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bob_chong
Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on eBay
Sep 18 10:23 AM US/Eastern
By PAUL AMES
Associated Press Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at eBay.be this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts … free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country's political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.

"I wanted to attract attention," said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. "You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium."

Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on over $300 billion (euro220 billion) in national debt.

Like many of Belgium's 10 million citizens, Six is exasperated that the power struggle between the county's French- or Dutch-speaking political parties has left Belgium in political limbo since June 10 elections.

Demands for more autonomy from the Dutch-speaking Flemish are resisted by the French-speaking Walloons, making it impossible to form a government coalition and triggering concern the kingdom is on the verge of a breakup.

Six decided to vent his frustration through the Internet ad.

"My proposal was to make it clear that Belgium was valuable, it's a masterpiece and we have to keep it," he told Associated Press Television News. "It's my country and I'm taking care of it, and with me are millions of Belgians."

Six' idea got a mixed reaction on the streets of Brussels.

"Very funny, typical Belgian humor," said Anne Graux. "It's ridiculous," snapped Nathalie Ginot, a Brussels resident who had her own pragmatic solution to Belgium's woes. "We think it would be good to split Belgium into the three and make Brussels a tax-haven, a capital exempt from all taxes," she said hopefully.

Six vaunted Belgium's attractions to potential buyers from art nouveau architecture to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union and some great beers. But he also warned of the pitfalls of taking on the cacophonous mix of Flemish nationalists, Walloon Socialists and the mayors of all 19 Brussels' boroughs.

EBay was happy to take Six' advertisement.

"It was a really fun listing made by a Belgian," Peter Burin, PR manager of eBay Belgium. "This person, in a very funny way, reminded the Belgians what a great country Belgium actually is and it would be a shame to sell it."

However, the company decided to pull the add Tuesday after receiving a bid of euro10 million ($14 million)

"We decided to take it down, just to avoid confusion," he told APTN.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.
Wild Bill Turkey
Figgers it would be Six.
absinthist
MPA would sell his own country? No xit! It would be semantically wrong. What will apostrophes say?
Donnie Darko
Somebody should put America on eBay. Oh wait, our politicians already auctioned it. Nevermind.

The least they could do is be like Nascar drivers and wear their sponsors on their clothing. That would be pretty funny. For example, ex-Texas Senator Phil Gramm's suit could have said "Enron" and "Arthur Anderson" and he could even have put that AFLAC duck on it.
bob_chong
Belgium is pretty much a joke anyway, except for their beer. It's been nothing but the latrine of every empire, and nowadays it's just a multi-culti circlejerk that shows us everything that is wrong with the EU.
Selmac
Donnie, I think that's the best idea I've heard all day. We should also start naming bills after the corporations that sponsor and them (just like stadiums).
Absomphe
I'll take the ale, and save it for when I climb down off the wagon, and maybe a side of frites.

Y'all can have the rest.

sixela
QUOTE(bob_chong @ Sep 18 2007, 11:45 PM) *

Belgium is pretty much a joke anyway, except for their beer. It's been nothing but the latrine of every empire, and nowadays it's just a multi-culti circlejerk that shows us everything that is wrong with the EU.

Despite that, it's actually a good place to live.
Donnie Darko
But you guys pay like 100% taxes and the government runs everything and you have no freedom and no guns and gas is like $10 a gallon etc blah blah. How could that be a good place to live? Do you even have McDonald's there?? What a wasteland.
Marc
But they created "Quick" the best fast food in Eurofuckyland.
Pataphysician
I've been there. Not latriney at all. Maybe the EU cleaned it up. Best steamed mussels I ever had. Mmmm.
bob_chong
It's not taxes and McDonald's. It's worse:
http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2007/09/b…-problem-1.html
traineraz
Well, that was something.

A Moroccan woman says that not all Moroccans hate Belgians, and he says that's typical Moroccan hypocrisy and lies. Nice fella.
Donnie Darko
The presence of Islamists is definitely a problem. That doesn't make Belgium a shitty country though, it just means they're going to have to keep a very close eye on the Islamists in their population.

The majority of Belgium is quite the opposite of what those Islamists want. Pork and booze are everywhere, and women can wear what they wish. Take that, Muhammad!
Shabba53


Pataphysician
Oh my. Last time it was the commies -- and now these muslims. At least with muslims you can pick 'em out in a crowd.
absinthist
Better call them Islamic Fundamentalists, the others, just as in every nation, are rather normal, friendly, hospitable and make excellent dishes. Those that come here eat pork and drink booze, I have even witnessed a drunk Arab-unforgettable, if his choice-Absolut citron was not that great!

It is the extremists that drive people mad, however moderation is not always regarded a virtue, though. But, it is interesting, that Belgium is full of them, France-I have to agree, but Belgium?
Jaded Prole
At least they get something for the taxes they pay. Ours are squandered on stupid military adventures instead of luxuries like education or healtcare.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Pataphysician @ Sep 19 2007, 04:38 PM) *

and now these muslims.

Muslims are VERY different from Islamists.
Pataphysician
Dang. You mean different like, "commies" and "liberals" are different? This is all very confusing.
Donnie Darko
An Islamist (in my personal definition) is any Muslim who thinks their personal religious beliefs should be enforced upon everyone, in the name of respecting the religious beliefs of Islam. Islamists take ethno-centrism to a whole new level, Dutch film-makers, Danish comic artists, and any independent woman be damned.

A Muslim is somebody that believes in an absurd and somewhat plagiarized religion started by an illiterate pedohpile (Muhammad's youngest wife was 9).

Still confused as to the difference?
Shabba53
QUOTE
A Muslim is somebody that believes in an absurd and somewhat plagiarized religion started by an illiterate pedohpile (Muhammad's youngest wife was 9).


I would say bastardized more than plagiarized (although ALL religions have copied from others).

In fact, the first constitution of Medina, drafted by Muhammad, was a very different set of principles than those of current Islam, including religious freedom, women's security, and equal rights.

I digress.

Muslims subscribe to the religion of Islam.

Islamists seek to live a much more strict interpretation of Islam, as well as establish a Caliphate, whereby they would impose religion as law. And seek to destroy all infidels.
Provenance
Belgium has some of the best food and by far the best beer in the EU. I like the place.
The Standard Deviant
This week's Canard Enchainé has a cartoon with a chef saying something along the lines of "We will put the moules on one side, and the frites on the other!"
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 19 2007, 05:19 PM) *

But you guys pay like 100% taxes and the government runs everything and you have no freedom and no guns and gas is like $10 a gallon etc blah blah. How could that be a good place to live? Do you even have McDonald's there?? What a wasteland.


Stop channelling Bob_chong, please.

sixela
QUOTE(bob_chong @ Sep 19 2007, 07:11 PM) *

It's not taxes and McDonald's. It's worse:
http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2007/09/b…-problem-1.html


Oooh yes. I'm sure it's worse in Belgium. After all, the US doesn't have crackpots bombing FBI buildings and things like that, and death by firearms is such a rare event.

And Belgium has a lot of Arabs scheming to destroy the symbols of Belgian power (at least according to someone Dutch who wants to sell his book and takes whatever crackpots will tell him over a beer at face value).

Once they figure out what the symbols of power are, that is.

Let me guess: they're gonna go for something nicely un-Belgian. Probably not the EU (which has too many countries that aren't overtly hostile to Palestinians), but NATO headquarters.
The Standard Deviant
Leopold II, now there was a great man!
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Sep 19 2007, 06:51 PM) *

In fact, the first constitution of Medina, drafted by Muhammad, was a very different set of principles than those of current Islam, including religious freedom, women's security, and equal rights.


I'll give credit where it is due. Muhammad in that instance was remarkably tolerant, particularly the part that provides protections and equality for Jews.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Sep 19 2007, 10:00 PM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 19 2007, 05:19 PM) *

But you guys pay like 100% taxes and the government runs everything and you have no freedom and no guns and gas is like $10 a gallon etc blah blah. How could that be a good place to live? Do you even have McDonald's there?? What a wasteland.


Stop channelling Bob_chong, please.


To clarify, I wasn't trying to channel Bob, just being facetious about American misconceptions about European countries in general. I would never say anything bad about Bob, he's a Cubs fan.
bob_chong
Magic Number 10.
Absomphe
One more year to Magic Number 100. LARS!.gif
Provenance
QUOTE(sixela @ Sep 19 2007, 06:08 PM) *

the symbols of power

Donnie Darko
A head that looks like bread. Beautiful.
traineraz
"This is my body, poured out for you"?
Absomphe
Don't forget about those vintage Stillenachts, Pro.

Oh, that's right, how could you?
Donnie Darko
I love it. We talk about alcohol in the politics thread and politics in the New Yorker Wine article thread.
G&C
As it should be.
Absomphe
Yes, Bass™ackward is good!
sixela
QUOTE(The Standard Deviant @ Sep 20 2007, 03:21 AM) *

Leopold II, now there was a great man!

We're all still living on the things he "borrowed" from the Congolese. Less so than the members of the Royal family, but still…


QUOTE(Provenance @ Sep 20 2007, 04:49 PM) *

QUOTE(sixela @ Sep 19 2007, 06:08 PM) *

the symbols of power


Don't give them ideas.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(bob_chong @ Sep 18 2007, 11:45 PM) *

Belgium is pretty much a joke anyway, except for their beer. It's been nothing but the latrine of every empire, and nowadays it's just a multi-culti circlejerk that shows us everything that is wrong with the EU.


It's just so terrible Bob. We who live in the EU are so deprived, oppressed, and abused by our governments, and we are so stupid that we don't even realise this.

Perhaps it is our much shorter working hours and longer holidays that has caused us to become lazy and slack. I guess all that extra time we spend with friends and family, or pursuing our leisure interests has made us soft and weak. It must have contributed to our illusion of happiness. Perhaps, with the decline of religion in the EU, leisure time has become the new opium of the masses?
Absomphe
Works for me.
bob_chong
Hobbie:

Keep importing those Islamicists to prop up your ponzi-scheme fat government handouts as your native-born birthrates dwindle.

Eurabia isn't a dream: it's a reality.
Pataphysician
Like the "Yellow Peril"?
hobgoblin
Bob,

I bet you go to bed 10 minutes early just to check no suicide bombers have sneaked under your bed while you were downstairs watching the 700 Club on TV.
Donnie Darko
While Bob's point may be obscured by his use of Limbaugh buzzwords such as "Ponzi scheme" and "fat government handouts", he does have a valid point worth discussing. Is allowing immigration of fundamentalists a good idea in countries where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists? Would you eagerly allow fascist immigrants into your tolerant states?

I think there are both pluses and minuses to allowing immigrants from countries that encourage fundamentalism. The pluses are that the sane Islamic immigrants (which I believe to be a slim majority of them) will probably become more moderate and integrate into Belgian society. The minuses are that the radicals among those immigrants will try and mold their new home into being more in line with their fundamentalist ideology, and attack it if they can't.

Can anything be done to stop those Islamicists which are intent upon creating Eurabia? Or can European societies deal effectivelly with those radicals without oppressing moderates?

The term "Islamofascism" isn't just some conservative buzzword. It genuinely reflects fundamentalist Islam, which is quite fascist. Of course there is also Christian Fascism and Jewish Fascism, though those totalitarian zealots don't murder in the name of their theology as often as Islamofascists, and rarely call for the destruction of entire nations as Islamofascists do.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 25 2007, 06:46 PM) *

While Bob's point may be obscured by his use of Limbaugh buzzwords such as "Ponzi scheme" and "fat government handouts", he does have a valid point worth discussing. Is allowing immigration of fundamentalists a good idea in countries where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists? Would you eagerly allow fascist immigrants into your tolerant states?


You speak as if the USA does not permit immigration from Islamic countries. It is worth remembering that 96,000 Muslims became permanent residents of the USA in 2006. On your assumption that only a slim majority of Muslim immigrants are not fundamentalist (my experience of Muslim immigrants to the UK does not hold with this view btw), that means the USA has willingly welcomed a great many Islamic extremists to its bosom. Don't fool yourself into thinking that USA immigration policy is particularly hardline either.

While it may be convenient to point the finger at 'liberal-pinko-wishy-washy-Europe, it would appear that the USA is also one of these 'tolerant states' allowing immigration of fundamentalists into a country where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists. You should perhaps get your own house in order before criticising the state of other people's houses.
Mashoujiki
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 25 2007, 10:46 AM) *

While Bob's point may be obscured by his use of Limbaugh buzzwords such as "Ponzi scheme" and "fat government handouts", he does have a valid point worth discussing. Is allowing immigration of fundamentalists a good idea in countries where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists? Would you eagerly allow fascist immigrants into your tolerant states?


Fundies aren't dangerous, a bit stuffy, but not fascist by any means. I think your claim that sane muslim immigrants are in the minority is inflammatory at best and the whole post smacks of stereotype and closed-mindedness.

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 25 2007, 10:46 AM) *

The minuses are that the radicals among those immigrants will try and mold their new home into being more in line with their fundamentalist ideology, and attack it if they can't.


Isn't that the way of every idealist?

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 25 2007, 10:46 AM) *


Can anything be done to stop those Islamicists which are intent upon creating Eurabia? Or can European societies deal effectivelly with those radicals without oppressing moderates?

The term "Islamofascism" isn't just some conservative buzzword. It genuinely reflects fundamentalist Islam, which is quite fascist. Of course there is also Christian Fascism and Jewish Fascism, though those totalitarian zealots don't murder in the name of their theology as often as Islamofascists, and rarely call for the destruction of entire nations as Islamofascists do.


While "islamofacism" does exist and is a problem, it shouldn't be equated to "fundamentalist." Fundies are more like orthodox jews than talibani. You have to understand that these people and their followers make up a slim minority of fundamentalist Islam. The vast majority of muslims clamor for the eradication of the nonsense spouted by pseudo-sheikhs that hand out fatwa at whim and their ilk. Go to almost any masjid and ask some of the folks there how they feel about it. I think you'll find that while a lot of them feel that the world is definately in moral decline, they don't think that the solution is explosives.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Sep 25 2007, 02:12 PM) *

You speak as if the USA does not permit immigration from Islamic countries.


I neither said nor implied any such thing.

QUOTE
While it may be convenient to point the finger at 'liberal-pinko-wishy-washy-Europe, it would appear that the USA is also one of these 'tolerant states' allowing immigration of fundamentalists into a country where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists.


I'm not pointing a finger at anyone for anything. I asked a question to which you gave no answer.
Here are my neglected questions again for your perusal---"Is allowing immigration of fundamentalists a good idea in countries where the laws and culture of that country are at odds with the fundamentalists?
Can anything be done to stop those Islamicists which are intent upon creating Eurabia? Or can European societies deal effectivelly with those radicals without oppressing moderates?"

And yes, the USA is certainly one of these tolerant states that allows the immigration of fundamentalists. We're also very good at growing them natively, as evidenced by a plethora of Christian fundamentalist movements here.

QUOTE
You should perhaps get your own house in order before criticising the state of other people's houses.


Why are you being so combative? I asked an honest question. I'm not criticising the state of anyone's house. I referred to no specific policy by any nation whatsoever. America has tons of Islamic immigrants, some moderate, some not so moderate. Please address the argument at hand…
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Mashoujiki @ Sep 25 2007, 02:32 PM) *

I think your claim that sane muslim immigrants are in the minority is inflammatory at best and the whole post smacks of stereotype and closed-mindedness.


Your misrepresentation of what I said is dishonest. I said "the sane Islamic immigrants (which I believe to be a slim majority of them)", and that is the exact OPPOSITE of what you just said I said. However I am not reluctant to criticise Islam in general, as I believe their beliefs to be delusional, just as I believe most other faiths to be deluded as well. I'd be curious to hear your argument as to the sanity behind the notion of the Hidden Imam, or as to the sanity of the masochistic abuse encouraged during the pilgrimage of Hussein, which is quite a mainstream celebration in Iraq.

QUOTE
While "islamofacism" does exist and is a problem, it shouldn't be equated to "fundamentalist." Fundies are more like orthodox jews than talibani.


Fundamentalism is most certainly totalitarian, and totalitarianism is fascism. Whether Christian fundie, Islamic fundie, or Jewish fundie, they believe in a universal dictator (God) who has passed down an absolute law which all humans are mandated to follow, and that all those who choose not follow that absolute law will be punished not only in this life but in the next one too. Fundamentalists essentially believe in a celestial North Korea. Just because the fascist dicator in this instance happens to be god doesn't make the entire setup any less totalitarian. Obviously most fundamentalists do not blow themselves up or kill others for their god, but that sort of behaviour grows out of fundamentalism, and any fundamentalist will straight up tell you that they are carrying out God's will. The slope of fundamentalism is so slippery that it is nearly vertical.

Obviously there are plenty of moderate Muslims. Most of the country of Indonesia is moderate Muslim, and women are treated as humans rather than slaves. Those are not fundamentalist Muslims.

The bottom line is that fundamentalists of all faiths (and some secular ideologies too) are bent on rolling back freedoms provided for in many countries (yes, including America Hobgoblin). Perhaps you think that is nothing to worry about. Perhaps you should ask yourself how often these fundamentalists pursue an agenda of peace, and how often they concern themselves with your freedom to believe what you wish.

Here are some friendly comments from one influential fundamentalist.
bob_chong
40 percent of UK muslims want sharia. 20 percent think the tube bombings were a good idea.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml…9/nsharia19.xml
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