Verdonk loses leadership battle for free-market liberal VVD party
Well, pretty much all the news is in the caption. Rita Verdonk will not be leading the VVD party in the 2007 elections. Instead, Mark Rutte will bear the torch. Stay tuned for mudslinging from the Verdonk camp, who will probably leak stories about election fraud within the next week. At least, that's my guess.
But for now there are at least two reasons to be happy. First, these are the first American-style primaries for a political party we've had in this country. This may mean we'll become a democracy some day after all. Second, Rita Verdonk, who has shown a huge lack of statemanship in mishandling the Ayaan Hirsi Magan/Ali affair, is gone from the center stage.
For now, at least.
I just hope Rutte will pack the same punch against the PvdA social democrats as Verdonk would have.
Aan het onderzoek naar het journalistieke gehalte van weblogs is massaal meegedaan. Maar om het doel te halen, hebben we nog van minstens 761 webloggers hun mening nodig. Lees hier meer over het onderzoek, of vul het hier gelijk in.
Alleged terrorists thank left-wing PBS for character assassination of Ayaan
The VARA is the socialist department of Dutch PBS (our PBS system is insanely complicated, don't even try to understand it - suffice it to say that every major political, cultural or religious group in Dutch society got its own mini-PBS in the previous century and kept it ever since) that aired the episode of news show Zembla in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali was smeared.
It is with great pleasure that I can report that the VARA had some flowers delivered Thursday afternoon, courtesy of the terrorist organization Hofstadgroep, of which Mohammed Bouyeri, murderer of Theo van Gogh, was a member. I thought it was a joke at first, except that Jermaine Walters was one of the guys who delivered the flowers. Jermaine is the brother of Jason, a felon convicted on terrorism charges who is now serving a 15 year jail sentence. Jermaine himself was acquited of terrorist harges. The flowers were the idea of Zakaria Taybi, another acquited Hofstad Group suspect, according to Jermaine Walters.
Pleasure? Yes. This is the kind of praise that pierces through hypocritical political correctness, and exposes the VARA vermin for what they are.
I think I'm going to get Jermaine a Verdonk T-shirt to thank him.
Courtesy of Cox and Forkum, who have also been very kind in granting me permission me to reprint some of their cartoons in my MA thesis.
Rita Verdonk stated yesterday night at the final debate for the leadership position within the free-market VVD that Hirsi Ali will get a Dutch passport, and a new one at that if it turns out the legal mess Ms. Verdonk in her unbelievable lack of statesmanship has created.
As for silver linings to these clouds: it's a good thing that American-style primaries are being held nowadays. Not too long ago, big parties such as the VVD had candidates which were fielded by the top brass. Hopefully, the electorate will be just as merciless towards Verdonk as Americans were when a certain Mr. Dean displayed how prone he was to instable behavior.
Pundit Ebru Umar, who was attacked earlier this year in Amsterdam, has stated that Verdonk must have lied when she said that she didn't hear that Hirsi Ali's real name was Hirsi Magan until very recently. After Theo van Gogh was murdered, Umar wrote an infamous article in which she accused Hirsi Ali of being responsible for Van Gogh's death. This article also contained Hirsi Ali's real name. As a result of the article, Verdonk invited her at the Immigration Department - back in 2004.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende has publicly stated he will keep a close check on Verdonk to make sure she gives Hirsi Ali back her nationality as soon as possible, a huge humilliation.
The VVD will allow members who have voted by mail for the new VVD leader to change their votes, and vote again electronically. Officially, this is a measure to prevent people from voting twice. Yeah, right.
About the Verdonk T-shirts: more very soon. I am waiting for the EPS files right now.
You could cry about Dutch PBS, which just featured an item about the 'common people' who nowadays express themselves through talk radio and blogs. How dare they. Fortunately, no eating advice regarding the superiority of cake compared to bread.
Or you could laugh at, or with, Rita Verdonk, the woman who now has said that, until the legal mess about AHA's citizenship status has been sorted out, Hirsi Ali will get to keep her Dutch passport for now. Yes, she's a happy puppy:
We all know secretary Rita Verdonk, the woman that revoked Ayaan's citizenship in order to ensure her victory in the leadership contest that's currently taking place within the VVD party. That's why my dear friend Kay Coenen and I had a bit of a phone conversation earlier today. Kay is a magnificent artist and made this:
Translation: 'Rules are rules'
If you are sure you want a T-shirt, then send an e-mail with your address details to email@example.com. If there's enough, we'll have them printed. Please indicate your size as well.
If you are just interested and don't want to commit to anything yet, then send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If that number gets high enough - it'll have to be higher than the 'sure' number - we'll have them printed as well.
If there are many takers, we will offer a choice of different designs. View them in more detail by clicking on the thumbnail below:
To our English readers: Please also indicate if you would like an English language version produced. Again, if there are enough takers, we'll make it.
Costs: If they get printed, shirts will be 15 euros excluding shipping. Any profits will go to someone who needs the money more than we do, preferably some organization promoting democracy or liberty (perhaps we'll get enough to buy our own cruise missile so we can blow Mugabe to kingdom come - now that would be a big leap forwards.)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali's fellow members of the VVD free-market party are in an uproar. The normally hugely loyal Dutch VVD MP Bibi de Vries has said that 'if anything happens to AHA, her blood will be on the hands of members of my party'. Former party leader Van Aartsen appeared on television with his face looking like a freshly boiled lobster. European VVD MP's as well as Geert Dales, the VVD mayor of Leeuwarden, have condemned secretary Rita Verdonk's preliminary decision to revoke AHA's citizenship.
What will happen next?
AHA will hold a press conference, which is starting right now.
The political opposition is preparing a parliamentary condemnation of Verdonk's action. Such a condemnation will effectively end Rita Verdonk's tenure if it gets a majority.
The condemnation may very well get that majority, because of the open revolt within the VVD. Also, the right-of-centre CDA party, which supports the current administration, has expressed doubts about Verdonk.
If Verdonk has to go, then the entire Balkenende administration may have to resign, if it turns out that Balkenende was informed of Verdonk's decision.
Also, the Dutch law philosopher Afshin Ellian, a colleague of mine at Leiden University (I've never met him though), is preparing legal action against Rita Verdonk.
Press conference of AHA
13.56: Vice prime minister Gerrit Zalm openly supports AHA during her press conference, thus adding further fuel to speculations about Rita Verdonk's political future.
14.04. Zalm sneers at Verdonk, hinting at the extreme speed with which Verdonk decided to revoke AHA's citizenship: 'If she always works with this speed, the immigration service will soon be rid of all backlogs.'
Debate on Verdonk
16.45. A debate which may decide the future of Rita Verdonk is about to start. Prime minister Balkenende has distanced himself from Verdonk by expressing his reservations about the speed with which Verdonk has made her decision on AHA. This means he is probably employing a CYA strategy, intended to at least salvage the current government.
17.35. Lousewies van der Laan, who leads the centrist D66 (Democrat 66) party, has announced she will file a motion which will, if it gets a majority, effectively force secretary Rita Verdonk to use her so-called 'discretionary powers' (i.e. a sort of executive privilege) to grant AHA a new Dutch passport, before the end of this week.
17.41. Geert 'Peroxide Head' Wilders gets his turn to speak in Parliament. He says there are days when he's wondering what he's doing in politics. I've been thinking the same thing about Wilders for quite a while.
18.35. They're eating until 20.15. Take a look at our new T-shirts in the meantime ;-).
18.43. Planet Internet reports that VVD and CDA will support the D66 attempt to grant AHA Dutch citizenship after all.
21.10. Femke Halsema, leader of GroenLinks (Green Left), reveals the email address of AHA: email@example.com. This means that just about everyone in The Hague must have known AHA lied about her name for years - and there's absolutely no reason why Verdonk would start an investigation into her now - apart from opportunism borne of the desire to become the leader of the VVD party.
22.15. The Second Chamber (Lower House) is in recess. You didn't miss much, as with any parliament most of decision making process does not take place in front of the cameras. VVD chief whip Willibrord van Beek spoke some ambigous but subtly ominous words to a PBS journalist about Verdonk's political future. The Second Chamber is not pleased, to say the least. And although Verdonk may still survive this debate, she's dead in the water politically. Her main competitor in the VVD leadership tussle, Mark Rutte, is sitting back while he now soars in the polls.
Of course, the guy who is laughing most is Wouter Bos, PvdA (Labour Party) leader. It was the VARA, a social-democratic PBS station (don't ask me to explain our PBS system to you, I won't), that aired the documentary that started this latest witch hunt. It is Verdonk, a person who could lead the VVD to a victory in next year's election, who had an image of being steadfast to uphold after she threw a 17 year old girl out of the country, and denied the Dutch citizenship to a talented soccer player who wanted to participate in the upcoming world championship.
Even though I am convinced Verdonk did this because out of opportunism, the reasons for it being opportune were there for all to see. If this was a trap by the PvdA, the VVD took it, hook, line and sinker. For weeks now, the VVD has been gaining seats in the polls because of the so-called 'Verdonk effect', in anticipation of her taking over the VVD leadership. I'm not optimistic about the new poll at the end of this week.
22.58. Dutch PBS reports that the VVD and CDA, the two main parties that form the government, will ask of Verdonk to reconsider her decision - or else.
23.01. Pieter Dorsman is dead wrong. I am perfectly happy being Dutch. I am just not too happy with some of my fellow countrymen and, specifically, countrywomen that are not deserving of the title.
23.10. Dutch PBS reports a compromise may be in the works between the VVD and Verdonk. Then again, this is only based on a reporter dropping in on a private little chat between Verdonk and Ter Beek, who immediately got up and left.
23.29. Van Beek (VVD) files a motion asking Verdonk to reconsider her decision. It is supported by four other parties: CDA (right-centrist), PvdA (labour), D66 (centrist liberal) and GroenLinks (way too left).
It should be added, especially for those readers who have the inclination to mask their ignorance of the local situation by throwing words such as 'cowardice' at the situation, that this course of action is not entirely without logic. CDA and VVD want to get rid of Verdonk, but they can't. It will mean elections, which the left-wing parties will win, as they are going much stronger in the polls than CDA and VVD.
This may well be the result of a compromise. It's speculation, but here's my take. The VVD leadership doesn't want Verdonk, but Mark Rutte to lead the party. So Verdonk gets to live for now - but her political career will be over after this administration resigns at the end of its term (hopefully). And she'll have to back out of the leadership race. If she announces her withdrawal from this race somewhere this week, we'll know that I was right - or not, of course, if she doesn't.
00.52. Verdonk accepts the motion, meaning she will have to either revoke her earlier revocation of AHA's citizenship, or give her a new one pronto.
01.02. But then seems to ruin it all by stubbornly interpreting the motion in exactly the way the Second Chamber doesn't intend it. This may end in her resignation after all.
01.44. A THIRD term of the debate will start at 02.00. This should not happen. It means the Second Chamber is not satisfied with the response of Verdonk to the motion it has filed. It may also mean Verdonk may still be dismissed (yes, please), and bring down the government with her (not yet, please).
01.49. Grin. Some Ayaan cartoons.
01.55. I'm signing off for the night as this may well take until morning. If you want to keep score, I suggest Google News.
9.02. It's a good thing I didn't stay up. Nothing much happened after this. But AHA will get her Dutch citizenship - one way or the other.
Hizb ut Tahrir, an Islamist organization, send me a press release at the time when the debate about AHA is raging on in Dutch Parliament. It includes this pleasant bit of Muslim theology:
Verily, we have prepared for the evildoers a fire, sheets of which shall encompass them; and if they cry for help, they shall be helped with water like molten brass, which shall roast their faces: an ill drink and an evil couch! Verily, those who believe and act aright,-verily, we will not waste the hire of him who does good works.
Several American readers have suggested that, in the wake of the AHA affair, I consider moving to the United States as well.
I'm not quite ready to do that - yet. I just bought a house here and, apart from the fact that I actually would like to live there for a while, I am legally bound not to sell it until it's finished, somewhere in late 2007.
But I had already decided to start taking part in Green Card lotteries, and will also keep an eye out for jobs in the USA that come available at the companies I work for in the Netherlands.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali timeline: the Machiavellian assassination of an MP
Secretary Rita Verdonk has legalized many, many illegal aliens out of the 26,000 that the left in the Netherlands has claimed were prosecuted unduly.
Now, Rita Verdonk has ruled that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is probably no longer Dutch.
I have earlier shocked at least one reader of this blog (hi, BB) by admitting I am not a huge fan of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This has nothing to do with her points of view. I agree with quite a few of them. It's how she seems to overly rely on awakening male protective instincts to make her points. Politicians should try to convince their voters by using arguments, not by appealing to emotions. It may be a personal flaw, but whenever I feel someone tries to push my buttons, I find myself responding by immediately jumping in the opposite direction. (This didn't keep me from voting for AHA during the last parliamentary elections, by the way.)
That being said, the whole affair smells worse than badger juice mixed with garlic.
Just look at the following date line:
May 11, 2006. Zembla, a tv news show by left wing PBS organization VARA, regurgitates mainly old facts about the lies Ayaan Hirsi Ali told back in 1992 when she was applying for asylum status in the Netherlands. Conservative pundit Leon de Winter has rightly remarked most of the information wasn't new, and nobody made a fuss about it when she confessed to her lies herself, 4 years ago.
May 12, 2006. After initially having stated Ayaan Hirsi Ali had no need to worry, secretary Rita Verdonk now responds to criticism of being too lenient by announcing an investigation into AHA's legal status. Verdonk, incidentally, is running for the leadership position of the free-market and right-wing VVD party, on a platform of stringent adherence to immigration rules.
May 13, 2006 and May 14, 2006. Deafening silence over the weekend. Rumors abound about AHA's probable departure to the USA.
. May 15, 2006, 11 AM. AHA's friend, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, also a VVD member, tells journalists she didn't know about AHA's lies, thus distancing herself from AHA..
. May 15, 2006, 2 PM. Left-wing newspaper 'de Volkskrant' reports AHA will start to work for the American Enterprise Institute.
, May 15, 2006, 8 PM. Several surveys show that about four-fifths of the Dutch will be glad to be rid of AHA. Hans Wiegel, who is to the right-wing VVD what Eisenhower would be to the Republicans were he still alive, only far less competent, is among them.
, May 15 2006, 10 PM. Secretary Rita Verdonk announces AHA may not have the Dutch nationality after all.
My take? The VVD party knew AHA had to be sacrificed to fend off a left-wing takeover of the country during the 2007 elections. Rita Verdonk added insult to injury because it increases her own chances of winning the party leadership, and the VVD honchos stand by idly because they know the hugely popular Verdonk may be the only thing standing between Labour Party leader Wouter Bos and four years of social-democratic misery.
It's only to save you from further disappointment. I will most likely not be able to meet your expectations. I am sorry for that. I work about 80 hours a week, run my own company and am pursuing an MA thesis. I have taken about four days off in the past year and a half, so I may not have time to blog about the very same thing Pieter Dorsman already writes about at his excellent Peaktalk.
I apologize for being so selfish that at those rare occassions when I have time to fill my blog, I sometimes choose to write about personal affairs, so I can keep in touch with people I don't get to see very often. I hope Saint Peter will have mercy on me when I stand at the pearly gates some day. Perhaps the six Canada and America-based journalists whom I helped pro bono with their stories about Van Gogh and Islam in the Netherlands in the past few years, none of whom ever sent a thank you note, will speak up for me then, though it may be a good thing that being dead I'll be way past holding my breath.
It may also happen that I defend the freedom of speech of someone I don't fully agree with. If this person is holding opinions similar to your own, please accept my unreserved apologies for not writing exactly what you would have written if you hadn't been so lazy or cowardly to forego starting your own blog. I subsequently accept full responsibility for adhering to Voltaire's adage about defending someone's freedom of speech being especially important when you don't agree with that person.
Also, please accept my humblest apologies for blogging for free, rather than demanding donations or organizing annual/monthly/weekly 'pledge drives'. Should the contents of Zacht Ei nevertheless not be to your satisfaction, please be sure to contact me so we can work out a way for me to make amends. I suggest a scheme in which I will cut your grass with a nail clipper once for every time I let you down. Alternatively, you could perhaps sell one of my kidneys. Hey, I'm giving you a free piece of my mind already.
Finally, I am afraid I am too morally corrupt to be able to adequately respond to charges of anti-Americanism or spiritual retardation. After all, I only drove to an American war cemetery once last year, which still left me three days off I could have used less selfishly. I humly bow to your profound assessment of my mental valor, and can only hope to one day rise to a greatness of the kind that you, my dear unsatisfied reader, have already achieved.
Philips is an electronics company which has long used the slogan 'Let's make things better'. I'd always thought it would be a good idea to start doing so before they put stuff in stores, but evidently Philips still begs to differ.
My new Perfect Draft beer tap is broken, after pouring only one keg of beer with it. The machine won't take the second keg - the pump keeps on running, up to the point of spreading an ozone-like smell, at which point I decided to pull the plug (literally - no Schiavo puns intended. Honest).
Thanks, Philips, for still giving me that nostalgic 19th century feeling.
Yay, I've got a new neighbor at Heer Halewijnstraat 20 - I
He lives in the apartment directly above me, and yesterday night he decided to redecorate his floor, and at the same time, fix my toilet which lies directly below his now also defunct bathroom.
It was a lot of hard work, but the result sure looks good.
And yes, those are lumps of concrete, not kitty litter.
Update March 31, 2007: He's put his house at Heer Halewijnstraat 20 - I on sale. Good riddance. I just hope the new guy or gal will be more civilized and perhaps even doing me the favor of walking on his hardwood floor, rather than thumping around like Captain Kangaroo on steroids.
The funny thing about both the extreme left and the extreme right is that they both seem to strive for egalitarianism.
The extreme right does so in a very recognizable manner. It condemns any non-white non-tanning-bed-induced skin color which deviates from the native complexion. I detest that kind of thing. Indeed, the first rally I ever took part in was one against racism.
The extreme left is, of course, not nearly as superficial. It only condemns sophisticated stuff, such as vocal inflections which may or may not be considered as 'posh', and therefore as an indicator of wealth.
The sad thing is that these kind of slurs are generally not considered discriminatory, but instead as a token of civilized behavior.
"I believe in life. I believe in treasuring it as a mystery that will never be fully understood, as a sanctity that should never be destroyed, as an invitation to experience now what can only be remembered tomorrow. (...)
I believe in liberty. I believe that within every soul lies the capacity to reach for its own good, that within every physical body there endures an unalienable right to be free from coercion. (...)
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer." Andrew Sullivan