Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chinese bribing foreign VIPs? Who knew?

Walt cannot resist publishing remarks attributed to a Memeber of the Parliament of Canada -- one of the old Reform group that fell off the turnip truck in 1997 and has since been re-elected as a Conservative.

Calgary member Rob Anders, still scraping the shit off his cowboy boots, says some of his colleagues (but not himself of course) have been set up by seductive Chinese spies, lavished with gifts of alcohol and offered business deals which were too good to be true. Can you imagine?

Mr. Anders is quoted in today's Toronto Sun as saying many MPs have told him that on their trips to China they’ve been approached by stunning women half their age “offering them to go out dancing, go to dinner, get a massage.” Gosh. Who'da thunk it? Is there even one businessman who hasn't been similarly propositioned on a visit to China?

“I know MPs who have taken up those offers", Mr. Anders warns. "They have to understand that when they are being done [sic], they are probably being taped [and] those tapes can, and will, be used.” Sold to opposition candidates, perhaps!

Mr. Anders was very discreet, refusing to name names. “My purpose in doing this is not to end colleagues’ political careers,” he said. “My purpose is to educated [sic] them so they are better aware of how they can be manipulated.”

Mr. Anders told the QMI agency he has personally witnessed the sons of two different MPs being seduced by women far too attractive to be interested in these “average looking” guys, including a 14-year-old, in Taiwan. [Oh. That would be the Republic of China, then -- not to be confused with the People's Republic of China except in official government policies. ed.]

“There is no way that any of those people could have been anything other than influence peddling agents,” he said. “That person is up to something when they knock on your door, minutes after your arrival in a foreign hotel offering themselves to you.”

With a brilliant analytical mind like that, Mr. Anders should be put in charge of Canada's spy agency! In fact, he said he’s discussed the matter with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service who seemed very interested and wrote down the girls' names and phone numbers.

Footnote: The picture of Mr. Anders was obviously taken long ago, before Canada got its own flag. He may have aged a little since then, but it appears he hasn't learned much.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prez charms ladeez, slags media

"No kidding, ladies... it's this long!"

President Barry O'Bama is referring, of course, to the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the waters started to get a tad over-lubricated, Mr. O has been keeping rather a low profile, lest he get tarred with the BP brush, so to speak. However, he surfaced earlier this week on The View, which seems to be some sort of hen party and gab fest.

Walt doesn't watch The View. However, I'm told that the celebrity ladies' usual sober and thoughtful analysis of current events gave way to a kind of mass adulation. Here we see the prez flanked by the last four voters who still approve of the way he's handling the crisis.

For his part, Mr. O'Bama spent his time dissing the media for raising "phony controversies" and making him look bad. Said the prez, "If we get our mojo back over the next several months, then I am absolutely confident that we are going to be doing terrific." [Walt didn't make this up. I checked. ed.]

It's easy enough to blame the media for your poor approval ratings and poor performance when the media isn't there to ask any pointed (or racist) questions.

By "racist", Walt means any question or remark which would cast doubt on the abilities or policies of the President. In today's America, that's what racism is -- not liking Obama. No racism on The View though!

Deadliest month yet

Today is the second-last day of July. Barring any bad news today or tomorrow, the death toll of American troops killed in Afghanistan will stand at 63. That surpasses last month's total of 60, making this month the deadliest so far in the almost nine years of the war.

No-one is bothering to keep an accurate count of Afghans who have been killed. It's not like in Apocalypse Now where "death cards" are being scattered on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters. Walt suspects they're taking fewer casualties than we are. One (1) was killed yesterday in Zabul province so that would make the score 4 for them and just one for us.

Civilians, though, are another matter. Also yesterday, four Afghan civilians were killed and three were injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, also in Zabul. It was when police arrived at the scene that the Taliban started shooting.

Meanwhile, in Kandahar, where Canadians are doing most of the fighting, a woman and child were killed and another child was wounded when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded. The intended victim was a politician. The woman and children were innocent bystanders, the kind of people we're there to protect.

Such is the war in Afghanistan, yet we soldier on, if you'll forgive the pun. Don't you wonder why?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hijab, niqab, burqa -- what's the difference?

Ladies (?) wearing burqas

While visiting a tourist hotspot earlier this summer, Walt and the Mrs noticed some people covered in cloth from head to toe, in spite of 90-degree heat.

"What are they?" Mrs Walt wanted to know, "and why are they wearing those sheets?"

Walt replied that they were most likely strict Muslim women and that they were "those sheets" as a religious observance. I said "most likely" because you can't tell if they're women or men, which is one of the reasons for demands to ban the wearing of such dress -- to avoid terrorists disguising themselves and then wreaking havoc.

The dress in question is called the burqa, and for those who have always wanted to know the difference between the burqa, the niqab and the hijab, Walt will now explain.

The burqa, shown above, is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire body from head to toe, with just a small piece of mesh covering the eyes allowing the wearer to see out, as if through a cage.

The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the eyes uncovered. It is commonly worn in much of the Middle East, and increasingly in Europe and North America as the number of Muslims here keeps growing. Recent demands that Muslim ladies remove the veil for identification purposes, for instance when voting or registering for something, have been called "racist" and "Islamophobic" by the usual gang of leftist human rights whiners.

The hijab is a square scarf covering head and neck, so as to conceal the hair but not the face. It is the most common style worn by Muslim women in the West.

Are the burqa and its milder variants symbols of devotion to Islam or symbols of the oppression of women? Does it matter? If someone wants to wear a particular uniform or costume or dress, a true libertarian would say, let them.

But when the manner of dress conflicts with the values of mainstream society, perhaps that's another matter. If someone feels like parading down the street naked, we have laws that say such undress is unacceptable.

What if someone wants to wear something which conceals their identity? Increasingly numbers of Europeans and North Americans feel this is also unacceptable.

France has banned the wearing of burqas in public. Today comes news that 54% of Canadians feel Canada should follow France's lead. A Leger Marketing online poll found anti-burqa sentiment highest in Quebec (73%) and the East (over 50% in Ontario and the Atlantic), and lowest (39%) in --you guessed it -- British Columbia.

UPDATE September 2013: If you're reading this because of the fuss about Québec's proposed Charter of Values, please read our comments "Multiculti types horrified as Charter of Québec Values bans religious headgear" and "What Québec's new Charter of Values will and will not do".

And don't be afraid to join the debate. We have a feeling that the Charter's ban on religious headgear has a lot of silent support, not just in Québec where it's clearly popular, but in the rest of Canada and other countries where people are sick of having to accommodate themselves to certain "minorities".

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'll tell you what you can do with it!

Did you notice the little row of icons [radio buttons, surely? ed.] at the bottom of the posts. This is a new feature on Blogger and enables you to share Walt's rants in five ways. From left to right...

You can e-mail the post. You can blog it. (I guess that means putting it in your own blog.) You can twitter it. You can share it on Facebook. Or you can share it on Google Buzz.

Why should you do this? Not to support Walt. Since I don't allow advertising, I don't get a red cent (or a non-communist cent) no matter how many hits my blog gets.

But I do like to think that every now and then something I say will make readers think about alternatives to the prevailing orthodoxy. The whole point of the blogosphere is to get people talking.

So, when you say to yourself "Hey, good point!", don't keep it to yourself. Share it!

Lettuce alone

Meet Amina Tarek. She's the one on the right, dressed in a costume stitched together out of ... errr ... lettuce leaves. She is promoting the biodegradable attire as an ecologically sound alternative to the Muslim burqa.

An added bonus, according to Ms Tarek, is that "if you get hungry and can't find a snack, you can always nibble on your sleeve". The theme of the campaign, according to the placard is "Let vegetarianism grow on you."

OK, seriously, Ms. Tarek is actually leading a PETA protest hoping to persuade Middle Eastern meat lovers to go vegetarian. Although her costume drew a lot of attention, police were not amused and officers arrested her and a colleague for not having obtained permission for their little demonstration.

She was released a little later, after Jordanian police realized the protest was about animal rights, not human rights. For her part, Ms. Tarek promised to "turn over a new leaf".

Friday, July 23, 2010

Are we liberal, conservative...or what?

Continuing with the theme of government intervention in our lives (see preceding post) let's turn to David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, July 19th.

Mr. Brooks poses the question of whether the politics of our time is predominantly liberal or conservative. His answer: neither. Read on.

When historians look back on this period, they will see it as another progressive era. It is not a liberal era — when government intervenes to seize wealth and power and distribute it to the have-nots. It’s not a conservative era, when the governing class concedes that the world is too complicated to be managed from the center. It’s a progressive era, based on the faith in government experts and their ability to use social science analysis to manage complex systems.

This progressive era is being promulgated without much popular support. [My emphasis. Walt.] It’s being led by a large class of educated professionals, who have been trained to do technocratic analysis, who believe that more analysis and rule-writing is the solution to social breakdowns, and who have constructed ever-expanding networks of offices, schools and contracts.

Already this effort is generating a fierce, almost culture-war-style backlash. It is generating a backlash among people who do not have faith in Washington, who do not have faith that trained experts have superior abilities to organize society, who do not believe national rules can successfully contend with the intricacies of local contexts and cultures.

The "backlash" of which Mr. Brooks speaks is the Tea Party movement, which to my mind is nothing more or less than the latest expression of libertarianism.

Sadly, those who espouse and preach libertarianism are now demonized as being "anti-progressive". It is implied, if not stated outright, by the liberal media that we who would reduce the intrusion of government in our lives are hopeless curmudgeons.

We are intent, the enlightened and progressive "thinkers" say, on returning the West to the dark ages, before we had the benefits of globalization, multiculturalism, secular humanism and all the other universally accepted ideologies unleashed on us in the hippy-dippy 60s. (See Walt, passim.)

To all the libertarians and curmudgeons out there, Walt says, wear your epithet proudly and proclaim your contempt for "progress" loudly. I'm pullin' for ya.

The biggest bully of all

Libertarian Gerry Nicholls has a great op-ed piece in some of the smaller Canadian newspapers today. It's the kind of thing you wouldn't see in the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star, voices of the progressive urban elite. So, in case you missed it, let me quote some thoughts on the government's role in our lives.

The government is a bully.

The government is always pushing us around.

It bosses us with rules and regulations that tell us where we can smoke, what we can eat and what kind of light bulbs we can put in our homes.

It passes ridiculous laws to intimidate gun owners and marijuana smokers.

It forces us to give up nearly half our income in the form of taxes so it can finance things like artificial lakes in downtown Toronto and chauffeur-driven limousines for federal cabinet ministers.

It even tries to control what we can think and say through the so-called Human Rights Commissions.

In short, the government uses coercion to manage just about every aspect of our lives from cradle to grave.

Plus, let's not forget the government also has the power to put people in jail.

Now that's what I call bullying.

And every time the government bullies its citizens, every time it seeks to restrict our behaviour or control our actions, or steal our private property, it also takes away our liberty.

That should scare all of us. Freedom is a precious commodity in this world; it should be protected and preserved.

Strong stuff. I agree with it. In fact, I love it! But am I the only one?

In one of his Globe and Mail columns recently, John Ibbitson said he doubted that there was much support in Canada for a Tea Party, because Canadians are just too moderate, polite and progressive. On the contrary, I think Mr. Nicholls' remarks will resonate with many more Canadians than Mr. Ibbotson has readers.

Gerry Nicholls has written a book, Loyal to the Core: Stephen Harper, Me and the NCC. Click here to find out where to buy it, and read more libertarian common sense. Tell `em Walt sent ya.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If you don't like this war, here's another possibility

As noted earlier today, the British are mulling a retreat from Afghanistan. That would be their second failure to quell the barbaric Afghans, the first having been in the 19th century. Of course this time the British part of this dirty little war became only a sideshow to the US "surge". It was smarmy Tony Bliar's way of showing that he was good buddies with Junior Bush.

Still, invading Afghanistan had to be justified somehow. Since there were obviously no WMDs there, one of the reasons given for the invasion was to suppress the growing of opium poppies, thus opening another front in the war on drugs. Why is it America keeps making war on everything -- drugs, poverty, Iraq, terrorism? It would be different if we were winning the wars... But I digress.

According to Andrew Marshall's excellent book, The Trouser People*, more opium and heroin comes out of Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar) than Afghanistan. The Burmese generals will be quite happy if the "allies" defoliate Afghanistan down to the last ... errr... bush, but they're not beting on it.

By the way, the Burmese government has been waging its own genocidal war on the Shan, Wa and other ethnic minorities for years. What are we doing about Burma? Nothing!

About a century ago, Lord Salisbury said, "Whatever happens will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible". Perhaps, rather than waging useless wars on the other side of the world, nothing is precisely the right thing to do.

* 2002, Counterpoint, New York. The quotation from Lord Salisbury is from the Epilogue.

British getting ready to pull out too?

As mentioned yesterday, Canada is scheduled to bring its soldiers -- those who are still alive -- home from Afghanistan in July 2011. Today Associated Press reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron says Her Majesty's troops could start pulling out as soon as 2011, if conditions on the ground allow.

Walt finds it interesting that only yesterday Armpitistan's "democratically elected president" Krazai (crazy name, crazy guy!) said his country's security forces would be ready to take control by 2014. What will happen in the three years in between? If the Canadians are followed through the exit doors by the British, that will leave ... you got it ... good ole U.S. of A., champions of democracy, to protect for the rights of Afghan women not to wear the burqa and all the other good things that "we" are fighting for.

Click here to read the complete AP report.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Sapper Brian Collier, RIP

Sapper Collier was killed by an IED near Kandahar, Afghanistan, today. He was 24.

His death brings to 151 the number of Canadian casualties in the fight to keep a corrupt and degenerate (but "democratically elected") puppet of the Americans in power. And there is still almost a year to go before the Canadian forces are supposed to come home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cultural lessons from the G8/G20 summit

The American: businesslike, unwilling to be distracted.
The Canadian: self-absorbed and disconnected from reality

The Italian and the French: "LOOK AT THAT ASS!"

But one question is left unasked and unanswered. What is the girl looking at? Is that a shadow or is Mr. Harpoon more interested in her than he's letting on?

Thanks as always to Agent 46 for the chuckle of the day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On the progress of mankind

It is Sunday. Walt will spare you the homily, but will give you a text to think about during the Prayers of the Faithful.

We fondly think that we have made progress from that first eventful day in Nod, himself can never hope to improve upon his own lot. He is still a frustrated though shaven ape, charging about the earth trying to evade the curse of Cain and to secure forgetfulness and peace of mind; yet he vents his lust for retail or wholesale murder upon his fellows and prays in public for peace on earth, good will to men.

The author is Dr. Josesph H. Peck, a medical doctor, not a doctor of theology. But that doesn't make his insight wrong.

Here's Officer Bubbles

Well, here it is, the infamous "Officer Bubbles" video clip. This image of "Toronto's finest" in action has now been seen by millions around the world.

Canadian taxpayers, this is the "security" your billion-plus dollars paid for. The brave boys in blue [black, surely. ed.] haven't said anything about this yet, not publicly at least. The officer in question has been heard to say "Hey man, da bitch wuz dissin' me!"

Just like the infamous RCMP Sergeant Pepper. "This is what you came for. Here it is!" But the bullies in blue [black! ed.] can't help it. It's the nature of the beast.

It all reminds Walt of vids from the flower power era -- girls in gossamer gowns and granny glasses stuffing flowers into the muzzles of the cops assault rifles. Have we not learned that peace doesn't grow out of the barrel of a gun?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What went wrong: another thought

Continuing the theme of what's wrong with the West and when it all started to go pear-shaped...

Some of you [most of you? ed.] may not know who Tony Clement is. He is an Ontario politician -- the pencil-necked, nerdy-looking guy with the big glasses you occasionally see in pictures when he's pulled his head out of Stephen Harpoon's bum long enough to be photographed.

Before taking his ambition to Ottawa, Tony boy was a member of Mike "Slasher" Harris's Progressive Conservative* government, which devastated Ontario in the 90s. In John Ibbitson's book on the Harris years, Promised Land, Clement said this about what made him a conservative:

"What I saw...was the failure of the American democractic impulses. Around us was the fall of Vietnam, the emasculation of American power, Watergate.... What I remember was the frontal assault on American power, and the encroachment by communism all over the world.

"And in Canada, there were the failed experiements of Pierre Trudeau. His economic experiments were a shambles, his anti-Americanism wasn't getting us anywhere, the increasing role of the state in all aspects of our lives was, in my view, creating more problems than it was solving." [My emphasis.]

Unfortunately, Tony was then and is still part of the problem, not part of the solution. But the sentiment of the last sentence is right on the money. Tea party, anyone?

* Note to American and other readers not familiar with Canadian politics: There really is a party with the oxymoronic name of Progressive Conservative. Federally it was subsumed by Harper's Conservative Party of Canada, who like to think of themselves as neo-cons, but it still exists in Ontario, where it wanders in the wilderness under the "leadership" not of a Tony but a Timmy...and I don't mean Tim Horton!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The distemper of our times

Apologies to Peter Newman for borrowing the title of his excellent book on Canada in the 60s -- the Diefenbaker years. Click here to find out more about the book and where you can buy it. No, Walt doesn't get a commission, but commends it to you as a good commentary on the malaise of the hippy-dippy 60s. That decade was when the rot set it.

Fast forward to 1995, and the gentle, implacable warning of Father Gilbert Simard, a priest from St. Joachim, Ontario.

"To me, there is a longing in the heart of the find what held our communities together thirty or forty years ago, and is not there now.

"There has been, in government, in the past ten, fifteen, even twenty years, a shift away from the Judaeo-Christian values that have always been the basis of our legislation, our conduct with each other, and our conduct with the community. We have lost the sense of that. We have lost the sense of values that our predecessors gave to us."

Father Simard said that to Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson 15 years ago. Today his words seem even more wise ... and sadly prescient.

Update: Haiti

It's been 184 days since the most powerful earthquake of this century (so far) devastated much of the capital region of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This was a Big Media Event and a really big opportunity for Western (and some Asian) governments and charities to rush to the rescue of the poor downtrodden Haitians.

Billions of dollars in aid was pledged. Charity concerts were held and televised. Protestant missionaries flocked to the island to thump their Bibles and rescue "orphan" children. Her Jeanness, the Governor-General of Canada cried on TV, and (after some snide comments from curmudgeons like Walt) finally went to tiptoe through the rubble of her hometown.

It all lasted, oh, about a month, and then, as Walt predicted, was forgotten. Canada's much ballyhooed "Jacmel project" is stalled. Less than half of the promised aid has actually been delivered. Of Haiti's 8.8 million people, some 2 million are still living on the streets, according to the Fides news agency.

You'll find that link and others in a recent post on the Catholic Culture website. Read the articles and try to understand that there are some awful situations that all the good will, all the charity and all the foreign aid in the world cannot remedy. The only hope for countries like Haiti is for their people, rather than holding out their begging bowls and waiting for "special envoys" to bring relief, should start by helping themselves.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Update: honour killings

Rona Ambrose, the founder of a hugely successful chain of DIY stores [are you sure? ed.] today said the government "is looking at" adding the crime of honour killing to Canada's Criminal Code. Why this should be necessary is a puzzlement. There are already three charges -- first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter -- which could apply, depending on the intention of the killer.

It may be recalled -- or maybe not -- that a young Pakistani-Canadian girl, Aqsa Parvez, was killed in December 2007 by her brother and father, acting in concert. Why? Because she had brought shame on the Muslim family by going out in public without her hejab. For details see "Honour killings, family values and 'accommodation', posted here in July 2009.

Parvez père et fils copped a plea to second-degree murder, that is, murder which was not planned, just a spur-of-the-moment sort of thing. This was in spite of evidence that Aqsa's brother had gone with her to school and lured her into coming back home, where her father lay in waiting with the garrote.

Agent 3, our resident liar [check spelling. ed.] suggests that if the Criminal Code were amended to regard honour killing as first-degree murder, without the Crown having to prove premeditation, would ensure that the punishment would be a little more fitting to the crime.

Meanwhile, in Montréal, a woman alleged to have stabbed her daughter in the head in a so-called "honour crime" has been declared fit to stand trial. Click here to see today's Canadian Press report. Fortunately for her, the daughter lived, so the most serious crime of which the mother can be convicted is attempted murder.

Recommended reading: "Confronting the 'honour killing' taboo", by Ann Hui, in Tuesday's Globe & Mail.

Anti-violence BBQ a bang-up success

Torontonians know the Jane St-Weston Rd area of west Toronto as an "at risk community". That's PC-speak for a rundown neighbourhood populated chiefly by "people of colour", which is PC-speak for...well, you get the picture.

But hope springs eternal. The people of the community are doing Good Things to make their ghetto safer. On Sunday they held a "violence prevention barbecue event".

Unfortunately, the park which was the scene of the event was just around the corner from the scene of a shootout. Gunshots rang out just at dusk. A man in his 20s was shot in the back as he tried to protect a child from stray bullets. He is now in stable condition in a Toronto hospital.

According to "The Bill", it doesn’t appear the victim was targeted by the gunmen. At least two suspects are being sought. There are no descriptions of the suspects yet, other than the usual description which the PC papers won't print.

Police do have footage from a home video that was being shot at the scene, but say it's hard to see much except for the perps' smiles.

The lesson of the four worms

Yesterday at mass the good father decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to the homily. So he placed four worms were placed in four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container filled with cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the priest reported the following results. The first worm in the alcohol -- dead. The second worm in cigarette smoke -- dead. Third worm in chocolate syrup --dead too. But the fourth worm in good clean soil was still alive.

So the priest asked the congregation "What did you learn from this demonstration?" Agent 46, who had been sitting in the front row, quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

FOOTNOTE: In all the hooraw of the July holilday weekend, an important anniversary went unmarked. It was on July 3rd, 2009, that Walt posted on this blog for the first time. How the time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

May I have the envelope, please?

Walt regrets the delay in announcing the winner of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parliamentarian of the Year award. I should have done this on July 1st but there were so many candidates for the orifice that I couldn't make up my mind.

While I was mulling, I chanced on a story in the UK press about a Member of Parliament, one of the newly-elected Conservatives, who has had to apologize publicly for being drunk in the House of Commons and missing a budget vote.

Quoth the MP for Rochester and Strood, "I don't know what came over me. It was a long day and I'd had a very early breakfast meeting. I'm terribly, terribly embarrassed. I normally have just one or two. I don't remember falling over. I remember someone asking me to vote and not thinking it was appropriate, given how I was at the time."

The MP's name? Mark Reckless. No kidding. He richly deserves the Sir John A. prize, if only for standing for election without first changing his name. And he gets a bar for honesty too.

The solution to the problems of Northern Ireland

Tomorrow is July 12th, "the Glorious 12th", on which the anti-Catholic bigots of the Loyal Orange Lodge celebrate the triumph of King Billy of Orange (he's the one on the white horse) over the Catholic King James II in Ireland 220 years ago. Ireland has never been the same since and Britain still occupies the northern part, which they call Ulster.

The fight over Ulster has continued for about a century since the days of Michael Collins (see the movie!), in spite of peace initiatives by Bill Clinton and others. But Michael Moore, in his book Stupid White Men, proposes a solution, which Walt heartily endorses.

Convert the Protestants of Northern Ireland to Catholicism!

Moore reckons that if just 2.5% of the Protestants of Ulster convert, that would create a Catholic majority. End of problem. And getting that 2.5% to switch should be easy, according to Moore. Just show them the following benefits of being a Roman Catholic.

One guy in charge -- the Pope. There are several thousand Protestant sects. Some are run by committee, some by an elected chair, others simply run like a food co-op, with no one calling the shots. Going Catholic means having a leader for life, someone unafraid of making a decision, giving the faithful a fixed set of rules and boundaries that give one’s life order and clarity. And after the Pope dies, no messy elections -- a couple hundred guys wearing red gather in a room, vote, and a puff of white smoke out of the chimney tells everyone the decision has been made. No campaign speeches, no pandering to the electorate, no recounts.

More sex. Catholics, as we all know, have more babies, and so, you know, that means only one thing -- more sex! Sorry, but in the Catholic Church you can’t get the babies without the sex. And who couldn’t use a little extra sex these days? I’m telling you, let those Protestant Orangemen know they’re going to be getting some, and watch how fast they end those silly parades.

More days off. The Catholic church has six official Holy Days. In countries where the majority of citizens practice Catholicism, these are fully paid days off from work and schooldays off for the kids. Can you name one Protestant Holy Day -- not counting the day the Eddie Bauer Christmas catalog comes out? I didn’t think so.

Free alcohol. You go to Mass every day, you get a free drink of wine. True, you must accept that you’re drinking the Blood of Christ, but hey, you can do that! How many times have you told people the gin and tonic you are nursing is "just water"? Have a little faith!

Catholic girls. See above.

A guaranteed spot in Heaven at the right hand of God Himself! It’s all there in the Bible -- Jesus made Peter the head of the Church, and then he made it clear that only members of the "one true Catholic Church" get past the velvet rope at the pearly gates. So you can continue your allegiance to the Queen and then burn in hell for eternity -- or you can get on the "A list" and enjoy Forever with a first class seat.

Growth and decay

British traveller and author Geoffrey Moorhouse had this to say* about urban decay.

A city does not suddenly break down. ...the ultimate civic disaster is clearly preceded by a long and gradual process of neglect and decay which undermines the city’s foundations to a point at which a very small push will send the whole structure tumbling into ruins.

This process can take just as long as the process of a city’s grow to maturity and supremacy. The two can even be seen passing the years in tandem, one of the city’s parts thriving and becoming grand while the other becomes increasingly wasted and diseased.

Walt believes the same process or cycle of growth and decay, rise and fall, occurs in nations. Question to ponder: Where, in the cycle, is America today?

* in Calcutta: the City Revealed. Penguin, London, 1974.

Couldabeen, usetabe, gonnabe

Not 100 miles from Walt's hibiscus-surrounded cottage lies one of the five poorest cities in the USA. The Interstate goes around it, but not many drivers exit. There are no Fortune 500 companies there. It has a couple of major league sports teams but they never win anything much.

This city's downtown core is shabby and decayed. One (1) newish building dominates, built a couple of decades ago by a foreign bank for reasons known only to it. The suburbs aren't much better. It's like Des Moines, which Bill Bryson called "a good place to come from".

Back in the 19th century, the city was bigger and full of promise. Local boosters, and they were numerous, saw it as a great future centre of industry and commerce. Like Chicago. Except it never became Chicago. Businesses stopped moving goods by canal. Railroads passed it by. The excitement and enthusiasm of the "frontier" waned. Today it just sits there, dead but not quite lying down.

The city is a "couldabeen". As in "If only thus and so had happened, it couldabeen really somethin'."

A few hundred miles to the south lies a "usetabe", a city that produced the vast majority of a certain commodity that was critical to American manufacturing in the 20th century. That commodity is still used -- it has yet to be totally supplanted by plastic -- but instead of buying American, we get it now from places like Korea. Because it's cheaper.

So the city has died. Efforts have been made to bring it back to life, and its major league teams tend to do a little better than the other place's, but it's still a shadow of its former self. And you do hear people say "I can remember when this usetabe..."

Too many American cities are "couldabeens" and "usetabes". In the south and west there's the odd "gonnabe", as in "This is gonnabe a great city once they get it finished." But you can see people crossing their fingers even as they utter those words, for faith in the future of the city implies faith in the future of the country, and that's something we're not quite sure about any more.

More on this subject anon...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two per day

Six (6) American service personnel were killed in Afghanistan today, along with 12 members of the Afghan army. So far this month Americans are dying at the rate of two per day. But don't worry. Obama's "surge" is going to bring the exercise to a successful conclusion. Or not...

Inquiries aplenty! Fortunes to be made!

Lawyers! Get your car unwelded from the back of the ambulance and make haste to Toronto! Get your place at the trough for the newest and biggest inquiries into the police "actions" at the G20 summit!

At last count (at mid-week) three investigations into the conduct of the multi-force security unit had been announced. The Toronto police were going to do their own internal review. The SIU [Seafarers International Union? ed.] was to be called in. Then the Toronto Police Services* Board issued its own fuzzification.

Now Ontario's Ombudsman, André Marin, says his office will investigate the security regulations announced by "The Bill" Blair, supposedly with the backing of the provincial government, which, according to Blair, allowed the cops to stop and frisk anyone coming within 16 feet of the Big Fence, and arrest anyone who objected.

M. Marin, well-known for his aversion to sea birds, vowed Friday to leave no tern unstoned [Is this right? ed.] in his efforts to whitewash the actions of the government. He is not merely a fart-catcher, M. Marin said, noting that “We can subpoena any member of the public, which includes … people within the government, if we're investigating something within our jurisdiction.”

The last three words are the weasel words. Expect the Toronto police and the federal government, among others, to challenge the Ombudsman's jurisdiction. This would be in line with the feds' employment stimulus program, since it will create 1000s of billable hours of "work" for m'learned friends plus overtime for dozens of judges.

As a plus for the government, legal fees are now subject to HST! Ah yes, it looks like a great year (or more) ahead for the legal profession.

* Footnote: Walt is so old he can remember when the police were called "the police force". When did that get changed to "police service"? And how about their motto, "to serve and protect"? Ha. It is to laugh. Ask the Niagara resident who had his prosthetic leg ripped off by the cops during the "peaceful protest". "Serve and protect" indeed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Out of work? Broke? American? Try Canada!

One of the websites Walt checks occasionally is the Huffington Post. It's got blogs by Idiot Spitzer, T. Boone "Slim" Pickens and others who should know something about how to make a buck, or at least survive a recession.

The Post's feature article today has some advice for those who are finding it a bit difficult to make the nut in Obama's America. The headline says: Need A Job? Try Canada, Where Hiring Is Booming And Home Prices Are Rising.

The article reports on the generally healthy state of the Canadian economy [No kidding? ed.] which last month added a whopping 93,200 new jobs, while the USA continues to struggle with unemployment woes.

At the bottom of the HuffPost article is a poll, asking people whether they would be willing to move to Canada for work. When Walt looked, over 56% of those who voted said they’d move to Canada if that’s where the jobs are, while 17% said they’d stay in the States.

Warning to prospective wetbacks! Many Americans who venture north of the world's longest undefended border are surprised to learn that they've entered a different country. There's funny-coloured currency, you have to take off your hat at the Legion and don't even think about turning right on red in Montréal.

One more thing. Visitors aren't allowed to work...legally. If you want to come and take a Canuck's job, you have to ask that nice Mr. Harper. He'll probably say yes, but you do have to ask. A smiling, courteous "border services agent" will be glad to explain it to you. You're welcome.

Doing this can cause blindness!

Ontario readers please take note. According to the CBC, biologists and health officials in that province are scrambling to contain an invasive plant that can cause severe burns and blindness. Because of the warm, wet spring and summer [caused by global warming, perhaps? ed.], strange new plants have suddenly appeared in places where they've never before been seen, like the Ottawa valley.

The worst is heracleum mantegazzianum, or giant hogweed, a poisonous plant most recently found growing in Renfrew County, west of Ottawa. It's said to be a very poisonous plant. If you get any of the sap from this plant on your skin, it can cause severe blistering and very bad burns. If you should happen to get the sap in your eyes, it can blind you either temporarily or permanently.

A similar weed, heracleum harperium, is believed to be growing on Parliament Hill. It causes political blindness, with side-effects of overarching ambition and extreme stubborness. No cure has yet been developed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Call for tenders - paint and related products

Calls continue for an inquiry into the actions (and inactions) of the police during the G20 summit in Toronto at the end of June. Toronto police and their allies (who came from 1000s of miles away -- kind of reminds you of Afghanistan!) are accused of both not doing enough to prevent the vandalism and violence or of using excessive force on 100s of innocent bystanders, in other words doing too much.

In response, the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, first said there would be no inquiry. Then Toronto police chief "The Bill" Blair said the police would conduct an "internal review". In other words, they would investigate themselves.

This announcement was, for some reason, greeted with scepticism. Remarks like "couldn't find a blackberry in a saucer of milk" were heard. So now the Special Investigations Unit has been called in. That's the provincial body -- staffed by cops, ex-cops, crown lawyers and such -- whose mission is to exonerate the police of any misconduct in cases where civilians wind up in hospitals or morgues as a result of police actions.

But some people will never be satisfied. Protesters continued to demand a civilian investigation. So now the Toronto Police Services Board, to which the police are supposedly accountable, has announced its own "independent review", to be conducted at a later date, by person or persons unknown, with a mandate to be announced ... errrr ... later.

Expressions of interest are invited for the supply of several thousand gallons of whitewash for use by the three (and counting) inquiries. Bids should be sealed in a plain brown envelope (approx. 2.5" x 6") addressed to "Justice, Queen's Park".

Footnote: The TPSB, in a display of back-pedalling which would make a champion cyclist green with envy, has added that it only has jurisdiction over the Toronto police, so anything done by the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, the Montréal police, the Regina police [that's enough police. ed.] won't be looked at.

Friendly fire

Yesterday I gave you the number of British troops who have died in Afghanistan, and for months now I have been reporting the latest Canadian deaths. But to give credit where credit is due, I should point out that hundreds of Americans are also laying down their lives -- needlessly -- in the most dangerous country in the Middle East.

Yesterday three US soldiers were killed by an IED somewhere in southern Aghanistan. No other details are available.

Afghanistan also has an army (of sorts) of its own, a pretty motley crew of inadequately trained and armed conscripts, led by the "real soldiers" of NATO. They run the risk of dying at the hands of their own countrymen. Anyone with a uniform is fair game.

Associated Press reports that "NATO" mistakenly killed five* of its Afghan army allies in an airstrike this morning. Since the Americans fly most of the gunships in that theatre, we can pretty much assume that some trigger-happy American was responsible. "Hey Joe! You're supposed to shoot at the rag-heads! The ones with the caps are ours!"

It's not like this hasn't happened before. Walt is reminded of the Tarnak Farm incident in 2002, when four Canadian soldiers were killed. Eight others were injured when U.S. Air National Guard Major Harry Schmidt dropped a laser-guided 500-pound bomb from his F-16 jet fighter on the Princess Pats who were conducting a night firing exercise near Kandahar.

Schmidt was charged with negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, and dereliction of duty. He was found guilty of the latter charge, was fined nearly $5,700 in pay and was reprimanded. Today he lives in obscurity in his home in the USA, known locally as "the Schmidt house".

During testimony Schmidt blamed the incident on his use of "go pills" combined with the "fog of war". The Canadian dead received US medals for "bravery", but no apology.

*According to Agence France Presse the number of dead Afghan soldiers is six. Presumably they too will get medals...but no apology. "Collateral damage" happens!

Monday, July 5, 2010


A reader from across the pond wants to know why Walt hasn't been keeping track of the numbers of British troops killed in Afghanistan. My apologies. I don't mean to minimize the fighting being done by the British and the Americans. It's just that news of Canadian casualties gets to me more quickly.

Today a serviceman from The Royal Dragoon Guards died while on patrol in Helmand province. He was the victim of an IED. His death brings to 311 the number of British troops who have died in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Competitive eating - who knew?

The silly season is upon us. Breaking news today is that a chap named Takeru Kobayashi [What part of Eire is he from? ed.] was arrested at Coney Island when he disrupted the annual July 4th hotdog eating contest.

In spite of the altercation, "competitive eater" Joey Chestnust retained his Major League Eating (MLE) championship. He wolfed down 54 "Nathan's Famous" dogs in ten minutes. Now I'm afraid to turn on the TV news for fear of having to see the video. Worse yet, someone is bound to post the aftermath on YouTube. Yes, there is a dark side to coming in first at a hotdog- or pie-eating contest. Winning has its price.

For me, the real fascination in this story lies in discovering that there really are organizations called Major League Eating and the International Federation of Competitive Eating. MLE is the franchise that oversees all professional competitive eating events [sic] and competitive eating television specials. Not making this up!

"The mission of Major League Eating," according to Wikipedia, "is to maintain a safe environment for all events, while also seeking to create a dynamic and enjoyable fan experience." You can see its competitions -- should you have the stomach for such things -- on Spike TV. Another good reason not to spend money on the premium cable package!

Competitive eating... Who knew?! Now competitive drinking ... that's another matter!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Multiculturalism vs national unity

Note from Ed.: Walt is feeling a bit indisposed this holiday weekend -- the Bacardi flu perhaps -- so I will substitute excerpts from an editorial headed "Multiculturalism has undermined unity".

I am reminded of that famous verse from Sir Walter Scott’s long narrative poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, which begins, “Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,/Who never to himself hath said,/This is my own, my native land!” This verse is a rebuke of [the] wretched individuals who have little or no love for their country.

But in the period since...1967, the politics of multiculturalism...have contributed to widening ethnic divisions in a country of immigrants.... However charitably we consider the good intentions that launched multiculturalism as a policy..., the consequences — especially when examined since the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — have increasingly undermined the ideal of [national] unity.

The worm inside the doctrine of multiculturalism is the lie that all cultures are equally embracing of individual freedom and democracy. The concerted assault by Islamists on the West and its values is proof of this lie.

Moreover, multiculturalism by reinforcing hyphenated identities...keeps alive divided loyalties....
Multiculturalism demonstrably promotes politics based on ethnic loyalties in a multiethnic country — countries built by immigrants arriving from different parts of the world are by definition multiethnic and not multicultural — and, thereby, sharpens ethnic quarrels it was supposed to dissolve.

We need to liberate ourselves from the lie with which multiculturalism amplifies our differences and greatly threatens the unity of our country.

Sorry about all the elipses. If you click on the link and read the entire article, you'll find the writer was referring to Canada and the One Canada Vision of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, "the first Canadian". It applies also the the USA and the UK -- in spades.

You'll also discover that the piece, complete with what some will say are anti-Muslim sentiments, was written by Salim Mansur, a Muslim who immigrated to Canada roughly four decades ago.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scary pictures from London

Agent 6 forwards these pictures of Muslims marching through the streets of London during a recent "Religion of Peace" demonstration.
Makes you think, doesn't it. Can you imagine having a Christian or Jewish or any other religious demonstration against Islam in downtown Baghdad or Kabul?
But hey, that's what freedom of speech is all about ... in London, at least.

Canadians love their cops

OK, here's the straight poop on the riot in Toronto on G20 weekend.

Some have objected to my use of the word "riot", but there were thousands of cops and fewer thousands of demonstrators/protesters/rioters in the streets, over 900 arrests, over a million dollars in property damage, burning police cruisers...the lot. If that isn't a riot, what is it?

The G20 leaders and some invited guests (like the president of the great state of Malawi) met in Toronto this past weekend to resolve the problems of the world: recession, fat cat bankers, "maternal health" (read: abortions for Africans) and so forth.

They were invited by Canadian Prime Minister "Call me Steve" Harper, presumably to get even with Toronto for not electing a single Conservative MP to sit in the rows of trained seals behind him in the House of Commons.

Toronto's leftie mayor, David Millertime, and rightie police chief, Bill "The Bill" Blair [you have to be British to get that - ed.] warned that there'd be trouble, but no-one listened, except to decide that maybe now would be a good time to beef up security.

So over a billion Canadian taxpayers' dollars was spent to bring cops in from all over Canada -- as far away as the Northwest Territories -- for an all-expenses-paid weekend in the Big Smoke.

And of course there were toys for the boys:

  • shiny black storm trooper outfits straight out of Star Wars
  • gas masks to be donned when the world leaders spoke [really? ed.], and
  • brand new cannons -- water and sound, the use of the latter being blocked by court order just before the fun began

Some construction work was done too. An old film studio was converted into a temporary "holding facility" -- i.e. a jail -- capable of housing 500 protesters/anarchists/innocent bystanders. And a Really Big Fence was built around several downtown city blocks, either to keep the residents in or keep the rabble out.

The Fence is central to this story. Just before the storm broke, the police announced that anyone approaching within 5 meters (about 16 feet) of the fence could be stopped and asked for ID, searched...and arrested if they didn't comply.

On being questioned about their authority for this, "The Bill" told the media that these powers had been confirmed by the Ontario government a few days earlier, in a secret Order-in-Council which would be gazetted (government-speak for "published") next month. Deputy Police Chief Eric Cartman said, "Don't question my authoritie!" [Are you sure about this? ed.]

It turns out that ... errrr ... there was no such law or regulation on the books. Never was. The cops lied about that. Caught in the lie through the efforts of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the media, "The Bill" now says, in effect, that it was better for the public to think the cops had extraordinary powers of arrest, even though they didn't. In other words, the end justified the means.

Here's a quote from this morning's Globe and Mail column by Adam Radwanksi.

"Not only did Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals place limits on civil liberties without telling anyone – but they also then washed their hands as police misrepresented and misused their new powers.

"It’s a glaring abdication of responsibility, reflective of a government overly content to give police carte blanche even in the most volatile situations."

Why would the Ontario government -- and the federal government which was ultimately responsible for this fiasco -- let the police be a law unto themselves? Let me give you two answers.

First of all, the government of Ontario has no policies or principles. The Premier, Dalton McGuinty -- who it is rumoured recently turned down the lead role in a remake of Father Knows Best -- has yet to have Idea One about what a government should or should not do. So he does what "staff" (i.e. the bureaucrats in Queen's Park) tell him is good to do.

That's not the same as "the right thing to do", in spite of his parrotting of this phrase to defend the new Harper Sales Tax. Another case in point: the recent flip-flop over whipping the LGBTQ sex-ed agenda on 8-year-olds in Ontario schools. See Walt's blog, passim.

Reason Two. The plain truth is that our governments -- federal, provincial and municipal -- are afraid of the police. Why else would they spend ten times more than has ever been spent before on defending a city which didn't want the damned summit against a "security threat" which became a self-fulfilling prophecy?!

The whole riot could have been avoided by holding the Big Powwow in a more appropriate place. La Ronge, Saskatchewan, would have been a good choice. Walt lived not far away, once upon a time. Nice lake there. They wouldn't have had to build a fake one...inside a downtown building. But nooooo....

"There's gonna be trouble!", the cops told us. "Better give us more arms, and lots more boots on the ground. Oh yeah, and more power too. When we say 'Jump!', those pinko queer protesters better ask 'How high?" And so it came to pass.

We are left with the disturbing image of what has been called "a police state". Canada is not a police state like China or Zimbabwe. But it is a state which is over-policed.

Let us not kid ourselves that the boys and girls in blue can do no wrong. They can...and they do. Cops are bullies. It's the nature of the beast. The kids at school who wanted to be hall monitors or prefects are the same ones who grew up to be cops.

The police love their authority. They revel in it. They wallow in it. They delight in pushing people around. And unless they get called on it -- perhaps by the inquiry which ought to follow the events of this weekend -- it will just get worse and worse. Don't expect the G20 riot to be the last.

FOOTNOTE: A reader writes in New Canadian English to say that only $122 million was spent on beefing up the police presence. Whether it was $122 million or ten times that amount is beside the point. A small fortune was spent needlessly and Toronto still got trashed. Ed.