Free Speech on Trial in the Netherlands – Again

You are not truly a proponent of free speech unless you defend speech you dislike as fervently as speech you like.

There are many issues concerning the views of the Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, head of rapidly growing political party, the Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, or PVV). Dutch prosecutors have charged Wilders with insulting deliberately a group of people because of their race and inciting hatred. Wilders’s trial focuses on a speech he gave, in which he asked a crowd of supports whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. In another instance, Wilders is reported to have stated that The Hague should be “a city with fewer burdens and if possible fewer Moroccans.” Wilders admits to having made the remarks.

The remarks Wilders made about Moroccans, as they target only one nationality rather than immigration in general, may sound ill-judged or distasteful to some. But do Wilders’s comments, that there should be fewer Moroccans, actually incite hatred or violence? His remarks do not suggest that people attack Moroccans or that people should hate Moroccans; they simply suggest that there should be lower levels of immigration from Morocco.

While Wilder’s comments could certainly be convincingly portrayed as preying on people’s anti-immigration sentiment, does that actually make them an insult to Moroccans, or is he simply supporting policies he thinks would benefit his country? As Wilders himself said in court last week, “What if someone had said, ‘Fewer Syrians?'”


Juncker’s mock concern about Britain – The Commentator

When Mr Juncker, president of the European Commission, tells me the EU interferes too much I assume he is getting worried that the EU might lose the UK referendum.

I look forward to more direct EU interventions in our debate, as it is all about them and the way they behave. One of the worst features of the EU is our national inability to cross examine and fire if necessary the Commission that governs us.

What Mr Juncker’s mock humility and apparent outbreak of concern masks is his continued failure to talk about what really matters to UK voters. He does not tell us they take too much of our money and we should get it back.

They do not grasp that we want to control our own borders and think EU policies have resulted in too many EU migrants. Whilst he now claims to understand we want to make more of our own laws, there is no EU Commission list of major EU laws and powers to be repealed.

I guess if the polls deteriorate further for the EU side in the referendum we might get some proposals or suggestions of how they might start to tackle their unwarranted interference, but I doubt they would survive long if, as a result, the UK was foolish enough to vote for the EU.


Suicide Bus Bombing Returns

Beyond the Cusp

An Egged bus this Monday was viciously bombed in Jerusalem leaving at least sixteen wounded, with the inclusion of one very critically and two seriously wounded amongst those struck. The initial police investigating the scene reported they suspected the explosion was a terror attack but that report was quickly silenced replaced with a more cautious report simply claiming a bus had exploded with the source being unknown and a second nearby bus which held whatever it was that exploded (see pictures below with captions linked to their supporting articles). Doctors reporting on the injuries their patients had suffered removed all doubt in our eyes, and eventually law enforcement came around as well to the knowing this had been a terrorist bombing and likely an attempted or successful suicidal homicide bombing. Many of the patients had the telltale wounds caused by flying nuts, bolts, screws and nails which had apparently been…

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Many Middle-Class Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Since 2013, the Federal Reserve Board has conducted a survey to “monitor the financial and economic status of American consumers.” Most of the data in the latest survey, frankly, are less than earth-shattering: 49 percent of part-time workers would prefer to work more hours at their current wage; 29 percent of Americans expect to earn a higher income in the coming year; 43 percent of homeowners who have owned their home for at least a year believe its value has increased. But the answer to one question was astonishing. The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?

Well, I knew. I knew because I am in that 47 percent.

I know what it is like to have to juggle creditors to make it through a week. I know what it is like to have to swallow my pride and constantly dun people to pay me so that I can pay others. I know what it is like to have liens slapped on me and to have my bank account levied by creditors. I know what it is like to be down to my last $5—literally—while I wait for a paycheck to arrive, and I know what it is like to subsist for days on a diet of eggs. I know what it is like to dread going to the mailbox, because there will always be new bills to pay but seldom a check with which to pay them. I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding; it all depended on whether something good happened. And I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.