Baghdad, killing, not people, but the will to resist the tyrants.

Bin Laden predicted it. The Democratic Party in America is following his script exactly.

That is certainly not what most who call for withdrawal intend. They see Americans dying and they have no hope of victory. The Iraq War (as they call it) is costing lives and shows no sign of ending. Meanwhile, Iran is getting nuclear weapons, North Korea already has them, Syria and Iran are sponsoring continuing and escalating attacks on Israel -- how can we possibly "win" a war that threatens constantly to widen? Let's cut our losses, retire to our shores, and ...

And will you please stop and think for a moment?

There is no withdrawal to our shores. American prosperity requires free trade throughout most of the world. Free trade has depended for decades on American might. If we withdraw now, we announce to the world that if you just kill enough Americans, the big boys will go home and let you do whatever you want.

Every American in the world then becomes a target. And, because we have announced that we will do nothing to protect them, we will soon be trading only with nations that have enough strength to protect their own shores and borders.

Only ... what nations are those? Not Taiwan. If they saw us abandon Iraq, what conclusion could they reach except this one: They'd better accommodate with China now, when they can still get decent terms, than wait for America to walk away from them the way we walked away from Vietnam and Iraq.

We cannot win by going home. In a short time, "home" would become a very different place, as our own prosperity and safety steadily diminished. Isolationism is a dead end. If we lose our will to protect the things that support our own prosperity, then what can we expect but the end of that prosperity -- and of any vestige of safety, as well?

The frustrating thing is that if people would just look, honestly, at the readily available data from the Muslim world, they would realize that we are winning and that the course President Bush is pursuing is, in fact, the wisest one.

On Bush's many "mistakes":

Critics of Bush love to cite the many "mistakes" his administration has made. Most of these "mistakes" are arguable -- are they mistakes at all? -- and when you sum up the others, with any kind of rational understanding of military history, the only possible conclusion is that this is the best-run war in history, with the fewest mistakes. And most of the mistakes we've made are the kind that become clear to morning-after quarterbacks but were difficult to avoid in the fog of war.

Worse yet, Bush's opponents invariably depict these mistakes as being the result of deliberately chosen policies -- a ludicrous charge, but one that is taken seriously by an astonishing number of people who should know better. The game, you see, is blame. It's not enough to say, Bush made a mistake. You have to say, Bush deliberately did it wrong for evil purposes and he must be punished.

But let's accept the fairy tale that this war has been badly run. That still does not change the fact that on all of the biggest points, Bush has made exactly the right choice -- and he has been the only one who has even seen the need to make those choices!

Take North Korea, for instance. Bush recognized instantly that North Korea, with China as its sponsor and protector, is simply beyond the reach of American power at this time. This will not always be true, but his administration is pursuing a careful, quiet, firm policy of diplomatic pressure on China to do what must be done to curb North Korean insanity.

What about Iran? The idea of a ground war in Iran -- especially when we're still fighting in Iraq -- seems impossible.

But it is also probably unnecessary. Because Iran's present government is not just hated, it is also losing its grip on power.

Not on the trappings of power -- they control the "elections" to such a point that nobody can be nominated without the approval of the ayatollahs.

But government power -- even in democracies -- depends absolutely on the will of the people to obey. And when you rule by tyranny and oppression, the obedience of the people comes from the credibility of the threat of violence from the government.

The obvious examples are Red Square in Moscow and Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In Moscow, when Yeltsin and the pro-democracy demonstrators defied the tanks, the Russian Army did not open fire. Why not? Either they refused to obey the order to shoot, or the order was not given -- but if it was not given, it was almost certainly because the tyrants knew that it would not be obeyed.

In other words, the government had lost the ability to inflict deadly force on its own population.

In Tiananmen Square, however, the government gave the order and the troops did fire. As a result, the tyranny continued -- and continues to this day.

Tyrannies only continue in power when they can give the order to kill their own people and be obeyed.

In Iran, there have been several incidents in the past months and years where troops refused to fire on demonstrators. This is huge news (virtually unreported in the West, of course), because of what it means: The ayatollahs' days are numbered.

If President Bush invaded Iran on the ground, bombing Iranian cities and killing Iranian soldiers, he would accomplish only what Hitler did by invading Russia -- uniting an oppressed people in support of a hated tyrant.

But, as was pointed out in a pair of excellent analytical pieces in the most recent Commentary magazine, we don't have to do anything of the kind.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Davide Precedent -- o kung bakit pwedeng hindi matuloy ang impeachment kahit na may 80 signatures ang complaint vs. Arroyo

Even if the required number of House signatures is obtained, it's still no guarantee na maisa-submit ang impeachment complaint sa senado for trial.

From the Tribune Editorial:

There is of course, always that possibility of Gloria Arroyo being impeached by the House of Representatives, if the required number is met. The possibility has become stronger, given that 2007 appears to be a year for the political opposition, both in the House and in the Senate. Still, even with the required number, there is hardly any guarantee that the political opposition in the House will be able to elevate this list of charges against an impeached president to the Senate.

There is a precedent to this — and the case involved the then Chief Justice, Hilario Davide Jr., who was charged for the mismanagement of the Judiciary Development Funds.

The numbers were met, but the allies of Gloria, led by Speaker Jose de Venecia, along with now Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, blocked this by refusing to hold the plenary vote, and when they finally did, it was merely to have a roll call, making certain that the opposition would not hear the bell, and then promptly declared the session adjourned.

In the meantime, with both the House and the Senate in alliance with Gloria, the issue was questioned before the high court, with both house leaders making it clear that they wanted the high court to issue them a temporary restraining order, to ensure that the impeachment complaint against Davide would die.

Not surprisingly, the Davide court gave a hometown decision and voided the complaint against Davide — which the allies of Gloria now use to kill the complaints against her.

Related stuff from DJB here and here.

More: I posted a long one too on the Davide JDF corruption issue here in response to a persistent commenter.

UPDATE: the latter part of the article is intersting too. It's similar to Conrad De Quiros' SNAP! proposal.

Still, there is a constitutional way to kick out Gloria Arroyo and her corrupt menagerie — through an honest to goodness PI.

There is nothing in the Constitution that bars people from introducing amendments, the best of which is to merely add one more method of creating a vacancy in the presidency: A term cut, after which a plebiscite or referendum can be held for the people to vote on the issue on whether Gloria should stay or go.

There will be no other constitutional proviso that will be amended or altered. The Constitution stays as is, with the only exception of the additional amendment. What can be more simple than this, and one that would also be well-understood by the public?

It is going to be a very simple amendment and will moreover institutionalize people power — the right way.

And after she is ousted, there can then be an election scheduled for a Con-con to draft a new Charter.

No doubt, this would be welcomed by the Filipino people, majority of whom have already expressed their view of wanting to oust her.

What would be amusing would be to watch Gloria and her allies’ reaction should a genuine PI be launched. No doubt it will be they who will now be denouncing the Cha-cha through the PI and for certain, neither Malacañang nor her Sigaw and Ulap will spend a single centavo for this people’s endeavor as this goes against their interests.

Nobody, but nobody can accuse such PI to be government-initiated.

And with such a PI proving to be a force if done the right way, even these frigging politicians will have to start behaving, or else they may also face the prospect of being kicked out by the Filipino people.

Think about it.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Miriam for Chief Justice?

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Yes, I'd love to see a woman become chief justice, but not her.

I was thinking more about ynares santiago or sandoval gutierrez.

Anyway here's a comment from Anthony Scalia:

In the US, George Bush appointed an outsider as Chief Justice, John Roberts. I don’t know how the US bar reacted to this. Could it be that Bush thought that since a seat was vacated by the then Chief Justice, the replacement should be appointed Chief Justice as well?

John Roberts was originally meant to replace the retiring sandra day o connor.

But when Chief justice Rehnquist died on Sept 2005, bush immediately used roberts to replace Rehnquist instead of justice o'connor.


because, nominating a chief justice of the supreme court needs the confirmation of the Senate.

also, appointing a new justice to the supreme court needs senate confirmation.

if bush appointed mr. roberts to replace o'connor, then appointed scalia or clarence thomas to Chief justice. THAT'S TWO TOUGH CONFIRMATION HEARINGS... which could end up being very bloody for the bush admin that's been battered by low approval ratings and is not looking for any more fights.

So bush simplified it by nominating roberts to the Supreme court AND the Chief justice instead. ONE nomination hearing na lang.

which means sandra day o connor's retirement was postponed until they found a replacement for her in the name of samuel alito.

but this GMA has balls to nominate miriam not only to the SC, but also to the chief justice position. unlike john roberts who is perceived to be a moderate, miriam is anything but.

yes, she may have the credentials to be a supreme court justice, but does anybody here want this loony character, this arroyo partisan in the SC, let alone be chief justice, and be the deciding factor in arroyo's CHA CHA or be the presiding judge kung magkaroon ng impeachment trial next year?

this is crazy! this is lunacy!

UPDATE: the PDI editorial opines:

IT’S HARD TO FAULT MAID MIRIAM FOR WISHING upon a star. It is every lawyer’s dream to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or at least to wonder about the possibility, so we cannot begrudge Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago for green-lighting her nomination (by the same obscure lawyers’ group that nominated her last year) to the Judicial and Bar Council. In her excitement, she could not contain her delight at the sheer prospect of becoming the country’s first woman chief justice. (She even said she could be the first woman chief justice in the world, an unfortunate assertion, since Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada visited the country only last month.)

We certainly think she has the legal firepower to take on the big guns on the Court, but we must also point out the obvious. Despite her formative experience as a trial court judge, Santiago is a political player par excellence.

Unfortunately for her, we do not need another politician in the high court. What we need is a legal intelligence animated by a deep sense of country and unafraid to rise above politics.

This is not to say that ex-politicians have no place in the high court; Jose P. Laurel, Marcelo Fernan, Hilario Davide are distinguished exceptions in our history (and Charles Evans Hughes and Earl Warren in that of the United States). But Santiago does not seem ready to renounce the give and take of politics, at which she is demonstrably adept. That is quite enough to disqualify her.


I like Luli Arroyo

This editorial explains why.

UPDATE: Pero mali rin raw si Luli, says Ninez.

Read this too from Ellen Tordesillas.

More Luli love from JB Baylon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hillary finally calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq

From the Anchoress:

Hillary, whom I had been grudgingly respecting for holding firm on Iraq has begun to shift to “redeployment” mode, and she did it just as Hezbollah was saying, “heh, this is good; Iraq is another Vietnam for America! Good timing, Hill. Hillary also called for a more internationalist foreign policy, but that doesn’t seem to have been reported by the US Press.

Ah, so bumigay na rin.

MSM Misrepresenting the Kerry remark

From Mickey Kaus:

With a week to go before a close election, the New York Times continues to move beyond Democratic cocooning (though it does some of that too) in the direction of flat-out misrepresenation. Kate Zernike's Kerry story not only doesn't ever get around to telling Times readers what Kerry actually said--it leaves the clear impression that what Kerry said was something different (and more benign) than it was.** Patterico prosecutes.
Yeah, I got that same feeling too after watching CNN and The Daily Show yesterday.

More: This is interesting too from STeve Young of Huffington Post, tungkol sa CBS.

Tuesday night, the 8PM (EST) CBS Radio news opened with the big John Kerry joke story.

The anchor called Kerry's joke one "that fell flat." In comedian circles, that's a joke that the audience didn't get or they got but it just didn't work.
I.E. The audience didn't think it was funny.

CBS then played the now infamous clip of Kerry telling his joke. Not even a titter from his audience of collegians, who should be smart enough to get a joke, even ones botched by a U.S. Senator (one would hope that politicians would unlearn "always open with a joke").

The CBS anchor was right. It fell a failed presidential pancake.

And that's how I would have left it...if I hadn't heard the actual student reaction to Kerry's flat material on a non-news show.

The audience had laughed. They got the joke. It had, in fact, worked.

The CBS News that continues to be the Right WIng's target as the Network of Rather™, had cut the audience's reaction to Kerry's clumsy joke. If they had included his audience's positive reaction, the "flat" reference wouldn't have worked and the continued demonization of Kerry's comments would have been more difficult to sell.

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