Tag Archives: rationality

To My Brothers and Sisters

This article is a break from my usual political ramblings and is directed at my fellow Atlanteans struggling in this world, but is still looking for their true home.

The message is simple. Do not lose hope.

I recently went thru the job hunt and selection process and was hit with so many overqualified judgments that I considered changing my resume to mask my true abilities. Of course my mind rebelled against that thought almost immediately. Why should I hide my talents from those who are afraid of it?

I sat alone and ruminated. I began to accept the truth that the world desires mediocrity now and nothing more than that. Why else would they hire people half as capable as me? Why else would they hire people who really just have a basic understanding on how to do the current project instead of someone who could implement plans and stratagems which will make them more efficient?

I thought a little bit more and had an epiphany; I realized that I may have been approaching the problem wrong. Why should those companies hire me based on things that I know I can accomplish for them? When all they require is some mediocre monstrosity to fill the void now?

Like Quentin Daniels I must have faith in my own abilities. I know my own worth. I know I will be successful so why should I ask them to take the risk on my mind? When the person who should take the biggest risk of all should be me? I will take the lowest job possible in the company of my choice then once inside I will show them how to improve. If they are a company worth my time then they will see my worth and reward me accordingly. If not then I will leave and move on to my next choice. After all any ideas I give them will be of no benefit if they do not know the overall plan for them. I realized that the time for heroes may not be over yet. We just need to shine more brightly. If I fail and cannot come up with something of benefit, then I may have overestimated my abilities and deserve to be nothing more than a second assistant bookkeeper.

Before I end I would like to leave you with the words of another fellow Atlantean who I know has introduced plenty of us to our true homeland. “Do not let the fire of your mind die out, ember by irreplaceable ember. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration at the world you deserve but did not get. The world you desire can be won, It exists, It is real, It is possible, It is yours.”

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Filed under Philosophy, rants

Pretty Pretty Butterflies

I’ve recently heard that Miriam Santiago wants to eliminate the practice of being a “political butterfly” in our country. To the uninitiated a political butterfly is someone who switches political parties every election or when it benefits them the most.

I really don’t even care that the proposal comes from Miriam, one of the most prominent political butterflies in the system. What I do care about is the method that is proposed to solve the situation. She proposes that everyone who changes their party within one year of being elected be forced to give up their position.

What will that accomplish exactly? If you are a politician in a position of power what a party is really after is your vote on the issues. Not whether your name is on their membership list. If a person wanted to jump ship with Miriam’s plan in effect all you would really have to do is stay in your current party and vote with the party you intend to join when applicable. All the bill would have accomplished is to make it so that you officially leave your party one year later than you would have anyway.

If you really want to stop this practice then all you have to do is move to a two-party system and strengthen our parties. I mean could you imagine a person changing from a Republican or Democrat and vice versa every election? With only two recognized parties our politicians would be forced to adhere to one or the other. Constant defections like we have now would leave them with no party to join and get funds from.

This is really a minor issue though. This bill has almost no chance to get passed. It just irks me that some of our supposed brightest minds still solve the symptoms of our problems rather than the root.

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Filed under Policy, Politics, rants

The Greatest Trick

A friend of mine once told me that the greatest trick the Republicans have played is to get the poor south to vote against their own economic self interests for the GOP. Of course it is obvious that my friend was a staunch democrat. I disagree with him though. I think the greatest trick the republicans have pulled is professional wrestling.

I’m not referring to the fact that it is fake. Everyone knows that, as an aside I still maintain that even though it is fake it still requires more hard work and dedication that most of the other “real” sports. What I am talking about is how the GOP has used the program to push it’s agenda.

It’s a stroke of genius really. Wrestling is like our modern day equivalent of the gladiatorial games during the roman era. It reaches a wide, mostly younger audience. Its heroes are mostly emulated and cherished (except for that john cena debacle) and it’s villains usually act like assholes and get the public to hate them. What better way to mold the public’s mindset to favor the republican’s point of view?

First example I could think of right of the bat is the coalition against the war on terror. You had France and other countries refusing to participate. At the exact time they did it you had Renee Dupree come into the scene. With his arrogant French attitude insulting all Americans and telling them what morons they were for supporting the war on terror. With entertainment like this it becomes easier for the American public to discount France’s stance.

Next you have Muhammad Hassan, appearing on the scenes after 9/11 just when the republicans were cracking down on terrorists and limiting some of the freedoms of the public to better protect it against terror attacks. Hassan plays an Arab-American who is aggrieved at the recent racial profiling and complaining about it, till he brings his terrorist clad friends to the ring to help him beat up his opponents. Reinforcing the point that, yes, they just might be terrorists and we do need to limit their freedoms.

There are too many specific examples for me to list here. I just wanted to show you some to establish that, yes, there is a pattern and it is systematic, deliberate, and planned. Next time you watch your favorite WWE show. Watch who acts like an asshole and what their cause is. You will see what I am talking about.

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Filed under foreign, Policy, Politics

Rallying Cry

Well the church is at it again with the RH bill. Masses and other services calling for divine intervention on the bill. Instructions for the faithful to wear specific colored clothing to show their displeasure at it. Of course you also have the declaration of one priest that anyone who supports the RH bill is not a christian and the declaration of an archbishop that anyone who supports it is a terrorist.

I don’t think anybody else has said it, so I think I will be the first. The RH bill will fail. It will not get passed. It’s not because the bill is bad. It’s not because there is no need for it. I really do think that the bill is sound and very much needed for our country. It will fail simply because the other side wants it more.

The church does conduct plenty of activities to promote it’s view of the RH bill. It also has a weekly forum in the form of the mass to get it’s point across. But those can be overcome. The main problem is that there is no organization amongst the groups who support the RH bill. There are no organized activities. I do believe that a majority of our countrymen want the bill pushed thru as it has obvious benefits. There is a very real danger though that the silent majority will be overrun by a vocal minority. There are a few moves made by individuals to promote the bill, but those are few and far between and have no coherency between them.

I think the RH bill supporters have a total of one face book page where all the news is posted. A page which has not been updated since February or March. In fact I posted there a month or two ago. I stated my support for the bill and asked whether there were other sites or groups who support the bill and what I could do to help push the bill along. There has been no reply yet. I don’t think the RH bill even has an internet forum page for it’s supporters.

It’s not too late. The biggest advantage to the bill is that it is a very good bill. Which means that far less effort needs to go into supporting it than to opposing it. Less doesn’t mean almost none though so some effort is still required. At the very least a website with forums and a link to it from the various organizations which support the bill. This doesn’t even have to cost money as there are some sites in the net which will let you create a free forum based site. An online petition would be relatively easy to set up as well. Especially with a functioning forums.  Of course it would be better if any real time rallies or petitions could be organized.

Whatever happens though needs to happen soon. The opponents  of the bill are gaining too much ground. I would be perfectly willing to help out any group which supports the RH bill. If anyone reads this and knows of such a group please leave their name and contact number/s in the comments section. It would be a shame to let a great opportunity that the bill gives us pass due to inaction.

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Perennial Problems

Time to take a break from Bin Laden and his awesome death and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. In this article I would like to talk about corruption. It is one of our nations biggest problems. In fact whenever someone comes up with a plan to make the country prosper, it invariably ends up beginning with curbing corruption. I’m sure a quick search in yahoo will easily tell you how much money we are losing to it every year.

Time for the ISYW angle! How do we solve this problem? Surely there is an innovative way to deal with this. Well the answer is no actually. There isn’t. There are plenty of showpiece measures such as anti-graft drives, impeachment trials, etc. I am sure they flush out some of the worst offenders. But the gist of the situation is, our system is inherently flawed. Which makes it so that corruption is something we will always have to deal with. We would be better of focusing on other problems. Debt servicing, low employment, etc. I’m sure we can pick one out of the huge list of problems we have.

The main flaw in our system that keeps corruption around is simple. We do not pay enough to have officials that are not corrupt. Our president’s salary is 95000 a month. A CEO of a small multinational company would make something like two million a month. Look at the differential between the two. Then think about the complexity of the job put before them. Our president’s salary is listed as salary grade 33. With the other public officials getting paid even lower than he does. Then consider how much it would cost to actually get into office in the first place.

The system itself is set to fail. We are basically relying on the altruism of every single person in public office. We need every single one of them to pursue their positions out of their selfless love for country instead of any motive of self-interest, otherwise the system fails. Realistically, how many people are like that? How many would give up everything just to serve the country, at almost no pay? One out of our population? Two? Then we see that these people, who are precisely what the system is designed for could very well be kept out of it by the prohibitive cost of obtaining office. Even assuming they get it. How long will the altruism stay? Once they are beggared by the rising costs of living coupled with their low paying jobs.

Of course increasing political wages to the point where they would earn as much as their counterparts in the business sector is not a silver bullet. We could very well still choose people which are corrupt for office. But at least the system is set up so that people who are willing to work for both their own and the nation’s good are accommodated. A kind of guilt is also created. Wherein people who get paid this high amount officially have a obligation to do something to earn it. As opposed to the expectation of graft in our current system, because they don’t get paid enough to survive otherwise.

Sadly this will never get implemented in our country. We just have such a bad image of our politicians that we will not enact this. The reaction of everyone would be that they are already so corrupt. Why pay them more? Even if what you are doing really has nothing to do with the current politicians at hand. But rather setting it up so that we can attract a better breed of future politicians.

The only solution left to us is to ignore the problem. Yes sadly that is it. Instead we focus on performance. In essence you can be as corrupt as you want. Set your graft to as high as you think you are worth. But be sure that you are worth that much. Anti-corruption drives should not focus on the most corrupt. No. They should focus on the most incompetent. Then once they are gone they should focus on those with a high incompetence to corruption ratio. Basically under performers. Then drive them out. You will be left with a bunch of highly corrupt officials. In fact the whole government will probably be made up of them. But they will be crooked officials who perform all their functions to the best of their abilities. In essence we get what we pay for.

That’s pretty much it. Remember always expect everyone to act with their own self-interest foremost in their mind. If you take this into consideration and plan for it most systems you set up will work.

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Osama!!!

Osama bin laden is dead! Wootness! Though as one of the newly designated terrorists by the Catholic Church I wonder if I shouldn’t be sad? I mean world terrorist number 1 is dead. I jest though. Everyone should be happy that he is gone.

When I first heard the news, my reaction was “Great! How does this effect the terrorists?” I honestly believe it doesn’t. There are just too many of them, too spread out amongst too many groups for the death of one man to really matter. More than half of the current groups don’t really owe any allegiance to him and with the pressure put on by the US manhunt on him I highly doubt that he was leading his own groups throughout this time. I think it would be more likely that command and control has devolved down onto various organizational lieutenants.

What it is is a huge symbolic victory for the United States and its people. The man who orchestrated the attack on their home ground has finally been brought down and they should rejoice. Well done.

This symbolic victory does bring about a very real danger to the war on terror. A danger so great that it could end up costing the U.S. the entire war. With a victory such as this under their belt the U.S. could very well say that they are done with the war on terror and withdraw all the troops from the hot spots in the middle east. Giving away all the gains they have made. Both for themselves and the world in general.

Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is really the only group who are fighting the terrorists that have the capability to win. Sure Israel and some other nations do their part and I thank them for that but if the U.S. withdraws from the war then the war is effectively over. The Israeli army will go back to purely patrolling their own area and making sure that they are safe from attack. The world forgets about terrorism. Or at least puts it in the back of its mind. And we will have another 9/11 in ten years or so. Another generation of Americans will go there and fight because this one didn’t get the job done.

Celebrate the victory you have now. Cherish it. After all you do deserve every moment of it. But do not be content with it. Always look for more victories. Bin laden has heirs. Other terrorist organizations have leaders. There are plenty of targets out there. Till the day the world is finally rid of terrorists.

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Filed under foreign, rants

Know Your Rights!

So I have been dealing with the BIR lately over some tax matters. Most of them are kind, decent people whom you can negotiate with. However some try to scare you into giving up more than you should because you may not now better.

The issue was about a company’s tax liability. It has been pending for quite some time so the companies accounts have been frozen. Of course this is a problem as the company no longer has money to pay for day to day operations. Negotiations were proceeding smoothly until a certain agent decided to play bad cop and threaten that the BIR will freeze all accounts, not only the corporate one.

Can they do that? Under our laws, and the laws of virtually every country in the world the corporate entity is separate from the personal entity. So the debts of one do not become the debts of the other. However there is a legal principle which can override this law. Under the doctrine of “piercing the veil of corporate fiction” the courts can decide that the company is just a front or just made to shield something else from liability. If the courts decide this then they can order that personal assets be taken to pay for corporate debt.

First off, notice that a court must decide it. Which means that you can give evidence that the corporation is legitimate. The most important thing to get from this is that it will not immediately happen. You will have time to withdraw some assets and place it elsewhere. The second thing to understand is that the courts are very reluctant to do this. Think about it. Every country recognizes corporate entities. If our supreme court routinely employs this doctrine, what would be the incentive for corporations to start here? There are plenty of other places to choose from. Why not just set-up shop in a country whose supreme court is friendlier to corporations? They also know that this kind of doctrine discourages the formation of small and medium industries. Put our self in the shoes of someone who wants to start a business. Would you risk starting a businesses if it meant losing your start-up capital? Would you take the same risk if it meant losing your house and everything you own? For these industries the entire point of a corporation is to limit liability.

Well you know that the courts will not lightly grant this doctrine. Now what? Well you take steps to make sure that there can be no excuse for this to be granted. The most obvious is to keep your personal and corporate accounts separate. Make sure that the proper accounts are used to pay the proper bills. Next make sure that you are paid. Remember you may own the company but you are also an employee, probably in the general manager position. You should have an adequate salary for that. Third , follow all the rules set up for corporations. There should be an existent board of directors, meetings to decide the direction of the company, and minutes for those meetings. Lastly make sure that your company has adequate capitalization. It should have enough money in the bank to run its day to day, pay its employees, and other things of that nature.

So what do you do with this new knowledge? Do you stomp into the BIR and declare that you will pay no taxes due to this? Well, no. The best step is to negotiate the amount with them. Unless truly huge sums of money are involved it would not be practical to argue the amount that you are being charged. They want your business to survive too, if for no other reason than to pay them again next year. Use this information to prevent yourself from being intimidated. If you are doing things properly your only liability is your corporate assets. Nothing else.

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