Monday, August 31, 2009

Betrayal at Boston: The Ted Kennedy funeral

The following e-mail has been published by Father Brian Harrison, O.S.

I am sending this e-mail to all those on my list of contacts. Many of you will sympathize with what I have to say; some of you, however, may disagree strongly, particularly those who may be "pro-choice". ["Pro-choice" is the politically correct euphemism for "pro abortion" -- being in favour of killing unborn babies. ed]

Why, then, am I emailing even those of you for whom this message may be not only unsolicited but unwelcome - perhaps even offensive? Simply because, as a Roman Catholic priest, I feel a duty in conscience today to register...my emphatic dissent from a message that was projected around the nation and the globe this morning to millions of viewers and listeners by certain other members of the Roman Catholic clergy.

I refer to this morning's televised funeral Mass, celebrated in Boston's Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, for the recently deceased Senator Edward Moore Kennedy. It was a Mass I regard as a scandal comparable to, if not worse than, the scandal given several months ago when the nation's most prestigious "Catholic" university bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Barack Hussein Obama, the most pro-abortion and "pro-gay" president in U.S. history.

Why, you ask, should a Catholic priest raise such objections to a Catholic funeral for a Catholic legislator? Well, I am afraid this funeral was no ordinary Catholic funeral. For to those innumerable viewers and listeners of many religions (or none) who were aware of Sen. Kennedy's public, straightforward, radical, long-standing, and (as far as we know) unrepented defiance of his own Church's firm teaching about the duty of legislators to protect unborn human life and resist the miltant homosexual agenda, this morning's Mass, concelebrated by several priests, presided over Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and adorned by a eulogy from the aforesaid U.S. President, effectively communicated a tacit but very clear message: the Church does not really take too seriously her own 'official' doctrines on these matters!

I feel impelled, therefore, to make known to anyone willing to read these lines that there are many other representatives of the Catholic Church, such as the undersigned, who take those doctrines very seriously indeed.

How would our Church leaders act if they really did take seriously an official Church position from which a prominent deceased Catholic had publicly dissented? To answer that question, we need only imagine a situation in which some well-known Catholic legislator had for years supported "across the board" the Church's social teaching in regard to human life, marriage, compassion toward the poor and underprivileged, etc., but had then, in old age, lapsed into supporting some ideological position that was strongly opposed not only by the Church, but also by the dominant Western elites in government, law, education, commerce and the media.

Suppose, for instance, that he had come to endorse white supremacism or holocaust denial. Now, when the moment for this Catholic legislator's funeral came, could we imagine for one moment that our cardinals, bishops and other leading clergy, mindful of this man's sterling and thoroughly orthodox contributions to the common good over so many years in Congress, would "compassionately" overlook his latter-day lapse into racism or antisemitism? Would they agree to give him a free pass in regard to this defect? Would they speak and act as if it were non-existent? Would they grant him a televised funeral Mass in a large basilica, presided over by a cardinal, in which he would be publicly eulogized by both family and public figures?

These questions really answer themselves. Of course none of that would occur! The local bishop might go as far as allow our hypothetical Catholic racist or antisemite a Church funeral, if it was known that (like Senator Kennedy) he had confessed sacramentally to a priest before death. However, the bishop would allow the use of church property for this funeral on the strict condition that only close personal family and friends would be admitted. All media transmission or even presence during the service itself would surely be forbidden.

It would, of course, be unnecessary for the bishop to ask his fellow bishops and other high Church dignitaries not to attend the service; for all of them, like the bishop himself, would already prefer to be anywhere else on earth than at the funeral of one who had lapsed so unspeakably from society's ruling canons of acceptable behavior.

Yes, society's canons. There, I am afraid, lies the difference between our two scenarios. Is it that official Catholic doctrine is incomparably more opposed to racism and antisemitism than it is to abortion and sodomy (as a visitor from Mars might suppose on observing the radically divergent reactions of our bishops to the two respective ex-politicians)? Not at all.

The big difference is simply that most members of the Catholic hierarchy in Western society today -- and there are of course a number of honorable exceptions -- are lacking in prophetic courage. They are ready and eager to take vigorous and resolute public disciplinary action only against those deviations from Church teaching which also happen to be excoriated by the cultural and media elites.

But if it is our prelates themselves who will be excoriated by those elites -- as would certainly have occurred had they required for Ted Kennedy's funeral the kind of severe restraint we envisaged above for that of our hypothetical bigot -- then all eagerness for just discipline will evaporate as fast as dew in the morning sun.

"Pastoral compassion", "forgiveness", "tolerant respect" and "Christian charity" will now be instantly invoked as reasons for cloaking in total silence the public enormities committed decade after decade by an ecclesially heterodox but socially orthodox legislator.

So it was, in this morning's funeral Mass, that the homilist, Fr. Mark Hession (pastor of Kennedy's Cape Cod parish), made his sermon a eulogy about what a wonderful Catholic Christian Ted was, assuring us that we could be "confident" that he is already with Jesus in glory. So it was that the principal celebrant, Fr. Donald Monan, S.J., Chancellor of Boston College, not only repeatedly told those present, and the whole watching world, that Sen. Kennedy was a man of "faith and prayer", with a deep devotion to the Eucharist, but also assured us that this "faith and prayer" in private was precisely what inspired and motivated his public policies, so that there was (surprise, surprise) a real integration and unity between his private and public life!

Well, a lot of us didn't quite manage to see any private-public unity based on Roman Catholic principles. On the contrary, Kennedy's huge political influence, based on both the family's prestige and the personal dyamism of this "Lion of the Senate", if anything made his U-turn on abortion (yes, he was pro-life in his younger days) an even more scandalous counter-witness: a sign of conflict, not union, with that Church to which he professed loyalty.

Here are two comments I have just lifted off a Catholic blog:
1. "There's this big, 'What if?'" said Catholic author Michael Sean Winters. "If Ted Kennedy had stuck to his pro-life position, would both the (Democratic) party and the country have embraced the abortion on demand policies that we have now? I don't think so."
2. "Russell Shaw, former spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that when Kennedy defied the church on issues such as abortion and later, gay marriage, he reinforced a corrosive belief among Catholics that they can simply ignore teachings they don't agree with."

I myself remember several years ago a conversation with a young woman who had been brought up Catholic but had recently been "born again" as an Evangelical Protestant. One of the arguments she threw at me was, "Even your Church leaders don't really believe what Catholics are supposed to believe. Why don't they excommunicate Ted Kennedy? He's blatantly, 100% pro-choice! Yet they do nothing!"

What could I say to her? And what can I say now, after today's public scandal? That young lady's complaint was simply that this man remained a Catholic in good standing. I find I must now complain to you of something worse. Before the whole world this morning, my fellow Catholic clerics in Boston did not just accord him the "good standing" of a normal, flawed Catholic whose soul we can hope is in Purgatory. Rather, clad in triumphant white vestments instead of penitential violet (never mind the traditional black!), they have placed him on a pedestal, granting him an unofficial "instant canonization"!

The Church's teaching is already abundantly clear that all this is very wrong. So perhaps we can legitimately discern the hand of God's Providence, which rules all things, in a 'coincidence' that suggests a manifestation of God's grave displeasure at this kind of mockery -- injustice masquerading as "pastoral charity".

In our liturgy, Sunday has begun as I write at the hour of Vespers on Saturday. But the earlier part of this day, August 29, including the time of the Kennedy funeral, was observed by Catholics round the world as the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. In normal Masses celebrated today, the biblical account of his martyrdom was read (Mark 6: 17-29.)

The parallels are striking: (a) We see two powerful civil authorities; (b) both of them flip-flop in a morally bad direction (Herod originally respected and defended John, and Kennedy originally respected and defended the unborn; (c) both of them abuse their power by authorizing the shedding of innocent blood; and (d) both of them do so under peer-group pressure and at the behest of unrighteous women (then, Herod's guests, his wife and her daughter; now, the radical feminists and their fellow travellers).

As if that were not enough, the longest Scripture reading in today's liturgy also grabs our attention. It is prescribed not for the Feast of John the Baptist, but independently, for the Saturday of Week 21, in the Office of Readings. This is a part of the daily 'Liturgy of the Hours' which is required spiritual reading for us Roman Rite clerics. And today's reading just happens to be Jeremiah 7: 1-20, in which the prophet vigorously denounces -- guess what? -- the hypocrisy of Israel's religious leaders who proudly identify with the temple and the rites they celebrate within it, while at the same time they are living unrighteously (including "shedding innocent blood", v. 6) and even "pouring out libations to strange gods" (v. 18). God therefore warns, "my anger and my wrath will pour out upon this place" (v. 20).

Orthodox Catholics will surely ask whether God can be any less angered now by those clerics who today carried out temple rites giving undeserved honor to a legislator who for decade after decade poured out the 'libations' of his eloquence, influence and Senate votes in the service the 'false gods' of Planned Parenthood and NARAL -which regularly rewarded him with 100% ratings for his 'pro-choice' record.

Enough. If, in your charity, you pray for God to be merciful to the soul of Edward Moore Kennedy, please pray for all of us Catholic priests as well -- and be cognizant of the fact that some of us are profoundly indignant at what we saw our brethren doing today.

Sincerely,
Father Brian Harrison, O.S.
Oblates of Wisdom Study Center,
St. Louis, Missouri

Sunday, August 30, 2009

That's when the fight started

Walt doesn't feel angry about anything today. Must be the weather. So, thanks to Agent 61 for the following...

While we were in bed, my wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.I turned to her and said, "Do you want to have sex?"
"No," she answered.
Then I said, "Is that your final answer?"
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying "Yes."
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started....

I asked my wife, "Where do you want to go for our anniversary?"
It warmed my heart to see her face melt in sweet appreciation."Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said.
So I suggested, "How about the kitchen?"
And that's when the fight started....

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, grabbed the dog, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the truck, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing at least 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and heard that the weather would be bad all day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 10 years replied, "Can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?"
And that's when the fight started....

A man and a woman were asleep like two innocent babies. Suddenly, at 3 o'clock in the morning, a loud noise came from outside. The woman, bewildered, jumped up from the bed and yelled at the man "Shit! That must be my husband!"
So the man, scared and naked, jumped out of bed, and out the window. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through a rose bush and to his car as fast as he could go. A few minutes later he returned and went up to the bedroom and screamed at the woman, "I AM your husband!"
The woman yelled back, "Yeah? Then why were you running?"
And that's when the fight started....

I tried to talk my wife into buying a case of Coors Light for $24.95. Instead, she bought a jar of cold cream for $7.95. I told her the beer would make her look better at night than the cold cream.
And that's when the fight started....

A woman was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She was not happy with what she saw and said to her husband, "I feel horrible. I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment."
The husband replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And that's when the fight started....

My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asked, "Do you know her?''
"Yes," I sighed. "She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since."
"Really!" said my wife. "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"
And that's when the fight started....

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's licence to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, "Unbutton your shirt."
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, "That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me" and she processed my Social Security application.
When I got home, I told my wife about my experience. She said, "You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too."
And that's when the fight started....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The year of no summer; the summer of no politics

The Canadian political scene this summer has been as quiet as Walt can ever remember. It's as if all the rain (in the Ottawa area) has dampened everyone's spirits along with their clothes.

"Call me Steve" Harper went on a tour of the Arctic. "Let me drive the boat! Let me fly the chopper!" After securing Canada's Great White North, he turned his attention to the Senate, appointing another nine hacks, flacks and cronies to sit with Mike Puffy on the government side. (Is it true that the Duffster has a double-wide chair?)

As for the Liberals, their "war room" looks like the Marie Celeste. Everyone, up to and including the Iggster, has apparently taken the summer off.

This week they trotted out El Hacko Supremo, David Smith (one of the masterminds behind the great victories of John Turner, Paul Martin and "Call me Stephane" Dion) to say the Grits are in no hurry to force an election. You damn betcha!

The Liberal war chest is still closer to empty than full and in many ridings, including Walt's, the Grits can't even find a credible candidate. By the way, Walt lives in Ontario -- not Toronto, but the real Ontario -- where the next federal election will be won or lost.

Walt's prediction: December 31st will see Harpoon still in office, thanks to the fecklessness of the gutless Grits. You read it here first.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Perils of a Baptist upbringing

Thanks to Agent 71 for this one...

As I walked down the busy sidewalk with my wife, knowing I was late for church, my eye fell upon one of those unfortunate, ragged vagabonds that are found in every city these days. Some people turned to stare.

Others quickly looked away as if the sight would somehow contaminate them.Recalling my old pastor, Brother Mike, who always admonished me to "care for the sick, feed the hungry and clothe the naked," I was moved by some powerful inner urge to reach out to this unfortunate person.

Wearing what can only be described as rags, carrying her treasured worldly possessions in two plastic bags, my heart was touched by this person's condition.Yes, where some people saw only rags, I saw a true, hidden beauty.A small voice inside my head called out, "Reach out, reach out and touch this person!"


So I did.

I won't be in church this week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CBC Toronto: voice of the ghetto?

Walt listens to CBC Radio. For readers outside of Canada, CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (sometimes referred to as the Canadian Broadcorping Castration), the government-owned public broadcaster. CBC's Radio One has a number of excellent news and current affairs programs -- As It Happens, The House, The Current -- some of which are picked up by NPR or models for NPR programs.

Since the CBC network stretches over six time zones, from coast to coast to coast -- A mari usque ad mare and all that -- it naturally has local programming suitable to the differing needs of audiences in Toronto and "the regions".

The top programs on Toronto's "flagship station" are Metro Morning (the wake-up show) and Here and Now (the drive-home show). Both programs feature affable hosts, friendly on-air personalities and lots of news and chatter.

In recent years, though, in the CBC's eternal quest to be all things to all people, they've started to include bits of "music" in what used to be an all-talk format. And since CBC Toronto panders shamelessly to its "vizmin" audience (both of them), the so-called "music" is mostly what I would call "ghetto pop". If it's not black African, then it's black American, or African-American (the ultimate oxymoron). Every now and then, for a change, we get some salsa or other Latin-American sounds.

Walt is sick, sore and tired of it! If we must have music (why?), then how about some music for the rest of us? How about some chansons canadiennes? Or down-east fiddling? Or country? Or, if we must "sing with many voices", how about some μπουζούκι? Or a polka or Гопак? Or a tarantella or a Bollywood number or something in Chinese? Anything but this endless stream of "ghetto music" -- another oxymoron!

Memo to Susan Marjetti, Regional Director of CBC Radio: You have listeners outside Toronto's black and Latino ghettos! "Multiculturalism" includes our cultures too!

Susan Marjetti's phone number is 416-205-5791. To send her an e-mail, follow the link on this page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Follow-up: Reform of the reform

A survey conducted by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has found that American Catholics with an opinion on the subject favour the availability of the "extraordinary form of the Mass" -- i.e. the Tridentine Latin Mass -- by a two to one margin.

When asked “Do you favor as an alternative to the newer Mass, bringing back the older Latin Tridentine Mass for those who would prefer this option?” 25% favor the option, 12% oppose it.

Significantly, 63% had no opinion. Apparently nearly two-thirds of American Catholics don't care which form of Holy Mass is used. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that, since the introduction of the "ecumenical" Novus Ordo (NO) mass following Vatican II, the majority of Catholics no longer regularly attend mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

Whether a return to the traditional Latin Mass, or a reform of the NO mass would reverse this terrible trend remains to be seen.

The priest's calling card

A newly-ordained priest assigned to a large suburban parish was told by the pastor that he'd better get out and visit some of the parishioners, since the pastor was way behind in that aspect of his ministry.

At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to the curate's repeated knocks at the door. So he took out a business card, wrote 'Apocalypse 3:20' on the back and stuck it in the door.

When the offering was processed after Mass the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, 'Genesis 3:10.' Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.

Apocalypse 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the gate and knock." Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard thy voice...and I was afraid because I was naked."

Thanks to Agent 46 for this. Proverbs 17:22

Follow-up: Afghanistan

This week's Economist has as its cover story "Afghanistan: The growing threat of failure". Inside, the magazine's "Briefing" on Afghanistan is titled "From insurgency to insurrection".

The story begins by describing a conversation between the writer and a local resident. "The Americans are just making trouble for us," the latter says. "They cannot bring peace, not if they stay for 50 years".

More telling is what happened next. The British correspondent started to say his goodbyes and offered his hand. The Afghan responded "with two distastefully outstretched fingers, and said 'I won't shake hands with a Kafir.'" ("Kafir" is a word commonly used in that part of the world to refer to any foreigner. ed.) The Economist says this exchange betokens a fast-growing resentment of the foreign-backed government, the Western troops who prop it up and Westerners in general.

Later, they say "Complete failure--withdrawal by NATO and a return to civil war -- seems unimaginable. But failure of some lesser sort...looks increasingly inevitable."

Walt says complete failure or "failure of some lesser sort" are the same thing. A rose is a rose is a rose. A thistle is a thistle is a thistle. The Western expedition in Afghanistan is nothing more or less than an egregious waste of money and lives. End it now!

Footnote: Yesterday more than 40 people were killed and 66 wounded when five car bombs detonated simultaneously in Kandahar, where Canadians are responsible for security.

Recommended reading: Jeffrey Simpson's column, "The Afghan mission was always destined for trouble. It's arrived", in Wednesday's Globe & Mail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God is good! Great news for traditional Catholics! Te Deum Laudamus!

This article will not be relevant to non-Catholics. Catholics who have embraced the "reforms" of Vatican II will be dismayed, but Catholics who hold to the traditions of Holy Mother Church will thank God and His Blessed Mother for the news that follows.

Under the heading "The 'Reform of the Reform' is in motion" Rorate Cæli has reprinted an article by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielle, writing in Il Giornale. According to Tornielli, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship has proposed to Pope Benedict XVI a number of significant changes to the liturgical norms for the Novus Ordo (NO) mass instituted by Vatican II.

The NO mass has long been decried by traditionalists as "the victory of Protestantism" within the Church. Some go so far as to deny that it is a valid mass at all. Traditionalists welcomed the Holy Father's Motu Proprio restoring the traditional Tridentine Mass in Latin, only to be disappointed that the TLM remains an "extraordinary" rite, whose use has been resisted by many bishops, particularly in North America.

Now it appears that the CDW recognizes the numerous and scandalous abuses of the NO mass, and has a plan to restore a greater sense of the sacred to the central institution of Catholic worship.

You'll find a translation of the Il Giornale report on the Rorate Cæli website. Tornielli suggests that the CDW's proposals could be the basis for the "reform of the reform" the Holy Father has been seeking. In effect, elements of the Tridentine liturgy would be brought into the NO mass.

The CDW is reportedly advocating an end to the pernicious practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand. Readers will remember the controversy over what Canadian Prime Minister Harper -- who, as a Protestant, shouldn't have received Communion in the first place -- did with the Host he received from the hands of the priest. If he had dropped or discarded it, that would have been a terrible sacrilege. Yet thousands of hosts -- the Body of Christ -- are dropped, trodden on or abused every week because of this Lutheran-inspired practice.

It is also suggested that after some 45 years of having the priest face the people, there should be a return to celebrating Mass ad orientem. That means facing east. Before Vatican II it was the practice to build churches facing east, so that when the priest, on behalf of the people, faced the altar, he was looking towards Jerusalem, towards the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, towards the place where Christ will come again. Many new churches are aligned north and south, but the symbolism of having the priest face a proper altar, rather than the Protestant table now in use, can only be welcomed.

And while they're at it, one hopes the Blessed Sacrament will be restored to Its rightful position in the sanctuary, rather than an alcove somewhere out of site. The object should be make the focus of the Holy Mass not the priest, not the people, but Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tornielli writes that the CDW report was submitted to the Pope for further discussion and study rather than as a proposal for immediate change. However, it can only be seen as an indication that the liturgical pendulum is at last swinging back towards sanity.

Deus bonus est! Te Deum laudamus!

Communist targets: our media, our schools and the Church

The oft-stated goal of communism is to remove the "bourgeois state". Here's how an Italian communist, Antonoio Gramsci (d. 1937), said it should be done, as quoted by present-day communist Hugo Chavez.

In essence, Gramsci said to eliminate the bourgeois state requires the seizure of the institutions that reproduce the thought patterns of the dominant (bourgeois) class. And what are these institutions? According to Chavez, they are the Church, the education system and the mass media.

How will the communists "eliminate" these three pillars of society? Not by violent overthrow, since the institutions have lives of their own. They have existed for hundreds of years -- nearly two millennia in the case of the Church.

The only way for the communists to destroy the Church, the education system and the media is through co-option and subversion. It is not "right-wing lunacy" to see "communists in every closet" of our media, schools and churches. The communists are infilitrating and subverting these institutions, yet we go on our merry way, blissfully unaware.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Walt's reading -- books about China

Walt spent three years in China in the middle of this decade and maintains a lively interest in that country and its people. China is a land where nothing is what it seems. Nothing should be taken at face value. So it's a hard country and culture for westerners to understand. Books and articles which succeed in getting behind the masks and screens to present a glimpse of the real China are therefore to be prized.

One such is Out of Mao's Shadow: the Struggle for the Soul of a New China, by Philip P. Pan (Simon & Schuster, 2008. 349 pp. $28) Mr. Pan is a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, and their former Beijing bureau chief. Although American born, he speaks fluent Chinese and spent seven years eluding the Communist authorities and talking to people whose voices would otherwise go unheard.

His book is a collection of 11 stories of "ordinary" Chinese people, narrating their struggles to come to terms with their nation's past -- the trumoil and trauma of Mao's rule -- and promote real political change.

The Young people who filled Tiananmen Square just over 20 years ago saw their hopes -- and some, their bodies -- crushed in a massacre. In spite of that, Pan reveals, many continue to push for justice. They are the survivors whose families endured one of the world's deadliest famines during the Great Leap Forward, whose idealism was exploited during the madness of the Cultural Revolution, and whose values are now tested by the booming Chinese economy and the rush to get rich.

Out of Mao's Shadow offers a startling new perspective on China, challenging our assumption (so often expressed by our "experts" on foreign affairs) that free markets automatically lead to free societies. In the case of China, it's simply not so. The Communists are in control of China, as firmly as ever. Read this book and see for yourself how and why China has become the world's most successful authoritarian state.

Recently read and recommendable: Poorly made in China : an insider's account of the tactics behind China's production game, by Paul Midler (Wiley, 2009). If you're importing products from China, or even if you just buy Chinese goods (impossible to do otherwise), you should read this cautionary tale about "Chinese quality control".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Afghanistan election: an exercise in...what?

Foreign observers of this week's "election" in Afghanistan have started filing reports. Among those commenting was Canadian ex-politico John Manley, the same Manley man who recommended that Canadian troops stay in Afghanistan until 2011 to help establish democracy, rather than letting the Afghans duke it out by themselves.

The Free and Fair Election Foundation says that elections were marred by widespread fraud, intimidation and violence. These include multiple and underage voting, illiterates being told who to vote for and election officials being ejected from some polling stations.

Election officials were also seen were pressuring people to vote for certain candidates, while individual voters were caught carrying their own already-stuffed ballot boxes -- a novel example of BYOBB.

In Kandahar, where most of the heavy lifting is being done by Canadians, Taliban militants reportedly cut off the purple ink-stained fingers of some who voted. Presumably the victims will still be able to vote in up to nine future elections.

The Taliban killed some 26 Afghans in attacks aimed at destabilizing the elections. The relatively low number -- about 75% under budget -- has been hailed as proof of the effectiveness of western security forces. Military officials could not, however, explain the light turnout of about 40%, down from the 70% who voted in Afghanistan's first-ever elections in 2004.

Perhaps the low turnout had something to do with the perception that it doesn't matter in the slightest who wins the election. The civil war will continue, with American, Canadian and British troops fighting the corner of the "democratically elected government", while Karzai (for it is he who will "win") watches from the comfort of his palace.

Walt remembers an old joke...
Q. When do the Japanese have their best elections?
A. Just before bleakfast!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Keg of Beer and the Ten-cent Piece

Here's a story created by "Bible Bill" Aberhart, one of the founders of the now defunct Social Credit party, and premier of Alberta, 1935-1943.

The Keg of Beer and the Ten-Cent Piece

Pat and Mike were rival saloon keepers in a dried-out prairie town, now almost deserted because of the depression. It was a hot day, and the two saloon keepers sat in their respective doorways waiting for customers that never cam. Pat's stock-in-trade consisted of a keg of beer and a dime. Mike's stock consisted of a keg and a powerful thirst.

Called Mike, "Say Pat, I'd like a drink this fine day."
"Why don't you help yourself?" replied Pat.
"It's my stock-in-trade I'd be drinkin' and I can't afford to treat myself," Mike argued.

Whereupon Pat thought of a way out. He crossed over to Mike's saloon, thrust his dime on the counter, and called out loudly for a glass of beer. Surprised, Mike filled the order.

Pat quaffed the glass, turned to Mike and remarked, "Now you cross over to my saloon and buy yourself a drink, me boy."

So for the rest of the day, Pat and Mike crossed and recrossed the road, circulating the dime to buy a drink here and a drink there, until both kegs were exhausted.

This story puts Walt in mind of some of the "stimulus programs" which President O'bama (sure and his first name should be "Pat") and Prime Minister Harpoon tell us are going to make our economy prosperous again...any day now. Isn't there a fallacy there somewhere? I only took economics for one semester -- one semester too long -- but can still see that there's something wrong with that picture. Can someone explain the logical or economic error?

YIKES!!!

Thanks to Agent 46 for the following...


Look at the picture above (you may need to zoom in) and you can see where this guy broke through the guardrail, right side where the people are standing on the road (pointing). The pick-up was traveling from right to left when it crashed through the guardrail. It flipped end-over-end, across the culvert outlet, and landed right side up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which he was traveling.

Now look at the picture below...


If this guy didn't believe in God before, do you suppose he believes now?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Muslim model to be caned for sipping suds

Take Walt's word for it. The woman (how can you tell? ed.) shown in the AFP photo at left is a model. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno lives in Malaysia, where there is a dual legal system that permits Sharia law to be imposed on Muslims like Kartika.

Unfortunately for her, Sharia law and Islam frown on drinking alcohol. Perhaps "frown" isn't a strong enough word. Kartika hoisted a brew in a nightclub in the eastern Malaysian state of Pahang last year, and was hauled before a Sharia court where she was fined the equivalent of $1400. She was also sentenced to six strokes of the cane!

She will be the first (but likely not the last) woman in Malaysia to be caned under Islamic law. Although the punishment is to be administered in a women's prison, the Malaysian mother of two says she wants to be caned in public. "It will be a more effective way to educate Muslims not to drink if I am caned in public. I want to send this message to other Muslims and I am sincere," Kartika told AFP.

"I am willing to be caned publicly or in front of a mosque, but the prosecutor has told my dad today that this cannot be done. I also requested for journalists to witness the caning in prison but it is not allowed."

However, Kartika says, her request has nothing to do with her modelling career, nor has she made any arrangements to have it posted on YouTube. "I am not thinking about popularity or modelling, I am only thinking about my religion and want to tell Muslims to stay away from alcohol," she said.

Walt recalls that a year or two ago some Muslims in the Canadian province of Ontario were agitating for the recognition of Sharia law in the province's legal system. Of course it would only apply to Muslims...like Kartika.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

French Muslim minister says ban the burqa

Interesting report on the BBC News website today.

Fadela Amara, Minister of Urban Regeneration in the French government, says she would be in favour of a ban on wearing the burqa -- the head covering worn by many Muslim women -- in public.

Mme Amara, who identifies herself as a moderate Muslim, says that the burqa is a sign of "the oppression of women". Taking a stand against it, she asserts, is a way to fight the "grangrene, the cancer of radical Islam...a religion that enslaves women and disputes the principle of equality between men and women."

Walt believes we could do with some "urban regeneration" in North America too. But if, in the name of equal rights, we proscribe the right of religious women (or men) to wear clothing which symbolizes or is required by their faith, should this not apply to everyone?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stupid staff harpoons Canadian PM...again

Canadian Press has Walt LOL today, with a report of yet another blunder by the advisors (fart-catchers? ed.) to Canadian Prime Minister "Call Me Steve" Harper.

Mr. Harpoon has set out on a grand tour of Canada's three northern territories (pop quiz: name them!) to "reassert Canada's soverignty over the Arctic". Exactly how that will be done remains a mystery, but anyway...

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sent out a news release yesterday, with details of Mr. Harpoon's itinerary. The release repeatedly spelled the capital of Nunavut as "Iqualuit". As any fule no, the correct spelling is actually "Iqaluit".

The PMO staffer who wrote the release must have a face as red as his neck, because the extra "u" makes a world of difference in Inuktitut. "Iqaluit" means "many fish". (You know the one about how a Newfie counts fish?) But according to the Nunavut language commissioner's office, "Iqualuit" translates as "people with unwiped bums".

Today, a new news release from the PMO spells "Iqaluit" correctly.

It has also been announced that sometime during his visit to the Great White North, the PM will eat seal. Whether he will eat it raw, as did Governor-General Michaelle Jean, remains to be seen. Walt just hopes that he doesn't put it in his pocket to be consumed later.

Failed burglary school

This weekend, in Toronto, a would-be burglar broke into a hairdressing salon and a tanning salon. He gained entrance by jimmying the door to an office building, then cutting through the drywall to the Hari Bar next door.

There he opened the till and helped himself to some cash. Tired from his work, and finding a deck of smokes and a lighter, he stopped for a smoke and used the washroom. Police intelligence (an oxymoron, surely? ed.) knows this because he forgot to flush.

After relieving himself, he cut another hole into the tanning salon next door, where he smashed the register, took about $200 and calmly walked out the front door. He did not use the tanning bed, leading police to believe that he might be of the coloured persuasion.

However, he failed to notice the CCTV camera, which got a pretty good picture of him, seeing as he hadn't worn a mask. There were also fingerprints, since he didn't wear gloves either.

With pictures and prints to go on, the Toronto police probably felt they didn't need the identification that the burglar left behind. While cleaning up the mess, a salon employee found a wallet on the floor. Inside were a credit card, a City of Toronto paycheque...and a parole card.

Police returned the wallet to its owner and arrested him for burglary, parole violation...and gross stupidity.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Afghanistan: what we're fighting for?



Here's a slideshow with audio commentary from The Economist entitled "The unhappiest day of her life". WARNING: Some of the images to be seen here are graphic and disturbing.

Walt's point is this. One can only empathize with the plight of these child brides and women in Afghanistan. But is it worth fighting with Afghan men about this? Do we really think that any Afghan government will change the customs of centuries? As Peachy Carnahan (a character in Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King") said, "They're savages here, one and all..."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"O Canada" to be sung in Hindi at 2010 Olympics?

Under the title "We SHOULD be concerned", Agent 89 has forwarded "We Are Proud Canadians", a.k.a. "We'll reap what we've sown if we don't nip this in the bud." It purports to be a rant by Bruce Allen, a prominent BC radio personality and a director of the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC), decrying a proposal that "O Canada" be sung in Hind (!) at next year's Winter Olympics. Here's the text...

Bruce Allen is on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee and new Canadians (specifically Hindis/Indians) want him fired for his recent comments outlined below:

I am sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi at the 2010 Olympics -- enough is enough. Nowhere or at no other time in our Nation's history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration. It was written in English, adapted into French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.

The news broadcasts even gave the Hindi version translation, which was not even close to our National Anthem. I am not the least bit sorry if this offends ANYONE, this is MY COUNTRY!

My Grand Dad served in the military, other family members also served, as well as my wife & I served a combined total of 56 years between us. We made many sacrifices for our country and do not feel we should feel obligated to allow invited people we've welcomed with open arms to influence & change our society to better resemble the one they chose to leave to come here!

IF YOU AGREE ABOUT THIS GREAT COUNTRY, SPEAK UP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE -- please pass this along.

I am not against immigration. In fact I believe we need more, my ancestors were immigrants -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the Rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and LONG LIVE CANADA!

It's time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness. His comments were anything but racist, however, there are far too many overly sensitive 'New Canadians' that are attempting to change everything we hold dear.

Are YOU part of the problem? Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone, will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice? Think about it!

IMMIGRANTS, NOT CANADIANS, MUST ADAPT.It's time for CANADIANS to speak up.
If you agree, pass this along. If you don't agree?Delete it and reap what you sow because of your complacency!


Now here's the interesting thing... Not long ago Walt received a similar FWD from Agent 17, who lives about 1200 miles away from Agent 89. Having dutifully passed it along, I was taken to task by an old friend for perpetuating a "hoax"!

Dear readers, it's not a hoax. But what you've read is not what Bruce Allen said. This rant has been around before. According to snopes.com, the latest version has been circulating since 2007, and is an adaptation of an earlier rant condemning a proposal that the U.S. anthem be sung in Spanish.

It should be noted too that whoever wrote the Canadianized version is either ignorant or a typical tête carrée (perhaps an Albertan?) who doesn't know or doesn't want to know that O Canada was originally written in French. The English lyrics, which are not a translation of the French (because the French version is soooo Catholic!) were written almost 30 years later. Details are in the Snopes article.

Also worth reading are Bruce Allen's comments in his own defence, published in September 2007.

Now let us ask ourselves why this "racist, anti-immigrant rant" is being so widely circulated on the Internet. (You mean it's gone viral? ed.) I believe it's because it strikes a chord with the majority of Canadians and Americans, including millions of immigrants from Europe who tried to adapt to our culture, rather than forcing us to adapt to theirs.

Only a few years after WWII, our community opened its gates and its arms to a wave of immigrants from countries which had been overrun by the Germans (or, in the aftermath of the war, the Communists). They were called "displaced persons", not "refugees".

Walt's mother (RIP) was a high school English teacher. The local school board, in a fit of enlightenment remarkable for the time, set up ESL classes for the "DPs", who came in astonishing numbers to avail themselves of the opportunity to learn the language and culture of their host country. My mother, who had the typical Anglo mistrust of foreigners, was impressed forever after by the positive attitude of these (literally) poor people.

One of the first things they wanted to learn was the words to the national anthem. They did not demand that it be translated into their languages. They wanted to learn not just how things should be said, in Canada, but how they should be done. But that was over 50 years ago...

Will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice?

Walt agrees. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Catholic Quebec?

Walt, having celebrated his birthday well if not wisely, will confine himself today to recommending today's Globe Essay: Neither practising nor believing, but Catholic even so

Here's a taste... "The ‘baptized pagans' of Quebec, the most secularized society in the Western world, have less and less knowledge of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, but attempts to remove Catholicism's symbolic presence in public places and on the school curriculum are greeted with howls of outrage."

Why did attendance at Mass and other practice of the Catholic Faith "vaporize" in 1966? Walt will give the answer next week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Retired general says "Canada will not abandon Afghanistan"

Still reading today's Globe and Mail.... General Lewis MacKenzie, who served in the last century as head of Canada's armed forces, says "Canada will not abandon Afghanistan in 2011, no matter what the headlines suggest for the next two years."

Haven't we heard that line before? In the 19th century, the British said they would not abandon Afghanistan. In the 20th century the Russians (oops, Soviets) said they would not abandon Afghanistan. And now a not particularly smart or successful Canadian general (who also happens to be a failed Conservative candidate) says Canada will not abandon Afghanistan. Amazing!

Walt says Canada should "abandon" (i.e. get out of) Afghanistan immediately! We have no business being there. So our leaving could allow Afghanistan to recede into the Dark Ages? Who cares?! Keeping the Afghans from slitting each other's throats is not worth one Canadian life, let alone 127...and counting.

As for General MacKenzie, he should do what old soldiers are supposed to do and just fade away...quietly!

More on Israel: is it really an "apartheid state"?

Margarent Wente, a columnist for the Globe and Mail (Canada's self-styled "national newspaper") can usually be counted on for an insightful analysis of whatever topic she turns her hand (keyboard? ed.) to. Her take on the United Church's debate on Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians is excellent. Click here to read "How Israel became South Africa".

Ms. Wente rightly points the finger of scorn at the loony lefties in the UCC and "the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., the Church of England, Britain's National Union of Journalists, Ireland's largest public-sector union, various British academic groups, and our own beloved CUPE, all of which have passed anti-Israel resolutions".

Walt has one little question though. Is Ms. Wente by any chance...ermmm...Jewish? I think we should be told!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

United Church...anti-Semitic? Really?!

About the last organization Walt would expect to be accused of anti-Semitism is the United Church of Canada. And yet, the Canadian Jewish Congress has just condemned the UCC for having the demerity to raise, for purposes of debate at its general meeting, the possibility of boycotts and sanctions against Israel "until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination."

For those not familiar with the Canadian religious scene, the United Church was created in the 1920s by a merger of Methodists and some of the Presbyterians. The UCC has always been on the left-liberal side of the religious spectrum, espousing ideals of liberal humanism which often seem at odds with the principles of Christianity. Many United Church clergymen -- oops, clergypeople -- express doubts about the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Jesus and even the existence of God.

So also, when it comes to politics, the UCC seem rather a leftish lot. One sees them wearing their cords and birkenstocks heading for the polls to vote for the Few Democrats. (Catholics tend to vote Liberal and evangelical Protestants lean decidedly to the right.)

The resolutions up for debate at the UCC general meeting have to do with politics, not religion. But this hardly comes as a surprise. If the Anglicans are the Tory party at prayer, the United Church is the NDP, not exactly praying but "thinking thoughts" with the idea that God might take some notice of their thought processes...if there is a God.

The proposers of the resolutions want to push the state of Israel towards allowing self-determination for the Palestinian (Arab) people within its territory. The Jewish Congress, though, seems to feel that any attack on Israel is an attack on Judaism and Jews. Ergo, those who support the idea of Palestinian self-determination are anti-Semitic racists.

Walt asks: If arguing for a Palestinian homeland makes you an anti-Semitic racist, what does arguing for Jewish homeland make you?

If it's broke, FIX IT!

I don't know if Walt has any readers in Mexico (Jose? Can you see? ed), but if so, they may have been inconvenienced by the Canadian government's decision, last month, to impose visa restrictions on would-be travellers to Canada. The intent is to stanch the flood of bogus refugee claims by residents of Mexico who can only be "economic refugees".

The new visa requirement was the subject of some discussion between Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian P.M. "Call me Steve" Harper at the "Three Amigos Summit" this weekend. Sr Calderon wanted to know why -- considering our ties of brotherhood and free trade -- Canada would close treat Mexico in this churlish way.

In reply, Mr Harpoon used the oldest and lamest breakup line known to man: "It's not you; it's me!" Yes, he said, the real problem is that the Canadian refugee system is broken, making it "far to easy to make bogus refugee claims so as to get into Canada". I emphasize the PM's exact words.

Last I heard, the refugee "system" (is dis a system? ed.) was the responsibility of the federal government. And who is the head of the federal government? Step forward, Stephen Harper!

While it's true that his government inherited the mess from its Liberal predecessor, the Tories have done nothing to fix it. In fact, they've made matters worse by neglecting to fill the vacancies on the Refugee Appeal Board. Perhaps there aren't enough defeated Tory candidates to go around?

In Walt's house, if we have a machine that's broken, we hire someone to fix it. If they can't fix it, we hire someone else! If the machine is broken beyond repair, we throw it out!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"We Need a Leader Like This" - Hoax? Who cares?!

What follows, thanks to Agent 17 in Florida, is a FWD that's been kicking around the Internet for some time. Headed "Whole World Needs a Leader Like This", it purports to quote Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying that Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law should get out of Australia.

What we have here is not a hoax, as some claim, but a case of mistaken attributions. As far as I can tell, the first Australian to give voice to this sentiment was former Australian Treasurer Peter Costello. Costello was quoted with approval by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, in February 2006. Click here to read "Live here and be Australian". And note these quotes:

Morris Iemma [Premier of the Australian state of New South Wales], called [Mr. Costello's remarks] reasonable and practical and said immigrants should "leave the disputes, leave the extremism and leave the fights behind".

Pauline Hanson, the former leader of the One Nation party, said she was vindicated by Mr Costello. She added that "he needs to throw these people out of this country who do not embrace Australia".

What happened next was that someone blended Mr. Costello's remarks with an editorial called "Hello! This is America!" written by U.S. Air Force vetern Barry Loudermilk. The combined version then got attributed to John Howard. After Kevin Rudd succeeded Mr. Howard, Rudd's name was inserted to bring the FWD up to date. Here's the version Agent 17 collected.

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.

This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!

Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.

Who is really responsible for this "rant"? Who cares?!

Except for the part about speaking English, I agree! And so, I believe, do the majority of Canadians and Americans...not to mention Australians, New Zealanders and British. Thank God for the leaders who have the guts to stand up and say so!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chinese plane diverted from frying pan to fire

Things have been a little slow lately. So, in response to the editor's demand for some serious news, Walt passes on a report by Associated Press that a Chinese aircraft which was to land in Xinjiang province was diverted to another country.

Xinjiang was the scene of ethnic riots in July, as minority Uighurs attacked Han Chinese who they accuse of overrunning their territory. The Han Chinese mounted their own savage counterattack. Nearly 200 were killed and more than 1700 injured in the violence.

Today China's Xinhua News Agency said the airport in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi had been ordered to prevent the plane, which it had earlier reported as hijacked, from landing. It did not say whether the aircraft was civilian or military, but said the reason for the diversion was a bomb threat.

Now here's the odd part. The Chinese were apparently so concerned about the safety and wellbeing of those aboard the plane that they diverted it to... wait for it... Kandahar, Afghanistan!

However, a spokesman for NATO forces in Kandahar said he hadn't heard any report of a plane forced to land there.
"I doubt that anything like that has taken place based on the information we have right now," U.S. navy Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo said. "That's a significant activity. If something that significant happens we would know about it.''

Yeah, right. Stay tuned.

The Cowboy (a cautionary tale)


A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.
"Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St.. Peter asked.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the cowboy offered. "On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of bikers, who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him in his face. Kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, 'Now, back off!! Or I'll kick the shit out of all of you!'"
St. Peter was impressed, "When did this happen?''
"Just a couple of minutes ago…"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I... AM... CANADIAN!!!

Let me just make it clear.

I was born in Canada...in Toronto, in fact, and how many present-day residents of Toronto can say that? I grew up in a small town, now a small city with all that implies, in south central Ontario.

I have lived and worked in the land of the free and the home of the brave...also in the USA. (Just kidding. I meant the USA.) I have also lived and worked in Europe, Africa and the Orient.

And now I'm back in Canada, where, like about 80% of my compatriots, I live within 100 miles (160 km) of the US border.

Canada is my home. For all its faults, inanities and insanities, it's still the best country on earth.

Walt

video

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You can quote me on that

You're welcome to quote my blog in your own blog or other publication, provided you give credit to the source and include either a link or my URL.
And please feel free to send me your own comments, thoughts, vagrant or flagrant opinions... walt.whiteman@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is race the reason?

The Toronto Star reports today that 5 (five) people were involved in 4 (four) separate shooting incidents in Toronto in the last 24 hours. Many (many) shots were fired. 1 (one) young man died from gunshot wounds.

The Star's report was 15 paragraphs long (as of noon EDT), and never said 1 (one) word about the race of those involved. Nor did the Star allow comments, moderate or otherwise.

Could it be because all those involved were black?

What is the point of the politically correct suppression of this fact? Even in descriptions of suspects, race usually goes unreported. And the Star is not the only media outlet which doesn't have the balls to say what anyone can see just by watching the news on TV.

The fact is that, in Toronto, young black men are killing other young black men, usually for reasons involving drugs and gangs, at the rate of over one per week so far this year. They might just manage to solve the crime problem by killing each other. But how many innocent bystanders, like Jane Creba, will be caught in the crossfire?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The biggest whitewash

Readers following the Airbus Commission (surely "Oliphant Commission"? ed.) will be aware that on Sunday Karl-Heinz Schreiber, the man who gave former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney $300,000 in cash (which somehow shrank to $225,000 according to Mulroney) was extradited to Germany to face criminal charges there. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson gave the order with indecent haste, only a couple of days after Mr. Justice Oliphant said he had conluded his deliberations, but much in advance of the judge's report, which might be released later this year.

Here is an astute commentary from Douglas Bell's blog in the Globe and Mail, 3/8/09

As I type this, minds more august than my own are no doubt weighing in on the Schreiber expulsion. That said, can you imagine a key witness in a high-powered U.S. Senate committee inquiry into government corruption being extradited Honduran-style, in the dead of night over a holiday weekend, before the committee had reported its findings?

That Justice Oliphant didn’t have the suck to keep one of his key witnesses in the country lends credence to a curt missive I received early this morning from a player in the inquiry: "One of Canada’s great white-washes."

Walt is prepared to bet a cookie that the "player" mentioned by Mr. Bell is none other than Norman Spector, former fart-catcher for Mr. Malarkey, who was quite adamant in his testimony before Mr. Justice Oliphant that the relationship between Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Baloney didn't pass the smell test.

Check out Mr. Spector's own column, "Spector Vision", in which he reveals some of the things that m'lud didn't allow us to hear. Then read "The Oliphant in the Room", posted here 7/7/09.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Canadian Casualty Count


126, 127 - For what?

Agent 1 received from a friend a FWD called "Sack Lunches". Some of you may have seen it. It originated in the USA and tells the story of someone travelling on a plane who bought some "sack lunches" (as an American would say) for some soldiers who were on the same flight? Why? Because "these soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals."

The writer goes on to say "A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'Canada' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'"

Well, sorry...but Sapper Matthieu Allard and Cpl. Christian Bobbitt (pictured above) did not die for Canada.

Allard and Bobbitt, RIP, were more than numbers. They had faces. They had names. They had families who now mourn them, as all Canadians should. But what happens or doesn't happen in Afghanistan will make no difference to their families or the future of Canada or Canadians.

Perhaps our brave troops are fighting -- or think they're fighting -- for democracy and world peace. That's what the Canadian government tells them. Do you think, dear reader, that the deaths of 127 Canadians have made any difference? Do you think Afghanistan is going to taste the blessings of freedom and democracy any time soon? They've never had those things and there's not much evidence that they even want them!

Walt says...leave the Afghans to whatever kind of life they choose for themselves, even if that includes raising opium poppies, oppressing their women and killing each other. Afghanistan is their country. Leave it to them. And bring our troops home!

See "More bloodshed, another life extinguished...for what?" (17/7/09)