Friday, May 23, 2008

Will 2008 be another 2004?

Cruising through George Packer's article in the current New Yorker magazine ("The Fall of Conservatism," May 26), this paragraph on John McCain campaigning in a small Appalachian town in Kentucky brought me up short:

John Preston, who is the county's circuit-court judge and also its amateur historian, Harvard-educated, with a flag pin on his lapel, said, "Obama is considered an elitist." He added, "There's a racial component, obviously, to it. Thousands of people won't publicly say it, but they won't vote for a black man---on both sides, Democrat and Republican. It won't show up in the polls, because they won't admit it. The elephant's in the room, but nobody will say it. Sad to say it, but it's true." Later, I spoke with half a dozen men eating lunch at the Pigeon Roost Dairy Bar outside town, and none of them had any trouble saying it. They announced their refusal to vote for a black man, without hesitation or apology.

Add that reality to the re-emergence of the gay marriage issue just in time for the November election, and one gets a feeling of deja vu and dread. Will 2008 be a replay of 2004, when Gavin Newsom's poorly-timed gay marriage initiative handed the Republicans the issue they needed to defeat John Kerry? 

After Newsom's well-publicized initiative in February, 2004, 13 states put measures banning gay marriage on their ballots, and all of them passed the following November. Newsom of course had no control over when the California Supreme Court issued its recent decision supporting gay marriage, but the genie is out of the bottle again. All the high-fives about that decision among the city's progressive elite seem way premature, since the gay marriage issue could help elect John McCain president.

Keep in mind also the Bradley Effect, which tells us some white voters don't tell pollsters the truth about voting for black candidates:

Labels: , ,

Amsterdam helps Islamic fascists

Cartoonists In Crisis
By Stephen Brown

It makes one wonder whose side Holland is on.

Dutch police arrested last week a controversial Amsterdam caricaturist for allegedly publishing cartoons which discriminate against “Muslims and people with dark skin.”

“We suspect him of insulting people on the basis of their race and belief, and possibly also of inciting hate,” said a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam public prosecutor.

Known by his pseudonym, Gregorius Nekschot (as in ‘neckshot’, a favorite method of execution practised by both Hitler’s and Stalin’s secret police), the Dutch cartoonist is an extreme provocateur. In his drawings, which are sometimes sexually explicit, this self-described advocate of complete freedom of speech targets ideologies like Nazism and Communism as well as Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

As a result, this friend of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was brutally murdered on an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a Muslim fanatic, has also, along with his publisher, received death threats from both Islamists and anarchists (an interesting combination). With such vicious, deranged enemies out for his blood, Nekshot has been very careful to preserve his anonymity, even foregoing an appearance at a Dutch awards event for web cartoonists in order to remain unrecognised.

Treating the cartoonist like a dangerous criminal, ten policemen, according to Nekshot’s publisher, turned up to arrest him. They also went to his home and confiscated his computer and some drawings, among other items. Nekshot was held in custody for a day and then released pending the results of a criminal investigation.

The police action against Nekshot was based on a 2005 complaint made by a Dutch convert to Islam, Abdul-Jabbar van de Ven.

But van de Wen is no innocent himself when it comes to offending people.

In 2004, the native Dutchman shocked Holland when he said on a television talk show he hoped anti-Islamist politician, Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, would soon die. The charming new Muslim, however, qualified his lovely remarks by saying he hoped, though, that Wilders would die of cancer and not be killed by a Muslim. On the same talk show, van de Wen again indicated the love for humanity he found in his new religion when he said he felt some happiness at Theo van Gogh’s murder.

Contrary to van de Wen’s good wishes, Wilders remained alive and released the anti-Islamist film, ‘Fitna’, this year to great acclaim on the part of those who recognize the West is at war with militant Islam.

But it now remains to be seen whether Nekshot winds up a slaughtered corpse on the street like his friend, van Gogh. What Islamists and other haters of one of the Western world’s greatest values, freedom of speech, were never able to do, the Dutch police accomplished for them by revealing to the public with this arrest the identity of the man who was a thorn in their side, thus exposing him to personal danger.

The Dutch cartoonist, according to a friend, was told by police upon his release he had now lost his anonymity (it had taken the police, according to Holland’s justice minister, three years to discover Nekshot’s true identity). The friend termed the police comment “a rather intimidating remark.”

It is unfortunate that Nekshot does not live in Denmark where, in contrast to Holland, police are doing everything in their power to protect one of their caricaturists from the murderous rage of Islamic fanatics.

Only last February, Danish police broke up an Islamist plot to kill Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists who ignited the caricature crisis in September, 2005, after their drawings of Islam’s prophet Mohammad were published in Denmark’s largest newspaper, the Jyllands Posten. The cartoons incited demonstrations throughout the Islamic world, in which 100 people died and Danish embassies were attacked and Danish products boycotted.

Westergaard’s drawing of the prophet Mohammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a burning fuse is perhaps the most famous of those published.

Danish newspapers, showing they will not be intimidated, republished the cartoons this year after the discovery of February’s murder conspiracy.

The three men involved in the assassination plot of Westergaard, two Tunisians and a Danish citizen of Moroccan descent, were arrested. The Tunisians were deported but the Danish citizen was released due to lack of evidence.

Westergaard said in a newspaper interview the police informed him the plotters had scouted out his home and were going to kill him in his house. As a result, the Danish cartoonist has had to move seven times since last November and drives a different route to the Jyllands Posten every day where he still works.

“If I don’t answer my cell phone right away, then everyone thinks I’m dead,” he said.

To his credit, in the same newspaper interview Westergaard says he would do it all over again, since his drawings “ripped apart the veil of political correctness which ‘lay over everything in Denmark that had to do with Islam.’ ” The Danish cartoonist is also very angry he is being threatened for just having done his job, saying he is “a drawer and no criminal.

“I prefer to be furious. I want to advance against the menace,” said the Danish senior, showing the iron in his soul. “This anger is doing me good.”

One can judge the huge and disturbing effect the anti-Islamist drawings of Westergaard and his fellow European caricaturists are having on the common enemy by the fact that Osama bin Laden threatened the European Union last March with severe punishment if the Danish Mohammad cartoons were republished. Also in the same month, Aiman al-Sawahiri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, threatened in a videotape to attack Western targets, giving as one of his reasons the publication of the same caricatures.

These threats were preceded last September by a $100,000 reward a leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq offered to anyone who would kill yet another European caricaturist, Lars Vilks of Sweden. Vilks had gotten under the skin of these high-ranking Islamic terrorists by portraying in one of his cartoons the founder of Islam as a dog.

In its typically sadistic fashion, Al Qaeda in Iraq offered an additional $50,000 if Vilks’ death was particularly cruel, urging that the Swede be slaughtered “like a lamb.” A $50,000 reward was also offered for the death of the newspaper editor who published the Swede’s cartoon.

In an interesting and amusing aside, after the cartoon’s publication 5,000 Swedish websites came under attack from hackers based in Turkey, according to a German newspaper. Swedish hackers, however, according to the same report, counterattacked and broke into emails and MSN accounts of Turkish users, sending messages that included pornographic portrayals of the prophet Mohammad and of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

But the situation of Nekshot is no laughing matter. The Dutch cartoonist said he now fears going to jail, probably because many inmates are Muslim.

The truth be told, Nekshot’s true crime is that he did not offend minorities so much as go against the ruling European ideology of multiculturalism. In the former Soviet Union, criticism of the totalitarian state doctrine of Marxism-Leninism, even in the form of jokes, would be punished with a jail term in the Gulag. In frightening similar fashion, defying the tenets of multiculturalism in Western Europe, especially by criticising Islam, even just in cartoons, can now earn an offender the same punishment.

In the end, Nekshot’s chosen pseudonym may be an appropriate one. If he himself is not killed or physically harmed, then one can at least expect the politically correct Dutch authorities to try to apply the death grip of censorship to his work. Which, all in all, would simply add up to another small victory for those who wish to see the demise of the Western freedoms they hate so much.
Stephen Brown is a columnist for A scholar and former news reporter, his field of expertise is Muslim forced marriages and honor killings. Email him at

(Note: The SF Chronicle published an editorial on the cartoon riots at the time but didn't publish the cartoons. Other local publications---including the SF Examiner and, of course, the progressive SF Bay Guardian---have been completely silent on the Islamists' intimidation of the Western media. Of local mainstream journalists, only the Chronicle's Debra Saunders has stood up to the Islamic fanatics.)