Post for Jan 21-27 2018 (updated Jan 25,2nd update Jan 28)

TaN (2nd update): With the statement in the cartoon strip by Sic n’ Tyrd in the Entertainment section of the hardcopy of The Philippine STAR today (January 26), it said in the last frame (and I quote): “Rappler exposed on how social media was manipulated for Duterte’s rise to power. How filthy money paid trolls to destabilize democracy“.

For argument’s sake, let us assume that there is truth in this statement.  This would mean that the repeated claim by Mr Duterte that he has an overwhelming mandate from the people thereby legitimizing his frequently controversial draconian style of governance and doing things (in the name of public service) and considering that it has been proven convincingly that social media can so easily be manipulated, I am beginning to wonder whether Mr Duterte really did win by a historic and unparalleled landslide election victory or was it all engineered.

This is quite disturbing because, if it is true, then it would mean that the presidency of Mr Duterte is now under suspicion.  However, even with all the reports of how easily social media can be manipulated as to significantly affect reality — including politics — I still doubt whether it is the case with the Philippines.  I would still like to believe that Filipinos are intelligent enough not to be swayed nor herded into doing something they do not want.  However, the odds of the “rumor” being true cannot be ignored.  There could be some degree of manipulation in social media as to significantly impact the outcome of the elections but I just hope there is none.  I hate to think that Mr Duterte won through manipulation of social media by vested interests.

TaN (2nd update): In today’s (January 25) hardcopy issue of The Philippine STAR, the article title “Rody on Kuwait abuse: OFWs can all go home“, I totally and unconditionally agree with Mr Duterte.  There should be a government policy on OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) when it comes to how they are being treated by their employers, especially in countries where it is notorious for maltreating foreign (menial) workers.

In fact, Mr Duterte should not only address his concerns and sentiments (and ire) on Kuwait but to many other countries where OFWs are experiencing (more or less) the same issues.  Even though the incidence of occurrence may be minimal or even insignificant as compared with the overall population of OFWs in the particular country, it is nevertheless a concern.  Remember that: One preventable or unnecessary death is one death too many.

Moreover, Mr Duterte should also extend this address to Big Pharma where the pharmaceutical — but not necessarily the medical profession and professionals — industry is concerned.  The problem is that there seems to be a collusion or “unwritten agreement” between government and Big Pharma to “ignore or overlook or iatrogenic incidents as normal or anticipated or ‘part of doing business'”.  In truth, these mortalities or morbidities are preventable and should never have transpired in the first place had both government and Big Pharma been held more accuntable.

In any case, there is so much needless misery and suffering endured and all for the sake of (decent) employment (read: economic activity and growth).  This is precisely the problem I keep reiterating that whenever money is brought into the picture, there will always be hardships and it will be the poor who will be (hardest) hit.

If only the Philippine government will have the gumption to come up with ways to motivate and encourage local business to be more self-reliant and provide employment with decent wages or even organize people into cooperatives to be self-employed.  Foreign investments should not be relied upon too much — because they will have only their financial interests at heart and the government will have to offer incentives to the detriment of local businesses (which will produce an uneven playing field).

But the most important of all is to re-educate the values and priorities of Filipinos to be more nationalistic and to keep valuable human resources within the country — to help the country before going out to help others.  The problem with most Filipinos is that they are not only more — but appears to be only — concerned with helping themselves and not the country, failing to understand that helping the country redounds to helping themselves.  [As the modified saying goes: Charity begins at home…but it should not end there.]

People, not only Filipinos, cannot seem to comprehend the concept of helping others instead of merely themselves.  They fail to see that by thinking about and caring for others — and assuming that others do the same — there will be more people thinking of and caring for you rather than you just thinking of or for yourself.  This is similar to the concept of open software where, if we open the software (code) to all, more minds will be working find the flaws (and the solutions to those flaws) and improving and making it better and better rather than insisting on intellectual property and having only a few people working on it.

Moreover, (I do not about the rest of you but) just the idea of sharing benefits to and for the common good brings a wave of good feelings, a great sense of accomplishment, and a overwhelming joy knowing that I can and have given something back, that I have made a contribution to the betterment of humanity, that my presence in this world is not a waste of time and resources (i.e., food, air, water, etc).

But I digress (and I have a tendency for digression as can be gleaned from in many of my previous TaNs).

Returning to topic, if every Filipino focuses on contributing what s/he can to building the nation through its citizenry, the country can really go places — because it is globally known that Filipinos are among the most talented, resourceful, resilient, trustworthy, hardworking, and compassionate people, except that it does not seem to be so when they are in their own country.

TaN (update): As the Duterte administration trudges along and the media reports every little bit on the whereabouts and of the goings-on and utterances, I have resigned myself to just take much of the reports for granted.  They have begun to lose much of their nuances and quirkiness and the Filipino machismo — which is more of an aberration of being gay than machismo — is beginning to become annoying.  As of now, I tend to ignore what Mr Duterre (or his lap dogs) say or comment and just look at what they are doing.  [Believe it nor not, being gay and being macho are actually the same for they both are variants of insecurity and self-doubt.  They argue that they are merely trying to let their true selves out when, in fact, they are denying the obvious.]

Admit it or not, most, if not all, gun owners are simply compensating for a feeling of inadequacy and helplessness.  Just like the saying that: Soldiers are the last ones who want war.  Soldiers — the true and professional ones — do not like guns.  The guns in their possession are necessities and part of their job description and not because they like guns.

Moreover, the headlines and pronouncements no longer have any impact.  A case in point are the headlines in the hardcopy issue of The Philippine STAR (January 23):
* “Palace: Phl has sovereignty over Scarborough” (in the banner) — This has no meaning.  From his own words, Mr Duterte has admitted that the Philippines cannot win a war against China so China’s bullying is being interpreted as The Philippines’ tolerance of China.  In truth, Mr Duterte may be pragmatic but he is no nationalist.  A true nationalist is ready to plunge his country into war even at the prospect of complete annihilation but as the saying (I am injecting my own sentiments into it) goes: I would rather be an idealistic but dead hero than a living but subjugated embarassment.
* “Duterte threatens to slap Joma if they meet” — Puh-lease.  Stop with the gayishness.  Stop making a bitch of yourself.
* “Rody: Shoot me if I overstay” — Yeah, right.  As if someone will actually shoot Mr Duterte (for overstaying).
* “Speaker slows down Cha-cha train” — Just joking.  Come on.  Stop emulating your idol.  Governing a country is no joke so stop with the jokes.  Saying that one is joking, after the fact, is just a take-back and a way of saving face.  It is not amusing.

TaN (update): Since we are not privy to the specific questions asked the respondents in the surveys regarding poverty in the Philippines, I would like to put in my 2-sentabos worth of thought.

First, how reliable are the answers to the questions: Because of the continued implementation of the 4Ps of the Philippine government, these poor may have been artificially boosted or distorted to a higher income bracket and a better quality of life.  It would therefore be inaccurate to include these people as respondents since their improved life was not due to any of their own making or endeavor but via a dole-out (or mendicancy) system.

Second, the definition or understanding of the term poverty (from the perspective of the survey takers) must be (made) clear to the respondents otherwise the answers they give will be unreliable because each respondent will have their own interpretation and understanding of what poverty is (to them).  Moreover, the definition of what poverty is must be clear as well with the survey takers because there are several dissimilar definitions which are all valid.  The most common definition is based on the material possessions whereas among primitive and remote tribes and communities, poverty has nothing to do with material possessions but mostly in terms of children and territory.

Third and last, the change in the prevailing quality of life differs from time to time and most people have the tendency to remember (and consider) only the more recent events.  Moreover, unless one is conscious (and keeps track of recent events), when one is too preoccupied on making ends meets, perspective and memory recall suffers.  And although survey takers always account for margin of error, still this may not be enough as to reflect a more approximate picture of the issue being surveyed.

TaN: The Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy states that both mass and energy can neither be created nor destroyed — merely transformed from one state or form to another.  With this, it implies that both mass and energy are in a state of constant flux (i.e., forever and perpetually changing from one to another).

Moreover, since mass is defined (or one way of defining is) as energy at rest and energy is mass in motion, this would imply that mass and energy are one and the same — differing only in whether it is at rest or in motion or the speed at which the mass/energy is moving (where the faster the speed, the more mass is converted or transformed into energy and vice versa).  Furthermore, it likewise implies that within energy and within mass is a cycle of change.

Up to this point, I have neither dispute nor disagreement.

Keeping this in mind, it can now be extrapolated that what we “normally” — or has been “conditioned” to think and — believe to be opposites, mass and energy, are really the same.  Both are actually material, hence the photons or packets of light which are said to be light’s energy form are physical.

The true opposites — and, by logical progression, complementary (just like Einstein’s space-time where both are one and the same and not different or separate — are mass-energy and fields (borrowing, citing, and acknowledging from Sir Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance and which conventional science still has to acknowledge and accept).

The physical structures that form our material universe cannot be explained solely by what we find within the material (just like what contemporary science tries to convince us regarding our DNA or deoxyribose nucleic acid containing information that determines or defines what we look like which is simply not to be found within) because there is nothing in material that defines or determines structure or how something should look.  It is the fields and “laws of nature”, the true abstracts or immaterial, that determines the form and shape of things.

In any case, from the numerous “new” information and “discoveries” made in the recent past, it is beginning to look like the great diversity in forms and shapes and appearances are merely different arrangements of the same fundamental material (that we still have to discover and understand) and sometimes different quantities.

Take the case of the different elements that are merely made up of three (basic) particles — namely: neutron, proton, and electron — and yet look very different from each other and have very varied physical and chemical and nuclear properties.  Moreover, it has been found that these fundamental atomic particles may be made of the same stuff.

In addition, this may finally give rise to the unified theory that has eluded theorists for so long.

TaN: Criticisms and “unsolicited advice” should be taken with a grain of salt and, for as long as there is an accompanying solution or remedy, it should be regarded as a learning experience.  It has been said that, If you have no intention to help, you have no right to criticize.  In this sense, any criticism is destructive unless accompanied or immediately followed by proposed (albeit unsolicited) advice/s — proposals to improvements and advancement.  In this case, it is constructive.

Criticism should not be taken as some form of antagonism where the critic seeks to destroy or damage the reputation or character of another.  When a solution is proposed, it only means that the criticism is intended as an opportunity to re-examine and, perhaps, improve.

People should be open to criticism for as long as one’s mistakes or inconsistencies or flaws or issues are pointed out and explained properly (and without malice) and solutions or improvements are proposed.  It is in the free exchange of ideas and opinions that we make progress — as a person, as a people, as society — that we improve, that we realize our shortfalls and imperfections, that we see from other people’s perspective.

No one is perfect and all should be open and honest enough to admit mistakes, flaws, and shortcomings.  It was once mentioned in a dialogue from a very old movie — titled “Oh God” and featuring George Burns as God and John Denver as the atheist whom God has chosen to deliver His message.  In the film, Denver make all sorts of excuses and reasons in defense of his belief but God was persistent — and as we all know, God always gets His way in the end.

In any case, during the scene where Denver was already ready to agree God’s terms, he asks one final question (and I paraphrase because it has been decades): If You are as they say You are…all kind, all merciful, all caring, and all good, why do You allow so much suffering?  In answer, God said: I do not allow suffering; it is why I gave you each other [emphasis mine].

In this light, this can be applied to criticisms where we were given by God to each other so we can help complement one another’s shortfalls and deficiencies and remedy (honest) mistakes or our short-sightedness.

Unwillingness to take criticism implies that one assumes oneself to be perfect therefore all our actions and decisions are beyond reproach and there will never be mistakes or wrongs — and this is the epitome of ARROGANCE and BOASTFULNESS.

TaN: Actually, there is really no such thing as luck — good or bad.  It is but a natural consequence resulting from the series of life decisions we make and actions we take and how we handle what life brings us.

Of course, there are things called accidents that are not “planned”.  However, most accidents are preventable — mainly because we were not mindful, we were careless, we took risks, we were not alert of surrounding circumstances (both environmental and otherwise), and many more.

And though there are accidents that really are inevitable, still, these cannot really be considered as (bad) luck either, despite them being completely out of our control or foresight and inspite of our being very careful and meticulous.

Events that occur are natural consequences of previous events — either by man’s choice or due to the laws of nature.  Nature is dynamic and in ever constant motion.  The whole universe is not static.  From the moment of the (assuming it is true) the Big Bang, all things have been constant change and flux.

In fact, according to Steven Hawking — in one of his videos, I just cannot recall off hand which — it is precisely because of imperfection, of in-uniformity, of inequality, of unevenness that all is continuously moving.  Imagine if air pressure is constant everywhere; then there would be no wind and no flight.  It is because of the interplay of low and high air pressure that there is wind, there is weather, there is flight.  Aerodynamics is completely dependent on the inconsistency of air pressure.

It is the constant interaction of the fundamental opposing forces — such as light and darkness and hot and cold — that the universe is functioning as it is.  It is not in stasis — which is likewise the nature of its Creator.

So, accidents are natural consequences and cannot be blamed on any single cause but a series of past events.  And neither are accidents good nor bad; they just happen.  Like everything else in nature, only those with free will can be good or bad and man is the only creature we know with free will.

However, when these events occur in conjunction with past or previous occurrences that converge at the same time and place, these are what most people refer to as accidents or luck.

TaN: Non-labeling of whether it is GMO-free or not is a (consumer) rights issue. Regardless of whether the claim by the industry that there is no (physical) difference between GMO and non-GMO is irrelevant.  It is a fundamental human right to be informed, especially if it is important to and directly impacts the welfare of the people.  There are certain rights that are uncompromisable and this is one of them — the right to be (properly) informed.

The right to be informed is intertwined with the right to choice and the giving of consent and are inalienable to every person, irrespective of their ability to discern or age.  The right to choose is inherent (only) to those endowed with free will or the ability to discern and freely decide between and among options available.  By not labeling whether GMO or GMO-free, those rights are effectively and completely removed or taken away.  Without the critical knowledge of whether something is GMO or GMO-free, the consumer cannot make an informed consent and make a choice as to which commodity to purchase.

Moreover, the argument of the industry that the labeling adds to the cost is totally absurd.  Business has been labeling their goods for as far back as I can remember and there has never been a case when there was any argument that it adds to the cost.  Furthermore, the mere fact that industry argues that their GMO is no different from GMO-free (logically and) tacitly or implicitly affirms that there is a difference.  [In logic, one cannot deny without affirming.  It is simply not possible]

Still another argument is the price of a tiny sticker as against an entire box (of cereal or processed snack food such as biscuits and cookies).  I doubt if the cost of a sticker can compared against that of an entire cardboard box.  And as an important note, the sticker should be of a minimum size with brightly contrasting words against the background color and should be placed in the most conspicuous place so the consumer can readily notice and read it.

Finally, if one examines the arguments and counter-arguments of the GMO industry and its shills and toadies, they are full of contradictions.

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