“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Express yo self. An elephant in the parlour.

Speaking honestly is a declining commodity in most countries. It has rapidly declined in the US and has been doing so for some time. There is a lot of group think and thought discipline out there. Speaking openly in the US can cost you your job and position and will win you a label. Do so and you will be reduced to a category.

I try and practice that on this blog. Most of you do as well. We welcome your views and I challenge those that disagree with me or other posters to do so with vigor. If you cannot do it here, you will not be able to do it anywhere.

From the remaining free thinkers in The Netherlands:

radio Netherlands
by Perro de Jong

It was carnival weekend. We'd been singing along to the old Dutch tune, "There's a Horse in the Hall," and our conga-line had ground to a sweaty halt. I'd been dancing behind a woman in a burqa, and I thought I might just be in with a chance. When suddenly, from under the veil, what do I hear but the basso profundo of my old mate Dion?

"It's yourself," says I. "Shame on you for giving me such a fright!" "Sorry," says Dion. "I was going to come dressed as the Prophet Muhammad - you know, turban, virgins, bombs - but they wouldn't let me in. Goes to show how little freedom we have in this country. It's like Geert always says: bloody left-wing church spoiling it for everyone."

Ah yes, controversial politician Geert Wilders. Whose far-right Freedom Party my old friend had joined, and who'd won nine seats in the Dutch elections last November. "Geert is right, you know," Dion went on. "If we're not careful we're going to have a Tsuslanimani. I mean,, Tunasamullah..."

"You mean an Islam Tsunami," says I, trying to be helpful. "Ha!" says he. "So you agree! I always had you down as one of those left-wing types! Bloody left-wing church, spoiling it for everyone. You know, I was going to come dressed as the prophet..."

"Yeah, yeah," says I, "so how's old Geert doing these days? Still in hiding? I hear in Pakistan they want to hang him, and in Saudi Arabia they're demanding an official apology. What was it he said again? That Muslims have to tear up half the Qur'an or else they should leave the Netherlands."

From underneath the burqa came a throaty, drunken laugh. "Wasn't that sheer genius? Like asking Americans to tear up their flag, you know they start seeing red the moment you suggest it. Gets those Muslims right where he wants them."

"And where would that be?" says I. "Well, you remember Theo van Gogh and the film, Submission? You remember Ayaan Hirsi Ali? The Danish Cartoon row? That all took months before it exploded, but our Geert...the interview was only last week and already they want to kill him. Brilliant, eh?"

While I took a moment to let this profound statement sink in, Dion went on. "You know, there's an elephant in the parlour and it's called Islam. I read that somewhere on a website." "And what exactly is that supposed to mean?" says I. "Dunno" says he. "But an elephant is big and noisy and it leaves an enormous mess." "Just like Geert Wilders," says I.

Dion had begun to leer at me from behind the veil. "Say, are you one of those, what do you call them, dummies?" he said in a belligerent voice. "I believe the word you're looking for is 'dhimmi'" says I, "a non-Muslim who seeks the protection of Islam because he's afraid and agrees to live as a rightless slave."

"Whatever. Anyway, there's no place for dummies in a modern, civilized country like the Netherlands. Geert said that himself, and that if Muhammad were alive today, we should tar and feather him. Tar and feathers...that'll teach him to mess with a modern, civilized country." "Why don't we hack off his hands while we're at it," I suggested. "Or hang him upside down from the nearest tree? Erect a few burning crosses perhaps?"

"Just you wait," said Dion. "Nobody likes mockers like you. Take that fellow Ewout Jansen, the comedian. Some guy at a mosque in Amsterdam said he should be killed if he continued to make fun of Islam. Then some other guy from the same mosque denied it, and now he doesn't even know if he's to be killed or not! Yet everyone can make jokes about Geert Wilders' hairdo whenever they feel like it. It's just not fair."

" know what they say about types like Wilders," says I. "Hair today, gone tomorrow." We both laughed until we cried. For a brief moment, everything was silent. Then the conga-line started up again. "There's an Elephant in the Parlour," I'm sure I could hear them sing...

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Radio Netherlands.( No irony intended)


  1. Jimmy Buffett -
    Just An Old Truth Teller

    Lester Atlas, a crude, very rich corporate raider, traps Norman in the "Caribbean Dream" by offering to buy the hotel for him, and then welshing on the deal when Norman can no long back out. He is a
    dispicable but somehow lovable rogue, who in his own mind is a magnanimous, misunderstood benefactor of humanity. What other people call corporate raiding,
    he explains, telling the truth in business:

    I’m just an old truth teller
    I’m your candid friend
    I’m not some daydream seller
    I do not pretend
    I’ve a sense of survival
    And screwing my rivals
    That’s labeled me crossed and uncouth
    But I can’t help it I just tell the truth
    He can’t help it, he just tells the truth

    I’m just an old truth teller
    Brutally direct
    I see it eye for eye
    I’m rarely incorrect
    Why call me a sharp trader
    A corporate raider
    I’m a role model for today’s youth
    It’s so simple, I just tell the truth
    He can’t help it, he just tells the truth


    Why was I born to be right all the time
    In deal after deal after deal
    Foiling those sharks that are circling my penthouse
    Hoping to make a meal

    No good deed goes unpunished
    Nothing goes as planed
    My ingrate family left me
    I don’t understand

    Where’s your wife?
    In alaska
    Any sons?
    In nebraska
    And my daughter milks cows in duluth
    I can’t help it, I just tell the truth
    Ohh he can’t help it, he just sells it
    He can’t help, he just tells it
    I can’t help, I just tell the truth

  2. And then ask yourself...
    Who'd telling the truth?

    U.N. calls U.S. data on Iran's nuclear aims unreliable

    Tips about supposed secret weapons sites and documents with missile designs haven't panned out, diplomats say.
    By Bob Drogin and Kim Murphy, Times Staff Writers
    February 25, 2007
    — Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.

    The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons.

    "Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."

    Who we gonna call, this time?

  3. For those that wondered about the bombing of tthe Sunni mosque that killed 40 or so, Bill Roggio has the scoop.

    Saturday's attack against the Habbaniyah imam demonstrates the extreme measures al-Qaeda will take to murder its opponents. In order to get to the imam, who, according to Reuters "had spoken out against Sunni al-Qaeda members during prayers on Friday," al-Qaeda targeted a mosque. The suicide bomber killed 39 and wounded 62. The explosion destroyed a nearby market, and many women and children are said to have been killed.

    Yep, it was not the Mahdi Army, nor any other Shia militia that staged that attack, no it seems the Shia militias are still complying with the Government Cease Fire.

    aQ Iraq is targeting the Sunni leaders in Anbar that have "flipped".

  4. Almost immediately after Mr Cheney and Ms Rice declaring SUCCESS in Basra this is reported at Threatswatch:

    Sadrists Allegedly Murder Rival Shia Elders in Basra
    As reported in today’s Al-Hayat (“Shaikhiya Faction Accuses ‘Mahdi Army’ of Assassinating Two”), the Shaikhiya Faction is accusing the Sadrist Mahdi Army of murdering two of its elders. The article quoted Shaikh Amar al-Faiz, head of the Awlad Amar tribe and a leader in the Shaikhiya, as saying that four men in black dress stopped their vehicle at a security checkpoint, took one to a Sadrist-dominated neighborhood, and when the other called the police, the police arrived but joined the kidnappers. The article does not indicate how this information was procured, although it does cite multiple local sources as giving alternative explanations for the hit; some saying that in the city there was an ongoing Sadrist-Shaikhiya contest over local business, or alternatively that it might have been part of a theological struggle, as the Shaikhiya had been excluded from local positions by Shia previously based in Iran.

    Al-Hayat notes that the Skaikhiya are a Shia faction not aligned with any prominent religious authority nor aligned with any of the major political parties.

    February 25, 2007 3:45 PM

    Does not pay to be an Independent in Iraq. Especially an Independent without Iranian connections.

  5. Desert Rat said, aQ Iraq is targeting the Sunni leaders in Anbar that have "flipped".

    Sunni on Sunni now. Good, maybe we can get this thing isolated down to an endemic internecine squabble between different flavors of Sunnis and let them bomb themselves back to the 7th Century. Meanwhile the Kurds and Shi'ites can pump oil and rig for their own defenses.

  6. The smell of beer, and blood on the floor!


    The sweet smell of FREEDOM!