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Monday, November 8, 2010

TALKING POINTS BARNACLE: HAPPENINGS THAT MAKE TV SO SPECIAL

The Midterm Elections

Tacky - is what I would comment on the course of the midterm elections in the so called Land of Opportunity. Not per se though, since this is the most expensive campaign trail for a midterm election in the US history, but indiscriminately gauche when you think about or boil down what you think about the way the candidates engaged one another this time. It makes me smile especially when the press and overindulging media keeps on making fun of O’Donell being a witch (which she helplessly tried to defend she isn’t), but her past revealing some of witchy element was a total kill shot. Hold on, ladies and gentlemen, this woman abhors masturbation. Yes, would you believe that? Wrong move, Christine. Absolutely unnecessary. Whatever ethical contentions, or even worse, reformations you have, sure do that the men of talk shows would totally dig on that. Leno did a pretty good job mocking our dear Christine (in several instances maybe) in the Tonight Show. Leno asks, “So, she never had masturbation”. I’ll stop here. Let your imagination and creativity work itself up.
Witchy-ness and anti-boohoo aside, O’Donell was a total screw up because she appeared to be so like the politically disgusting hominid Sarah Palin. Yes, the reason among others why John McCain might have potentially got screwed on his way to the White House. Why her? I’m no anti-GOP or anti-Conservatism (maybe in some way), but to be honest, the GOP interests me more than the Democrats do. But later on the Democrats. Anyway, the “pivotal” event in this year’s midterm elections is the influence and role of the not-so-stupidly-named Tea Party Movement. Who are these people? Put it this way, they are simply the best of the Conservative/Republican breed that feel that their comrades in government is losing ground for power, and so they suited up as the saviours of the party who embody the same ideals as theirs. More importantly they think the US Constitution is under attack. What makes it pivotal? The fact (maybe in some extent, as I opine here): Rush Limbaugh isn’t really behind this so-called movement. Who is? Common people who air their voice to mold a collective power in saving the dying Republicanism. Sounds too dramatic? Sounds familiar when you talk about the ever formidable Glenn Beck imitating Dr. King or Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert trying to do the same (the big difference is, Stewart and Colbert gathered more audience than Beck – but on this note, both seemed invoking less originality but the message is entirely different and ‘liberal’...more on this later).
However, what disturbs me is why Palin considered the face of the Tea Party? Isn’t it that she’s one of the reasons why this grassroots movement is there in the first place? To stress unceasingly that the Republican mojo is losing? And the likes of Palin are a mistake in very first place? Anyway, enough of the politicking, let’s move on to what I’m trying to explore here. It’s simple. The midterm election is no better than the usual cutthroat brand of modern American politics. It got worse ever since. It’s inevitable. Even the presidential race two years ago went on the same road, as many would expect that the articulate Obama wouldn’t embrace this kind of political strategy, yet he got some along the way. But this time, it’s funnier. It unravels more about who run, suited to run and unworthy to run the Americans’ Congress. We cited O’Donell of Delware, who lost maybe because of the gaffe, worsened by media flare and talk show mockeries. McCain’s daughter even called her a ‘nutjob’. We also looked at the overratedness of Palin under the Tea Party. Don’t the people behind this deserve more the credit than this woman does? She’s just a piece of frustrated politico who likes to prove herself she is capable of running the White House in the future! Do you know who’s more likely to win than her? My neighbour’s dog! But you get the point. Palin is not the epitome of the Tea Party. What did she do significantly in the first place? Endorse candidates. Yeah, I get that, maybe the same as Manny Pacquiao endorsing Harry Reid, like he knows who this guy is. (I have a theory, if Reid wins, Manny will be too welcome to visit Las Vegas anytime he wants, free of charge – the magic of perks and privileges. How great is that?).



It’s tacky.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brown resigns, Cameron is new Prime Minister

Gordon Brown’s resignation as Labour Party leader on Tuesday headlined a victory for the Tories. Following the May 9 election results where the Conservatives won the most (but the majority) seats with the Labour slipping down to a loss of more than ninety seats, ultimately resulting to Britain’s first hung parliament for the past 36 years, tensions have been significant as much as it has been fruitful.
With the Liberal Democrats sealing the deal with the Conservatives (and not with the Labour), a coalition government was formed and the Queen invited David Cameron to form a new government. This was almost predictable. Even prior to the negotiations between the three major parties, Nick Clegg in his speech expressed that the Conservatives has the ‘right’ to govern this time. But all this has to do with Clegg himself, and part of the credit belongs to him. Cameron’s march towards 10th Downing Street could not have been possible without the kingmaker. And he himself as the Deputy Prime Minister, the new government with Cameron will certainly make a brand new political atmosphere in the Parliament and the system as a whole.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Looking at the British Elections: What it says about their brand of politics

It may not be quite a surprise in general that the three parties competing for a hold of power by securing as much as possible majority seats in the British Parliament are almost at par in terms of their policies and promises for the future UK. Recent happenings involving the country’s biggest parties, the Labour Party led by the economic-crisis saviour Gordon Brown and the Conservative and Unionist Party led by the ever-ardent oppositor of the majority government David Cameron, have created both advantages (to boost the Party’s popular support at the expense of the other’s downfall) and disadvantages (which impaired them in some way) both to the image of the party leader and the credibility of the Party as a whole.
And on May 6th, the standards the parties set for themselves to portray a “who’s the better party towards a better UK” semblance will speak for themselves. But what really is new in this election? Will the candidates make a game-changer?
Contrary to what Simon Schama said, a notable professor from Columbia University, in an interview in a CNN program Amanpour., this years election and the end result will be a different direction at the very least and the campaign trail itself is one of a kind. But to give credit to what Schama contends, British politics may be indeed all as it may have been, if one could talk about how Labour and Conservative always beat each other (sometimes with utmost lack of decency and civility), trying to tone down, nay, cause the fall of the other entirely. Well, as a matter of how I see it, this makes British politics strong and governance a clear competition with clear check and balance. A party’s intense political will to, atop its priorities, gain majority rule by criticizing the other ruthlessly amongst its tools has begun to permeate almost everything a Party may or may not have any business about. This means that as long as party competition is a serious business; expect that both sides of the Parliament will better the nation as a whole, or not at all.
This is not basically new in British politics. Despite Labour’s young origins contrary to the Tories’ centuries-old presence, power-play has been tough. Now this makes a clear ground for real competition in British elections. But what becomes of the present situation compared to the past British governments is that the element of surprise has been deadlier and more cunning for the Parties themselves. For example, if you talk about the Labour-Conservative relationship, despite their most recent bashings, bickering and face-slaps, there is no clear cause to believe that one is inevitably winning. Former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer on Amanpour. said that this has always been the case. How I see it is that the unpredictability comes before and after. I would say that nobody knows who will win and nobody knows what will happen after a party wins. By going back a little, this trend of unpredictability has haunted British politics for a long time. Churchill’s Conservative leadership brought a major lead and support for the party. The Conservative’s unprecedented political success was amplified by Churchill’s victory during the Second World War (a boost for morale) together with the Allied Forces, seemingly making Churchill the Conservative’s most influential leader and UK’s prime minister with boundless popularity, both local and overseas. In spite of the Conservative win during this time, the parties hold on power and the British’s support waned down in just a matter of few years. Labour and other parties broke the British power dominance of the Conservative. This short-live rule of a party or it’s popularity begotten by its successful marches to make the public believe that what they do is for the nation’s welfare may even presently be there. This is true as I see it in the case of the Labour.
Thatcher’s rule also led a Conservative swipe in the British politics, almost the same as Churchill’s. But the Iron Lady’s role in keeping in competition with Labour and contributing to the empowerment of her party led to some unexpected downturn. Her resignation as Prime Minister reflected a loophole in party discipline. It seemed that the Conservatives have been turning against each other, making a shaky party less competitive against the Labour. With this, Labour took advantage (which is the trend in the present British election). Tony Blair’s New Labour Party was a game-changer in the political battle mainly fought by the two. Blair’s New Labour created a new standard for the old Labour, signalling a political change and ideology for the Labour Party founded in the 1900s, only that this reinvention of the party strengthened a new politics that the people wants at the very demise of the Conservatives.
The element of change (due to discontent of the previous governments) has always been a fact of politics, nay, a political leverage at that. Why a leverage? Talk about 21st century and everybody will talk about political shift. This has been the very trend of politics across countries. In the US, the Democrats showed that a Republican government has been a failure – this took an extreme advantage for Obama to win, exploiting the weakness showed by Bush and the unpopular support to the Iraq War and the other in Afghanistan which the Republicans strongly fought for. Across Europe, the rise of countless parties never heard of before calls for social and political change, challenging the age-old parties that have been failing. Reformist and moderate parties are gaining support and power as opposition against fundamentalist governments across Asia. Even US’s Tea Party Movement calls for it. And this demand is CHANGE. Change breeds tough opposition. Like what the Tories experienced during years after Churchill and during Thatcher, Labour spells the same fate. The advent of Blair’s government as a particular case was as I’ve said a major change in British politics. But one mistake said it all. Like the intense outcry against the war in Iraq, Blair’s support for the war damaged the party, so as the interest of the British people, leaving a chance for the Conservatives (Tories) to exploit it. This is however was not done so to their advantage. It may have been that either or both Tony Blair and the Labour as a whole was damaged by their stand on the war, the party’s win ‘again’ under a new government led by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer during Blair, was an unprecedented turn of events. Did the Conservatives fail to do about the Labour’s disastrous decisions? Did the Conservative fail to exploit the mounting unpopular support for Blair’s New Labour? This happening is indeed a history maker if ever things have gone differently, and this deserves some attention.
You see, the reinvention of the Labour Party turning into the New Labour supposedly spelled a much better party to compete against the Tory. The mere changing of the party itself posed one thing and one thing only: that the British people had enough already of the countless mistakes of the previous governments including the Tory for a certain amount of time, thus, a new party innovation will change the British politics to its core as what people so desperately demands now and urgent. I might say that this was indeed a very powerful strategy for the Labour to do. If Labour did not make a new game plan, would the Conservatives have done it? I couldn’t say for certain what could have happened but the interesting issues could have been different if the New Labour was short lived. But Brown’s majority government proved a much tougher enemy for the Conservatives to deal with. Their failure to exploit Blair’s mistake led to the Labour’s persistence. Also, this I think had a blow against the Tories themselves. By not finishing off a dying enemy, it will certainly create a backlash whether a party is strong to take over. And the Labour’s role in the recent economic crisis under their man himself Gordon Brown showed a party in momentum for winning another election. But then again, the Opposition has been also strong and has been tougher (but not enough yet) under Cameron’s leadership, balancing the power-politics presently ruled by Brown.
Now this I say levelled a fair and square competition between the two major parties. What is interesting again is that the unexpected appearance of the Liberal Democrat Party may hold a twist in the political arena. At this point perhaps one could contend and concede that the Tory and the Labour would be competing primarily against each other. However, the game-changer may be the ‘other’ party. Polls show that despite Cameron’s party’s lead, seconded (surprisingly) by the Liberal Democrats’ candidate Nick Clegg and Brown being the third, the Conservatives may not secure a majority win. If neither the Conservative nor the Labour wins a majority with the LD’s breaking role, this could lead to a hung parliament. Brown for one sees (in the final prime ministerial debate) that the LD and the Conservative will make a coalition. But will Clegg or Cameron be unto this? I doubt that Cameron will agree on a power-sharing deal with the LD. But acting out of desperation to once again hold the government, possibility may be spelled out. But still we can doubt whether LD or Nick Clegg will agree. Certainly these parties do not agree on issues at hand, but looking at the debates, the three candidate’s policies are neither different nor the same. Now, if Clegg becomes the majority breaker, he could assume to take a coalition with the party his policies are closest to. However, the LD may even have the chance to win the elections, which is a serious problem for the Conservative who fought long hard to gain the support, but less for the Labour. It will surely be a slap on the face to Cameron if they lose. But who knows? The complexity of the political situation now is different and a case to with most surprises. Think of it, Labour had been popular for quite sometime, but the Conservatives hadn’t waged war enough with them, only at the floors of the Parliament most of the time (didn’t exploit intensively the Iraq war, the misconduct of some Labour government officials, Gordon’s gaffe, Clegg’s experience). Cameron’s leadership is not enough to counter the Labour, even the newbie Clegg who seems to be a rising star, bur Brown is still not out of the picture. Indeed, the 6th of May could be a rethinking of how the British politics plays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brief Conversations at the Town Hall Party in a Thunderstorm

Click here to download "Brief Conversations at the Town Hall Party in a Thunderstorm" by C.L. Sinclair (PDF).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Haiti Earthquake: An International Humanitarian Concern

It is a very sad news that an earthquake has struck the island nation of Haiti, with presumed dead of approximately 50, 000 according to the International Red Cross and from the reports of local Haitian officials. Day by day, more victims fall from helplessness.
May the countries of the world do the best they can to help. This is an international humanitarian concern that everyone must consider a responsibility and compassion towards the needy victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NBC's Talk Show Dilemma: Who To Keep, Jay or Conan?

...soon....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Assessing actions and solutions for Iraq: Why Zakaria failed to see the reality and hoped for the problematic?

Commentary

by Emil Angelo C. Martinez






Fareed Zakaria’s Newsweek article “Don’t Forget America’s Other War” tells so much about how Obama’s withdrawal of American military forces in the war-torn, almost failed-state Iraq becomes a necessary precondition to foretell the future of the country. Yes, he does portray that America has been a global knight in shining armour and that civil strife in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan among others is an obligation that must be undertaken - may it be in brute force. Zakaria puts an implicit positive view towards the war itself, that military deployments, police trainings, aids, etc. had actually helped to at least neutralize insurgency and to harness local defenders to care for themselves once America leaves. No one can really blame Saddam Hussein nor Mubarak nor the Iraqi officials for not employing effective measures against hardcore insurgents in the country without the help of the Americans during Bush’s and Obama’s administration. Insurgency in the country is just hard to eliminate – it’s too big a task for a government which lacks political will, proper training and experience of the military and police, pressures and control over corrupt government leeches. Fear of the insurgents themselves makes civilians less participative and active in siding against the known enemy. What is the main problem, anyway? It is important for foreign policy makers, Obama and the local Iraqi officials to identify the major root of the problem. Fareed Zakaria argues that the reason why internal civil enmity still persists is that there have been problems emerging from political differences between Iraq’s divided constituencies: the Sunnis and the Shiites. It is reasonable indeed to say that divisiveness in Iraq is rooted from an age-long religious tension in the country. This problem is even worsened by fundamentalists and extremists from both sides of the pole, employing the use of force and violence to antagonize each other. The Sunnis and Shiites however are not alone. Kurds who still insist on claiming parts of Iraq add up to the tensions. The basic assumption is that these three are seeking for control of Iraq. Politics is strong and lust for power is a competition. But no one should wait for them to go in the streets of Iraq and kill each other, Obama nor any other heads of state don’t want to see bloodshed, causing several civilian deaths. Zakaria suggests that the best way to solve the problem is that “Iraq needs a stable power-sharing deal.” Conciliation may be a good idea but can the Iraqi officials or the international community do about a long-standing dispute which arises from religious differences, progressing into a much harder political enmity? Two things Zakaria is looking forward to: compromise and negotiation.
Talk about compromise first. How much would it take for the three groups to compromise to achieve a power-sharing deal? Although I’m a little bit pessimistic about this issue, it does still make sense though. But are we not learning enough from Mugabe-Tsvangirai power tandem? Has it put any end to Zimbabwe’s major problems? Yes it might have shut close opposition for a while but Morgan Tsvangirai giving in to Mugabe’s unfair condition (Tsvangirai legitimately won the election, but Mugabe won’t just step down) didn’t make a better Zimbabwe in terms of governance among others. Nor did we realize anything from Israel’s reluctance to a two-state policy to end all wars. Zakaria is not seeing that compromise is not always practical for self-interested power seekers. Nor his negotiating solution could be sustainable. If no one wants compromise, negotiating isn’t possible. The two-state policy solution is the best panacea ending tensions in the Middle East especially between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Aren’t you wondering that if Netanyahu agrees to it, aggression from Hamas and Hezbollah would lessen, making a probable indefinite truce between them? It is absolutely practical for most but Netanyahu and his people aren’t seeing that way. Mubarak on the other hand may be the pragmatist, but no one assures that negotiating for a power-sharing solution will end up positively. Zakaria however puts the burden to the people to compromise and negotiate their “differences” peacefully. Yes it does sound reasonable that willingness is from the public, not from the government, but isn’t it the same to what Iranians did? Public opposition against the results that threw Ahmadinejad to another term was perhaps the strongest public display of political will against a bad government since the People Power in the Philippines but such approach doesn’t always work as expected. The major issue is that as long as the government is strong even without public support, opposition will have it’s way cut short. After all, Iran’s reactionary opposition from the people is at its early pace, it’s not that strong enough to challenge the government. One would just expect that it depends on the quality of popular opposition. Correlating it to Iraq, pessimism arises when the issue is that the people should lead to compromise and negotiate. The country is war-torn for Pete’s sake! Nobody expects that political will is strong when the entire state is a battlefield, that collateral damages weaken morale and that bullets and shrapnel everywhere instill fear to the people.
“Its politics is becoming more pluralistic and democratic; its press is free’ its provinces have autonomy; its focus has shifted to business and wealth creation, not religion and jihad” writes Fareed Zakaria. But the question is, how much does the surge of pluralism and democracy in a war-torn country makes it a long-run optimism when even the government is corrupt and incompetent? How much does pluralism and democracy make their way towards peace when the enemy is still at large and is unwilling to compromise and that local authorities cannot take care of their own people? Still, how much would it take for the rich to make a change when their money is used for injustice and violence? The better way to win the war is to win it no matter what, because it’s the only option at hand. If America leaves with Iraq still infested with the worst kind of insurgents, Zakaria’s hopes will not be met. Compromise and negotiations will only be possible for people who are willing to do so. Iraq is not the place for that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 it is, then! A brand new chapter for The Polity Post!


2009 in review is but an arduous job for me to do in this blog because, we get it, '09 had been but a pretty "come hell or high water". I don't need to recall all the things that have happened in 2009 and the naughties like what TV shows are doing, they are trying to impose that we, of all the putrid and life-sucking, oxygen-breathing cut-throat creatures, have the worst memories, EVER~~!! Resolved, great things and stuff have happened, and we can't exclude the crappy and undeniably irritating, annoying, nebulously irrelevant and absolutely messy and unquestionably stupid events (and people) [p.s. mind the superfluous use of adverbs.....blogospheric license, editor prerogative), but hey, this year will be fun and more exciting especially for me and for the "non-readers" of this blog.....coz' The Polity Post will meet the phase of reinvention, reintegration, revolutionary innovation, and blah blah blah. 2010 it is then! After a bit while of too much idleness and dormancy, The Polity Post will be more grizzly than Bill O'Reilly, more jubilantly critical than Glenn Beck, almost at par with Fareed Zakaria or Wolf Blitzer and more British-like than Amanpour (p.s. I admire these people so, whatever judgements you have in you, keep them to yourselves....and i don't know what I'm talking about). So, in to to, more tweets ahead for The Polity Post.!!!!