Thursday, October 18, 2018

VIDEO: "Pope Paul VI: Patron Saint of Apostates" - so funny but so sad

The Catholic (?) Church is churning out so many new saints these days that keeping track of them is like counting baby spiders. The reasons for the canonization of some of them are as obscure as everything else that comes out of Pope Francis's mouth, but one goal seems to be to legitimize the disastrous Second Vatican Council by making every pope since them (except for John Paul I) a saint. The latest, raised to sainthood last week in spite of the lack of evidence of two miracles or anything else of great note, was Pope Paul VI, the one who let "the smoke of Satan" -- his own words -- into the Church.

Father Celatus, who writes the new "Last Word" column in The Remnant newspaper, composed a delightfully devilish comment, in rhyme and music (the tune is that of "Good King Wenceslas"), which Walt is pleased to share. God save His Holy Church!

Comment from Ed.: The only reason Benedict XVI and Francis haven't been canonized is that they're not dead yet!

VIDEO: "O Cannabis" (new Canadian anthem)

It wasn't headline news in the rest of the world, but the recreational use of marijuana became legal across Canada yesterday. Numerous tickets for DUI and other offences have already been handed out by Inspector Knacker of the Mounties. 71% of Canucks told a pollster they couldn't care less. But it's another feather in the rainbow cap of Prime Minister Just In Trudeau, who made this the centrepiece of his 2015 election campaign. Maybe next year he'll promise to legalize opioids or crystal meth?

Thanks to Agent 6, we have this delightful video of Canada's new national anthem, "O Cannabis".

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book review: "How De Body?", by Teun Voeten

The poke in the ribs to write "War is Africa's natural condition. Can we change that?" (WWW 16/10/18) came from How De Body? (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2002), Dutch journalist Teun Voeten's account of his terrifying journey through the very uncivil "civil" war in Sierra Leone (west Africa) in the late 1990s.

"How de body?" is a customary greeting -- like "How's it going?" -- in Krio, the pidjin widely spoken in Sierra Leone. Mr Voeten apparently chose it as the title of his book because the bodies he saw and photographed -- and they were many -- were in pretty bad shape. His powerful photographs speak volumes about the sad state of Sierra Leone  at the turn of the century, and of the nature of Africa itself. As I said yesterday, war is Africa's natural condition.

The purpose of the author's first trip to west Africa, in 1998, was to photograph and write about the child soldiers who were fighting on both sides of the conflict that had raged in Sierra Leone for nearly a decade. Mere boys (and girls too) like this one.

A scrawny kid like this, when carrying a Kalashnikov, can make a pretty big hole in you, and as the clash between the military junta and ECOMOG -- the West African peacekeepers -- raged around him, Mr Voeten was forced to hide in the bush, fearful of being robbed, tortured and/or killed by drug-crazed, gun-toting "soldiers" of either side.

ECOMOG -- the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group -- was a west African multilateral armed force established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The idea was that separate armies of Africans would work together to make and keep the peace in an African state. ("Nation" is the wrong word to use here. The concept of the nation state doesn't really exist in Africa, divided as it is by tribalism, language and religion.) To no-one's surprise, it didn't work very well, which is why the United Nations eventually felt compelled to involve itself in the conflict.

That didn't work very well either. Mr Voeten tells us that by 2000, "the situation in Sierra Leone...again deteriorated. The 25,000 UN peacekeepers that were stationed in the country...proved to be largely ineffective. Civil war flared up; cease-fires and treaties were broken, and...the fighting has spilled over the border to Guinea and Liberia."

But UN intervention, the globalists and progressives think to this day is better than leaving the Africans to exterminate one another. Hence the UN mission in Mali, which was the subject of yesterday's post.

What's wrong with Africa that bloody conflicts of the kind Teun Voeten saw up close and personal keep recurring? They seem to be unavoidable natural phenomena -- the work of evil "big men", full of ambition and greed, with no moral compass or concept of civilization to guide them. Mr Voeten quotes English cultural anthropologist Paul Richards: "What we are seeing in Sierra Leone is the total collapse of the nation-state. Criminal netyworks rush in to fill the power vacuum, which is an oasis of lawlessness and institutionalized corruption. Those networks have every reason to make sure the state of chaos continues. And vice versa."

Teun Voeten concludes How De Body? by saying that he won't give up on Sierra Leone. "Despite the difficulties," he writes, "I believe there is hope.... Eventually peace will come. ...'We just have to be patient.'"

I understand his feelings. Having lived there for years in the 1990s, I can attest to the saying that Africa gets in your blood ...sometimes literally, but forget about that. It's easy to love the land and the ordinary people, when they are left alone by foreign interventionists and by their own corrupt and cruel leaders.

Where I disagree with Mr Voeten is in thinking that the "big men" will give way to leaders like Nelson Mandela -- he was an exception -- or that the UN and the legions of western do-gooders will ever leave Africans to develop (or not) at their own pace and in their own way. I believe there is no hope for Africa, and that we westerners do Africa and ourselves a disservice by trying to change human nature.

Footnote: The Deutsche Welle website has a report from the World Bank, which sez (headline news!) "Poverty rates remain high in Africa". "Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where the overall number of extremely poor people is increasing rather than decreasing, according to the World Bank's latest Poverty and Shared Prosperity report." No kidding! But don't worry. The white folks at the World Bank believe things can be turned around, with their help of course. Just like Teun Voeten.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

War is Africa's natural condition. Can we change that?

Since the end of the colonial era, there has always been war in Africa. With one or two exceptions, such as Botswana, you can't point to a map of sub-Saharan Africa without finding a country that has at some point been wracked by riot, revolution, war or even genocide. It's the nature of the people -- emotional, excitable, easily led and predisposed to mindless and horrendous violence. I know it's politically incorrect to say that, but read the histories of Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Moçambique, both Congos, South Africa -- the list goes on -- and see if that's not right. Check out How De Body by Dutch journalist Teun Voeten (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2002) for a graphic description of how things were in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. We'll come back to that book in another post.

Right now there's a "civil" war going on in the Congo which was formerly known as Zaïre and has its capital at Kinshasa. The government's writ runs only in the capital region. The rest of the country is divided amongst a number of cruel and evil warlords, fighting for control of the immense mineral wealth that includes "blood diamonds". In spite of the efforts of United Nations "peacekeepers", the Congo has never, repeat never known peace since it was "liberated" from the Belgians.

In west Africa, most of which was (and in some ways still is) run by the French, another "civil" war rages in Mali. What? Never heard of it? If you've ever been told to go to Timbuktu, well, that's in Mali. You could look it up. That war has racial and religious overtones (surprised?) with the Muslim Arab(ish) north pitted against the Christian/animist African (read: black) south. The UN stepped in to referee that vicious conflict a couple of years ago, and so far hasn't had much luck keeping the combatants from each other's throats.

In June of this year, Canada's loopy prime minister Trudeau, in yet another act of virtue-signalling at the expense of his people, sent a couple of hundred Canadian troops to Mali, where Canada has no dog in the fight but is going to jump in anyway. The Canadian contingent consists of a few helicopters and support crews, whose task is to medevac other UN soldiers who get caught in the crossfire. So far they've flown exactly two (2) missions, both on 9/11.

Yesterday Maj-Gen. Dave Fraser (Retd), who led Canada's troops in the ill-fated Afghanistan mission, admitted on CTV's Power Play that the Canuck peacekeeping mission in Mali has "no prospect of immediate success." He told host Don Martin, "The political overtones and what's going on in this country and this mission are ugly. This is not going to be short mission." No kidding!

Although Mr Socks promised that Canadian soldiers and airmen (not many female troops could be persuaded to go) would not be placed in harm's way, since they would only be flying medical evacuation missions and providing support from the skies, the likelihood of some poor non-com coming home in a body bag is increasing, as the security situation in the shithole has deteriorated sharply in recent months. Says the retired general, "It’s as bad, if not worse, than what we experienced in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria."

Continuing in mililtary-speak, Maj-Gen. Fraser said, "It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this mission isn’t going in the right direction from a trajectory point of view." He explained that the key issue is a lack of leadership. Despite no-worse-than-usual elections this summer, he said the insurgents are winning the fight on the ground. That's because "Peacekeeping can't be effective without a strong civilian government leadership that’s running the government, that's actually providing oversight for the military and the police forces and that’s not happening fast enough." For "fast enough", read "at all" and that's all ye need to know.

At the end of the day, the general warned, this hurts some people more than others. In a brilliant statement of the obvious, he said, "The local people are the ones who are going to be adversely affected." Can the problem be solved? Yes, says Maj-Gen. Fraser, if the United Nations changes its approach. "The UN's not getting the locals to get the leadership or the women engaged fast enough, and they're going to lose this race." If nothing changes, he said, the situation can only continue to deteriorate. So the answer to Walt's headline question is, errr, probably not. Which begs the question of what we're doing there!

Further reading: "Mal y soit qui Mali pense", 15/1/13. Kudos to Ed. for that brilliant headline, which only a monarchist would get!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Queen of the Franco-phonies loses job but keeps her head

Whatever happened to Michaëllel Jean? That's the question more than one Canadian [How many more? Ed.] has asked about the former Governess-General of Canuckistan, whose term in office expired in 2010, to the relief of Canadians generally and the Liberal government of the day in particular.

As Walt explained in "A Haïtienne who won't be feeling too much pain" (13/1/10), the lovely and fragrant Ms Jean was (supposedly) a "refugee" from Haïti -- this was before the big earthquake -- who came to Canada as a teen and immediately attracted the attention of an older white guy (surprise!) who married her and got her a job at Radio Canada (the French arm of the CBC). Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin named her as the representative of Her Britannic Majesty because she (Ms Jean) was: a black, female "refugee", who was bilingual and a certified member of Canada's chattering classes. Too bad she wasn't disabled, but 5 out of 6 ain't bad.

The big question in 2010 was what to do with Ms Jean after her term as G-G expired? She had acquired a taste for the perqs of the vice-regal style -- the mansion, the limousine, the servants, and her very own regiment of soldiers. Hard to go back to living like a peasant. So favours were called in and, following the disastrous earthquake of 12 January 2010, Madame Jean (as she became) was appointed the United Nations "Special Ambassador for Haïti", to help raise money for the people of that wretched country.

Mme Jean immediately went to, errr, Paris, to establish an office and a residence suitable to her new position and regal lifestyle. After that she appeared on TV a few times -- notably on the CBC, of course -- but if she ever set her dainty feet in the dust of her native land, her visit went unrecorded. Ed. has asked Dr Google who has come up with nothing.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Since she was already comfortably ensconced in Paris, Mme Jean immediately began campaigning for a better job. With the support of both Canada and Québec, she was elected in 2014 as Secretary-General of la Francophonie, an international talking shop which likes to think of itself as the French equivalent of the British Commonwealth. Since the Franco-phony's mission is to talk and talk (in French) and do nothing (in any language), Mme Jean was the perfect fit.

Just as the British Commonwealth has its queen, so la Francophonie now had its queen, or empress... whatever... Mme Jean immediately moved into more palatial digs, racking up queen-sized expenses befitting her status. After all, the surrender-monkeys surely wouldn't want the head of their "organization" to lack anything that the British monarch had, would they?

After four years of wretched excess, Mme Jean's term came to an end this month. To no-one's surprise, Mme Jean refused to go gracefully, and campaigned hard for a second term, even though she was considered a long shot. She appealed to Canada and Québec for their support, and thought she had Canada's ultra-liberal Prime Minister Just In Trudeau -- an ardent feminist and admirer of non-white persons -- on her side.

Sadly for Mme Jean, she was wrong. Last Friday the member nations of la Francophonie, meeting in the well-known French-speaking nation of Armenia [Eh? Ed.], chose a Rwandan, Louise Mushikiwabo, as their new queen/empress/secretary-general. The Rwandan politician said she did not intend to make major changes to the direction of the organization, but she promised more transparency in its spending. Errr, yes....

Some observers have said Canada made a geopolitical calculation in abandoning Jean in favour of the African candidate, hoping it would help its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2020. Mr Socks, however, denied that Canada abandoned Jean in exchange for African or French support for the Security Council bid, saying the government had wanted a second term for Jean.
"But at the same time we recognized — and it’s a question of simple math — that if there’s an African consensus around a particular candidate, we would respect that consensus," said the Canuck PM, who is himself likely to be turfed out in a year's time. "That is simply the way things unfolded." Errr, yes... yes indeed.

Friday, October 12, 2018

VIDEO: The faces of the unhinged mob that is the "Democratic" left

Aren'tcha getting tired of seeing the mob violence on TV -- supporters of a political ideology being attacked, not just verbally but physically, by their opponents for refusing to embrace correct policies and correct thought? Dear readers, we're not talking about fascists stomping communists and Jews. We're talking about the antifa nutjobs assaulting law-abiding citizens, including Congressmen, for such politically incorrect actions as showing supporter for Brett Kavanagh. The Democratic Party has been taken over by hysterical "social democrats", anti-trumpers and other "resisters" who have said, and now shown, that they will stop at nothing to oust the democratically elected President of the United States.

The future promises... or threatens... more of the same. That's the message of a 57-second spot released yesterday by the Republica National Committee. The video features such leading Democrats as Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and "Mad Maxine" Waters (D-CA), former Attorney General Eric Holder, and, of course, Hellery Clinton.

What you saw are scenes of an unhinged mob, incited to violence by the champions of democracy and free speech... as long as you agree with them. If you want to hand the reigns of power to those people, vote Democratic in next month's mid-term elections. If not, don't be intimidated! For sanity, law and order, vote Republican!

Disclaimer from Ed.: Walt has received no financial or other consideration from the Republicans or anyone else for posting this message.

Further reading:
"Rap Sheet: ***594** Acts of Media-Approved Violence and Harassment Against Trump Supporters", Breitbart News, 5/7/18
"A Crush Of New Polls Show Democrats In A Free Fall", by Rod Thomson on Dr Rich Swier's website, 10/10/18.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why the Dow and S&P keep rising and Canadian markets suck

Canadian readers who play the stock markets are painfully aware that their portfolios of Canuck stocks are not keeping up with inflation, whereas investments in Donald Trump's America keep going up and up. Before the bell this morning, the Dow stood at 26,430.57 while the TSX languished at 15,854.05, in spite of the frenzy for cannabis stocks and the generally good economic numbers coming out of the Great No-longer-white North.

Why is this? George Athanassakos, a professor of finance and the Ben Graham Chair in Value Investing at the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business, has the answer. He calls it "the Trudeau effect". According to Prof. Athanassakos, statistics measuring employment, production and the like paint a picture of the economy as it is. Today's picture may be rosy enough, he says, but investors are thinking about tomorrow and the next day, trying to predict whether things will get better or worse. And when they look at the policies and actions of Just In Trudeau's Liberal government, they are not encouraged, so they don't pile into an "iffy" market.

The professor's thesis is nicely summed up in "The 'Trudeau Effect' dragging down Canada's stock markets just got much, much worse", published in Canada's Financial Post today. It's so good that I'm going to repost the whole thing, hoping that the Post and the prof won't mind. [We don't make any money from WWW -- not one red cent! Ed.] Here `tis. The emphasis is mine.

A few months ago I wrote in these pages about the “Trudeau effect,” my term for the serious underperformance of the Canadian stock market vis-à-vis the American markets since the election of the federal Liberal government under Justin Trudeau.

The differential market performance has become even more pronounced since I wrote that article, especially in the last three months. Over the last two years, as of the end of September 2018, State Street’s SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (ticker: SPY), which is designed to track the S&P 500, outperformed its Canadian equivalent, the iShares S&P TSX 60 Index ETF (ticker: XIU) by about 11.5 per cent on an annual basis. But from July to September 2018, we have seen the U.S. market index outperform the Canadian stock index by a whopping 28.8 per cent annualized.

One might ask: Why look at the stock market and not the performance of the economy? Indeed, Canada’s economic performance is one of the best in the G7 while the stock market has been a laggard. So what is a better gauge of successful management of the economy and the country? Should economic performance not be highly correlated with the stock market?”

In reality, the stock market discounts the future not the current economic performance. And Canada’s future looks less than clear under the stewardship of this Liberal government.

Trudeau and his ministers have made it clear they want corporations to become benevolent organizations that put workers before shareholders. They favour taxing corporations and the rich, and adding regulatory impediments and red tape to corporate activity. They are big supporters of income redistribution as opposed to making the pie bigger for everyone. They want to regulate the economy and nudge corporations to submit to the Liberal government’s social views and economic philosophy.

Their policies take away economic entrepreneurship and wealth creation and replace it with handouts to every significant lobby and activist group. The Liberal government increasingly seems not to understand how people get jobs and how they get by, and how heavily favouring environmental issues stirred up by activists over economic concerns takes jobs away.

There’s an old saying that if you’re not a communist at the age of 20 you haven’t got a heart and if you’re still a communist at the age of 40, you haven’t got a brain. Canada today seems to be run by politicians in their 40s behaving like they’re in their 20s. Focusing only on the environment or on social engineering at the expense of working families is elitist. And Canadians are getting the sense that they are governed by a bunch of idealistic and dogmatic college students convinced they will save the world.

The Liberals have crossed swords with powerful countries. They have antagonized the United States, Russia, China, India and Saudi Arabia, just to mention a few. But a small country like Canada has to co-operate with powerful countries, not sit and judge them disapprovingly from some moral high horse. And progress takes time. Improvements to society and the world happen incrementally, not instantaneously.

When a democratically elected majority government ends up following policies driven by activists, it is neglecting its larger mission and mandate and that will eventually hurt the economy. This is what the stock market is anticipating.

Footnote: The photo of Mr Socks making cow eyes at George Soros did not appear in the Post!