TaN (update 4): In the hardcopy issue of The Philippine STAR today (December 14) with the title “Congress votes overwhelmingly for one year of martial law” by a certain Jess Diaz, this is a classic example of a case where an immature population should not be governed by a republic form of democracy. It makes a mockery of the political system. There is little or no balance of power as the tendency of the voting population is to vote in the party of whoever they will vote for as chief executive. [Note: Just like having so much violence in the “only Christian country in (southeast) Asia”, it is a joke to have a two-party republic form of government where the chief executive’s party almost always dominate the Congress.]
It is especially disturbing when instances like the current Duterte administration where there is an overwhelming support base in both houses of Congress. There is credible argument from the meager opposition and yet the (super) majority appears to be oblivious to the logic and sobriety of the opposition’s argument.
The specific case in point for this instance is when it is very clear in the Constitution regarding the martial law power of the Congress and the Chief Executive and yet the conditions provided are not being debated before the issue of the extension of martial rule was voted upon.
Cases like the current in the Philippines is good only when the government is under a benevolent dictatorship but what is present appears not to have a benevolence at all.
If only there is a real way to ensure independent and critical thinking lawmakers are elected into office.
Btw, I am not against the motives of Mr Duterte and his cohorts. I am just against the ways in which the motives and intentions are being carried out. As I have repeatedly maintained in previous TaNs, The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
TaN (update 3): I really cannot let this lapse without sharing it. In the December 12 (Tuesday) hardcopy issue of The Philippine STAR, in the regular column of Ma’am Joanne Rae M Ramirez (people, funfare section, pa C7), titled “We do not lose those we give back to God“, this quote just have to be shared and I shall cite the entire paragraph with emphasis (mine) on the specific passage I deem is the highlight, to wit…
“Dear Lord, we now bow to Your Will. We humbly commend and entrust to Your Bosom our beloved Lupe, her soul, her spirit, her laughter, and her smiles. We give Lupe back to You, dear Lord. You who gave her to us one beautiful morning, on June 1, 53 years ago. You did not lose her then by giving her to us,” [former Senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto] Romulo said, when he delivered his eulogy, adding, “WE DO NOT LOSE HER AT ALL BY HER RETURN TO YOU, OUR LORD.”
This is simply just too precious not to share with others.
TaN (update 2): Here’s a thought: if all those cyber space videos on machines creating huge clouds of water vapor to change or alter (and control) the weather are true, why not use them on the wildfires currently besieging California? Why don’t those tinkering with our weather patterns come to the rescue? Perhaps then they would be exposed or their denials and secrecy will be refuted and brought to light. I guess they are not into helping others and the environment…only themselves, their selfish little interests.
TaN (update): In today’s (December 10) hardcopy of The Philippine STAR, a cursory scan of the article titled “Vaccine fiasco: Garin blames predecessor” by a certain Sheila Crisostomo, it is not the natural but common or “customary” tendency of certain people to (quickly) pass the blame on someone else. However, for certain people who are assumed to have attained a high degree of education, especially government officials and medical practitioners at that, this does not reflect well on their person.
In the “vaccine fiasco”, the blame should be on the final authority, whoever gave the final go-signal for implementation and not on the person who initiated the project or even those in between are responsible. The one who gave the final nod just before the implementation has the last say on the matter and s/he should have made a thorough probe into the safety and efficacy of the “untried” vaccine.
The problem with most people (in authority) is that they put too much trust in their underlings or subordinates (to do all the leg work). Although it is understandable — that the higher up in the organizational ladder one is, the more duties there are and cannot help but delegate tasks to subordinates — it is still the risk one takes and must accept responsibility for the consequences that ensue.
As for this vaccine incident, there is enough common sense to hesitate and not go half-cocked into the matter since people’s, especially children’s, lives are involved. It is not outside of the intelligence of a physician to know and understand: (1) what a vaccine is; (2) what is its role or purpose; and, (3) what are the risks involved.
Common sense already tells us that, since the only tests are field trials and there are still many unknowns, it is wise to proceed with precaution and not implement the project on such a grand scale. Too much trust was (mis)placed on pharmaceutical companies, even if they happen to be one of the top 5 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Moreover, it is uncanny that physicians (at least the ones that I have encountered) do not take the time and trouble of reading and understanding the literature that comes with the drugs and vaccine they prescribe (or push).
In the end (and from what I can gather regarding the secretary of health when the dengue vaccine program was implemented), the buck stops at the desk of (former) Health Secretary Janette Garin, regardless of whether it was recommended or even endorsed by the World Health Organization or approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration or what other countries are involved. Sanofi-Pasteur should share the blame unless they had previously issued the warning or medical alert but the media failed to pick it up.
TaN: Gossip is not (really) gossip if if there is truth in it. However, the gossip must be entirely true or truthful otherwise it is libelous or slanderous. Gossip, per se, is just another form of information being disseminated except that it is through an informal manner and usually regarding personal matters. It is traditionally done to an individual in a small social circle but has now been extended to include public figures.
Gossip has its good points — like keeping watch on public figures (who are implicitly role models and) who may be tempted to do something immoral or stupid — but people have a way of turning good things into bad. Gossip has been turned into a dirt-digging instrument to do damage to another person’s character. It has become an instrument of malice.
It is entertaining to watch television programs that speak of others (gossip) but there ought to be a boundary where certain topics and issues are off limits, especially when it is already damaging and innocent people may be put in jeopardy.
All in all, gossip has its function and I just wish people do not mangle it into something distasteful.
TaN: The whole point of being (and staying) healthy is to alkalinize the body — not the entire body, of course, because there are certain parts and occasions that specific parts of the body must be acidic like the digestive system. An acidic environment is nature’s way of indicating that there is death and there is organic matter that must be broken down and returned to the soil for recycling.
An acidic environment signals to normally benign micro-decomposers to become “hostile and attack” whatever is acidic and reduce it to the most elemental organic compounds and substances to be made available for re-uptake into the cycle of life. Decomposers of all manner and form move into the do the job efficiently and promptly — from bacteria to fungi to some small creatures higher up in the food chain.
Still, sick people will always have an acidic body and this makes them vulnerable and invitingly open to attack. But there are numerous and simple ways to alkalinize the body. For one, (raw) fruits, even if they have an acidic taste, will eventually be digested alkaline by the body like citrus fruits and taking a fair amount of (organic) calcium daily. [Note: Calcium’s role is more as an acid buffer than a bone strengthener. Whenever the body, specifically the blood becomes acidic (like from too much consumption of sugar and animal protein in the form of amino and uric acids), the body draws calcium from the bones to neutralize the acidity. The function of making strong bones go to magnesium.]
But, more importantly, to reduce or mitigate the possibility of an acidic body is to simply avoid consuming foods that are or will make the body acidic, like sugar (and more specifically HFCS or high-fructose corn syrup), artificial sweeteners, animal meats, and “bad or negative” stress. Just like when we ban or deny the manufacturing, much less sale, of cigarettes, we would avoid having to set aside a budget to campaign against the ill-effects of cigarettes and the resulting public healthcare expenses and that money can go into more useful and worthwhile government services and projects.
Being in good health is primordial since everything else follows it. If one is not in good health, we cannot be productive. The task of maintaining good health is simple. It is made complicated only because modern living — primarily due to the machinations of Big Business and much to the pleasure and delight of Big Pharma — has made it difficult, what with all the social and commercial pressures exerted to ensure people (i.e., consumers) stay “up-to-date and modern”.
Add to this the fact that pollution in all forms and manner are rampant and uncontrolled, all because or in the name of economic growth and (the corporate-definition of) “sustainable” development. Everything, including our health, are being sacrificed in the altar of corporate profit.
To return to or stay health, it is not only necessary but mandatory that we go back to “the old ways”. One of the best examples of good health because they live as nature (and God) intended are the Amish community. All trappings of the so-called modern civilization has or is being shunned and they are not afraid to work hard and till the soil and living as “primitively” as possible — though, in truth, they are not primitive at all but they lead simple lives. The tentacles of greed (and love of money, as forewarned by Timothy in the Holy Scriptures) cannot reach them.
The key to it all is to live simply — rural agriculture — and physical labor (though with assistance from animals). And by eating the way other animals do (i.e., little or no cooking) and confining ourselves to the proper diet — as dictated by our body: teeth (herbivore teeth), jaw (herbivore jaw), brain (salivation in reaction to sensory perception of food), gastric juices (organic hydrochloric acid composition and concentration), intestines (length and torso proportion), and enzymes (very limited uricase production) — we avoid all the pitfalls of incorrect diet and lifestyle of modern life that is at the root of all our health issues and problems.
In conclusion, alkalinizing foods, when subjected to high temperatures, become acidic. This is the case with starch (when potatoes become french fries, a carcinogenic substance called acrylamide is formed) and with animal meat (especially red meat, when dry-cooked, carcinogenic substances called nitrosamide and n-nitrosamide are formed) — but are not acidic when consumed without exposure to high temperatures (like sashimi meat and boiled potatoes).
TaN: Anywhere (or any time) there is a wide wealth gap, there will always be corruption, high criminality, low population maturity, propensity to indulge in festivities and merriment with the flimsiest of reasons, nepotism (especially in public office, whether elective or appointive), and low compliance and enforcement of the law (with justice being denied to a great majority and anarchy is ubiquitous) — among other things. Moreover, (true) democracy will and does not apply or work — it will only be paper democracy, where there will be widespread and rampant vote-buying and election manipulation.
Whenever the wealth gap is wide, it only means that government is not doing its job — which is to level the playing field. Government is being manipulated and controlled by (Big Business) interests that seek only to enrich themselves and at the expense of everybody else. This is exactly the reason why democracy (or republicanism) is not the best political system for governance.
There is no single one-size-fits-all political system of governance. It will depend on the circumstances and characteristics that the (to-be) governed possesses. A case in point is a mature society where a great majority, say 90%, of the population behave ethically and do not really have to be told to do the right thing, a system of governance is redundant but is, nevertheless, kept and maintained as a formality. A good concrete case are the Scandinavian countries, specifically the peninsular Scandinavians.
In another case, where a great majority behave so juvenile that they need to have so many rules and regulations to ensure every individual gets his/her fair share and treatment and justice is served (fast and correctly), a benevolent dictatorship is best — and even then, it will be a Herculean task (should the population be sizable) for the dictator as s/he would be able to ensure all his (hand-picked) people/cohorts (in government) are and will always be as their (fearless) leader. A concrete case of this would be the Philippines but Mr Duterte, though is exhibiting all the classical signs and manifestations of a dictator, is hardly perceived to be benevolent. Among those that would embellish doubt and uncertainty regarding his benevolence are: his arrogance;  tendency to bully others (especially those who do not agree with him, like his critics and detractors and especially women);  propensity to publicly mock, insult, and debase others just to get some accolade and feed his macho image and ego; and,  his intolerance to questions concerning his sincerity, motives and intentions, and decisions, just to name a few.
And for the other assortment and variants between these to the extremes, these would range from democracy (or direct participation by the population in all aspects of government) for a mature yet small population, to republicanism (or representative participation where the population resembles that for a democracy but the size makes it impractical to have direct participation), to socialism (or state-led for a population that is not as mature and cannot be entrusted to make correct policy decisions so the state is entrusted with the function), to authoritarian (where there is participation from the populace in any manner but all policies and laws are handed down by either a single individual or a group commonly known as a junta) and all the other variants and combinations in between.
In any case, a wide wealth gap reflects a dysfunction in government as well as in society — for the people in government comes from society. However, the dysfunction is not so much in government as in the people in society who put them there — be they elected honestly or through nefarious manipulation and orchestration of the majority of the ill-prepared or ill-qualified voters by powerful and influential politicians and political dynasties and Big Business (to ensure their interests and wealth are well-protected). And this is exactly why the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer.
In reality, wealth starts out as evenly distributed among the population. But as time passes and many of those who do not deserve the wealth (because they do not know how to use it but rather has been used by wealth) gradually and eventually lose the wealth which gravitates and pools around and to the rich. Moreover, from time to time, the rich spends some of the (ill-deserved) wealth to keep the impoverished and fools (for in the saying, a fool and his money are soon parted) thinking that wealth is circulating and that they “taste the good life” once in a while so they will not rebel and upset the established order.
To conclude, as a general rule, the wider the chasm between the richest and the poorest in a society the greater is the risk of a “revolution” — unless the poor are kept entertained and amused and occupied with trivial matters (like sports and gossip and games and senseless music and fantasy films). The most stable geometric figure of society is a diamond where the center (middle class, the social strata that holds society together and composed mostly of intellectuals) is the broadest and most abundant and the top and bottom are few (top: rich and bottom: poor). Any other geometric figure is either impossible or unstable and doomed to collapse — as in an upside-down triangle (wealthy class is the largest) because where will all the wealth accumulated at the top come from except from the bottom poor or a right-side up triangle where the wealthy are few and the poor makes up the bulk at the bottom where dissatisfaction and misery fester. Squares and rectangles are impossible because there can never be an equal proportion of rich, middle class, and poor.
TaN: Knowledge and information should be public domain; it should be shared for the common good. Patents, copyrights, and intellectual property are (cleverly and insidiously) disguised as incentives to induce creativity and innovation when, in reality, it merely promotes greed and selfishness. What benefits man (and society in general) should be made as cost-free or freely as possible. The only justifiable to put on a cost is if were expenses incurred but those should be minimal and cover only the actual expenditure in making the benefit available to the public.
The way I see it, it is very wrong to “punish” — i.e., make people pay for things that should be freely available and accessible — if they had the information and necessary talent or ability. The only people that we should make profits from are those who are stupid or lazy. It is not right to charge people who may be industrious and willing (and able) to do things for themselves where their only problem is knowledge. If I am not mistaken, this is the idea or concept behind the open source and free software movement.
People should be encouraged to be useful and productive (in a philanthropic or altruistic way) so as to benefit all of humanity and not just themselves (and, of course, the corporate greed, heavens forbid that we forget the corporate).
By making knowledge and information freely available and accessible — and I mean “freely”, with no strings attached like having to sign up first or must give up something personal in exchange — we eliminate any opportunity or possibility of selfishness and greed entering into the picture.
[Let me just clarify that my definition of “free” is in its strictest definition. There is no cost. Having to enroll or sign up and provide personal information in exchange for receiving whatever is “free” is not free for, although there is no money involved, something more precious is given up, one’s personal privacy. This is not free. It is perversion of what is and should be free.]
By making knowledge and information freely available and accessible, we ensure that more people can participate and perhaps propose improvements and better versions and, perhaps, come up with better ways to solve some of the imperfections — because no human solution will ever be perfect, as in not even the slightest snag or glitch or small inapplicability to some instances with unique and unforeseen circumstances or conditions.
In conclusion, making knowledge and information free available and accessible means people who are intelligent and industrious/hardworking and want to improve their lives will and should benefit and rightfully so precisely because they deserve to benefit — because they are smart and are not afraid to work to better themselves. The only people we should make money out of are the stupid and the lazy. These people deserve to be taken advantage of because they have bad qualities and values which are a hindrance and obstacle to mankind’s progress and development.