Thursday, April 28, 2016

Don't insult your friends

"If you can't ignore an insult, top it; if you can't top it, laugh it off; and if you can't laugh it off, it's probably deserved." Russell Lynes

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We don't need to lose quality friends only because of friction and animosity during the election season.
While there are heightened emotions brought by partisan politics, a friendship can only be shattered if we insult one another especially in the social media.
We can crack jokes for the sake of discussion, but if we resort to insults and belittle our friends, egos will be bruised. Relations will turn sour.
If our friends don't support our candidates, we don't denounce them and assassinate their character for supporting another candidate. Vice versa.
Our friends don't have "poor choices" only because we don't agree with their candidates. Vice versa. 
They are not "stupid" or "idiots" for insisting that their candidates have the best and better platform of government. Vice versa. Some words hurt like daggers especially when they come from friends.
Respect begets respect. When we heap insults, they will boomerang. The law of cause and effect.

COME AND GO

Election season come and go. We keep friends, the good or quality ones, come hell or high water, if needed.
Even before Grace Poe had thought of running for president, friends have been "tagging" each other with many interesting videos, website links, quotations from Buddha and Shakespeare, etc.
Even before Mar Roxas filed his candidacy for president, friends have been swapping ideas and suggestions involving apolitical issues.
Even before Rodrigo Duterte disclosed his intention to seek the highest post of the land, friends have been "liking" each other's posts with added  emoticons.
We can always cast aspersions on the candidates we don't like. That's normal in the dirty world of politics. The candidates themselves won't mind the slander. 
Positive or negative publicity is still a publicity. Public Relations 101. 

ATTACK

Politicians are accustomed to attacks, verbal and written abuse; mockery is part and parcel of being a candidate for an elective office. 
Political rivals engage in mudslinging and pull each other down to improve their rating in the surveys.
Politics, after all, is nasty. We can't expect the voters to look up at all politicians as role models. There will always be offensive remarks and bashing in mass media.
But let's spare our friends who support or campaign for another candidate. Let's respect their choices. 
When emotions simmer down after the election of our new set of public officials from municipal council to the president, friends will always be friends.
Let's hear the speech of Abraham Lincoln: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Women issues hound Duterte, Trump but who cares?

"The greater the controversy, the more you need manners." Judith Martin

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- It's not only Rodrigo Duterte of the PDP-Laban who is under hot seat for his rape jokes, among other political gaffes in the campaign period for the Philippines' May 9 elections.
The United States' Republican Party front-runner Donald Trump also has his own share of infamy among the American electorate because of his unconventional style and thunderous diatribes against his opponents.
Duterte's "kissing scenes" with female fans also became the objects of derision from critics and rivals in the presidential race.
Much of the contempt heaped on his character was due to his penchant to lash at enemies and criminals using expletives and nasty words without letup.
Duterte's followers insisted it is part of his style as a leader and "reformer"; and the mayor from Mindanao feels no remorse when goaded to apologize for his "misplaced machismo."

WOMEN

Trump has been tormenting some women, including several female journalists, activists, and illegal aliens, who are mostly Latinos, with acerbic and no-holds-barred onslaughts.
He is unperturbed even if Mexico has threatened to ban him for life for his threat to erect a wall in the US-Mexico boundary if elected.
The billionaire celebrity doesn't have plans to change his style as long as he continued to attract gargantuan attention from voting public. 
With 991 (as of this writing) out of the needed 1,237 pledged delegates, Trump is expected to collect the party's official nomination before the June GOP convention, and is already revving up for a possible shootout with Democratic Party official nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton (2,168 out of 2,383 pledged delegates as of writing) in the November general election.

SURVEYS

Like the 70-year-old Duterte, 69-year-old Trump is also leading in the surveys--but only in the Republican Party.
Clinton, who is expected to put away Bernie Sanders (1,401 pledged delegates as of this writing) after two or three more primaries and caucuses, is still ahead in the surveys in a one-on-one showdown against Trump or any other GOP candidate.
Big names in political, showbiz, business and media industries have expressed displeasure on how both Duterte and Trump behaved during their respective campaigns, but the clock and mathematics have continued to tick on their favor.
With more than a week remaining before the May 9 elections, surveys still favor the mayor of Davao City, which earned notoriety for it's death squad that disposed of criminals via extra-judicial process.

ADMINISTRATION

But even if he is "comfortably" ahead in the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, administration candidate, Liberal Party's Mar Roxas, has vowed to outhustle him during election day, which the 58-year-old pride of Capiz and grandson of former President Manuel Roxas, called as "the real survey."
Roxas' LP accounts for more governors and mayors all over the country, while Duterte boasts of the OFWs, soldiers, cops, low income earners, students, seniors as among his supporters. 
Their rivals, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Grace Poe, and Jejomar Binay, have also vowed to win the elections and introduce "change and reforms" in the Philippines.
Trump, on the other hand, will have to put exclamation point first on his rivalry with fellow GOP candidate, Ted Cruz (568 pledged delegates as of press time), before securing a face-off with Clinton.

Election fans, fanatics clash; burn bridges

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." Winston Churchill

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Days or weeks after the May 9, 2016 polls, Mar Roxas, Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Grace Poe will greet each other when they meet accidentally in the airports, hotel lobbies, government offices, and other public places.
Let bygones be bygones. Let's now put the furor whipped up by intense politicking behind us and move on, they will gamely tell each other.
Life must go on. Live another day. 
Laugh and the world will laugh with us. Cry and we cry alone.
How about their followers? Some of them are also currently at each other's throats, bitterly and violently.
Others have burned their bridges; some have declared Armageddon. 
Friendships shattered permanently because of partisan politics.

JOKE

"Magbiro sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising" (plays joke on a drunk, not with someone who just woke up from a sleep) was a popular but succinct warning given us in jest by friends in the Philippines. 
The caveat is loud and clear: it's easy to handle a drunken master than a person whose temper can't be tamed even by a dose of spirit of ammonia. 
This goes also to the two warring camps in the blue and red corners in this election season: the fanatics and the fans.
The rift among supporters of candidates in the May 9 presidential and local elections has gone from bad to worse that the warning level has been optimized to "(you can) argue with fans, (but) shun the fanatics."
Some people find it more healthy and lively to converse with a fan of a particular candidate and more risky and deadly to engage a fanatic in a debate.

AFICIONADO

A fan is merely an aficionado or admirer, while a fanatic is a person who is zealously enthusiastic for some cause, especially in religion and now politics.
A fan can afford to smile, relax and understand the standpoint of another person. 
A fanatic is always seething with anger, reluctant to admit his shortcomings, and is willing to kill or even die for his candidate.
A fan likes or admires a certain candidate because the candidate amuses and makes him happy.
A fanatic is a fan to the point that he is obsessed with the candidate he is a of and he might even try to hurt someone who is not a fan or is a fan of a rival.  

DEBATES

From round-the-table intellectual discussions among friends to heated debates in the coffee shops, barber shops, including the social media, fans and fanatics clash like warriors in the Battle of Arbela.
While it's not yet certain who will win the electoral contest, both the fans and fanatics should slow down and refrain from releasing hurting words, or throwing verbal expletives and insults that's hard to heal and difficult to forget.
Jose Mari Chan has a good suggestion: "Can we just stop and talk a while?"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Debate cruel

“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.” Margaret Thatcher

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY – Historians say that the major reason for Richard Nixon’s dismal defeat to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 US presidential contest was because JFK clobbered him in the “live” TV debate.
Nixon’s body movement and “farcical” facial expressions became his Waterloo.
In a “live” TV debate, candidates can’t hide their expressions and mannerisms; the aesthetic reality prevails.
Television camera is so cruel it can capture even the number of times a debater’s Adam’s apple gyrates.
In TV format, a nervous candidate becomes an ugly sight.
His eyes watery and panicky like he is about to be hauled into an Inquisition, a nervous debater can produce a hailstorm of confusion among his followers and admirers in the audience.

SEPARATE

The beauty of a “live” presidential debate actually is that the chaffs are easily separated from the grains.
Because all candidates are isolated on stage without immediate assistance from subalterns and campaign strategists, charlatans and nondescript debaters are immediately exposed.
They can’t be rescued by their spin doctors, image builders and propagandists who are off limits in the debate.
They are on their own, thus they better skip the debate if they aren’t prepared, or if they think they don’t belong there in the first place.
What the audience see is what they get.
One official debate can spill a disaster for any leading candidate who performs ludicrously.
After the “live” debate, the wheel of fortune changes so fast for any candidate who leads in independent surveys, or a candidate who lags behind.

NARROW

It can narrow the gap among those wearing the yellow jersey in the surveys and those breathing behind their necks in quick succession hours after the debate.
Debate unmasks the pikons (onion-skinned) and those who are grandstanding.
A candidate should have no stage fright as it automatically disqualifies him or her from the program unless he or she wants to commit hara kiri.
In the last debates for the presidential and vice presidential races for the May 9 elections in the Philippines, we’ve seen how a leading vice presidential aspirant melted down as shown by the feedback in the social media because of a “robotic” style of speaking and his virtual lack of depth and substance on other major issues.
In the most recent presidential debate, we’ve seen how a candidate known for a gung-ho style dodged a question about foreign relations by resorting to argumentum ad verecundiam to camouflage his ignorance.
And so and so forth.
Debates are often a spectacle, but voters still look to them as a primary source of information where there is a democratic competition anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Unfortunately these Christians are tagged as 'devils'

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." C. S. Lewis

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We should not blame the song if we don’t like how it is being played. 
It’s the singer not the song. It’s the lovers not the love – when relationships nosedive. 
If we don’t like the shows on TV, let’s switch channels, not destroy the whole hardware. 
If we hate rats, let’s spare the whole house from our homicidal wrath.
Christianity, like other religions, is not perfect. 
In every forest there is snake, in every paradise there is serpent. 
When some people give Christianity a bad name, it does not follow that the entire religion is swamped by dregs and nincompoops. 
Gandhi didn’t like the Christians but he loved Jesus Christ.
Jamie Frater, a California-based author of Ultimate Book of Bizarre Lists, has identified 10 people who have given Christianity a bad name. 
They are: Fred Phelps Sr., Fr. Charles Coughlin, Jim Jones, Marshall Herff Applewhite, Jr., Paul Jennings Hill, Michael Bray, Matthew Hale, Pat Robertson, David Koresh, and Sun Myung Moon.
According to Frater, Phelps Sr. had three children, four of whom have disowned him and their other siblings. The four children, two men and two women, have denounced Phelps as “a vitriolic, megalomaniacal sadistic psychopath.”
“I can phrase it better than that, and yet, it still doesn’t fully capture the man’s personality,” admits Frater, who was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. “Ordinarily, the lister should remain objective about the list, but in this case, except for his congregation, which officially numbers 71, and 60 of whom are Phelps’ relatives, it’s highly doubtful that anyone else on the planet agrees with, or even slightly supports, Philips’ savage, barbaric perversion of Christianity and its founder. So I don’t feel quite so bad about being biased.”
Phelps’ “ministry” at the Westboro Baptist Church, which he founded in Topeka, Kansas, is based almost entirely on antihomosexuality, which is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, sin to denounce by means of quoting Bible, reveals Frater.
“God condemns homosexuality at least twice in Leviticus, and from this principle, Phelps feels he can condemn the entire world, but especially the U.S., which he has described as a liberal hellhole that supports homosexuality,” Frater explains. (That’s a very, very cleaned-up paraphrase of his graphic, disgustingly profane words).

PRIEST

Coughlin was a priest who used the radio to acquire a large audience for his political and religious propaganda, Frater writes. He was born in 1891 and was one of the first to use modern technology to mass communicate for such a purpose.
He started out innocently enough, using radio to decry the KKK for burning crosses on his church grounds, but 10 years later, in 1936, he started praising and defending both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini for their politics and spewing some of the most despicable virulence against Jews that the world had seen to that point. He blamed the Great Depression on “an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers,” then blamed Communism, the Russian 1917 Revolution, and Marxist atheism on “global Jewry, in its attempt to lead people astray from the perfection of Lord Jesus.”
According to Frater, Coughlin plagiarized a speech by Goebbels, then delivered it himself in a rally in the Bronx on September 13, 1935, giving the “Hitler salute.” And this is what he said: “When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.”
He acquired thousands of followers who chanted things like, “Wait until Hitler gets over here!” Coughlin was linked with a group that attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government, after which he was abandoned by most of them. He still refused to change his politics, and fought a series of radio duels with Unitarian Walton Cole, who wanted the Catholic Church to put an end to Coughlin’s vitriol.

PEOPLES TEMPLE

The number of people who died with Applewhite is nothing compared to the 909 people, 276 of them children, who became enamored with the handsome, charismatic founder of the Peoples Temple. James Warren Jones started out Methodist and seemed to have fine intentions, endeavoring to bring about civil rights for blacks and integrate American society.
Somewhere along the line, however, he went patently insane. He was an aggressive narcissist. He never claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and the only reason he founded the Peoples Temple was for the money he could make via his congregation.
The strangest part is that his followers were not hopeless runaways or uneducated or uninformed. They were predominantly members of other Christian denominations. They were taken by Jones’ good looks and charm and his ability to lead and convince.
In 1974, the Temple went to Guyana with only 50 members. But Jones promised others back in the U.S. a tropical paradise, and they flocked by the hundreds to “Jonestown.” Because he had always been an outspoken Communist sympathizer, and intended Jonestown to be a socialist safe heaven, he drew the attention of the U.S. Government.
On November 17, 1978, investigating claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple, California congressman Leo Ryan went to Jonestown, and about 15 members wanted to leave with him. They attempted to depart via a nearby airstrip, and were fired upon by Temple security guards. Ryan was killed, along with four others, one a Temple member.
When the shooters returned to Jonestown, Jones and accomplices were preparing a mass suicide by poisoning: Flavor Aid loaded with cyanide, phenergan, Valium, and chloral hydrate. There are graphic pictures of the dead lying en masse outside the pavilion, 909 of them. The children were probably not told that the drink was poisoned. Jones shot himself in the head.

PSYCHOPATH

Applewhite has gone down in history as a true psychopath, write Frater. Born May 17, 1931, he proclaimed himself the prophet in 1972, and then, as all other weirdoes seem to do, called himself Jesus Christ reincarnated. He was not as handsome as Koresh, but he wasn’t exactly ugly, either; he was married and seemed for all the world to be “blameless and upright before God.”
Followers flocked to his forceful charisma when he told them that UFOs were coming to take them away to heaven. When the UFOs didn’t show, the followers left, but he kept preaching to friends and their acquaintances, and by 1975 acquired a following of 93 men, women, and children.
He eventually recruited people from all over 50 states and settled in Rancho Santa Fe, California. His wife died of cancer in 1985, and sometime between then and 1997, he had a nurse surgically castrate him, for purification. He called his church “Heaven’s Gate.” His congregation worshipped him fervently.
Om March 19, 1997, as the comet Hale-Bopp was passing Earth, Applewhite recorded himself preaching to his congregation that suicide “was the only way to evacuate this earth.” His congregation did not believe in suicide, but was so enamored with him, that 39 members took his word for it, and on March 24, 25, and 26, they killed themselves with mixtures of phenobarbital and applesauce, followed by vodka. They also put plastic bags over their heads to be sure of asphyxiation, in case the poison didn’t work.

EXCOMMUNICATE

Paul Jennings Hill was a trained and ordained Presbyterian minister, but the church excommunicated him in 1993 for taking such a militant stand against abortion and for becoming a member of the Army of God, a Christian terrorist, antiabortion organization.
This ordained minister finally let her anger get the best of him when he travelled to Pensacola, Florida, on July 29, 1994, to an abortion clinic, and murdered one of the doctors and his bodyguard point-blank with shotgun blasts. He also wounded the bodyguard’s wife. The he calmly put down the shotgun in the grass and sat and waited for the police.
He was executed. The law does not permit vigilante justice, and come to think of it, “Love thine enemies” seems a fair argument against it also, Frater reports.

‘PONTIFEX MAXIMUS’

Matthew Hale is currently serving 40 years in prison for attempting to solicit the murder of Judge Joan Lefkow. Not a model preacher. But actually, he calls himself the Pontifex Maximus of the Creativity Movement, which is just another offshoot from the Ku Klux Klan. The church is for whites only, and it has its own bible, in which one finds passages such as, “You have no alibi, no other way out, white man! Fight or dies!”
His church calls for a worldwide racial holy war to exterminate the Jews and all the black people in order to establish “a white world.” His reasoning: God is white; God created Jews and black people to test the faith and resolve of white people; thus, killing a Jew or black person is not a sin. After one of his followers, Benjamin N. Smith, committed a deadly shooting spree, targeting only minorities, Hale “defended” his actions on TV by saying, “We do urge hatred. If you love something, you must hate that which threatens it.” He is recorded on audiotape laughing about the shootings and imitating the sounds of gunfire.

ABORTION

Michael Bay is not an ordained or college-educated minister, but he does preach a lot about abortion. He served 46 months of a 10-year sentence for conspiring to bomb 10 abortions clinics in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. He and his wife stand firmly on Bible as the inerrant Word of God, and they say that because it preaches so firmly against homosexuality and adultery, anyone convicted of either in a court of law should be put to death, even though American courts have no problem with either. They might be sins, but they aren’t felonies, according to Frater.
Bray didn’t exactly help the Christian cause of conversion by allowing Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist in the world, to interview him for a show called The Root of All Evil. Bray was thoroughly outmatched, of course, and made Christianity look like…well, the root of all evil, writes Frater.
He is now out of prison and living in Washington, Ohio; he is officially labeled as a terrorist.

LIE CONVINCINGLY

Frater describes Pat Robertson as “worse” (than Sun Myung Moon and David Koresh) because “he doesn’t even know how to lie convincingly. He swear that “the spirit of God comes mightily upon (him)” and enables him to leg press 2,000 pounds even though he’s 79 years old. This claim has been thoroughly debunked by weightlifting experts, and yet he persists in claiming it without proving it.
He has claimed to be able to deflect hurricanes by praying to God, and stated that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion throughout America, thus showing that he did not pray for Katrina’s deflection. He believes that the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina might be divinely connected.
He denounced Haiti after the January 12, 2010, earthquake, stating that Haiti deserved what it was getting because it swore a pact with the devil back in 1791 in order to drive out the French. Whether that pact was sworn or not, his comments were obviously intended to inflame and hurt, and they did so. How Christian of him. He was roundly denounced by most Christian denominations and still refuses to retract what he did.
He predicted doomsday in 1982. He predicted a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest in 2006, then a terrorist attack on American soil sometime in 2007. He defended this failure by saying, “All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God, in his mercy, spared us.” He has made many other predictions, none of which has come true.
He has many times called for the destruction of Islam and all its followers and calls Islam “satanic.” He calls Hinduism “demonic.” He even claims that some Protestant Christian denominations harbor the spirit of the anti-Christ. He has made quite a few anti-Semitic remarks, notably about Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, whose stroke and subsequent vegetative state Robertson calls “an act of God.”

‘PROPHET’

David Koresh (born Vernon Wayne Howell) was a handsome, charismatic Texan, considered so poor a student in elementary and middle school that he was enrolled in special-ed classes. He memorized the New Testament by age 11, and impregnated a 15-year-old when he was 19. He must have forgotten a few verses, says Frater.
By 1983, after being kicked out of a Seventh-Day Adventist Church for fooling around with the pastor’s daughter, he began calling himself a prophet. He was able to recruit followers because of his good looks and magnetic personality, eventually proclaiming himself Jesus Christ, “the Son of God, the Limb who could open the seven seals.”
He taught that monogamy was the only proper relationship, but that polygamy was perfectly fine for him and him alone. After his first wife died, he quickly had sex with Karen Doyle, called her his second wife, and proceeded to have sex with as many as 140 different women.
Karen Doyle did not get pregnant, probably because she was 14 years old, so he slept with Michael Jones, who was 12 years old. By proclaiming this is to be God’s will, he was able to have sex with any woman or girl whenever he liked. He tried to gun down George Roden, who was also a high-ranking member of Koresh’s sect, and escaped conviction by mistrial.
By the time of the Waco Siege, he had, by his own admission, fathered at least 12 children, some by girls as young as 12. And the followers just kept coming. Frater says in his option, the NBI seriously botched the siege and used unnecessary force, but Koresh was the primary culprit of his followers’ death, 82 of them by fire. Which side started the fire is hotly disputed and will never be known, but Koresh told his followers, “Don’t move until you see God.”
They didn’t see God before they burned alive, Koresh with them.

UNIFICATION CHURCH

Sun Myung Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, which has spread worldwide since its origin in 1954. Moon was born in 1920 and has set himself up as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. A lot of people go around saying, “I’m Jesus,” but they’re usually dismissed as insane or attention-seeking.
Moon has convinced anywhere from several hundred thousand to one million people to join his church and consider him “Jesus reincarnated.” He is vehemently opposed to homosexuality. He is also extremely anti-Semitic, championing the Holocaust as divine vengeance against the Jewish because they didn’t support Jesus, which Moon claims brought about his murder by the Roman government.
And Moon leads an extraordinary lavish lifestyle. Modern church founders typically make a lot of money, but Jesus didn’t make one cent. Moon has been known to spend $2,000 a day and give his children as much as $50,000 monthly allowances. His “True Family’s” home is a huge mansion on 18 acres in Irvington, New York, with 12 bedrooms, a dining room complete with pond and waterfall, seven bathrooms, and a bowling alley. He also has mansions in Korea, England, Scotland, and Germany, and his kids have Thoroughbred horses, private tutors, Ferraris, motorcycles, and black checks to take on their vacations (on which they travel first-class, of course — Frater).
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
The funniest part, Frater reveals, is that he was convicted of tax fraud and served 18 months in prison. Remember the fish Jesus told Peter to catch? It had two coins in its mouth, one for each of them, to pay the tax. “Render therefore unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Even Jesus paid taxes.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Surveys don't elect candidates

"Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?" Robert Orben

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I don't believe in surveys. 
I have covered presidential and local elections in the Philippines since 1992, and I can absolutely declare that many surveys conducted by different "independent" firms months--or even weeks-before the election day, didn't match the final results.
Surveys--depending on who "sponsored" them-- were sometimes used to condition the mind of the public.
Or confuse the undecided voters.
Election 1992 winner Fidel V. Ramos of the Lakas–NUCD (People Power–National Union of Christian Democrats) was never a front-runner in various surveys, but edged Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the People's Reform Party (PRP)--5,342,521 million votes or 23.58% against 4,468,173 million votes or 19.72%.
Survey leaders Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. (3,316,661 million votes or 14.64%) of the Nationalist People's Coaliation (NPC) and Ramon V. Mitra (3,316,661 million votes or 14.64%) of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Democratic Filipinos) wound up third and fourth, respectively.

ERAP

Cojuangco's runningmate, Joseph "Erap" Estrada won over Mitra's runningmate, Marcelo Fernan by more then two million votes.
The only difference was the 1998 presidential race where Estrada clobbered Jose "Joe" De Venecia by more than six million votes (Erap got 10,722,295 votes or 39.86% against De Venecia's 4,268,483 million votes or 15.87%).
SWS and Pulse Asia surveys consistently showed Erap in the front seat from day one during the campaign period.
Also making difference was De Venecia's runningmate, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was consistently ahead on all the surveys against LDP's Edgardo Angara--12,667,252 million votes or 49.56% against 5,652,068 million votes or 22.11%.
Survey networks couldn't make a "profit" because Erap's and Gloria's victories were exceptional.
They were extremely popular at that time and their respective rivals were perceived to be "pipitsugin" or weak.

GLORIA

Election 2004 winner Macapagal-Arroyo was way behind Fernando Poe Jr. of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (Coalition of United Filipinos) in SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, but romped off with a slim margin--12,905,808 million votes or 39.99% against 11,782,232 million votes or 36.51%.
Surveys were split between vice presidential winner Noli de Castro and Loren Legarda, who lost only by less than a million votes, 15,100,431 against 14,218,709.
Election 2010 winner, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino Jr. of the Liberal Party (LP) was also making waves in various surveys owing to the popularity of her late mother, former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, but SWS and Pulse Asia surveys showed his closest rivals were Manny Villar of the Nationalista Party and Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro of the Lakas Kampi-CMD.
In fact, many survey outfits saw Villar the winner weeks before the elections on May 10, 2010.
The former speaker of the House, who reportedly had P20 billion war chest, finished third with 5,573,835 million votes or 15.42%.
Strangely, Teodoro, who was the most popular candidate in social media, especially in Facebook, wound up fourth with 4,095,839 million votes or 11.33%

POPULAR

The most popular candidate in the May 9, 2016 elections in Facebook today is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte.
He also topped the recent SWS and Pulse Asia survey followed by Grace Poe.
They were followed by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bet Jejomar Binay and LP administration candidate Mar Roxas.
The Comelec, however, has declared Binay's party as the dominant minority party in this year’s elections, while LP is the dominant majority party.
The poll body's declaration means that LP and UNA shall be entitled to the following privileges:
--get the fifth and sixth copies of election returns (ERs), respectively, to be produced by the vote counting machines; 
--receive electronically-transmitted precinct results;
--get the seventh and eighth copies of the Certificates of Canvass, respectively; and 
--assign official watchers in every polling places and canvassing centers.

MACHINERY

Philippine elections are won not only by popularity but more importantly by machinery, as shown in the past presidential races.
A candidate may be popular, but his popularity can't be translated into votes automatically.
Also, national candidates are usually being carried by party candidates in the local elections for governors, mayors, and provincial, city, and municipal councilors. 
Most of the voters not reached by survey organizations are loyal to their villages chiefs, who are mostly loyal to their mayors and governors.
The LP had boasted that 67 out of the 82 incumbent governors showed up at the three-hour gathering known as "show of force" at the historic Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City recently.
A total of 169 district representatives and 74 city mayors were also in attendance.
Will LP change the course of history once more by proving both the SWS and Pulse Asia wrong?


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Philippines' Pericles and Draco, donde estas ahora?

"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." George Bernard Shaw

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- It is believed that the best-ever Senate in the Philippines was the Sixth Congress in 1966-1969 headed by Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino.
The batch produced some of the country's greatest statesmen and brilliant lawmakers like Alejandro D. Almendras, Gaudencio E. Antonino, Magnolia W. Antonino, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. (President Noynoy's father), Dominador R. Aytona, and the marvelous Jose W. Diokno
Sixth Congress also saw the rise of the "Stormy Petrel of the South", Iloilo City's Rodolfo T. Ganzon, idol of the timawa (poor).
There was also Eva Estrada Kalaw, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Wenceslao R. Lagumbay, Juan R. Liwag, Genaro F. Magsaysay, Manuel P. Manahan  Raul S. Manglapus, and Camilo Osias.
Cebu's Sergio Osmeña, Jr. was a member of that illustrious batch along with Emmanuel N. Pelaez, Leonardo P. Perez, Gil J. Puyat, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Gerardo M. Roxas (Mar's father), the eminent Jovito R. Salonga, human rights behemoth Lorenzo M. Tañada, Lorenzo G. Teves, and Tecla San Andres Ziga.

WAVES

The Senate Seventh Congress (1970-1973) led by Senate President Gil J. Puyat was also making waves, what with the presence of comebacking Ambrosio B. Padilla, team captain of the RP basketball team that placed third in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who first won as senator after he resigned as solicitor general under President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.
But Martial Law cut short the senators' tenure in 1972. 
President Ferdinand Marcos subsequently phased out the Legislature as the country's new Constitution transformed the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.
When democracy was restored after EDSA Revolution in 1986, the Senate Eight Congress (1987-1992) led by Senate President Jovito Salonga produced yet the country's most dynamic and prolific leaders like Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Rene Saguisag, Edgardo Angara, Wigberto Tanada, Teopisto Guingona Jr., Joey Lina, Orlando Mercado, Heherson Alvarez, and the lone survivor from the opposition, Martial Law architect Juan Ponce Enrile.
Now Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. was the lone casualty from the President Cory Aquino-blessed administration senatorial ticket that nearly scored a sweep (Enrile bumped off Defensor for the 24th slot).

PRESENCE

It was in the Senate Ninth Congress (1992-1995) led by Senate President Neptali Gonzalez where film comedian and action stars like Vicente Sotto III, Ramon Revilla Sr. and Freddie Webb started to make their present felt.
PBA playing-coach Robert Jaworski and putschist Gringo Honasan followed suit in the Senate 11th Congress (1998-2001) headed by Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan.
To add insult, action stars Lito Lapid, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada completed the Senate 13th Congress (2004-2007) led by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Another putschist Antonio Trillanes IV made it in the Senate 14th Congress (2007-2010) led by Senate President Manuel Villar.
And finally in the Senate 16th Congress (2013-2016) currently headed anew by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Ma. Lourdes "Nancy" Binay stole the limelight.

ARRIVAL

To compound the matter, the Senate 17th Congress is heading for another "disaster" with the "imminent" arrival of former bold star Alma Moreno and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
When Pericles died in 429 BC, the Greeks mourned the loss of arguably the most prominent and influential statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age.
When Draco died in 600 BC, the Greeks wept the departure of Ancient Greece's first recorded legislator who laid down Greece's first constitution known as Draconian Constitution.
Donde estas ahora or where are you now, the Philippines' Pericles and Draco? 

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Character)

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.
-- BILLY GRAHAM :

No searchlight or rescue team can locate or restore a lost character. While it is still in existence, we must vigorously guard it and prevent Mr. Bad Manners and Ms. Arrogance from abducting it. 
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friendship)

Suspicion is the cancer of friendship.
-- PETRARCH :

Once we allow the seeds of mistrust to grow in the garden of suspicion, we will soon produce trees that symbolize death of friendship and beginning of hostility. The final harvest: best friends turning into best enemies--or "I love you" impairing into "I hate you."
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Love)

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.
-- NINO DE L'ENCLOS :

And because of arithmetic, we are aware that a triangle or the calculation of two plus one is equals chaos and guerra mundial. Moral of the story: always use the most simple and basic one-plus-one-equals-two calculation.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

'Political stroke' more deadly than heat stroke

"Look around. There are no enemies here. There's just good, old-fashioned rivalry." Bob Wells

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- There is a virus in the Philippines nowadays more deadly than heat stroke: "political stroke."
While medical experts describe heat stroke as a form of hyperthermia or heat-related illness, or an abnormally elevated body temperature with accompanying physical symptoms including changes in the nervous system function, "political stroke" is the virtual collapse of a relationship among erstwhile friends--because of politics and election 2016.
Political rivalry has murdered a lot of friendships; and some quarrels have turned awry and appear irreparable after the May 9 polls because of intense mudslinging, name-calling, and character assassination, which have become the order of the day during campaign sorties.
Locked in bitter rifts and cold shoulder treatments brought by partisan politics, kumpares, kumares, inaanaks, ninongs, ninangs are now ready to return baptismal candles.

SOCIAL MEDIA

In the social media, Facebook "friends" rooting for different candidates, swap insults and hurl unprintable against each other before "unfriending" one another.
Election season in the Philippines has proven also to be the number one source of animosity even among family members.
Only in the Philippines where a father, Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte Sr., is campaigning against his own son, Gov. Luis Ramund Villafuerte, who is running for congressman against Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Ignacio Arroyo in Camarines Sur.
Only in the Philippines where a younger brother, Vice Governor Raul Tupas, who is running for congressman in the fifth district of Iloilo, is being opposed by his own brother, Rep. Neil Jr., who supports his own wife, Angeli Lee.
And who can forget Guimaras' political Cain and Abel: former governors Felipe Nava and Rahman Nava?

PRESIDENTIAL

Things are also not getting better in the presidential race weeks to go before the final reckoning.
Rudy Duterte, Mar Roxas, and Jejomar Binay have unloaded and swapped heavy diatribes never heard before in history of political campaign in the country.
They distract each other with personal insults when survey results showed it is still anybody's ballgame. Ditto in the vice presidential race.
Even supporters of leading candidates have turned violent and tangle like they are nemesis themselves. 
The vice mayor in Isabela was recently assassinated allegedly for premature vote-buying.
More violence is feared by the Philippine National Police in the next several days when the final campaign trails come to a final conclusion.

HEAT

Heat index is feared to hit from 37.9-38.5 Celsius, which the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) said is the equivalent of a 45.4 Celsius heat index.
The searing heat is here to stay and not yet inclined to leave the Philippines. 
Intense political rivalries compound the matter and the mayhem may not subside within weeks after the winners in the May 9 polls will be known.
In terms of damage and destruction to the Filipinos' health and psyche, "political stroke" is giving heat stroke a run for its money.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How to win an election: Tips from Cicero's brod

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."  Philip K. Dick

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- With election days fast approaching in the Philippines in May and the United States in November this year, we are lucky to have Harvard University's Dr. Philip Freeman, who translated the text of the Commentariolum Petitionis from Latin to English and included it in the amazing book, "How To Win An Election", an ancient guide for modern politicians.
For US $3.98 (plus $.35 tax), I was lucky to secure a copy of the book from the Salvation Army in Queens recently. Its unit price was actually $9.95 excluding tax.
Commentariolum Petitionis ("little handbook on electioneering"), also known as De petitione consulatus ("on running for the Consulship"), is an essay supposedly written by Quintus Tullius Cicero, 65-64 BC, as a guide for his brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, in his campaign in 64 to be elected consul of the Roman Republic.
"I have tried to make my translation accessible, colloquial, and as clear as possible to modern readers, while remaining faithful to the sense of the original text," writes Freeman, who holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

IDEALIST

The book tells us that in 64 BC, when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.
"What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters," explains Freeman.
Freeman describes it as "unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero wins)--and as relevant today as when it was written."
Like Machiavelli's Prince, this short treatise provides timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power. 
Idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother--and all of us--how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really works.

PRICELESS

Freeman says the letter is full of priceless advice for modern candidates, but some of the choicest gems are:
1. Make sure you have the backing of your family and friends. Loyalty begins at home. If your spouse and children aren't behind you, not only will you have a hard time winning but it will look bad to voters. And as Quintus warns Marcus, the most destructive rumors about a candidate begin among closest to him. 

2. Surround yourself with the right people. Build a talented staff you can trust. You can't be everywhere at once, so find those who will represent you as if they were trying to be elected themselves.

3. Call in all favors. It's time to gently (or not so gently) remind everyone you have ever helped that they owe you. If someone isn't under obligation to you, let them know that their support now will put you in their debt in the future. And as an elected official, you will be well placed to help them in their time of need.

4. Build a wide base of support. For Marcus Cicero this meant appealing primarily to the traditional power brokers both in the Roman Senate and the wealthy business community--no easy task since groups were often at odds with each other. 
But Quintus urges his brother as an outsider in the political game to go further and win over the various special interest groups, local organizations, and rural populations ignored by other candidates. Young voters should be courted as well, along with anyone else who might be of use. 
As Quintus notes, even people no decent person would associate with in normal life should become the closest of friends during a campaign if they can help get you elected. 
Restricting yourself to a narrow base of support guarantees failure.

5. Promise everything to everybody. Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been on their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts' desire than he backs out later.

6. Communication skills are key. In ancient Rome the art of public speaking was studied diligently by all men who aspired to political careers. In spite of the new and varied forms of media today, a poor communicator is still unlikely to win an election. 

7. Don't leave town. In Marcus Cicero's day this meant sticking close to Rome. For modern politicians it means being on the ground pressing the flesh wherever the key voters are at a particular moment. There is no such thing as a day off for a serious candidate. You can take a vacation after you win.

8. Know the weakness of your opponents--and exploit them. Just as Quintus takes a hard look at those running against his brother, all candidates should do an honest inventory of both the vulnerabilities and strengths of their rivals. 
Winning candidates do their best to distract voters from any positive aspects of their opponents possess by emphasizing the negatives. 
Rumors of corruption are prime fodder. Sex scandals are even better.

9. Flatter voters shamelessly. Marcus Cicero was always courteous, but he could be formal and distant. Quintus warns him that he needs to warm up to voters. Look them in the eye, pat them on the back, and tell them they matter. Make voters believe you genuinely care about them.

10. Give people hope. Even the most cynical voters want to believe in someone. Give the people a sense that you can make their world better and they will become your most devoted followers--at least until after the election, when you will inevitably let them down. But by then it won't matter because you will have already won.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Reputation)

The worst thing that can happen to a man is to lose his money, the next worst his health, the next worst his reputation.
-- SAMUEL BUTLER :

If we lose money, we can still recover it through hard work. If we lose our health, our life would be in danger. If we lose our reputation, our life would be meaningless.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Fault-finding)

To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.
-- PLUTARCH :

Instead of being always quick to criticize and bellyache without offering any better alternative or solution to a certain problem, we should show that we belong by cooperating and chipping in a suggestion and idea. When we open our mouth, we should see to it that we become part of the solution, not part of the problem.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Character)

A man's true character comes out when he's drunk.
-- CHARLIE CHAPLIN :

Let's judge a man's character not when he is under the influence of liquor because it is given that a human being is not normal when intoxicated. A man's true character is best tested by how he treats those who are in the lower strata of society, the way he behaves when provoked, the way he handles personal problems, and when he is hit by terrible economic difficulties.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Transparency)

A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.
-- DALAI LAMA :

If we want to avoid being pissed off and badgered to "please tell the truth" about our whereabouts, activities and transactions, the best antidote is to be candid and transparent. If we don't hide anything, no further explanation is needed. No further alibi is necessary.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Understand)

The best way to understand a person is to look at the company he keeps.
--ANONYMOUS :

The best way to avoid hating others is to start accepting them for what they are and begin building bridges of amity and camaraderie to prevent hostility. It is best if we can also mind our own business.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Possible bedfellows: Roxas-Clinton, Duterte-Trump, Poe or Binay-Clinton

"Perfect partners don't exist. Perfect conditions exist for a limited time in which partnerships express themselves best."  
Wayne Rooney

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- There should be no more false hopes for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders as the number of Democratic open primaries is getting smaller, with Sec. Hillary Clinton must now win only 33 percent of remaining delegates to hit the 2,383 magic number as of April 6.
In order to oust Clinton, Sanders must win 67 percent of the remaining delegates. 
Clinton now has 1,728 against Sanders' 1,058 (this is the latest count even after Sanders clobbered Clinton in Wisconsin, 57 percent-43 percent).
With the next primary heading to New York (April 19), Clinton's home state, the prospect has become dimmer for Sanders.
Assuming that Clinton clinches the Democratic presidential slot, pollsters have predicted she could put away either Donald Trump (753 delegates) or Ted Cruz (514) of Republican party in the November general election.

SUPPORT

With full support from President Noynoy Aquino, Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party could pull the rug from under PDP Laban's Rodrigo Duterte, Nationalist People's Coalition's Grace Poe, and United Nationalist Alliance's Jejomar Binay.
Because of health problems, Miriam Defensor-Santiago has fallen by the wayside and isn't anymore expected to put up a good fight with barely five weeks to go.
Assuming that Roxas will win on May 9, 2016 and Clinton becomes president after the November 8, 2016 general election, they can work together harmoniously as both the Liberal and Democratic parties almost share the same political ideology and philosophy.
Although LP distances itself from the political extremes on the left and right, it can tune in with the Democrat's modern liberalism.

LANDSCAPE

If Duterte will make it and Trump will upset Clinton, the political landscape will change drastically as both gentlemen are known tough guys determined to wield iron hands to govern their nations.
Duterte has vowed to wipe out criminal elements and feed them to the fishes in the Manila Bay, while Trump has promised to build a wall to prevent Hispanic illegals from crossing the US-Mexico border; round up and yank out overstaying aliens.
Duterte's PDP Laban democratic centrist socialism
and consultative and participative democracy principles will have to sit well with Trump's Republican American conservatism.

SMOOTH

Poe's NPC can work smoothly with the Republican as it is also a conservative party.
Since it is in the right wing, Binay's UNA can engage in a romance with both the Democrat and Republican parties as it also embraces the ideology of conservatism, Filipino nationalism, social conservatism, and populism.
This means that a Binay victory in the Philippines and a Clinton or Trump victory in the United States can't be a case of a round hole in a square peg.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Trust)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Truthful)


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Ignorance, Ugliness)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Best Friends)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Success)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Laws, Legislation)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Giving, Sharing)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Success)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Lying)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Respect)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Emotion, Reason)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Dignity)


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Kindness, Understanding)

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
-- OG MANDINO :

Kindness and understanding must be accorded to everyone we meet whether dying or living. If no one will die tonight the better so we will not only extend and sustain our kindness and understanding, we can also sincerely love one another. 
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Knowledge)

There is no knowledge that is not power.
--RALPH WALDO EMERSON :

If we know nothing, read nothing, write nothing and say nothing, we become nothing. If we have knowledge, we can think and decide logically; we can protect our loved ones; we can recite our bill of rights; we can thwart the mystics and outwit the cynics.
--ALEX P. VIDAL