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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