Will Inquirer be just another Despicable Shitrag?

We have no sympathy for the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer as they prepare to sell out to another media baron of sorts, perhaps under some pressure.

PDI has been a tool of elite special interests since its inception, and its mostly crappy reporting and frequent anti-American tantrums and propaganda distractions have never lent themselves to credibility.

PDI’s shameless crowing about “our commitment to pursuing the highest standards of journalism” is laughable.  Pursuing from a great distance, perhaps, but never really getting within cannon range of such standards.

Lately, however, PDI has served as something of an opposition organ as the Thug Regime cultivates shameless media toadies and acts all surly and threatening toward others.

So it’s something of a shame that PDI may soon be pawned off, especially if it is destined to become just another voice in the toady media chorus.

The Despicable Shitrag, which has taken plenty of shots at PDI in recent months, seemed to gloat on the possibility that the Thug Regime’s recent attacks on the owners over a property and tax dispute may have contributed to the decision to sell out.

Whatever.  PDI and the Thug Regime pretty much deserved each other, as far as we’re concerned.

But readers deserve much, much better.

Marawi tragedy drags on and on

Another air strike blunder has killed and injured government forces as the Mess in Marawi continues with no clear end in sight, despite President-I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck’s pronouncement two weeks ago that it would end in “a matter of days.”

He may get around to visiting the besieged city some time soon, if the weather’s nice, he says.

Fifteen more days, and the siege should be over, he says now.

Maybe then he can start answering some questions about this mess.  There are many.

 

Brown-nosed drama queen gets all weepy

Contreras

Aspiring Dutertoad Antonio P. Contreras is quite a hoot sometimes, at least when he’s not pissing all over himself trying to defend the indefensible worst of the Thug Regime.

This time, he goes into full self-pity mode with all the vehemence of a jilted beauty queen and dramatically vows to defend his teaching credentials after allegedly being called out by unnamed critics for his constant stream of silly bullshit.

He declares that “I am also careful to verify the veracity of my fact claims, to avoid being a propagator of fakery. On the very few occasions in the past that I accidentally shared bogus sites, I immediately took them down when I realized the false nature of the information they contained.”

In other words, he quickly tried to cover it up after he got busted or, at the very least, totally failed to “verify the veracity” of the crap he peddled.

“I now teach at a university where most of my students come from the privileged and the elite. And I take this as an opportunity to expose them to the realities of life. I bring them critical thinking …” he snivels.

It would be comforting to believe that Contreras is actually capable of critical thinking, and that he was imparting that waning skill to impressionable young adults.  But it’s very, very hard to believe that such a callous purveyor of goofy authoritarian propaganda is so capable and would so instruct.

“When my detractors wanted to silence me, it was an external attack on my politics. But when they accuse me of being a threat to the education of my students, it was a personal attack that is beyond forgiveness.
It is an attack on my very being,” he practically sobs.

I don’t see anyone asking for forgiveness.  I see clear-eyed people who are appalled by a murderous regime and a dictatorial clown who is making the Philippines an international tragedy and laughing stock, and by the craven toadies who abuse their positions of influence to uncritically praise this ridiculous bullshit.

He’s in good company over at the Despicable Shitrag, which is constantly bringing itself down to a new low.  At least it’s entertaining sometimes due to the depths at which it and its bevy of scribbling harlots habitually stoop to debase themselves and the institution of free speech to promote patrons and pursue ulterior motives.

It’s just very, very sad that Contreras is also in any position to influence young people seeking honest education.

Is fanciful ‘City of Pearl’ scheme for real?

City of Pearl.jpeg

The South China Morning Post is uncritically crowing about a Hong Kong architect’s supposed winning bid to design the massive and much-ballyhooed “City of Pearl” reclamation scheme in Manila Bay.

Sorry, but one glance at this glittering concoction begs the obvious question:  Can this shit possibly be for real?

Could a massive project built on to-be-reclaimed land at the mouth of a flowing river possibly support a forest of giant skyscrapers?

Or is this just a massive dredging boondoggle destined to become the New Baseco squatter slum for the next generation?

Would it affect the bay’s circulation, or the river’s flow? Or shipping?

And how would infrastructure like fresh water, sewers, and electricity be incorporated?

Where, exactly, is the money coming from?

What could possibly go wrong?

It wasn’t that long ago that the sprawling Baseco compound was just a breakwater jutting out into the bay.  Somehow, without any real planning, it became an enormous reclamation site and squatter swamp, although it’s been spruced up a bit in recent years, but not by much.

Well, Digong and Erap have reportedly given the green light for the China-bankrolled City of Pearl project, but there has been virtually no serious reporting on the issue, so it’s hard to tell what to make of it all.

Meanwhile, the trade press and propaganda machine have been chirping along about the project, announcing that reclamation work is supposed to begin next month.  The Toady Press is on board too.

If reclamation work is really about to begin, isn’t it high time the lazy and vapid Manila media got off its collective duff and took a hard look at this?

How does such a potentially massive project even get this far along without any credible public scrutiny?  Have we learned nothing from the Torre de Manila fiasco, the Manila Film Center, or all the others?

CNN needs reality check on Marawi

Satellite imagery shows devastation of ISIS-held Marawi in the Philippines

Or so screams the headline on CNN’s website.

But is Marawi really “ISIS-held”?

Well, militant gunmen from the Maute group and others who appear to be ideologically aligned with, sympathetic to, or affiliated with ISIS are sure holding a portion of Marawi.

But that doesn’t make them ISIS.

And the entire city was certainly never held by ISIS itself, or by anyone else.

The portion that is still held by the militants has shrunk quite a bit since this mess was initiated by a botched attempt to capture their boss.

It’s a gross distortion to state that ISIS is holding Marawi.

Besides these exaggerations, CNN’s story seems to contradict itself a few times.

First, it reports that government troops are fighting “to push ISIS militants from the area.”

But in the very next sentence, CNN states that the militants are “led by the infamous Maute group.”

So which is it?

And how “infamous” is the Maute group, really?  It’s pretty notorious in Marawi and the neighborhood, and was known to those in Manila who pay attention to such matters.

But outside of the Philippines the Maute group was virtually unknown to the general public until this siege began.  It certainly was not “infamous” by any reasonable use of that term.

The CNN story is based on satellite images from the Stratfor private intelligence firm, which show damage from the bombing and artillery attacks on the militants.

The images were “obtained by CNN,” the story reports a bit breathlessly.

That may sound kind of sexy, but “obtained” is usually reserved for information that is leaked or discovered, and usually in reference to information of the “smoking gun” variety.

In this case, it appears that a simple “provided to CNN by Stratfor” would have been sufficient, since Stratfor folks appear to have gladly provided the images and comment on them throughout the story.

In fact, Stratfor people are the story’s only sources at all.

The story goes out of its way to highlight and identify the exact placement of government artillery pieces involved in the conflict.  That’s questionable judgement, at the very least.

Sure, the militants are likely to know the general position of the artillery that is raining death and destruction down on them.  But do they really know the exact locations and number of pieces there?  Well, they do now, unless those pieces have been moved since the satellite images were taken.

Beyond the details and explanation of the imagery, Stratfor delves a bit into the political and propaganda issues:  it appears that government forces are going out of their way to avoid hitting mosques so as to make it harder for the militants to claim this is a war against Islam; and the administration’s public commitments to rebuild Marawi are likely calculated to cast it as an entity rescuing Marawi rather than destroying it.

Those are legitimate points.  Government troops are certainly destroying a large swathe of Marawi, but they don’t seem to have much choice, so there will certainly be a need to rebuild.

But CNN really needs to simmer down a bit on some of its characterizations of this situation, unless it has “obtained” some very credible information that it has yet to share with the rest of us.

Bombshell reporting on ‘drug war’ killings

The Reuters news agency is doing some kick-ass work in the Philippines, exemplified by its reporting on the Thug Administration’s “drug war” and the police penchant for hauling long-dead bodies to hospitals to prevent meaningful investigations.

The evidence is damning:  multiple victims shot at close range in the head and chest, piled into trucks, and plopped off at hospitals before investigators can examine the crime scene.

Rock Head’s excuse that police “are trying to save lives” when they haul dead people away from crime scenes is preposterous.

This is organized state-sponsored mass murder, with deliberate attempts to cover it up.  Period.

It’s an enormous scandal.

Keep your eyes on the China sellout

Cayetano bows down.jpg

Some people are just made to bow down to others.

Slippery sipsip Alan Peter Cayetano is obviously in way over his head as Foreign Affairs Secretary, but then again saying “Yes, Boss” to The Thug and bending over for China doesn’t really take much skill.

The recent news that he’s headed to Panda Land again comes as no surprise, unlike his secret previous trip as advance stooge of the Thug Regime.

But it will be interesting to see what transpires this time around.

The concern among regional allies is that the Philippines is quickly becoming another Cambodia in terms of carrying China’s water and undermining the collective interests of the ASEAN nations, which stand a much better chance of dealing effectively with China if they work together as a group rather than allow themselves to be cornered or sweet talked individually, bought off, and manipulated.

 

Is PDI really that confused?

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has long had problems with integrity, hypocrisy, demagoguery, plain shoddiness, and serious distortions.

But sometimes it also just makes no fucking sense.

It’s recent editorial on the potential impact that the Mess in Marawi could have on foreign tourist arrivals was puzzling, to say the least.

To be sure, the tourism impact is a very legitimate concern.  And it would be very unfortunate for international perceptions regarding Marawi to affect travel to the country’s many safer destinations.

But PDI went careening off the deep end with stupid statements like “Foreign media have made much about the issue, linking the Marawi crisis to the international terrorist group Islamic State. This is something that the government and the private sector should counter” to minimize the impact on tourism.

Well, first of all, there are plenty of indications that the Marawi militants are indeed linked to the Islamic State, and at the very least are attempting to emulate that group and win its approval and support.

Secondly, it’s obviously not just “foreign media” that have “made much about the issue.”

The PH military, President I-don’t-give-a-fuck, independent analysts, virtually all PH media, and certainly PDI itself have “made much about the issue” and drawn links to IS virtually every day since the crisis began.

In fact, just hours after publishing the editorial, PDI published a story stating that “Hundreds of gunmen flying the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group occupied parts of Marawi on May 23, triggering bloody fighting that has claimed nearly 400 lives according to an official count.”

PDI has drawn similar links again, and again, and again.

And even the editorial itself ended with the quite reasonable assertion that “The crisis in Marawi has to end soon and martial law lifted if the Philippines’ tourism sector is to recover. No amount of public relations can paper over the protracted fighting between the Philippine military and the Maute extremists.”

But before getting there, the editorial made the admonishment that “The government cannot let the international media portray the Philippines as another Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan where extremists hold sway.”

Well, the PH government is not in any position to “let,” or not “let,” the international media do much of anything regarding its portrayals of an ongoing military and humanitarian crisis that has cost hundreds of lives, resulted in the imposition of marital law, turned thousands of residents into refugees, and left Marawi in ruins.

Rebels, bandits, separatists, and extremists do indeed “hold sway” in portions of the country, and have done so for many, many years.  And that’s not the fault of the nasty foreign media.

PDI is infamous for sanctimoniously cloaking itself in the mantle of journalistic righteousness when it gets criticized or called out for its many transgressions.  It’s also notorious for its childish habit of playing the “bad foreigner” card during controversies.

How ironic that it does so this time in the context of pleading for action to ensure the continued arrival of foreigners and their tourism dollars.

The really sad part is that the editorial had a legitimate point, and could have made that point quite effectively without trying to recklessly scapegoat the “foreign media” for the nation’s serious problems with safety, stability, and international perceptions.

PDI obviously still has a lot of growing up to do.

Weasel vs. weasel on stroke rumors

Weasels.jpg

It’s been quite a hoot watching the Despicable Shitrag and Malacañang piss all over each other — and themselves — regarding a report that the reason for The Thug’s recent hiatus from public view was a mild stroke that required medical attention.

Former Marcos minion Francisco “Kit” Tatad casually reported the stroke story in a backhanded Shitrag column the other day.

Thug Regime mouthpiece Ernesto Abella quickly denied the story in a press conference that the Shitrag was forced to cover.  Or did he?

Abella said Tatad “may just be creating fantasies” and “must be sourcing something that nobody knows about.”

That denial-of-sorts was made in such a weaselly manner that it left the door wide open for continued speculation.

Maybe The Thug was just busy stroking himself in the mirror?

And then Tatad went into full weasel mode himself and claimed he had never alleged that The Thug had suffered a stroke, but had merely reported that others had told of the stroke.

So positively Marcosian.

Tatad had written that The Thug “was reported to have suffered a mild stroke, which reportedly affected one of his arms, and brought him to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills last Thursday, where he reportedly also underwent a ‘peritoneal dialysis.'”

Tatad certainly didn’t question the veracity of the alleged report, but amplified it by reporting further that “highly informed sources said Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. briefed some members of the Cabinet about it on Friday.”

The kicker is that fellow Shitrag scribbler and aspiring toady Antonio P. Contreras had just thrown a hissy-fit about tour guide Carlos Celdran acknowledging a rumor that The Thug was comatose.

Contreras claimed that Celdran “posted in social media that the President was in a coma.”  Actually, Celdran had merely posted a claim that someone else had made, and acknowledged that the claim remained unverified — a disclaimer that Tatad had not included in his version.

Contreras hasn’t weighed in yet on the Tatad-Abella piss-a-thon.  And we’re betting that he won’t.

Oh, the irony.

And, of course, the bottom line is that it is very likely true that The Thug was out of commission because he needed medical attention for one malady or another, and that neither he, his minions, nor his craven apologists are being open and honest about it with the public.

The rumor we heard is that The Thug was rushed to a proctologist after Mocha got a little too enthusiastic with him during a fisting session.  But that’s unconfirmed, mind you.

Duterte   Mocha fist.jpg

Meanwhile, Marawi City is still burning while Mindanao remains under martial law.

Whitewashes, impunity, and distortions

The Washington Post did an excellent job of circling back and following up on the secret jail scandal at Police Station No. 1 in Tondo, blown open by the Commission on Human Rights two months ago.

The takeaways:

  1.  It appears that police were extorting money from relatives of people who were illegally detained at the secret jail.
  2. The Commission on Human Rights has done a really shitty job of protecting the people who were illegally detained.
  3. The police and thug administration are in the process of whitewashing the whole mess and blaming the media for making it an issue.

Meanwhile, it looks like the usual impunity will reign regarding the blatant police rubout of a Leyte mayor who was shot to death in a jail cell.

Charges of murder have been inexplicably downgraded to homicide, allowing the police suspects to be released on bail.  It sure looks like this case is destined to quietly fade away like so many others.

And CNN and other media are engaging in some journalistic shorthand that casually rewrites history and paints a very distorted picture of the ongoing siege of Marawi City.

CNN reported that “Philippines soldiers have been mired in grinding urban warfare with ISIS-aligned fighters ever since a surprise attack on Marawi on May 23,” and that “Militants stormed the city, clashing with government troops and prompting Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.”

But the truth is that the conflagration began with a botched attempt to apprehend alleged terrorist boss Isnilon Hapilon.  Only after that operation was initiated did swarms of militant reinforcements respond with a massive counterattack that resulted in the ongoing siege.

It certainly appears that government forces badly underestimated the level of resistance they were in for, did not have adequate forces and supplies ready to meet the threat, and led their troops straight into a hornet’s nest.