Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI in Turkey: day 3

The reader is advised to sit through this one, as it is long albeit in depth and historically and culturally very instructive should your interest go beyond personal pain or pleasure. Let me start by saying that I have prepared a number of items, some of which are not that pleasant and might spoil the sheer beauty that is today, St Andrew's, the feast of the saint who was the brother of St Peter's and is the patron saint of the Church of Constantinople. So we leave the nasties to last.

I must say I consider myself blessed to be on this day is such a position of vantage, in the middle of the old Eastern empire and close to the Western. This morning I have been watching the liturgical celebration and the reading and signing of the joint declaration on television, switching between Hellenic Radio Television (ERT) and EWTN who broad-casted live from the Vatican. Both commentaries were very positive on the progress towards total communion. Rarely have I seen anything as touching as the two elderly, holy gentlemen on the balcony holding hands and embracing each other. A momentous day indeed! They were looking so handsome and the personal chemistry was palpable! It reminds you of the fact we are looking here at two thousand years of history built on the Roman Empire, of which the last thousand were spent bitterly in opposition of each other. It has given us however great cultural richness and diversity for which we can also be thankful.

On the subject of re-establishing a state of full communion between the two churches it seems that barring a few technical matters according to the Catholic side, and great difficulties reported by the Greek end of the dispute, things are steadily being worked out by a joint commission. Said commission has resumed meetings after a six years interval due to disagreement over the Eastern Rite Churches. But in the face of eternity and considering the time horizon in all matters religious, nobody is at present advised to hold their breath pending full communion. A merging of liturgies, of cultures is best not expected at all till the second coming of Christ. As a footnote: the status of Patriarch Bartholomew is one of primus inter paris, meaning that all this says nothing at all about the relationship between the Vatican and the other autonomous branches of Orthodoxy, which have to be worked out separately. Moscow being the isolationist type, isn't pleasantly disposed.

A thing or two on the words of some American commentators, whom I've heard referring to Patriarch Bartholomew as a Turk. What is actually meant, is that he has a Turkish passport or has Turkish nationality. Greeks have the same particularity that applies to Jewishness. It is a designation of faith as well as of race or ethnicity. The whole of this, together with the other aspects of culture, can be referred to as Hellenism. It is therefore rather alien to refer to a Greek person and the leader of the Greek church, and simultaneously call him a Turk, a German or what have you.
Now that we're on the subject, the Turks have always been envious of the concept of Hellenism and have invented their own variety called Turkishness. However awkward, it is not to be sneezed at, as it can be insulted and carry a stiff penalty as some can attest to, so by all means do so at your peril! At the same time it is luducrous. Hellenism rests on technically 5.000 years of history and more or less 2.800 years of known history. It is the basis of the European civilization on which Rome built its empire. Turkishness is hardly in that league. If ever a bill would be introduced towards the protection of Scotsness you'd be excused for having a laughing fit, yet the Picts have been on the job a lot longer than the Ottoman Turks, or Seljucs for that matter.

Having said that, it is time for a few other observations making the news:

- The boys at Al Qaida also have an opinion about the visit of the Pope to Turkey: despite the fact of the increasing numbers of Muslims in nominally Christian lands, one Holy Father on Muslim territory is too much of unholy infriction. Despite all the tough talk about "crusader campaigns" and other stuff reminiscent of the stable yard, Benedict being from Bavaria, isn't impressed.

- After a joint celebration of Mass at St George's last night Pope Benedict XVI and His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome (I am writing his name and title in full for the sake of completeness and aesthetic value), had their first private meeting. Expected subjects of discussion during their meeting were the Patriarchate’s legal entity, its confiscated assets and the reopening of the Halki Seminary, shut by ukase of Turkish government since 1971 in an effort to reduce the leader of a great Christian Church to a village pastor.

- Hellenic Radio and Television (ERT) meanwhile reported that while Pope Benedict was signalling approval, the European Commission announced it recommended the partial suspension of Turkey's E.U. membership talks, due to its refusal to open its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus. Talks on 8 of the 35 chapters have been frozen. The Euro Parliament's special rapporteur on the accession of Turkey, Dutch christian-democrat Camiel Eurlings yesterday complained bitterly about all these matters of non-compliance despite the years of preparation. It is of course unreal to expect to become a member of a club while at the same time not recognizing the existance of another; certainly not in Europe. The Turks meanwhile are banking on power politics under the ancient premise, big is better. This isn't the thing at all to go down well with the P.C.s in Brussels who prefer their minorities small; the smaller and the more under threat the better so they can be thoroughly protected. The Turks don't get that yet, as they still have to face and confront their own ghosts of the past. Given the reactions to certain confrontations of late, they are still in a state of denial, let alone be ready for a Truth and Conciliation Committee. Angela Merkel, whose nation has done an excellent job since 1945, perhaps can offer advice.

- The NATO meeting in Latvia has adjourned with handshakes all round, specifically for Croatia, Albania and the country here to the north, that for reasons best known to the Greeks, is referred to by the awful acronym of FIROM. These countries are now all but officially NATO members.
Also it has been decided to loosen the rules of engagement in Afghanistan, as the boys and girls there cannot fight explosive operetics with one hand tight behind their backs.

- Again great news on the Athens metro front: perhaps the Amsterdamned can come over at some stage and have a look how a metro line is built.

It is a bit steep, but the Holy Father is doing some sensitive visits this afternoon at the ancient imperial Church of the Holy Wisdom Agia Sophia and its Islamic rival, the Blue Mosque; having visited the sites myself and given the historical aspects (also it just occurred to me what a security hazard it is) I may be tempted to do a second post today (it's not just the writing and typing, it's also the pinging that drains your energy - try google that neologism!).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI in Turkey: day 2

In a rather ironic coincidence, thanks to Greek technology, I missed this morning's Mass at Ephesus at the house of St Paul's and Mary's (for which there is regretfully no archaeological evidence by the way). The congregation seems to have been the smallest in recent memory: about 300 devotees, mostly Germans. It seems Benedict has mastered a few words of Turkish. John Allen is reporting that the diminutive Christian community is somewhat emboldened by Benedict's visit, comparing it with a "coming out event". All very well, but I hope this will not encourage them to overstep the Turkish mark somehow. But they're used to a balancing act, so let's pray for the best possible outcome.

It transpired today that the Pope yesterday in his speech at the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) did a good job at eloquential tight-rope walking. Going there himself instead of being at the receiving end of the meeting, is in itself considered a mark of high respect shown by the Pope. In our television screen we saw the Pope in his white robes behind a roster delivering his speech, while a sort of Great Khan in a golden fez, apparently Mr Ali Bardakoglu, the person who issued the imperial demand last week to the effect that Islam henceforth is to be called a Religion of Peace (see post with same title), was sitting in a corner, tightly on a heap of cushions (or was that a figment of my imagination?), apparently waiting to jump up brandishing his blazing scimitar at first evidence of a papal mistake; which never came, thanks be to the Almighty, the Merciful.

In his speech to the diplomatic corps Benedict stressed the need for reciprocity (which he can probably do to no avail till kingdom come, as concept utterly alien to Islam) and urged religious leaders of all faiths to refuse to support any form of violence in the name of faith (let's hope we can still keep the peace after this).

In his speeches Pope Benedict also had one or two things to say about the separation of Church and State and how the two institutions should work in tandem. In Islamic countries we see the scales going in the way of more or less totalitarian state religion, while in the West we're running the risk of going the opposite way - namely banning everything religious to the private sphere, which is also a grave mistake for various reasons.

On another note in relation to the mending of the schism-ed fences between the Orthodox and the Catholic hemispheres, broken since 1054, to which can be added the small matter of the filioque, the following. The official date of the schism is 1054, but C.M. Woodhouse in his short but comprehensive book titled Modern Greece, a Short History writes: "...The ecclesiastical wrangle ... was in part the first harbinger of the struggle between the Eastern and the Western Churches ... a small minority of Western bishops attended the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) ... they resented the intrusion of Constantinople into a leading role ... it was an upstart see, not to be compared with Rome ...". Envy is of all ages and creeds!
I'm really looking forward to the meeting of the two leaders tonight at the Phanari!

Which reminds me of a typical instance of Christian bashing in relation to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Apparently, so the story goes, the Eastern and Western Churches have been squabbling for eons over the authority over the church, so in a mediation effort the key is now kept by a local Muslim family who hold custody. So the Christian clergy now have to go and request the key from them ... which is hilarious and a good joke, those stupid black-robes: Down With Us!!! On this note - and I don't have the illusion for one moment that it will help one iota, but still, for the sake of fighting relativism, Your Holinesses, please mend the folioquial fences and join the other battle instead!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI in Turkey: day 1

Pope Benedict's long awaited visit to Turkey has kicked off today. He looked awfully smart, that is if you can identify him in the thick cluster of security personnel surrounding him. This is an energetic, intellectual man of almost eighty years old with a razor sharp brain. He's on his life's mission and has no intention of shutting up for the sake of P.C.s, appeasers and timids.

As I was watching EWTV a guest commentator was quietly and with mild embarrassment listing the figures that have haunted relations between Turkey and the Christian world in the past century. It hardly makes any sense to Americans, having started historically as good as from scratch, so to speak. The figures however are staggering and the history is just appalling. In other posts we discussed the Armenian history, but the one concerning the Greeks is just as bad. Of a once almost entirely Christian land (Egypt, on an even par in this respect was also mentioned in passing) only pockets of a few thousand here and a handful of hundred there, remain. But the visit does provide a useful platform for a bit of a history lesson to the average European, who - enjoying a cheap package holiday on the beaches of the Turkish west coast - has no idea what happened there only a few decades ago, when over a million Greeks were forcibly removed from Smyrna (now Izmir), which was hence burnt to the ground.

But for the time being Pope Benedict's trip is conducted in an atmosphere of brotherhood, diplomacy and politeness, which is as it should be. Demonstrators were either not in evidence or were kept out of sight. Let's hope it will all work out as intended and Papa Benedict will be safe. Despite his fine figure and good impression he looked a bit tense and ill at ease, which is not to be wondered at given the security situation.
Tomorrow's schedule will be very exciting from a Catholic's point of view, when the Pope will celebrate Mass at Ephesus from St Paul's house, where also Mary lived the final years of her life.

From there on the Pope will travel later that day to Istanbul ((Konstantinou)poli, or The City as the Greeks call it) for the actual object of this trip, the meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Phanari district, the site of the Orthodox Patriarchate since 1601 (phanari by coincidence, means lighthouse!).

In all this religious fervor you'd almost forget this visit coincides with an important NATO meeting in Latvia . From this place and unless there are specific angles to the story, which I feel belong on these pages, I am not going to report on all and every subject, however important. There are journalists and reporters who do this much better than I.

On the other end of the spectrum of importance, the next instalments of The State of Malcontent I fear, will have to be shelved for a few days.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The State of Malcontent IV

Today I'd like to discuss the present situation of post-women's lib females (third wave) as they have specifically tough lives, having to absorb a career, negotiations with their common-law hyper-active brats, a mortgage, two holidays a year, living-in boy friends who despite their reprogramming are still very resistant to the call to chores, "fitness" club or other figure-preserving classes, social obligations, dinner parties, beauty parlor and hairdresser sessions, the care of elderly parents (if impossible to off-load on other sibling), etc. etc.

This kind of speed and pressure can only be endured with the aide of mood-enhancers or humor levellers. This turns them into zombies. As they have no moods left to speak of, it has become virtually impossible for them to empathize with others. They're either hard-nosed Hannahs, or so sensitive they get the howls at first provocation that "you have ruined their day" (some boys are also prone to this kind of behaviour).

These women typically inhabit public institutions like doctor's and dentist's practices, apothecaries, banks, post-offices, homes for the elderly, hospitals, day-care centres, kindergartens, schools and the like, where they wield their extraordinary positions of raw power, quite unchecked (see previous instalment on employees). This in turn makes the lives of virtually everybody else rather miserable.

Another curious phenomenon is the younger generations' age in relation to their level of maturity. My own generation at sixteen was ready to marry and leave home. This was of course not encouraged, as much too young. Nowadays it's the other way about. Kids at thirty years of age have to be kicked out by their parents, otherwise they'd still be about by the time they get really middle-aged.
They get sexually active at the age of eight, have done their first binge-drink related violent robbery at nine and at ten are hooked on cannabis. But in the meantime they stay at home with mom and dad, only to get kicked out when mom and dad are moving to a pensioners colony on a tropical island in the other pearl in the crown of narco-economics, the Netherlands Antilles.
I've heard parents refer to their "adolescent" son of twenty-one (honest...) and girls of thirty-five being "just out of their onesies"!
Other curious consequences of the age versus maturity issue is the elevation of former children's fetes to national holidays for all ages (like Saint Nic) and in places where reasonably grown-up people can be expected, you run into a bunch of unhinged adolescents with grey beards and torn jeanswear.

What also surprises me (to use an inappropriate word) is the shifting attitude with regard to crime. Take rape: in my time this was not talked about, and having been raped was seen as almost a fate worse than death; nowadays the reaction surrounding the umpteenth gang-rape is almost one of "ah, boys will be boys"! Even the criminal justice system seems to agree with that attitude (but that's another story altogether!).
Then there is how some flicks not even that old, are at an accelerated pace seen as outdated and "too soft". And that doesn't tell anyone anything?! Sometimes I despair.
To be continued.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The State of Malcontent III

Holland is a small country of 200 by 200km east to west and north to south. It has 15 million inhabitants of which 1 million under-educated, mostly Islamic emigrants from rural areas in Turkey and Morocco.
For historical reasons the people of Holland tend to be overly egalitarian and they don't respond kindly to authorities. This plus a number of other traits fosters mediocrity and conformism and inhibits originality and creativity.

Nevertheless, the country prospers economically. After World War II the level of income hiked steadily year after year and a social welfare system was put into place by consecutive socialist and/or liberal leaning governments, which was on a par with the lauded Scandinavian countries.
All combined have resulted is a form of "virtual living" under a secure cheese-dome, in which basically nothing bad can happen to anyone. Nanny-state government and conglomerate insurance companies between them have seen to that.
Unpleasant aspects of life are either put conveniently out of view (like hospitals and old people) or are ignored all together. As for the pleasant things, these are enjoyed to the full under the motto "we want it all and we want it now." No personal gratification is denied, because as the promo industry keeps telling us "You deserve it".

Furthermore nothing is accepted: no authority, no criticism, no consequences.
Under the term "authority" are understood almost all organized systems in society, but also institutions that inhibit personal growth like marriage, extended families and such.

Criticizing is also not a done thing. People don't take kindly to it. But it was dealt with. At first all and sundry were forcibly democratized which levelled the playing field no end; later on when no-nonsense became all the rage a so-called flat organizational system was devised to the same effect. So nobody runs the risk of getting any critique, everybody happy - with the exception of clients and customers who are having to deal with all these bossless, equalized employees who are a law unto themselves.

Another unhappy result is the inability to improve on oneself and it prohibits the development of a learning curve of sorts. It would lead too far to mention here the educational system (see elsewhere in this blog; tip: try the term "labour party" in the search box).
Consequences were really made short shrift of: they were simply declared non-existent.

The result is 15 million very important, totally dysfunctional individuals who at best tolerate each other ("gedogen"), who declare they are the happiest people on the face of the earth, but who have made moaning and groaning into a national pastime. The remedy for the dissatisfaction is sought in policies and in even more materialism, bigger budgets, more social spending. It's a hole which fails to be filled. It never fills because the root cause lies elsewhere.
To be continued.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's official: the Religion of Peace ...

I'm in a terrible dilemma. I have prepared five to six instalments of analysis in re of the State of Malcontent. Today would be the posting of the third in the series. You'd think it would be possible - even in today's world - to have a few other topics under discussion except Islam without the McEnrows getting louder by the hour. But we are getting closer to the Pope's visit to Asia Minor, which means that the tension is on the up and comments, demands and statements are getting louder as we go.

Maybe we can combine a few note worthies. Like this one we cannot possibly miss.
- The Religion of Peace is hence an official designation. This has been done on specific demand by none other than Ali Bardakoglu.
- Meanwhile Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is puzzled.
- A Moroccan mountain village near the Rif called Tetouan has been identified as a breeding ground for the Sons of Peace. Comments on the Elsevier site explain the reasons for this rare phenomenon and it stands to reason if you think long and hard enough about it: it's due to poverty, stupid! If poor, your inclination is to sell your loyalties to the highest bidder. So what we should have done, opines Mo, is offer money. Why is he telling us only now!
- And in the meantime in Iraq the Sons of Peace are hugging each other to death.
- Lebanon's Daily Star has concluded if there's one thing that makes Assad The Younger tremble in his fourposter, it's the U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Tariq Hariri. That's why he's doing the only thing possible, he simply refuses to cooperate on the off-chance somebody may actually believe this is due to the fact that he haven't given permission. Diplomacy is sometimes of the kindergarten variety. I mean, do you ask Hannibal Lector if he's willing to assist the police in their enquiries?
- Now I'm as puzzled as Recep Tayyip Erdogan! The Daily Star doesn't agree with the findings of Turkey's Ali Bardakoglu. What's it to be, boys? The Religion of Peace or ... what?

Friday, November 24, 2006

The State of Malcontent II

My analysis of the present situation of discontent is the following.
Pim Fortuyn back in 2002 before he was murdered by an animal-rights activist, was a lightning rod for all the negativity in the country, the reasons of which were sought in a political system that fostered uncharismatic politicians, mediocrity and a style which can only be described as P.C. squared.

Due to the fact that some serious problems (mostly multiculture related issues) were pronounced taboo by the three consecutive so-called purple governments*, these problems were largely and quite consciously ignored. Politicians and others who did try to bring them up were either bombed, cordon-sanitaired and/or demonized as persons with unsavoury opinions and ideas. Policies that were put into place stipulated retaining of elements of ethnic, religious and cultural identity and foresaw to that effect in facilities like multi-language information brochures, schools that provided original language classes, etc. Integration was a dirty word, but some efforts were made, largely limited to bicycle lessons for women.

This was the situation that gave Pim Fortuyn a landslide election victory and - had he lived - he might have made a success of it. As it was the party went down by a combination of internal strife, beginner's mistakes and sheer stupidity. The discontent however remained and the sources as well as the remedies are still being sought in political and material issues. I think the problem lies elsewhere. Where, I'll tell you tomorrow.

* The purple governments (1994-2002) were cabinets made up of two liberal parties and labour; their signature colours were blue, green en red respectively, which together make up a kind of ... well, purple.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The State of Malcontent I

There's no ducking the Dutch election results, much as I'd like to. Although I'm preparing a broader in-depth analysis which goes further than the political issues involved, let's stick today to the narrow results.

It's all confused, which is symptomatic of the state the country as a whole. Since nobody is aware of the depth and seriousness of the predicament, the wrong interpretation is made. What stands out?

- The Christian-Democrats (CDA) lost a few seats, but are still the leading party despite austerity measures which have been a source of unprecedented malcontent in the last few years (about which later).
- Labour (PvdA), for years tipped as the winner, lost miserably. It's leader Wouter Bos (see elsewhere in this blog), upon entering the political scene a few years back, looked like the ideal son-in-law; friend and foe expected him to become the next Prime Minister. Wouter Bos, however, though nobody's realized it yet, has swiftly developed as cynical and bitter opportunist who isn't beyond power play and cheap political tricks. Although he's gotten away with it almost unnoticed to date, voters feel such things intuitively.
- His rival however, the former Maoist Socialist Party (SP) won resoundingly!. It's leader by contrast is a sympathetic, rough-labourer-with-a-brain type of man, who comes across as utterly reliable and authentic. He's won the day and he will from here on be hard to ignore. The issues however he has brought to the fore to date, have been more bordering the lunatic left, rather than mature and ready for government.
- Newcomer Geert Wilders' classical liberal party (PvdV) won 9 seats on a stop-islamization platform.
- As a consequence his former party (VVD, classical liberal as well) lost and is now at a all-time low.
- The other new kid on the block on an anti-Islam platform, Marco Pastors (EenNL), got nowhere.
- As did the late Pim Fortuyn's party (LPF).

The outgoing government was already a matter of small margins and had just a few seats majority in the Lower House of Parliament. To distill a workable government out of the present hung situation (about 50% leftist and 50% more or less right-wing) will present a hell of job for the Queen and her Mediator (informateur). There are almost no obvious majorities and the one there is (CDA/PvdA/SP), is unwanted by many.
To be continued.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

About the old war and the new one

A sad time once again in Lebanon with the assassination today of Pierre Gemayel (34), a third generation, Maronite politician and Minister of Industry in the government of Fuad Siniora.

Not content with the attempt to topple the government, which is seen as pro Western (pro democracy, that is), the idea is apparently to destabilize the country even further, with the well-known object of establishing Tehran on the Mediterranean.

According to sources it is sheer intimidation of the government, that just this week approved an international investigation into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. That the axis Tehran-Damascus is involved, has already been established by a preliminary U.N. investigation, already conducted.

This is not a day for flippancy, but has anybody kept count of the number of dead, wounded and maimed, including charming and innocent TV journalists?

Damascus has already pronounced their involvement in the killing as ridiculous and I think we don't have to wait long before Israel is implicated (and George, of course).

There's hardly any denying by now there's a war in progress, by proxy in tortured Lebanon, or elsewhere. The Daily Star opines that the U.N. investigation is closing in on Damascus. Hezbollah, of course, is their proxy. To be continued, I fear.

It is also increasingly unhealthy to criticize President Vladimir Putin of Russia. And that's putting it very mildly! Old Sovjet habits die hard! If it didn't cost brave people their lives you might even romanticize and think in terms of Cold War spook thrillers. No, frankly, it's sad and more than somewhat bizarre!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The long awaited book review

It's about time I'm giving you the review on the best available book on natural philosophy around at the moment, Science before Science by Dr Anthony Rizzi (Press of The Institute for Advanced Physics). The subtitle he has chosen is A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century, which isn't an overstatement.
On the Amazon review site I have written to the effect that 1. every living being with a immaterial soul should read this book; 2. the road to Wisdom is worth travelling; 3. the crux of the subject matter is, the awareness not to confuse the hardware with the software, which you might think obvious, but you'd be surprised how many serious scientists keep forgetting.
It is not an easy book to digest, but Wisdom isn't instant and comes at a price. But then Dr Rizzi is a brilliant scientist who contributed to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity by formulating the definition of angular momentum. In 2003 he founded The Institute for Advanced Physics. His c.v. is readily available on the site.
I am writing at length about this book as it is of the utmost importance for the contemporary discourse, if not because of the offences that are committed against Reason, sometimes with hilarious results, other times with disastrous consequences.
It is certainly not the only point Dr Rizzi is making, but for me the crux of the matter is not to confuse the thermometer with the temperature, and that the physical world and censorial perception must be the starting point of any train of thought, whatever the subject matter. Otherwise the outcome is of the realm of Idealism, giving rise to all matter of error.
To one such mistake Albert Einstein once remarked "Do you really believe the world is not there, when you're not looking at it?". That's the sort of thing we're talking about (not to mention the two membranes and thirties parallel universes I've seen tabled recently by serious scientific sources). But also the very thought that if something exists only potentially, it does in fact not exist at all (see my recent post on the Irish court case involving frozen embryos). Natural philosophy learns that Being is Prime and there IS such a thing as Truth, contrary to what followers of Relativism think (each his own truth and who are we to pronounce judgment on an other's).
This book marks for me personally the end of the era of nihilism and cynicism, which is a disaster for the world and a tragedy for humanity. It is reminding us of the richness and depth of Western civilization, a culture which has given us the arts, Reason, Christianity and science and which has shaped our mentality over 2500 years, only to fly off the rails at the event of post-modernity. After the experiments of the last forty odd years it's about time we went back and claimed our heritage. We are greatly in Dr Rizzi's debt for reminding us and I hope Science before Science sells well, truckloads at a time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Puzzle contest. First prize: a book!

The BBC is reporting this morning that Israelis have called off a planned air attack on the house in Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza of a commander in the Popular Resistance Committee militant group, after hundreds of Palestinians formed a human shield upon his prompting. The Israeli army often orders people out of homes ahead of attacks*, saying it aims to avoid casualties.
Here's today's puzzle contest: guess what the Israelis will do next time when they find it advisable to do such an attack?
a. They'll send a nice bouquet of flowers instead;
b. They'll do nothing, as flabbergasted;
c. Next time they'll attack without prior warning.
The contest runs throughout the day and closes at midnight l.t.
The winner gets an autographed copy (autographed by me, that is) of Dr Anthony Rizzi's book Science before Science (review - by the way - in the making).

* The destruction of enemy homes is a ancient practice in that part of the Middle East and apparently still popular.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

He's not alone after all ...

Earlier this week I posted the remarks of right-wing politician Marco Pastors, who compared the islamization of the West with the rise of Nazism. Of course we didn't have to wait long for condemnation all round of such an unjust and fear-mongering comment.

But Elsevier is reporting this morning that General John Abizaid seems to agree. The American born general of Christian-Lebanese descent goes even further than that: in a speech at the Harvard University he made the same comparison, while warning that if the rise of fundamental Islam isn't curbed soon, a third World War is not a remote possibility. The West's lack of a sense of urgency gives them the opportunity to develop weapons of mass destruction at their ease, he said.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A bit for everyone: on conspiracy theories, fun and gay pride, babies and baggy garments

After a blissfully Islam-free day we are today back at it again. It is a sad fact. BBC's Newsnight on Tuesday revealed that even the Home Office has been infiltrated by an obscure group. Films and videos of staged torture sessions are circulating; these are purportedly smuggled out of Abu Graib prison and out of Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay on Cuba. In fact, they are theatrical productions.
Of course the Middle East itself always has been been rife with political hear-say and conspiracy theories. It is a result of dictatorial, secretive government and "byzantine" palace intrigue.
But, rationality not being what it used to be in the West thanks to years of down-graded education, the most incredulous conspiracy theories are also surfacing here. Some are home-produced, copied and circulated by the Western media. Like this one on 9/11, which was not masterminded by Osama c.s., but on the contrary by the Americans themselves would you believe! Another alleges it's all their own fault, but that's the common fashionable view on the "European high street" anyway!
Of course all this bovine manure is lapped up like sweet tea by all kinds of credulous naives and people with agendas.

It goes without saying that there are many good willing people, like Senay Özdemir but campaigns such as hers are too little, too late, too few and more than a little naive. The title says it all ("Holland must be fun again"). Fun (leuk) isn't a category which even begins to cover the needs! It is as vague and relative as the patient itself. Like the nebulous attempt of the Dutch Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende to instill some morals and manners into the country. He talks a bit about norms and values without further specification, organizes a meeting with minorities (as if their lack of integration is the problem), and that's it. As if a new definition of "the done thing" or a contemporary book on etiquette could save the situation (although that still might have done some good in 1985)! The truth is, what is required now is a solid moral compass to set the dials by - in short, wat we need is a Restoration! P.C.s, pull up your panty-hose and strap on your aprons: beware of the return of the Brussels Sprouts**!

Here's yet another sad piece of evidence that the world could do with a bit of Science before Science! Embryos*, albeit in a frozen state are not considered unborn life and as such do not enjoy the protection of the Irish government, a judge has found. (I wouldn't be surprised if this is part and parcel of the E.U.'s liberal idea of Best Practice; the same one that treated Mr Buttiglione as a criminal, instead of the highly ethical Catholic and man of integrity that he is; but hey, of course only Leftists and Liberals can be trusted with the ability of separating their personal convictions from their political judgments). The Irish judge concluded, that everyone seems to agree that embryos are entitled to “special respect,” but what exactly that means from a legal point of view remains ambiguous; he proposes the matter to be resolved by parliament or in a referendum, as if that are the forums to weigh basic matters concerning ethics or morality. But more on that later on, in an essay I'm working on at present in re of the separation of Church and State and it's present misunderstandings on the subject.

Holland enjoys the existence
dr Antoine Bodar, a "conservative", non-practicing homosexual, a Benedictine priest who has become a bit of a cult-figure lately. The other day he was in a town hall meeting with "Embrace Pink", an obscure organization of homosexual youngsters.

I would like to share with you the last paragraph of an article I just

read: "If the Church refuses to bless my (love) relationship it is heartless and stubborn", says one theology student (whom I hope will have a change of heart shortly and take up geology instead). And ... "The Church is about people, isn't it?" (you could have fooled me; that last time I checked the Church was about God).
"Isn't this intransigence (i.e. the refusal to wed homosexuals) the reason the churches are empty?" Goes Bodar: ,,No, the churches are empty due to hedonism and a liturgy that is so flat you might as well stay at home." Needless to say, I'm in his cult, every time!

STOP PRESS The Dutch cabinet has backed a proposal by the country's immigration minister Rita Verdonk to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa (a bag-like object which reduces women to a life as ghosts) in public. A bill to that effect was first tabled in Parliament by Geert Wilders

The sacraficial lamb is this time the harmless crash helmet with vizor. In the U.K. it is a crucifix belonging to a British Airways employee. If ever it is found necessary to ban Muslim schools (which is well imaginable) also the Christian faith based schools will have to go (Egalite, remember?). As their education level is much higher than public schools, this sacrafice comes at a price, probably too high a price. Whatever's next to go?

* Pro-choicers are defending the practice of abortion by describing and thereby trivialising the very young embryo as "no more than a cluster of cells". If they had any idea of basic philosophy as dealt with in Science before Science they'd understand their mistake. Potential being, is being nonetheless. What they are saying here is "if it is very small, it is nothing" a premise demonstrably false.

** See post on Jan Pronk and note on the Insane Ida movement.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm off today

The only thing I'll do today: here's a link to this very sympathetic, Belgian source of PSP content
Back again tomorrow with more cheerful news and analysis of the brave new century. Cheerio!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bizarre, bewildered and unconscious

Recently I've seen an interview with bizarre Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) and frankly, I didn't think him all that funny. But now, it seems, he's got the Hysterical Women's Lib up in arms ("It doesn't really matter that a woman's brain is smaller than a man's", or words to that effect). Now I'm all for him. Long live Borat! That he may continue shocking the P.C.s for a very long time to come. In fact, I can even do better than that: here's The Unofficial Site! Watch, read, listen and imagine the indignation ... enjoy!

Which brings me to a very pressing bit of discourse, which I thought we were done with some forty years ago, when it became the done thing to poke fun at royalty, clergy and authority. Compared to what we are seeing today, makes what was done then, seem like a stroll in the park. Elsevier is reporting about a website (, no style dot nl) for youngsters (pfff, am I getting old!) which shows a girl being sick by undue cannabis use; this picture is obviously hilarious and the author is paid due homage as the true hero that he is. Clips and footage shown on this site are often undergoing an editing process for comic and unseemly result and never mind facts or truth. One of it's victims (who is no angel himself!) is considering legal action; the authors so confronted had one typical reaction: "Krijg de tyfus", which means exactly what you think it does! As if that is not representative enough of the moral and philosophical low ebb of the discourse, one commentator's contribution to the critical article in Elsevier is "your attempt at censoring annoys me" (Ik vind de sensuur ... storend"). Let us pray ... long and hard!

It's not all bad news though. The BBC is reporting that Pakistan's parliament has voted to amend the country's strict Sharia laws on rape and adultery. There may be some hope yet of bringing Islamic practice somewhat into step with what we have come to think of as universal human rights and civilization.

Back to polder now where a right-wing politician Marco Pastors, a follower of the assassinated Pim Fortuyn, makes no bones about the self-censorship under Islamic fundamentalist duress of journalists, comedians, columnists, politicians, and so on and so forth, in short the apologists, appeasers and cowards:

The islamization of The Netherlands resembles the growth of Nazism in Germany
in the twenties and thirties (red. of the last century). The extremists are setting the agenda and the establishment sits idle.

It's a bit of a tall order (?) and it is after all campaign time, but I am reserving judgment until 20 years from now.

News bits and ... the season is upon us!

It's true, honestly! They've been spotted ... the big red glossy ones ... and the little golden tinkles: Christmas ornamentation!!!! And if that's not enough, Jingle Bells and I'm dreaming ... have also been heard and not that faintly at that, but at full blast: try this one if you don't believe me. It's really far too early, but I'm such a sucker for the season, so you won't hear me complain.

Also some news items that cannot go unmentioned:

- The Vatican press office has made it known that the website for the second time in two months has been attacked by a group called "The Electronic Jihad"; No, I'm not joking! See for yourself. Being an optimist by nature hopefully this is the last bit of belligerence over "Regensburg", you remember that speech of Pope Benedict's delivered in that nice, German university town in re of Christianity's roots lying in Classicism ...?

- Here 's a good one as well: the Argentinian government has ordered the arrest of the former President of Iran, Rafsanjani. This in re of an unspeakable deed of state sponsored terrorism some years ago.

- The Vatican has released the full schedule for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey, set for 28th November until 1st December. Let's pray he'll survive the gamble. Like the exsession of Turkey to the E.U., I suppose this one cannot be put off either?

- Elsevier is echoing my fears that somebody may try to reanimate the deceased "European Constitution"; you know, the one killed off by the recalcitrant Dutch and free-market phobic French between them. In Europe you never know what trick they'll be up to next, so the utmost vigilance is indicated, especially during any given holiday season!

- MI5 is at present following some 1.600 persons at risk of committing terrorist attacks inside the U.K., up by 50 percent since last year. BBC's Newsnight last night produced a self-confessed representative of the group, who uttered the usual crap ("the 7/7 attack came after Iraq"); S o o o ?

- One would have thought that in Europe they've got other problems to think about - what with the entire continent on the brink of cultural suicide - but in France they have identified a really pressing problem: the official EU logo for the 50th anniversary is found not so aesthetic. I think they have a pressing point, actually. What kids think up this kind of stuff?

- Some people's vistas are limitless ! I think he'll do it too!

Well, it's long past my bed-time (again) and I have to get up early. I'm going for an Ahmadinejad jacket ...!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Globalization, on a global level

Believe me, I'm no fundamentalist anti-globalizer. I'm a warm blooded follower of Adam Smith and a Capitalist with a Capital C (as well as a number of other things). But which really gets my back up nowadays is this awful, one sauce for all the world idea that there is such a thing as Best Practice.
In U.N. terms this means that African dictators shouldn't squander development assistance on weapons, war and women; so far so good.
On a national scale it means it's good not to believe in counter-intuitive fairy tales, like it's better to borrow jumbo figures of money for nice projects for nice socialist people now, because in 20 year's time the interest on the same money will be much higher and your kids will be much richer anyway, so they can afford a towering national debt level.
For a household budget it's also clear sailing: don't spend more than your income.
But now on a day-to-day business communication level. In such terms it means that any given company, wherever you are, subscribing to "Best Practice" works - or more to the point, doesn't work - in the same bloody, infuriating way; which means total n o n - c o m m u n i c a t i o n - all in the same appallingly infuriating, anonymous, counter-accessible, nerdy, zombiesk, autistic manner. For heaven's sake! It's easier to build a meaningful relationship with a tortoise, than trying to get rapport with some of those post-digital revolution companies. Access our best practice database!!!! We are proud to announce we are certified at ..... under dossier number ISO so and so: get us!!!
Get us, my foot! Once they've landed the project they'll hide behind non-human telephone lines and other customer repellents, the doors will be closed, the shades get dropped and the bars go down, literally and the catch-phrase becomes, drop dead! Can anybody explain whatever happened to the C in ICT? Or was it always just IT, Intolerably Tedious?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A day on the marbles ...

Today I hit the museum marble again, this time the National Gallery. It houses one of my favourites of the favourites, one of the most stunning impressionists known to mankind and almost unknown outside Greece. It is a piece from Iakovos Rizos from 1897 called Athenian Evening (see annex). If a copy looks pretty marvellous, the original just about knocks your socks off!

I am no art critic (shut it!) and I won't pretend to be exhaustive either, but here are some personal comments.

It is mentioned that due to the all revealing light impressionism never really caught on in Mediterranean countries, and Greece is no exception. That be as it may, it hasn't prevented the Greeks from bringing forth some very good impressionist (and later expressionist) painters. I want to mention here Nikolaos Gysis (1842-1901), Markos Zavitzianos (1884-1923), Thaleia Flora-Koravia (1871-1960) and many more. For anyone visiting Athens, this is certainly a must visit.
There are also some very impressive modern realists and pieces of Nikos Nikolaou (1909-1986) which is bordering the naive.
One very curious piece I'd like to mention is by Agenor Asteriadis (1898-1977), a sort of modern rendition of a medieval overview of the port of Piraeus.
What stands out (but it may be lurking elsewhere) is the lack of the (subsidized) efforts which are so prominent and over-represented in Western Europe. A lack of funds can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. The worst I've seen in the National Gallery today is still a lot better than some of the misguided novelties passing for master pieces that I've seen in the West.
Having been somewhat involved in municipal art acquisition policy in my former town of residence, I think I have said and written enough on the subject, which - if it weren't for the huge amounts of public money and the lack of democratic checks and balances involved - is not that interesting to begin with.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Special commemorations

Since a few years the responsibility rests upon me, as a new generation, to keep and maintain the memory of my uncle Eric who died as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in WWII. Nobody is alive today who knows exactly what happened, but apparently he was shot down on a mission over the Black Sea.
For me personally it belongs to the realm of things "to be investigated when the time is ripe" (not further specified). I'd love to hear from anyone who knows what the mission might have been.
Ever since this special task came to rest upon me I am taking the opportunity of the British commonwealth commemoration of all the war dead on the 11th of the 11th month at the 11th hour to also pay my respects to the memory of my uncle, who was young and still in college at the time of his death, and didn't have any offspring. I thank him for the ultimate sacrifice. May God keep him and rest his soul.

In the news: United States Catholics are renewing today the consecration to the protection of its patroness, the Immaculate Conception during Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Score board: The Holy Virgin versus Al Qaeda: 1/1, so to speak. I don't bet as a rule, but if I did I'd know where to put my money ...

Friday, November 10, 2006

A bad habit.

I have a bad habit. More than one actually, but the one which annoys me at present is the habit of opening my RSS Feedreeder before turning in at night. I get to read two infuriating stories at the minimum. So I open my Blog to write a comment and am hence unable to sleep till four hours later when the adrenaline is starting to wear off and the sun is hesitantly showing it's face over the mountains.

I have had no problem whatsoever in producing tonight's two stories: one from Holland (which I said I wouldn't do anymore in the foreseeable future, but then this country is still a fountain of annoyance and infantility). The other hails from Germany, but could just as easily have originated in Holland (in fact, this already happened there).

Here's number one: the country prides itself in having a leftist catholic fringe which is called the 5th of May Movement, so called after the date the old Pope, called The Great, visited the country and was received as if he were the devil incarnate. This fringe movement, which is now at long last on the brink of extinction, produced a poet, yes a poet, well poet .... he says he is, anyway. But he's got more occupations than Houdini had tricks: he's also a theologist, and a politician. He's on a prominent place (according to some strategists) on the ballot list of the former Maoist communist party, presently calling itself socialist (which makes all the difference!).

This person has opined in an interview with a "train rag" that to his thinking the only difference between the police that collaborated with the German authorities during Nazi occupation and the present national service that is hired to remove illegal aliens from the country (IND), is the fact that the former's intention was the actual extermination of said aliens. The man is either insane, lost his single braincell in a canabis induced cerebral storm, or both (probable causility)! If you remove the intention of extermination, what you are left with ... well, is a national service that is hired to remove illegal aliens ...., which is prosecuting by the way ... they feel insulted.

Here's the P.C. Gospel, the German version. I'm not going to comment. Figure it out for yourself. It's long past my bedtime.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Energy conservation day


Donald Rumsfeld

... The known known is,
too many onesies and twosies...
Pope Benedict XVI
... no trace of relativism ...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Justice III

Just when I decided I'd write less about the old polderland in the future, I was confronted this evening with a rather unsavoury discussion on a TV program in re of the impending parliamentary elections on 22nd November; this discussion was vis-a-vis problems that have arisen in the labour party (PvdA). This party had just put a great number of candidates of Turkish descent on it's ballot list, when the discussion in France broke loose about the bill which prohibits the denial of the genocide of over one million Armenians in the earlier years of the last century. (I am linking here to the relevant website of Wikipedia which currently cannot be updated due to recent vandalization.)

In Holland meantime it transpired that although these candidates have Dutch passports or are native Dutch, their loyalties still lie for the most part in the old country. Apparently the Turkish government has been leaning hard on them so as to ensure there would be no crimes against Turkishness through acceptance of the term genocide c.q. holocaust.
To cut a long story short, a number of candidates have been forced by the party to withdraw. But the party was also anticipating with great regret the loss of all these Turkish votes. So the leader, Wouter Bos, came up with an ingenious political trick: Monday night he gave a press conference for the Turkish media, in which he stated that the term genocide is being used too loosely, on the whole. His number two, a female politician of Turkish descent clarified that in international law, genocide is only then genocide if it can be proved, which is decidedly not the case here; so no "Ermeni Soykırımi" and satisfaction all round that the matter has been smoothed so cunningly. Which is indeed the case, as apart from a weblog post in Elsevier magazine by Leon de Winter, there isn't a journalist, voter or politician who commented on the matter.

Apart from the shameless opportunism of the statement - it pictures once and for all Wouter Bos as the unscrupulous power politician that he is - this party (see also posts on Jan Pronk) was one of the first to acknowledge genocide when it transpired that three thousand Muslim men might have been massacred in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. Their prime minister and his government even stepped down over the matter. But this, well let's be fair, is almost a hundred years ago (the passing of time is in Holland always a readily accepted mitigating argument), it costs the votes of the Turkish constituency, it hasn't been proved and it upsets a future EU member state, on which rests the duty to prove to the entire Umma that the EU is not a Christian club (God forbid!).

Everything else apart, this matter once again underlines my conclusion that The Netherlands has become a depraved country. The way this discussion is being conducted is shameful, is immoral (or worse I fear, amoral) and unsavoury; it is a slap in the face of the Armenian survivors and their families (yes, they do exist, even though a century has passed). The saddest aspect of it all is, that nobody even notices the depth and length of cases like this! The same politicians expressed today their full indignation about the death sentence pronounced on Saddam Hussein (as anticipated): a civilized country doesn't do hangings, you see (applause).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Justice II

The reactions to the verdict in Saddam's trial are entirely along predictable lines. (Out of the box thinking is too much creativity to ask and also not quite "best practice"; would possibly even disqualify for DNV certification which is unthinkable in today's civilized, soulless and heartless Europe.)
The Left in the Netherlands have condemned the verdict. Their criticism is mainly directed at the Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, who has supported it. Considerering he is facing elections on the 22nd of November this is once again another example of the man's moral courage.
Europe, by way of the Finnish chair, also has condemned the verdict on the grounds they are against the death penalty across the board (surprise!).
Catholic World News reports that the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has issued a statement deploring the death penalty. Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino said with regret that the sentence determined by an Iraqi court reflected the principle of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Apparently the Cardinal has a bit of a history along the yesterday's posted lines of Willem Oltmans and George Galloway. The Vatican's Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, made no public comment on the decision.
In all these prominent statements and posturings for the prize of The Most Civilized, nobody seems to take into account the Iraqi context, the low violence threshold in that part of the world and - most of all - the suffering of Saddam's victims, which according to some estimates may number eight million people. This puts him on par with the Nazi leaders and those other mass murderers who escaped justice and universal moral condemnation, Joseph Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot and Mao.
Those victims' families - some of which have suffered multiple sacrifices - have been given life sentences by Saddam and his criminal henchmen of the Baath Party. How easy it is to take the moral high ground and pronounce sentence on the Court (by proxy, George Bush and his administration, which is the real background of all this indignation!!!) instead of blaming the actual perpetrators of the carnage.
It is however totally in line with the hypocrisy and demagoguery which has typified the Iraq discussion from the outset. It is my modest opinion however that history will not take kindly, once the balance is made up twenty odd years from today.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


For just one of his crimes and subject to appeal Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi independent Court of Justice, which is very unpleasant for him and too late for his victims, who didn't get the privilege of a fair trial! But no European p.c. or Christian sensitivities in the verdict. You'd think in the West they'd be happy with this feat of statehood, but considering the lack of enthusiasm for the democratically elected Iraqi government which nobody has said, but is by silent understanding considered a neo-con propped up troupe of puppets unworthy of the label "decent government" (read: Liberal, Enlightened), the independent court and it's verdict will surely be painted from the same ink pot, I'll foretell.

It reminds me of the people who went to Iraq before the war (of liberation) to protect Saddam Hussein by human shield, like the meanwhile deceased enfant terrible of Dutch public opinion Willem Oltmans. Another of those is the former British Labour politician George Galloway. How people can so end up on the wrong side of history by misplaced loyalty to a brutal tyrant, is frankly beyond me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

All Souls: too many subjects! A few at random:

- It is really impossible to obtain some decent flowers in the whole of the greater Athens area! Really miserable spinage heaps at impossible prices. Anybody with a business plan to start a nursery or a hot house here, by all means go ahead and I guarantee you'll make a bunch!

- John Kerry it seems, has apologized and is put on hold for the remainder of the present campaign. It's only human to make a mistake, but always apologize for it, as soon as possible, wholeheartedly and without restraint. (Ask Gerrit Zalm - who? Gerrit Zalm ...!)

- For years Europe and Holland have been discussing how to root out barbaric practices, that have no business on the face of the earth! Here's an option ...

- AJC Radio Message: Tell Sudan to Stop Mass Murders in Darfur
“The Holocaust taught us that silence is never an option in the face of genocide,” and that is why the AJC has been speaking out on Darfur, says David Harris in his national radio message. He calls the inaction of the Arab League and the Islamic Conference “shameful,” and criticizes Asian and European countries that “put Sudan’s energy resources ahead of human rights concerns.”

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

For the last time: Ayaan and Theo van Gogh

I am sick and tired of having to pay so much attention to the emancipatory throes of the Sons of Peace on their long, winding road to humanity. Frankly, they just don't deserve it anymore! In fact it may even encourage their miserable behaviour. But since present item concerns two heroes of mine, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh, and the murder of the latter will not be forgotten in a long time, here's the latest upheaval.

A Dutch newspaper (De Volkskrant) today published a sermon by a Muslim cleric, shaikh Fawaz of the Al Sounna Mosk in The Hague, pronounced just prior Van Gogh's barbaric killing. The curses, which - due to it's shocking content - I shall not go into right here, may even have led to said crime. The Justice Dept. is investigating, the outcome of which is entirely predictable (we've been here many times before). In an interview with Nova TV tonight shaikh Fawaz explains his hate sermon, as

1. part of the Arab (or Islamic? he does not clarify) culture,
2. he was letting off steam (he may in fact have prevented worse),
3. there is no love lost between him and this group around the killer of Van Gogh,
4. he has no problem with the Justice Dept.,
5. the Justice Dept. has a problem, as they will have to sanction free speech if they want to prosecute,
6. in view of the above he's looking forward to hear from them.
To be continued ...

All Saints: and opinions are back!

CNN is reporting today that due to Ramadan October was a particularly deadly month for the US troops in Iraq: 101 of the country's finest blown to smithereens, which is the method of choice if there is anything to celebrate in that part of the world. I cannot even remember how many tortured bodies are reported to have been found today, let alone the total. (Contrary to some twisted opinions it is actually Muslims that are killing Muslims).

In those circumstances it is particularly insensitive to have effectively been called educationally challenged by the former Democratic presidential candidate, senator John Kerry. It is to be hoped he'll never get to the White House: instead of admitting the enormity and apologizing for it (ask the boys and girls at D66 how that should be done), he's calling it "just the scandal of the day" and is twisting and turning to make it look somehow his remark was directed at the President, which is evidently nonsensical. When you're caught with your fingers in the cookie jar, it looks particularly stupid to stand there, pretending you were looking for a place to warm your cold fingers. The man is also complaining he is sick and tired with the criticism from the other party! I'd say, get an executive job somewhere, let's say in a tomato ketchup factory or something; they seem to get remarkably little criticism ... Anyway ...

In Holland they (but not the culprits though) are finally admitting education standards have been dropping year after year since 1966, so that even the lowest possible achiever could have a university education. This was always suspected by the perceptive, but now it's officially been laid down in a report. Let's hope all the consecutive Labour (PvdA) ministers will come clean at last about it, but if history is anything to judge it by, we can wait till kingdom come for a mea culpa. Generation after generation has been debilized in this way (no wonder they lack insight, cannot spell (Huiswerk Instituut????), have no historical awareness, are unable to plan their homework, have no discipline and have not learned how to study, are having problems with chronicity (time lines have - for some reason only known to themselves - been declared taboo!), they are unable to do simple sums without the aid of a pocket calculator and situate Stockholm somewhere in the vicinity of the Amazon rain forest - pffff don't get me going!!!). We're talking Holland here, but this is an issue particularly close to the Leftist's heart ("the nation's youth, is the nation's future"), so anywhere they took root, this phenomenon occurred at the expense of generations of children.

I've had enough for one day! It's borreltijd!