Friday, December 12, 2008

‘Lord, it’s you!’(?)

There’s very little for Filipinos to celebrate this Yuletide season had the Pacquiao fight didn’t come along. But is it really something to cheer about? I came across a Nevada news website which reported that the three Pacquiao fights the past year saved the Nevada economy, saying that 90 percent of audiences who paid to watch the fights on site and via pay-per-view were Filipinos in the US , in other countries and in the Philippines . That’s hundreds of millions of dollars from Filipino pockets and, indirectly, from the national economy paid to promoters, bookies, and foreign satellite and cable operators. Pacquiao did earn a lot, but the Philippines lost a hundred times more than the fraction he earned.
At the Manila airport, Pacquiao was reported to have credited his win to “the Lord.” Is this the Lord Pacquiao acknowledged first before any other in the speech he made in the boxing ring? I doubt that the Lord of Archbishop Oscar Cruz would find it amusing to be confused with that widely renowned lord of jueteng and other nefarious activities Pacquiao has been effusively praising. We can’t blame the boxing great if he gets a little confused about Lords and Ladies and the issues he raises. Pacquiao advices people to forget politics but he not only wouldn’t stay away from politicians who blatantly use him for their ends, he caters to them. It’s laudable that Pacquiao says he’s going back to school. Maybe he’ll find better company there than the kinds of Lords molding his values today.
For the followers of the true Lord of the season, this Christmas is clearly a very different celebration. Six bishops of the Catholic Church led the Wednesday demonstration at St. Peter’s Cathedral and the march to Batasan. The action was spurred by the failure and junking by Congress of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, as well as, the Cha-cha Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been attempting to sneak through that body. The common arena for these issues is Congress and it’s not going to be a fair fight for the bishops when the congressmen have just enjoyed the impeachment bonus which they used for their trip to Las Vegas to watch Pacquiao. CARP, the oligarchs say, has failed. What no one explains is the sabotage of the farmers from denial of credit and support, to Congress’ reluctance to speak for those without money.
The bishops and the marchers don’t have the money to give congressmen to vote against the Cha-cha; though the fear of the Church consolidating people power may strike the fear of God in them. The bishops’ rally will eventually merge with the Friday anti-Cha-cha demonstration in Makati , but these demonstrations will go the way of countless other bigger rallies of the past eight years if there is no action on the part of our AFP to support change and reforms. Mao has always challenged the lords of peace on this point every time his tenet is uttered: “Power comes from the barrel of the gun.” Even withdrawal of the gun is enough to tip the scales in any situation, but the AFP men of good intentions have been more like lambs -- except for those who have openly protested, who now languish in detention. Still, hope springs eternal and we’ve all learned to wait in waging the struggle peacefully.
The Congress’ fear of God may not equal the power of the god of money that Gloria commands. Besides, there’s a way to genuflect before the bishops and still get more money out of Gloria, through a Con-con or Constitutional Convention. The Church may be persuaded with a Con-con as conservatives have always found this acceptable. A little sweetener for the likes of Bishop Capalla will help smooth the Church’s slide to the Con-con, while opposition politicians may be lulled into thinking this formula automatically disqualifies Gloria Arroyo for lack of time. Or, they’ll think, the US and the new global rich like the South Koreans, Taiwanese, and Chinese, will be too happy to buy hectares upon hectares of Philippine land from congressmen and big businessmen who’ve been land banking the past years -- a sure bonanza for land speculators.
Speaking of Lords, there’s been a lot of talk among local columnists about events involving the Lord of Thailand, the King -- nitpicking with the Thai ambassador who expressed irritation over descriptions of the Thai demonstrations as “immature,” with some comparing these to the Edsa Dos “parliament of the streets” -- altogether missing the core political-economic and geopolitical issues.
The collapse of parliamentary democracy in Thailand was engineered by the Royal Family and the pro-western Privy Council backed by western royalty. At issue are: The drug trade, which the Thai establishment has profitably condoned but which Thaksin cracked down and worked with Myanmar to stamp out (to the chagrin of the opium-trading British and drug legalizer George Soros); Thaksin’s Asean support for Myanmar and their joint projects; Thaksin’s grassroots-up economic development model through massive credit to the villages which started to build a politically consciousness and base that was perceived as a challenge to the Thai monarchy; and the slow shift of economic relations from the West to the East, as symbolized by the sale of the Shinawatra telecoms company to the Chinese-dominated Temasek of Singapore.
Forbes reports that the Thai King is the richest monarch (topping the Sultan of Brunei) with $35 billion in personal fortune while Thai peasants remain poor. EIR’s Michael Billington writes, “Ji Ungpakorn, a professor at Chulalongkorn University… denounced the ‘democratic’ demonstrators for what they are: a ‘royalist’ fascist mob which has powerful backing from the Army, the Queen, the so-called Democratic Party, the courts, the mainstream media and most university academics… with total contempt for the Thai electorate who are poor… (On) Nov. 7, the British government cancelled the visas of both Thaksin and his wife. It is certainly not coincidental that Princess Alexandra, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Bangkok on that very day, at the personal invitation of her close friends, the King and Queen of Thailand.”
In this supposedly democratic day and age, should small power elites still be allowed to lord it over the Rule of the Majority?

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