Others have made better comments than I could on the serious issue at hand, so I'll just derail onto a quote from "The (Uncensored) Thoughts of Chairman Frank" (i.e. the late Frank Haden) whose crack about Winston's hair came to mind after reading your line about the headphones: "I don't think Winston Peters' hair is even made of hair. I think it's plastic. It doesn't move in the wind. It's too shiny altogether, it could well be ebony carved in Indonesia."
Fair enough Kyle M. I'm sure I didn't "capture" anything much either.
Thanks Lyndon for the link to the Espiner piece, which I hadn't seen, and Gareth for the not-so-frothing-at-the-mouth-as-my-post explanation. Enlightenment comes slowly, if at all.
Excuse rant BUT: This has been irking and intriguing me for some time, and I've written to a couple of blogs as well as biz sections of daily papers trying to get someone who knows something about this stuff to explain to me how come these ratings agencies -- the same ones whose fingerprints are all over the current capitalist collapse -- get to dictate things like budgets and policies to sovereign nations and, if they feel like it, to push them further under by downgrading their ratings. Yes, I guess they've been doing this to the developing world for eons (I assume so), but I find it incredible that, among other things, a small nation that is a victim of the global downturn that was in no small part caused by the ineptitude-slash-collusion of these agencies then gets to be pushed further under the waves because it's having economic difficulties by the very same agencies. There's something mighty phucked up about that and I wish MSM, e.g. NZH this a.m., would stop being stenographers for these people and ask some questions and explain what's going on here. The Europeans have said they're going to impose some oversight on the agencies, but I haven't seen what that will mean in terms of national debts (or even what it will mean in terms of corporates for that matter). So, is the bottom line that we just have to suck this up? To let the neo-cons use Standard & Poors as an excuse to impose their privatisation, etc. etc. agenda? Is there anyone out there who can explain who "elected" these people, how they get to keep doing this, why we all go along with it, especially in light of what they did in the U.S.? Anyone?