Post for Aug 21-27 2016

Still groping for topics and it is getting more difficult to maintain a 4-TaN post for I will be reducing it to 2 or 3…btw, for those who are trying to respond to this blog, please be advised that it is intended to be for my personal online thoughts and I am not exactly expecting reactions or responses. However, if you really desire to send responses and to avoid having my host site repeatedly remind me to moderate reactions to what I blog, please direct them to millenniumoracle@yahoo.com. Thank you.
Btw, thanks for all the kind words. Please consider everything in this blogspot as common good and public domain. For as long as it conforms to the conditions and provisions of the Fair Use Notice, by all means, cite and quote all that you need. Everything is free; cannot be used for financial gain, whether personal or otherwise, and all for the common good of and for all.

And, if you have anything to share with me, like a video or article, I am only interested in anything that is available and downloadable for free and no copyright. This is in line with my advocacy for sharing everything with everyone for free and for the common good. Anything I cannot download or share or have to join before I will be given the privilege to download…I am not interested. It is written that what you have received for free, you must give (away) for free. Thank you.

Btw, I am still falling behind my posting schedule and it is not easy when your connection is deplorable despite the prohibitive cost. As to this blog site, I have nothing (much) to complain because, as they say, Beggars cannot be choosers. Have a nice day.

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Post for Aug 14-20 2016

TaN: There is something subtly strange about the article titled “De Lima admits ‘snippets of truth’” in The Philippine STAR‘s August 20, 2016 issue.  Throughout the entire article, there appears to be only mention of the (vehement) denial of Ms De Lima regarding the illegal drug links but nothing about the supposed love affair with the former driver.  Does this imply that that segment of the issue is true?  Is that the ‘snippet of truth’ being referred to?

It was not so much what was said — in the long article — but what was not discussed.  It is not as if the article was so short that there was no space to fit.  This is quite intriguing indeed, at least to me.

The allegations made against Ms De Lima were sexual escapades and involvement in illegal drugs and yet she answered only those pertaining to illegal drugs.  It is highly unlikely that someone with a background in law and experience of many years of practice and now an elected official to no less than the Senate can leave some of the allegations unanswered.

Moreover, it is not as if there are numerous allegations made against her.  There were only two allegations so it is strange that she would “opt” to answer only one and not the other.  This would lead people to make assumptions that the unanswered allegation must have a significant amount of truth.  In addition, should she have a good reason for not answering the other allegation, if she does not want to answer it is her prerogative but at least she should give an explanation her choice.

TaN: Regardless of whatever is the argument — be it regulations, policy, law, etc — the fact remains that the Libingan ng mga Bayani is literally translated as burial grounds of heroes.  The controversial word is “bayani” or hero.  It would appear that emotions and sentiments are getting the better of everybody.

A hero is defined as a person whom one wishes others to emulate or imitate.  A hero possesses qualities that other people hold in high regard and would like these qualities to be present and practiced by others.

Given this aforementioned definition and remembering or knowing what happened during the Marcos years, it would seem obviously blatant that what Marcos did is not worthy of emulation by anyone (decent).  However, the argument of whether Marcos fits the image of a hero or not would hinge on which aspect of Marcos’ life is being considered.  He may have been a brilliant scholar and even bemedaled war veteran but it does not erase or even slightly mitigate what he did — i.e., declare martial law and subject the country to horrendous acts of unspeakable suffering and misery.

Regardless of the amount of goodness and heroism a person displays in the past, all that matters is the totality.  In addition, a hero does not subject his/her country to atrocities no matter how good the intention/s.

Machiavellianism is never a justification to inflict suffering and misery on others, especially when they are innocent lives.  No amount of justification can be acceptable to hurt an innocent life in exchange for serving justice regardless of the number of guilty people involved.  The greater or common good can never be served, no matter how many, when the innocent is hurt, especially when there are alternatives.

This is the same principle that Mr Duterte is employing in his campaign against illegal drugs and all the other (great) evils of (Philippine) society.  The question in his (Machiavellian) argument is how many innocent lives will it take to make Mr Duterte say that enough innocent lives have been shed for the sake of serving his country.

Both Messers Marcos and Duterte cannot use the excuse of inflicting harm and suffering on the few innocent (collateral) lives, no matter how unintentional it may be, and a hero does not harm the innocent, not for any justifiable Machiavellian reason.  The violence and destruction employed in bringing justice to the guilty cannot be justified by the (undeserved) suffering and misery endured by even just one innocent victim.  I reiterate, It is better to let the guilty get away free than to jail an innocent person.

In conclusion, there is no argument as to the many achievements the late Mr Marcos has done.  The argument is whether his deed of declaring martial law and causing, even indirectly, the suffering and misery of many innocent victims in his campaign to make the Philippines “great again” cannot be swept under the rug and make him a hero — someone worthy of emulation.  I, for one, do not want my descendants to follow in his footsteps.  Either change the name of the cemetery or keep Mr Marcos out of it.

TaN: In spite or despite all the boastful talk about killing, I sincerely doubt if Mr Duterte has ever, even just once, actually “pulled the trigger or the lever” himself.  Being a (savvy) lawyer, I am sure he is wise enough to get other people to do the dirty work while he stays “immaculately chaste”.  But then again, this is but my own opinion.

This perspective of mine comes from experiences with people who boast of nefarious deeds and those who remain quiet.  I am not saying that Mr Duterte is all wind but that I cannot believe that he has actually done any direct killing.  For all I know, he may have given the orders or even just hinted about it but never really done it himself.

From my talks with some people, those who have actually killed people prefer to remain silent and not advertise themselves and their deeds.  It is the silent ones that are more dangerous — the doers.  People who espouse killing wantonly are usually the ones who do not have the guts to do the job themselves.

Of course this is just my opinion and I can be wrong.  For all I know (and there is no cause or reason for me to think otherwise), Mr Duterte is a man of his word — when he says he “will kill you”, he means he will personally do it and not let some stooge proxy for him, otherwise he should have said “I will have someone (else) kill you”.  However, Mr Duterte is a thinking and calculating man (what him being a lawyer, a former prosecutor, a politician and all) and it would not surprise me should he use some technicality to “worm” himself out of a messy situation.

His law background enables him to exploit the technicalities to his end.  After all, it was once said in the television series Law & Order (and I paraphrase, because it was a long time ago and I cannot recall the exact words anymore), The law is not about what is right and wrong; it is about technicality.  In others words, he who knows the rules best wins.

One problem here is that Mr Duterte has forgotten about the verse in the Holy Scriptures — as in my previous post, in 2 Corinthians 3:6 [KJV], “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; NOT THE LETTER, BUT THE SPIRIT. FOR THE LETTER KILLS, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE” — where practicing or using the letter to interpret the law frequently brings death (though not always literally) but the spirit gives life.  This means that basing our decisions and actions on the letter is using the technicalities to go around the moral or ethical aspect, which is the spirit (as well as the rationale behind the law).

Mr Duterte is using technicalities to escape guilt from the consequences brought about by his literal interpretation and exercise of the law.  His claim of having compassion is selective and limited only to those who are good citizens.  Well, that is commendable but what if an innocent becomes a victim of his selective compassion or the other way around — i.e., what if a guilty gets away scot-free?

Remember it is likewise said in the Holy Scriptures that the rain falls on both the just and the unjust.  God so loves us that when he pours out his love for us, He does not discriminate or withhold against those He deems undeserving.  In other words, the Holy Scriptures is teaching us that it is not our place to pass judgment on the goodness or evilness of a person but just his/her actions and decisions.  We cannot see into the future nor into the soul of a person.  It is the sole purview of God to determine the ultimate and final judgment of a person’s goodness or evilness.

While in this temporal world, until a person breathes no more, there is always still the possibility that no matter how much evil a person has done or caused, that person could still make a 180-degree turn-around — as in the case of the thief who defended Jesus at the cross who supposedly has been bad all his life but that last moment saved him.

In addition, one can never say what can happen in the future.  Let us say that the “guilty” person you put to death, had you let live, would have, sometime down the generations, be the ancestor of a person who will prevent a future epidemic, be the chief executive of a country, make a world-changing discovery, or invent something globally revolutionary.

TaN: I guess it is normal or expected that when we say that something or someone’s time has come, we usually think of time as a moment — as in the time and day — but it can also be based on a precondition.  This is similar to the Bible prophecy regarding the end (Matthew 24:14, which says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. AND THEN THE END WILL COME.” (emphasis mine).

In this instance, the end of the world is not based on a specific time (hour and date) but rather on a condition…when the gospel has been preached to all nations.  God will never base the world’s end on time; it would be too quantitative, too rigid, and too easy.  Instead, He based it on when a certain condition or situation He has defined or ordained to take place to bring on the world’s end.  This way, it would be more unpredictable, more fluid or flexible, more “un-guessable”, more certain that the conditions He wants to exist as a pre-requisite would be achieved prior to passing judgment.

Most, if not all (except me), would be thinking of a particular time, although it is known that the Holy Scriptures mentioned signs to watch out for, but these signs are but mere forebodings of the beginning of the end but not the end itself.  The end itself is written to be the moment the gospel has been preached to all.  The specific moment is not fixed because it will all depend on when the gospel has reached everyone.  It may be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade, next century…

To set the end of the world to a particular fixed date (and time) would be too unfair for those who would not be able to satisfy God’s pre-conditions for salvation through no fault of theirs.  It is for this reason that God is making it impossible for man to guess when the world will end.  He knew it would be one of man’s penchant to guess the unknown and the greatest unknowable of all is when the end of the world will be.

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Post for Aug 7-13 2016

TaN: “Rody apologizes to Sereno: Harsh words unintended“, The Philippine STAR, banner, August 12 issue.  If Mr Duterte would really learn and change the ways of his mouth, he would not need to repeatedly keep apologizing.  From what I can gather and to repeat from an earlier TaN (below), Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth.  This way, a lot of apologies and hurt feelings can be avoided.  In this case, the damage done by hurtful words cannot be undone.

It would appear that the consistent and persistent tough talking style of Mr Duterte is borne out of his being brought up in an environment where one has to act and talk tough to earn some respect and not be bullied.  It has been typical for the average Mr Juan Masa confuse fear for respect.  The typical Mr Juan Masa will give “due respect” to tough talking people, which explains mania that overwhelms the country during Paquiao fights.

It is sad to see that Filipinos do or cannot seem to want to behave maturely and responsibly and ethically, not unless or until s/he is coerced.  It is getting to be that acting and doing good is something to be embarrassed about.

If Mr Duterte learns to choose his words more carefully before blurting them out, it would save him a lot of apologies and hurt the feelings of others less and there would be more time to do so many other important things instead of being hounded by controversy.

TaN: In today’s (Aug 9) issue of The Philippine STAR with the story headline “Duterte tells Sereno: Don’t create a crisis“, it would appear that Mr Duterte means well but continues to fail to understand the rationale behind the constant and consistent voicing of human rights advocates and other concerned sectors and individuals regarding the principle of innocent until proven guilty and the limits of rights (specifically the right or freedom of speech and of expression) and the concept of precedence.  Once you announce that someone is “guilty” of something without going through due process and respecting the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and it turns out that the public announcement is wrong, the damage is done and there is no take back.

The Holy Scriptures had warned (in 2 Corinthians 3:6, KJV), “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; NOT THE LETTER, BUT OF THE SPIRIT. FOR THE LETTER KILLS, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE” — emphasis mine — from http://biblehub.com/2_corinthians/3-6.htm.  Taking the letter of the law and the easy (and expedient) path is dangerous and lives are at risk.  Failing to understand and fully appreciate the spirit of the law, the rationale or intent behind the enacted law, may result in the taking of an innocent life.  It has been said that it is better to let a guilty man go scott free than to jail an innocent man, much less put him/her to death.  Death is irreversible; there is no take back when it is later proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that the victim was innocent of the charges or allegations.  There should never be an instance when we have to say “Oops, sorry” to the innocent who died unjustly.

We understand there are more lives (of victims) and their rights being killed every moment than guilty ones, but it is no reason to ride roughshod over the rights of the living, be they guilty or not.  It is good that there was an attempt to clarify the “marching orders” of Mr Duterte — that killing of suspects and individuals should only be due to the suspect or individual resisting arrest or there is clear and imminent danger to police operatives or innocent bystanders and for no other reason.

However, in my following of the event relating, it did not appear clear enough to me regarding the explanation/clarification.  Moreover, the “marching orders” only cover law enforcement and armed forces personnel and operatives.  What is happening alongside is the vigilantism and Mr Bato dela Rosa should look into the matter immediately, if not sooner, and fast.

While it is commendable that the government is moving heaven and earth going after everyone in the illegal drug trade — btw, marijuana should not be included or must be delisted (soon) from the illegal/dangerous drugs list because there is mounting evidence that it is beneficial, not only in terms of health and medicine but likewise in terms of industrial and other non-traditional uses, such as fabrics and textiles, but this will be saved for a later TaN.

As to “creating a crisis”, I seriously doubt if the Chief Justice would be the one to start something.  Everything was calm before Mr Duterte came in with his “kanto boy” style of governance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I admire his courage and conviction and many of what he is doing coincides with what I believe should have been done many administrations ago.  However, it is in the methodology that I disagree.  With almost every statement coming from his speeches peppered with |I will kill you”, it only shows that Mr Duterte is seriously lacking in tact.

Just as he resents being lectured and admonished in public, has it ever dawned in him that others may feel the same way?  In his nearly 8 decades of living, has he not imbibed at least the tiniest iota of diplomacy, to consider the feelings of others before he blurts it out in public.  I understand he (believes what he) is saying is truthful but it does not mean that he can just ride roughshod over the feelings of others.  There is a saying, You can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.  Another is, There is more than one way to skin a cat.

What I am saying is that Mr Duterte can still achieve his goals and objectives without resorting to acerbic and “kanto boy” language.  This way, there will be less chances of being “misquoted”, “misunderstood”, and “misinterpreted” and save his staff the trouble of explaining and smoothing things out with the media.  There is still another saying, Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth.

In conclusion, the creation of a crisis Mr Duterte is alluding to is but a reaction to what is happening ever since he took office and his ongoing war on illegal drugs.  His statements are “encouraging” people to become vigilantes and disregard due process.  It must be remembered that due process is not just a matter of giving a person a chance to defend him/herself but to do so in public and to have counsel advise his/her rights (especially against self-incrimination).  The rash of summary executions and killings do not follow the standard and legal due process where separate and limited functions are distributed to avoid being judge-jury-and-executioner.

Finally, though I must admit that I agree with the sentiments of Mr Duterte — that the current set-up is tipped in favor of the accused rather than the victim/s — this does neither take away nor reduce the responsibility to give due rights to the accused nor make the accused (even if s/he is guilty as hell or caught red-handed) any less entitled to the same rights as everybody else.  This is how democracy works.  Remember the principle of, Innocent until proven guilty.  [Unfortunately, the global trend, especially with respect to the global war on terrorism, has that principle turned around and this is commonly witnessed in body searches at airports, malls, and ubiquitously anywhere one can think of.]

TaN: Taxing the personal income is double taxation and not only unconstitutional but immoral.  How is this?  Because there is already the sales tax.

It is said — according to the video from YouTube, titled “AMERICA — From Freedom To Fascism” — there is no federal law that mandates citizens to pay income taxes.  It said that the only taxes collected from income or revenue are corporate income — and that makes sense.  To collect tax from personal income is a duplication or redundancy because there is already the sales tax from corporations, especially with today’s VAT (value added tax) which usually passed by the business to its consumers.

Although not all, it is a very benevolent corporation to absorb the tax for the consumer.  This would mean a reduction in their profit margin.

There should be no direct tax from labor.  The personal income is minute enough as it is, with many employees pulling double shifts or double jobs just to make ends meet while the fat cats at the top of the corporate ladder not only enjoy obscenely humongous salaries but even have perks and benefits, not to mention that their taxes are close to nil with its percentage or ratio to the overall salary.

And it is the lowly income earner that is the life blood of the economy.  Imagine: No matter how much a rich man spends, there are only a few of them while the teeny tiny spending of the laboring masses, when multiplied by how many of them spend, makes up the bulk of the government revenue.

Moreover, removing (direct) personal income tax would not reduce government revenue because people will have more money to spend and that redounds to much the same — i.e., the loss from personal income tax will be covered by the increase in taxes from sales.

This is simple economics and many economists have acquired the “Einstein syndrome” — Albert Einstein is said to be able to solve the most complex of mathematical and physics problems but struggle with simple arithmetic.  In addition, economics is supposed to be a social science but it seems that what has remained is the “science” — in terms of statistical analysis and other complex formulas and equations used — while the “social” has all but vanished.  Economics has stopped being people-friendly and become corporate and wealthy elite friendly.

I see the wisdom in the non-taxing of direct personal income.  I just hope others will eventually see it too.

TaN: With international agencies, such as the United Nations and the European Union, it suddenly dawned on me — in a podcast by David Knight a couple of months ago when he commented on Brexit and the potential and impending break-up of the EU — that it is good to have international cooperation but only when the cooperation is bound not just by executive agreements et al but by treaties that have been ratified by popular vote from and by the citizens (and not merely their elected (much less appointed) representatives).  Brexit reveals how the unelected (global) elite, through their positions and international agencies, are able to change and dictate the course of entire countries and subvert the will of the population.

Such situations are or should be illegal because there is no accountability, much less to hold the unelected foreigners with no loyalty to consequences of their decisions and actions on the lives and future of entire countries and their populations.  People occupying positions in international agencies and bodies — such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, and the like — should have no power or influence over governments, in terms of policy and such.  Such people are not expected to have any loyalty nor compassion for the governments they deal with.

Although it is understood many (developing or underdeveloped) countries that “voluntarily” agree or submit to these agencies — mostly out of desperation or gullibility — this does neither grant permission nor even tacitly imply that they have surrendered their sovereignty or autonomy.

Entering into a (binding executive) agreement or treaty or even being a signatory to some accord or whatever does not mean that a country has given up its freedom or right to self-governance and to chart its own destiny.  Any and all such agreements or contracts are immoral and unethical and the disadvantaged country has every right to unilaterally terminate or cede or otherwise abrogate the unjust transaction.

Moreover, the practice of representatives — whether political as in congressional representatives or governmental as in cabinet and other similar positions in the executive (including the President him/herself) or even in the judiciary — getting scot-free when transactions and agreements entered into by them in behalf of the country is proven to be detrimental to the interests and welfare of the state is unethical, immoral, irresponsible, and unjust in every way.

Such people who enter into agreements and transactions in behalf of the country should be more careful when exercising their prerogatives and duties and scrutinize all details and small print and their ultimate ramifications to ensure the country is not put into a disadvantageous position (when implementation time comes).  If and when that happens and the country (and especially the taxpayers and the poor) have to shoulder the (usually financial) burden, the people involved in the transaction or agreement should be held accountable and liable and must be dealt justice.

It is very wrong that a population is being dictated to by the unelected (with no superior appointing authority to be accountable to), especially by foreign individuals who cannot be depended upon to consider the interests and welfare of a country other than his/her own — to lose their right to self-determination — is an abomination.

The composition of people to preside over such international agencies should be by some kind of a committee or council whose members take turns in heading it — much like the United Nations, although the UN still has many kinks to work out to make it truly responsive to its member states (which will be taken up in another subsequent TaN).

In conclusion, persons in authority must be elected by the governed and an republican form is more appropriate and conducive for large populations (instead of the true democracy where there is direct consultation with the people in all matters concerning the state).  One word of caution: Even with a republican form, there is still the danger of a large bureaucracy (of the representatives).

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Post for Jul 31-Aug 6 2016

TaN: Sunday’s article in The Philippine STAR, titled “Rody wants party-list system abolished“, is a bit too drastic.  It is like cutting off an arm just because there is a scar on the hand.  The party-list system is a good idea because it gives marginalized or otherwise under- or unrepresented sectors of society an opportunity to participate in the proposal and enactment of laws.

In the article, it says the reason is that the concept is being made a mockery, that the wealthy and powerful use it as a way to skirt the limitations and restrictions and get into elected positions.  One of the instances cited was that of a group that supposedly represents security guards and pedicab or tricycle drivers but the representative is a multimillionaire who, not even a single moment in his life has every been or experienced what it is like to be a security guard or pedicab driver.  In fact, he belongs to a political clan that has lorded it over their province for the longest time.

In this regard, I agree that that particular party-list group should have been disqualified.  However, the fact remains that the party-list was able to win a seat in Congress does not mean that the party-list system is unworthy but just that the provisions of the law was shoddily and haphazardly crafted to let such travesties through by circumventing the good intention of the party-list system.  And the solution is not to totally discard the party-list system but, now that the flaw has been identified, to polish the law properly to prevent such and other future atrocities from happening (again).

One unsolicited recommendation is to mandate the party-list representative/s be either from their ranks (with a minimum number of years of being a “practicing” member or residency) or — as in the case of unqualified members because they do not satisfy the prerequisites to be a member — be in the “employ” of the party-list for a minimum number of years (as in legal counsels and such).  In addition, the party-list group should have been existing as an organization for a minimum number of years before being qualified to become a party-list group.

Finally, these recommendations are by no means the only precautions that can be put in place to forestall attempts to go around the law.  Just because a system has been deemed to be easily circumvented does not mean that it is no good.  It just needs a lot of careful scrutiny and thought before enactment.

TaN: Product endorsement, especially for a public figure or renowned personality, is so pitiful, so shameless, and so tacky.  Regardless of whether the endorsement involved monetary or financial gain or not, endorsing a product is tantamount to prostituting one’s dignity, one’s integrity, one’s reputation, one’s self-respect unless you are doing it for a living, as in a sales or marketing agent.

But to endorse a product where you actually have a different occupation/career/job/profession is bad taste and pitiful — i.e., assuming endorsement is not your “day job”.  It is as if you are prostituting or pimping yourself — your dignity, your self-esteem, your reputation, your very being.  Moreover, many a times you come across as begging the public to patronize the product (or service) you are endorsing.  It is pitiful indeed.

Product (or service) endorsement should be done by professional marketing or sales personnel, if endorsed at all.  Ideally, the product (or service) should be able to sell itself.  All it takes is to inform the public of the existence of such a product or service and leave it up to the consumer to decide whether s/he would patronize it.

Endorsement implies that the product (or service) is incapable of selling itself and that it is a non-essential, that people can live without it, that it is probably just a ploy to make the consumer spends and all in the name of economic activity and growth.  In truth, economic growth, as we know and practice it today, is but a means to enrich the already wealthy.

In addition, endorsing as it is done today is irresponsibly unethical.  A large majority of today’s products and services are full of artificial and harmful chemicals that when it is determined that a particular product or service is bad for the consumer and has to be pulled from the market, frequently there is no civil damages that are filed and the manufacturer/producer/seller is not held liable, much less the endorser — who most often gets away unaccountable and makes a large profitable sum on the side.

In conclusion, I feel so embarrassed for the public figures or well-known personalities whenever I see them make endorsements.  I often wonder how they feel when they see themselves endorsing such-and-such a product or service.  It is so cheap and they have sunk so low.

TaN: Compensation — i.e., salary, wage, or any form of remuneration — should be based on the essentiality of a job with respect to the success of the whole project, endeavor, or enterprise and not on whether the person is replaceable or how high in the management hierarchy or how prestigious or well-known or intelligent is the person or whatever else.

If a job is vital, it should pay higher, especially if there are few qualified and/or willing people to do it — like hazardous or just simple (smelly) waste disposal or handling and stunt work (especially if they are dangerous).  Jobs that only require one to sit in an air-conditioned room collecting payments should not pay much, especially if there is no other responsibility aside from simple collection and day’s-end accounting.

In line with this, jobs that involve producing food, especially nutritious produce, should be among the top paying jobs — precisely because it is food that keeps us alive and healthy.  Other jobs pale in comparison — simply because we can live without them.

Unfortunately, the situation is completely upside down — where the most useless and worthless jobs pay the most while the most essential ones barely even keep people alive.  Very appropriate examples are: sports and athletic players and fashion and entertainment versus farmers and fisherfolk and garbage disposal people (like those in hospital janitorial crews, which are extremely hazardous) and handlers of animal waste (in commercial feedlots), respectively.

Compensation should be based pro rata with respect to the importance or essentiality of the work in terms of sustaining life (the most important — such as the producers of basic or prime food commodities as in grain, vegetables, fruits, and animal products), then to other lesser but still essentials in life (like basic simple clothing and not the elaborate whimsically bizarre and non-functional designs of many in the modern fashion industry, simple shelters and tenement housing, and other vital services such as tailors/seamstresses and footwear makers/cobblers, carpenters and masons, healers, engineers and scientists and innovators).

Compensation usually involves money and man should never be a slave to money, as is the case in most of the world today (where people spend on things regularly that are not essential and unsustainable instead of on things that are necessary for simple and comfortable living).  When man gives in to spending more and more on non-essentials — even if they do not neglect their basics — this becomes a vice.  [The traditional definition of “vice” no longer applies, rather a vice is an activity brought on by indulging in behavior that does not benefit the common good but only the self and it does not necessarily involve money.]

TaN: What is stress?  Stress is neutral and can either be good or bad.

First of all, stress is the result of any activity — be it physical, mental, emotional, or whatever — where the heart rate increases significantly.  As to whether it is good or bad all depends on whether the stress is desired or not.  Moreover, there are two principal kinds of (bad) stress according to its necessity — voluntary and compulsory.

Bad stress is any activity that causes the body to deplete its resources and essential nutrients and falls into a state of discomfort, distress, and disease.  Bad stress is compulsory when the stress arises from activities that we have no choice but to engage in it, like in a fight or during a dilemma.  Bad stress is voluntary when it comes from activities that we like or want to do, like exercising or (yes, believe it or not) over-eating, especially when consuming comfort foods.  [Note: Eating is stressful to the body in the sense that the body has to use resources, like enzymes and hormones, to digest and assimilate the food.]

Good stress is any activity that causes beneficial returns or results, like the feeling whan seeing your newborn baby for the first time or falling in love.  These are considered stress because they increase cardiac palpitations, but they are good because they improve well-being.

Just as everything else, all of creation (as I have kept reiterating) — with the exception of man — are neutral or amoral and there will always be two sides to it.  Stress is no different.  It can improve health and wellness or create negative impacts (and leaves one drained instead of invigorated).

Finally, there is also the subjective side where the benefit or harm of something is relative to how the recipient will take or receive it — i.e., for example, a punch would normally be considered harmful or injurious but what if the person is a masochist, then it would be considered beneficial.

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Post for Jul 24-30 2016

TaN: If people do things out of the kindness of their heart, it will always benefit society.  However, if it is done for and incentivized by money (or financial gain), it will always eventually deteriorate into being profit-oriented and -centered and -driven and greed will always get into the picture/equation.

If we manufacture medicines and gave it to the sick/diseased at minimal (preferably no) cost, the medicine will always be safe, effective, and free.  The temptation to make huge profits would be absent and the manufacturer would keep the interest of the consumers in mind — prioritizing service and social benefit over profit.  The medicines would be carefully, thoroughly, and meticulously tested to ensure little or no side or harmful effects.  The primary Hippocratic Oath would be adopted — First do no harm — and should there be harmful effects, there would be clear, ample, redundant, informative, and transparent warnings and contra-indications made known.

The moment medicine becomes for-profit, eventually it ceases to be safe, effective, and free and degrades into something that will be for the rest of the patient’s life; it will be declared “no-cure”, and becomes costly — exactly what is happening with Big Pharma and current and contemporary allopathic medical practitioners and professionals.

Furthermore, when profit or income is entirely dependent on repeated business (and greed has gain a foothold), it is only logical or common sense that the welfare and interest of the patient-client will soon (if not automatically) be history and what remains is the obsession to rake in as much profit as possible by ensuring that the patient-client will not get well.  To cure the patient-client is detrimental to profits as, once cured/healed, there will be no further income from the patient-client.  It is not only important but vital or crucial that the patient-client not only not get well but be convinced that there is no cure and that treatment or therapy will continue for the remainder of his/her life — that the only time treatment or therapy stops is when the patient-client dies.

Finally, to wrap everything up in the sweetest deal, Big Pharma and its allies and cohorts and co-conspirators — i.e., the mainstream or conventional allopathic medical practitioners and professionals — are absolved of any criminal and civil liabilities.  The general public would regard them as untouchables and infallables — as gods — who have the final say over your life expectancy and quality of life.  Even the government is in cahoots with it all.  And any resistance is either ridiculed, bullied, maligned, intimidated, marginalized, persecuted, or otherwise hauled off to prison on fabricated and mythical charges.

TaN: Greed defies common sense.  Always, when greed comes to a person, common sense or logic goes out the window.  This would explain almost, if not all, reasons why logical people act irrationally and always idiotically.

Greed is characterized by lust — which is the exact opposite of love, it is the same in intensity and all other features for all intents and purposes except that it is the exact opposite.  And it is precisely due to greed (and lust) that all the misery and suffering comes from in this temporal world.  It manifests in two principal forms: as lust for power (and influence and control) and as lust for wealth (or unbridled and obscene profit).

All throughout history, ever since man began to live together in societies and political units and certain unscrupulous individuals began to crave for power (to obtain and keep over others or the community) and for wealth (when private property was instituted instead of the traditional communal sharing of resources and talents), the rise and fall of empires and (once magnificent) civilizations has been due to greed and lust.  It is even epitomized in the Holy Scriptures in Sodom and Gomorrah where all manner of despicably and obscenely immoral acts and devises are being done — from sexual to what-have-you.

Greed not only defies common sense but has a way of tainting what appears to be good so subtly that it would hardly be noticed and people will blindly and fanatically defend and even go to the extent of attacking those who are trying to point out the underlying malice and evil.

And at the way and rate events are transpiring today, it will probably not be long before the whole world — and not just localized as in the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah — descends (once again) into those slippery and contemptuous slopes leading into the eternal and abysmal darkness that is Hell.

TaN: Bad news for health-conscious advocates and buffs, it is no longer sufficient to read ingredients and labels to assure you and your family that you are not eating/ingesting toxic chemicals.  Even so-called (commercial) whole (but not necessarily organic) food products can be loaded with lethal chemicals that are hazardous to health.  This is because whole foods may contain pesticides and herbicides and other poisonous chemicals along with their fertilizers (be it natural or petroleum-based).

It used to be that reading ingredients was enough.  When we see natural ingredients, like fruits and spices and herbs, we were assured that the product was good.  However, it seems that profit-driven commercial or large-volume food manufacturers and processors have gotten wise (more like insidious) have begun to exploit the (legal and logical) loophole in the code of standards for organic food products — I am making this term up because I do not know what it is called — of health food consumers.  They have commenced using whole foods as ingredients raised or grown according to health food standards but are sourced from farms that produce crops in the “organic or natural” way but only by technicality.  The produce will be still be loaded with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and the soil will be depleted essential nutrients that makes the plant (or animal) healthy.

It is no longer enough just to read ingredients.  Commercial food manufacturers and processors have gotten much wiser and have devised ways in which to outsmart or circumvent the precautions and measures health-conscious consumers have developed and/or adopted.  For one thing, since people have become more cautious regarding excessive intakes of sugar and that it is known that the ingredients list is supposed to be arranged from the greatest percentage quantity to the least, commercial food manufacturers and processors have since broken down the sugars into different sub-categories in order to technically and legally put them further down the list — like glucose, maltose, lactose, galactose, fructose, corn syrup, and many others, which all refer to the same thing…sugar.

In addition, commercial food manufacturers and processors will always find ways to skirt or circumvent regulations and procedures through technicality.  It is similar to the Biblical saying (and I paraphrase), The letter of the law brings death while the spirit of the law gives life.  By technicality I mean to go by the letter and not the spirit, and there will always be loopholes to exploit and capitalize on when the letter is followed.

In conclusion, it is getting increasingly difficult to live righteously and healthily because there is deception all around — all for the love of money or more appropriately…for profit.  It is like the old joke we used to say during our college days, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing”, except that “winning” is replaced with “money” or “profit”.

TaN: Hidden wealth does neither automatically nor necessarily mean it is ill-gotten but merely that it is kept from others.  It could very well be that the owner does not like to flaunt his/her wealth — and thus create enmity, envy, and such other negative and counterproductive emotions or feelings.

Before rushing or jumping to (wrong) conclusions and judgments, one must first consider if the individual has already amassed wealth before s/he went into public service.  And even in public service, it should not be expected or assumed, without any convincing proof (remember: Innocent until proven guilty), that the public official would automatically and “instinctively” commit graft (and corruption) and plunder the national coffers or even “accept” benefits (like special treatment or offers or “discounts or gifts” or “finder’s or agent’s fee” or whatever insidious and guilt-avoiding terminologies and redefinitions) from the private sector for favors, inside information, or winning awards and contracts and dealings with the government.

Moreover, if the public servant is already known to have or be wealthy before s/he entered public service, hidden wealth should not be an issue unless and until it is revealed or proven that the wealth has been ill-gotten from dealings with government.  This would put a damper on his/her integrity and definitely (negatively) impact on his/her service, especially if the individual is sincerely trying to do a good job to serve the country — remember the principle: Cæsar’s wife must not only be chaste, she must also appear to be chaste.

In addition, regarding the principle, it is not to be taken literally — as in limited only to Cæsar’s wife but encompasses anyone and every person who is somewhat related such as immediate relatives (blood or by law), close friends, and all who may be perceived or actually have the ear or can influence the public servant while in public service.

However, it is a totally different situation if or when the public servant makes astute investments and engage in above-board and legitimate businesses, although there is precaution that the investments and businesses should be as remotely related to his/her public office to avoid the perception or issue of conflict of interest in which case s/he must resigned, go on leave, or divest from the investments or businesses immediately.

In conclusion, for as long as there is full disclosure and faithful declaration of the SALN (statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth) religiously, there should be no issue.

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Post for Jul 17-23 2016

 

TaN: In this digital age and the mania need and obsession to be heard/read by the whole world (especially using social media), there is so much out there that plagiarism is practically inevitable — and this is through no fault of the (alleged) plagiarist.  Even though there are a lot of words in the English language, only a mere handful (about a thousand) are used repeatedly.  Moreover, these words cannot just be used or combined at random but must follow or observe specific syntactical structures and statement constructions.

Given this, it is logical and unavoidable that there is bound to be not just similarities but “clones” or identical phrases every now and then and it will be unintentional.  To this, it is unfair to flatly conclude that there is plagiarism.

This is somewhat similar to the situation regarding music where there are only 8 notes and there is only so much unique sequences these notes can be arranged.  The only way to create a greater variety and thereby to avoid being accused of “copying” is the variation in length of the note and the pitch.  But even then, as more and more music are created using the same fundamental 8 notes, there is sure to be duplication and replication down the line.  This can hardly be considered copying or piracy because one has to take the facts and circumstances.

The most sensible and practical solution would be to just give it away, put it in the public domain.  Let us be content with the mere thought that we were able to come up with some thought and shared it with the world.  This is what I do.  My only hope is that what I have shared can be useful to someone.  Recognition or being cited or credit would be nice and appreciated but not really expected or required.  It is enough for me to know that I put something out there and people are free to take it and use, but only if it can be used for the benefit of others.  Financial gain is frowned upon.

Please, let us not be too greedy with our talents and skills and our (hopefully and without malice intended nor desire to claim ownership) give it to the world, in the public domain, for all to have and use.  This is the essence of true and pure altruism and/or philanthropy (I can never distinguish the difference between the two).

Let us not be too concerned with plagiarism.  Plagiarism should only come into consideration or play when there is malice, there is malevolence, there is injustice (in the form of selfish personal financial and/or political gain, of using in part or as a whole for deception or fraudulent ends, or of some kind of other activity and/or purpose that does not only serve self-interest but even bring no benefits to others).

Let us face, the time for plagiarism has gone and it is high time we be more sharing and concerned with others and not be so suspicious of ulterior motives or intentions of others — at least in terms of plagiarism.

TaN: Currently, not only do we have people who we did not choose or elect into office or authority dictate what we — i.e., our government — can and cannot do or should and ought not to do but who are even and frequently foreigners.  This brings up an interesting question: Isn’t there something wrong in this because it would make a mockery of the election process of a country.

It is not right that a private (especially a foreign) individual can determine the course of a country, having the power to override and/or dictate to a country and its elected officials — the Chief Executive (President, Prime Minister, Premier, or whoever) — whatever policies and regulations that country must, not may, undertake or implement (like the International Monetary Fund or IMF and the World Bank or WB).  Aside from not having any accountability or liability whatsoever to the people of the country, that individual would likewise neither have any loyalty nor fidelity to the country.

I understand that it is there must be some compromise when the situation involves countries but it should not go beyond interfering and even dictating the national policies and regulations (expected) to be carried out by the debtor country (and frequently at the expense and detriment of the great majority of the public who are usually in the lower income tiers).  This is utterly unacceptable if the (debtor) country has any self-respect and self-worth at all — and not just for the sake of the “economy”, which in truth almost always benefit only the upper crust and the trickle-down economics is but a sham to persuade and convince the gullible masses to agree to the idea and to “expect” the trickle to reach them).

[Note: Focus your attention and take note on the “trickle” in trickle-down economics.  It implies that much of the benefits will be remain at the top and just trickles, if any, will subsequently and eventually trickle to the bottom levels.]

And should the masses complain and/or otherwise express opposition or displeasure but the leaders still stubbornly and insistently continue to “obey” the dictates of foreign authorities over their (the leaders’) country’s interests, it is high time that the said leaders be removed or ousted from office as soon as possible and by any means necessary (but avoiding harsh and violent methods if and when possible).

It is very insulting and humiliating for a country to kowtow to dicta from foreign — and unelected at that — just for economic reasons when the beneficiaries are almost always the well-to-do and the elites but never the public, especially the poor and marginalized.

TaN: I will be precariously out on a limb and say that I BELIEVE that the only way to interpret the Holy Scriptures is to be faithful to its fundamentals — i.e., no compromises, no adaptations, no “modernization” to be acceptable.  The Word of God is absolute, constant, forever and universally applicable, and true.  There is no room for interpretations and manipulations — the last (and, in my opinion and belief, the most important) statement is (in Book of Revelations, Chapter 22 verses 18-21, KJV):

“18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

And the same was mentioned in Deuteronomy 4:2 and in 12:32, respectively: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” and “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

These repeated warnings are manifestations that GOD MEANS BUSINESS!

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Post for Jul 10-16 2016

TaN: There is much confusion over continued controversy regarding the killings under the Duterte administration which are being alleged as shootouts and summary executions or extrajudicial killings.  Everyone is caught up with emotions in the issue they fail to differentiate or distinguish between the killings that involve law enforcement operatives and those where bodies are just found with scribblings referring to them as petty criminals and drug users and/or small-time pushers.

I can understand the rationale behind Mr Duterte’s unconditional support behind the anti-illegal drug drive he ordered the police to conduct because many government authorities and influential and powerful people abet in thwarting the efforts to rid the country of illegal drugs.  These unscrupulous individuals easily elude the law because many legitimate attempts are being foiled by narco officials by using the (letter of the) law to shield and outmaneuver cases filed in court.

However, it is a totally different story when it involves people turning up dead, drug-related or not — because this no longer a legitimate police operation anyway you look at it.  It is pure vigilantism.  The police must look into these because these killings are no longer sanctioned.  Mr Duterte cannot argue that it is part of his campaign.  His marching orders was only directed to the police (and later the armed forces) but not to private individuals and groups.

One more argument by human rights advocates and groups is that the use of deadly force is defined in an order of battle or terms in an encounter.  The general rule the use of lethal force should be avoided when less lethal measures will do, as in shooting at extremities and non-vital parts of the body.  Even if the scenario is not well lit, police operatives should be well-trained both in accuracy and precision firing.  This is in support of the saying, Dead men tell no tales.

In addition, it must be remembered that when we sin against God, He always gives us another chance, a chance to repent and reform.  Man can do no less.  Each criminal, no matter the heinousness of the crime or criminal act, should always be accorded the opportunity to change for the better.  I thought (one of) Mr Duterte’s campaign slogan is Change is coming.  It would appear that Mr Duterte has a different idea of change than we do.

In conclusion, to minimize suspicion that it is not a legitimate killing by police of someone under their custody but a rub-out, closed-in escorts and arresting officers should not be carrying any weapons that the suspect or apprehended individual can get a hold of.  This is standard operating procedure (SOP) for many law enforcement in other countries, especially the developed or industrialized ones.

TaN: Another rejoinder to the TaN regarding man and evil and money — in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (KJV) — the Holy Scriptures is not admonishing us on the evilness of money but forewarning us concerning our weakness to fall prey to its allure…greed.  As belabored repeatedly, in this temporal world or reality, only man can be good or evil.  This is because only those endowed with free will can be good or evil.  It is in the ability or freedom to make choices that determines whether something is good or bad.

Nature, specifically living things but do not possess free will, is neither good nor evil because they cannot choose.  It or they merely obey laws and principles laid down that govern their actions and “decisions” even if those actions, from our perspective, may be cruel and unjust.  There is no freedom to do otherwise, ergo they cannot be held responsible for their actions.  So, when a predator kills and eats its prey, it cannot be expected to use “humane” and non-violent ways, especially for the higher order predators like orcas, the big cats, bears, raptors, and such.  They follow instincts and reflexes.

The ability to distinguish between good and evil is what differentiates man from the rest of creation and it is both our burden or onus and our privilege or badge of honor (to be entrusted with such a heavy responsibility).  However, there are many qualities that we used to think and believe are in the sole province of man and yet we find now being exhibited by animals, like grief and compassion among elephants, problem-solving skills among ravens and crows, cooperation and caring for the welfare of others among primates (specifically the capuchins and chimpanzees), and many more.

This leads me to thinking about the concept posited by Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Resonance but it would appear that it is not just confined to within the species but is spreading.  Could it be that what we once thought of as purely and exclusively human qualities are spreading to other creatures or perhaps it has been there all along but we never noticed.

Man does have the propensity to self-attribute characteristics and behavior that may have been present in other life forms but was just too stubborn and egotistical or narcissistic to admit it.  Another theory would be that, through the passage of time, everything evolves and improves so why can they not — whether accidentally or due to pre-programmed in their DNA or being — eventually evolve or develop qualities that man possessed ever since.

TaN: Truly, manna or money is the most powerful force in today’s world.  I am referring to the recent developments — as with so many or most of what has been in the past years — where countries quarrel over territory and sovereignty yet trade and “economics” continue.  As they say, Nothing personal.

It is so pathetically shameful that even in the midst of verbal — and sometimes to the point of having physical “mis-encounters” and “skirmishes” (like China’s brush with Vietnam in the South China Sea near their disputed island claim) — and diplomatic exchanges and yet trade and business continues as usual, as if nothing is happening.

I would think that if differences have reach all the way up to the highest echelons of power and authority that diplomatic (and trade) relations would somehow be affected and that there may be a temporary suspension in relations, including trade and business.  How hypocritical!

Truly, in this temporal world, money is god.  It transcends all…considerations, common sense, and everything else.

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