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[VIDEO] Geert Wilders’ Reaction to Conviction

Editorial from National Review:

…Wilders was convicted of inciting discrimination and giving group offense, two “crimes” that are observed in much of Europe but that are not properly the stuff of criminal offenses in a country with free speech. While it is worth keeping in mind that Wilders isn’t a consistent defender of the free-speech rights he complains are being here violated — he has advocated banning both the Koran and the building of new mosques in the Netherlands — the laws he has been convicted of violating are absurd and have no place in a civilized, liberal society such as the Netherlands. They are an example of what happens when what we call political correctness is allowed to harden into an unchallengeable orthodoxy and given the power of law. And we ought to keep in mind that our own so-called liberals are eager to enact such “hate speech” laws, and to use them to suppress political ideas they find unpalatable.

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[Read the full text here, at NRO]

The Netherlands has a large and poorly assimilated minority population of Muslim immigrants. They are mostly Sunni, mostly in the cities, and come from a variety of backgrounds: Turkey and Morocco, former Dutch East Indies colonies, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq. They make up about 5 percent of the population, and their numbers include many high-profile figures such as the current mayor of Rotterdam.

[ALSO SEE – Wilders rises in polls after conviction]

And they have proved to be a source of social friction: In 2006, the Dutch justice minister inspired a public panic when he suggested that the country might incorporate sharia law if a growing Muslim population supported doing so; the assassination of anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn by a Dutch leftist angered at his “scapegoating” of Muslims intensified tensions, as did the jihadist murder of Theo van Gogh for criticizing Islam, and the subsequent controversy surrounding the immigration of Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali many years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dutch Newspaper Publishes Cartoon Depicting Erdogan as an Ape Crushing Free Speech 

The cartoon appeared on the front page after a Dutch journalist was detained in Turkey.

After a Dutch journalist was arrested in Turkey this weekend for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the most-read newspaper in the Netherlands on Monday published a front-page editorial cartoon that shows Erdogan as an ape, apparently crushing Europe’s free speech.

The cartoon, published by the populist daily De Telegraaf, has an ape with Erdogan’s face squashing a woman who appears to be Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday. In the cartoon, the Turkish president is standing on a rock labeled “Apenrots” — a Dutch term meaning “monkey rocks” that is used to refer to the Dutch Foreign Ministry but can also refer to a place where one dominant individual holds power.

The cartoon is titled “the long arm of Erdogan.”

Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday.

Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday.

Umar, a columnist for the newspaper Metro, had been detained by Turkish authorities who were investigating tweets she had sent about Erdogan. Umar was released Sunday, but she says she has been ordered to remain in the country as the investigation proceeds.

[read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

The detention of Umar has added another layer to what many in the Netherlands think is a growing crackdown on free speech within Turkey — and outside its borders, too. Last week, the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam came under fire after appearing to send an email that called for Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to report insults against Erdogan to it. The Turkish Embassy later said that the email had been poorly phrased and misunderstood, but it sparked controversy within the Netherlands, which is one of many European countries that still has “lèse-majesté” laws that prohibit insults against friendly heads of state. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Breeding Ground for Violence’: Belgium’s Islamist ‘Airbase’ 

Security services face difficulties due to Belgium’s local devolution and tensions between the country’s French-and Dutch-speaking halves; the country has long been open to fundamentalist preachers from the Gulf; and it has a thriving black market in automatic rifles of the kind used in Paris.

Jan Bartunek and Alastair MacDonald report: “A breeding ground for violence” the mayor of Molenbeek called her borough on Sunday, speaking of unemployment and overcrowding among Arab immigrant families, of youthful despair finding refuge in radical Islam.

“Belgium is a federal state and that’s always an advantage for terrorists. Having several layers of government hampers the flow of information between investigators.”

— Edwin Bakker, professor at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands

But as the Brussels district on the wrong side of the city’s post-industrial canal becomes a focus for police pursuing those behind Friday’s mass attacks in Paris, Belgian authorities are asking what makes the narrow, terraced streets of Molenbeek different from a thousand similar neighborhoods across Europe.

“In such a case it’s very difficult to get feedback from the community. That means while the neighbors may have seen something going on, they’re not passing it to the police. Then it becomes very tough for intelligence agencies as only relying on them and not local police is not sufficient.”

Three themes emerge as Molenbeek is again in a spotlight of Islamist violence, home not just to militants among Belgium’s own half a million Muslims but, it seems, for French radicals seeking a convenient, discreet base to lie low, plan and arm before striking their homeland across the border:

Security services face difficulties due to Belgium’s local devolution and tensions between the country’s French- and Dutch-speaking halves; the country has long been open to fundamentalist preachers from the Gulf; and it has a thriving black market in automatic rifles of the kind used in Paris.

People shop at a market in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where Belgian police staged a raid following the attacks in Paris, at Brussels, Belgium November 15, 2015. Reuters/Yves Herman

People shop at a market in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where Belgian police staged a raid following the attacks in Paris, at Brussels, Belgium November 15, 2015.
Reuters/Yves Herman

“With 500-1,000 euros you can get a military weapon in half an hour,” said Bilal Benyaich, senior fellow at Brussels think-tank the Itinera Institute, who has studied the spread of radical Islam in Belgium. “That makes Brussels more like a big U.S. city” in mostly gun-free Europe, he said.

[Read the full story here, at Reuters]

Two of the attackers who killed over 130 people, 170 miles away in Paris on Friday night were Frenchmen resident in Belgium. Belgian police raided Molenbeek addresses and seven people have been arrested in Belgium over the Paris attacks.

“Almost every time, there is a link to Molenbeek,” said 39-year-old centrist prime minister Charles Michel, whose year-old coalition is battling radical recruiters who have tempted more than 350 Belgians to fight in Syria – relative to Belgium’s 11 million population, easily the biggest contingent from Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Drone Delivering Asparagus to Dutch Restaurant Crashes and Bursts into Flames

 reports: A publicity stunt that involved using a consumer quadcopter drone to deliver vegetables to a restaurant in the Netherlands has literally crashed and burned.

“This is very, very sad because it was an amateur pilot, the owner of the drone, who organised this especially for me and brings his own toys. So this wasn’t supposed to happen of course.”

The De Zwann Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant in the Netherlands always puts on an exciting publicity stunt to mark the beginning of the asparagus season.

“Yeah, that wasn’t funny. You think you have a cool idea – with a drone – how original can you be? Picking up asparagus with a drone.”

— Peijenburg to Netherlands regional broadcaster Omroep Brabant after the drone crashed

In previous years, owner Ronald Peijenburg has used everything from a Formula 1 racing car to a hot air balloon and a helicopter to deliver the very first asparagus of the season, and this year he wanted to try flying a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

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Initially the journey from the asparagus farm started well, with the drone taking off carrying a metal can consisting of several asparagus stalks. In the interest of safety, the pilot followed in the back of a small pick-up truck, so the drone was always in line-of-sight, with the stunt being filmed by a local TV channel.

The drone landed safely during the journey to get its battery changed before taking off again, however, on the second take off, the drone crashed onto a thankfully quiet country road, and both the drone and the asparagus it was carrying went up in flames. Read the rest of this entry »


Americans Should Drink More Coffee

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Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more

Roberto A. Ferdman reports: When the nation’s top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.

“I don’t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer — nobody thinks that. But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around.”

— Tom Brenna, a member of the committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more.

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company's training center in lower Manhattan. Leslie Josephs/The Wall Street Journal

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company’s training center in lower Manhattan. Photo credit: Leslie Josephs

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits. Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

— Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University

The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

coffee-chart

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits,” said Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

“The decision, which broke the committee’s more than 40 years of silence on coffee, was driven by heightened interest in the caffeinated beverage as well as a growing anxiety about potential health risks associated with it.”

That’s great news if you’re already drinking between three and five cups each day, which Nelson and the rest of the panel consider a “moderate” level of consumption. But you know what? You probably aren’t, Giant Coffee Cupbecause people in this country actually tend to consume a lot less than that.

“It remains to be seen whether the Department of Health and Human Services or the Agriculture Department will take the committee’s recommendations for coffee intake to heart and include them in the official dietary guidelines update…”

On average, Americans only drink about one cup of coffee per day, according to data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture. Even when Americans drank the most coffee they ever have, back in 1946, they still only drank two cups a day on average. Read the rest of this entry »


Onwaarschijnlijk Krijgers: Dutch Biker Gang Joins fight Against Islamic State in Iraq

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The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands

Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.

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All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.

“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”

Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.

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Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.

But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.

The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.

The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.

The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »


Wartime Study: Audrey Hepburn Documentary

Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. Her mother was a Dutch baroness, and her father, who was of English and Austrian descent, worked in business.

After her parents divorced, Audrey went to London with her mother where she went to a private girls school. Later, when her mother moved back to the Netherlands, she attended private schools as well. age 12While she vacationed with her mother in Arnhem, Netherlands, Hitler’s army took over the town. It was here that she fell on hard times during the Nazi occupation. Audrey suffered from depression and malnutrition.

After the liberation, she went to a ballet school in London on a scholarship and later began a modeling career. As a model, she was graceful and, it seemed, she had found her niche in life–until the film producers came calling. In 1948, after being spotted modeling by a producer, she was signed to a bit part in the European film Dutch in Seven Lessons(1948).

Later, she had a speaking role in the 1951 film, Young Wives’ Tale (1951) as Eve Lester. The part still wasn’t much, so she headed to America to try her luck there. Audrey gained immediate prominence in the US with her role in Roman Holiday (1953) in 1953. This film turned out to be a smashing success, and she won an Oscar as Best Actress. This gained her enormous popularity and more plum roles…(read more)

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Chilean Porn Star Offers Sex Marathon For Each Win from National Soccer Team

Marlen Doll

For Breitbart.com reports: It is all about sex. First there was speculation that the Netherlands beat Spain because the coach allowed players to visit with wives and girlfriends. Why did Chile beat Spain? A porn star offered a sex marathon for every win. (The picture in the link is NSFW)

Marlen Doll, one of Chile’s most popular porn stars, told people she would engage in an eight-hour sex marathon if the team beat Australia. They won and she conducted a twelve-hour orgy…(read more)

Breitbart.com


While Obama Pushes to Put More People on the Dole, Many Older Welfare States Now Stress Work

Welfare-Here-and-Abroad

Welfare, Here and Abroad

Michael Tanner writes:  How bad have things become? The British newspaper the Telegraph recentlylooked at the growth in welfare spending in industrialized nations and found that such spending (including health-care and pension programs) had grown faster in the United States since 2000 than in any country in Europe except Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.

Of course, European welfare states were larger to begin with, but the Telegraph’s report is reflective of an important trend. While the Obama administration presses forward with efforts to combat “income inequality” by expanding the American welfare state, the European nations and other industrialized welfare states are moving in the other direction.

[Order Michael Tanner’s book: Leviathan on the Right: How the Rise of Big Government Conservatism Threatens Our Freedom and Our Future from Amazon]

The Netherlands: Just 42 percent of U.S. welfare recipients are engaged in even broadly defined work activities (including job training, college, or job searches), and Republican attempts to restore work requirements to the food-stamp program have been met with a storm of resistance. Meanwhile, the Obama administration touts the idea that Obamacare will enable people to quit their jobs while having their health care subsidized by taxpayers.

Read the rest of this entry »


Map: Freedom Of The Press Worldwide

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Reporters Without Borders has published  its 2014 World Press Freedom Index, which measures the freedom of information and journalists in 160 countries around the world.

Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, followed by Netherlands and Norway. America fell 13 places to 46th for various reasons (Here’s a interactive list of the rankings).

Read the rest of this entry »


Question: How Widespread is Islamic Fundamentalism in Western Europe?

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Erik Voten writes: One narrative about Muslim immigrants in Europe is that only a relatively small proportion holds views that are sometimes labeled as “fundamentalist.” Ruud Koopmans from the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin argues that this perspective is incorrect. He conducted a telephone survey of 9,000 respondents in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, and Sweden and interviewed both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as well as a comparison group of Christians.

His first finding is that majorities of Muslim immigrants believe that there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick (75 percent), and that religious rules are more important than the laws of the country in which they live (65 percent). Moreover, these views are as widespread among younger Muslims as among older generations.

Graph by Ruud Koopmans
Graph by Ruud Koopmans

He then looks at hostility toward out-groups. Fifty-eight percent do not want homosexual friends, 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted, and 54 percent believe that the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. Among Christians, 23 percent believe that Muslims are out to destroy Western culture. Koopmans says these results hold when you control for the varying socio-economic characteristics of these groups (although the analyses are not presented).

Read the rest of this entry »