Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dirk Meissner of Canadian Press has written a good piece called "Let them eat cake: The wacky world of the Harmonized Sales Tax". Read it to find out why the wine at the wedding reception may taste a bit salty, and why you have to pay HST on one donut but not six.
Happy Canada Day, everybody! And don't forget to vote the bastards out, next chance you get!
A Russian woman married a Canadian gentleman and they lived happily ever after in Toronto. The poor lady was not very proficient in English, but did manage to communicate with her husband.
The real problem arose whenever she had to shop for groceries. One day, she went to the butcher and wanted to buy chicken legs. She didn't know how to put forward her request, so, in desperation, clucked like a chicken and lifted up her skirt to show her thighs. Her butcher got the message and gave her the chicken legs.
Next day she needed to get chicken breasts. Again she didn't know how to say it, so she clucked like a chicken and unbuttoned her blouse to show the butcher her breasts. The butcher understood again and gave her some chicken breasts.
On the 3rd day, the poor lady needed to buy sausages. Unable to find a way to communicate this, she brought her husband to the store...
Why? Because her husband speaks English! What were you thinking?
Monday, June 28, 2010
Yes, me too...infinitely funnier than Grown Ups, which you should avoid like the plague. Seen the trailer on TV? Like the scene where the fat guy swings out over the ole swimming hole and crashes into a tree? Just like in America's Funniest Home Videos? Well, dear reader, that is the only ONLY funny scene in the whole damn movie. Forget it! But I digress...
Much in all as I enjoyed this commercial, something bothered me about it. Something besides a suspicion that this has to be a spoof. How could there be such a product, for real? But then it dawned on me...
There IS a real ShoeDini. Trust me, I checked. But the target audience is not the actors you see in the commercial. Those feebs and geezers look pretty slim and fit to me. I'm sure the target audience is the millions of American (and Canadian and British) men and women who are too fat to see their feet...never mind putting shoes on them!
Walt predicts the ShoeDini will be an even greater marketing success than the Slap Chop!
There is also a "briefing" -- a lengthy analysis -- on Afghanistan, headed "More than a one-man problem". The sub-headline reads "The gaffes that cost General Stanley McChrystal his job are symptoms of far deeper trouble -- a war that is being lost." Critics and war hawks please note: those are the Economist's words, not mine. It's my emphasis though.
After going through a long list of failures and a somewhat shorter list of successes in Armpitistan, the Economist concludes the three-page opus thus: "Perhaps the best that can be hoped for NATO's current operations is to weaken the militants sufficiently to bring them to the table."
It seems to me that's a pretty faint hope. And one that is not worth the spilling of another drop of blood. Instead of planning strategies for counter-insurgency, Obama and whoever his advisors are today should, in my view, be looking for the door marked "EXIT".
There is nothing ... repeat, NOTHING ... to be gained by staying in Afghanistan, not "peace with honour", not even peace WITHOUT honour. The USA and its allies are in the wrong war, in the wrong place, for the wrong reasons. It's time to quit while we're behind!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
While the leaders of the most powerful nations in the world (it says here) had a group dither, Saturday, on the subject of Afghanistan, among others, two more Canadian soldiers were killed there.
They were were both medical technicians attached to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Private Miller was only 21. Master Corporal Giesebrecht was the third Canadian woman to be killed in a combat situation.
The world leaders did not immediately offer any new ideas for stopping the waste of lives.
Friday, June 25, 2010
177 countries are ranked on a matrix including security threats, economic implosion, human rights violations and refugee flows. Since the index was published for the first time in 2005, the top 10 slots have rotated among 15 countries. Foreign Policy (the Fund's publication) said it seems that state failure “is a chronic condition”.
And now for the organization’s list of the world’s 10 most vulnerable nations ... or, if you want to look at it this way, the 10 worst places to live ... with Walt's comments.
10. Pakistan - Christians persecuted for blaspheming against Islam. Taliban hiding out in the Khyber Pass. Capital is Islamabad -- no pun intended.
9. Guinea - Not to be confused with Guyana which has improved to 104th. And it borders on India. Just one of a rotten bunch of banana republics in central and west Africa. See map above.
8. Central African Republic - Ditto. Used to be the Central African Empire, whose emperor was rumoured, only a couple of decades ago, to eat his enemies. Hasn't improved much since.
7. Iraq - Site of the Bush war. Hazardous place to live due to frequent and unpredictable explosions. Sunni Muslims fighting with Shia Muslims (dontcha love the name "Shiite"?) fighting with Ismaili Muslims fighting with Kurds, and so on.
6. Afghanistan - Site of the Obama war. Otherwise see 7.
5. Democratic Republic of Congo - Next door to the Republic of Congo, which ranks only 30th. Anarchy in the eastern part, except for the foreign-run mines -- blood diamonds. No roads. No nothing. Heart of Darkness country.
4. Chad - Sits next to Canada at the U.N. Has Libya for a northern neighbour, Sudan on the east. Nice.
3. Sudan - See my recent post on South Sudan. The Muslim-ruled north is only marginally better. Dustiest capital city in the world.
2. Zimbabwe - Uses its worthless dollars for toilet paper. Generates more refugees than any other country on earth. Ruled by Comrade Robert Mugabe (Bob's your uncle!) the 2nd-worst dictator on earth.*
And the winner (?) is...
1. Somalia - Failed to cash in on worldwide interest in pirates. Two or three "governments" claim overlapping territories. Warlords in charge. Anarchy rules.
* Source: Fund for Peace. Who's No. 1? Step forward, Kim Jong-il, Dear Leader and President for Life of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.
Footnote: Read the article to discover why Canada and Eire are coloured green on the map, but the U.S.A. and Britain are only yellow.
That post provoked considerable outrage from a couple of the aforementioned "progressive persons" and Right Thinkers, who predictably accused Walt of homophobia and -- shock! horror! -- being a social conservative!
But it appears Walt is not the only one who thinks that this whole gay rights thing has gone too far. This morning I found in my inbox the following comment from an Ontario elementary school teacher:
That sex ed thing was a fiasco. This week we had to do a "school climate survey" with our Grade 4 and 5 students. It took about three hours of class time. The questions included stuff on how the students "perceived equity" in what they were exposed to in the way of information, books, posters, etc. on women & girls, different cultures, religions, families, gays and lesbians, transgender, and bullying issues of all kinds.
How much time should I spend reading stories and articles about gay/lesbian and transgendered individuals to my 9- and 10-year-olds? My class's answer: NEVER!
* LGBTQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered & Questioning. That the latest PC tag for those who reject sexual normality. Don't blame me; I didn't make it up.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
McChrystal's commander-in-chief, the Rainbow President, has invited Billy to the Formerly White House for what is expected to be a severe bollocking. "I was just trying out some impressions", McChrystal said, "but I guess the prez wasn't amused. I hope he'll change his mind once he sees the polished version of my new act."
The material McChrystal referred to reportedly included Vice-President "Joe Bite Me", U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and National Security Adviser James Earl Jones, who was depicted as a clown. "I rented a Krusty the Klown outfit for that one," McChrystal said. "I mean, I really put some effort into this, y'know?"
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said McChrystal's new routine was definitely a CLM, and hinted that McChrystal "will never work in this town again". Gibbs promised that in his meeting with McChrystal, President Barack would be "wide awake and fully engaged...not like last time."
The Americans are expected to follow the lead of the Canadian Armed Forces, who earlier this month assigned their former commander in Afghanistan, General Daniel Ménard, to head a crack team developing a new computerized personnel system. Given his background in entertainment, General McChrystal is tipped to be placed in charge of of bringing Bob Hope back from the dead to headline a new USO show to cheer up the boys in the Middle East.
Neither the U.S. nor the Canadian Armed Forces have yet named new commanders for the Afghanistan police action. However, Walt can reveal the names of the leading candidates: Brig.-Gen. Stan Lee Laurel (Canada) and the first top-level female commander in U.S. history, Gen. Olive R. Hardy.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"I would ask: did the last war settle anything? I venture to say that it settled nothing; and the next war into which we are asked to enter, however big and bloody it may be, is not going to settle anything either. That is not the way in which settlements are brought about.
"While we are urged to fight for freedom and democracy, it should be remembered that war is the very negation of both. The victor may win; but if he does, it is by adopting the self-same tactics which he condemns in his enemy..."
Mr. Woodsworth was roundly denounced as a traitor and a coward, and Canada joined the Allies (more than two years before the Americans did, let it be remembered) in the war against the Axis. Oops...almost wrote "Axis of Evil".
So we had World War II and we won that. Since then we've had Korea, the Six Days War, Vietnam, the Gulf, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention any number of UN "police actions" and "peacekeeping expeditions". But has anything been settled? Have freedom and democracy triumphed? [That's enough rhetorical questions. ed.]
Last night, I came across a thought on the limits of free speech, written 73 years ago. The author is Jean-Marie-Rodrigue Cardinal Villeneuve, Archbishop of Québec City from 1931 until his death in 1947.
"Freedom of speech is not freedom to outrage our social conceptions, to insult our traditions, our principles and our religion."
The prelate's opinion presupposes a more or less homogeneous society, based on shared traditions, principles and religion. We no longer have that in America, Britain and -- especially -- Canada.
We live in a fractured, fragmented society where keeping track of all the "communities" is like counting baby spiders. And since the new "progressive" thinking says that one tradition or belief system is as good as another -- a notion that Cardinal Villeneuve would rightly have denounced as heresy -- we are now "free" to say anything we damn well please, no matter how offensive or outrageous it may be.
Monday, June 21, 2010
In a related story, the British death toll in Armpitistan has now risen to over 300. The UK's new prime minister, David Cameron, said "We are paying a high price for keeping our country safe, for making our world a safer place."
Indeed. But Canada, with roughly a quarter of the number of British troops in Afghanistan, yet about half the number of dead, is paying a higher price. As for keeping the world safe, has anyone seen any evidence of this as yet?
If the world is a safer place, why has Canada just spent over a billion dollars on security for the upcoming G8/G20 meeting of world leaders? That's pretty steep, especially considering that Afghanistan's democratically elected leader, the Krazai guy, won't be there.
Little Sally led off: "I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30," she said proudly, "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civic spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious
"Very good," said the teacher.
Little Jenny was next. "I sold magazines," she said. "I made $45 and I explained to everyone
that magazines would keep them up on current events."
"Very good, Jenny," said the teacher.
Eventually, it was little Barack's turn. The teacher held her breath. Little Barack walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk and smugly said, "$2,467.
"$2,467!" cried the teacher. "What in the world were you selling?"
"Toothbrushes," said Barack.
"Toothbrushes!" echoed the teacher, "How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?"
Explained Barack, "I found the busiest corner in town. I set up a Dip & Chip stand, I gave everybody who walked by a free sample. They all said the same thing, 'Hey, this tastes like dog shit!'
"Then I would say, 'It is dog shit. Wanna buy a toothbrush?' I used the governmental approach of giving you something shitty that they say is good, and then making you pay to get the shitty taste out of your mouth!"
Thanks and a tip of Walt's chapeau to Agent 46!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
At the hearing in a Brampton, Ontario court, the Crown attorney read into the record an agreed statement of facts. The motive for the killing, he said, was that father Parvez was upset that his daughter wouldn't conform to the strict rules of their Muslim household, making her father look bad in the community. "She made me naked", he explained.
Parvez the son felt obliged to do the needful, so lured his sister home from school and then strangled her.
The Crown accepted the Muslim men's plea to second-degree murder, which strikes me as pretty lenient seeing as how the murder was, on the Crown's own statement, clearly premeditated. Both of them were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 18 years.
Much argument has ensued over whether this was truly an "honour killing" and whether Islam requires or at least condones such violence against women who won't conform to the rules of Islamic culture.
Walt concedes that it's not only Muslims who kill their wives, sisters and children for transgressions such as wearing western clothes. Hindus and Sikhs do it too. See "Guilty plea in honour killing" and "'Honour killing' follow-up", both written earlier this month. And there's another case -- the four Indian ladies who somehow drove their car into a canal and drowned -- which has yet to come to trial.
Agent 2 says someone should teach these immigrants the Ten Commandments before they're allowed to enter the country. But that's just the point. We who believe in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule are not allowed, even in our country, to impose our beliefs and value systems on others, even those who choose to come to our country.
To insist that Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus or what have you accept and live by our Judeo-Christian laws and codes of conduct would not be in the spirit of pluralism and multiculturalism which is now an article of faith for all progressive and right-thinking [surely left-thinking! ed.] people.
These are not made up. Check them out yourself!
'Who Represents' is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is: http://www.whorepresents.com/.
'Experts Exchange' is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views on http://www.expertsexchange.com/
Looking for a great pen? Look no further than 'Pen Island'. It can be found at http://www.penisland.net/
Need a therapist? Try 'Therapist Finder' at http://www.therapistfinder.com/
Then there's the 'Italian Power Generator' company. http://www.powergenitalia.com/ is under construction even as we speak.
And the designers at 'Speed of Art' await you at their wacky Web site http://www.speedofart.com/
What lesson do we learn from this, boys and girls? Be careful what you name your new web site. If the URL has any possible double meaning, you can bet someone will get the wrong one!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
That's a quote from a recent Globe and Mail article by Geoffrey York. What country do you suppose Mr. York is talking about? Hint: over 90% of the inhabitants are black. Could it be Somalia? Burkina Faso? Eritrea? Maybe Haiti? There are lots of candidates, chiefly African. But the winner [loser, surely. ed.] is... wait for it... South Sudan.
Wait a minute, I hear you pedants exclaim. South Sudan isn't a country yet. No, not yet. But wait about seven months. A referendum on independence -- make that separation from the Arab-dominated northern part of Sudan -- is due to be held in January. The black, more-or-less Christian southern part of the country is expected to succeed in seceding.
Ah yes, the birth of a nation. Call D.W. Griffith. Another member for the farcical talking shop which calls itself "the United Nations". And another large begging bowl to be held out to "the West" or "the North" or "the G8" or whatever the rich countries are collectively called today. Cue Bono and Boob Geldof to tell us it's all our fault that the new baby nation has an excellent chance of being stillborn.
Gerald Caplan, Canada's master handwringer, told Mr. York "Arbitrary boundaries carried the seeds of much subsequent destruction, notably the terrible national/ethnic wars that have plagued Africa.... This will be a frail new state indeed. The south is left with deep ethnic divisions and divisive borders that are a recipe for big future trouble."
Or course. It's our fault that most of the $7,000,000,000 Southern Sudan has received in oil revenue since 2005 has been siphoned off by corruption. It's our fault that its government has given the largest part of its budget to its military and security forces. How could we have failed them so badly?! Two more paragraphs from the article:
"In the capital, Juba, there is no electricity grid, no industry, and scarcely any water treatment. Most people live in mud huts, shacks, tents or other temporary dwellings. Families must pay up to $4 for a barrel of...tainted water [from the White Nile]. International agencies such as Unicef have been obliged to provide emergency water supplies to prevent more cholera outbreaks.
"The independence of southern Sudan...won’t end the illiteracy, malnutrition, maternal deaths, or disease outbreaks. If the impoverished people of southern Sudan don’t see improvement in their lives, the peace pledges could be jeopardized and the tribal violence could escalate."
What's the solution? How can we imperialists make good all the wrongs we've done to these poor people? [Errr... the colonial era ended over fifty years ago! ed.] Throw money at them! That's the ticket!
Don't wait for Bono and Geldof to ask. Get out your chequebook now! Send your donation c/o Walt. And be sure to write on the corner of the envelope: "I'm a guilt-wracked white liberal and I want to help!"
Sunday, June 13, 2010
ed. has the password and will sling a few syllables in the event of any earth-shattering news. Otherwise you'll see me again on June 21st, D.V.
PS - Hope you like the new look! Your comments on this or anything are always welcome. You can e-mail me at email@example.com.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today he writes in the Times of London about the new British coalition government's dilemma as it tries to appease the wrath of the Americans -- who are getting really pissed off about British Petroleum (BP) -- yet respect the wishes of the majority of Britons who are opposed to any continuation of the "mission".
His piece, in the online edition of the Times of London, is headlined "They must know our mission is doomed". Here are a couple of paragraphs.
David Cameron has picked a fine time to make his Afghan debut. Convoy torched; helicopter shot down; the two security advisers to President Karzai whom the West most trusts resigned; and 29 Nato and British servicemen killed in nine days.
So let’s get this straight: Afghanistan’s own army can’t shoulder, their own air capability can’t support, and their own economy can’t pay for, this war. And that’s reckoning without the corrupt and impotent Government in Kabul we are there to shore up. Some exit strategy.
We can see now that we should never have gone into southern Afghanistan in 2006 — but feel that today it’s too late to repent. In four years’ time I fear we’ll be saying that quitting Helmand in 2010 (as we are) would have been a good time to pull back completely; but now, in 2014, beseiged in Kandahar (or wherever) it’s too late.
Can the British, American and Canadian governments not admit that the situation is hopeless and quit Afghanistan now? Walt says that's not defeatism, just realism!
FOOTNOTE: Thanks to Agent 17 for passing on this comment along the same lines from the USA: "The courage to leave" by New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Meanwhile, hundreds of police manhours ["personhours" please. ed.] were spent looking for this guy. An identikit drawing was on every newscast. Ooooooo...could be a terrorist! After all, he spoke with a European accent, or maybe it was an Arab accent. And he was missing two fingers from one hand. Could be a Japanese gangster or a member of some weird cult! Ooooooo!!!
And he bought the fertilizer only 20 miles or so from the US border. Oooooooo! Maybe he's already smuggled it across the bridge to attack America! Ooooooooo!!!
What we saw yesterday was a prime example of how the paranoia that has gripped the Excited States of America since 9/11 has infected the rest of the West. We are afraid of everything now, even old people innocently going about their business.
What Toronto Police Staff Supt. Jeff McGuire called "a gardening incident" was blown out of all proportion by the media and (especially) the police and government. What a great opportunity to justify the billion-plus dollars being spent on "security"! What a load of fertilizer!!!
Postscript: It's worth noting that at least three police forces -- Niagara, Toronto and the RCMP -- never did find the farmer. He came forward on his own after seeing the story on TV.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Note: Don't be startled by the sound cannon effect about 2.5 minutes in. It's part of the joke!
Here are a couple of examples of how much planning and care is going into the security arrangements.
As if bringing cops and soldiers from all over Canada wasn't enough, the RCMP (a.k.a. Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen) decided they'd better hire a private security company to provide additional manpower. [Please say "personpower". ed.] Who better to turn to than the firm which guarded the Winter Olympics held in February in Vancouver. They managed to keep "Call me Steve" Harper and other VIPs* from getting stoned (in the Biblical sense) or pied, so they could do the same again now, right?
Only one hitch. The ink on the contract had barely dried before someone noticed that the firm in question, Contemporary Security Canada, is... errrr... not licensed to undertake such services in the province of Ontario. Since getting a licence takes 6-8 months, and the summit is to be held in a couple of weeks, there's some pretty fast walking around in the halls of Queen's Park this morning.
Meanwhile, in Vineland, Ontario -- just down the road from Fruitland -- the horsemen have joined the local police -- both of them -- in looking for the man who bought 60 55-pound bags of ammonium nitrate.
As the village names suggest, that part of Ontario is fruit country, whence come many surprisingly good wines. The wines are made from grapes. To grow the grapes you need fertilizer, which is what ammonium nitrate is.
So what's the big deal? Seems a bright Mountie remembered that ammonium nitrate was what Timothy McVeigh used to make his bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995. And with the G8/G20 and G8 summits just around the corner, you can't be too careful, eh!
Mind you, McVeigh used about 120 times the amount bought in Vineland, but still, according to RCMP Sgt. Marc LaPorte, "It is a legitimate fertilizer in that quantity, it's just that it is also an ingredient for a bomb. There is a concern because of the upcoming events in Huntsville and Toronto. We're taking this potential threat seriously."
Maybe a bit too seriously? Leave aside the distinct possibility that the purchaser is a farmer. Walt's Ontario roadmap reveals that Toronto is about an hour's drive from Vineland, and Huntsville... errr... about three hours.
As fans of The Simpsons and South Park know, it's all too easy to poke fun at Canada. Right now a would-be humorist doesn't even to make up stories. All you have to do is write the news. Stay tuned for more of the hilarious antics of those crazy Canucks!
* Very Irritating Persons
She covered every US president from Eisenhower through Obama, and was particularly noted for her insightful articles on JFK. (She was the one who used to thank him at the end of his press conferences.)
Known as "the sitting Buddha", Ms Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, and, in 1975, the first female member of the Gridiron Club, the oldest and most prestigious journalistic organization in Washington.
All that has ended now. Ms Thomas "resigned" her position on the weekend, thinking it better to jump before she got pushed. Why? Not because of her age. Although she's almost 90, Ms Thomas is sharp as a mouthful of mustard and still capable of turning out good copy.
But she made one mistake. She spoke out against Israel and its recent act of piracy on the high seas. In an interview earlier this month with Rabbi David Nesenoff Ms Thomas said that the Jews of Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine [and] go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."
In the world of America media, dominated as it is by Jews, that has to be the worst of all Career-Limiting Moves. To make matters worse, Ms Thomas, in spite of looking a bit like Molly Goldberg in this old file photo, is Lebanese-American.
She's not Muslim, having been raised in the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. "But," Walt imagines them saying, "hey, she's an Arab and she's an old woman. Let's get her!" And they did.
Moral of the story: If you're intent on a career in journalism in the USA, better not piss off the guys who wear the yarmulkes!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
What would a lake be without a boat? Turns out -- at least according to Liberal MP Siobhan Coady -- that there's a big ole steamboat, the SS Bigwin, rusting away in one of the lakes in the Muskoka riding of Conservative Industry Minister Clement Clement.
So, as long as we're splashing a couple of mill for a lake [geddit? ed.] why don't we fix up that leaking boat too? It'll only cost another $400,000 or so.
Of course we wouldn't actually be able to bring the boat into the Media Centre in Toronto in time for the G20, but the world leaders attending the G8 could maybe go for a little toot around the lake. And we could take pictures of it and put them in our press kits. So it wouldn't be a waste. Right guys?... Guys?....
Walt's source inside the Harper cabinet reports that the idea was about to be torpedoed [geddit? ed.] until Defence Minister Peter McHackey threw out a lifeline. [Stop torturing the metaphor! ed.] After the summit, the SS Bigwin could be renamed the HMCS Bigwin and attached to the Royal Canadian Navy for service in Afghanistan!
"But... errr... isn't Afghanistan landlocked?" asked Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence "Loose" Cannon. Said Harpoon, "Either stay on the message or shut up! If we don't all swim together, then we'll sink!"
One writer estimates that every single attender at the conferences will be protected by no fewer than 17 "security personnel", all working overtime and being fed and housed (quite agreeably -- sirloin steaks, anyone?) on the taxpayers' dime. That's not counting Bollocks Obama, who brings his own security staff with him.
Unfortunately for Canadian taxpayers, there are other costs besides "security". Leeches ["media personnel", surely! ed.] from all over the world will be in attendance, and "we" want to make a good impression on them so they'll talk up Canada in their reports to the folks back home.
One of the nicest things Canada has to offer (other than the finest rye whiskey in the world) is its thousands upon thousands of clear blue lakes. "Blue lake and rocky shore / I will return once more..." A great many -- thousands! -- of said lakes are in the Muskoka district of central Ontario, which is where the G8 summit is being held. Too bad the world's media won't be able to see them.
That's right, gentle reader. The Harper government, in its wisdom (and also to give a little punt to its feckless Industry Minister, Tony Clement) located the G8 meeting at a resort near the small town of Huntsville (in Clement's riding), which simply can't accommodate the locust-like hordes of press people. They'll have to stay in Toronto.
But Clement and Harper know how to fix that. Instead of taking the international media to the lake, the clever Canadians will bring the lake to the media!
Walt wouldn't kid you! In spite of running the worst deficit in Canadian history, the government really is going to spend about $2 million (and counting) to build an artificial lake inside the Media Centre at the Canadian National Exhibition park. It will have a fake dock and a Jumbotron to show pictures of the lakes and shores of beautiful Muskoka.
Residents of Mr. Clement's riding are addressing a petition to their nerdy MP to thank him for preventing the invasion of the media reptiles. Taxpayers in the rest of the country are predictably less thrilled.
And the opposition parties are having a field day with yet another example of Tory extravagance and mismanagement. Liberal MP Mark Holland, noting that $20-million is being allocated to dancers, fiddlers and flowers, suggested the government would be better suited to “party planning for Lady Gaga” rather than holding a substantive summit.
Click here for a video clip of scathing comments from Mr. Holland and NDP leader Jack Layton, courtesy of Canadian Press and the Globe and Mail.
Don't check the calendar. It's not April 1st. This is not a joke, although Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the lake "is one of the funniest things I have ever heard."
Toronto councillor Adam Vaughan told the Toronto Star, "If it wasn’t so serious, it would be hysterically funny.... The federal government refuses to compensate the businesses in my ward [the site of the G20] for damages, yet they’ll build a $2 million fake lake -- across from a real lake. As far as I’m concerned, they can jump in that lake!"
UPDATE: Minister of Industry and Stuff Clement Clement is now quoted as saying it's not a lake, it's a reflecting pool! Walt guesses he wants to be like the vampire's mirror -- no reflection on him!
Let's ask ourselves again: why are we there? If you can't come up with the politically correct answer, you have only to ask the Canadian government, the one headed by "Call me Steve" Harper. He'll tell you it's not war, stupid; it's development!
The Canadian Press has uncovered documents showing Harpoon's Tory toadies systematically drafted “Message Event Proposals” as part of a quiet campaign to persuade Canadians their country was primarily engaged in development work to rebuild a shattered nation.
In 2007-8, when the death toll of Canadian troops reached double digits, they used MEPs to literally script the utterances of top diplomats, aid workers and cabinet ministers. The purpose was of course to convince the Canadian public that we weren't hunting terrorists, but helping the poor and oppressed people of Afghanistan -- especially all those women who are being held in illiteracy and virtual bondage.
The MEPs are little gems of other direction. Obviously the goal was to keep the public from realizing that we were losng, by "refocusing...towards development, reconstruction and diplomatic efforts". That's a line from an MEP prepared by the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic wing that serves the Prime Minister’s Office. It was to be spoken by
Arif Lalani, then the Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, in a 2008 media tour.
The records also reveal how the government went so far as to write identical sets of quotes and talking points for two returning aid workers, who were supposed to be giving separate interviews on their "personal perspective" on "progress" in Afghanistan.
One of the MEPs is headed: “First-hand accounts by Canadians who have lived and worked in Afghanistan add credibility to Canada’s role,” states one MEP. Helene Kadi, in Kandahar from September 2006 to August 2007, was cleared to do several interviews. But Kadi’s MEP contained the same "key messages" -- word for word -- as one prepared for another CIDA employee, whose own "personal perspective and reflections" were scripted for him.
On Feb. 12, 2008, returning CIDA manager Kevin Rex gave an interview to the Airdrie Echo, an Alberta Weekly. Each of the separate MEPs for Kadi and Rex specified the same "key message": "As a returned CIDA field staff, I have seen and experienced first-hand the accomplishments and results achieved in Afghanistan, thanks to Canada’s role in that country." Other messages were repeated -- verbatim -- by both Rex and Kadi.
Why does the Canadian government keep pushing out this putried and patently dishonest propaganda? Because the notoriously controlling and stubborn Harpoon doesn't want to admit that he was wrong to extend the mission until 2011.
Why don't the Liberals call them on this? Because the Liberals got us into the mess in the first place, as a sop to the Americans for not joining in the aggression in Iraq. Besides, the left wing of the Liberal Party of Canada -- currently pulling very hard on the strings of County Iggy -- actually believes this "we're only there to help" guff!
And why do the mainstream media keep printing and airing this bullshit? Because they live in fear of the wrath of Harper and in the thrall of political correctness. They don't want to be seen as "unpatriotic" or "soft on terrorism". So they -- hello, Don Cherry! -- keep rabbiting on about how brave our troops are and what a great job they're doing making Afghanistan a better place.
Wake up, Canadians! You're being conned!
Worth reading: "The price we pay for a government of fear", by Jeffrey Simpson, in today's Globe and Mail.
Monday, June 7, 2010
It's easy for Boob Rae and other liberal do-gooders to call for our brave men and women to stay in Afghanistan as "advisors", for the sake of Canada's international reputation and so on. They (Rae et al.) are not the ones who have to watch each step they take, knowing it could be their last.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
1. Senior Taliban figures to be removed from the United Nations terrorist blacklist
2. All Taliban insurgents to be immediately released from prison
3. Islamic law to be strengthened throughout Afghanistan. *
4. Errrr... that's it. That's all we've got...
Hey, krazai plan, krazai guy!
* Ladeez... Honest Hamid's Fine Islamic Fashions is having a sale on burqas! Get yours before the Taliban gets you!
Why was the young mother so far from home? Here's the answer, from Michele Mandel's article "Killer of daughter-in-law hardly seems sorry", in the Toronto Sun.
"In 2005, her parents in Punjab paid an exorbitant dowry and sold her off in an arranged marriage to a Mississauga stranger with the expectation she’d bring them all to Canada.
It was an investment in a nightmare. The only joy in her life was her little boy, born here in 2007, but he was sent to live in India against her wishes. Isolated and with her every move monitored, her world shrunk to working with her controlling father-in-law in the family’s Indian grocery store — and it was there she died.
"In the courtroom, Amandeep remained as virtually alone in death as she was in life. There were two distant relatives and a pair of caring investigating officers, but no sign of her Malton husband or her parents, who remain in India caring for her three-year-old son.
"'He keeps asking for her,' said distant cousin Varinder Boparai. 'He doesn’t understand his mother is gone.'
"His poor mom kept quiet and sacrificed so much for her family’s Canadian dream. Undeterred, it seems her parents will still get their ticket here after all.
"Just seven months after Amandeep’s murder, her Punjabi family married off their younger daughter to a Brampton man in another arranged marriage. She’s about to have a child any day."
Speaking to Canadian Press, McGarvie said the need for "close relationships" is programmed by 100 million years of human evolution. Well DUH! She may be a bit off on the statistic, but the primal urge has been around ever since Adam, realizing that Eve came from inside him, thought he'd try to get inside her.
Ms McGarvie was commenting on the recent scandal which saw Brigadier General Daniel Menard, commander of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan, relieved of command and returned to Canada for ... ahem ... screwing a corporal. (Female corporal, to be sure! Nothing wrong with Menard!)
"[Soldiers] are in an incredibly difficult situation and looking for comfort, and we are expecting them to be automatons," McGarvie said. "You cannot fight it. You put adults together in any situation and you're going to have sex and intimacy." Again, DUH!
Of all the countries fighting for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan [Take your tongue out of your cheek! ed.] Canada's ban on relationships is arguably the strictest. Even the American military has begun easing its attitude toward personal relationships, including those of a non-heterosexual nature.
Ms McGarvie said the military should judge Menard and other soldiers solely on how well they do their job, not by any consensual relationships they might pursue. Walt agrees.
That a competent and heretofore-respected officer should find his career finished because of what civilians would see as "an office affair" seems to me a denial of the reality of human feelings and failings.
Ms Lorenzana got fired for being too good-looking! At least that's what she alleges in a lawsuit against Citigroup Inc. She claims that management had warned her not to dress like her female co-workers because her "shapeliness" upset her "easily distracted" male colleagues and supervisors.
"What they said to me is...because of my body type I drew too much attention," said Debbie in an interview with WCBS-TV, where she applied for a position as a weather-girl. [Better check on that. ed.]
According to the TV station, Ms Lorenzana is suing for lost wages and emotional distress. Citibank describes her suit as being “without merit.” Walt thinks the suit looks pretty good on her, but pales by comparison with a low-cut frilly blouse. See more pix in the Village Voice article "Is This Woman Too Hot To Be a Banker?"
In Walt's opinion, Ms Lorenzana's case cries out for justice! Agent 3, who brought the matter to my attention, says she should definitely press her suit, and offers to help smooth out any wrinkles.
But we must do more! Walt calls on all his dear readers to mount [Where are you going with this? ed.] a public protest. Tear up your Citibank credit card. Close your Citibank account. Demand that Ms Lorenzana be not just reinstated but cloned, so that every customer can have an identical personal banker to receive his deposits and exercise his right to early withdrawal. [You're fired! ed.]
Footnote: WCBS isn't the only TV station to zoom in on Debbie. She's appeared on all NBC, ABC and even Fox. (Fox was the only one to be a little hard on her.) Click here to see the video clip from WABC-TV.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Amandeep was a young mother who had wed Dhillon junior in an arranged marriage. Although there was no evidence to support his belief, Dhillon senior somehow got it into his head that Amandeep was about to leave his son for another man.
The prosecuting barrister told the court, "He maintained throughout all his interviews that her pending separation from her husband would disgrace the family name, which justified killing her." Said the murderer, "I'm sorry."
Walt offers the usual prize for the first correct guess as to where this happened. Answers on the back of a postage stamp, please.
At a press conference in Paris today, the Prime Rib [Prime Minister, surely! ed] spoke with unusual clarity, as follows:
“I think we’ve been very clear. We are working according to the parliamentary resolution that was adopted in 2008 by which Canada’s military mission will end and will transition to a civilian and development mission at the end of 2011. And that continues to be our work plan according to the resolution adopted by Parliament.”
Also unusually, he made the exact same statement in French.
Apparently the PM has not, after all, been moved by appeals from the still-Mrs. Clinton and her increasingly feckless boss. If he [Harper] genuinely means to bring the troops home, he has Walt's support. That's unusual too.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The Americans have said more than once that they would like the Canadian battle group to remain where it is, in one of the most dangerous sectors, the area around Kandahar. But recently Hellery Clinton said they would settled for Canada's continuing presence in a slightly different role, training the Afghan army/police.
Apparently Mr. Harpoon has been "conned" [geddit? ed.] by this suggestion, which he has now referred to an all-party House of Commons committee on the "conflict". (Walt wonders why they never refer to it as a "war". That's what it is!)
According to a report from Canadian Press, the committee seems set to agree. The Liberals, having ordered our troops into Afghanistan (to make up for having declined to join the party in Iraq), and having voted last year to extend the mission, don't want to be seen as turning tail now.
Even the leftish NDP don't want to be seen as "soft on the Taliban". Their defence critic said today that a post-2011 role for Canada is in the works, but suggested a military presence was not the only option on the table.
Questions from Walt: First, does Mr. Harpoon realize that his good friend Dubya is no longer in power?
Secondly, has everyone forgotten that the Americans first went into Vietnam as "advisors" to the ARVN? Did we believe, when they did so, that they were only advising and trianing, not directing the war which they eventually lost? And did the Vietcong draw any distinction between the ARVN forces and their foreign "advisors"? Thousands of American casulaties say not.
The sad truth is that as long as Canadian forces remain in Afghanistan, they will continue to be targets for the "insurgents". And we will continue to see "ramp ceremonies", "repatriation ceremonies" and motorcades along the "highway of heroes".
It's all like trying to win a prize at the shooting gallery at the state fair. Canadians, Americans, Britons etc. etc. will keep spending more and more of our treasure -- notably the lives of thousands of good men and women -- until finally we realize the prize can never be won, and quit the game.
Am I being defeatist to say we can't win? Am I a Taliban sympathizer or something? Certainly not! I am only pointing to the lessons of the history of Aghanistan.
In the 19th century, the British failed. See The Great Game: the Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, by Peter Hopkirk. In the latter part of the 20th century, the Soviet Union failed. Doing so bled the Soviet Army white (not red -- forgive the pun) and led to the break-up of the USSR.
So what makes America and its "coalition of the willing" think it can do any better? Answers on the back of a postcard, please, to Walt, at the usual address.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Mr. Justice Oliphant's statement -- Summary of his findings
The commission's final report -- The whole nausea-inducing thing - good reading for insomniacs
The commission's website -- Everybody's got a website these days!
Transcript of the hearings -- This cost you millions of dollars. If you didn't see it in TV, the least you can do is read it! Don't miss the part where the Right Honourable Mr. Mullarkey says he never did anything wrong in his life. Many other "Honourables" also exposed as venal or merely stupid. Shoals of sharks [lawyers, surely. ed.] make well-paid appearances.
"Mulroney pressured to pay back $2-million defamation settlement" -- From today's Globe and Mail. Note that the Glob still hasn't enabled its comments section for this story.
Will the sleaziest, smarmiest, scummiest prime minister since Sir John Eh give back the money? Walt's assessment of the chances of that happening: slim and none.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The conservative author (and former speech writer for George W. Bush) contends that the mainstream media are badly out of touch with American public opinion on the issue of abortion.
The liberal establisment keep telling us that the pro-life (i.e. anti-abortion) community is a fringe group of right-wing Christian nutbars. They tell us the Big Lie, that virtually all intelligent and progressive people long ago recognized women's "reproductive health rights", including the right to kill an unwanted baby.
McGurn says those who are pro-choice (i.e. pro-abortion) are in the minority. A majority of Americans may want abortion to remain legally available, he writes, but poll data consistently show the majority also wants to reduce the incidence of abortions. He quotes some statistics from a recent survey by the Gallup organization.
"Asked to rate various behaviors and social policies (e.g., embryonic stem-cell research, adultery, the death penalty) as either 'morally wrong' or 'morally acceptable', 50% called abortion wrong, as against only 38% who said it was acceptable.
"[They also found], for the second year in a row, that slightly more Americans consider themselves 'pro-life' than 'pro-choice' (47% to 45%)."
The seemingly contradictory poll results can be explained easily enough, McGurn argues, quoting Lydia Saad, a senior editor for Gallup. "On the one hand, the majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and think abortion should be legal in at least a few circumstances. On the other, most Americans favor legal restrictions on abortion that go way beyond current law."
Take heart then, dear pro-life reader. "Notwithstanding a pro-choice orthodoxy that dominates our film, our television, our press and our colleges and universities, strong moral qualms about abortion have not gone away."
Please continue to pray for the souls of the thousands and thousands of innocents who are murdered every year. Pray too for the conversion of those who see nothing wrong with this abomination.
In "The Oliphant in the room", one of my very first posts, I suggested (in what I hoped would be satire) that the report of the Oliphant commission into the dealings between former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and a German businessman and convict, Karlheinz Schreiber, would amount to nothing.
Yesterday, only five months after it was due, Mr. Justice Oliphant's report was finally released. And it amounted to nothing. Here's what we learned.
Mr. Schreiber counted Mr. Mullarkey among his friends, and had unprecedented access to him and his office, even while he was prime minister. Shortly after that Mr. Mulroney took a bunch of cash ($225,000 or $300,000, depending on which crook you believe) from the self-confessed bribemeister, stashed it in safety deposit boxes in the USA and Canada, and still can’t come up with a believable explanation for so doing.
Where did the money come from? Judge Oliphant found it was likely a commission paid by Airbus Industries to Mr. Schreiber for the sale of several Airbuses to Air Canada. But, he says, "there is no evidence" that Lyin' Brian knew that.
Judge Oliphant said that he found Mr. Mulroney's explanation for why he took the money "troubling at best, and, at worst, not worthy of any credence." He characterized the former PM's actions as "inappropriate" -- a conclusion which has been submitted to the Guinness Book of Records in the category "Understatement of the Decade".
But let us not judge the judge. His hands were tied. The commission's terms of reference, as dictated by Mr. Mullarkey's good friend and mentor, "Call Me Steve" Harpoon, precluded Judge Oliphant from asking questions about the Airbus affair.
Worse, he was bound not to assess civil or criminal liability. All he could do was give Mulroney a stern lecture saying how disappointed we all are that he (Mulroney) did not live up to the code of ethical conduct that he (Mulroney) himself (Mulroney) legislated while he (Mulroney) was PM.
Mr. Mullarkey, through a spokesperson, said that he was gratified that Judge Oliphant found there had been no wrongdoing while he (Mulroney) was prime minister. That there was plenty of wrongdoing starting about 48 hours after Mulroney resigned, but while he was still a Member of Parliament, was not explained or apologized for.
The Oliphant Commission cost Canadian taxpayers a sum not unadjacent to $16 million ... including legal fees paid to Mr. Mulroney's lawyers. It's a mystery how the ex-PM qualified for legal aid, since he received over $2 million from the former government as settlement of a libel action over allegations that he (Mulroney) did pretty much what Judge Oliphant has now found he did.
In his statement yesterday, poor Mr. M. did not volunteer to give back the $2 million. When asked in the House of Commons if the government would try to recover the money, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the government would study the report.