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The Quick Fox and the Lazy Dog

This article has been published in this site, in the Posts section, before. Because of some critical issues, I decided to re-post the article, this time in the Page section. Posts are syndicated while Pages are each stand-alone.


Push and shove in the South China Sea. Lifted from Google search: chinese warship/philippine warship [Picture is of old decommissioned vessel scuttled by the Philippines in the Spratleys]

The issue is: Should media journalism be pushing for any political cause? I have always maintained that the answer is NO. That the rule of journalism is to push for the truth. That truths and facts are almost one and the same. Click for the full article >>


Juan Dela Cruz an Outsider in His Own House?

A series of events leading to a certain disturbing point cannot be taken lightly. One is the controversial manner of release of the IIRC report. The President, or should I say his boys around him, can spend all the time explaining and rationalizing their acts. But they can never change the facts.

• That the Chinese got their copy first and Juan dela Cruz got his later.

• That the Chinese got their copy in full and Juan dela Cruz got his in parts and has yet to get part of it.

Wait a minute. Kayo ang Boss ko [You are my Boss] so said the President referring to the Filipino people. He is right. Juan dela Cruz sent him and everyone there to serve him – Juan dela Cruz. Kayo ang Boss ko, Filipinos will remember that as they will always remember President Estrada’s Walang kama-kamaganak, walang Kai-kaibigan [No favored relatives, no favored friends].

The manner of release of the IIRC report has projected the President saying one thing and doing another thing!

And Juan dela Cruz is not only sore but he is also made to feel stupid. The report is supposed to be his and he does not even know yet what he was saying in there that others have already read!

If the President can see himself in the eyes of Juan dela Cruz his nose now has appeared a little taller. Some labourers here beside me are also whining why it was all-businessmen that have no business in the U.N. he brought with him and why not did he include some labour officials to see their W.L.O. or I.L.O counterparts at there if he must bring people.

Austerity is good for a start. But that alone, as time drags on, won’t be enough. What else can a new administration that inherited a state economy that had already spent 93% of a year’s budget, do? Meaning he will be doing the same, financial juggling, too, spending money we have not yet earned! Boy, I can’t help but sensed the President’s gladness in his first address to the nation over some offers that are, in fact, carry overs of the Arroyo administration. Maybe he should look again because some of them could be sharks to feed on his  big Boss, desperate as ever – Juan dela Cruz.

His U.N. trip did not bring home 10 million jobs but he is singing now the same tune – Tagumpay! That is the old favorite song of all the other Philippine Presidents before, heard too many times by Juan dela Cruz so that the lyrics are familiar-boring, actually. Some observers are beginning to think the President is growing some mole on the face and his two front teeth are becoming a little bit conspicuous, reminiscent of some much disliked tenant in Malacañang that nobody even remembered as a cute lovable promising  leader before she became President.

And enticing foreign investors is good but it doesn’t work more than it had worked with past administrations. He inherited them all, and look at us today.  It’s been the main thrust of government since the time of President Marcos. Foreign investors need very little invitation. What they really have needed is good climate in their kind of businesses. The subject is deep and complicated than any of us can comprehend so that just seeing the sum would be simple and direct. Because, one plus one, plus one, has already shown three and will never show four or five. Factors have to change to come up different. I don’t think the present President is the bests of Marcos  up through President Arroyo,  all put together, a superman to do that.

I think, for a change, state should redirect its focus at self reliance. Yes, like, state should have a direct hand at industrialization where there is much need if not a void. That may be something patterned from the experience of the richest government and nation on Earth today – Peoples Republic of China.

And Juan dela Cruz as the big Lord and as owner of this big enterprise  called Republic of the Philippines expects each of his administrators to see things from his way and not to put a barrier in between and see things from their way.

If you are any administrator and thinks Juan dela Cruz is an idiot, an ignorant, a nobody or what, then keep disregarding him or better, throw him out of his own house so you own it! 🙂

How long, or how many times, should they do things like that before Juan dela Cruz gets fed-up? Never mind the constant enemies of the state. They are sworn to it. But Juan dela Cruz counts. Because thrown out of his house he may stand behind those wanting to demolish his house that he may  no longer like, anyway. 😦

By Gad, Juan dela Cruz is as crazy as Nero? No, we have seen him crazier, and crazier than people who would want to exclude him out of his own house!  We don’t want to see that.

Aftermath, Why the Clout of Secrecy Over Nothing, Sire/Ma’am

It was only last night that I got to see what are in the IIRC part I Report, which I finally got to finish reading one item this morning [September 24]. I have, actually, opened the web-page that carried it [ABS-CBN news.com] in the evening of September 21. I spent endless minutes waiting for the PDF down load until, felling frustrated, I decided to cancel. You see, in the era of MBs and GBs I still employ KB per-second rate-transfer over modem. I have tried wireless broadband over USB once and it made me an outsider to my own PC. Everybody in the house suddenly wanted to use it!  Hah, nobody now wants to use my PC except me and the grand children! Sometimes the kids come strong and very demanding. That’s when I know I was seated there too long, forgetting time and day.

I inserted the link to that page seen below my previous post on September 22 . So, actually, I’ve been reading public reactions to the IIRC report all the while until I decided to see the source – the IIRC report, myself. I remembered that, other than the PDF version, there were links to each part of the report seen below the opening address of the President. I came back to that ABS-CBN page last night. I selected the following links: 1. Facts and sequences of events 2. Critical incidents 3. Evaluation of CMC and police actions 4. Evaluation of media coverage… thinking of coming back for more later. I guess I have to make do with probably second or third rate true copy version instead of the PDF I had originally wanted.

Boy, are we trying to amuse the world with some zarzuela? Here are some questions from Juan dela Cruz in the streets. Why give copy to the Chinese first and to the Filipino people later when it should have been given to all whoever got his copy first? In parts or in whole the report is subject to further study and decision of higher authority so, why part one and part two for the Filipinos because they cannot be changed anymore by the IIRC?  Sooner or later they will come out. Why holding off things to the Filipino people? Why the clout of secrecy over nothing? What are there that cannot be trusted to the Filipino people?

By the way for those new in Computer and in the Internet, and who have no time reading pages on-line, or who would like to review pages off-line later, here are the simple tricks: EXPLORER: 1. Add to favorites, also 2. Go to Control panelInternet optionsAdvanceSecurity, make sure that Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed is unchecked. 3. Re-open in Favorites or in History when off-line later. MOZILLA FIREFOX: 1. Bookmarks 2. Same as above 3. Re-open in bookmarks or in history later.

I spent all my time reading the first item late last night, and again early this morning. I gave all the other items a quick scan and decided to save them somewhere. I guess it was my impression of Facts and sequences of events after reading them that tired me.

One flaw with Mozilla Firefox, all the off-line pages is wiped out when the program crashes, which is not true with Internet Explorer. You must Save pages that you need, to be sure.

Going back to tract. I was expecting to see conclusive reporting… barest facts. What I saw was IIRC report of their summary of witnesses’ accounts that in many instances, naturally, differed. In those instances none of them can be considered fact because fact may be one of them or somewhere in them. Minor flaws sometimes mean big.

But now because of some faint shadow of doubt that has cast over it, why not some facts not in there at all? Or, why not they included distorted facts?

The fact that we are in a situation where there is obvious hunt for culpability since the beginning, presents high possibility that each account contains or is tainted with element of self-preservation, which should be assumed of all involved. [Even the IIRC being a part of the State, which is one party involved, has to guard against itself.]

Let’s take Bus driver Lubang. He was previously briefed for any possibility of being a cohort of the hostage taker. And there are the negotiators, the hostage crisis management in general, who are already hinted for the fiasco, failure, short coming, poor performance, probable criminal liability, whatever, even before the IIRC was formed. There was Gregorio Mendoza who has accused authorities of planning to execute him. I don’t think  the other side will take that seating down.

And IIRC is there to ferret out facts – definite, authoritative and conclusive, facts from myths, if any.

My impression of the IIRC report is that of factual reporting in the manner of media reports. Passing  things left to right or  from right to left, exactly and no more when they got them. I think investigative journalism by professional media practitioners might have presented better. Or, maybe, an Intelligence report by any uninvolved third party might have been better. My expectations must have been too much.

OK, Facts and sequences of events offers enough for everybody to start digging and pushing until the thing is concluded and rested.

Maybe I should be reading the whole report from A to Z when I have time. Perhaps my first bite was placed in the least delicious part. Did I see butaw bodi but there is Straight-flush tucked somewhere I have not been into, yet?

Maybe…but maybe when I have no better things to do.

Aftermath, Tell Us What Really Happened, Sire/Ma’am

It is nearly a month today after the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking. That there were human lives lost, like had happened in other parts of the world, is harsh reality that can be accepted. But this one was viewed by the world as one awfully shocking fiasco by authorities, which has dragged everybody up to the President, in the search for who’s to blame.

A commission detached from the Department of Justice [DOJ] to investigate the matter was set up. The commission’s inquiry is over and its report was already submitted to Malacañang Palace. So, there is already a formal say on the matter for everybody and that’s it. The report has yet to be disclosed to the public. The world is waiting for that.

As already hinted by the DOJ secretary, about a dozen names to include a few media persons, are recommended for prosecution. Now this is interesting. I don’t believe anyone of them is going to jail. I don’t think there was a crime committed by anyone on the side of government and media unless there was intention by any of them to kill the hostages. A number of people probably did not deserve their posts entrusted them in government. There must have been a lot of lapses. Some stupidity might have been, at worst.  But then they’re all there is for them there. To think that there was more would show utmost intrigue if not insane.

But, wait, there might have been reckless imprudence committed  to warrant criminal prosecution. From where I look at and saw things, I doubt it, but who knows. The investigating commission who looked very close in there may have seen different from those seen by any Juan dela Cruz in the streets. People expect no stone left unturned.

The Philippine Senate did its own inquiry regarding the incident, too. Very provoking, however, is Senator Joker P. Arroyo’s citation of media as faulted for airing live the hostage crisis. That media should have not telecast it live because, as a result, it put the whole nation to shame before the whole world.  I found it horribly disgusting coming deep from the mind of Senator Joker P. Arroyo who is considered a great legislator and a champion of the Filipino people. If reality has put shame on us all, then let’s accept that and be sorry for them.

What is more dignified, honorable and trustworthy than people who stand with the Truth? And, yes, courageous because sometimes truth can be painful.

And maybe hostage crisis management must include people TRUSTED by the hostage taker, whoever they are, among the negotiators, if it comes to that. It simply is crazy for people with distrust fixed in their minds to be seating together  or negotiating it out.

For a former officer of the law to take hostages and to threaten lives, believing  that the act will win him back his job,  must be crazy. But, I think, former police Captain Mendoza still made sense when he decided not to talk anymore to people  that he saw lied to him.  To trust a liar is non-sense. That was very shortly before he started counting fast and then started killing his hostages putting his feet across the threshold of no return.

Where were we. Was the Senator telling media to air only what is deemed beautiful and to hide what is deemed ugly? Who deems what, and what is what? Media as a party to F cking the world?  I hope the Senator does not really entertain the idea that media should be censored by the state.

Heroes don’t grow old, they only fade  into their place in history. But this one does. He must be getting old. I think the Senator deserved it when ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs chief, Maria Ressa, gave it to him straight:  That it is not business of media to prop up anybody and anything. That the business of media is to deliver true, nothing but true, and it was only doing that job!

Amen here. And since human values have been involved, may I add Ang hindi sinungaling ay may mga kapatid yan – honesty, atbp.

update Sept 22, 2010

The IIRC report as disseminated yesterday.

Aftermath, One Small Step That Never Was

Eight tourists from Hong Kong lay dead or were fatally shot by the time the police seized control of the bus after a 12-hour standoff on Monday, during which the hostage taker also spoke by mobile phone with local radio stations.

That’s fact or factual.

“The fact that there was essentially live video was mistake number one,” said assistant professor John Harrison, a homeland security analyst at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

That is an opinion.

Maybe professor John Harrison should reiterate further and fully his opinion as he already sounds disgusting viewed from freedom of the press and viewed from rights of people to Information i.e. right of people to know what really is going on in the world. The fact that there was essentially live video was no mistake. It was very unfortunate. It was a misfortune. A case of bad luck to a group of tourist that day, to simplify the matter. Society cannot sacrifice the riding public and the whole world just because of one man holding a dozen or more hostages, denying people of information when they need them in what actually is happening.

Right now media is free to cover, as long as their own safety allows it, and as long they don’t hamper actual ground operations of authorities. Maybe Professor Harrison, especially in his stature, should be careful in what he is saying because he could actually be influencing a return of this country to fascism.

Today,  media can cover police precincts anywhere, any day, anytime. No, you don’t see names like Jake Maderazo, Mike Enriquez, Ted Failon, Erwin Tulfo, and many more of their kind hanging and speculating in there. But if you go in there, the odds are that you’ll find media rookies always hoping for some big break there. That’s how we got to learn  in our homes that a couple was charging their neighbor of molesting their child, or a carpenter stabbed an electrician with a chisel and got stabbed with  a screwdriver in return.

But, you see, police have nothing to hide and ought not to hide because what they always do is right [or they don’t do anything at all]. They have no closets stuffed with unwanted skeletons so to say. At least in principle. Surely there are things that they need to be privy and they have that in some quarters, like the privacy of their conference rooms.  And despite that kind of press freedom, we still saw in You Tube a suspect being tortured inside one police precinct. And I bet the suspect was reported to have died of something else, somewhere else! And if that dead felon did not even have a formal complaint or a warrant of arrest on him I doubt  if we can even call him a “suspect” of anything. Now, let’s imagine a law passed that could easily be invoked by any such criminal in police uniform to furtherance their acts.

He told AFP there should have been a media blackout to deny the hijacker feedback on what was going on around him.

Instead, he was able to follow events — including frenzied speculation by serving and former police chiefs appearing on Philippine networks — via the bus’s internal TV.

Surely Professor Harrison is not instigating a law to gag TV and radio right at or from the broadcasting stations. OK, maybe he means pushing reporters a few miles away from where they ought to cover. I think we should have a law that says media must cover right there where a hijacker and the police are negotiating face to face so we get a close up of their faces, instead.  But are  not they equally crazy?

OK, maybe Professor Harrison is saying No TV on board buses. That also must mean public transport in general, all public places, in fact everywhere, where hostage-taking might happen. Bus commuters – people,  won’t like that though it sounds better than all other implications of his thoughts.

But wait, the Professor means a law that will make it mandatory for bus operators to install bus television in such manner that they can be disabled or rendered useless from the outside. Now that sounds like the professor John Harrison and not any unthinking moron who does not know what he is talking about.

How about that folks?  An invention that will knock out any electronics as they are, inside a bus, or inside a building. I’m sure governments will pay handsomely for that than sacrifice freedom and democracy! You see, a free press and a free society are the pillars, the bastion, of democracy. We cannot talk of democracy without meaning the people, mind you.

A press that is subservient to a state is masked fascism. Maybe they can have that in My nm r but not in the Philippines, please. Because they are the initial points [attributed to] of the professor. And there is no such thing as a good fascist and a bad fascist because fascism is fascism. Democratic governments and states are by the people but power is something passing. They can be administered by the Pope one day and by Satan, chanting papal song while doing satanic deed, the next day.

Hong Kong newspapers bemoaned missed opportunities by police to end the siege much earlier, including a moment when the gunman waved from the bus door. Protestors Tuesday picketed the Chinese territory’s Philippine consulate.

Fostering hair-trigger mentality. Be trigger happy, some people will like that. Yeah, shoot at the first and earliest opportunity. Kill at the first hint of violence, which include hostage taking because the mere act  itself  is an act of violence. And hope it does not involve any foreign national gone nuts in Philippine territory or we will have an international row in our hands. Let’s imagine police did that. Now police is faced up with public out-roar why they did that when there were wide chances of resolving the crisis without any loss of life and property. Worst, the sniper grazed the hostage-taker in the ear and no square hole in between the eyes, so that it made him kill all his hostages before he was taken down! Damn!

You see Ex-police Rolando Mendoza was not a quacking duck like some people are telling themselves. I think he tried to be a respectable warrior – putting the act where the mouth is [or was it putting the mouth where the act is?] Whichever, or don’t open the mouth. They don’t talk peace and friendship while their fingers are in the trigger guards, or their holsters’ fly are open and with their fingers wriggling over their guns.

Ex-Captain Mendoza, by “carelessly” exposing himself, was clearly  and perfectly communicating by his actions. He knew police won’t shoot him that early and he was very well aware and in control of his own situation. He trusts so he should be trusted.  He means no harm so he should not be harmed.  A little back-step by him at that point would have put everything back to where they once belonged; he must have been thinking of that. But later he saw deceit that generated mistrust and distrust, and not even his shadow did he put in the skyline or put on anymore. Because, as some people know, lurking not far behind those tips is the thing called treachery, and yes, as we all saw, atrocity.

Dennis Wong Sing Wing, an associate professor of applied social studies at City University in Hong Kong, said the police operation was “really shocking” to watch as it unfolded live on TV.

“I am very angry about their unprofessional performance,” he said.

What we saw is what it was. I mean, the world saw reality. Focus seems to be in how police handled the operation. Some saw it as “ill-coordinated”. But it could also be ill-executed, ill-prepared and what might ills. I think SWAT, especially its assault teams, should be composed of field combat, battle tested, experienced personnel. I must be imagining too much of scenes in movies like Band of Brothers and comparing them to what we saw.

Looking back at them, just one small step  that never happened could have changed it all. And I think there was not one but more of them one small step, not any was realized, that converged to one sorry sad destiny mark in history that day.

The Fox Jumped Over the Dog…

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog near the bank of the river. That is one favorite line I used to practice on with mechanical typewriters when I was young. Alas, to be honest, I have never learned to type well until now. Modern day typing with PC and keyboard is easier, especially when correcting mistakes, but this is not my point. I am more interested about the quick brown fox.

The Philippines is in the list of countries with high incidence of journalists being killed, intentional or intent killings of them, I mean.  In the roots of it, maybe the system is not really perfect in protecting the rights of citizens against possible abuses by those in the guise of journalism. Or, to put it from a different angle, maybe the system lacks ample protection for those in journalism. Journalism is always opposed at any move to regulate it, which in its view is infringement on freedom of expression. This is, of course, in the assumption that journalists know what they do, they know very well where they stand, and they are disciplined capable of self regulation.

In reality, I guess they are not always the case. In places where people appears helpless and hopeless, I guess it is cute of journalists to be crusading for one cause or another. But what is lovable at a time, exercising tremendous power, might also be a monster another time. There is no guarantee that power cannot be abused, like everywhere else.

Some of those who see themselves as journalists are hardly distinguishable from PR persons, propagandists, anything other than being reporters. Maybe that is what they call hanapbuhay – political, economic, personal, cause-oriented, whatever. Added to them are also a lot of print and broadcast programs, hard hitting ones, out there dedicated and focused at fighting say graft and corruption in government, if we can call them journalism. As we know, even to imply that an act of corruption has been or not committed, whether or not a politician is corrupt, are usually perceptions and opinions. They are usually at the level of allegations that are matters for the court to conclude. Playing persecutor, or the other way around, is not one  role of  media.

Surely, media cannot be a place for adventurism by anybody in there. We may call some of them as witchcraft, or manipulation of facts, harboring in media. Whatever, they are no reasons to justify for the killings. Such acts can never be justified especially in a democracy, to cap the matter. Politics has always been a hot field for journalists.

What Is Journalism And When Is It Political Activism?

Pure journalism, my understanding of it, is simply simple presentation of facts or truths, or factual reporting, if that is not hazardous enough kind of work. Because, as we know, there will always be persons amongst us who cannot accept truths or do not want truths to be out. I guess that always is the least challenge for those working in the side of, or for the cause of Truth.

journalism [júrn’lizəm]noun

reporting news for the media: the profession of gathering, editing, and publishing news reports and related articles for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio
news-reporting as a genre: writing or reporting for the media as a literary genre or style
Microsoft® Encarta® Premium Suite 2005. All rights reserved.

Journalists are human beings. They are also very much affected by, say politics and governance, good or bad, like every citizen else. However, good or bad in there is not fact but matter of opinion and personal belief.  Let us take government dole-outs for the poor, for example. There can be fact or factual reporting in that. However, for journalism to even denote or to suggest that government, therefore, is good or bad based on the fact is an over-shoot of the fact.  Good in there is an opinion, a belief. It is an opinion of its proponents who believe that the act is good. Others might see the same fact as useless, wasteful spending that does more harm than good thus, in their differing opinion or belief, is bad. In politics there is really neither right nor wrong. Like righteous and evil they are opinions.  In politics there is only majority rule after which come considered right and considered wrong. Some find their way into institutions  or laws that, then again, is matter of law and not of journalism.

Opinion is different from fact. Fact has no room for dispute and what has no room for dispute must be fact. Opinion is but personal view, interpretation, or understanding, of fact or facts. Any opinion is considered partial and may be bias. To opine is to stand for a cause. To intently drive for an opinion may be activism. A propaganda movement. In highly difficult situations like we have in the country, I guess it is hard for journalists to detach opinions from facts or factual reporting. We have seen political activism and pure journalism more oftentimes overlap. There is heightened risk for those in there because of that. I suppose that explains for the high incidence of journalists being killed, intentionally hit, I mean, in our part of the world.

Pure journalism must be apolitical, selfless, classless.  It is not business of journalism to pull down or prop up any politician, anybody. If bringing out truths has any of those effects, so be it. However, they are incidental.  Since good and bad are matters of opinion, I might sound crazy, but I think journalists should not wear that permanent smile or permanent wry faces while in TV. I think they look better with poker faces, showing neither good nor bad of the news they bring. Good and bad must be something out from the audiences, and never any intention of journalism.

I have high regards and likes for journalism, really. In the other hand, I think I have a few things in common with George W F Hegel why he interested me – we both somehow dislike journalism for ourselves. You see I am opinionated. If you look in all the paragraphs here, you will see full of them. This whole site is a mix of facts and opinions.

Anyway, I remember organizational life when I was young. Reporting is one of the things that I did. Reports I brought to meetings were considered drafts, or taken for tentative. The body always discussed reports before they were accepted. They went for me like these: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog near the bank of the river. Somebody doubted if it was a fox and a dog but surely, they were. How quick was the fox then?… Uh, it was not as fast as a cheetah so,  for others it was not quick enough… How did I know that it was brown and not a soiled red fox?.. And how did I know that the dog was lazy and not just tired and sleepy?.. And, uh uh, OK, everything took place some distance from the river that for others is not near enough.

Ok, Peers, here it is finally The fox jumped over the dog about thirty meters away from the bank of the river if anybody has got more doubts!

Sure, opinions are always required, like when collective has to make decision based on factual reports, but they are clearly separated and different from reports.

Political activism in the guise of journalism? I am sure people do appreciate that especially when things go their way. However, is not that added danger for those in it? I think journalists are better off dishing out facts and truths, leaving opinions, what are good and what are bad, to the public, to the political activists and to the politicians. Majority will always go with truths and facts.  I think we can trust humankind on that.

Meantime, as for the quick, brown, lazy, near, good, bad, right, wrong, well, maybe we can bring them all in here but not in journalism. True media is one holy ground to probably be soiled. And the world has a long long way to go, far  from perfection, folks!

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