The Netherlands – another election coming?

The promise of a quickly formed government by leading Dutch party figures has most certainly failed from birth.   The beginning of July figure has passed us by and we are now into the fourth negotiator.  

The demand for a coalition from the right of politics dies because of Wilders’ bigoted and ugly demands, a “Purple Coalition” even more so fails as Labour and others will have nothing to do with the racist anti-Islam party.   A minority of left and centrist parties seems to be ignored because they are a minority and had screwed-up Holland’s economy and social welfare system in the past.   The Netherlands opportunity for creating a government now is stuck in a quagmire of its’ own making – a combination of an antiquated and flawed electoral system that allows one-man political parties and encourages coalitions; and the previous governments failing the people in social and economic areas that when unheeded breeds radicalization.

It is simply time to admit the people screwed-up, fell for well worded ugly propoganda and broke the traditional mold of voting serious in national elections and protests in local ones.  Had the Dutch people understood that in the current electoral system, giving a mad-man and wannabe Jorg Haider around 13 per cent of the vote will cause this mess – they would most certainly change their votes.  

The possibilities of forming a government appear to be zero and the greatest of errors now would be the feeling that they are obliged to form one with what they have regardless, is scary to say the least.  

Last Sunday (25 July 2010) Robin Pascoe wrote in the Opinion section of DutchNews.nl a very well worded item called “Talking about talks may not get us anywhere“.     He correctly says that:

CDA leader Maxime Verhagen has made it quite clear that a number of elements in the PVV’s manifesto are non-negotiable.

A ban on immigration from Islamic countries, the closure of all Islamic schools, a ban on the Koran and the introduction of a tax on headscarves… none of these are ever going to become a reality in a cabinet involving the CDA.

Nor is a foreign policy based on combating Islam. The Dutch will not start calling Jordan Palestine.

On radio this weekend, senior VVD member of parliament Frans Weisglas (an old friend of mine) called on his leader Marke Rutte to stay clear of Geert Wilders and the PVV stating that ‘I do not think a Liberal party like mine, the VVD, should work together with a party which systematically discriminates against an entire part of the population’.

Equally, in the Financieele Dagblad, Arie Oostlander and Bert de Vries, leading figures of the CDA called forming alliances with Wilders as a recipe for “hiking up opposition rather than bridging tensions”.  Additionally, Oostlander stated that Wilders would not sit quietly in a minority government and play every moment to his advantage.  He called Wilders “far to slippery”.

According to Pascoe, the only real commonality between the potential coalition of VVD and the PVV is that “both the VVD and PVV are opposed to any tax increases – or passing the cost of reducing the budget deficit onto the man in the street” and then raises the very understandable question about how could they achieve it when the rest of the manifestos are so different (let alone the PVV platform is not based on workable experience).

I reported just after the election that exit polls and then another a day after hinted that if they knew what the results were, the population probably would have given Labour a workable majority.   As a former PVV party member and city Councillor for them, that pains me but nevertheless consider that a better option.   I wonder what a new election would produce now?

Time to find out I think.

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Historical Item: Hitler’s Growing Anti-Semitism

Today I read an interesting item from H-Net’s website (H-Net is a very good scholarly tool and worth exploring).   The item is called “Adolf Hitler’s First Antisemitic Writing, September 16, 1919” and I have chosen to put the item in full, including the summary as it is important for context reasons.

The reason I have posted the item is that it shows attitudes of one of modern history’s most infamous characters, it shows anti-Semitism at its worst (and what sheer and unadulterated ugliness it eventually resulted in).  It also has a modern perspective that should not be forgotten, that radical agendas, values has most certainly resurfaced its ugly head at levels not seen since the time of Adolf Hitler.    Thus, I post this as a reminder of what can happen.

As per my policy, I give full acknowledgment, respect and gratitude to the fine work of those that produced this item, I ask all to go to the site and most certainly never stop learning.

Hitler returned from a military hospital to Munich in early 1919. There he underwent a Reichswehr sponsored course of systematic political education for demobilizing soldiers that featured Pan- German nationalism, antisemitism, and anti-socialism. These same themes were prominent in Bavarian politics following the repression of the Munich revolution of 1918-19. Because antisemitism had not played a notable part in Bavarian politics prior to the revolutionary disturbances, a Herr Adolf Gemlich was prompted to send an inquiry about the importance of the “Jewish question” to Captain Karl Mayr, the officer in charge of the Reichswehr News and Enlightenment Department in Munich. Mayr referred him to Hitler, who had distinguished himself in the above-mentioned course by the vehemence of his radical nationalist and antisemitic views, and by his oratorical talents. Hitler was already feeling his way toward a political career; four days before responding to Gemlich in the letter translated below, he had paid his first visit to the German Workers’ Party (eventually renamed, the National Socialist Workers’ Party) as a confidential agent of the Reichswehr. In the letter to Gemlich he appears anxious to establish his credentials as a knowledgeable and sober antisemite. Compared to the inflammatory mass-meeting oratory that he was soon to make his specialty, Hitler’s rhetoric here is quite tame, stressing the need for a “rational” and “scientific” antisemitism. Some historians have interpreted the letter’s call for the “irrevocable removal [Entfernung]” of the Jews from German life as a prefiguring of the Holocaust. But it is clear from the context and from later statements that, at this point, Hitler meant segregation or expulsion rather than systematic liquidation. The letter, Hitler’s first explicitly political writing, impressed his Reichswehr superiors and he soon gained a reputation among radical rightist and socially respectable nationalist conservative groups as a man who could help inoculate the masses against revolution and whose antisemitic rhetoric could help discredit the democratic Weimar Republic. The letter may thus be seen as the launching of his political career. Source: Eberhard Jäckel (ed.), Hitler. Sämtliche Aufzeichnungen 1905-1924 (Stuttgart, 1980), pp. 88-90. Translated by Richard S. Levy.]


[September 16, 1919]

Dear Herr Gemlich,

The danger posed by Jewry for our people today finds expression in the undeniable aversion of wide sections of our people. The cause of this aversion is not to be found in a clear recognition of the consciously or unconsciously systematic and pernicious effect of the Jews as a totality upon our nation. Rather, it arises mostly from personal contact and from the personal impression which the individual Jew leaves–almost always an unfavorable one. For this reason, antisemitism is too easily characterized as a mere emotional phenomenon. And yet this is incorrect. Antisemitism as a political movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional impulses, but by recognition of the facts. The facts are these: First, Jewry is absolutely a race and not a religious association. Even the Jews never designate themselves as Jewish Germans, Jewish Poles, or Jewish Americans but always as German, Polish, or American Jews. Jews have never yet adopted much more than the language of the foreign nations among whom they live. A German who is forced to make use of the French language in France, Italian in Italy, Chinese in China does not thereby become a Frenchman, Italian, or Chinaman. It’s the same with the Jew who lives among us and is forced to make use of the German language. He does not thereby become a German. Neither does the Mosaic faith, so important for the survival of this race, settle the question of whether someone is a Jew or non-Jew. There is scarcely a race whose members belong exclusively to just one definite religion.

Through thousands of years of the closest kind of inbreeding, Jews in general have maintained their race and their peculiarities far more distinctly than many of the peoples among whom they have lived. And thus comes the fact that there lives amongst us a non- German, alien race which neither wishes nor is able to sacrifice its racial character or to deny its feeling, thinking, and striving. Nevertheless, it possesses all the political rights we do. If the ethos of the Jews is revealed in the purely material realm, it is even clearer in their thinking and striving. Their dance around the golden calf is becoming a merciless struggle for all those possessions we prize most highly on earth.

The value of the individual is no longer decided by his character or by the significance of his achievements for the totality but exclusively by the size of his fortune, by his money.

The loftiness of a nation is no longer to be measured by the sum of its moral and spiritual powers, but rather by the wealth of its material possessions.

This thinking and striving after money and power, and the feelings that go along with it, serve the purposes of the Jew who is unscrupulous in the choice of methods and pitiless in their employment. In autocratically ruled states he whines for the favor of “His Majesty” and misuses it like a leech fastened upon the nations. In democracies he vies for the favor of the masses, cringes before the “majesty of the people,” and recognizes only the majesty of money.

He destroys the character of princes with byzantine flattery, national pride (the strength of a people), with ridicule and shameless breeding to depravity. His method of battle is that public opinion which is never expressed in the press but which is nonetheless managed and falsified by it. His power is the power of money, which multiplies in his hands effortlessly and endlessly through interest, and which forces peoples under the most dangerous of yokes. Its golden glitter, so attractive in the beginning, conceals the ultimately tragic consequences. Everything men strive after as a higher goal, be it religion, socialism, democracy, is to the Jew only means to an end, the way to satisfy his lust for gold and domination.

In his effects and consequences he is like a racial tuberculosis of the nations.

The deduction from all this is the following: an antisemitism based on purely emotional grounds will find its ultimate expression in the form of the pogrom.[1] An antisemitism based on reason, however, must lead to systematic legal combatting and elimination of the privileges of the Jews, that which distinguishes the Jews from the other aliens who live among us (an Aliens Law). The ultimate objective [of such legislation] must, however, be the irrevocable removal of the Jews in general.

For both these ends a government of national strength, not of national weakness, is necessary.

The Republic in Germany owes its birth not to the uniform national will of our people but the sly exploitation of a series of circumstances which found general expression in a deep, universal dissatisfaction. These circumstances however were independent of the form of the state and are still operative today. Indeed, more so now than before. Thus, a great portion of our people recognizes that a changed state-form cannot in itself change our situation. For that it will take a rebirth of the moral and spiritual powers of the nation.

And this rebirth cannot be initiated by a state leadership of irresponsible majorities, influenced by certain party dogmas, an irresponsible press, or internationalist phrases and slogans. [It requires] instead the ruthless installation of nationally minded leadership personalities with an inner sense of responsibility.

But these facts deny to the Republic the essential inner support of the nation’s spiritual forces. And thus today’s state leaders are compelled to seek support among those who draw the exclusive benefits of the new formation of German conditions, and who for this reason were the driving force behind the revolution–the Jews. Even though (as various statements of the leading personalities reveal) today’s leaders fully realized the danger of Jewry, they (seeking their own advantage) accepted the readily proffered support of the Jews and also returned the favor. And this pay-off consisted not only in every possible favoring of Jewry, but above all in the hindrance of the struggle of the betrayed people against its defrauders, that is in the repression of the antisemitic movement.

Respectfully,
Adolf Hitler

Questions for Debate – The US Hikers detained in Iran

The story of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal is well-known.  The three hikers were detained by Iranian authorities and now held without trial for over 12 months.   The lack of charges and the claims of spying by the Iranian Government has become a political issue as much as a human rights issue for the families of the three.

I have raised the issue here because of two questions in my opinion need to be aired and answered.

Politics

How much has the issue been politicized by us in the West because of the current anti-Iranian and nuclear issue, is politics and agenda taking over the issue?   To put it more bluntly, is the support for the three for their human rights by many public figures or is it for other reasons?   The very respectable archbishop Desmond Tutu makes the demand and I respect that his motives are honest and clear enough, but some including those within the US Administration I have doubts.  For the families of the three, they would rightly not care about the politics and if it rides on the back of political agenda games, all the better for them if it comes to a result.

It should be pointed out that the three are “anti-war, social justice and Palestinian solidarity activists” with one being a well known left-wing activist and journalist.  That raises the next question:

Events

We here a great deal about their plight, the inhumanity they are suffering, but not much about why and how they were picked up.   Hikers straying over the border sounds fine alone, until one looks at the matter more closely.  I ask only one simple question that as far as I have seen has not been answered that frankly is a point Iranians are using:   

Who goes camping/hiking in a country with war, lawlessness and terrorism let alone the kidnapping, torture and murder of foreigners?   That region of Kurdistan is reasonably peaceful, but all watch-lists including from the US government said it is still a high-risk area prone to situation changes.  Was it just a visit to a waterfall?

As mentioned, this has not been clearly answered, and if one takes away the political agendas and media hype, a very constant and unanswered question is raised that many outside America are asking.   What is the truth?   They certainly do not look like idiots unaware of the dangers of stepping in that country, let alone entering danger zones.  They appear not to be “religious zealots” looking to convert locals as if that was the case, then they would be fools, repugnant and insulting and should have been charged as such. 

As activists with known political links, they may very well have gone for “some cause” which is not clear.  A scoop, a story to come back with.   The only alternative is the spy charges, which is doubtful, the US is not that unprofessional to do so.  

Was it tourism?

One French commentator I heard on radio said that it may very well be the combination of political agendas to cause an incident to justify more condemnation.   I have not seen evidence in either direction and no common sense in the matter and just political agenda from both sides and being played to the max.  The victims may not even be the three, but most certainly their families are suffering.

What do you think?  I will make a comment on the official website set up for the three telling them of these questions, in the hope of some comment and shedding of badly needed light on the matters.

Dove World Outreach Center – Radical Christian Hate Mongers

The Dove World Outreach Center is not new to controversy, they have been active for years issuing “Islam is of the Devil”  T-Shirts, condemning homosexuality with near violence, condemning basically anything or anyone that disagrees with them, to put it simply – nothing really “dove” like at all.

They now plan on September 11 to burn copies of the Muslim Koran in stark defiance to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) whom said in a statement:

“The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect”

The leader of Dove World Outreach Center is Pastor Dr Terry Jones, author of “Islam is of the Devil“, a hate-for-profit book that simply claims examples of historical events as some form of devilish proof (and conveniently ignoring the equally ugly history of Christianity) and then tying it to literal and fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible.   It is ironic that much, if not most, of Islam’s problems is with equally ugly individuals taking religious texts in a literal and fundamentalists manner.  He blames Islam for 9/11……

If we try to consider the logic behind such an ugly and frankly un-Christian excercise, we can only come to a number of conclusions.

a) He and his wife (why is it always the most successful fruitcake profiteering Evangelists are a husband & wife combo?) are seeking controversy to catch dollars because it sells so well.  

b) They are truly radical fundamentalists and simply blinded.

Why I think it is the former and not the latter is because of the book by Jones.  We must assume that he had to do some research to write a book and then in that case he knows his work is a lie.  He follows the baseless lines that other hate-for-profiteers do by noting the acts of (other) radicals and extremists and then assuming that all Muslims are as such.  Alternatively, following the Spencer-farce by pushing that the radical Islamists are obviously real Muslims and the rest are heretics.    Jones may very well have written his book from inside his closet and based all of his work on guess works and from questionable bloggers like Spencer, either way even the most closed mind that bothers to look at the world knows it is pure rubbish.

I personally do not care if a group of obviously blinded radical evangelists with a lack of knowledge and facts burns books, though it is ugly and hurtful to the Muslims, but what it most certainly will do is be used as proof by the just-as-ugly radical Islamists as proof that Christian America is on a Crusade to wage war on Islam and thus they must do the same.

Thanks Dr Jones, you have done everything to make sure the division stays and gets worse.

Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam

I wonder what the much more famous and respectable Terry Jones would think about this person, considering he directed The Life of Brian and the best of the very sacriligeous Monty Python sketches, including the “not the Spanish Inquisition” skits.

Question for Debate: When does religious views cross the line?

I read in DutchNews.nl today an item called “Bible Belt says no to football on Sunday, whatever the occasion” which at first I thought was just “a bit funny” and then started wondering.  

As it is not a long item so I will quote it in full, with full acknowledgement and respect to DutchNews.nl.

Friday 09 July 2010

The Netherlands may be on the brink of its first football World Cup title, but in some parts of the Dutch Bible Belt, watching tv on a Sunday is totally forbidden, the Telegraaf points out on Friday.

And Kees van der Staaij, leader of the fundamentalist Protestant party SGP is one of those who will not be following events in South Africa.

‘Absolutely not,’ a spokesman told the Telegraaf. ‘He may watch television occasionally for work but never to relax and absolutely not on Sunday.’

In the village of Urk, which has 20 plus churches for its population of 17,000, three cafes have aroused the ire of religious leaders for deciding to open their doors during the match.

But in the Bible Belt heartland of Staphorst people who actually have a tv will watch quietly at home, a town council spokeswoman said. ‘Someone might run outside with a tooter, but they will go back in again straight away’.

In the village of Elburg the local minister has prayed for Oranje to lose. He has even advised parents to put a filter on their children’s computers so they do not watch such a ‘sinful’ match. © DutchNews.nl

What does this item tell us?    For me, many things.  I dislike the SGP for many reasons, that they want to ban women from any public office being amongst them.   Having said that, the right to religious belief is a fundamental principle that I share with my country and consider that sacred.  The question does comes at what point does a faith that control the lives of its followers cross over the line of the rules, standards and morals of the country as a whole.  Also when does those followers start impacting on those that disagree with that faith’s standards?  History, recent past and even the present has endless examples of what that causes around our now very small planet.

We all know the grave problem of how radical Islamism forces not only other Muslims to follow a certain line, but how it also makes unwarranted and unjustified demands on western societies that these radicals are present in.  That radicalism is not only subject of media attention, albeit much real and some often exaggerated, but it is also used and abused by other radicals to fulfill their own ugly agendas.  My blog is full of such examples.   Nevertheless, if radical Islamists are willing to go that far, what about Christian Fundamentalist groupings like that which the SGP represent –  will they go that far if they are able to get away with it?

That is the question that I wish readers to consider.   What would happen say if the SGP took the second largest number of voters or the largest?    They would demand women not be allowed to take public office, that is a clear agenda platform – even though that would require a constitutional alteration.   Would they forbid football on Sundays?  Would they force Christian teachings in Government Schools?  Would they limit or ban non-Christian schools?   Limit the growth, sponsorship and funding of non-Christian organisations that are involved in serious community work?

What is the limit when a community thinks something is sinful and requires actions?    My concern is that groups like the SGP will, as a result of economic and social issues, become more radicalized with the extreme members having more influence in policy.  That they will grow like the PVV (or perhaps take some of the PVV votes as and when that ugly abomination collapses) and that their numbers will grow to a significant level to create a lobby group with just enough clout to make trouble.   What will happen, I fear, is that they will have enough influence to have a say, a hearing of sorts, but because their principles are a “matter of faith” and a “matter of God’s Will in their batle against what they call sin”, that they will feel OBLIGED to take matters into their own hands.

The subject in that item might seem to be about football, but it raises a very interesting question.  Though tolerance, human rights and freedom of expression are the normal accepted standards of my country, our history has often shown otherwise.  In our more recent past a siginficant enough number of my country along with a number of others, sided with Hitler and embraced even Nazism.  Further back it should never be forgotten that the apartheid movement, organized racism and much of European’s ugly history in Africa stemmed directly from the guidence and followers of the Dutch Reformed Church.

What do you think?

Question for Debate: Israeli’s Settlements – Legitimacy and Size

Below is an item republished in full from Amy Teibel, an Associated Press Writer, called ” Israeli settlements cover 42 percent of West Bank(full aknowledgement given).  It explains that Israeli Human Rights Group “B’Tselem” says the figure as high as 42 per cent of the West Bank is now in control of Israeli Settlers.  Of course Settlers argue that it is not so and only 9 per cent is controlled by them.  

source: opendemocracy.net

 

What do you think?   We know that much of the driving force behind the Settler Movement is in fact ultra-orthodox religious zeal, and that their claims to settlements is based on the assumption that all of the West Bank is in fact the God-Given Israel of ancient times.   At the same time, B’Tselem is not Palestinian nor is it Muslim, so for what reason would they point this information out?  They are well respected, award winning and the only criticism (and to a degree violence towards them) appears to only come from pro-Settlement organisations, the Settlers themselves and members of the far-right in government and the Israeli military (of which much of BTselem’s criticism gives.   It would be correct to say that Settlements continue, that is as aparant as the existance of an internationally condemned blockade on Gaza.

So the questions are, who do we believe?  What is the motives for such a figure?  What are the implications of such a figure?

JERUSALEM – Jewish settlements control more than 42 percent of the West Bank, and much of that land was seized from Palestinian landowners in defiance of an Israeli Supreme Court ban, an Israeli human rights group said Tuesday.

The group’s findings echo what other anti-settlement activists have claimed in the past: That settlements have taken over lands far beyond their immediate perimeters, sometimes from private Palestinians. Israel’s settlements have been a much-criticized enterprise throughout the decades and a major obstacle to peacemaking with the Palestinians.

“The extensive geographic-spatial changes that Israel has made in the landscape of the West Bank undermine the negotiations that Israel has conducted for 18 years with the Palestinians and breach its international obligations,” the B’Tselem group said in a summary of its report.

Settlers disputed the figures and said the report by the B’Tselem group was politically motivated. Israeli officials had no comment.

The report was based on official state documents, including military maps and a military settlement database, the B’Tselem said.

Although the actual buildings of the settlements cover just 1 percent of the West Bank’s land area, their jurisdiction and regional councils extends to more than 42 percent, the group added.

Twenty-one percent of the land for these settlements was seized from Palestinian landowners, much of it after Israel’s Supreme Court outlawed the practice in 1979.

Dani Dayan, chairman of the settlers council, said settlements control just 9.2 percent of the West Bank, not 42 percent.

“It’s a political report by an organization that has been taken over the most radical anti-Israel elements,” Dayan said. “The whole point is to sabotage the meeting between (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama.”

Netanyahu was en route Tuesday to Washington, where he was due to meet with Obama later in the day to discuss advancing peacemaking and other regional issues.

Some 300,000 Jews live in West Bank settlements and an additional 180,000 live in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. Israel captured both territories from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians envision all three areas for a future state.

Wilders – Out of Coalition Talks as a Threat to Democracy

Dutch media has been reporting that Wilders will not be a part of any government coalition, mostly due to the simple fact that Wilders is a threat to democracy and is unwilling to “change his ways”.

According to the Volkskrant, during a parliamentary debate on progress made towards creating a new cabinet after the June 9 general election on Tuesday night, Rutte asked Wilders seven times to join him. Wilders was asked by several party leaders during the debate to answer the point about democracy made by CDA leader Maxime Verhagen but he declined to comment the Financieele Dagblad explained and quoted Verhagen as saying that they will not join the VVD and PVV because of the potential threat to democracy.

Labour leader Job Cohen said during the debate that Wilders’ refusal to talk means the door has now been firmly closed on a right-wing cabinet.