Sunday, 31 December 2017

“Thank you! Thank you very much!” the man says as he clasps his fingers around the trophy with the numbers “2-0-1-7”. “I would like to thank my parents, my wife, my two sisters and their spouses, our two cats, the people at the vegetarian buffet, the people who pay me to help them speak English, the Taiwanese government that still allows me to live on their island, our friendly neighbours, and lastly, everyone on the internet who wrote such good articles this year that made me much smarter, and that enabled me to bore to tears even more people on social functions. I could not have done it without you all. Thank you again!”

The man seems to want to let go of the microphone to return to his seat. But then he adjusts his grip and continues.

“I can certainly say I have had a good year – as surely many of us can say.” He narrows his eyes to see if anyone is nodding their heads. “It is, however, a fact that I usually decide every year I’ve had a good year, regardless of how many times I fell flat on my face.” The usual tense chuckle follows. “Well, this year was no exception. It has been very educational. Two things stand out. No matter how long one tries to make a success of something, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Maybe it’s because you’re stupid, or maybe because it’s something you subconsciously think is a waste of time. Whatever the reason, for a long time I thought if I stuck to something for long enough, I will be successful in a specific endeavour. Lesson one of this year is that this is not necessarily true. Lesson two has to do with value. Just because you’re convinced something has value … or maybe you’ve developed a formula that at first glance seems very complex that convinces you something is valuable is not to say you have to put your money where your formula is. Were you to do that, you may fall on your face quite comprehensively.

“There were of course many other things I learned, and not all these things required me to plant my mug in the mud!” Another chuckle. Then the man hears a few sighs, and he’s sure he’s observing a sudden increase in fumbling with electronic devices.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen – and all the genders in between, you’re all excited to celebrate the new year. I am too! All that remains is for me to wish you all a prosperous 2018. Look after yourselves, look after your loved ones – including your pets and your children, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, don’t waste your money but occasionally spend some money on something nice, and take responsibility for your own upcoming success. May the next year be one of your best years ever!”

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Point, and what makes my life worthwhile

MONDAY, 14 AUGUST 2017

The POINT of my life is to report. I live; I experience things; I think about things; I write about it. Perhaps someone else finds an insight or opinion useful.

What makes my life WORTHWHILE is to be a witness to the life of the woman I love, to be her partner, and to make her feel loved. What also makes my life WORTHWHILE is maintaining good relationships with family and friends, caring for our pets, eating good food, reading interesting things, relaxing when I’m tired, watching interesting or funny movies, travelling, or visiting places I like, and pursuing the POINT of my life.

Does my life have a PURPOSE? Look at the POINT of my life, and what makes my life WORTHWHILE.

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Devils in the White House – second notes

TUESDAY, 11 JULY 2017

Did Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, their CIA chief William Casey and other people in the Reagan administration know how the people whom they had trained and armed attacked villages in Guatemala and brutally murdered men, women and children? Did they know how children’s heads were smashed against rocks? Did they know how the people whom they had trained and armed and given moral support laughed because old people cried like sheep when their throats were cut with blunt knives?

Did the political leaders in Washington launch investigations when such rumours started making the rounds? If not, why not?

If they knew yet dismissed it as the price that had to be paid to stop “communism”, it is not unreasonable to claim that if Lucifer himself had sat in the White House with a bloody goat’s head on his shoulders instead of Ronald Reagan and his cohorts, he would not have had a more destructive impact on the lives of millions of people in Central America than Reagan, Bush, Casey and dozens of other shrieking demons actually had during the Reagan administration.

Make no mistake: The Soviet Union might have been the “Evil Empire”, but you do not have to look far for evidence that America under Ronald Reagan was the “Kingdom of Lucifer”.

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More information:

Dos Erres massacre

Buried On a Hillside Clues To Terror; Scientists Uncover Evidence of a Massacre

Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration: Guatemala

Guatemalan Slaughter Was Part of Reagan’s Hard Line

Call Attention to Ronald Reagan’s Criminal Involvement in Guatemalan Genocide

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas

And a rather weak attempt to defend Reagan:

‘Did Reagan Finance Genocide in Guatemala?’

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Devils in the White House – first notes

THURSDAY, 22 JUNE 2017

I was on my way back from the Chinese restaurant when I thought of America’s history of injustice against nations who were not strong enough to protect themselves. Could have thought of the Philippines almost 120 years ago, Iran in the 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s.

Specifically, this time, I thought of how the US government acted to protect the concerns of a single company in Guatemala in the 1950s; how they played dirty tricks, lied, and deceived people in order to overthrow a progressive, democratically elected national leader; a leader who had already begun to give the people of Guatemala a little human dignity after decades of suffocating poverty and exploitation by the American company.

Then I wondered: What justice is there for the victims?

History condemns the shameless criminals who robbed these people of their dignity and of any chance of a decent life. I know it’s cold comfort for the countless men, women and children who suffered and died because these greedy, stupid devils walked the earth. But at least the truth has been recorded, black-on-white, for anyone who wants to know.

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If you are interested in reading more about this history, these links are a good start:

1954 Guatemalan coup d’état

Congress, the CIA, and Guatemala, 1954

An Apology for a Guatemalan Coup, 57 Years Later

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Desire to follow the truth – with unexpected results

FRIDAY, 19 MAY 2017

Johnny asks his father why they are Western Province supporters, while uncle Sam and his sons support the Blue Bulls.

Johnny’s father replies: “Because Western Province is the best team in the country.”

“Then why doesn’t uncle Sam also support Western Province?” Johnny enquires.

“Because,” Johnny’s father answers with a smile, “they think the Blue Bulls are the best team in the country.”

Then Johnny’s father sees the frown on his son’s forehead. “Uncle Sam supports the Blue Bulls,” he adds, “because they live in Pretoria, and the Blue Bulls are the local team. But we know Western Province is actually the best team in the country. That’s why we support them.”

* * *

My parents made a critical mistake when they raised me. In what can certainly be seen as proof that they are honest people who sincerely believed what they had been taught, they indoctrinated me with the conviction that I had to swear loyalty to the Christian religion, not only because it was the dominant local religion but because they saw it as the truth.

As I learned more about the history of the Christian religion and the historical development of theological ideas, it became increasingly clear that the Christian religion was a human creation. I also found it increasingly difficult to see it as something other than “our” religion, which is “true” because we believe in it. Discouragement to investigate any further also seemed very suspicious to me. Why was I not supposed to read more on the subject? Why was it bad to think about it? Why did I have to be wary of “smart academics”?

My parents, who still believe in things that make sense to them and that make life bearable to them, instilled in me the desire to follow the truth – little knowing where it would lead.

* * *

I write that my parents indoctrinated me with the Christian religion. This is a controversial word choice. Indoctrination is seen as something that totalitarian states do with the populations under their control, or something that cult leaders do with their followers.

But is that not what many parents also do? They expose their children to particular political affiliations and religious beliefs since before they are old enough to understand. And sometimes one set of cultural values, as well as specific political affiliations and religious beliefs, are not only promoted at the expense of other values, affiliations and beliefs, alternatives are often severely criticised, and any positive views of them actively discouraged.

I do not doubt that most parents have good intentions in how they raise their children, but if something looks like indoctrination, sounds like indoctrination, and produces the result that usually comes from indoctrination, I think it is not disrespectful to call it indoctrination.

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By the way, here is what Wikipedia says on the subject: “Indoctrination is the process of inculcating a person with ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or professional methodologies. Humans are a social animal inescapably shaped by cultural context, and thus some degree of indoctrination is implicit in the parent-child relationship, and has an essential function in forming stable communities of shared values.”

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