Observing the US Presidential Elections boils down to ‘Tanghod’ Journalism

The last thing you want to write is a piece that gushes about how good things are in Amerika… as if no one has been there before and written that before.
One wonders what intellectual insight the common Filipino observer can add to the tomes written about the American Democratic thought over the last two hundred years?


If it’s actually the first time you’re learning about the US Presidential Elections, a trip to the US at this time would certainly be an eye-opening experience and will probably be worth years of intensive education in all things American.

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But if you’re going to the US as a journalist of any sort, certain things are expected and the least of which is to come up with a story that hasn’t been written before or at least doesn’t look like it.

Of course, there’s that bit of “magic” that comes with supposedly capturing an event as it is “filtered” through your experience and viewpoint.  I’d buy that crap only if I were at all still enthralled by “Dead Poets Society” and think that my inner universe is “uniquely beautiful”, therefore is something that should be “inflicted” on strangers online like a case of one-night-stand-Las-Vegas-herpes.

But I’m no longer caught up in that movie’s magic moment and over the years, I’ve learned to adopt a more socially acceptable level of self-importance.

(Uhm… And also, if YOU ARE going to interview anyone, try to cut down on talking about yourself and get to the questions as quickly as you can.  I mean, people want to see or hear the answers of the interviewee NOT THE INTERVIEWER.)

Moreover, if you are member of any Pinoy delegation of any sort and are expected to write about it, I’d probably skip the part where you try to make a comparison between Philippine and US politics.

First, because any comparison is going to be a useless exposition of everything that has been written before.

Second, and this is something you really have to think about, you have to ask yourself: What political insight can the common Filipino observer add to the tomes written about the American Democratic thought over the last two hundred years?

23 Replies to “Observing the US Presidential Elections boils down to ‘Tanghod’ Journalism”

  1. As an American I don’t see a whole hell of a lot of difference in US and Philippine Politics. It’s pretty much the same to me. Voter fraud, lying politicians, Lobbyists (bribery), politicians elected to office as a person of modest means and leaving office(if they ever do) being filthy rich. The only difference being is that Us Politicians at least try to hide it, and the Filipinos flaunt it. The Sheeple of the US and the Sheeple of the Philippines are no different. We are all like mushrooms. The media feeds us shit and keeps us in the dark. Both the US and Philippine system has been broken by corrupt, self serving politicians from the lowest to the highest. How do we fix it? I have no idea…. Well, actually I do but dare not say it.

    1. George W. Bush and the most thoroughly corporate White House in American history, with links to Enron, Halliburton, corporate lobbyists, etc. has your Julieto Monding beat. (As if this is a gladiatorial contest. Oy vey.)

      1. Bush has link to Enron???

        What link?

        Snippet from http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/three-myths-about-enron-campaign-finance

        “The Democrats duck their boomerang. Congressional Democrats like to cry “corruption” and call for more regulation of political contributions that go mostly to Republicans. We aren’t likely to hear much about Enron’s contributions. After all, the Democrats got almost $1 million of the soft money that Enron gave to federal officials. Do congressional Democrats believe Enron’s money corrupted their judgment on policy? Judging by their spirited attacks, the Democrats are hardly going easy on Enron and its accountants. If a million in contributions didn’t corrupt Democrats, how can they argue, now and in the future, that campaign contributions corrupt the Republicans? With luck, congressional Democrats may avoid the easy demagoguery of “Big Money” attacks and work instead on a serious investigation of Enron’s demise.”

        BTW, are Enron’s political contribution illegal during that time?

        1. I don’t have the relevant papers at the moment that would allow me to make a more substantial rebuttal, but one thing about that copy-pasted quotation: while both parties receive donations from corporations looking to have a say in government policy, as the pro-business party, the Republicans are more liable to get the lion’s share of donations, simply because if put in power, they are more likely to enact laws favorable to corporate entities.

        2. Here’s a flash for you in case you weren’t paying attention: WE JUST CONCLUDED FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES….. No graft, no corruption. We have the results the same day. No time for cheating. Thats what you can learn from the US Elections.

        3. @ Bill Steffen

          Not outright cheating during the election itself (though that might be possible, if the likes of Greg Palast and others who’ve been calling foul on Florida since 2000 are to be believed – but I’m not an expert in computer systems, and thus decline to comment further on that), but through campaign contributions to both parties and to specific candidates, who may or may not be linked to the corporations who fund them.

        4. While I despise the ass-kissing and adulation that is showered on the so-called “American Way” I agree with Bill Steffen. Paul Farol’s insinuations are the kind of unsubstantiated bottom-feeding SHIT that masquerades as “journalism.”

          Put your money where your mouth is and offer up proof NOT gossip.

          BTW, Suibon, political contributions are about equal on either side of the fence if you add them up. Its hardly a “Republican only” club. The “enemies” of the liberal left in the US – banks and big business – poured a lot of money into Obama’s coffers as well as Right-leaning candidates. Obama too received donations from workers’ unions, especially public sector organizations. (A lot of whom received Federal government funding as well, but that’s another story.) And Obama received money from a number of “start-up” corporations. For which the federal government issued grants to develop their business ventures (Look at companies like SOLYNDRA).

          Every politician plays the game. They all WANT money. Don’t play the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou card and claim one side is better because Hollywood made a spurious claim that the money the Republicans got was intended to control babies’ genes and the kill elderly.

          OPEN YOUR EYES

        5. I do not come galloping before you in a high horse; I am not claiming one side is better or the other worse. I am more disturbed at the flow of campaign contributions to both mainstream American parties (but especially the Republicans, and how that money became gravy in the hands of the second Bush administration) than I am holding the banner of any party, though I am a conservative at heart.

        6. Suibon,

          We have a different style of commenting. When I put up an opinion attaching some personalities or events with it, I’m making it sure I can back it with verifiable facts.

          Otherwise, I’ll just mention it in an interrogative manner.

          It’s just me. I’m not rebuking you.

          I’m just curious with your certainty of your opinion.

          With Enron political contributions to Bush and democrats, we may disregard the amount since it can be covered by what is their legal limit. (Based on that cato’s link, democrats received much more than Bush).

          The question is what Enron got in return for their investments from Bush and democrats.

          According to that cato’s link again, from Bush, they did not get anything in return.

          From democrats, the link –



          “Enron Received Over $4 Billion In Federal Assistance During The Clinton-Gore Administration. “‘All told, Enron received over $4 billion from the federal Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Export-Import Bank for projects in Turkey, Bolivia, China, the Philippines, and elsewhere’ during the Clinton administration.” (Greg Pierce, “Inside Politics,” The Washington Times, January 14, 2002).”

          Since you also mention Bush’s link with Haliburton, we might as well include that in my curiosities –

          If you mean Haliburton in Iraq, it’s not Bush but Vice Pres Cheney who was allegedly to have benefited most from Haliburton deals in Iraq.

          Can you imagine a whooping USD 85 million Haliburton’s profit in Iraq in 2003!

          Heh, that was out of expenditures of $3.6 billion, a profit margin of less than 2.5%. Hardly what most people would consider to be “war profiteering”.

          Paraphrased from http://hereticallibrarian.blogspot.com/2004/10/cheney-halliburton-myth.html


    2. Suibon, this isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. You’re missing the point again. Politicians are going to have their hands out for donations. The problem is what happens when they do and how this affects their work. Again – please do your homework.

      If you bothered to check, Republican campaign infractions were prosecuted under Bush as well as any Republican politicians that were proven to commit crimes.

      Unlike those cases campaign infractions by Obama supporters such as those by the Black Panther party were not prosecuted. In fact Obama’s Attorney General has gone out of his way to prevent this.

      With regards to Democratic fund raising why is it appropriate for you to accept money from public service unions whose funds (a significant portion) come from Federal government (ultimately White House) allocations? In the Philippines this would be considered malversation of public funds. It is tantamount to stealing money from the public coffers to fund your election campaign.

  2. It begs the question why so many politicians from both the west to the east are inherently corrupt – the difference being one of degree, opportunity, and impunity.
    And why people would ever vote for a corrupt politician.
    And when there is no real political opposition party or a strong independent media then it is a feeding frenzy at the expense of the taxpayers – which also explains why so many avoid tax in philippines, greece, italy etc. Thus escalating a downward spiral.

  3. In the Philippines…we vote for barely literate showbiz personalities. We have False Asia Survey to mislead voters.
    In the U.S.; people are a little bit more wiser. They will dig dirt on any candidate; and put it as a negative campaign material. Aquino would had not won in any U.S. Election. The Aquino family has a lot of dirt…

    1. Let me play Fishball advocate:

      “The Aquino family are saints brought by God to deliver us from evil (Gloria). How dare you even think that much less put it in writing!There is no dirt on the Aquinos. None, zilch, zip, zada! What if you need Noynoy’s benevolence one day? Then where will you be! Good luck in hell Mr. Toro!”.

    1. You have already learned that Monk. You government is just like that of the US. It is all big business for the elected officials to get rich by stealing from the people.

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