Friday, October 03, 2008


The Dutch maverick group blog GeenStijl, probably the most popular blog in The Netherlands, has a nice header:


(Never mind the truncated pic below of the fella with a knife in his head. Just a case of knife culture. Like the Brits, the Dutch have recently discovered they, too, now have a knife culture).

They wouldn't want to hear it themselves but some would call GeenStijl a rightwing blog. Imho they are not really rightwing, they just don't respect anybody. E.g., they regularly bash the small fundamentalist christian party ChristenUnie, of which the main constituency is in The Netherlands' very own "Bible Belt". But what is certain is that they reserve most of their scorn for the left in Holland, since few countries in Europe are more PC and terminally multicutlural than the small kingdom of wooden shoes and windmills by the North Sea.

One of the many cases in point was when last summer, at the occasion of the DNC in Denver, they trashed the Dutch public broadcasting company NPS, and then especially its news chapter NOVA. NPS is somewhat like PBS in the States: a government-sponsored TV station. As such it is supposed to be politically neutral, just like in Belgium the VRT is supposed to be politically neutral. But like the fellas from GeenStijl use to say: Helaas Pindakaas (loosely translated as Unfortunately Cucumber Jelly). Like PBS in the US of A, NPS and NOVA in The Netherlands are as far left as you can get before settling for good in NORK. So when the Obamessiah had his styrofoam pillars of wisdom erected on the DNC stage one month and a half ago, the NPS Board had the luminous idea to dispatch ONE THIRD, or TWENTY (20) of the sixtyplus strong NOVA staff, to Colorado. For the sake of objectivity, NPS would also, certainly certainly, send a delegation to the Republican Convention one week later in St.-Paul, Minnesota. The Dutch public must get its daily news portion fair and balanced!!! Only, the delegation would consist of ONE reporter (that's één, un, uno, eins, jeden). The reason according to NPS/NOVA? McCain would lose anyway! To cut a long story short, were it not for GeenStijl Jan Klaas would never know NPS sent a platoon to the DNC and a dog with a hat on to the RNC because, well, because the news is made by NPS! Thank God that inconvenient truth guy invented the internet!

Another megahit was Geenstijl's coverage, also last summer, of the colourful career of a certain Wijnand Duyvendak, MP for the greenleft party Groenlinks, a collection of commie ecobozos so far down the cliff that it makes a sane person, upon realizing these folks have political power, fear for humanity's future. Now who the f*ck is Wijnand Duyvendak? GeenStijl found out that he was the brain behind several burglings in military complexes (a.o. in Dubbeldam) as well as in the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1985. During these sessions Mr. Duyvendak stole sensitive military documents and plans for a nuclear powerplant. What for? Could the verrrrrry friendly contacts between the euroleftist parties and their comrades from across the Iron Curtain have something to do with it? Furthermore Mr. Duyvendak and his cronies personally torched several Makro complexes (Makro being the Dutch equivalent of Wal-Mart) as well as Shell petrol stations. Cost: 100 million gulden, about 50 million US $. Wijnand Duyvendak, the Dutch William AyersMotif? The ties Makro and Shell had with South Africa, at the time still under the Apartheid regime. In the nineties Duyvendak popped up as one of the strongmen of the extreme leftwing organization Milieudefensie (Environmental Defence), which used illegal ways to block the expansion of Schiphol International Airport. Milieudefensie closely collaborated with another extreme leftwing outfit called Milieu-Offensief (Environment Offensive), which counted in its ranks another colourful character, a certain Volkert Van Der Graaf . In a later life this tolerant diversity champion would decide that a certain Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, posed a threat to society, and dealt with him in hiw own peculiar way, but that is another story. As for Duyvendak and Van Der Graaf, well, it's another illustration that birds of a feather flock together, especially endangered spec, erm, I meant dangerous species. To cut a long story short, Wijnand Duyvendak, this bomb layer, arsonist, burglar of military secrets, developer of terrorist sleeper cells and criminal trespasser, the Dutch William Ayers so to say, entered Dutch Parliament in May 2007. For once, what is possible in the States, namely that an avowed and unrepentant terrorist can continue to live like a free man and even take up a high public position, proved impossible in The Netherlands: GeenStijl's merciless reporting on Duyvendak led to his dismissal from Dutch Parliament one month ago.

Anyway... while I don't think GeenStijl would really appreciate being labeled rightwing - that Palin supporting slogan warms the heart. And I may hope not only of us beleagured mavericks in blood(y) red Europe, but also across the pond.


P.S.: hey, pssssst Sarah! That debate of yours! You won!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Excellent post over at Roger's Rules. Hat tip fcal.

Packaging the American Dream.

A home of your own. It’s part of the American dream. Work hard, save up for a down payment, pay your bills on time and, presto, you, too, can buy a home.

For decades the government has done things to help Americans to realize the dream, e.g., graciously allowing citizens to keep some of their own money to help pay for the interest on a mortgage (the official term for this is a “tax deduction,” but I prefer my locution since it emphasizes the fact that it is YOUR MONEY we are talking about).

But what about people who do not work hard (if they work at all)? What about people who have not saved up for a down payment? What about people who do not pay their bills on time (if they pay them at all)? Why shouldn’t they get to live the American dream?

That was the question that led to

“The Community Reinvestment Act” (see here for more).

* The original Community Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 1977 by Jimmy Carter. Its purpose, in a nutshell, was to require banks to provide credit to “under-served populations,” i.e., those with poor credit.

The buzz word was “affordable mortgages,” e.g., mortgages with low teaser-rates, which required the borrower to put no money down, which required the borrower to pay only the interest for a set number of years, etc.

* In 1995, Bill Clinton’s administration made various changes to the CRA, increasing “access to mortgage credit for inner city and distressed rural communities,” i.e., it provided for the securitization, i.e. public underwriting, of what everyone now calls “sub-prime mortgages.”

Bottom line? It forced banks to issue $1 trillion in sub-prime mortgages.

$1 trillion, i.e., a thousand billion dollars in sub-prime,i.e., risky, mortgages, in order to push this latest example of social engineering.

But wait: how did it force banks to do this? Easy. Introduce a federal requirement that banks make the loans or face penalties. As Howard Husock, writing in City Journal way back in 2000 observed: “Bank examiners would use federal home-loan data, broken down by neighborhood, income group, and race, to rate banks on performance. There would be no more A’s for effort. Only results—specific loans, specific levels of service—would count.” Way back in 1994, for example, Barack Obama sued Citibank on behalf of a client who charged that the bank “systematically denied mortgages to African-American applicants and others from minority neighborhoods.”...

I have one small caveat to make. The flurry of links to the CRA the internet offers these days focuses too much, imho, on the impact the granting of loans to "risky minority borrowers" has had, by which obviously the African-American community is meant. While I wholeheartedly agree that a disproportionate percentage of that community indeed consists of people not worth a credit, because whatever passes for their "street culture" (rap, gangs, generally f*cking around) stands in the way of a proper education, strong traditional families, and ultimately success in life, I would wager that by numbers alone bad African-American credit takers can never had such a disastrous impact. AFAIK African Americans make up some 11 per cent of the US population. Make that 10% for easy calculating. I have no stats as to what percentage of these would pose a risk when being handed a loan they possibly can't pay back. But let's assume it's 50% - I guess there's also plenty of African Americans who walk the line and are decent contributing citizens. That would mean a monstrosity like the CRA ultimately only enabled half of one tenth of the US population to get a loan while they were not really creditworthy. I refuse to believe that that small percentage can have gotten the US financial sector in the mess it is now in.

What I DO believe is that the Democrats, by sluicing the CRA through Congress (and amending it to disastrous effect during the Clinton years) they also enabled, apart from "risky" minorities, all kinds of other risky borrowers - be they white, yellow, light brown, red, purple or whatever - to get mortgages they were in fact not entitled to.

Furthermore, don't miss this film:

Hat tip CDR Salamander.

And one final note: a couple of days back, regular reader (if not regular commenter) Adriane linked to this. It is well worth a read. If you are an intelligent person, you will soak it in, appreciate its logic and wonder why the hell it doesn't get the attention it clearly deserves. If you are a blunt IDIOT, you will rather believe a schtoopid cunt like Nancy Pelosi when she shrieks that the current crisis is just another result of George Bush's disastrous economic policy.

As a European who struggles to keep his small company afloat in a toxic environment and who knows that the fruits of his labor are used to import the left's next electorate, I have but one advice to sane, self-respecting and decent Americans:



Sunday, September 28, 2008


It was lovely weather today and I had been promising my daughter for some time to go visit a well-known theme park in Coo, a village in the northern Ardennes, so today we packed and left for Belgium's east, in the footsteps of generations of Belgians. Because a day out for Belgians has for aeons been usually either to the coast or to the Ardennes. For those unfamiliar with Belgium's geography, despite the fact that it's a very small country (some 340 kloms across at its greatest length) there's several distinctive geographical regions. One can debate about how far one can go in subdividing the landscapes, but basically it's everything that lies between two "extremes", the 65 kilometer "long" Belgian coast with, true to say, fine beaches, and the Ardennes, which is an old massif nowhere higher than 700 meters. The coast is entirely in Flanders, the Ardennes are entirely in Wallonia, so to paraphrase Billy Joel, the Flemings hold the coastline and the Walloons the highlands, hehehe. We had a great day, especially the kiddos in that theme park, and when they are happy we are (more than) happy. So even when I couldn't do what I really like to do when in the Belgian Alps - hiking on my own with sturdy mountain shoes on, map at hand, rucksack well stocked - I had a field day, and a great view like the one below is just a bonus.

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Most readers will know by now I am a World War II buffoon, and while I swear I took the kids to this place only for their pleasure, I couldn't resist the temptation of taking, on the way home, a shortcut through La Gleize, which is a village some 5 kloms west of Coo. La Gleize is one of those places you wouldn't otherwise have heard of in a million years, were it not that 64 years ago - damn, how time flies - it was the scene of a tenacious fight between a German Kampfgruppe and elements of the US 30th Infantry Division and 82nd Airborne Division during the Ardennes Offensive, which in the US is known as the Battle of the Bulge. History has been a bit unkind to those US troops not fighting in Bastogne, because to many Americans the Battle in the Bulge is Bastogne. Few know that very heavy fighting took place in other sectors of the "bulge", and one of those sectors was the northern front, where the 6th Waffen SS Panzer Army (the 6th, led by Sepp Dietrich) attacked in the early morning hours of December 16, 1944. That Panzer Army's backbone was formed by four crack SS Panzer divisions, the 1st (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler), the 2nd (Das Reich), the 9th (Hohenstaufen) and the 12th (Hitlerjugend). 2nd SS and 9th SS were deployed only later on, the initial moves were by 1st SS and 12th SS. Of the former, the main element was the so-called Kampfgruppe Peiper (Battle Group Peiper), and ad hoc formation comprising the bulk of 1st SS's armour. Its commander was Obersturmbannfuehrer (Lieutenant Colonel) Jochen Peiper, an able and battle hardened veteran from the Eastern Front. His name would gain a notorious reputation, for on the second day of the offensive, when Peiper had effectively broken through the American lines, elements of his battle group overwhelmed the lightly armed Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion near Baugnez, a hamlet near the town of Malmédy, in German-speaking Belgium. Those who survived were driven together in a meadow. What happened next has been the subject of countless reconstructions and investigations, but at some point Germans started machinegunning the American POW's. About 90 men perished. Peiper himself was not directly involved, although at a post-war trial he was held accountable for orders he should have given stipulating that no prisoners were to be taken.

After this infamous episode which became known as the Malmédy Massacre, the whole of the Kampfgruppe move further along the narrow roads of the northern Ardennes, and in Trois Ponts point US engineers blew up a bridge right before his nose, denying Peiper a smoother ride to the crucial Meuse river and forcing him to move his troops even further down the tortuous Amblève valley in search for a bridge. This proved to be his swan song, because he got stuck in... La Gleize, and even though a forward party made it a bit further still, to Stoumont, ultimately the bulk of Peipers men and most of his armour, perhaps 2,000 men and 70 tanks, plus numerous other vehicles, found themselves surrounded in the tiny village, for behind their back the road to Trois Ponts had been cut off by 82nd Airborne. After six days, Peiper had run out of fuel and ammo and with a Luftwaffe unable to drop supplies, he asked for, and finally got, permission to break out. This he managed to do, and on the 25th Peiper was able to report to 1st SS Panzer Corps that he had extricated 770 of his men from the La Gleize pocket. He left behind all of his matériel, and since Kampfgruppe Peiper had been allocated a disproportionate amount of 1st SS's armour, it meant that the division had lost most of its teeth. This event would herald the eventual failure of "Wacht am Rhein", which waas the German codename for the whole Ardennes operation. A lot has been said and written about the causes and the reasons of that failure, but in Peipers case, I would wager that the man, although an able tactician on the regimental level, was given command of a formation that was too big for him. As mentioned before, his battlegroup not only counted the bulk of the parent division's armour, but also the schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 501 (Heavy SS Tank Battalion 501), normally an independent formation. From the accounts that I have read, I would wager that Kampfgruppe Peiper wasted away because its commander could not hold it together (nor use it properly in such a confined theatre). Anno 2008, there's still one tank from Kampfgruppe Peiper standing in La Gleize. It's the Koenigstiger (King Tiger) once commanded by Obersturmfuehrer Dollinger of the sSSPzAbt. 501. In almost mint condition it stands near the small museum "December 1944" in La Gleize's center. Which is where I landed this very evening after the kids had enjoyed their day out.

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A Koenigstiger was the final development of the heavy Tiger tank, and weighing close to 70 tons (far more than an M1-Abrams) it was the heaviest MBT to enter service by either party in World War II.

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And another pic up front. Notice the sheer menacing bulk of the beast. The gun is an 88mm L71, probably the best anti-tank gun of the war.

Standing next to the Koenigstiger this evening, it again struck me how massive this machine is. It was powered by a 700 HP engine, the same as the one used in the far lighter Panther tank. In the 45-ton chassis of this vehicle the Maybach performed very well (there were also MAN versions), but to propel a Koenigstiger properly was asked too much, and much has been said about the tank bogging down in rough terrain. A 1,000 HP engine was what was needed for this tank, but anno 1944 the German war industry, overwhelmed with hyperpressing demands from all sides, was unable to yet produce such a motor. Still, it is said that on good hard level going a Koenigstiger could reach a top speed of 38 kloms per hour. The following YouTube film of tanks of sSSPzAbt 501 passing through the German village of Tondorf prior to the Ardennes Offensive gives you an idea of their dynamics.

Shit. There I went again. Starting out with Plopsaland Coo and ending with a frigging Nazi tank. That can only be me. I really am a World War II nutter.