Post for Apr 5-11 2015

[yet another last-minute insertion] TaN: The revelation and admission of BBL peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that he goes by many names and that he chooses to be known in public, as of or with respect to the BBL and the ongoing Congressional probe into the Mamasapano incident, blatantly shows willful deception on his part and cannot be trusted. When important (and legal or lawful) circumstances such as the BBL and Congressional probes are involved, one must always use or provide one’s true name and not just some alias.

It is deliberate — as to whether there is malice or not is entirely a different story and yet to be determined or ascertained — on the part of Mr Iqbal because a person of his stature and learned status has no excuse not to understand, realize and know that one’s real name is needed in such important circumstances as crafting the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law). The use of an alias, for whatever the reason, is a deliberate act of deception and shows that one cannot be trusted.

Granting that the government — the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and other such relevant agencies — know the true identity of Mr Iqbal, it still shows he has no respect nor regard for the other side of the peace panel. Add this to the fact that the MILF chose to submit the findings of their probe into the Mamasapano incident to a foreign body instead of the Philippine government or even to a dis-interested third party just reinforces the argument.

Finally, I am inclined to agree with the title of an article in The Philippine STAR, dated April 10, 2015 and credited to Christina Mendez that said “Aliases may affect peace process — senator“. I would not put trust on someone who does not even reveal to me his true identity and it cannot be for security reasons because his face has been “plastered” all over the media — print and broadcast — not only for days but even months. I cannot help but conclude that there is a deliberate act to not be truthful. And, as they say in law, “Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus” — cannot be trusted.

[another last-minute insertion] TaN: In the article “UN: Ebola cases dropping; vaccine seen by yearend” (by Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine STAR; April 9, 2015), from the title it apparently is suggesting that the Ebola virus infections and spread is tapering off. If so, it would appear that there is no need for a vaccine to be develop. Therefore, it is surprising and curious as to why there is still a need to come out with a vaccine — and at the year end, at that.

It would seem prudent to just let the outbreak run its natural course and “disappear” — either because it has mutated to a benign strain or form, those who do not have an immune response have all been infected and that no one else is left that can still be at risk, or current protocols have been so effective that the Ebola virus has effectively been “contained”. In either instances, there is no need for the vaccine anymore.

However, the continued “development” of a vaccine can only mean one of two possibilities (or both): (1) that the vaccine manufacturers and beneficiaries have intentions of capitalizing on the decline and, to be consistent with its track record, claim credit that it is their vaccine that dealt the “final blow” and/or (2) vaccine manufacturers and beneficiaries will claim that their vaccine will provide an immunity for the “next time” Ebola re-emerges.

Anyway, from various independent articles appearing on several alternative media, it has been repeatedly reported that even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America) have admitted that vaccines have, at best, been complete failures and many times have even proven to be disastrous — hence the necessity to put up vaccine courts (actually Office of Special Masters of the USA Court of Federal Claims), for the purpose of shielding vaccine manufacturers from financially-draining lawsuits from wrongful disabilities and deaths arising from vaccines and supported by legislation that vaccine manufacturers are immune from suit filed against from damages or deaths caused by vaccines.

It looks like another opportunity by Big Pharma — through Big Vaccine — will be making or enjoying another massive windfall from sales of vaccines, mostly via the generosity of governments with the taxpayers’ money. When will the good people wise up, rise, and do something?

[last-minute insertion] TaN: For (true) Christians, only Jesus Christ is the only role model. Saints, for Catholics, should not be elevated to demi god status but, instead, be relegated to sources of “inspiration” where their lives parallel ours and how they were able to transform and morph themselves into what Catholics regard as ideal.

To regard saints as anything more than mere mortals and — worse — pray to them and ask for intercession is not only improper but an insult to Jesus and the Father. This is repeatedly emphasized and admonished in the Holy Scriptures both in words (or teachings) and by examples (as when people they encounter kneel before them and even pray to them are rebuked and told to stand up and greet each other as brothers for this is the truth — that we are all brothers and no one is above the other).

As God as foreseen eons ago, He knew that should we make graven images and likeness for ourselves, this will surely and eventually degrade into idolatry and an insult to God. And sure enough, almost all who bow down and revere such forewarned graven images and likenesses have fallen into the trap as foretold and forewarned even before there was man.

It is good to read about and learn the lives of these inspiring personalities — as if the life and trials of Jesus Christ was or is insufficient — but that is all they are to be treated, as mere stories where inspiration and lessons can be drawn to improve ourselves before our day in Judgment.

TaN: Eat to work, not work to eat. Working to eat frequently leads to cheating at work by cutting corners or compromising the quality of work because the objective is to eat and not working. This implies that if there is a way to eat without working, there will be no hesitation to stop or avoid work.

Instead, one should eat because one wants and needs to eat in order to work. In this scenario, since eating is only the means to an end — i.e., in order to continue or to be able to work — then work is the objective instead of eating. This implies that eating is only a means and that one may even forgo eating if there are other ways to continue working.

In a way, this is similar to the admonition: Eat to live and not live to eat and, in a way, the Biblical wisdom of “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God“. This is also in line with the position of Buddhist Economics E F Schumacher where he declares that work is necessary — even vital — to the flourishing of man. Man’s existence is not to eat but to do and eating is a mere instrument or vehicle by which work can be done and flourishing achieved.

TaN: One of the (few) real problems of today regarding human rights is that every group is acting on their own — and this is ironically a case of human rights violation in itself. In other words, the very human rights a group is striving for is in itself a violation of the principles of human rights.

Take the case of the enactment or lobbying for the enactment of (special) laws that benefit their interest. Hopefully it is because they are so engrossed with pushing for their interest with the objective of gaining some kind of “justice” and “equal treatment or equal opportunity” but is unaware that they are, in truth, creating a situation that gives their group an advantage over others. I have blogged about this in earlier TaNs.

To further expound, let us say that a women’s group or the LGBT community pushes and succeeds in having laws and policies put in place that gives them “an advantage” — say, a preferred status like when they experience abuse, physical or otherwise. The fact is that there are already laws that deal with abuse and specifying or passing a law just to address women’s concerns — that are otherwise not or cannot be uniquely confined to women — gives women an unfair advantage. The existence of the law would appear to or imply that men do not undergo or experience the same issues. This is too presumptuous and terribly prejudiced and therefore an injustice to all who are non-women.

In short, unless there circumstances unique and specific only to a certain interest group — and when I say “unique and specific”, it must be honestly and genuinely so and not masquerading as or manipulating and redefining terms to suit a particular biased end — no law or policy should be in effect that prejudices one sector or group in society other over the rest. In addition and in relation to this, laws and policies must be crafted, as much as (sincerely) possible, to encompass and cover all people and not just some group or sector wanting to gain an unfair advantage over others by making it appear that they are disadvantaged.

As given in the immediate preceding, laws and policies governing punishment and retribution should be as universal and equitable as possible. Only for truly unique and distinct differences can there be “special” laws and policies. However even then, the laws and policies should not prejudice others but merely address the inadequacies and discrepancies originating from the specific differences between people.

A case in point will be public toilets. It is undeniable that there are fundamental differences between males and females so it is expected and justified to have segregated toilet facilities. However, for the LGBT community to insist and demand that they be “provided” their own is too much and uncalled for. It is not as if they cannot use the existing facilities and their bodies are constructed so differently that such current facilities are not sufficient.

The same is true with laws and policies on affirmative action (in the United States of America) which backfired or produced a contrary effect. Schools and workplaces are mandated to have a certain percentage of ethnic students or employees in order to be representative of the population demography, regardless of whether they are fit or deserving — i.e., tokenism — or not. Instead of the merit system (where people are “rewarded or accepted” due to or based on their qualifications), schools and workplaces become infected with incompetents and unqualified students and employees, just because we do not want to be accused of being biased, just because it is mandated by law.

In a strange bizarre twist of fate, affirmative action has the exact opposite effect. The slots reserved to satisfy or comply with affirmative action robs or deprives qualified and competent people from opportunities that would have been otherwise been accessible or available had affirmative action not been mandated. This is a prime example of good intentions gone wrong, erroneously implemented, and irrationally conceived or conceptualized.

In conclusion, I reiterate the adage that: One does and cannot legislate morality. One cannot force others to be good. In this day and age where societies, cultures, and nations interact so closely, frequently, and almost inter-dependently, laws and policies have “evolved” not to dispense justice (and values) anymore but to ensure harmony and peaceful co-existence among all peoples. Being good is matter of free will. We will all be held accountable and will face the consequences of our deeds and decisions on Judgment Day and justify ourselves before the Father and no one can lawyer for us.

TaN: It is so sad and pitiful that it is increasingly almost all non-news items in a broadsheet are “hidden” infomercials, especially those articles pertaining to or are — even just remotely — related to health. Take the case of news writers or reporters writing about the latest in health gadgets, health facilities, (health) restaurants or shops, weekend or vacation get-aways, (patented or proprietary) medical treatments and therapies, new products and services, and many more.

An article title catches your eye, you develop expectations, and when you read the contents you discover — or not, depending on how perceptive you are — that you are actually reading a sales pitch cleverly disguised or presented as some sort of informative news. I do not know about other people but this is very irritating and insulting — to be strung along without my consent, to be made to expect information only to be fed commercial spin.

It is unethical that writers and reporters develop eye-catching titles with the intention of getting the attention of readers and viewers. The title’s purpose is to reel in people to read or listen to the “sales pitch” in the hope that statistics and probability will kick in and entice people to somehow patronize and buy into whatever the infomercial is trying to sell. It is shameful but I guess the writer or reporter either is without shame or is woefully unaware of the ethics behind his/her deed (considering that s/he is or should be old and probably educated enough).

TaN: To go about making things “perfect”, first make it work or functional, then make it look nice. As in a previous TaN regarding perfect and perfection, there is also perfection in the process or transition of becoming perfect — on the condition that one is sincerely trying to strive for perfection (and not just for-show). In the end, even if perfection is not reached or achieved, it still passes as perfection.

I realized that in this (imperfect) world, just the determination and sincerity to reach perfection even when it will never happen is the closest thing to perfection and can and should be considered perfection — otherwise there would be no hope of or for perfection; perfection would just be in one’s imagination.

And this is aside from my argument that there is perfection in imperfection…much like there is infinity in finiteness and finiteness in infinity.

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