Hate speech

Melusi Gigaba said stuff about Steven Anderson and barred him from coming to South Africa to preach the gospel of Christ.  It doesn’t wash, and Gigaba’s history of adultery renders him an incompetent witness and a partial judge on matters of morality.

Here is the truth of the vile matter:

St Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 1

So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

The 3rd book of Moses, called Leviticus, chapter 18

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.

After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.

The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.

The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.

Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)

That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.

For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.

The 3rd book of Moses, called Leviticus, chapter 20

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.

And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.

And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.

And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.

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Organs: Neither donor nor recipient be

Organ transplants used to be a matter of saving lives: after a tragic death, the better bits of the deceased are given to someone in desperate need, whose life is saved.  It was a good news story: sight for the blind, healing for the lame, snatching those away who are being led to death – and a small comfort for the family of the person who died, that by their death they brought some life.  Careful surgical work, and miracle drugs to discourage rejection of the transplanted organ made it possible.

Things have changed.

There are new sources of organs:

  • Middle Eastern human traffickers are butchering migrants to Europe for their organs – especially the inconvenient ones that failed to pay the full fare:

    Egyptian organ traffickers bought ‘hundreds’ of men, women and children from people smugglers so they could kill them to be used in illegal transplants, it has been claimed.

    Nuredin Atta Wehabrebi, the first senior people smuggler to break ranks to expose the cruel industry, told prosecutors in Sicily that migrants who couldn’t pay for the next part of their journey across the Mediterranean were sold to traffickers for $15,000. [daily mail]

  • China is using the organs of prisoners to drive its booming transplant business – 60000 transplants per year!  This would not be so bad, except that you can become a prisoner in China by simply minding your own business:

    On June 22, 2016, former Canadian cabinet minister David Kilgour, human rights lawyer David Matas, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann published an update to their books Bloody Harvest and The Slaughter. The new findings reveal continued expansion of transplantations in China after organ harvesting first came to light in 2006, driving factors behind the industry’s growth, the role of Party and government agencies and individual officials in implementing and perpetuating the systematic killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs. [stop organ harvesting]

  • Clinics run by Planned Parenthood are harvesting organs of aborted children.  There are not many uses for baby organs and tissue beyond pseudo scientific fraud-for-grants.  Adult stem cell treatments are superior, and actually work, but these crazed fools are going to keep at it until they find some way of using the valuable goods they are harvesting from a sea of children’s blood.
  • Who knows what is happening in Africa, where governments are paying little attention to the wellbeing of their people?

What does this mean for regular organ transplants?

Anonymous donors – Critically, the original wisdom of organ transplants was that the identity of the donor should not be known to the recipient.  This arrangement made it unlikely that there would be perverse arrangements between the recipient and the donor. Ironically, this was very suitable arrangement for the South Africa of 1967, where Chris Barnard did the first heart transplant.  After generations of fighting the unwashed natives, many white people would have been horrified at the prospect of receiving a life-saving organ from an unwashed black or coloured or Indian – those people are not like us, tissue matching be damned!

Because donors are anonymous, it is completely possible to insert additional organs into the system.  No questions will ever be asked.  It is not necessary to know that you are dealing with the liver of the late Mr Dhlamini, once of Ivory Park, who died on his way to work in a taxi smash, survived by his common law wife and 3 children: all you care about is matching.  You can just as gladly supply the liver of the late Farouk Ali, once of Damascus, who died on his way to Europe in a chain-saw and cooler bag accident with organ traffickers, together with his wife and 3 children.  This can be done by a single doctor without any corruption of administrators.  When someone sets up an international organ exchange system, then the switch can be done by anyone in any country.  Need a type O kidney?  Well, go out and harvest, and create a glut of type O kidneys on the market, and your man will get the organ he has paid you to provide.

But, you may happen to know, they have very strict protocols in place.  Well, that’s wonderful.  However, these protocols must be enforced by normal people, working under normal pressures – work and financial.  The story of corruption is that the protocols remain on paper, but go out the window in practice, and a special arrangement is made to accommodate the thing that brings in the money.

If the administrators are corrupted, then inserting an organ into the system from commercial grade murder for hire is easy, and routing it to your paying recipient is easy too.  Can we blindly trust hospital administrators employed by companies that operate for profit?  Can we blindly trust hospital administrators employed by governments that daily demonstrate that they have no grasp of morality?  Choosing to trust them blindly is an immoral choice.

The solutionAll transplants of human tissue, cells, organs and derived products (yes, blood too) must bear the name of the donor in such a way that the recipient can verify in person that the donation was voluntary, should he choose to do so.  Yes, this raises the possibility that people may donate family members’ organs in the hope of financial gain.  However, it will do something very important: the random checks by the random few that do follow up the identity of the donor will inject honesty and transparency into the system.

The organ transplant business is not going to change overnight.  Until they do change, and donors become known to recipients, there is a slowly growing risk that when you undergo a transplant operation, you will benefit from someone’s deliberate murder, and that you will pay the murderers for their evil work.  There is a slowly growing risk that when you donate your organs, you are helping to create the sea of anonymity and the sheen of respectability that covers over a trade that is corrupting overnight.

If your organs are going off into the system, anonymously and unverifiably when you die, then know that the anonymity of the system is open to abuse.  You may be helping people today, but tomorrow, the anonymity of this same help will be complicity in murder.

I want my organs to bear a note to the recipient that says, “Freely given by (name) once of (place) upon his death on (date)”.

Actually, I want to stir: “Freely given by (name), a Christian, once of (place) upon his death on (date)”.

(and ban transplant tourism to China!)

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Search-engine assisted fraud HOWTO

As many of the readers of this fine site are career criminals, it seems good to explain a new and popular procurement fraud scam.  Here’s a piccie to muddy the waters, followed by the blow-by-blow account, in which the numbers do not match the picture.

Scam by search engine

Scam by search engine

1. Register a web site with a forgettable name, e.g. hpa-supply-centre.com

2. Register a web site with a name derived from some well-known business, e.g. vodacom-sdo.com

3. Send mail to your victims from finance@vodacom-sdo.com (Vodacom Special Delivery Office) requesting quotations for the Meissner RRC929PPZ toner cartridge, light bulb, shredder, light meter, call quality meter, gamma ray emitter, mulcher, etc.

4. Your victim visits his favourite search engine, and finds that the RRC929PPZ is available from only one supplier, who happens to be in a distant part of the country, but has a local office.  He asks for a quote: it’s going to cost him R100k.  This is the hook.  Now you reel him in.

5. Your victim submits a quote to finance@vodacom-sdo.com.  You accept the quote irrespective of how much it costs, because it’s about the principle of the thing, not the money.

6. Your victim contacts your “supplier”, and orders the goods.  You ask for payment.  Once you get paid, you withdraw the funds, while you slowly ship the goods from your “warehouse” directly to the well-known “business”.  Laugh all the way from the bank to your evil lair.

Bonus points are awarded for …

  • Accepting multiple quotes
  • Haggling about the price
  • Trade discounts
  • Getting your victim to fill in a dealer application form
  • Not going to jail

Fundamentally, this scam relies on people’s willingness to make a quick buck at the expense of others, also known as greed.  If you think you’ll make a quick buck, you’re ready for the taking.  If you think you will make profit by using a search engine, and forwarding mails for well known businesses, you are ready to lose your money.

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Hello China, goodbye freedom

The South African government and the ANC has started to flirt with China and take their loans.

It’s too good to be true.  There’s a problem:

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

These loans are on very generous terms, and they come at a time where the country’s credit rating is close to “junk” meaning “you’re not getting your money back, fools”.  The ANC is running out of businesses and projects to sell, so what is left to sell?  The future.

China is not ignorant of the moral character of the leaders of South Africa.  They know that money that they lend will be frittered away, and that there will be severe difficulties in repayment.  When this happens, then they will rule.  As this happens they will make us slaves.

When repayment in money fails, what repayment in kind will be demanded?  Maybe we can look forward to:

  • Citizenship or unequal rights for Chinese settlers
  • Military concessions – outposts of the Red Army in every major centre, or in every rural centre.
  • Political support – cutting ties with Taiwan, turning a blind eye to China’s abuses of freedom
  • Policy changes – eliminating freedom in South Africa in favour of making South Africa more like China.  Maybe a one-child policy to make South Africa a living hell.  Maybe the mandatory use of various Chinese products … and languages …
  • Territorial concessions – not just an industrial area, but a self-governing ever-growing industrial area.  Maybe a Chinese court having jurisdiction over matters involving Chinese, crassly overruling any sovereignty of local courts.

Sadly a Chinese take-over of South Africa would result in a net improvement in the moral character of the country.   Once a few of their special people are targeted by the rampant thuggery that is smiled on by the ANC there will be some sharp action.  Maybe they are exactly what the ANC deserves for their many sins.  I don’t know how we will ever get back to freedom though.

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Repent and believe the good news

Update: Believe it or not, this is a muddled message – see the note at the tail of this article.

Christians follow Jesus, who said as follows:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the good news.”

The good news of the kingdom of God is not just a matter of good news, but a matter of repentance.  What should men repent of? Sin.  Repent of sin; live in holiness:

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

But wait!  Never mind holiness!  There’s a new gospel!  It is at war with the gospel of holiness, and it says:

A new time has come: repent of calling men from sin!  Sin matters no more, and you can choose to live in it!  This is good news!

And this is the gospel that the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NG Kerk) has recently adopted as an optional confession.  In accordance with this new gospel of sin, churches are now free to admit unrepentant sinners as preachers of the gospel, including those that flout their sinful lifestyle.

They took the trouble to present their resolution in that foreign language, somewhat stilted English:

4 The General Synod decides, in the light of point 1 above, to give recognition to the status of civil unions between persons of the same sex that are characterised by love and fidelity. The General Synod makes provision for pastors who see their way open to solemnise such unions.
5 The same Christian ethical standards (doctrine and life) apply to all persons with regards to licensing and ordination.
6 The General Synod acknowledges the diversity of opinions within the DRC concerning same sex unions and confirms the right of church councils to formulate and exercise their own viewpoints and practices.

There are thus two gospels permitted in the NG Kerk, only one of which is the gospel of Jesus Christ:

  • The gospel of free grace and sanctification: freedom from sin
  • The gospel of free sin: freedom to sin

The proponents of the new gospel say they will reach out with evangelistic zeal to win over converts from the old gospel to their new gospel.  For now, they say they are content to have the new gospel of sin approved as an official alternative theology of the church.

So here’s what it means to congregations:

  • The door to the infiltration of the church by homosexual activists is now flung wide open.  Homosexual activists that pretend that they are teachers of the gospel with no special commitment to sin will gain trusted positions.  When their concealed sin becomes known, they will claim that their deception was innocent, and they were under no obligation to disclose that they are sold out to sin, rather than to Christ.  They may now infiltrate the church with official sanction.
  • Young men in the church will be exposed to sexual predation by officially sanctioned homosexual clerics.  When this recruitment is exposed, the predators will point out that it is quite normal for the homosexual lifestyle to recruit new members to their sin.  And furthermore, this practice is officially sanctioned by the church.
  • Congregations that do not tolerate sin will be targeted by activists for harassment and re-education towards sexual deviance and acceptance of the false gospel.
  • Depraved men (and women) will feel free to preach all manner of false doctrine, and go from bad to worse.
  • Any sin and lapse by those that preach the true gospel will be taken as a proof of the false gospel.  There’s no logic to this, but they will do it.
  • The gospel of grace that calls us to faith and repentance from sin will never be heard again.  Instead, there will be endless bickering about a matter that should not even be mentioned in private.

The official position of the NG Kerk is that they base their teaching on the Bible:

Die NG Kerk fundeer dus sy leer op die Bybel. Die Bybel is die onfeilbare Woord van God. In dié Woord openbaar God Hom as Vader, Seun en Heilige Gees. Die Kerk verklaar dus sy onvoorwaardelike gehoorsaamheid aan die wil van God soos dit in sy Woord geopenbaar is.

However, this resolution (and a few before it too) are a bit of a problem.  By accepting public sin, they are publicly rejecting the true gospel  There’s not much left after this:

For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Edit:  The careful reader will note that the Lord did not say “repent from sin”, but rather “repent and believe”.  The gospel calls us to repentance (a change of mind) and to believe (you had better believe it).  The practical effect of believing the gospel is that the believer calls on the name of the Lord, is saved to a new birth to a living hope that is fatal to the life of sin.  While this is colloquially shortened to “repent from sin”, it is incorrect to consider this to be the gospel appeal.

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The password hash doesn’t have the expected format

Today I thought I would grant permissions to use a mysql database.  I did the regular thing, but it didn’t work:

mysql> grant all on *.* to 'user'@'' identified by 'somesecret';
ERROR 1827 (HY000): The password hash doesn't have the expected format. Check if the correct password algorithm is being used with the PASSWORD() function.

The reason turned out to be this:

[root@mysqlserver ~]# grep passwords /etc/my.cnf |
old_passwords = 1

I don’t know how that affects it, but way to grant permissions is to override that setting:

mysql> set old_passwords=0;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> grant all on *.* to 'user'@'' identified by 'somesecret';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

And viola it works!

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Homo Naledi explained

Since many don’t understand the scientific paper  on the pile of bones from the Sterkfontein caves, here is the picture:

Homo naledi: an ape that buries its dead, after breaking the bones into little bits

Homo naledi: an ape that buries its dead, after breaking the bones into little bits. Just like people do.

If making up stories about a pile of bones is science, then my story is science too.  It is, however better, because it is a picture.  In my picture, I’ve added a scavenger (is that a lion?) that explains why there are so many bits, and no complete skeletons.

A pile of bones in a remote chamber of a cave sounds a lot like burial – but that a the ground on top of the cave was not necessarily there 200 years ago.  It is the notion of ritual treatment of death that motivates the label “homo” for man, rather than “-pithecus” for ape.  It looks more like a rubbish tip.

I didn’t draw the other possibility, which is that the Voortrekkers shot the last of the pesky southern apes, sold “vetkoek en bobbejaan” to the locals, fed the rest of the carcasses to the dogs, and threw the rotting remains in a pit. Two hundred years and a  good flood later to cover, a team of priests from the First Scientific Church of Evolution at Wits arrives to worship the broken remains.  (And if 200 years or so isn’t enough for you, then just change the story – make it 2000 years, swop Voortrekkers for Romans on expedition, and substitute vetkoek with pizza – science is all about telling a story about stuff, remember.)

The strangest part of this bizarre tale is that presenting a pile of ape bones as “Primitive African men” that buried part of the bones their dead is somehow science, and not racism.  You don’t have to be a racist to complete their words “and to this day the most primitive men are found in Africa”.  There are most certainly primitive savages with limited powers of understanding involved in this project, but they are neither the animal bones, nor the bemused locals, nor their ancestors.

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The class struggle is over: long live the class struggle

In South Africa, the class struggle between the capitalists and the proletariat has been won by the proletariat.  As a result we have the popular rule of the ANC, and largely friendly relations with COSATU (representing the proletariat) and the SACP, providing ideological guidance.  They struggled, they won.

So what now?  Is it all over?  Has heaven descended to earth?  Is there welfare for all?  Not quite.  There are voices trying to keep the class struggle alive – stirring up industrial discontent, fanning the dying embers of racism – but this cannot produce anything of value.  What is the barrier to prosperity?  What is beyond the class struggle?

A very large problem that the country now faces is the emergence of a new class: a class of people sold out to wickedness and selfish anti-social pursuits: the criminal class.  Criminals, for better or worse, were an important ally in the struggle against apartheid.  Now, however, the criminal element has started to define themselves more clearly in society. This brings us an epidemic of rape, murder, thefts and a continual stream of anti-social behaviour.  The law is routinely flouted, and the courts are mocked as they flounder under the flood of criminality.

The proletariat face a struggle against crime, which is clearly seen in areas where criminality has organised into criminal gangs.  Criminals brazenly oppress regular people who are trying to make ends meet, and convert the victory against capitalism and apartheid into a bitter defeat.  Even among heroes of the class struggle, criminal corruption is seen.

The new class struggle is the working class against the criminal class: the righteous class against the wicked class: the upright man versus the corrupt man.  This is the current struggle.  The old is gone: it’s not about the means of production any more.

What methods should be employed in this class struggle?  How should the criminal class be destroyed?  What must be done to neutralise the wicked?  What will convert the wicked into the righteous?  What example must be set by leaders?  What message must the leaders give to the people?  How must the community be helped to deal with criminal aggression against their class?

There are two things that should be used without apology in this class struggle against the criminal class:

  • The law: the law puts criminals on notice of the consequences of their criminal acts.  The law must be in humble submission to the law of Almighty God, and must be published widely and broadly.  Trial and punishment should be executed speedily to send a clear message to the criminal class.  Whenever it is done correctly, it should be done visibly, loudly and in public.  The law should put the power in the hands of upright men, and do away with the current arrangement where the power of life and death is only in the hands of criminals.
  • The gospel: the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: from the criminal class men can be, and are converted to righteousness.  Men promoting the true gospel by preaching and teaching and by good works should be given every practical support, and people opposing sound doctrine should be silenced.

The old struggle against capitalism is done and dusted: the capitalists are neutralised, and as far as they are not, it is easy to fix, as their political power is gone, and any scheme against the proletariat can be trivially crushed.  Criminals may have been allies in the class struggle against apartheid and capitalism, but they did not get the permission of the workers to form a new ruling class, and rule with cruelty and unrelenting wickedness.

Long live righteousness!  Down with wickedness!  Panzi!

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Book review: Life Talk for a Daughter

A copy of a book by Isabella Little (now Isabella Little-Gates, congratulations Isabella) came into our possession – “Life Talk for a Daughter”.  It’s this one: http://www.tugoflife.com/life-talk-for-a-daughter.  You might think that this is a book to introduce your little girl to life, and avoid having “the talk”.  You might like to think again.

After reading a few chapters of this book, our little daughter of 11 said:

Can we burn it?

She’s just 11.  She was not making a fire at the time, and looking for more fuel – no, she was just reading the book, because her little brother hoped that it was a story and she would read it to him.  She said this after coming to the chapter about sex, and because she has read other books of better quality on this topic.

This contains the following “ideal” script for your daughter’s life (is this modeled on the author’s experience?):

  • Grow up wondering what’s up with your deadbeat dad.  Or maybe your dad is a wash-out.  Dads – who can understand them?
  • Let out the tiger of sexual experimentation from its cage some only when you think it might be fine.  Try not to get pregnant.
  • Indulge in whoring with a string of boys until you find the one (or catch a disease, or get pregnant, in which case, try to find help or something).
  • Alcohol and drugs happen.  But somehow they might not happen to you so very much.  Be good or something.
  • Get into a committed relationship with someone (maybe a man, or you might be a lesbian, see).  This is why you need to start early with the whoring.
  • Maybe get married.
  • Maybe go for a walk in the countryside to get away from it all.

And this is why, after reading just a few chapters of this book, our little daughter said:

Can we burn it?

Despite being very young, she knows that the ideal script for life is:

  • Grow up with your dad and your mom.  If your dad’s a deadbeat, tough – you have to honour your father and mother anyhow.
  • Get found by a man who is made of the better stuff (or a deadbeat like your dad).
  • Get married: if he’s going to keep you, he should tell the world and give you a ring – an expensive ring, preferably.
  • Kiss the man, and let loose the tiger of sexual expression on him
  • Take the man and your children for a walk in the countryside as a special treat, packing a picnic basket like your mom did.

This script is absent from this book.  The book says you should aim low, and be prepared to surrender your lowest moral standard (if it seems like the right time).

Hopefully the disclaimer I have inked on the cover will prevent damage before we send it to the paper-recycling people:

Life Talk for a Daughter
containing the very worst of worldly “wisdom”

Warning: errors within

We haven’t yet disposed of the book because we want to find out the answer to “what on earth were you thinking” from the chain of well-meaning people who passed it on to us (hopefully without reading it).

After the shock of this woman telling our little girl that she should freely prostitute herself to every and any nice boy (if it seems like a good idea) it was a big laugh to read the back cover: she is a successful this and that, an accomplished whatever, the mother of a daughter and … no, wait – there’s no “and”?  Something is missing.  Whatever could it be?

Update: I think I should update this some time, when I have the book in front of me again.  I’m going with publish early, publish often here.

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Five diagnostic questions for email

I used to face a lot of problems with e-mail of this sort:

  • The e-mail is not working
  • Person X is not getting an important mail
  • There’s something wrong with the mail system
  • Please check that the mail servers are working – people are saying something’s wrong
  • Nobody can send mail
  • Nobody is getting mail
  • Person X is getting spam
  • Company X says they can’t send mail to any of our servers

Eventually I figured out what specific information actually helps to get to the bottom of the problem – and it is these five things:

  1. Sender e-mail address
  2. Recipient e-mail address
  3. Time of sending the mail
  4. SMTP server that handled the mail
  5. What was the error

Experience says that without all of these bits of information, or a reasonable facsimile for each, you have a pretty good chance of being led a merry dance – fishing for a problem, and maybe finding it, but probably not.  (The not-so handy acronym “STRES” is not in the dictionary, and really doesn’t help much, so don’t bother with it.)

The reason for each of these questions is:

  1. Sender e-mail address: appears in log files, might be invalid in some way, might be blacklisted.  Actually, the envelope sender appears in the logs, and the From: header does not.
  2. Recipient e-mail address: appears in log files, might be invalid in some way, might be affected by DNS, IP routing, SMTP server failure, local delivery failure (e.g. long queue), spam filtering failure or “incorrect” success.  This is the most important part of the report: if you have to choose just one thing to know about the mail failure you are diagnosing, choose the recipient address.
  3. Time of sending: appears in the log files, tells you which particular log file to look in, tells you whether it’s possibly a transient failure, related to an outage, related to an update.
  4. SMTP server that handled the mail: you have to start somewhere – the last place the mail was seen alive is a good place – sometimes the mail has not even left the sending computer, and the answer to this question tells you that.
  5. What was the error: it is amazing how many times I get asked to solve a problem with nobody telling what the actual problem is.  It’s obvious to the person asking the question, but somehow the telepathic message never gets through.  Knowing the actual error makes such a difference.  Sometimes the error is not even a failure – “the mail system is broken” can mean “I am getting my mail, and some of it is spam.”

So what kind of errors mess up your mail?

  • Sometimes mail disappears into the void – although if you know which SMTP server last handled it, the void is less formless – especially if that server is under your administration.
  • Sometimes that server cannot deliver it because of blacklisting, greylisting, load.  Knowing the last SMTP server and the time can identify the problem.  Often enough, the error says what the problem was.
  • The weirdest failure is people who will not take mail from you, because they cannot verify the sender address, because their system is misbehaving (e.g. it doesn’t speak SMTP properly, like exim’s verify_sender callout)
  • The same mail is received over and over: at the bottom of the pile you find that either it was sent over and over (not often though), or it was forwarded in some kind of loop, or the end-user system is downloading it over and over.  When you have the sender and recipient address, you can verify that there is only one of these mails in the end-user mailbox, and that it is marked as already-read.
  • DNS failures: the worst DNS failures are the ones where someone thinks they have two DNS servers, but they have just one overloaded virtual machine with two IP addresses and a congested and contended network interface.  When you have the sender and recipient addresses, you can test the DNS configuration for each of them.
  • Sometimes the system administrator deletes your mail.  Yep.  If you’re sending spam, you can expect that.  If there’s a large system failure (e.g. one server out of 17 fails for a week after building up a large backlog), then working through the backlog of mail can be impossible because of available resources of CPU time, network bandwidth on the sender and the recipients.  Late delivery generates its own problems and queries in any case.  It’s one of those “if it’s important they will phone again” moments.  Anti-spam systems discriminate against old mail as well – if it spent its time sitting in a mail queue somewhere, it may be because it overwhelmed that system’s capacity by its sheer spammyness (spamosity?).  When you have the last SMTP server you can properly assign blame.  If you are to blame, you can confess.

Additionally, since these are the correct questions for almost any mail problem, you can reject all mail problem reports that do not include these details.  ☺  (Don’t try this at home folks.)

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