Category: World affairs

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There's a huge debate going on right now about whether or not it is better to close all borders and become a self-sustaining country or to open up completely to free trade with foreign countries.

Trump seems to believe in an extreme form of protectionism which is worrisome. In the past such a self-sustaining fantasy was a disaster and was the reason in the first place to open up for external trade.

This policy has been the main reason that the United States has become such a powerful economic power today. Why our new president wants to tear this down and regress back to the era of blind fantasies is beyond me.

"... the well-meaning attempt to shelter inefficient local producers would always end up impoverishing a country, and hurting its most vulnerable members, because it would prevent labour and capital from playing to their strengths, would make goods far more expensive than they needed to be and would discourage leading companies from a necessary intensity of innovation."

Well actually, that's just one side of the story. For more enlightenment into the whole story, here's an interesting read: Free Trade - or Protectionism?

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Sometimes you start to wonder if Democracy really is the best form of government. This is especially true after reviewing the disappointing results of the latest presidential election and wondering if the winner chosen by the people will indeed be the best captain of the ship.

Speaking of ship captains, you might want to read the article Why Socrates Hated Democracy for a new perspective on the right form of government.

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As honored members of the older generation, we have a moral responsibility to encourage youthful resistance to authority when appropriate.

For those instances where the border line is not so clearly defined or visible, our duty is to foster open dialog in a professional and honest manner from both sides of the fence, the younger versus the older, right versus wrong.

Nowadays society has become way too strict and brainwashed in its attitudes towards the moral fiber of those youthful thinkers (we once were). History is an endless repetition of this ridiculous we-are-better-than-you attitude. High time to abolish this.

Looking back on those days of the past and the things we did for fame and pleasure, according to today's mindless rules and regulations we might all still be in prison to this very day. Times are changing, but not always for the better.

Though in the long run we were somehow able to achieve relatively successful and respectful lives despite despite our many youthful shortcomings. So what difference does it really make?

We are not any better at all.

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I hope that I don't get Ebola. Imagine what it would be like if Ebola goes airborne and there is a worldwide epidemic? Who would die first and which ten percent of the population would survive? Most people carry on with their lives as if nothing is going to happen. The events so far are many thousands of miles away, so who cares? Or so it seems until it is too late. It won't be the first time that the human race has been caught unguarded by the whims of mother nature.

Breaking news (25-OCT-2014):
Ebola outbreak: Cases pass 10,000, WHO reports

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Like everyone else I was also very shocked to hear the news of Robin William's untimely death. Later, I learned that the cause was suicide and that it was probably triggered by a lethal mix of depression and alcoholism. How is this possible? Such a genius comedian and actor who appeared to have everything under control. This is proof that the true measure of happiness is not defined by your surroundings and how popular you are, but rather it is measured from the inside self. Inner thoughts and feelings that rarely reflect the way the outside world really is. The inside world is all we have, and the thoughts about thoughts (about thoughts) are what can confuse and rattle the spirit, disturb the true balance with which God blessed us at birth. The good news is that he gave me so much enjoyment in life. In the end, he sacrificed himself for the betterment of those around him.

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Good-bye Robin Williams ...

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Today was as a national day of mourning in The Netherlands for the first time in more than fifty years. The last time was way back in 1962 with the death of Queen Wilhelmina.

The whole country is stunned in disbelief that this inhumane crime could have been committed against such a peace-loving and innocent people who have nothing at all to do with this stupid war supported by Poetin's thugs in eastern Ukraine.

Nearly three hundred passengers and crew shot out the sky by a surface-to-air missile, falling and crashing to a terrible death. Of those, one hundred ninety three Dutch citizens. First happy and relaxed looking forward to a family vacation in Bali and then the next second a ball of fire. Whole families wiped out in a second. Since Holland is such a small country, most everyone knows someone who is related in one way or other to one of the victim's families or friends.

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Heart-rending view of the seventy-two hearses bringing the bodies back home.

It was surreal watching the line of forty hearses rolling through the beautiful green countryside on such a sunny and warm day. Droves of crying people standing along the road throwing flowers as the vehicles passed by slowly. The same scene to be repeating four days in a row before all of the bodies have been repatriated.

That last time I felt this sad was when Kennedy was shot. I was six years old and watched the funeral procession on the television.

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Netherlands win World Cup third-place playoff final after beating hosts Brazil 3-0 in Brasilia.

Sure it would have been better had we made it to the finals, but third-place is pretty good for such a small country on the world's sport stage.

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I cannot believe that Sylvia Kristal has died. She was only five years older than I am. When I was twenty I worshipped her, she was such a stunning sex symbol. Back then I didn't know that she was Dutch. Now she is gone.

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The exodus has begun. Droves of people are heading towards the horizon, in search of better things. They say that the further you travel the better it will become. No one is completely sure that this is true, but it's worth taking the risk.

The truth of the matter is that without knowing it they are all travelling in the wrong direction. It doesn't really matter though, because at least it's better going there than staying here, where it doesn't matter any more.

Some people have chosen to take the quickest route which is a straight line perpendicular to the setting sun. Others seem to be satisfied with going the significantly longer yet safer route, avoiding the many natural obstacles in the way. The risks are less but they may not get there in time.

They say that at night you can follow the stars. But the positions of the stars have become indefinite, changing from one night to the next. The nebulous night is not making it easier either. No one had expected that this would also happen, making the journey a more hazardous one.

This is history in the making and we are all a small part of it. This territory has been occupied for thousands of years, but it is time to go. The last person is about to leave and then it'll be all over with. The place that we started will soon disappear

Not getting there in time is the biggest risk of all. Disappearing is alright as long as we have reached that place before it happens.

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The popularity of a given next generation technology is very fickle, and its success or failure depends on many random and unexpected events independent of what logical reasoning would lead us to choose.

The best does not necessarily beat all, and the final winner is usually not by definition the best solution for mankind. More often than not it is the lucky player who takes home all of the chips hands down.

In the end we unknowingly become locked into this randomly chosen technology whether we like it or not. Thanks to a couple of extremely rich lucky winners.

Nature throws a bunch of random events our way. The fittest techies are the species that survives, has more children and spreads the geeky DNA all over the place.

There must be a better way, or not?

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There are enough world tragedies out in the real world which are thousands of times worse than that which overcomes us.

All those other poor souls are more often than not resilient enough to survive such unimaginable tragedies, to stand up again and lead more successful lives than us.

So what gives? Who's right?

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According to a recent global environmental performance index, the Netherlands rates as the 47th greenest nation, whereas the United States is way down the list at number 61. Iceland is easily at the top of the list, and in last place we find Sierra Leona.

At least we're better off here than in the States, but things could be much better if we all put our minds together.

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Is this financial crisis for real or is it just another conspiracy created by some secret society of rich jerks just wanting to get even richer and watch the rest of the world suffer?
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There's been a terrible crash today at the Schiphol Airport with a bunch of people killed and even more badly injured.

When I saw the pictures on television, including the closeups of the dead bodies lying next to the fuselage covered in white blankets, it made my stomach sink and I had this sick feeling most of the day.

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How often have I sat in airplanes descending lower and lower along the very same path without thinking one second about it that something might happen?!

The pilots were killed on impact and so gave their lives to save as many passengers as possible by avoiding a neighborhood and finding a soft field to land in.

The idiot Turkish minister of information first said that no one survived and half an hour later said that everyone survived, and the truth is that at least nine people were killed. What a nightmare for the family and friends.

I feel relieved for the survivors and my heart goes out to the families of those who were less fortunate.

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U.S. unemployment rose by 598,000 to 7.6 per cent in January, Labor Dept. reports, the worst monthly job loss since 1974.

- CNN Breaking News
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Should we be supporting Israel for just wanting to defend itself or should we be protecting the poor Palestinians from a grievous assault?
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Rumor has it that 2009 is going to be a very difficult year. However, I believe that things will go along much better than people expect. My prediction is that after only three months the world will overcome this dip and recover quickly.
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How is it possible that Anna Nicole Smith is dead? She seemed like such a nice and beautiful person, but in the end things did not turn out as one would have expected. A real bummer.

Gone for nothing and never to return...

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"Gale force winds and heavy downpours hammered northern Europe, killing 27 people and disrupting travel for tens of thousands..."

For awhile there it was pretty hairy driving home on my own feeling the wind trying to sweep my car off the road, the endless row of bending trees to my right threatening to snap off like toothpicks right at the moment I find myself underneath one.

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Right now there is moderate rain in Rotterdam at 8 degrees C, few clouds in Los Angeles at 19 degrees C, and overcast in Annapolis at 1 degree C, believe it or not. What a difference depending on where you are and when.

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Five years on and I would rather not remember this awful day.

Time goes on.

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No one likes it when others die. But that is pretty much what is happening all over the world right now. The worst possible situation is having to die a violent death because of some unnecessary war or because of some rash act of terrorism or whatever. For some reason, we are becoming numbed and seem to accept things for the way they are. Like this is what was always meant to happen which is alright as long as it doesn't affect me and I can continue my own life without dying all of a sudden.

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CNN Breaking News ...

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died in The Hague.

Too bad.

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Hey, have a really great, fun and relaxing two thousand and six!

Rumor has it that this time around at least many interesting and challenging events are bound to come our way.

So go for it.

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Richard Pryor ...Lately it seems that too many great people are dying at an early age.

In order to become great, one must push the unnatural borders way beyond the limits, and though much is accomplished and fame is attained, the average life expectancy is decreased somewhat.

Doesn't seem fair, only sixty-five years old.

Good-bye Richard Pryor, we are going to miss you.

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There are very few achievements in life more honorable than having a dog named after you, well kind of that is.

Just the other day, I received an email from someone who had been researching Welsh words and names and came across one of my relevant web pages.

It turns out that this kind person is going to be getting a Welsh Pembroke Corgi puppy, and she has chosen to name it Kyffin.

Thanks alot Cecelia. I feel very honored that you have chosen this name for your puppy, and I feel confident that he will grow up to be a fine pet of whom you can be proud and also with whom you will have much fun.

Named after Kiffin.

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When I arrived home, that is when I discovered that my wallet had disappeared. Somewhere between getting on the tram in Amsterdam and getting off the train in Gouda, a clever pickpocket had robbed me without me even noticing it.

That evening the news showed scenes of devastation caused by the earthquake in Pakistan, the death toll having reached eighty-thousand.

My dismay is merely a small droplet in the massive ocean of human suffering. So what do I have to complain about?

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Few people can deny that forty-eight is a nice round number.

Multiply it by two and you get a good approximation of my life expectancy.

Divide it in half and you get the age I truly feel like still.

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This is kind of weird.

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"Hello sir," or "madam" if it was a woman, "I am a homeless person, I am HIV-seropositive, I have nothing to eat, can you please part with some small change for a needy person?"

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2279 entries and as many as 1881 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.