Post for Aug 6-12 2017 (updated Aug 10)

TaN (last-minute update after week’s post is done): This week, as the bill regarding free tuition is signed into law, a classic dilemma for government — when it comes to programs and projects — is the perennial problem of funding.  Almost always, in this world where money has become god, good deeds and worthwhile projects will always suffer the problem of funding.

On the one hand, it is foolish to enact a law with full knowledge that it will be inutile because there are no funds to implement them.  Therefore, the law just sits there accomplishing nothing. It is an empty shell worth only for display and nothing else.

However, to wait for sufficient funding before enacting a law would almost always “take forever” as there will be those — with hidden agenda and ulterior motives — who would benefit if the bill is not passed.  Moreover, since the bill is not yet law, there will be no “incentive” to piously seek for funding as there is no urgency.

What to do. In the meantime…

TaN: Imposing a tax on personal/salary income is double taxation and is morally wrong and should be illegal — I think I have taken this issue up in a previous TaN but I shall repeat and expound on it further.  Only corporate or business income/revenue should be taxed.

In almost all countries, personal or salary income is taxed by the state but this practice, even though common, is not justifiable — especially if the only or main reason is that all, if not most, countries are doing it.  Just because a majority is doing something does not necessarily make it right.

As it is, it is the (ordinary rank and file) employee — through salary and other deductions — that is supporting the government (expenses) while business and the fat cats of management enjoy all sorts of tax exemptions and deductibles to achieve a smaller taxable revenue or income, respectively.  Even then, the salaries of the privileged and upper crust is subject to the same “double taxation” imposed on the toiling masses.

Just like (agricultural) products, which where the (food) supply chain begins, enjoy little or no (value-added) tax, so should employee income.  By exempting personal income from taxation, this increases the ability of the ordinary individual to make more purchases which redounds to increased sales and, consequently, government revenue from sales tax.  The “supposed” loss in revenue from not taxing the personal income (as against corporate income or revenue) will be more than compensated or recovered by the increased collection from sales tax.

The problem is the government is too “greedy” that it wants to collect from both ends — from the onset in the salary and wages and at the end in the consumption or sales.  Government thinks it is inherent or owed it that it owns everything and that any use of its property mandates some kind of a tribute or rent, forgetting that the government is nothing without the people.

Without the people, there is no government.  The government owes its very existence to the people.  In fact, it is due to the consent of the people to be governed that there is a government.

Government’s primary role, in this case, is to serve as a regulator and arbiter to ensure that there is fair play and that people know and behave by an agreed set of rules and policies.  Exacting taxes is only a means for government to stay viable, to be self-sustaining, to be remain functional.  Government is not in the business of profit-generating; that is the role of business.  Government cannot and should not compete with business — unless it is to prevent a monopoly, a cartel, an oligopoly, which is unfairly advantageous and beneficial only to a certain person or group of people and, more importantly, detrimental to the rest of the population.

Government’s taxing power should be limited only to corporate revenues and income — and the only possibility of extending it beyond the corporate (and into the personal) is when the disparity of the individual’s salary against that of the national average minimum wage is atrocious.  And never double taxation.

TaN: Having a large following (or audience) today, more so and most especially in social media, has lost most of its meaning and importance.  This is because most people today are merely “zombie lemmings” — those who “mindlessly” go with the flow, follow the trend or craze or mania, who are bandwagoners just because they feel the need to belong, to be “in”, to be accepted by peers and their immediate circle of friends and community like in the workplace or in school (as if acceptance is all there is or all that important).

This is oh so sad and makes one extremely vulnerable — vulnerable to manipulation, to deception, to exploitation, to become unwitting co-conspirators, to be “cannon fodder”. I once heard it said that it is better to have a few true friends and fellow like-minds than a multitude of mindless idolaters and fanatical followers.

However, such unthinking crowds are ideal for profit-hungry commercial interests and these or they are usually targeted by (unethical) marketing campaigns and clever ads — because they are seen as gullible and easy prey — who are always on the prowl for money-making opportunities.

Moreover, there are now paid shills whose jobs are to drum up and hype a mania in order that they can be herded into an amorphous mass to be targets of commercial interests, fleecing them of their hard-earned already-meager savings.

And if that fails, there is always “lobbying” the government to make it a policy or even legislation to coerce and compel people to patronize worthless products (and services) — like what is happening in many parts of the United States of America where children will not be admitted into school and employees are threatened with sanctions and even dismissal unless they get vaccinated.

Social media sites are frequently monitored for frequency of hits or visits by vested interests to capitalize on the “popularity” to sell products and services.

And many public personalities — especially those in the entertainment and sports industry and most especially in movies and (popular) music — are not letting this opportunity lapse and have embarked on their own to commercialize their popularity.  This is very evident in movie and music personalities who have launched their own brands of products (like garments/lingerie/undergarments, perfume/scents, beauty products, and the like).  Furthermore, most actually merely lend their names to the products but do not have significant contribution to product development.  [Note: Most of the products (of those in the entertainment and sports industries) are superficial and vanity products, as compared to educational and developmental products.]

As a last word, I do not mind — in fact, it does not bother me one bit — to have no one follows this blogspot of mine.  I am not in need of attention and validation from others.  I know and am confident in myself. If my words give comfort, assurance, or in any manner provide something positive, you are welcome.  If it provides useful and beneficial information or insights to others, that is good enough for me.  I prefer the thinking crowd, not those who blindly follow, especially because many others are following.

TaN: The best thing in this temporal world is not to know everything or all the answers but to ask the correct questions.  Since it is not possible to know everything — because only God knows everything and even His knowledge is limited to all the possibilities but not the certainties due to free will.

God can know everything — meaning all the possibilities — but because He chose to gift us with free will, this limits His knowledge of the certainties of everything and, instead, is restricted to knowing only all the possibilities but not which ones will be true or the certainties.

To illustrate further, a (dedicated) teacher is familiar with all the behaviors and performances of his/her students and can predict the outcome of each student at the end of the school term with great reliability.  However, there are unforeseeable circumstances or events that may significantly alter the outcomes thereby changing the results and prove his/her predictions inaccurate — like when a poorly performing student suddenly and unexpectedly aces the final examinations because s/he realized the s/he could fail.

But returning to topic, it is not important to know everything.  What is important is knowing those that matter because the rest (of the possibilities) are irrelevant.

A case in point would be knowing all the different routes and the dangers along the way for each of them.  Knowing the dangers of all the routes does not matter.  What matters only are the dangers along the route which one will take.  The other dangers will not have any impact on the route chosen.

Finally, why clutter one’s brain with so many useless and irrelevant information when we will need only a tiny portion of it?  Why bother with so much when only a minuscule fraction will be applicable?  Why amass what is basically trivia when there are so many other knowledge that are more useful and beneficial?  Remembering so much useless information only takes up valuable memory storage that can be used to keep more relevant and worthwhile stuff.

TaN: What is transpiring with all the paranoia on terrorism and its threats is that we keep focusing on the outcomes or manifestations and not on the cause.  The first thing is to answer the question: Why is a particular person a terrorist?  What is his/her reason or motive behind becoming a terrorist?

Frequently, the answer to those questions is the continued and persistent and constant — and may even be increased or scaled up — injustice by the perpetrators in order to stay in power and control over the lives of everybody (else).

The history of (global) terrorism stems from the injustices suffered by certain sectors of society who have been disenfranchised and marginalized by the privileged who intends to maintain and even broaden the status quoi.e., their privileged and affluent lifestyle.

With terrorism, especially it being commonly associated with Muslims, is that the global power elite needs a scapegoat and what better than Islamists who have been demonized for a long time now. Muslims have been the underdog and favorite whipping post for centuries — from the crusades (or even before then) until today.

In fact, this is the latest issue in the United States of America with Mr Trump’s policy on travel in and out of the country which discriminates heavily and unjustly on nations that are predominantly Muslim even if the said country is not usually associated with terrorism.  Furthermore, it likewise does not necessarily mean that there will not be terrorist from non-Muslim-majority countries.

In addition, it has long been known but intentionally ignored or considered as a non-issue that most of the terrorists responsible for the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack in New York City were Saudi nationals and yet Mr Trump is very chummy with the Saudi royalty — or at least that is what the media has been portraying all this time.  It would appear that money and oil speak louder than terrorism or any other thing for that matter.

I guess Muslims are the favorite whipping boys of the global power elite.  And they have (read: own) the dominant mass media to assist them and ensure that Muslims are demonized constantly.  But the bigger problem is that there are Muslims (and Muslim sympathizers) who react as expected, playing right into the hands of the global power elite.

The proper way to deal with terrorists is to find out what made them terrorists — i.e., low-level, middle-level, and high-level frequently have varying and different reasons — what made terrorists become terrorists.

Unless they are plain and simple anarchists, people, even terrorists, always have a reason for doing anything.  Currently, the predominant mindset (of authorities, especially the security forces like the military, police, and intelligence agencies) is to just keep killing terrorists as they pop up — as if the technique is making any headway.

It is very tempting — partly because it is the easiest way that people can think of — to focus on and address the symptoms of problems and issues instead of the (original) cause.  Getting to the root of the problem takes time and lots of efforts but it is the only way to a lasting solution and resolution.

So, the only correct way to combat terrorists is to determine why they became so in the first place.  Problematic people always have a motivation for their being so. In fact, there is always a reason for everything and anything we do or decide — we eat because we are hungry; we sleep because we are tired; we bathe because we are dirty or feel hot; we laugh because something amuses us; all activities are driven by a reason (and for a particular purpose).

Once addressed, terrorists will no longer have any reason or excuse to continue being terrorists — unless they were not (completely) truthful or honest with their reason.  There is always the possibility that there was dishonesty or did not explain their reason clearly.  In this case, it would only mean that, deep down, they want to be terrorists and will not be truthful as to the reason why.

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