Saturday, March 27, 2010


Two more relatively good songs from "vaderlandse bodem" (dunno what would be an appropriate translation, fatherlandish soil perhaps?). First Always on the run, just released, from Admiral Freebee aka Tom Van Laere, a singer/songwriter from Brasschaat, near Antwerp.

Back in time almost thirty years, to 1981 to be exact. "You", from Scooter, not to be confused with the German band of the same name. The Belgian Scooter was a short-lived band (1979-1983), also from Antwerp.

Typical eighties sound.

Nite, best regards from Belgium.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is just outrageous.

OTTAWA - It’s just the thing conservative author, commentator and self-described polemicist Ann Coulter is known for: Dividing her audiences. Coulter was scheduled to speak before an audience gathered at the University of Ottawa’s Marion Hall Tuesday evening.

Instead, security concerns raised by the university kept the Republican firebrand from speaking. Organizers pulled the plug on the speaking engagement because there were just too many people — too many of whom were just too rowdy.

“At a university, instead of free speech, censorship,” said Ezra Levant, a Canadian conservative writer, lawyer and blogger who was scheduled to introduce Coulter.

Coulter was at the university for the second stop of her Canadian speaking tour to dish on political correctness, media bias and freedom of speech.

Apart from the fact that the Toronto Sun is a douchebag paper itself, otherwise it wouldn't give the impression that Ann Coulter "divides her audiences" nor that the screaming bigots who orchestrated the cancelling of her speech were "just too rowdy"... one thing is by now painfully obvious to me.

It is that silencing your opponents this way - by bullying and threatening violence - is an exclusively lefty thing. How ironic - IRONIC - that time and again we rightwingers get called fascists and nazis when the REAL fascists are... those who actually use that word as if it is bread and butter. Against us.

I don't know or care whether you like Ann Coulter or not. In se, that is irrelevant. Okay, saying her style's very tough is something like saying Britney Spears is still as fresh as morning dew, but face it, if you're a rightwinger you should be glad the Right has frontline soldiers like Coulter. Butchers are not my favorite kind of people to discuss the wonders of the universe with or the siege of Fort St Elmo, but I'm DAMN GLAD they are there to do the dirty work for me, a pussificated carnivore. That's about my sentiment vis-a-vis Madam Coulter, and let's just hope she doesn't read DB, for the comparison with a butcher was wholly unintended.

And if you're a leftwinger you should at least have the decency to agree to the principle that she should have the opportunity to express her views unhindered. I don't recall a single event whereby rightwing bullies made Al Franken or Arianna Huffington cancel a speech somewhere.

One could see this coming, just like one could see it coming that Pim Fortuyn would be murdered. Just prior to the speech Ann Coulter was to give at the University of Ottawa, the Vice President and Provost of that University, François A-Hole, whooooops A. Houle, issued the following open letter to her via half a dozen outlets. An exerpt (sorry if you just ate):

Photobucket"... A couple of days ago, the I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or "free speech") in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here.

You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind..."

Now is it just me, or are there other people who wonder whether Fuckois A-Hole (whoooops, I did it again) François A. Houle also wrote an open letter like that prior to rabid Israel hater Omar Barghouti's speech at the U of Ottawa one year ago? Or to Angela Davis, member of the Communist Party and former Black Panther, who gave a speech in Houle's fiefdom just last month?


Jesus Christ. Just look at them. Persons of tolerance and diversity.


Feel the love. What a mean, vulgar, brainless cunt.

You just remember. This is the kind of people that prior to Pim Fortuyn's predicted electoral victory distributed posters of him admonishing to "Stop the Dutch Haider". And then a nut from their ranks emptied a gun in Fortuyn's head. The vilifications, the hatred, the bullying, the hatred, the knives and the bullets...

... come from the Left.

And yet they manage to call us the fascists. And they get away with it. Think about that.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Marine Corporal Jonathan D. Porto, 26, of the 1st Battalion/6th Marine Regiment (2nd Marine Division), died on March 14 while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

He... leaves behind his 23-year old wife and a baby daughter, Ariana. Mrs. Porto has a heartbreaking account on the loss of her husband on her blog, A little pink in a world of camo.

I don't have the right words for this.

Semper Fi.

A trust fund has been established for their daughter, Ariana.

Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union
ATTN: Collean McKinney for the account of Ariana Ralyn Porto
P.O. Box 1176, Aberdeen, MD 21001

all checks should be made payable to Ariana Ralyn Porto.

Please pray for Jonathan, his wife, their daughter, and their families.


Monday, March 22, 2010



We all know what this will be about.

But where to begin?

I think a good way to start would be an interesting overview of 18 Health Care myths debunked by blogger Firedoglake, presented to you in a handy Scribd. format I found over at Legal Insurrection. Unfortunately the Scrib. thing don't seem to work so well on our blog, so check it out yourself over at William A. Jacobson's blog.

Oh yes... Firedoglake is no frothing at the mouth Glenn Beck acolyte... it's a leftwing blog... :

...A middle class family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income — out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible. Many families who are already struggling to get by would be better off saving the $5,243 in insurance costs and paying their medical expenses directly, rather than being forced to by coverage they can’t afford the co-pays on.

In addition, there is already a booming movement across the country to challenge the mandate. Thirty-three states already have bills moving through their houses, and the Idaho governor was the first to sign it into law yesterday. In Virginia it passed through both a Democratic House and Senate, and the governor will sign it soon. It will be on the ballot in Arizona in 2010, and is headed in that direction for many more. Republican senators like Dick Lugar are already asking their state attorney generals to challenge it. There are two GOP think tanks actively helping states in their efforts, and there is a booming messaging infrastructure that covers it beat-by-beat....

People visiting this blog may often get the impression that I idolize and/or idealize the United States. Let me respond that, though I indeed think there's much to admire across the pound, I never bought into too rosy views of the land of the free. Over here, we are being slapped in the face every other day with stories of Americans ending dead in the gutter because they couldn't afford health care.

I do see thru the nonsense but I am willing to buy that for certain categories of Americans who deserve better, affordable health care and affordable health care insurance remain out of reach.

I think that the current system, which apparently consists of a smorgasbord of public and private initiatives, is far from ideal. How else can it be explained that the results that are obtained with a budget of give and take 16% of the US's GNP - AFAIK the highest percentage spent on healthcare by any country on earth - still leave much to be desired. At the same time I also think that if the system needs an overhaul, the result should be something better. And, as far as I have been able to investigate the (summary of the summary of the) bill, that is not the case.

In my country, small risks (a visit to the doctor for a flu, a visit to the dentist, etc...) are covered by what we call a mutualiteit. It's an organization that collects collective contributions and then redistributes as needed. You pay a fixed amount a year depending on your income, you get back in case you are sick and have to go to the doctor and the pharmacy. Are you often ill, it won't cost you too much to see a medic or pay for (simple) medication. Are you healthy all the time, well okay, you get back less than you put in but for God's sake, congratulate yourself on your luck and robust health.

Hospitals are clustered in cupola organizations, very much like private enterprises can have daughter companies. The cupola organizations, which are "vzw's" (non profit organizations) get paid by the state via the RIZIV (Rijksinstituut voor Ziekte- en Invaliditeitsverzekering - State's Institute for Sick and Invalidity Insurance). So while most hospitals do not belong to the private sector, their personnel aren't state employees either. There are, of course, a number of private clinics specializing in, e.g., dermatology or other "niche markets".

the University Clinic near Gent

For the "grave risks" however, you' better take care of yourself. Key is, get a hospitalization insurance early and remain a good customer (i.e. don't break too many legs). It will be less easy for the insurance company to throw you out once you reach a certain age. Personally, since about five years I have a hospitalization insurance which costs me about 355 EUR/year and covers a lot.

All in all the Belgian system works fairly well, and there are gazillions of testimonies from expats living here to prove it. A couple of years back, there was even a UK programme shipping British patients to Belgian hospitals because they could receive care here far quicker and better than in the notorious British NHS. Two weeks back, my wife's gynaecologist identified a little but unpleasant problem for which an urgent operation was needed. The day after she was operated at 10am. She was back home by 6pm. I haven't received the bill yet, but I'm confident it will be a very reasonable amount.

I see nothing of this all in the new US Health Reform Bill, only an encroaching state that will determine who gets what treatment and when. I can imagine that an army of bureaucrats will be needed to man a bazillion of desks, not necessarily with added value for the treatment of Joe Clutterbucks ulcer - quite the contrary. There's nothing of this all in Belgium. In my country, the state finances the whole shebang but leaves the actual medics and nurses otherwise pretty much alone. Heck, even as the hospitals are officially non profits, there IS a degree of competition among them, as patients often drive farther upon hearing doctor so and so in the clinic in town X or Y is better at this and that, and operation this and that is cheaper in hospital so and so. And there is NO state dorkasaurus official telling the patient he has to go to this or that particular hospital. I actually wonder why our Belgian media are fainting over "Obama's historic achievement" when a child can see that the stinker of a system he's putting down the throats of 300 million plus Americans is so radically different from ours. Oh wait, no. I don't wonder. Belgian whorenalists and opinion makers are still all spasms when they think of their big hero.

No, Americans are screwed, again. I will no longer bother to tell you that, after all I have been telling it ever since I determined, during 30 seconds in 2004, that an upcoming politician by the name of Barack Hussein Obama was the Mother of all Frauds. The last word is for Mark Steyn - he says it so much better than me:

Well, it seems to be in the bag now. I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

More prosaically, it's also unaffordable. That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .

My advice to Americans? Consider your current government an enemy. In November, beat those who are chasing your country down a perilous path. And make it a bloody business.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


With regards to the Belgian ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the Belgian government took an important decision last week in that the duration of our military presence there, scheduled to end by the end of this year, will be prolonged with one year, till December 2011. For the moment, the troop level will remain at about 630 men, although further batches of instructors are envisaged. Moreover, the budget earmarked for civil projects and/or reconstruction will be raised to at least 13 million EUR over the whole of 2011, up from the 12 million EUR spent in 09.

Otherwise, no major changes are to be expected with regards to the deployment of the Belgian contingent. On KAIA, a small battalion-sized unit is still responsible for security along the airport's inner perimeter.

The photo, taken on March 8, shows a trooper from the 1st Regiment Carabiners/Grenadiers Prince Baldwin in a checkpoint along KAIA's perimeter. Yes, he's either of Congolese or Ruandese descent, which is not surprising given that Belgium, in view of its colonial past, has a significant Congolese/Ruandese community. Personally, I can only welcome the relatively recent evolution whereby the Belgian Army seems to be attracting a larger number of recruits of foreign extraction. I can think of but few examples to make immigrants feel more 'Belgian'. Call it Outlaw Mike-approved multiculturalism. The weapon he's holding is a light machinegun, manufactured by FN Herstal near Liège, in Belgium's east. It is typically used as a squad or platoon weapon, and the caliber is usually standard NATO 5.56x45mm. Since its introduction in 1974, it has entered service with the armies of a host of countries, among them the US Army, which knows it as the M249 SAW. The US versions are produced by FN Manufacturing LLC in Columbia, South Carolina. It seems they won't run out of work soon, since many first generation M249's are worn out and the US Army and USMC, rather than purchasing other light machineguns, will simply replace the old SAWs with new ones. The British Army uses it too, under the designation L108A1. In our army it is rather affectionately known as the Minimi, which is not some gullible multiculti moniker but simply short for Mini Mitrailleuse, which is French for "mini machine gun" - Herstal and Liège lie in Wallonia, Belgium's French-speaking south.

On Kandahar Airfield, the six F-16 fighter bombers continue to fly regular missions, mostly two a day. Most of them are recce and scare flights, but every now and then they engage ground targets in support of friendly troops, see the MoD's weekly overviews.

Unlike our Dutch colleagues, there's no denying that the Belgian military have been deliberately kept out of harm's way by our politicians. That does not mean that the Belgian missions were or are without risks. Actually, we've been incredibly lucky so far, given the fact that missiles are regularly lobbed into the KAF perimeter, that the Kunduz detachments (OMLT and deminers) regularly come under fire, and that even at KAIA there have been shooting incidents and suicide attacks. But as things are getting hotter all across Afghanistan, it seems only a matter of time before real war will come to our troops as well. The OMLT detachment for instance, responsible for the training of an ANA battalion, finds itself under fire almost every week now. Last week, the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws reported that soldiers of the OMLT team, drawn from 2nd Commando Battalion at Flawinne, were engaged in a firefight lasting several hours, and almost ran out of ammo before they were finally relieved by air support. The same article mentioned that last monday a demining unit assisting the Germans had also been taken under fire, and that their camp in Kunduz had been the target of a rocket attack.

The photo shows some soldiers from our OMLT team which operates alongside the Germans in Afghanistan's north. In the background is their transport, the new Kraus-Maffei Wegmann Dingo II armored car, with a remotely controlled machinegun on top. Of these, the Belgian Army has ordered 220, with an option for 132 more.

As much as I deplore the fact that Belgian troops did not play a more active combat role, preferably alongside our Dutch colleagues, I think that the future is nevertheless upgrading the Afghan National Army to a self-sustaining status. Because after all, our armies are not in AF to do the fighting indefinitely. In the end, it is AFGHAN soldiers who have to keep their country safe. That I understand, is tough work. I recall a Dutch trainer stating, a couple of years back, that raw Afghan recruits "geen knip voor de neus waard waren" [weren't worth doodley squat - MFBB]. However, the same sentiments could be heard in Iraq in 03-05, and for a long time the efforts to get an efficient Iraqi Army in the scaffolds seemed lost. Over at Theo Spark however, one can regularly get a glimpse of an impressive military buildup in Mesopotamia tough. This seems to have become an army that won't run away from AQ and/or the Baathists. The same must be possible in Afghanistan.

There are of course those, like noted blogger and columnist Diana West, who argue that our efforts to raise strong homegrown forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, only serve to make stronger islamic enemies of the west. They certainly have a valid argument there - I will not exclude the outcome that they envisage. An ominous case in point is that in Iraq, christians are persecuted as never before. For the time being however, I would counsel patience and continuation of the current strategy. What nascent "democracies" see the light in the countries the West liberated from the worst of islamic extremism, they need homegrown protection to at least have a chance of getting off the ground. Maybe, and I admit it's a Big Maybe, in time, under the Infidel West's influence, Iraq and Afghanistan may develop into something halfway decent. If we succeed in getting them to solve their problems from parliamentary benches instead of that they cave each other's heads in, it's already a huge victory for OUR "infidel" ideas of state management. And if that status is attained, at some unspecified point in the future, maybe some softened version of islam will emerge. Maybe less 18-40 year olds will feel tempted to self-detonate. Maybe.

It's a lot of "maybes". But we've gotta to it this way, because the alternative, open war with the islamic world, would be terrible.

Not so much for us, but certainly for them.