Post for Apr 2-8 2017

TaN: Despite watching all those documentaries regarding plants and their behavior, it did not dawned on me until lately that the defensive posture plants adopt — like releasing toxins and distress chemicals to summon biological defenders — against marauding herbivorous insects and pests and would-be plant predators is probably being deployed and employed against us too…when we harvest them and prepare to eat them.

I wonder whether plants can distinguish between their usual or traditional enemies and us humans, so much so that they will behave differently when we eat them as compared to insects and other small invertebrates that feed on them.  This is because, according to science researches to date, plants secrete or produce chemicals as a reaction and these chemicals can range from being toxic to hallucinogenic to distress signals to call on external “allies” or assistance.

Furthermore, if the chemicals are meant to be toxic to the insect or invertebrate feeders, will they have the same effect on us?  After all, one’s poison may not necessarily be poison to another.

A classic case in point is the monarch (and the lesser-known queen) butterfly caterpillar which feeds on milkweed and absorbs and adopts the plant’s defensive toxins into its own chemical defense against predators.

It is always a joy and wonder to learn about the great wisdom and majesty of God through His creations.  It never ceases to amaze me to learn of how the universe works and how integrated and interrelated everything is.  It only shows, vindicates, and reinforces the saying,  The more we learn, the more we learn how much more we need to learn…how much more there is to learn and marvel at God’s infinite imagination and creativity.

TaN: I am such a slow-wit — not realizing, until now, that the recent “trend” of thinking that God could be female or a mother is so absurd or they are not Christians or even Muslims.  It is so clear as written in the Holy Scriptures that Jesus taught us (most notably in Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2, KJV) and I quote: “(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our FATHER [all caps mine], which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” or “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy nameThy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  Is this not plain and simple enough?  It is as clear as day! Does it need further elaboration or explanation?  How simple does it have to be?

How can anyone, with the simplest and most rudimentary knowledge of the more significant passages and events in the Holy Scriptures, not know of this fact?  In truth, it is among the first to be taught us (Christians), especially when teaching the Lord’s Prayer.  Or have they so conveniently forgotten?

This alone puts the issue or controversy to rest.  There is no ambiguity or vagueness in the terminology.  There is no other interpretation of the term Jesus Christ used.

It must be remembered or reminded that it is written (and forewarned) that “(18) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (19) And if any man shall tale away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.”

And so by changing the wording or the context or God’s intention in the terminologies exposes us to the forewarnings in the immediately preceding.  Beware of trying to inject our own thoughts, biases, opinions, values, reason into God’s words; DO NOT PUT WORDS IN GOD’s MOUTH!  Do it at your own risk.

TaN: I seriously doubt that the Ripley’s data on the top 8 richest people — William Gates III, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Lawrence Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg — “own as much combined wealth as half the human race” (funnies, The Philippine STAR, March 21, 2017 issue).  Considering that their combined wealth amount to less than $1 trillion, or even just half, it pales in comparison to the annual budget of the United States of America.

By the way, it is wrong or incorrect to say that someone is a “self-made” man, especially when it is connection with wealth.  In truth, if it were not for the (“insignificant”) spending of the lowly poor and subsistence labor, there would not be any millionaire or billionaire.  It is their combined spending that make up more than 99% of the wealth of the rich.  This is the true power of the lowly consuming public — us — and let no one tell you otherwise.  We are the ones who made them rich, made them what they are, made them who they are.  If it were not for us, they would be nobodies.

Moreover, quotes regarding labor and capital attributed to have been said by Abraham Lincoln (taken from http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln97.html):
Labor is the true standard of value“;
The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly suppliedThere is no dispute upon this point.”;
If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive — all would have perished by want of subsistence.”;
Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn.”; “Property is the fruit of laborproperty is desirableis a positive good in the worldThat some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterpriseLet not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”;
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capitalCapital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existedLabor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”; and,
And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced themBut it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruitsThis is wrong, and should not continueTo [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government.”

Given these, being rich is not really much of an achievement.  If it were not for labor, there would be no capital.  In effect, capital is just accumulated excess or unconsumed (fruits of) labor.

In conclusion, I cannot remember who said it (and I paraphrase) but it was supposed to have been said that it is very wrong to have people richer than entire countries.  And this is precisely what is happening today and this exclusive club of extremely wealthy people get wealthier and wealthier — and all at the expense of the global poor (although it cannot be totally blamed on the wealthy because the poor “permit” themselves to be exploited and “subjugated”, via consumerism and commercialization and cheap labor and intellectual property and private ownership).  You get the life you permit yourself to live — i.e., the life the global elite wants you to live.

TaN: Setting the price for a particular commodity can (or should) only be based on one of two possibilities: (1) relative to the cost of materials and production cost (plus a few incidentals such as transporting and advertising), and (2) relative to the value of or to the consumer.  One is moral whereas the other is morally questionable or conditional.

Costing relative to expenses incurred bringing a particular product to the (retail) market is best and most ethical because it deters overpricing and does not prey on the needs of the consumer — i.e., how badly the consumer needs it, like pharmaceuticals (some of which are reportedly prices with a mark-up in the United States of America of over HALF A MILLION PERCENT).  It is but right that costing (or mark-up) should be based on the relative overall production cost of a commodity which still provides profit for business while assuring the consuming public that the latter is not being taken advantage of.

Moreover, it is unethical to take undue advantage of others, especially when they are at their most vulnerable.  There is a saying, Someone who takes advantage of the weakness of another is called a COWARD!  This is especially true when it comes to medicine and basic necessities (as staple and primary foods) — and the treatment of the poorest of our poor.

On the other hand, costing relative to the value of the commodity to the consumer is exploitative (in a bad way) although it does have the unintended (because business is supposed to encourage consumption and not discourage it) but beneficial advantage of slowing down or lessening a consumer’s desire to make a purchase, especially if or when the price is beyond the latter’s willingness to pay.

I remember an instance in my visit to China mainland where a street hawker/vendor displayed his wares but there were no price tags.  I was told that the price is set impromptu — at the moment during the purchase.  If or when the eyes (of the potential buyer) enlarges and has a lingering stare (indicating interest and would like to take a closer look, so the possibility of a sale is quite high), the price goes up.  However, a quick glance or nonchalant facial expression means that the browser is not really interest and it is going to be a hard sell so the price is set low — to entice or convey a potential bargain sale.

In conclusion, I recommend the best compromise would be that the production cost be explicitly printed on the packaging so that consumers will know how much is difference between it and the (mark up) retail price.  This way, it will be left to the consumer to decide whether the price difference or mark up is worth or justifiable and whether s/he will make the purchase or not.

It is — or if not, should be — a consumer right to know how much more s/he is paying for an item in comparison to its production cost.  It should be the prerogative of the buyer to weigh the price s/he is paying against the cost to produce and deliver it to him/her to decide whether s/he will (still) complete the transaction.  Transparency is ever more important today that before.

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Post for Mar 26-Apr 1 2017

TaN: Do we have the right “to kill”.  It seems that in this temporal world, in order for the living to continue living, it is not just necessary but essential to kill — but this will all depend on how “kill” in this particular instance is defined.  Moreover, does killing refer or concern only the taking of a life?  What about those that are organic but not considered alive — like viruses, because viruses are not considered living but a mere grouping of molecules that have the ability to react to changes in external or environmental conditions and even replicate or make copies of themselves (given the proper and ideal surroundings)?

Not all living things need to kill to stay alive.  Only autotrophs (i.e., plants) can sustain life from the non-living (like CO2 and H2O and soil minerals and decomposing dead organic matter) — with a few exceptions (like the carnivorous or insectivorous plants as in the Pitcher Plant, Sundew, Bladderwort, Venus Flytrap, and other species yet to be discovered).

Because “killing” is technically a very broad term and its fundamental definition covers any form of taking or depriving of another living thing of its life, killing becomes a natural and amoral act.  However, when used by man and put into the context of his having free will and capable of discerning right from wrong, killing takes on a whole new perspective (justifiability) and more than one dimension.  Killing acquires different scenarios that impacts and determines whether the act is defensible.

In nature, with animals, killing another is done only on two occasions: (1) for survival (as food for consumption and self-preservation or self-defense) and (2) by accident (no “intention” to kill).  But in the case of man, there are additional aspects to consider due to man’s free will which enables him to make deliberate and, at times, morally unjustifiable decisions and deeds.

While in nature, to kill is a natural — ergo, an amoral — act, in man, it becomes a right.  And with this right comes responsibilities that must be borne and be held accountable for.  One cannot just decide to kill for merely any reason that comes to mind or at our whim.

Moreover, this right to kill is an ancient as man’s existence but has not been brought to the forefront — especially in ethical discussions and academic study.  I suspect the reason for it is because there is a common perception that man will abuse or mis-use this right, hence it is more prudent to leave it unacknowledged in the hope that people will not avail of it.

In conclusion, especially for those who believe in the Holy Scriptures, it is specifically mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:1-3: (1) “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” then to or in (3) “A TIME TO KILL [capitalization mine], and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;”.  Therefore, even the Holy Scriptures recognizes that there are certain instances or situations or conditions wherein killing is (not really permissible but) justifiable.

TaN: Even if Jesus Christ, who is the (only Begotten) Son therefore is likewise God, gave us life and is the only One who can take it back, He never once took a life while He was with us.  Instead, He gave life — on repeated occasions, the most famous of all was the case of Lazarus whom He raised from the dead.  In fact, He even went to the ultimate by giving up His own Life for our salvation.  In this light, who is any person, even a president with a clear mandate of the people, who can justify the taking of another’s life…a life he never gave to the other person.

The problem with people who are stuck with violence begetting (more) violence — as in: An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth (as from rendering every person blind and toothless) — is that it belongs to the Old Testament which have already been superceded by laws and teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  Moreover, the sad and pitiful thing here is that they do (or will) not understand the Solomonic observation and that argument — i.e., “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth“— and the correct implementation.  It is form of compensatory justice that dictates that punishment or retribution of wrongdoings should be commensurate or proportional to the wrongful act (and not exceed it) and not to be taken literally.

Another example of an outdated and expired Old Testament practice or mandate from God but is still persistently and adamantly being implemented is tithing (or the exacting of 10 percent of one’s earnings).  It was mandated that a tenth of the earnings be given to the Levites who serve as preachers (and have no other means of livelihood) of the ancient Hebrew tribes but has since been rescinded by Jesus Christ.  The replacement practice is that we give to our heart’s delight; there is no specified or quantified amount.

[I suspect that this is because Jesus foresaw that preachers today are no longer faithful evangelizers and spreaders of God’s Gospel but are in (business) for the financial gains and have been blinded by the alluring and corruptive power of mammon, which is very true.  In my opinion, preaching the Gospel is an honor and, as forewarned in the Holy Scriptures, should never be commoditized.  Earning a living should be apart from preaching.  A preacher should have a separate means of livelihood and preaching should be for free — as has been alluded to in the Holy Scriptures in Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give“.  In this sense, God’s Gospel was received by us freely, we must freely give it to others.]

But, again, my tendency to digress…so returning to topic, it was never preached by Jesus nor has He ever taken the life of another, no matter how undeserving they may appear to be.  For it is never too late to repent and mend our ways and return to God and even God does not know whether a evil man will persist on being evil to his last day or not, which is why He waits until our death to pronounce His judgment.  We can do no less…or more, depending on how you may want to interpret it.]

TaN: I just realized that, today (or at least some time ago), sharing for free for the common good can be risky.  I think the globalist — i.e., those who wish to dominate and control the whole world (for their selfish interests alone and not those who wish to spread and establish a global community based on the free exchange and sharing of truth and enlightenment for the benefit of all — have caught on to the effort and has been capitalizing on it by mimicking the sharing scheme but using it to spread more and more dis- and mis-information to sow confusion or what is otherwise known as FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).

Increasingly, it is becoming more and more difficult to discern what is the truth and what is fakery — MSM or mainstream media is now being used (wittingly or not) to disseminate “fake” news so people will have a more difficult time determining what or which is true and which are not.  It is known that people tend to believe what appears in mainstream media and the spiels are so convincing that, if we do not employ critical thinking and and common sense coupled with a good historical background (because global dominators are creating elaborate and deep backstops to make their fake news more credible and believable), we can be easily led to believe in fabricated tales and commercial propaganda.

It is my humble opinion and am positing that this is, if not precisely, a major or significant factor for the replacement of Moses’ Ten Commandments with the summarized two of Jesus Christ: (1) Love God above all and (2) Love others are I (i.e., Jesus Christ) have loved you.  It has become necessary to replace the out-moded Ten Commandments because people have evolved to become more cunning in their circumvention and philosophization of moral principles and laws that God has fashioned for man.

As has been foretold in the Holy Scriptures, towards the end of days, what was right will be twisted to be wrong and what was true will be redefined to be false and what was good will become bad and vice versa.  And true enough, it is happening all around us with each passing day.

A case in point is that it used to be that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, yet now people are accused and presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent.  Aside from those that can be gleaned from the news media daily, there is the ubiquitous searches we undergo when we enter buildings, go to airports and seaports, and shop in malls and shopping centers and stores.  We are presumed to be guilty of carrying concealed weapons and various other dangerous and illegal items until and unless we have been searched and proved ourselves to be otherwise.  And this usurpation of our civil and human rights is supported by the argument that: If we have nothing to hide, we should not mind being searched and probed.  After all, it is for public safety.

But returning to topic, as I tend to digress, it used to be that people who lie do so blatantly — i.e., lie outrightly.  Today, to make lies go farther and more believable, half-truths and “innocent” white lies are cleverly mixed into and woven into falsehoods so as to project an image of truthfulness.

Evil has grown so ubiquitous and rampant that lies pass as truths to the untrained and unthinking majority.  People have become complacent in guarding against the creeping evil that permeates and infests society, and social and peer pressure are used to ensure complete conformity to the “new normal”.

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Post for Mar 19-25 2017

TaN: In today’s (March 23) hard copy issue of The Philippine STAR (titled “Reports on EJKs make Phl a hard sell — Teo“, by a certain Alexis Romero), the impression I am getting from the text of the article is that there are only two manners by which the image of the Philippines as a tourist destination can be upheld and sold: by either going after all those responsible for the reported EJKs and bring them to justice or suppress all news articles that report on EJKs, so as not to give the Philippines a bad reputation.

It is beyond me that intelligent and well-educated people in government, especially those in the Department of Tourism and most of its head, will, even for a split second, consider or entertain the idea of suppressing the (ugly) truth just so the Philippines will enjoy (foreign) tourism.  It is as if the government would like the media to avoid reporting on or hide the gruesome truth regarding the EJKs in order to convince (foreign) tourists to come to the islands and bring in much needed revenue or to make her (Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo) job easier.

Moreover, it goes without saying that such reports do not bode well for the Philippines among the international community and not just in tourism.  Furthermore, even if not for reasons of a bad image, it is not right nor good that there are EJKs, even if other countries “do or will not mind it”.

But that is — i.e., the EJKs — are what can and does happen when you have a president who “enocurages” the summary execution, without the benefit of due process and a fair trial, of (even just suspected) drug personalities.  What is the whole point of a criminal justice system when we can bypass the whole thing and go straight to execution.

And to think that the person responsible for the encouragement is a former prosecutor, an officer of the criminal justice system.  In addition, Mr Duterte continuously and repeatedly declare that he respects and upholds the rule of law but the rule of law mandates what criminals, no matter how blatantly obvious, must still go through the entire process of arrest, arraignment, trial, conviction, and sentencing.

Finally, it is sad that brilliant people such as lawmaker-lawyers, of all people, would openly advocate and support such a bloody,. barbaric and savage campaign just to obliterate criminality.  Justice and good should never be the excuse or sacrificed for expediency.

TaN: In today’s (March 23) hard copy issue of The Philippine STAR (titled “Becoming Duterte: The making of a Phl strongman“, sourced from the New York Times), the content only confirms the impression that we get from Mr Duterte’s machismo image that he has a godfather complex.

Mr Duterte, understandably, behaves the way he does — as far as his politics is concerned — because of growing up in Mindanao where the prevailing mindset (especially of people with a strong cultural background and influence).  I am most certainly biased in my assessment but I believe that growing up in a predominantly Muslim environment and given the cultural background of Mindanao whose penchant for fiefdoms and sultanates are still very much alive, it is no wonder that Mr Duterte acts like a political lord that “owns” his (political) subjects.

Moreover, in Asian culture, criticism of the ruler or leader is not tolerated.  Probably the only reason the critics of Mr Duterte are still alive is that modern law prohibits such autocratic acts.

In any case, Mr Duterte means well but not only is it not enough, it is dangerous.  It has been said that: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  And that is what is with the Duterte regime — what with the bloody campaign against evil, commencing with illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, and now terrorist.

In conclusion, the godfather complex is the western variant of the same behavior in Asian culture, where the patriarch takes on the responsibility of the looking after the well being of his subjects — whether they like or not.  And, with a predominant mendicancy mindset (where people with able bodies and useful skills are not embarrassed to be pitied upon and receive dole outs even in non-calamity situations).  And this is much more pronounced during election time, where politicians give away (and literally throw at the crowds) trivial items such as shirts and stuff.  This merely reinforces the dependency and the mendicancy mindset.

TaN: I absolutely hate it when film producers claim artistic or some kind of bovine ordure to alter a classic or original story just to meet or update it to the contemporary tastes and preferences.  Prime examples would be science fiction (specifically the comic book heroes) and children’s stories (specifically Disney and childhood tales).

In the television series of Supergirl and the Flash, I do not remember Supergirl getting involved with anyone and Jimmy Olsen being a non-Irish (since Olsen is supposed to be an Irish surname and he was a red-head) much less him being a superhero too.  In the case of the Flash, I remember Iris to be a white red-head woman.  As for kid tales, the latest remake of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, I do not remember any gay character.

Seriously, if they want to make the stories more relevant to contemporary audiences — what with all the gender and race issues (honestly I still fail to see what all the fuss and arguments are all about; people are people…period) — they should just come up with new stories and put those characters in.  Do not tamper with what has been the tradition.  I grew up with no gays in Beauty and the Beast.  LET IT STAY THAT WAY!  INVENT YOUR OWN FANTASY STORIES!

I am neither against gays and what-have-yous nor different races.  It is just that do not alter what has been traditionally known into something that never was just to please audiences who may be prejudiced in the first place, and especially not for purposes of ratings and, worst of all, revenues and profits.  It is really low, as in LOWER THAN THE LOWEST, as in SUBSURFACE, as in ALL THE WAY BELOW THE BOTTOM.

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Post for Mar 12-18 2017

TaN: Creations of God are and will always be good and beneficial while man’s are and will always be bad and harmful — unless he does it by God’s way.  It is only when we do things (primarily but preferably) for the benefit and betterment of others that we do things God’s way, otherwise it is and will always be for man’s selfish and greed-filled way — which is what has been happening throughout the world since man turned from serving God to serving mammon.

Serving mammon is serving the self, serving greed, serving Satan and, in the end, it will be self-defeating.  It has been foretold and forewarned and it has been repeated countless of times throughout human civilization (vindicating the prophecy).  However, more and more people will still be attracted to (and preferring) mammon and there will be an illusion of prosperity and development yet upon close and unbiased scrutiny reveals that it is actually getting worse — as increasingly record numbers of people go hungry and starve, as climate conditions continue to progressively (or regressively) become more destructive, as more and more scores of entire species of both flora and fauna disappear into extinction, and as truth and freedoms are stifled and taken away by false or manufactured information and propaganda peddled and spewed by mass and social media that are owned or have been bought off by commercial interests to protect and manipulate gullible people into swallowing all the bovine ordure shoved into their faces.

It has once been said — but I just cannot seem to recall at this moment the individual from whom I heard or read it from and I have to paraphrase — that it is immoral and very wrong to have one person (even a family) to be wealthier than an entire country…and that is exactly what we have today and not just one person or family but several.

In fact, it has been published that the richest 1% of the global population owns practically half of all wealth.  And this obscene situation owes its existence to man’s putting inappropriately too much importance to the value and impact of money in people’s lives.

Greed has devised many ways to ensure that wealth concentrates to an ever shrinking group of people — and patents and intellectual property rights is one of the principal reasons for this inequality.

However, this situation can easily be remedied but not so easily achieved.  It merely requires that a great majority, especially if the 99% gets together and collectively and unanimously renounces money.  In a blink of an eye, the wealth of the richest evaporates into thin air.  Many would argue that this is impossible but I posit that it is impossible because we believe it to be impossible.

If the 99% really want to, since we have been used to living in deprivation — as compared to the luxury and affluence of the wealthy — we can easily adapt.  Let us see if the 1% can live without the assistance and services of the 99%.

And as far as land and property ownership is concerned, since the police force and private security are likewise part of the 99% — unless they permit themselves to be bought off — the wealthy can be left to their own wits to try and live the way we all do.

And with money’s influence and grip gone, there will be lots of changes for the better — i.e., for as long as we are resolved in our determination to live and treat each other with mutual respect and build our own communities using the age-old and sageful principle of: From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.

TaN: The right to kill is recognized and practiced in some primitive cultures — even up to the present day.  The right to kill — though appears to be contrary to contemporary thinking and the principles of human rights — is, implied in Ecclesiastes in the Holy Scriptures, an inherent right of man.

However, as it is written in 3:3, A time to kill, and a time to heal, it is not explicit that it refers to a right to kill.  It could refer to a defensive act where a life, especially one that is innocent, is under immediate threat to be snuffed out — be it one’s self or another’s.  Care must be taken to ensure the proper interpretation of the Holy Scriptures because they can just easily be twisted for evil ends.

The right to kill as claimed by primitive cultures stem from ancient times when danger was everywhere and man’s continued existence is constantly under threat.  It, therefore, becomes a necessity that man is ready at all times to kill or be killed.

However, in modern times, when man has all but completely ensured his safety against (traditional) threats from the environment — i.e., animal attacks — the said right became not only redundant but should no longer exist.  But, since certain primitive cultures may still be practicing the right and they may not yet be brought into the mainstream of modern times, the right may temporarily be tolerated until such time that it can be made known and explained to the said primitive cultures the situation.  And, once properly appraised and understood by the primitive culture, the said right should likewise be rendered obsolete.

In addition, remnants of the right may still be observed in terms of unintended self-defense or defensive deaths.

It is interesting for me because, until recently, I never realized that such a right exists and justifiable.

TaN: It just occurred to me that there may be another problem (aside from the one mentioned and discussed in, at least, one previous TaN of mine) with the controversial K-12 curriculum that the Philippine Department of Education and Sports.  Since the K-12 curriculum is supposed to better prepare students in academics and eventually for after school, it should now be sufficient that high school graduates be employable and that company requirements should not (be permitted to) require college graduates as a minimum for qualification.It would be terribly unfair that parents (and working students) shell out additional cash for additional years added to the formal education and then still require a minimum of a college degree as requirement for employment.  This just benefits the schools and to the detriment of students (and parents).

Moreover, there appears to be still another snag in the program.  It seems it is due to so many people out to make a buck at the expense of others.  They are so many unnecessary and irrelevant inclusions and insertions that those responsible stand to make huge profits.

Examining the first batch (according to DepEd (Department of Education, Sports and Culture Secretary Luistro) of subjects to be integrated, one cannot help but question the inclusion of most of the subjects.  School subjects should not be commercialized and yet there are subjects that “promote” private enterprises, like Facebook and Twitter.

Just like the strategy of IBM (International Business Machines) in the 1980s, they provide companies and training centers with free seminars and assistance and even donate their computers.  Everyone thought how kind and generous of IBM, not understanding that this gesture gives IBM an undue advantage over rivals.  This ensures that “graduates” of their seminars and assistance are familiar only with their products and this ensures that IBM will surely be recommended to their employers when it comes time to purchase computers — since they have been trained only with the workings and operations of IBM products.

This is exactly that same with Facebook and Twitter and whatever commercial enterprise that dips its grubby hands and sticky little fingers into the educational curriculum, under the guise of philanthropy and altruism.  It ensures that future young impressionable generations of netizens will be loyal to and patronize only Facebook and Twitter.  Of course they will deny any ulterior motives and hidden agenda, other than their concern and desire to provide valuable assistance and even free equipment to facilitate the training (and indoctrination) of loyal and grateful users.

Oh how true as it always has been that “There is one born every minute” — or, in the case of the Philippines, several hundreds or even thousands.  It is also so true when they “Age is not a sign (nor guarantee) of wisdom”.

I am so anxious for the second batch of new subjects, courses, and topics.  My heart is atwitter…be still my foolish heart.

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Post for Mar 5-11 2017

TaN: In today’s (Mar 11) hard print news article in The Philippine STAR, titled “China allays Phl concern over its ships’ activities“, it reported in the lead statement in its lead paragraph that “China yesterday said it was merely exercising freedom of navigation in Benham Rise…”.  This is a clear case of China’s bullying and its deplorable and feeble attempt to distort and redefine and mis-apply terms to suit its own ends and interests.

“Freedom of navigation”, as the United States of America has been conducting in the South China Sea, is applicable only when done on (supposed) international waters or terrain.  In the case of the USA, the freedom of navigation was done outside of the territorial boundary of the islands claimed by China to be “within its territory”.

However, in the case of Benham Rise, it is not only obviously the territory of the Philippines but it has already been filed with the United Nations and there, as far as I can determine, no other claimant contesting the Philippines’ assertion.  Therefore, when China conducts “freedom of navigation” exercises in Benham Rise, it is a clear encroachment of the territory of the Philippines.  China can only conduct freedom of navigation activities in Benham Rise if and only if the Philippines has not yet laid claim to it — aside from the blatant fact that it is within the limits and boundaries set or agreed upon under international law (of the seas).

TaN: The situation with the Duterte administration is, for all intents and purposes, a dictatorship — anyone with a dissenting opinion is or will be (eventually) ousted from government and considered as critics and treated as opposition out to destabilize the government.  This is not only true of Mr Duterte and his Cabinet but it is likewise showing in the House of Representatives (with the statement of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez some time last month as titled in The Philippine STAR: “Anti-death penalty lawmakers can leave coalition“, dated February 9).

It is a pity that there is so little tolerance in the Duterte administration for dissenting opinions and views and so much prejudice against anyone and everyone who dares to speak his/her mind that runs counter to the prevailing thinking of Mr Duterte.  It is likewise embarrassing for the country to call itself democratic and adhering to the principles of human rights but news and social media show fascistic intolerance and violations of the most fundamental of human rights and civil liberty occurring left and right.

However, it is not surprising if and when you consider Mr Duterte’s mindset and personality.  He has consistently exhibited the behavior of a bully — someone who “respects” or understands only power.  A bully bows to a bigger bully and knows only violence — i.e., violence is the solution to everything, to every problem, to every situation.  A bully, on occasion, may engage in dialogue (but it frequently is actually a monologue) which is more of verbal intimidation but it makes little difference as the outcome will still be violence.

Bullies have the need to be in control and refuses to accept dissent.  They feel that dissent and dissimilar views and opinions challenge their very person and feel threatened, and then to be very intolerant regarding such.

Bullies have the need to feel they are the center of universe and they surround themselves with lackeys and stooges and cohorts who must feed their (the former’s) ego every so often, and do they have an EGO!

Bullies have a constant need to exhibit control and many are prone to micromanage (just to ensure that their control over things and people are still intact as well as to show that they “care”).  However, to be fair, every person has a little bully in their throughout life.  It is an integral and important part of one’s life.  It has a (special and unique) purpose and, as written in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in the Holy Scriptures: “(1) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (3) A time to KILL [emphasis mine], and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (5) A time to cast away stones, and a time gather stone together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; (6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to jeep, and a time to cast away; (7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of WAR [again, emphasis mine], and a time of peace.” — KJV  As in this excerpt, there is a time to “bully” and that time has passed for many of us, especially those who have grown up.  The problem is another saying (which applies to all): Growing old is mandatory; Growing up is optional.

Surprisingly, many likewise exhibit good qualities, especially towards the family and the poor — very much like that case as shown in the film The Godfather, where the mafia is portrayed as doting family patriarchs.  This is an endearing quality that tend to cover up their dark side which beneficiaries of their “compassion” are prone to overlook.

They can be very charming (especially when they have too) and feel as if they are a ladies’ man…God’s gift to women.  They have the constant need to feel important and their propensity for things that represent power (such as guns and fast cars and adoration of/from the public, especially women).

In conclusion, bullies are juvenile.  They have not outgrown their childish attitude which is actually their way of overcoming their inferiority complex.  Many people with inferiority complexes feel that they have to overcompensate by being a bully to cover up their insecurities and fears.  True men are confident of their own manhood and manliness and do not have to need to express them at every opportunity.  And mature people shun violence because it is the way of children — which is why we frequently see children engage in physical conflicts and quarrels when things are not going the way they want.  And this is what dictatorship is all about — a juvenile’s method of dealing with (pressing) life’s events.

TaN: One major reason why the Philippines, which has all the potentials to become a world economic power, has been, is and will be wallowing in the doldrums of a Third World developing nation status is principally due to the maturity level of the general population and their corresponding good but misguided value system.  Please permit me to elaborate and elucidate.

First, on having the potential to become a world economic power, it is undeniable that natural resources are so abundant it seems almost inexhaustible.  With the proper exploitation — i.e., sustainably done and for the Philippines’ needs first — there is no need to be dependent on foreign assistance, financial, technical, technological, or otherwise.  The problem is we have leaders who still think in the traditional foreign messiah complex — that it must take foreigners and foreign assistance to help us develop and exploit our natural resources.  Nothing is further from the truth.
Unfortunately, it is sad that it should be the natives who ought to take advantage of what is (rightfully) theirs but, instead, it is the foreigners who are benefiting (immensely).  And this is the main reason why I am against exports, especially if the needs of other countries are prioritized over the needs of the locals.  Export is only sustainable if and when only the excesses in production and from domestic consumption are exported.  Moreover, the exported excess should only be due to the inability of domestic consumption to avail of the production and not because overproduction was deliberate in order to create a scenario of excess so that there can be plenty to export.
In addition, should it be that there are natural resources which the domestic market cannot or have no use for, this should never be grounds to export.
Finally, with so much natural resources and foreign business just salivating and falling over each other trying to convince the Philippines that only the former has the capability to exploit and develop the natural resources, it should be the latter that dictate the terms and conditions and not the other way around, which is precisely what is happening from ever since.

Second, on a misguided value system, the Philippines has a value system that has been hijacked and manipulated by both domestic and (frequently in cahoots with) foreign interests for their greed-driven and profit-oriented agendas.  If one does not have a strong foundation on values and the proper concept and interpretation or the rationale behind each value, people can easily be led into a mistaken application of good values.
A case in point would be returning a favor or debt of gratitude when the act is wrong or immoral — as in agreeing to (but unknowingly) be a co-conspirator in something illegal or unethical or immoral, like turning a blind eye or keeping silent when a friend is taking home office supplies or using company time to play games or doing personal work.
Another case would be camaraderie or fellowship, where people cooperate with others for a common cause or for the sake of unity and conformity.  Most people confuse or mis-understand this value as some sort of mandatory to extend cooperation to or in an endeavor or activity regardless of whether it is wrong or immoral or illegal.
Many fail to understand the limitations and conditions where values operate or are applied.  They fail to understand that once the parameters within which values are confined are exceeded or breached, they cease to be values.  Further elaboration will be the subject for another time.
And the value system of the Filipinos are one of the best but most Filipinos today do not know the proper usage and become subject to abuse and mis-use.  The two aforementioned instances are among the more familiar incidents of the incorrect application and often lead to something bad instead of good.

Last, Filipinos — i.e., the average typical Filipino — strangely are a race with a Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde syndrome.  They are globally known to be very honest and industrious and excel in almost any chosen field.  But that is when they are overseas.  However, back at home, they exhibit a very different set of behavior.  If Filipinos behave at home the same way as they do overseas, no country in the world can beat the Philippines.  The country is rich in natural resources (almost unparalleled anywhere on the planet), the people are multi-talented (and are frequently acclaimed by their foreign peers) and very creative, and there are more than enough laws to create a utopia.  It is a wonder why the Philippines cannot seem to develop and improve and why corruption continues to hound it.
If only someone can think of or devise a way in which most, if not all, Filipinos can shed the pervasive culture of mis-appropriated and ill-applied values, then (and only then) will there be a certainty of the Philippines developing and joining the ranks of global developed countries.
I hope I am wrong and this will be one of the few instances when I will wish I am wrong but this is just wishful thinking.

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Post for Feb 26-Mar 4 2017

TaN: In general, nature does not have uniformity in its products and it is precisely for this reason and characteristic that it supports and maintains biodiversity.  Nature thrives on variations and diversity.  Biodiversity ensures the continuity of life — for it provides variety (in the genetic pool).  It is because there are a myriad though slight variations within a species that ensures there is a high degree of survivability and continuity of the species.

It is a known fact that life is a constant struggle against death.  Death comes either in predation or accidents or weakening of the immune system resulting in susceptibility to microorganisms causing bacterial or viral or fungal infections and eventual death — or, in the case of man, self-inflicted stupid life decisions (such as eating junk and not healthy food and not living active and purposeful lives) that result in lifestyle diseases or medical conditions such as hypertension, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, thrombosis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and many more.

But it is likewise this “attack” by microorganisms that life becomes or is resilient — as in the saying, “What does not kill you only makes you stronger” (for it teaches or trains our immune system with new pathogens and adversities so we adopt and adapt and our immune system learns or remembers its past encounters).

As to other aspects of nature, like the production of honey, the taste and quality of honey is not consistent in the sense that its subtle differences for every batch depends entirely on what flowers the bees encounter or can find — unlike our commercial producers which always follow a standard set of ingredients and claims it to be quality control.  [Actually, the essence of quality control is not so much that each batch look as identical as possible but that the care and dedication to the work quality and the assurance the the ingredients are of the highest quality can be guaranteed.]  The color deepens with age as evaporation makes it look darker in hue.

The same thing goes for each litter even though the father may be the same.  Each individual offspring will exhibit something that sets its apart from the rest of the litter — be it physical or behavioral.  There will always be variants in nature.  This is to ensure that, in cases of unfortuitous events (like deaths and such), there will be survivors to perpetuate the species.

This is likewise exhibited when people in the enclosed space do not all get sick — catch a cold — even though they have all been exposed to the same pathogen.

And this is not confined to animals but even to plants.  But the most obvious of all is among the smaller forms of life with their shorter lifespans like insects and microbes and especially viruses.  It is for this very reason that (pseudo) science claims that people, especially those with weakened or compromised immune systems, must have annual or regular flu shots.  [This is of course a myth, which is unknown to the uninitiated.  Since it is all agreed and accepted that viruses evolve many times over within a year, the vaccine of the previous year may no longer be effective for the next year.  However, if that is the argument, then the vaccine received would likewise and surely be ineffective because by the time the vaccine has been developed, mass-produced, distributed, and applied, the time lapse would have rendered the vaccine useless.]

Finally, this is blatantly true with pesticides as well.  Like the proliferation of MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in hospitals which have become resistant due to man’s able assistance of using ever more powerful antibiotics to fight the staph a, pesticides have become ever more powerful because we help weed out the weak pests with our pesticides leaving only those that are naturally resistant and now we are having great difficulty combating pests.  It is our own doing.

TaN: One must be choosy when it comes to what we eat and how we live.  The problem is our choosiness is incorrectly implemented or applied.

It is not choosing between what we eat and do but how we prepare what we eat and how we live our lives.

In eating, practically 99.99 percent of us think that it is what we eat that determines our state of health.  This is due to the deluge of mis- and dis-information everywhere and incompetently propagated by legions of expert ignoramuses and mostly (and happily and obligingly) supplied by.commercial interests.

In truth, what we eat plays only a small role in our health; it is how it is prepared and eaten that determines our health.  Please permit me to elaborate.

People think that being a vegetarian or even a vegan is the healthy way.  It looks like the “prophecy” of a certain Dr Steven Bratman made years ago (sometime in 1997; please refer to: http://www.orthorexia.com/original-orthorexia-essay/) is coming true — orthorexia nervosa.

There is so much (un- or mis-informed) hype and propaganda regarding what is truly healthy (and what is not) in circulation that it is endangering people more than it is helping.  People trustingly and ignorantly put their complete and absolute confidence in people who are utterly in the dark concerning true health and overlooking the obvious clues and evidence in and from nature — as in eating raw (like the traditional Inuits and Okinawans).

Actually restoring or staying in health is both the easy and simple as well as complicated and convoluted.  It is easy and simple because it is a no-brainer.  However, it is complicated and convoluted because it requires that we take things into our own hands and do all the legwork and careful research with the use of common sense and critical thinking.

It is easy and simple because it is all around us, whereas it is complicated and convoluted because we must first unlearn what we have been indoctrinated with by commercial interests.  We, likewise, must not be lazy and be determined to apply a hands-on approach.

They say that vegetables are good and meat is bad but the traditional diet of the Inuit/native Alaskan is at least 70 percent fat and the rest as meat or muscle yet they are very healthy.  And, research after research show the different foods that promote health and they are all plants — not a single case where meat is being promoted.

We eat what animals eat yet they remain fit and disease-free and seldom seek medical attention — i.e., they do not have “animal physicians” or physicians that are animals and not physicians who treat animals — while we constantly and persistently get sick and need (increasingly more expensive) medical professionals and treatments.

Something seems to be amiss and we cannot seem to comprehend or isolate the reason — i.e., until we realize that the difference is animals eat raw (THEY CANNOT COOK!) but we heat our food with some of us doing it to the point of burning the food (as in broiling, barbecuing, frying, and roasting).  In fact, in my younger years, I had a Japanese friend who ask me why we have so many good and fresh food that are so nutritious and good tasting (in their own right) then we over cook all that those nutrients away.

However, the sad fact of matter is today most people prefer to believe in lies than in the truth.  This is because lies have evolved to be more believable than truths — aside from the other facts such as (1) truths are more difficult to believe, (2) lies are less complicated and more convenient to believe, and (3) people are just too lazy to do their own research and too stupid to see the obvious truth seen everywhere in nature, preferring to put their (blind) trust in commercial greed-driven interests that seek only to make profits without the slightest consideration for the public well being.

TaN: It is arrogant of man to think and claim that he is the center or the end all of everything.  A good case in point would be contests and pageants where we declare someone to be the Something of the Universe — Miss or Mister or whatever.

How can one claim to be, say, the (supposed) most beautiful woman in the universe when, as of yet, only this planet is known to be inhabited and not even every woman on this planet joined the contest.  For all you know, there are thousands of other women who are most beautiful.

Moreover, since tastes and preferences vary from one individual to another, how can it be now that a mere handful in a panel of individuals — and let us grant that it is even extend it to a large number but not a majority of digitally connected people (who participate electronically) — determine what is purely a subjective matter.  And this is not to mention the point that not every person joined the contest so there could very well be many who are far better or more beautiful or of higher caliber is being judged.

Man thinks too highly of himself to such an extent that he opines, for example, (1) the pig is associated with being dirty when, in fact, man is much dirtier because the pig has no choice but to be “dirty” due to man confining it in its sty and (2) the cockroach is considered gross or yucky as it is usually seen among garbage when, in fact, it is one of the cleanest insects and cleans its whole body (including the antennae) immediately after passing through garbage or anything dirty.

This is especially true with the United States of America where it has such events as the World Series but the teams participating are confined to themselves.  How they can make such a claim is beyond me.  How they have the gall to make such declarations and pronouncements — in the name of all peoples of the world and without their knowledge or permission or consent — is really arrogant and self-serving.

It is not right to make sweeping generalizations that encompass every individual or all things in the planet when not even a majority — and sometimes or oftentimes not even a quarter of the global population — has been canvassed, consulted, invited, informed, enjoined, and otherwise included in the supposed event, occasion, or endeavor to make a credible and responsible conclusion or declaration.

Although it is understood that frequently the generalizations are actually an expression of not everything but a great portion of the actual complete population concerned, it still does not justify the “biased” universalized conclusion.

It is best that we be very prudent and cautious regarding making sweeping generalizations when we do or have not actually included all that should be included before making the conclusion.

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Post for Feb 19-25 2017

TaN: I completely agree with The Philippine STAR article titled “House panel OKs ban on gift check expiration” by a certain Jess Diaz.  It is absolutely immoral and unethical to have expiration dates on gift checks.

Gift checks are a form of guarantee or promissory note that a business offers to patrons and the public.  It assures the public that the gift check is redeemable for service, product, or item being sold.  It is, for all intents and purposes, a contract and (should) have all the properties of a contract.

To impose an expiration date on gift checks are immoral and unethical because all the advantages are already with the vendor and the gift check holder has none.

First, the gift check can exclusively be used to purchase only from the issuing business.  This ensures that the holder cannot use it to transact with other businesses, especially rivals or competitors.

Second, the money used to purchase the gift check is already with the vendor so they can go on about with their business as if they already have made a sale, while the gift check holder only has a piece of paper.  His/her money is already spent.

Finally, should the service or item be phased out or no longer available when the gift check is being redeemed, it is at the expense of the gift check holder and not the business so it is an all-win-no-loss on the part of the latter.

Btw, gift checks today have been replaced by a new form which many businesses have caught on: privilege or membership cards.  Although many are not really outright purchases (of the card, i.e., the card in exchange for cash and at face value) but merely require payment of a fee to obtain the privilege or membership to purchase at discounted prices and/or can avail of special offers that may be available from time to time, still there is an outlay of cash on the part of the public at the outset but the public has not yet gotten anything in return.

TaN: To baptize a child and claim that s/he is now a Christian is absurd and utter nonsense.  The very definition of a Christian is someone who believes — and I mean believe…as in really and sincerely act and behave the way as instructed us by no less than — the Lord Jesus Christ (Himself), hence the term “Christian”.

No one can make me believe that the infant has any knowledge, not to mention understanding, of what it is to be a Christian and who is Jesus and what are His teachings and admonitions.

One becomes a Christian only when one finally understands what Jesus’ coming and His teachings and examples are all about then practices or obeys them.  No sprinkling or even bathing of water can make one a Christian.  There is only one way.

So stop all these stupid and inane belief and thinking that the mere act of baptizing makes one a Christian.  Not even on paper can baptism make one a Christian.

TaN: It was not until I saw a Ripley’s Believe It or Not item that made me realize there is a slight complication or confusion brought about by DST (daylight savings time) — one of them is the time to be filled up in reports, especially official or legal reports like date of birth or of death.

The Ripley’s item made me wonder how it will be recorded with multiple births, like twins, when the younger twin is born after the implementation of the DST, especially when the clock is being rolled back (where the younger now is born “ahead” of the elder).

This likewise pertains to the time of death (in the death certificate) for the coroner/medical examiner or when the (attending) physician when a patient dies or is declared dead.

And how about transnational transactions, especially in stock market tradings where there is bound to be one open on the other side of the world and when the same stock is bought and sold as the DST is being implemented — i.e., the DST implementation occurs between the buying and the selling event.  What time goes into the books.  Again, it becomes confusing for clock rollbacks, but not so much with the roll forwards.

TaN: I just occurred to me that would it not be ironic if all, if not most, of those killed in the bloody and horrific campaign of Mr Duterte against the illegal drug trade voted for him?  I wonder how the families of the victims who voted for Mr Duterte feel now that their loved ones have been mercilessly and without due process — because, according to Mr Duterte, (1) the victims have no rights and/or (2) it is cheaper than to go through the length of due process and a court trial and feeding them while incarcerated — murdered under orders of Mr Duterte?  Do they feel regret regarding their vote?

This reminds me of a “joke” during the martial law days.  During the early part of the martial law days, a curfew was imposed and anyone caught on the streets during curfew will be shot.  A couple of military personnel were manning a barangay outpost when a young man walked pass them.  As the man passed, one of the military men shot and killed him.  Stunned and bewildered, the other military man asked, “Why did you shoot him?  It is not yet curfew.”  The shooter answered, “I know where that guy lives and he will not be able to get home before the curfew starts.”  This is Mr Duterte’s idea of saving the taxpayer’s money to prosecute drug offenders — judge, jury, and executioner.

Anyway, as the saying goes, We get the kind of leaders we deserve.  And it looks like we deserve to be slaughtered like cattle.  We do not have the backbone to stand up and say: Enough is enough!  Too many people have died for nothing — because this is one war Mr Duterte will never win.  Once again, it shall be proven that: One cannot legislate morality.  We cannot force people to be good; they have to be good willingly and under no coercion nor intimidation.  It is for this reason that God has been very patient with us and has not pre-judged all who have sinned — which is every person.

If God had done what Mr Duterte is doing, no one will be going to Paradise for, as Christ has challenged, Let those among you who have not sinned cast the first stone.  Who are we to judge others but merely their acts.  And one act (of indiscretion) — or even repeated acts — do not define or determine who we are.  We shall be judged in the totality of what we did during our entire life and not specific moments, which is what Mr Duterte is doing.  Clearly, Mr Duterte is dementedly mistaken but he cannot claim insanity as a defense against his acts for he is fully cognizant of his decisions and actions.

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