04-18-2018 10:16:00 AM -0700
04-16-2018 01:32:51 PM -0700
04-16-2018 09:59:36 AM -0700
04-12-2018 09:53:41 AM -0700
04-10-2018 11:19:03 AM -0700
It looks like you've previously blocked notifications. If you'd like to receive them, please update your browser permissions.
Desktop Notifications are  | 
Get instant alerts on your desktop.
Turn on desktop notifications?
Remind me later.


Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Old Chestnuts to Mark a New Year

Another year, another raft of televised Christmas and New Year's speeches by the Western European heads of state and government who are busy whitewashing terrorism, buttressing the EU, and generally running their countries into the ground. As always, the Christmas addresses tended to be short on meaningful references to Christianity, while pretty much all the leaders skirted the harsh realities of mass immigration and steady Islamization, preferring instead to speak, in sunny, saccharine, and consistently vague terms, about community and volunteerism.

Take Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav. His country is racing toward its doom, but you'd never know that from his fatuous Christmas oration, which began on a religious note (“A child is born”) only to pivot to the idea that Christmas's message of “peace, joy, and fellowship” can be grasped by everybody, no matter “where one comes from or what one believes.” Similarly, while referencing the April 7, 2017, terrorist attack in Stockholm, in which five people died, the king did so within the context of praising those who'd helped others on that day – which enabled him to leave terrorism behind pronto and begin waxing poetic about mutual respect and community service. It was as if he believed one could heal social divisions with platitudes.

In the Netherlands, which are also undergoing galloping Islamization, King Willem-Alexander observed that even as Christmas is a family time, it “connects us emphatically with each other” – a fact that should lead us to ask “What are we doing for our community?” and “How do we live with differences?” His prescription: volunteer, help strangers, show curiosity about others, and seek out similarities with them. Like his brother monarch in Sweden, Willem-Alexander spoke as if his subjects' problems could be cured with clichés.

King Harald V of Norway seemed to be using the same hack speechwriters as his Swedish and Dutch cousins. After lecturing his subjects about the good in every person, he celebrated – what else? – volunteerism and community service and argued that building a better society means including people from every background and letting them “contribute on their own terms” (whatever that means). Harald, who has previously dismissed the importance of Norwegian culture and identity, went there again, proclaiming that “there are over five million different stories about who we are” (that's Norway's population) and that “we shouldn't be surprised that different people in Norway live by different values.” Even more than Carl Gustav and Willem-Alexander, this clown has no business on a throne.

Belgium's King Philippe is no prize either. In his annual salutation, he recalled a palace visit by a group of children, one of whom “mentioned how lucky we are to live in a country as beautiful as Belgium.” This led to a stretch of insipid rhetoric about the “rich inner beauty” in each of us “that deserves to be cultivated.” Philippe also recounted a recent meeting with some “young people of immigrant origin” who “developed social-integration projects” to cultivate their “self-esteem” and whose “beautiful” facial expressions “spoke volumes.” (Philippe spoke on Christmas Eve, but was mum on the holiday itself, even though his opening bit about those children visiting the palace would've made it natural to precede it with a reference to “a child being born.”)