[another last-minute insertion] TaN: Boxer “Manny” Pacquiao gets promoted by the Philippine Coast Guard to the rank of commodore. Well, it appears that money can really buy many things, deserving or not. Pacquiao keeps getting promoted for doing nothing related to military duties or functions. And I thought it was already scraping the bottom of the barrel when (rich) people can buy their (honorary) doctorate degrees and without doing anything remotely related to post-graduate study activities but by making sizeable donations to educational institutions.
I am neither implying nor insinuating that Mr Pacquiao paid for his promotion. Rather, I am in the opinion that he did nothing to deserve the promotions he keeps getting — nothing but to beat up other people and get paid billions.
[last-minute insertion] TaN: In the recent Meet the Press interview of Mr Dick Cheney, he indignantly and unapologetically insist that what the CIA did — i.e., the “enhanced interrogation techniques” — under his watch was not torture and claimed that what the “terrorists” did was. Okay, let us, for argument’s sake, that what the CIA did — the waterboarding, “rectal feeding or rehydration”, and whatever methods they can dream up — is not torture and, therefore, not immoral or wrong.
Supposed the terrorists were to take up the “challenge” and do what the CIA did to the latter’s detainees to the former’s captives? Would that then be more “acceptable”? Will the terrorists no longer be accused of torture and inhumane acts? How would Mr Cheney react to it? Why is it that the likes of Mr Cheney can “do no wrong” whereas the same acts perpetrated by others are unconscionable?
Just like circa American colonialism under England where English books are very expensive so the colonies resorted to reprinting them without the permission or against the English authors. This is a clear case of a violation of copyright and intellectual property rights. However, when poor countries today do the same thing, the USA and First World countries band together and pressure poor governments to implement intellectual property rights laws and prosecute the “violators”.
It would therefore appear that when it is the interest and profits of the global elites and mega (transnational and major environment-polluters) corporations that are at stake, it is illegal and unethical. If it is the poor countries that are being disadvantaged — like biopiracy by Big Pharma when traditional and public domain folk and natural medicine (like what happened in India and South America) are “hijacked” and patented to be sold exclusively and monopolistically for the obscene profits — intellectual property rights suddenly and mysteriously become inapplicable and unimplementable.
But returning to the topic at hand, a case of blatant double standard is unmistakable. And as I mentioned in an earlier TaN, it is best to just ignore Mr Cheney and his comments altogether. It is not worth our time and effort to waste them on the likes of Mr Cheney.
[And as a last-minute insertion to this last-minute insertion, YES, I agree 100% with Mr Bobit S Avila in his December 16, 2014 column in The Philippine STAR, entitled “Waterboarding and ethnic cleansing by the US“. What the USA has been doing since September 11, 2001 (and even before that infamous date but only in a more modest and restraint manner) is truly conducting and orchestrating a systematic and thorough ethnic cleansing of the world. It started as soon as Operation Paperclip was implemented — as can be plainly seen by the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, the TSA, and many other modernized and Americanized versions of Adolf “Schicklegruber” Hitler’s Nazi Germany.]
TaN: The (open secret) revelations of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) before the USA Senate intelligence committee is both unsurprising and embarrassing. Unsurprising because everyone knows, regardless of how much the CIA denies it, that they employ torture to extract whatever information they want (but not necessarily need). They even have the gall to use semantics (“enhanced interrogation techniques” my ass) to evade and elude openly admitting to exercising torture — and as an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) ever since September 11, 2001 and probably even earlier (I would not be surprised) but may not be as “imaginative”.
As for embarrassment, it is really deplorable and shameful that the USA takes a “holier than thou” position against governments and even terrorists who perform despicable atrocities yet are themselves guilty of the very same accusations made. The claim of not being as bad or is the lesser of evils is just a plain and simple cop-out, a scheme to worm one’s way out of an embarrassing predicament.
In relation to the claim that torture (I am calling a spade a spade and not “enhanced interrogation techniques”) was used because of the need and urgency to address the unilateral declaration by Mr Bush Jr of the “war against terror”, even so, torture still cannot be justified. In fact, no amount of justification can make torture acceptable and necessary — even if the reason is that the other side is doing the same or even much worse. One does not sink to the level of the other otherwise one is no better.
As in an earlier TaN, there is no such thing as lesser of two evils. This is only the excuse used by those who are looking around for a justification to do evil. Evil is evil and that is that. The way of Mohatma/Mohandas K Gandhi, of Buddha, of Martin Luther King Jr, and most of all of Jesus Christ.
And taking the cue from Russia’s opportunity to turn the tables against the USA, when the latter accuse other countries of human rights violations, it is indeed the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black“.
And it is high time we ignore whatever Mr Dick Cheney has to say. He has never been a source of morality and humanity anyway. [Which is probably why Mr Cheney ran to Fox News for his commentary on the Senate intelligence committee report.]
TaN: The recent gay marriage of a popular lesbian singer former child actress and a (supposed) normal female reminds me of an earlier TaN where I discussed how, since marriages are intended for the purpose of building a family and part of which is procreation (unless there is an unintentional inability), the union of two people should be restricted to those who are natural sexually complementary. This latest event (supposedly) done in California is so pitiful although the (odd) “couple” sincerely seems to be genuinely happy.
I have nothing against people (or “couples”) looking for and finding happiness but I have to make a stand against making a mockery of marriage. They want to live together forever and raise a family, by all means, go ahead but leave marriage out of it. Sign a contract and have it notarized, after all marriage is, by definition, a contract. Besides, for all intents and purposes, a contract is just a piece of paper. It is the couple that will determine how strong and lasting and true the relationship is.
The next thing you know, animals will also be enjoying marriage — as if it is not already being done.
And, FYI, homosexuality is natural and normal only during a certain stage in the development of man — when sexuality has not yet manifested and lust (fueled by hormones) have not yet awakened (sometime in childhood). The only possible other “reason” for an “over-extended” homosexual phase is the prevalence and pervasiveness of chemicals and compounds with estrogen-mimicking properties — like man-made plastics.
But going back to gay marriage, no amount of legality can ever make gay marriage moral.
TaN: What makes a storm surge dangerous is the low-pressure area at the eye of the storm, which sucks or draws up the water underneath. Being low pressure, it acts like a vacuum. This raised water level is then pushed by the winds along the path of the storm — as a wall of water. All is fine until the storm makes landfall. At this time, the surge advances inland, it picks up debris — much like a tsunami wave, except that it is powered by the wind instead of the energy caused by an iundersea quake or tremor — (from loose materials as well as those damaged by the force of the water) along the way which increases the dangers.
Comparing a storm surge and a tsunami wave, there is very little difference in terms of destructive power. The difference lies in what else is there — as in the case of the storm surge, there is also the force of the wind to contend with. For a storm surge, the destructive power comes from the sustained force of the wind that drives it. As the storm continues inland, there is no longer any water to draw energy from to maintain the storm’s power. As the storm weakens — because of the deprivation of a body of water to replenish its energy — so will the storm surge. And long before the storm dissipates, the surge will have “died down” to a puddle.
Another factor that increases the danger of storm surges is the topography or shape of the coastline. As in the case of Hurricane Sandy — which slammed into the eastern seaboard or Atlantic coast of the United States of America — the storm surge was made more devastating with the right-angle shape of the New Jersey coastline. Depending on the direction or angle of the surge, the right-angle shape can cause the water to “stand up” higher and turn inland, creating a much larger and higher wall of water.
TaN: Just last week or so, I TaNned about the “new normal” and I now realize that what is normal has to be natural and vice versa. It does not make sense to be normal but not natural — i.e., man-made. With this argument, it, therefore, becomes illogical that there is anything called “new normal”.
Even though the so-called “new normal” is “natural” (i.e., it occurs in nature or in the environment), it cannot be anything or any kind of “normal” because it is caused by man. Just because it is predominant and widespread does not necessarily mean it is nor make it normal — “new” or otherwise.
The “promotion” of the “new normal” is simply an attempt to avoid the responsibility of restoring the situation back to its (true) normal. It is just a cop out, an escape, an evasion to take the blame — plain and simple.
TaN: It is becoming more the “trend” that the options for death is limited to only two instead of the “usual” three: old age or in one’s sleep, by accident or be killed, and from disease. There seems to be less and less people dying of old age or in their sleep (a coronary or a heart arrest) — although quantitatively it still appears to be “as usual”.
One major reason is because (proportionally) less and less people reach a ripe old age to die from old age — despite recent statistics continue to show that more and more (Baby Boomers) are reaching and exceeding the octogenarian ceiling and even getting into their 90s and centenaries with all mental faculties intact and (comparatively) physically fit.
The significant causes behind this “phenomenon” are the predominance of wrong lifestyle choices and being swayed by the ingenious marketing hypes and advertising campaigns of Big Business (particularly Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Biotech, Big Agri, Big Media) with its co-conspirators in Big Government, Big Banking, and international “institutions” (and even quite a number of well-meaning non-governmental organizations or NGOs).
Moreover, there is a disturbing study (or report, I am sorry I was not able to pay more attention to it until I can no longer re-locate it) claiming that humanity will be experiencing a troubling first in history — that it will be the first time when the children will die before their parents. This phenomenon may be attributed to the early exposure of the younger generation to a toxic world — junk and processed foods, multiple vaccines (all at once, at a very early age, and completely unnatural and unnecessary), pharmaceuticals (especially mind-altering drugs and ingredients once used with or in Agent Orange and the Nazi death camps), industrial pollution (air, water, soil) and wastes (irresponsible disposal of toxic materials from consumer products and packaging), and macronutrients (such as carbohydrates: rice, bread, wheat; oils and fats: canola, soy/soya, corn, vegetable; and, protein: commercially-raised, artificial-feed raised food animals) that have raised using artificial means and nutrients or in nutrient-deficient soil.
These conditions lead to unhealthy people and, in turn, lead to unnatural deaths. [“Unhealthy” is defined as people who still get sick but can and will recover on their own with minimal external intercession and within a short duration. And, “unnatural deaths” instead of shortened lives because, I as continuously assert, man does not have control over when his death will come but only the manner in which he dies — by old age or diseased, because accidents are mostly beyond our control unless one is just being plain careless.]
TaN: Once elected to public office, one must sever all ties with one’s political parties — or at least go on leave and not get involved in party matters. This would give an assurance or at least a semblance of independence from political (i.e., party) influences and ensure a more focused performance in office — hopefully.
It has been the perennial problem of many a government — and even First World or industrialized nations are not exempt — from influences exerted by partymates in the course of an elected official’s term in office. This frequently leads to horse trading, corruption, and cronyism. It ultimately leads to political dynasties, mass poverty of the citizenry, and misery.
To quote Manuel Luis Quezon: My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins. And this is the way that things ought to be in politics and governance. A public servant, even the Chief Executive, should always bear in mind that s/he is a SERVANT of the PUBLIC.
And, to cap it all, it is written in the Holy Scriptures (in Matthew 19:30, KJV) that: …many that are first shall be last; and that last shall be first. One interpretation is that one must serve in order to lead and the leader shall be concerned with him/herself last, putting others before or ahead of his own interests and welfare. Like in the case of sharing, the last to choose (which actually is no choice at all because often there is no longer anything to choose anymore) is the one who did the apportioning or allocating — this is to ensure that everyone gets a fair share (usually in terms of quantity) or, if the choices are not very equal, the “least liked” or leftover.
TaN: Watching college basketball, I realized how cheerleading has become more and more irrelevant and inane. I am sorry but I consider myself some kind of “purist”. The basketball game is about the sport and cheerleading should be limited to boosting the morale of and rallying the supporters — nothing more.
Nowadays, cheerleading is becoming a spectacle in itself and it is sad. If these cheerleaders want so badly to dance, then go to dancing. Do not use sports as a vehicle to advance what is essentially dancing and not cheerleading. Cheerleading is supposed to be repeated and punctuated at critical moments during the game.
This is assuming that the “dancing” in cheerleading has not evolved into acrobatics.
I realize and acknowledge that cheerleaders put a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their “masterpiece” but that is beside the point. I am neither insinuating, contesting nor belittling the effort involved. It is just that I prefer the traditional cheerleading where the squad simply rally supporters to the team.
Call me “old school”, purist, ultra-conservative, or whatever. I just feel there are certain things that should remain the same way it started out with. I do not believe in changing just for the sake change.