Post for Jun 22-28 2014

TaN: [last-minute inclusion] The age and health issues of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is one thing, but justice must still be served and the severity and type of (wrong) acts are and should be irrelavant or independent.  Mercy and compassion must be shown but justice exact demands that are inviolable.  To be more or less is to be unjust.  If we go by the argument that “special considerations” are to be accorded the senator on the grounds that he is advanced in age and has many health issues, then — as the saying goes, what is sauce for the goose… — the same considerations should be given to all accused of advanced age and with many health issues too.

TaN: Protein is important to good health but it should be the correct protein.  There are numerous conflicting information being dispensed by numerous so-called experts regarding protein because they do not provide an explanation.  Let us do some fundamental research and use our common sense to wade through these conflicting information and get to the truth.

First, we will confine our discussion to dietary protein — because there are proteins that are not traditional food.  Moerover, proteins are composed of amino acid molecules and there are quite a number of different types — according to Wikipedia, some 500 types.  Anyway, we are only interested in our dietary protein (i.e., those that most people are concerned about).

In dietary protein, there are two principal sources of protein: plants and animals (although micro-organisms also provide protein, as in cheese, beer, yeast-fermented food, etc).  The two main types of proteins gave rise to the terms high-quality protein (from animal sources) and low-quality protein (from plant sources).

Media and other common sources often do not make any distinction between high- and low-quality protein and this is one of the major reasons for and where the “mass confusion” and mis-information that has been persistently circulating among the health conscious.  Yes, we need protein; protein is vital to good health; protein is at the very foundation of life itself, but there is more.  It has been said that, in order for life to exist, 100 (or so) proteins must come together at the precise instant, in the proper sequence, and in the exact location within the genetic arrangement.

Health experts insist that we need protein for good health yet many claim that meat is behind most of the issues of arthritis.  So, which is which?  Is protein good or bad for us?  The answer is, It depends of which protein/s you are referrring to.

As far as I can tell and from what I have read, to function properly, the body needs from 20 to 24 amino acids for the proteins it requires.  Of these amino acids, they are classified into essential and non-essential.  Non-essential amino acids are those which the body can produce or manufacture on its own while essential amino acids are those that come from food or the diet because the body cannot make them (hence essential).  There are 9 essential amino acids whereas the rest are nion-essential.

It is this characteristic of being essential (and non-essential) that nutrition experts differentiate between high- and low-quality protein.  Animal protein is considered high-quality protein because it contains all the amino acids that the body needs to function properly.  Plant protein have only 9, hence it is considered low-quality.

The confusion and mis-information comes from not explaining that: (1) the body needs 20 to 24 amino acids to make the proteins it needs and (2) the biody is capable of producing on the amino acids is needs, except 9.  Guess which nine?

But, how does this relate to health — mainly the claim that protein is a major cause of arthritis?  Animal protein, even if it is high-quality, is not good for the body, while plant protein is beneficial even though it is low-quality — most would naturally assume that high-quality is better than low-quality.

Plant protein is ideal for health because its nine amino acids complement the other amino acids that the body can produce, making them complete.  Animal protein presents not only the nine deficient amino acids the body requires but cannot manufacture but also those that it can.  Because of this, there is now an oversupply of the amino acids that the body can fabricate and this leads to arthritis.  How?

One of the principal designs of our body is to ingest plants rather than animals.  Because of this, eating animal protein results in an abudance of a metabolic waste — uric acid.  It is uric acid (crystals) that accumulate in the joints and develop into arthritis.  In carnivores, uric acid is broken down by the enzyme uricase and is eliminated with the feces.  In us, since we were not really designed to eat animal protein but we may, on occasion, unintentionally ingest animal protein, we can produce only a limited amount of uricase — not enough to address the quantities that come from eating lots of animal protein.

TaN: Most (if not all) self-image issues today are products of ingenius but diabolical marketing and advertising schemes.  Because conventional business is all about profit and business is familiar with the “weakness” of its consumers, it will take advantage of this and manipulate consumers into patronizing their product or services.

Take the case of man being a social being therefore has a strong need to belong and be accepted into a group or society.  And because, today, people have become shallow and tend to give or put much value on superficial or trivial things and aspects, (undiscerning or impulse) consumers are frequently manipulated, hoodwinked, or tricked into accepting whatever behavior patterns business would super-impose.

In a recent television advertisement, it featured a skin whitening product and the narrative was designed and intended to make viewers feel bad and insecure about their own complexion.  [The target audience were non-whites.  The opposite is done for audiences pre-dominantly whites — i.e., the advertisement will feature skin tanning products.]  The said advertisement capitalizes on man’s need to belong to a society and, by alluding that having a different complexion is to be an outcast, the non-fair complexioned audience is manipulated into purchasing the product.

Today, most people are so “starved” and “desperate” for socialization and so devoid of self-confidence, the correct and beneficial kind and not the pseudo socialization provided by telecommunications technology, that just about any form of shallow interpersonal connectivity will be snapped up readily without the slighest hesitation or doubt.  Ergo, the skin product provided just the right “incentive” at just the right moment to ensure a guaranteed catch.

Providing this kind of “solution” does not really solve the problem — only a palliative, a temporary relief.  The proper and lasting solution is to get to the root of the problem — low self-esteem.

People should know what is truly important and what is not and should have the fortitude to be steadfast on his/her convictions and beliefs.  Most people are so easily swayed and manipulated into behaving in a certain manner and doing particular acts because they lack the courage to stand up for what should be.

While it is true that we must belong to a community, we have to realize and remember that we can choose the communities we want to belong to.  Like the name of this blog, we do not have to accept whatever has been handed to us.  We have rights and we must exercise those rights else we will lose them.  As I have previously maintained and advocated, only those who deserve rights — i.e., who can exercise and defend their rights — can have rights.  The environment or nature does not have rights, plants and animals do not have rights, and dead people do not have rights.  Rights belong to those who can use them (properly).

In response to the onslaught of devious marketing schemes to coerce us to behave in the manner advantageous to the marketeer, we must discern the scheme and see it for its true worth.  In the case of the skin whitening product being pawned off to the uninformed non-white-complexioned consumer in the tropics, one must understand that it is not only natural but even beneficial to have a darker complexion because the skin pigmentation protects us from being over-exposed to the stronger sunlight.  Fair-complexioned people in tropical geographical locations are more prone to skin cancer and other related health problems.  To whiten one’s skin is to invite skin diseases.

The opposite is true for fair-complexioned people in temperate (and polar) regions who are being targeted with skin darkening products.  Because sunlight is not as strong in these areas, having a darker complexion robs or deprives us of the benefits of sunlight — principally vitamin D, because it is critical to strong bones, to fighting more than 77% of all cancers and a greater percentage of all other diseases like influenza.

It is not only important but vital that we are able to sift through the confusion and mis-information being so liberally spread via electronic and cyber technology today — all in Big Business’ mad scramble to amass profits and wealth.  Do not be hoodwinked.  Be discerning.  Be wise.

TaN: The minimum wage should be “tied” (using a pre-determined formula) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) — where the CPI is defined as the combined bi-annual average of the (designated) prime commodities (such as staple foods, fuel, sugar, milk, etc) — to be made public (inclusive of source data), as well as a law should be enacted to stabilize and mitigate significant fluctuations in vital or prime commodiy prices (in essence, a prime commodity price is permitted to rise as high as desired but this can be done only once every calendar year but there is no limit as to the number of times the price can be reduced and by how much).

To mitigate some of the (negative) impact resulting from waiting for a government agency to act on the debilitating effects of price hikes on the purchasing power of the masses, it becomes necessary to set up an automatic adjustment mechanism that can react and address the issue within a reasonable time frame.  This way the majority of workers — those who earn the least but need urgent and realistics wage adjustments to cope with fluctuation (mostly increasing) prime commodity prices — will not be left at the mercy of bureaucrats, technocrats, and whoever to study and decide at their leisurely pace while those in desperate need wait for tiny incremental increases in wage, if there is any at all.

If the minimum wage cannot keep up with the rising prices of prime commodities, worker spending will be decreased.  This causes a reduction in the money in circulation and a slowdown of economic activity.  So far, workers cope by taking on a second (or even third, often parttime,) job.  But workers cannot just keep on taking on more and more jobs — it is physically impossible.

When workers do not earn enough, they will spend less.  Spending less means it will not be feasible for production to increase because products will not be purchased.  And, the wealthy cannot be depended upon to spend enough to take up the spending slack or vacuum left by workers — who make up most of the spending public.  [Let us face it, there is only so much food a wealthy individual can purchase.  The consumption of the wealthy cannot even come close to that of the working masses.]

As to the law where prices of particular prime commodities will be permitted to increase once every calendar year but may be reduced as many times as desired or needed, this is to prevent erratic and significant price fluctuations.  Price fluctuations make up a large segment of the profits generated by traders and capitalists and the wealthy.

Imagine, the price of a prime commodity is hiked despite the fact that there are still a lot of inventory purchased at the old and lower price — and this is side from the mark up that is already factored into the old price — just because the global market price or producer or supplier has jacked up the price [much like the justifcation frequently used by petroleum companies].  So there is a windfall right there.

And then when the supplier/producer prices drop — perhaps, due to a supply glut or something — the local/domestic retailer will not slash prices immediately [often claiming that they have to wait until the “old stock” has been sold out, because they were purchased at the higher price and they would suffer a loss].

Now back to the one calendar-year permissible price increase, this is to ensure that business cannot just “play around” with the price but be responsible enough to set a price within the range of affordability by most end-consumers.  This way, if business sets too high a price, people will not buy so they have to lower it.  However, if business lowered the price too much, they would have to suffer and absorb the loss and wait into the end of the calendar year to raise it.  In a way, this measure is an attempt to force business to set reasonable and stable prices.  Wildly fluctuating prices is only advantageous to business — not the consumers.

Finally, these two — i.e., tying the minimum wage to the CPI and permitting a price hike once only for each calender year for certain prime commodities — are just two ways I can think of to minimize erratic price movements so consumers will not be wrongfully taken advantage of.

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