Saturday, June 17, 2006


We’re almost halfway 2006 now, and who’s nuts enough to read MFBB’s EU posts knows what that means: time for another EU summit!!!

Austrian EU PresidencyYes indeed, one of those fancy EU leadership thingies is that, while legislative power is in the hands of the EU Parliament (just like legislative power in the States is in the hands of Congress), the executive power is shared by two entities: there’s the EU Commission, led by José Manuel Barroso, which has a four year term and which is responsible for the day-to-day decisions, and then there’s the EU Presidency, which rotates among the EU member states in six-month periods, and which is supposed to set out, and implement, the strategic guidelines. During the first half of 2006, Austria had the EU Presidency, as I'm sure you noticed.


Hey, come back! I got some nude, uh, new Diane Lane pics yet! It was only a "graptje"! (Flemish slang for joke - MFBB)

Austrian EU PresidencyBut it's true. I’m hitting 41 this summer and have seen already quite some EU Presidencies, but I can’t recall none which was so boring. Appointing Scott McClellan for EU President for six months would have been more fun. And the two-day summit (15 and 16 June) they’ve just concluded the show with in Brussels was just as dull (the photo shows Austrian PM Wolfgang Schluessel , center, with to the left Austrian FM Ursula Plassnik and to the right Commission Chief Barroso). Actually, the only thing that sticks with me about Austria at the EU helm is that poster campaign in January with these larger-than-life photos of Bush, Queen Elizabeth and Chirac fornicating. Btw, QE and Chirac are Europeans, but why Bush? Answer: 21st Century Artists' logic, ya know. The last sane artist, Hopper, dropped dead back in 1967 already. But I digress. The next EU Presidency, till 31 December 2006, is for Finland and judging from their performance at the Eurovision Song Festival, there's hoping the EU won't look like a dead hippopotamus by year's end. Btw, did you know that "Finns" spelled backwards sounds as "sniff"? Mu ha ha ha.

OK, that summit. The 25 were mainly still blathering about the EU Constitution. That is to say, with all the focus that has been on France’s “NON” and Holland’s “NEEN” of last year, you might think the whole of Europe has rejected the Constitution. Well, that’s actually quite far from the truth. In fact, of the 25 member states 13 have already ratified it, while two more are close to ratification. Of course, in a number of countries the Constitution did not pass by popular referendum and the parliaments ratified it. This happened, a.o., in the Union of Soviet Socialist Repooplickers of Belgistania. For me, being an Outlaw, voting was a moot point anyway. Notice that, although a slight majority is thus in favor, only one country’s “NO” is sufficient to stall the general adoption of that dreadful 500-page document as the European Constitution.

Now, if I say “blathering” it’s mainly between two blocs, the bloc which wants to see the EU Constutuon approved asap and move on towards further integration and the bloc which wants to take a break, take a deep breath and consider what to do next. As the situation is now, the EU can expand further to 27 countries, and almost certainly will, by accepting Bulgaria in 2007 and Romania in 2008. After that, there's no legal basis provided by the existing Treaties anymore to allow for further expansion. If you wonder why that should be a problem, well, the existing treaties provide for one Commissioner ("Minister") per country, and so Barroso's Commision (the EU's "day-to-day gumint so to say), is 25 Ministers strong. But apart from Bulgaria and Romania there are still six other countries waiting in the wings: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and... Turkey. Since adding six more ministers to the EU Commission would make it unworkable, there's a general consensus already that after Bulgaria and Romania not every country will have an own commissioner. For distributing these key posts among the smorgasbord of nationalities there have to be rules. And these rules have yet to be established. These were some of the topics discussed at this latest summit, utterly boring I guess for non-Europeans, but that's what you get when you try to make work a supranational entity with a lot of fierce egos. It became also clear on this summit that, while accession talks with Turkey have started, the Turks are by far NOT on board yet – phew. Actually, in the most optimistic scenario access is only for 2015 or so, and even then I don’t really see it happen. Barroso said on this summit that "it (Turkish membership) will be a very difficult task". Oh yeah, if there's any Turk out there reading this, you may be interested to know that if someone had asked me back in, say, 1984, whether you guys could come on board, I'd have answered you could right away, no problem. Anno 2006 however, with a closet islamist like Erdogan in power, and the Turkish population already here growing ever more islamist itslef, I say njet, definitely.

Lake Bled, SloveniaBasically, right now I can see only one tangible development, and even then it’s about a real small country: Slovenia, a nation about the size of Israel (20,273 sq. kloms, that’s 7,827 sq miles) and with just under 2,000,000 inhabitants. Capital Ljubjlana. The photo shows the famous Lake Bled, a must see when visiting this tiny but very beautiful nation. More info and nice pics here. Slovenia, not to be mistaken for Slovakia, was the very first republic to break free from the artifical construction which was Yugoslavia, in 1991. There was a brief “war” with about 100 KIA between the young republic and the federal Yugoslav army, but nothing comparable to what went on later in Croatia and Bosnia. Already prior to the rift, Slovenia was the most wealthy part of Tito’s realm, it got through the troubled nineties unharmed, and is today fairly prosperous.

Well, Slovenia will join the so-called Eurozone on the 1st of January, 2007, as the 13th country. It is the first of the 10 new EU members to meet the criteria of the so-called “Stability Pact", which outlines the conditions for access to the Eurozone and thus adoption of the euro as currency (photo shows the biggest note in use, the 500 EUR one. Worth about 600 bucks). To cut a long story short, the Stability Pact states that eurozone members must have a budget deficit of less than 3% of the GDP, a public debt not exceeding 60% of the GDP, as well as low inflation and interest rates. Note that Lithuania’s candidacy for adopting the euro was rejected only because its inflation was considered too high – a bit of a sham, since it was only slightly higher than the benchmark (see also this table). In fact, some neighboring countries supported Lithuania’s bid, as did the European Parliament itself. But the EU ministers of Finance were adamant. Ludicrous imho – the two biggest member states, Germany and France, violated the budget deficit rules last year and were not punished.

Slovenia's current currency is the tolar. Under normal circumstances, the EU Finance ministers will on July 11 establish the exchange rate between the tolar and the euro, and then the Slovenian Central Bank must prepare the task of distributing 155 million euro coins and 42 million bank notes by January 1, 2007. Brings back memories of how our currency, the Belgian franc, was replaced with the euro, some four years back already. One euro was set to equal 40.3399 Belgian francs. The actual replacement, from a technical POV, went quite smooth. Getting used to a totally different money scale is less evident however. To this very day, most Belgians, when confronted with a purchase, especially an important one, mentally do the math and quickly calculate what a euro price stands for in BEF.

Gorenje factorySlovenia has more to offer than postcard images, btw. Finland may have Nokia, but Slovenia has Gorenje. I fear that over there in the States Gorenje is still unknown, but this brand of electrical household appliances is conquering Europe by storm. Its modern main factory, with more than 8,000 employees, is set among rolling hills and cozy villages an hour's drive outside the capital Ljubljana. It churns out more than three million fridges, cookers and washing machines yearly, the grand majority of it for export throughout Europe. Qualitywise it's a match for established values like AEG, Siemens, Bosch, Smeg etc., and they are at the forefront of the altest developments, with brainy washing machines, state-of-the-art steam ovens (all the rage in Eurowonderland now) and so on. Lately they have begun focusing on design too. Capitalism works, you know.

OK. I promised it.

You will agree that it's better to start with the Austrian EU Presidency and end with Diane lane than the other way round. MFBB for Radio DowneastBlogo, Old Europe, over and out.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Guess the fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch MP of Somali origin, was as good as expelled from the Netherlands two weeks ago did not go unnoticed on the other side of the Atlantic. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is scheduled to leave for the United States in September, where she will be working for the American Enterprise Institute. If she stays alive long enough, that is. Her new movie Submission 2, on the position of gays in muslim societies, is coming up and some don't like it. Now, if you put your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and sing loudly LALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!! for about a weekend, you may be able to temporarily restore the illusion that Holland is still just the country where pot smoking gay married couples with children can peacefully pedal along on their bikes over the dykes enjoying the sights of tulipfields, windmills and the likes.

But it gets increasingly difficult, take it from moi.

Not shaking a hand; just handing over Koran and HadithDuring the first week of June the Dutch Queen, Beatrix, widow of the late Prince Claus, visited the Mobarak Mosque in The Hague. With its fifty-one years it's the oldest mosque in The Netherlands. The brand of Islam practiced there is called Ahmadiyya-Islam. Like Shiite muslims, Ahmadiyya-muslims are not allowed to shake hands with women, or even touch them, with the obvious exception of their wives. Women are deemed less than men in Islam you know, and these chaps don't mind showing it. Anyway, in comes Zhe Kween, puts off her shoes and is given a guided tour of the mosque. "Out of respect for the muslim faith" she doesn't shake hands with the Imam or any other male muslim. However, there is still hope to save her filthy kuffar soul since as a consolation prize she is given a fancy leatherbound Koran, see photo. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Holland Anno 2006.

To add insult to injury, the Dutch PM, Jan-Peter Balkenende, praised Queen Beatrix for the “example of religious tolerance” she gave by not shaking hands. How this dork ever got his government so far as to send a light brigade to Iraq is beyond me. He must have been very ill when he pushed for it. As usual, there was but one reaction of sanity among Dutch politicians, when Geert Wilders, the center-right, anti-immigration MP who has by now been living for almost 2 years under round the clock protection from bodyguards, decried in Parliament how "greatly irritated" he had been by the Queen and the Prime Minister, who "under the pretext of tolerance are selling out Dutch values such as the equality between men and women."

Wilders, btw, is a fella who wants to:

* amend Dutch Constitution so that it states that the dominant culture in The Neterlands is that of the judeo-christian and humanistic traditions
* stop the building of new mosques for a period of 5 years
* stop the establishment of new islamic schools for a period of 5 years
* stop immigration for a period of 5 years
* forbid preaching in another than the Dutch language
* introduce minimum penalties (right now "small" criminals get sweets, a porn dvd and are "released" with a fatherly thump on the shoulder and after having promised that they won't never do it again on that day)
* impose more severe maximum penalties
* strongly lower taxes
* strongly reduce the size of government and the whole public sector
* abolish the European Commission and the European Parliament
* stop development aid (not emergency aid however)and abolish all trade barriers with developing countries

Geert Wilders, in the back, with bodyguardsIn short, I gather that if Geert didn't have a name which must sound awful in English, as well as a horrible hairdo (ashblonde, Mozartlike), he could be GOP nominee for the 2008 Presidential Elections. Instead, the man is constantly surrounded by bodyguards since he regularly receives death threats from islamic radicals and extreme leftists, and as a consequence has to live on secret locations. Ironically, one and a half year ago one of these was a modified prison cell in a military camp, Kamp Zeist, a place also used to temporarily house illegal immigrants.

Actually the whole business is too insane for words. There's almost not a week going by without reports of roundups of radical islamic youths, findings of explosives and troubling news of salafist mosques acting as hate factories. Hirsi Ali gets expelled, much to the joy of extreme leftists and islamic organizations. Top rightwing politicians like Jozias Van Aartsen and Rita Verdonk need bodyguards to move about and are driven around in armoured mercedeses. A site like Dutch Disease Report, which was something like a local LGF, is mysteriously shut down. And then Queen Beatrix enters a mosque and won't shake hands with muslim males, thereby acknowledging her own inferiority. In Bending over and Royally lifting the Robe, Beatrix is actually stabbing one of her own ministers in the back: Rita Verdonk, nicknamed Iron Rita, of the pro free market VVD and responsible for immigration and assimilation. Two years ago Verdonk addressed a gathering of imams and when offering her hand to one was greatly insulted since the chap refused to do so because of his faith. Afterwards it became clear that half of the imams attending Verdonks speech did not understand Dutch. On April 26, 2006 the incident was repeated when Mrs. Verdonk, when she wanted to hand out a certificate proving the successful attendance of an assimilation course to the imam of Zoetermeer, again was explained that said imam could not shake her hand because of his faith. Duh. There should be handshaking chapters in assimilation courses.

Paul Belien of The Brussels Journal offers an interesting take when he compares the Dutch Queen's willingness to meet with, and submit to, members of a faith which denounces her own gender as inferior, with her unwillingness to meet with members of Vlaams Belang, the Flemish bulwark against the islamization of Belgium:

In truth this “tolerance” of Beatrix is a sham, which is proved by the fact that in 1982 she refused to visit a group of radical Orthodox Jews because they... refuse to shake hands with women. And there are others whose hands the Dutch Queen will not shake. Politicians from Belgium’s largest party, the Vlaams Belang, learned today that they will not get to see the Dutch Queen during her official state visit to Belgium next month. While in Brussels Beatrix will meet members from all the parties represented in the Belgian Parliament except the VB. This allegedly “far right” party aims for the independence of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of the country, and many of its members feel Dutch rather than Belgian. However, the VB also opposes the “islamization” of the country and voted against bills legalising abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and other legislation which the Belgians copied from the Dutch.

Belien is correct. By coincidence, last week a client of mine, who happens to work at the Royal Palace in Laken, disclosed some of the preparations that are being made to make this Dutch Royal Visit to Belgium a success. There will be a huge gala dinner and he estimated the number of guests at 250. That means that not only the Dutch Royals are coming over but the "better" part of Dutch politics as well. In short, it's gonna be a jolly good camaraderie of the fine fleur of Dutch and Belgian royalty and the establisment. The pariahs of the VB are not allowed though.

Thus, no handshaking for Imams out of respect for Islam.
No handshaking either for the VB, but this time out of disrespect for coming up for our civilization.
We are doomed.



40% of Moroccan youth in The Netherlands rejecs democracy.

A study of the CRES, the Centre for study of Radicalism and Extremism, found that 40 percent of Moroccan youth in The Netherlands reject western values and democracy. Six to seven percent are prepared to use force to defend Islam. The majority are opposed to freedom of speech for offensive statements, particularly criticism of Islam. CRES's Director, Mr. Buijs, said on Wednesday that the government must provide alternatives for Salafism, a contemporary movement in Sunni Islam that seeks a return to the 'pure Islam' of the days of Mohammed. Salafism is a gaining ground in the Netherlands and Buijs said the government must do more to stimulate a more pluralistic form of Islam.

THAT's the answer!!! The government must do more!!! I know what the Dutch government should do!!! Print im-me-di-a-tely millions and millions of assimilation courses!!! Every last one of them to be personally signed by Queen Beatrix!

And, uh, maybe they should not include the shaking hands chapters. Just a thought you know...