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Of ‘ratings’ and ‘news’ agencies DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 08/22/2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of ‘ratings’ and ‘news’ agencies

Herman Tiu Laurel
Ratings agencies are the financial world’s equivalent of today’s global “fashion dictators,” from Gucci, Dior, to Louis Vuitton, who decide what’s in and hot from the ramps of Paris or Milan. In the same way that fashion aficionados look to these luxury brands for the latest trends, presented in glossy sheen by the leading magazines, high-end department stores, boutiques, and celebrity “fashionistas,” ratings agencies are dutifully followed by the investment world’s big and small fund speculators, investors, and banks.

Down a rung or two, so-called “pirates” — both fashion and financial — from Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shenzhen, or Manila always keep a close watch to get their new line of pirated designs or passed down prognoses of financial ratings agencies, which then enable them to partake of the “killing.”

For them to succeed in mesmerizing the masses whose pockets are the goal, the global mass media is indispensable. Day in and day out, this mass media churns out fashion and financial glitter to keep audiences in rapt embrace.

While I have not followed the fashion scene for quite some time, I get the impression that the dearth of new names making an impact both here and abroad may well be one of the signs of the times of declining economic fortunes and increasing misery.

As I have been following more closely the financial ratings agencies, I have helped in aggressively debunking the myth of their validity, reliability, and relevance for real financial and economic evaluation of the global and national economy. In fact, this space is only one of the very few critical of the so-called big three — Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings — which mainstream business media consider as the gods of their financial Mount Olympus.

In the past decade, we were among the few voices in the wilderness on this matter; but ever since the Global Financial Crash of ‘08, where these ratings agencies still spouted rosy prognoses of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, and other financial houses the day before the sky fell on them, the world’s view of them have already taken a negative turn.

For sure, Standard and Poor’s credit downgrade of the US a week ago while Obama and the Republican-dominated House were in the thick of their “debt cap” debates has not helped either, especially since Moody’s and Fitch weighed in with their positive ratings just a few days after American political and financial authorities raised their vehement objections.

As I have written before, both China and Europe have since reacted against these ratings agencies. China set up its own called Dagong after declaring the traditional ratings agencies as “unreliable,” whereas Europe threatened to establish its own after the big three downgraded Portugal and Spain’s credit-worthiness at a crucial moment of the EU (European Union)’s recovery economic efforts. As these ratings agencies are now in disarray, all we can say is “Good riddance!”

Similarly, we also want to call attention to the western “international” news agencies such as Reuters, Associated Press (both British), and Agence France Presse (French). Like the top fashion houses, these major news wires practically dictate the world’s news trends and, when they choose, even the direction of national news stories.

Many Filipino newspapers, broadcast networks, and news writers take these major news wires’ reports as gospel truth and repeat whatever is fed to them over and over until every Juan, Pedro and Maria believe these to be gospel truth.

Let’s take the latest news from the Associated Press (AP) about Libya where its headline says, “Libyan rebels: Key city, oil terminal seized,” as well as Reuters’ “Libya rebels strategic town (Zawiyah) near Triopli” and Agence France Presse (AFP)’s “Fighting erupts in Tripoli as rebels say regime is doomed,” all of which are not balanced by news such as those coming from Russia Today (RT) on statements by the Libyan government’s official spokesman belying these claims, which are never reported by the three major Western news agencies.

Each morning, after perusing all the major national newspapers on the Internet, I shift to reading Press TV (official news wire of Iran), RT (Russian cable news), Prison Planet (a dissident Web site in the US), GlobalResearch or the Centre for Research on Globalization (an anti-globalist Web site), China Daily, and Asia Times. When I turn on my Destiny Cable, I go immediately to RT and CCTV 9, and only scan CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera briefly. You’d be surprised at the utter Western media bias. For example, it is only from RT that I get this report:

“Independent journalist Lizzie Phelan says the reports are an effort by Natp to create panic. ‘The only gunfire that we are hearing is celebratory gunfire,’ she said. ‘And the only explosions that we are hearing are Nato air strikes or Natp sound bombs, which are clearly designed to create a sense of panic in… Tripoli.’
Phelan said that the Libyan rebels created fake footage of themselves in Zawiyah and Tripoli, and were aided in disseminating the footage by, among other media outlets, Al Jazeera. The Qatar-based satellite television station… has been at the center of the media conspiracy against Libya. The Western mainstream media, she continued, in turn picked up these reports and repeated them, creating a sense of panic among the Libyan people. Later… a number of armed gangs emerged… sleeper cells of rebels… (which) began firing randomly and threatening ordinary people… ‘They then took footage of the empty streets, which created the sense that they were in the process of capturing the city.’”

Al Jazeera, financed by a Western-controlled potentate, the Emir of Qatar, has been at the forefront of the disinformation campaign against Libya, starting with the fake news of Gaddafi’s jets bombing demonstrators back in February — news which CNN and BBC then repeated endlessly. Like fashion czars and financial ratings agencies of the West, these major news wires are mere tools of foreign financial predators. Time for the public to wake up!

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 5 to 7 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Coconut vs. Alzheimer’s”; also visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110822com5.html

Ironies in August EDITORIAL 08/22/2011

Ironies in August

Click to enlarge
There was a time in the past when Aug. 21 was etched in every Filipino’s mind and was marked in the calendar by those in power as a day to prepare for massive protests for a generation under the rule of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos, not only because it marked the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983 but also because of the treacherous bombing of the Liberal Party convention at Plaza Miranda in 1971.

Both tragic pages in the country’s history were blamed on Marcos but to this day, the real perpetrators of these most celebrated crime incidences in the country have yet to be identified with only the pawns believed to have been sent in jail.

Comes the son, Noynoy, and half the world comprising the Chinese population has reasons to mark the day as the victims and relatives of those who were killed during the botched hostage rescue operation wait for their taste of justice, this time from the Philippine government after eight Hong Kong residents died from the hand of a disgruntled policeman who took them hostage on Aug. 23 last year.

For somebody who has supposedly been through the same ordeal in seeking justice for his father who died from the uncannily similar violent means, Noynoy is giving the relatives of the slain Hong Kongers strangely almost the same treatment that his family got from the Marcos government in those dark days of 1983..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110822com1.html

Toward a downfall FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/22/2011

Toward a downfall

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Under the Noynoy dispensation, it certainly looks like the accused are being coerced into proving their innocence instead of their accusers proving their allegations, which contradicts the principle of the presumption of innocence.

This has been clearly noted in the Senate hearings, where some senators claim to come up with exposés, make their conclusions of guilt then demand that whoever they allege to have committed the “crime” comes forward to disprove their charges.

There went the Senate, after declaring Mike Arroyo guilty in the sale of the helicopters, pronouncing him to be the owner, and demanding that he appear before the Senate to disprove the allegations of ownership.

When Mike’s brother, Iggy, came forward to claim that it was LTA Inc. that leased the plane, the senators again demanded that he appears before the Senate to disprove the charges, even saying that if he does not, then it is clear that Mike Arroyo is the real owner of the helicopters. Huh? Is that the way for Senate “prosecutors” to prove their case? Duh..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110822com2.html

India’s ‘Mr. Clean’ PM cornered by anti-graft drive ANALYSIS 08/22/2011

India’s ‘Mr. Clean’ PM cornered by anti-graft drive


NEW DELHI — There is no small irony in the fact that India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, known for his probity and integrity, now finds himself fighting for political survival with an anti-corruption activist.

When the Congress party won elections in 2004, its decision to name Singh as premier was partly based on his unblemished record as the “Mr. Clean” of Indian politics.

After a thumping re-election in 2009, Singh was more popular than ever and there was never any doubt that he would retain the post for another term.

But in the past year his reputation has taken a battering with a succession of high-profile, multibillion-dollar corruption scams involving some top government officials..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110822com3.html

Standing up for RP sports C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 08/22/2011

Standing up for RP sports

Jonathan De la Cruz
We join the friends and associates of the respected and multi-awarded writer and editor, Kerima Polotan Tuvera, in prayers on her passing two days ago at the age of 85. Considered one of the best writers the country ever produced, she was the former editor-in-chief of Focus Philippines, a weekly magazine and the afternoon daily, Evening Post. One of her best known novels, Hand of the Enemy, earned plaudits in the international literary world. She will be best remembered not only as a writer par excellence but as a durable task master whose presence and patience helped start the careers of many of our writers today. She was married to another gifted writer, former Presidential Assistant Juan Tuvera by whom she had 10 children. Our condolences to the family.

Leaders of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) headed by the fighting trio of chairman Nestor Ilagan, president Marcia Cristobal and head eoach Teresa Tario, as well as respected sports figures, former First Lady Amelita Ramos (badminton), former Sen. Nikki Coseteng (swimming), retired Col. Manuel Espejo (wrestling), Ed Tiu (body building), Yen Makabenta (billiards) and representatives from motocross and 10 other sports bodies, expressed extreme concern over the sad, sad plight of Philippine sports today..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110822com4.html

Peace panel chief: No done deal as RP, MILF meet By Michaela P. del Callar 08/22/2011

Peace panel chief: No done deal as RP, MILF meet

By Michaela P. del Callar 08/22/2011

Government chief peace negotiator Marvic Leonen yesterday said no peace deal will be signed in the next round of talks with Muslim rebels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this week.

Even as President Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad have pledged to accelerate the ongoing negotiations to conclude a final peace agreement during a surprise meeting in Tokyo, Japan last Aug. 4, Leonen said no accord will be hastily approved until provisions are thoroughly reviewed.

“We have learned from the lessons of the past and we will not repeat the same mistakes. I would like to emphasize that there is no ‘done deal,’” Leonen said. “The government panel is not going to Malaysia to sign a peace agreement.”

The Aug. 22 to 24 Malaysian-brokered talks would provide an opportunity for both sides to tackle substantial issues, including a rebel demand for an expanded Muslim autonomous region and larger access to revenues from natural resources in areas guerrillas want minority Muslims to control.....MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110822hed4.html

Noy wants Aquino-Galman murder cases reopened By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 08/22/2011


Noy wants Aquino-Galman murder cases reopened

By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 08/22/2011

President Aquino, on the day marking the assassination of his father former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., indicated interest in reopening the 1983 double-slay case of his father and the supposed assassin Ronaldo Galman, claiming that he knows who the culprit is who he said has not been held accountable yet in any court of law .

“I believe I know who it is. How can we (be) able to prove it up to the penultimate level? ‘That’s the issue,” he said.

Aquino also hinted that he is interested in running after several associates of former President Marcos
who may have something to do with Ninoy’s death but was not held accountable because they managed to slip out of the country and escaped prosecution. Aquino hinted that these “key personalities” have since returned to the Philippines and can be subjects of a re-investigation.

Among the Marcos associates who left the country after the Edsa revolution but are now in the country are former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, daughter Imee who is now the Governor of Ilocos Norte and son Ferdinand Jr. who is now a Senator. Others include the Romualdezes who also occupy various elective posts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110822hed1.html

In-House survey shows solons in favor of Charter change 08/22/2011

In-House survey shows solons in favor of Charter change

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte yesterday said that the House of Representatives is going to push through with the proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution even as an ongoing survey among lawmakers showed that there are currently 68 percent or 153 lawmakers who are in favor of amending the Charter.

Only 29.60 percent or 66 congressmen are against the proposal particularly on the question of timing. Four or 1.79 percent of the respondent-congressmen was undecided.

The lawmakers were responding to the question: “Do you agree it is time to amend only the Constitution’s economic provision?”

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had met several times to discuss the issue of amending the economic provisions of the Constitution..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110822nat4.html

About 85% of OFWs in Syria undocumented By Pat C. Santos 08/22/2011

About 85% of OFWs in Syria undocumented

By Pat C. Santos 08/22/2011

About 85 percent of the total 17,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) working in Syria were undocumented and were illegally recruited and victims of human trafficking, according to Blas Ople Policy Center (BOPC).

Susan Ople, director of the BOPC, said this yesterday at “Balitaan Sa Tinapayan” forum where she belied earlier reports that only 60 to 70 OFWs had expressed desire to return to RP after being caught in the Syrian conflict.

“Hindi ako naniniwala na kokonti lang sila, marami akong natanggap ng text na humihingi ng tulong para makauwi na sila sa bansa at ang iba sa kanila ay pinipigilan ng kanilang mga employers at ang iba ay hindi alam ang gagawin,” Ople said.

Ople asked the government to host a dialog between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the families of OFWs working in Syria and hope to forge a high level negotiation with the Syrian government for the repatriation of OFWs trapped on the recent violence in Syria..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110822nat3.html

NBDB awards 2011 Quality Seal to Araling Panlipunan textbook M E T R O F I L E 08/22/2011

NBDB awards 2011 Quality Seal to Araling Panlipunan textbook


In its efforts to help improve the quality of textbooks in the country, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) recently bestowed the 2010 Quality Seal on Araling Panlipunan. Kultura, Kasaysayan at Kahuhayan 5 published by Vibal Publishing House Inc. received the Quality Seal for Araling Panlipunan after undergoing meticulous evaluation by NBDB’s selected pool of experts. Dr. Maria Serena Diokno of the UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, one of the judges of the Quality Seal, praised the book for including those aspects of our history that are often neglected, such as the role of women and ethonolinguistic experts. Moreover, she added, the book emphasizes national culture, which prevails despite the influence of colonialism and Catholicism. In his welcome message, NBDB chairman Dr. Dennis Gonzalez said while the NBDB continues to respond to the call for better instructional materials through the Quality Seal, schools should also do their part in assessing the books that their students use..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110822met6.html

Congress employees call for dismissal of House media execs for misconduct By Charlie V. Manalo 08/22/2011

Congress employees call for dismissal of House media execs for misconduct

By Charlie V. Manalo 08/22/2011
Two officials and a staff of the House Media Relations Services (MRS) of the Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB) are facing possible dismissal from service after several employees of the House of Representatives slapped them with administrative cases before the HoR Grievance Committee and Disciplinary Board.

Facing possible dismissal for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, gross violation of Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules and regulations, the standard operating procedures on grievance of the House of Representatives and RA 6713 and harassment are MRS Director Celine Marie Flores Buencamino, MRS officer-in-charge Lorelei Castillo and MRS writer Eduardo Galvez.

Requesting anonymity for fear of reprisal, the employees, who are all Buencamino’s subordinates at the MRS, said they are seeking the immediate dismissal of the three as the three respondents not only have violated the existing CSC rules and regulations but have also arrogantly declared themselves to be virtually untouchables, citing their close relationship with Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110822met2.html

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