Thursday, July 30, 2009
On the same day, Father Paul Nguyen Dinh Phu was taken to a hospital in Dong Hoi with broken ribs and head injuries. A statement from the Diocese of Vinh denounces police and gangs of thugs for their savage attacks on anyone who dares to do as little as wear a cross or other Catholic religious symbol. When we say "anyone", we mean even women and children. In one gruesome incident, thugs savagely beat a woman, Nguyen Thi Yen and her child, aged only 9 years.
TESTIMONY OF AN EYE-WITNESS -- Read Sister Emily Nguyen's report from Vinh diocese, Catholic World News feature story.
Meanwhile, in North Korea, a female member of an evangelical Protestant sect has been executed for the heinous crime of distributing Bibles.
Let it be remembered that Vietnam and North Korea are both totalitarian communist regimes. It is communist policy -- thus the policy of the governments of those and other communist countries -- to destroy Christianity. And they are doing it "one Christian at a time".
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
He spent his last day on the beach with his wife. They relaxed, drank, ate, read, and enjoyed being togther. Then, suddenly he died. He lived his last day the way he lived every day of his life.
... Except for the last little bit. Walt.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It is dogma that through the action of the priest, the wafer of unleavened bread, literally, the body of Jesus Christ, to be received in communion only by those who so believe. That excludes Steve and all other Protestants, heretics and non-believers.
It is an extremely grave sin for them (and for Catholics who are not in a state of grace) to receive the Sacred Host. That is the real problem with what Mr. Harper did. Even if he put the Host in his mouth, he ought not to have presented himself to receive communion in the first place. If he didn't know that, he is more than a little ignorant of the faith of the majority of Canada's (nominally) Christian people.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Although police ordered people not to take part in the procession, the faithful marched on, creating an event that some people are calling the greatest religious demonstrations ever to take place in Vietnam.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
There were thrill rides, not too high-tech compared with Disney's Space Mountain or the like. You would have to consider a merry-go-round and a ferris wheel thrilling. And you know what? They were fifty years ago and still are!
And there were games of chance, wheels of fortune and skill contests. I missed the one where you hit a pad with a sledgehammer and tried to ring a bell about 200 feet up in the air. The most popular game seemed to be the old standby -- bingo.
I noticed one big difference between today's carnival and the fairs of yesteryear. That's the cost! For one ride on the ferris wheel, for self and grandkid, Walt shelled out $9. That's nine dollars! OK, call me cheap, but that seemed a lot for about 5 minutes of mild excitement. (You are cheap! And you've paid a lot more for 5 minutes of excitement! ed.)
I can remember going to the country fair with $5 in my pocket and being able to make it last the whole afternoon. 50 years later, prices seem to have inceased ten-fold. Where would a kid today get that kind of money? Last I heard, they're still paying minimum wage at McD's, so the Simpsons' pimply-faced teenager could easily spend a day's wage on cotton candy and being spun round and round until he pukes. Some fun.
But there's always a ray of sunshine. The bingo was still 25 cents a card, just as I remember it. And you still sat on a rough bench under a tent, with straw bedding under your feet, just as I remember it.
OK, the outing cost a lot more than it used to -- what doesn't -- but was still fun, even for a jaded old geezer like Walt.
Here's a comment on the honour killings and "cultural accommodation" articles, passed along by Agent 2 from one Cordelia Weatherbee: I have always thought that a simple, easy-to-read copy of the Ten Commandments & The Golden Rule should be included in immigration application packages. At the personal interview stage, it should be mandatory to recite and explain them word for word. No exceptions.
Walt agrees! But dear Cordelia, I'm afraid we could wind up being accused by the Human Rights Commission of wanting to impose our Christian values on the Muslims, Hindus and what-have-you streaming through the floodgates. But let us keep voicing these old-fashioned ideas...while we still speak for the majority!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
David McKaplan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the investigation (surely "review" - ed.) is no longer necessary because "all those who charged eHealth for tea and muffins have resigned or been fired, at no little expense to the taxpayer." (Check this. ed.) (Maybe "cheque this"? sr. ed.)
In a related move, the government announced the creation of a new, senior management post: Expense Control Coordinator. The person to be appointed, besides having a proven track record as a defeated Liberal candidate, will have demonstrated ability to curb excessive pay and expenses by senior executives in top-heavy public-sector organizations. He/she will work closely with the newly appointed Expense Coordination Controller, and will report directly to the newly appointed Director of Expense Control and Coordination.
Mr. McKaplan said the Minister of Health is confident that the new expense control team will be successful in reducing unnecessary layers of management and keeping eHealth Ontario's payroll and expense budget to within not less than 300% of projections.
India (the country) is suffering the worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades. The heat and drought in some states is worse than that in North America. But farmers there have a remedy!
Reuters reports today that some farmers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked. They believe this will embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain. Upendra Kumar, an official from the remote town of Banke Bazaar, said "[The villagers] believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains. This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily."
Hmm...but would it work in Mississauga?
"Can't complain. It doesn't do any good anyway."
Do these lines sound familiar? We say them every day. OK, maybe not every day but often. Is there any point in complaining when, no matter how much we complain, no-one listens, no-one cares, and things stay as they have always been.
A reader of Walt's blog has this suggestion:
Can we suggest that Mr. Whiteman becomea member of "complaint-free world"? The premise is that the world givesback to you what you think. So if you complain, the world will give you something to complain about. Just a thought! (a complaint-free thought).
In her new book customer service, Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us, Emily Yellin tells the story of Rev. Will Bowen, pastor of an evangelical Protestant church in Kansas City, MO. His book, A Complaint-Free World, challenges people to stop complaining. Why? "When you're not articulating complaints, then they have nowhere to go, and your brain literally stops producing them, and you become a happier person."
Bowen now sees a complaint simply as an unmet need. "I'm not saying that we all don't have unmet needs, and that we want those needs met. What I'm saying is that just to gripe about them and say, 'This is the way it is,' keeps you in the way it is."
What he's not saying, it seems to Walt, is that if you just suck it all up and greet the world with a smile, the world will be a better place. What he's inveighing against is complaining for its own sake. It seems to Walt that complaining should be purposeful -- trying to get your needs met, and trying to suggest ways to improve products, services, policies, processes, etc. etc. We used to call it constructive criticism.
There is value in a constructive complaint. A complaint is an opportunity to improve, to make things better. And for the complainer, it's therapeutic -- a good way to get things off your chest. So Walt says: don't keep it all bottled up inside you. Get on the phone. Get on the Internet. Write letters to the editor. Write to your congressman or member of parliament. And good luck to you!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
According to CBC News (which knows a thing or two about the gay community) Suzanne Girard, director of Divers/Cité, said Wednesday the event's organizers are "reeling" from the news.
"They have millions of dollars but they chose not to give to Divers/Cité. The reasons we don't know. Is it we're gay? Is it we're Montéalais? We're Québecois?"
Walt says maybe it's "all of the above"!
Monday, July 20, 2009
We felt safer, since the Americans had beaten the hated and feared Communists in the space race. And we felt optimistic, since being able to put a man -- an American man -- on the moon meant that we could do, well, anything! Surely a brighter future lay ahead -- progress, peace and prosperity. Er, no...
Meanwhile, as Americans celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon walk (no, not that one!), Lee-Anne Goodman of Canadian Press reports that some still believe it was faked! It has been suggested that the whole thing was staged and televised from somewhere outside of Sudbury, Ontario. While there is certainly a resemblance in the landscape, Walt remembers Sudbury as having less vegetation than what we can see in the pictures. So what you saw was the real thing. Take it from Walt!
Less than 12 hours later, and in the same part of Toronto, a 20-year-old man was swarmed and killed by up to five other men armed with a hammer and at least one knife. There is no description of the suspects or the victim. Hands up, all those who think those involved were white or Chinese. No-one? Hey? I don't see any hands...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Toronto today is a collection of ghettos. There's Little Italy, Little Portugal, Greek Town, Old Chinatown -- the new Chinatowns being sensibly located in neighbouring cities. And there are other ghettos of Russians, Tamils, Somalis and just about every nationality on earth. Then there are the black ghettos.
I refer to York South-Weston, the area bounded by Lawrence Avenue, Caledonia Road, Dundas Street West and the Humber River. An article in Saturday's Globe and Mail describes it as "the new epicentre of gang activity". It is stuck between four other typically high-crime areas. There are the fabled Rexdale and Jane-Finch neighbourhoods to the northwest and north, the Lawrence Heights “jungle” to the northeast and Parkdale to the southeast.
What these areas have in common is that the majority of residents are black -- immigrants from Jamaica and other islands in the sun, and latterly "refugees" from the Horn of Africa. This is hardly news. It is a fact visible to anyone who drives along, say, Eglinton Avenue West, or who waits for a bus at the corner of Jane and Finch. (Get real! ed.) Anyone who watches the TV news reports of shootings in Toronto need only watch the video clips to know that the majority by far of victims of gang violence are black, as are the majority, again by far, of perpetrators.
Surprisingly though (I said, get real! ed.) this fact is not mentioned even once in the 2000-plus words of the Globe and Mail article. Nor is it mentioned in "Learning to cope in the city's new crime 'hot spot'", which appeared in Saturday's Toronto Star.
Why is this? Why will the media not acknowledge or even mention what everyone with his eyes even half-open knows?
How can one have any kind of meaningful analysis or discussion of what must be done to curb rising gang activity and gun violence without talking about one of the key issues which needs to be addressed?
It seems that political correctness prevents us from calling a spade a spade. Until the silent majority finds a voice, we can look forward to ever-increasing crime statistics and an ever higher cost to our (?) society.
And so the British pulled out, followed quickly by the French and Belgians, then the Spanish (never a big power in Africa in any case) and, after the Communist overthrow of the Salazar government, the Portuguese. After the Portuguese abandoned Angola and Mozambique, it was inevitable that Rhodesia would fall, and finally fortress South Africa.
So ended white man's rule in sub-Saharan Africa. The world, in a fit of liberal guilt, welcomed self-rule by the black majority. Warnings that the continent would go "back to bush" were ignored. What has happened since?
Readers who don't know that Africa is now worse off than it was in the bad old colonial days should read Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing, by Moeletsi Mbeki, a relative of former South African president Thabo Mbeki. Parts of it were published on July 1st in the Johannesburg Star under the headline "Colonised by the black elite".
"Nationalism in Africa has always paraded itself as a movement of the people fighting for their liberation," Mbeki says. "The reality is rather different." He points out that "African nationalism" (read "terrorism") was the preserve of a small, Westernised, black elite fighting for their place at the colonial trough. He argues that their record in power has been spectacularly damaging.
Mbeki gives the example of Zimbabwe where, once the Communist-inspired ruling party (they still call each other "comrade") consolidated its hold on power, "the ZANU-PF political elite proceeded to enrich itself to the great detriment of the national economy and of the welfare of the population at large."
Such actions have ensured that most Africans in sub-Saharan Africa are poor and getting poorer, Mbeki says. He quotes statistics from the World Bank and US National Bureau of Economic Research to show that:
* 36% of the region’s population lives in economies that in 1995 had not regained the per capita income levels first achieved before 1960 (i.e. while they were still colonies);
* another 6% are below levels first achieved by 1970, 41% below 1980 levels and 11% below 1990 levels;
* only 35 million people reside in nations that had higher incomes in 1995 than they had ever reached before.
When Walt was in Zimbabwe, he heard many older Africans decry the oppression of the black chefs and wish aloud for the return of Ian Smith. But the foreign governments who conspired to push the white man out of Africa didn't want to hear that, and still refuse to believe that black self-rule -- let's say self-misrule -- has been the disaster which these figures prove.
Mr. Mbeki's book should be required reading for all those who still think Africans are capable of governing themselves. This is not racism. This is realism!
Carnation Milk, the farm wife's friend,
Carnation Milk, the best in the land;
No tits to pull, no hay to pitch,
Just punch a hole in the sunuvabitch!
Meanwhile, much of the world mourns the passing of legendary entertainer and creep Michael Jackson. Clearly he was a model for many, including Canadian Prime Minister Steve Harpoon. After all, did Jackson not give us the Moondance, in which he appeared to move backwards but in fact went nowhere?
He will remain in our memories as (to quote Jimmy from South Park) a "cont... cont... continuing source of inspiration".
Saturday, July 18, 2009
When you create a blog using Blogger, you're invited to "monetize" your blog by signing up for AdSense, which, like Blogger, is part of the Google empire. If you do, they'll post ads which they think have some connection with the content of your blog. Every time a reader clicks on an ad, you get a little money. So far Walt's blog has earned one whole green US dollar.
The trouble is, you have no control over what ads are going to appear. I was dismayed to see ads for "personal" sites and sites which seemed to be promoting religious cults.
I wouldn't want you to think that I endorse that kind of thing. So...the ads are gone. If you'd like me to bring them back, just let me know. I won't be holding my breath.
Friday, July 17, 2009
"Customary" suggests that this is something that has been done before and will be done again...and again...and again. Walt asks why. Why should even one Canadian life have been wasted in a war which is a paradigm of futility?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There are 14 million Canadians who call themselves "Catholic". Mr. Harper is not one of them. He is a "born-again" -- an evangelical Protestant. But he evidently doesn't understand the differences between what he believes and what Catholics believe.
Harper criticized the media for showing a video of him of pocketing the Communion Host while attending the funeral mass for former Canadian Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc on July 3rd. “Somebody running an unsubstantiated [sic] story that I would stick communion bread in my pocket is really absurd and I think it's a real, frankly, a low point,” he said, according to Canwest News.
"Unsubstantiated"? What about the video?! Anyway, the point is that what Steve put in his pocket (and later transferred to his mouth, if you believe him) is not "bread". Catholics true to the dogmas of their Faith believe that the Host is nothing less than the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's not to be put in pockets or taken home for a souvenir. In fact, traditional Catholics believe the Host should not even be touched, except by a priest, and therefore reject receiving Holy Communion in the hand.
As for the "wedge" which Harper says is being driven between Catholics and non-Catholics, that division was caused in the 15th and 16th centuries by a chap named Martin Luther and other heretics. Since Vatican II the Church has tried to paper over the cracks in Christianity, to the point where many now believe that it doesn't make any difference which church you go to or what you believe. That is the heresy of relativism.
Here's what Harper said on that point. "While I’m not theologically a Catholic, in my judgment, the Catholic Church is a critical bulwark of worldwide Christianity.... The Pope is an important moral and spiritual leader generally and for Christians generally, even though I’m not a Catholic."
That's very nice of him, but Walt wonders if Steve has heard the Bible-thumpers who preach from the pulpits of churches like the one he attends. Even today they inveigh against the Church, accuse the Pope of being the anti-Christ, etc etc. And we find their anti-Catholic rants printed virtually every day in blogs and letters to the editor and other forums.
No, Mr. Harper. We traditional Catholics -- the ones who were upset by your disrespect for our beliefs -- are not the ones driving the wedge between ourselves and the rest of the world. It is people like YOU, who have no understanding or appreciation of the core principles of true Christianity.
For an excellent article on relativism, see "Can we talk about heresy?" , by Thomas C. Oden. (Christian Century, April 12, 1995)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Let it be remembered that China is a totalitarian, Communist-ruled state. And the official religion of Communism is atheism. Good Communists believe in the Party, not in God. And let it be remembered too that good Catholics cannot be good Communists. The two creeds are antithetical. Man cannot serve two masters. It is still a sin for a Catholic to belong to the Communist Party or any secret society such as the Freemasons.
Thus Chinese Catholics were impaled on the horns of a dilemma when the Communists usurped power in 1949. The new government also needed to figure out a way to co-opt all the troublesome people -- especially the Catholic clergy -- who owed allegiance to Rome rather than Beijing.
Their solution was to set up a schismatic, puppet "church", the Catholic Patriotic Association, and put heavy pressure on Chinese bishops, priests and laypeople to join. Many did, but many did not. Those who stayed in the "underground Church" were rewarded for their steadfastness with ostracism, persecution, imprisonment, torture and even death. Don't let anyone tell you that there are no Catholic martyrs in the 21st century. Several bishops and priests, and uncounted laypeople have died in Chinese Communist prisons.
Meanwhile, the Vatican, under the aegis of Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and his successor, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has pursued a policy of "Ostpolitik" -- "making nice" with the Communists and their lapdog bishops and priests in hopes of "normalizing" relations between two institutions which are diametrically opposed.
Part of this delusional attempt to reconcile with the Chinese Communists was a letter written (or at least signed) by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. In this much misunderstood document, the Pope appeared to encourage members of the underground Church to attend CPA "masses" and recognize the leadership of Beijing-appointed bishops and priests. To say that this letter caused confusion and distress in the underground community is a gross understatement.
For a good account of what the Pope's letter was really all about, click here to read "Latest Vatican Pronouncement on China: Statement of Support or Start of a Sellout", by noted Catholic commentator James W. Bannister.
Not long before the Pope's letter appeared, the Archbishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, was elevated to the rank of cardinal, and given a special mission to "bridge the gap" between the Holy See and Beijing, between the real Roman Catholic Church in China and the CPA.
Imagine the consternation in the Vatican Secretariat of State when Cardinal Zen, rather than toeing the party line, turned out to be a tireless champion for religious freedom! Cardinal Zen, now bishop emeritus, persists in preaching that being Catholic allows one to be truly patriotic and anyone who opposes their faith to serve the homeland (as the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party insists) is guilty of sophistry.
On June 29th, Cardinal Zen published yet another letter highly critical of the Vatican's attempts at rapprochement with Beijing, and Beijing's attempts to bring the Chinese Church under its complete control and suppress all who dissent.
He exhorts Chinese Catholic leaders -- especially those of the "official" church recognized by the government -- to be more courageous in resisting compromise, and especially in rejecting the claims to authority made by the CPA.
Cardinal Zen's letter concludes thus:
We must pray that the leaders of our Nation come to understand that a free Catholic Church is no threat to our country. On the contrary, if we are allowed to live happily our faith, we can contribute more to the welfare and all-round progress of our people....
On this journey of faith, we have been promised both tribulations and consolations. Our companions and models are the Saints and especially the glorious Martyrs.
Mary, Help of Christians, our Heavenly Mother and the Star of Hope, to whom the Pope has entrusted our Church, will lead us to peaceful victory."
You can read the full text of the prelate's letter in "Cardinal Zen: The Church in China two years after the Pope's Letter".
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. I won't promise to answer, but I do read my messages assiduously. (Look it up.) Knock yourself out...
The rioting began when Uyghurs protested clashes in June between police and Uyghur migrant workers in the southern province of Guangdong. There too protesters armed with tools and primitive weapons were killed by heavily armed police.
In the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, crowds of Uyghurs rampaged through the city, attacking ethnic Han Chinese. The Communist government says the majority of those killed were Han Chinese. Uyghurs say they believe many more from their and the Hui ethnic groups died in the government crackdown.
There are about 9 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang. They are the majority in that province, but thanks to government-sponsored colonization by Han Chinese, are now a minority in Urumqi. The Uyghurs have complained for decades about the influx of Han Chinese and Communist restrictions on their Muslim religion. They accuse the Han of discrimination and the Communist Party of trying to erase their language and culture.
The World Uyghur Congress claims (and Walt agrees) that the Han Chinese persecution of the Uyghur and other minorities is nothing less than state-sponsored genocide!
This hardly comes as a surprise. A government-encouraged myth of racial superiority has long been a hallmark of totalitarian ideologies -- Communism and Naziism for instance -- and nations bent on dominating the world -- Russia, Germany, Japan, but also 19th-century Britain and 20th-century America. "Hey, these people are inferior and we’re doing them a favour by imposing on them the benefits of our civilization!"
I lived and worked in China for three years. It appears to me that Han Chinese believe that they really are superior to all other races, including us "long-noses". They think the Uyghurs (and Tibetans and other "nationalities") should be grateful for the rapid economic development which has brought schools, airports, and oil wells to the sprawling and hitherto undeveloped region.
Of course "development" also brought millions of Han Chinese who now occupy the best land and dominate business and government, while the original peoples of Xinjiang (formerly known as East Turkestan) are pushed into the barren hinterlands.
The rioting in Xinjiang echoed violence in Tibet before last year’s Olympics, but international reaction has been distressingly different.
Last year, Western countries put pressure on Beijing to hold a dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy even threatening to boycott the Beijing Olympics if China refused. Beijing's protestations that Tibet was an internal Chinese affair were disregarded.
This time, however, the Western response is tepid. The USA has adopted a mild tone, with President Obama merely calling on "all parties" in Xinjiang "to exercise restraint." In so doing he suggests that the Uyghurs with their bricks and bottles are as much to blame for the deaths as the Chinese with their machineguns and tanks.
The European Union has gone even further, taking the position that violence in Xinjiang "is a Chinese issue, not a European issue." Serge Abou, the EU's ambassador to China, said Europe also had its problems with minorities and "we would not like other governments to tell us what is to be done."
Yes, the EU should know something about "problems with minorities". Didn’t one of its chief member states come up with a "final solution" to the problem of the inferior races?
The reason for the reluctance of the western powers to "interfere" in this "internal Chinese matter" is, of course, money. It’s not the not-so-almighty dollar now, but the nearly-almighty yuan! China is now seen as an indispensable partner of the USA and Europe in sorting out their self-made financial crisis. "Leave the Chinese alone, or they won’t bail us out!"
Then there’s the religious question. If the Uyghurs were Christians or (especially) Jews, the world would be up in arms, figuratively speaking at least. But they’re not. The Uyghurs are -- horrors! -- Muslims!
Such condemnation of Chinese oppression as has been expressed has come chiefly from Muslim countries. The Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 Muslim governments, declared: "The Islamic world is expecting from China, a major and responsible power in the world arena with historical friendly relations with the Muslim world, to deal with the problem of Muslim minority in China in broader perspective that tackles the root causes of the problem."
The country that has taken the strongest position is Turkey, whose people share linguistic, religious and cultural links with the Uyghurs. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan actually went so far as to characterize what has happened as "a kind of genocide" and said his country would bring the matter up in the United Nations Security Council.
Yeah, a fat lot of good that will do, given that one of the permanent Security Council members -- China -- has a veto over any action that the Council might take, right down to a toothless resolution expressing its dismay.
One problem for the Uyghurs is that the world at large knows little about them. The WUC’s Rebiya Kadeer, the U.S.-based Uyghur activist accused by Chinese officials of instigating the violence, is seeking American support for the Uyghur cause. Leading a protest march to the Chinese embassy in Washington, she called on the USA to open a consulate in Urumqi. This, she said, "would be a clear signal that the United States is not indifferent to the oppression of my people." Don’t hold your breath, Rebiya!
The Uyghurs lack a charismatic figure such as the Dalai Lama to lead them. But China, perhaps unwittingly, may provide the solution. The Communists liken Ms. Kadeer to the Dalai Lama, calling them both "separatists." The People's Daily actually called Ms. Kadeer the "Uyghur Dalai Lama" and warned the Nobel committee not to award her the Peace Prize. Beijing may not realize it, but likening Rebiya Kadeer to the Dalai Lama may actually win her supporters in the West.
Walt’s Canadian readers will agree that "separatist" is a pretty loaded word. But Beijing has a different way of dealing with "separatists" than Ottawa does. Human rights advocates can organize protests and fill the newspapers and airwaves with criticism, but the Communist Chinese will not stop their campaign of genocide until they have achieved total domination of Xinjiang, Tibet, _________ and ________. Fill in the blanks for yourself.
Walt recommends three books by Frank Ching, a leading authority on Chinese history and politics: China: The Truth About Its Human Rights Record; Hong Kong and China: One Country, Two Systems?; Hong Kong and China: For Better or for Worse
Monday, July 13, 2009
M. Chrétien joins some pretty illustrious company, including Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer and Nelson Mandela. The Queen's website calls the Order of Merit, founded in 1902 by King Edward VII, a "gift from the sovereign." It is given to people "of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service."
The "little guy from Shawinigan" gets a nice "gong" -- an eight-pointed cross of red-and-blue enamel with the imperial crown in the centre, and the words "For Merit" in gold surrounded by a laurel wreath. He could pin it on his golf shirt, or maybe his toque.
But seriously... There were those (even in the Liberal Party) who reviled M. Chretien while he was in office. But compared with those who followed him, especially Steve Harpoon, le ti-gars d'Shawinigan looks pretty good, eh! Congratulations from Walt!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I've always thought that Pierre Trudeau must have had a real hate on for Canada, to have plotted and planned so hard to transform (read: destroy) the country that my generation grew up in. What did we French- and English-speaking Canadians -- not forgetting the Indians and Eskimos (oops, First Nations and Innu) -- do to deserve having our country transformed into the hodge-podge of competing and incompatible cultures in which we find ourselves today?
The rot set in with the ultra-liberal open-door immigration policies of the 1970s. Prior to that, God forgive us, we had tried to attract people of Christian, European origin, who would have at least an even chance of being able to get along with the majority of Canadians who were also (at least nominally) Christian and (undeniably) of European ancestry.
Having opened the floodgates, the Trudeau government then decreed that we who were here first had better learn to get along with our "New Neighbours" -- the two most dreaded words in Canadian English. So multiculturalism became the policy of the federal government, and millions of our tax dollars were poured down the ratholes of ethnic media, multicultural festivals, diversity training programmes...the list goes on.
Thirty years ago, "multicult festivals" like Toronto's Caravan and Brampton's Carabram (who came up with the name first?) enjoyed a measure of popularity and success. One could visit the pavilions and sample the cultures and cuisines of 10, 20 or even 30+ different countries. 1000s of us -- even recent immigrants from Britain -- got all enthused about folk dancing, eating indescribable food ("it takes almost like chicken") and of course buying kitschy handicrafts.
Caravan is defunct, but Carabram is still alive...just. For those who haven't been, you pay $10 for a "passport" which lets you visit a dozen or more "national pavilions," which are located in church basements or ethnic club buildings.
You can buy kielbasa or goat curry or lasagna and watch children, teenagers and older amateurs attempt folk dancing in colourful native costumes. The idea is to break down barriers between ethnic groups, although the reverse effect is sometimes observed.
Mostly, though, multicult festivals of this kind are a chance for three levels of governments and three levels of politicians to court the ethnic vote, and for the rest of us to show how open-minded and tolerant we are. After all, the rest of us are Canadians, eh! (Is this right? ed.)
But to judge from a visit to Carabram this weekend, the bloom is off the rose. This year there were just over a dozen "countries" represented (if you count Hawaii and the Caribbean Community) and the quality of the food and entertainment ain't what it used to be. (What is? ed.)
What went wrong? Does the almost-palpable apathy of hosts and guests alike mean that we just don't like folk festivals any more? Or is there some underlying significance, such as a diminished tolerance for the presence of strangers in our midst?
Every now and then, probably on CBC's "Metro Morning", you'll hear some "professional ethnic" explaining what makes Canada so marvellous. He'll say that we don't follow the Americans' ideal of the melting-pot. "We are free to be ourselves, no matter where we came from. That's multiculturalism."
The comparison of the American melting pot and the Canadian mosaic is one of the oldest cliches in Canadian mythology. It is complete and utter nonsense.
Multiculturalism originally appeared on Canada's national agenda because many people, being neither British nor French in background, felt left out by the mandate of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. So in 1971 the government of Canada made multiculturalism official policy.
This led in 1972 to a Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and that in turn meant we needed a Canadian Multiculturalism Council, which was duly set up in 1973 and is still doing what it does best -- that is, making warm and encouraging sounds about how we should all try to play nice together. After all, that's the law. (Yes, there is a Canadian Multiculturalism Act. You could look it up!)
Although the professional ethnics and liberal media would like us to think that these activities do Good Things for Canada (besides employing civil servants), not all members of designated ethnic groups are grateful. Some of them don't even vote Liberal any more! And the non-designated tax-paying public doesn't seem particularly happy about the whole thing either.
But hey...multiculturalism at least demonstrates that we aren't a melting pot! But then...neither is the USA. Most immigrant Americans never took that idea seriously. They retained the customs and identities of their countries of origin, just like we did, painting them over with a couple of coats of red-white-and-blue patriotism.
In Canada, we didn't go quite that far. We don't wrap ourselves in the flag. In some places, we don't even sing O Canada at the beginning of the school day. Many Canadians describe themselves by province or region ("I'm from Quebec." "I'm from Down East.") ahead of their country.
And huge populations of immigrants describe themselves according to their ethnicity, rather than their "new homeland". They show no interest whatever in giving up their customs, language, even their way of dress, for the sake of becoming "Canadian".
Multicult festivals like Carabram attract less attention and sparser audiences each year. Even the "ethnics" don't bother turning out any more. Perhaps it's a case of "same old, same old". Or perhaps the idea of multiculturalism has itself grown tired.
Some of us like, or at least tolerate diversity and pluralism. But enforced multiculturalism -- "Love your neighbour...or else!" -- is another matter. Most countries with any pretensions to democracy allow citizens to live as they wish, associate with whom they wish...or not, if they wish. We don't need to have "the brotherhood of man" shoved down our throats.
Wait; did I hear that right?
We all know-- or ought to know, since the evidence is plentiful-- that Margaret Sanger, the patron saint of Planned Parenthood, was a racist and eugenicist. She favored legal abortion as a means of controlling the growth of the racial groups she deemed inferior. But that's all ancient history now. We don't dredge up the distasteful facts about the origins of the population-control movement.
Or do we?
Maybe Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't get the memo. She told the New York Times:
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
OK. Wait. Stop. Reset. Let's read that sentence again.
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. [Emphasis added]
Yup, that's what I thought she said.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
While in the neighbourhood, I'll be stopping at a multicult festival. No, it's not a gathering of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Scientologists! It's a celebration of Canada's diversity! (I got that line from a government handout.)
So...no posts here until the dyspepsia kicks in, `long about Sunday.
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Clergy who support the "cause" of gay and lesbian rights must have skipped classes at the seminary the day this was taught. (Or perhaps they went to seminaries which have become, in the words of a now-deceased cardinal, "hotbeds of homosexuality"!) In any case, for any churchman or layman (oops -- layperson!) to use the Bible to condone rather than condemn homosexuality just proves such a one has absolutely no idea what the Bible actually teaches.
For anyone to suggest that the Holy Bible says God approves of (or at least doesn't condemn) homosexual activity is nothing less than willful blindness. This is what the Bible* -- the inspired Word of God -- actually says on the subject.
First, look at the story of Sodom and Gommorah in Genesis 19. Those cities were notorious hotbeds of homosexuality. Gen. 19:5-7: They called Lot and said to him, "Where are the men that came in to thee at night? Bring them out hither that we may know [have sexual relations with] them." Lot went out to them...and said, "Do not so, I beseech you, my brethren; do not commit this evil."
The Greek-dervied word we use, even today, to describe homosexual sex is "sodomy". And those who practise sodomy are "sodomites". It was for the sin of sodomy, among others, that God punished the city of Sodom with total annihilation.
Some say that the God of the New Testament is a God of love, much different from the God of righteousness and justice we meet in the Old Testament. But the first Christians, the writers of the New Testament, knew perfectly well that God's view of sodomy remains the same.
In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude the Apostle we read (7): As Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other [strange] flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
Yes, the God who commands us to love our neighbour is the same God who will cast unrepentant sinners into the "eternal fire".
Back to the Old Testament, where homosexuality is clearly and unequivocally condemned.
Leviticus 18:22-23: Thou shalt not copulate with mankind [males] as with womankind [women]; because it is an abomination."
Lev. 20:13: If any one [man] lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination; let them be put to death.
In his epistles, St. Paul writes on this subject three times.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind [those who have sex with men]...shall possess the kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 1:9-10: The law is not made for the just man, but for the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the wicked and defiled...for fornicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind [men], ...for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever thing is contrary to sound doctrine.
In the following passage we see the condemnation not just of sex between men but also sex between women (lesbianism):
Romans 1:26-27: For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that which is against nature. And in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to [the punishment for] their error."
If homosexuals continue in their deviant ways, in the face of the clear proscription of God, that is their choice, made of their own free will. But let them know for certain that the Bible condemns all such practices and the day will surely come when God will judge them unfit for His kingdom.
Moreover, if they continue to practise and openly promote homosexuality, leading others astray, "it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea." (St. Mark 9:41).
* Douay-Rheims Version (DRV)
Even Steve’s Tory caucus don’t approve! Conservative MP Brad Trost (he’ll be "Toast" after the next election!) said, on the record, that "almost the entire Conservative caucus" and the Prime Minister's Office were caught off guard by the huge grant to the organizers of Toronto’s gay pride week.
Trost suggested that junior tourism minister Diane Ablonczy had been stripped of the funding envelope because of the grant. The government denies that, but these days they deny everything! Perhaps poor Ms. Ablonczy was simply overworked?
Meanwhile Suzanne Girard, director of Montreal's Divers/Cité "artistic" festival, blamed "right-wing fringe elements" for unfairly trying to embarrass the Conservatives and cause problems for events like hers at which it is said such arts and crafts as body painting and fudge packing are demonstrated.
So are Mr. Toast and the four other MPs who criticized the grant at a weekly meeting last month "right-wing fringe elements"? Or do they speak for the majority of Canadians who are (a) straight and (b) disgusted to see their taxes being used to promote a lifestyle which is contrary to the laws of God and nature. (See following post.)
Canada Family Action, a socially conservative advocacy group, said it was disturbed taxpayers' money was used to fund Toronto Pride. It said Toronto police should have laid charges against individuals who paraded nude at the event.
Richard Vezina of Montreal's Black and Blue festival, touted as the biggest gay and lesbian event of its kind in the world, says he has been the victim of the social conservatism in the Conservative government. Conservatism in a Conservative government -- imagine that!
Mr. Vezina's party-type festival is waiting to find out whether it will receive Marquee funding.
He sent Industry Canada a letter asking whether the Ablonczy matter would "impact the objective analysis" of his application. He did not, however, demand the return of his trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best goaltender. (Is this right? Ed.)
One of Mr. Vezina’s colleagues, Bruce Light-Leauferre, characterized the whole controversy as "simply silly".
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The prelate called the practice, instituted in the aftermath of Vatican II, "sacrilegious and scandalous". However, he did not explain why or how it could be "sacrilegious and scandalous" in three churches but not in the other 400. Walt's guess: it's a mystery!
The priest distributing communion put the wafer into the PM's outstretched hand, according to the improper but common practice in the Canadian Church since the "reforms" of Vatican II.
Now...watch what Harper does with the Body of Our Lord! Here's the video, courtesy of YouTube. Watch at about the 30-second mark...
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you! He put it in his jacket pocket!!! When Harper took the Host, "everybody just paused and said, 'What did he do with it?'"‚" said one official who watched the pool feed with reporters who were not inside St. Thomas Church in Memramcook, New Brunswick. "You could see he was, 'Uh oh, I don't know what to do with this.'"
Monsignor Brian Henneberry, vicar general and chancellor in the Diocese of Saint John, wants to know whether the prime minister consumed the host and, if not, what happened to it. The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal quotes Msgr. Henneberry as saying that if Harper accepted the host but did not consume it, "it's worse than a faux pas, it's a scandal from the Catholic point of view."
It certainly is worse! It's a sacrilege! And it wouldn't have happened at all had Holy Mother Church not abandoned the traditional rules and practices regarding the Sacrament of Communion. Giving the Sacrament to non-believers, and giving the Host in the hand, even to believers, are contrary to the Faith of our fathers. Sadly, these practices are just two of the hundreds of poisoned fruits of Vatican II.
As for Steve, Walt hesitates to impute motive, but can't help but question the suggestion that the PM was just ignorant of the nature and significance of the Host. The PM is a self-declared Protestant believer. As such, should he not have politely declined communion, even it were offered by a misguided or negligent priest? Msgr. Henneberry says, "He should not have been receiving communion and if he comes up it places the priest in an awkward position, especially at a national funeral because everyone is watching."
The Prime Minister's office has not answered Msgr. Henneberry's question about what happened to the communion wafer. Perhaps Steve will answer if the Pope asks him when they meet later this week!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Whereas Her Excellency the Governor General, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister who desperately desires to distance himself from any association with his Right Honourable P.C. predecessor, has directed the Commission to conduct an inquiry into certain allegations respecting business and financial dealings between Karlheinz Fiftyseven and the Right Honourable Brian Mullarkey, P.C., the Commission now begs to report:
1. It has assessed carefully all the relevant evidence and information relating to the above matters, excluding only that which would be embarrassing to Air Canada, the Conservative Party, the Right Honourable Mr. Mullarkey, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Farce or any other parties which might be shown to be corrupt or incompetent or both.
2. It has questioned (in private, if necessary) all those involved, excluding of course the Honourable Frank Magazine and Roger Doucet (no relation), who had unfortunately passed away in the twenty-odd years between the events and the time of this enquiry.
3. It believes without reservation the sworn testimony of the Right Honourable Mr. Mullarkey (whose regard for the truth has been well known for lo these many years), especially the part where he swears that he never in his life did anything wrong.
4. It concludes that, while certain mistakes and errors in judgment may have been made, no one was really to blame for anything, in any real way.
5. Further, the commission concludes that there is no compelling reason (other than the moral imperative) why Mr. Mullarkey ought to return to the taxpayers of Canada any of the millions of dollars he received in settlement of a previous court action, or to return to Mr. Fiftyseven any of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he received for services in promoting the sale of arms to hostile foreign governments;
6. Nor should Mr. Mullarkey's counsel, nor any of m'learned friends whose bank accounts have been fattened at public expense return any of the exorbitant fees they have received for sitting quietly and laughing politely at Mr. Mullarkey's little jokes.
7. The Commission recommends that the beatification of the Right Honourable Mr. Mullarkey proceed as quickly as possible, and expresses the hope that the Government of Canada will shortly allocate stimulus funds for the construction in his honour of a church at Meech Lake.
8. Er...that's all. (Steve, is this enough?)
Note: The Commission would like to express its thanks to Air Canada for courteously transporting him (first class) to Ottawa and back on board its lovely Airbus, at no cost except possibly to the public.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The cause of the "unrest" is the Communist government's policy of colonizing the hitherto sparsely populated province with millions of Han Chinese. (The Han comprise roughly 1.2 billion of China's population of 1.3 billion.) "Volunteers", prisoners and political exiles are forced to work in labour camps and encouraged to remain in Xinjiang forever. Muslim Uighurs make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang, but not in the capital of Urumqi. The city of 2.3 million is now about overwhelmingly Chinese — a source of frustration for native Uighurs.
There has always been tension -- even before the Chinese occupation of what the Uighurs call East Turkistan -- between the Muslim Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese. Militant Uighurs have waged a sporadic and often violent separatist campaign for centuries. A good history of the region can be found in Wild West China: the Untold Story of a Frontier Land, by Christian Tyler (2003, London, John Murray).
The Chinese government's Xinhua news agency quoted regional Police Chief Liu Yaohua as saying several hundred people had been arrested in connection with the riot and police were searching for about 90 other “key suspects.” Reports from Xinhua typically refer to agitators for independence and freedom from Chinese colonization as "splittists" and "separatists".
Uighurs living outside of China have condemned the crackdown and are organizing protests in a number of cities, including Toronto.
“We are extremely saddened by the heavy-handed use of force by the Chinese security forces against the peaceful demonstrators,” said Alim Seytoff, vice president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association. “We ask the international community to condemn China's killing of innocent Uighurs. This is a very dark day in the history of the Uighur people.”
Here we see yet another example of the Communist Chinese contempt for human rights, even though their constitution purports to guarantee minority rights and freedom of religion. The pious statements of of their constitution are worse than meaningless. They are huge lies!
Yet western governments, including that of Canada, choose to look the other way, and believe the fiction that there is no oppression in China, that human rights is not an issue to be discussed in meetings with Chinese leaders. Why? Look at the trade statistics and you'll see the reasons. The devil offers us a huge Chinese banquet of cheap manufactured goods and investment in our struggling economy. We want to eat as much as we can (even though we might feel hungry again an hour later), but we should remember that he who sups with the devil had better bring a long spoon!
Note: Agent 88 in a city which is not Beijing reports that this blog has already been blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Apparently Communist Chinese censors don't like the phrase "human rights". It's not hard to understand why!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
1. On 10 October 2007 the people of the province of Ontario elected a Liberal government, giving the Liberals 71 out of a possible 107 seats in the legislature. A major plank in the platform of the losing Progressive Conservatives was the funding of "faith-based schools", schools operating outside of the public or Roman Catholic systems.
2. In the same election, voters defeated a proposal to change from first-past-the-post to a form of proportional representation. Only 37% of the participating electorate and 5 out of 107 ridings voted for the new system.
3. In June 2009, Tim Hudak was elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, replacing the too-aptly-named John Tory, who failed to win his seat in the 2007 election. One of the things Mr. Hudak proposes to do, if he forms the next government of Ontario, is to overhaul the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Commission which enforces it.
Here is the connection between the first and second items. The Tories accused the winning Liberals of appealing to the meanness of the electorate, of being unduly influenced by racist and anti-minority sentiments of (one presumes) "ordinary Ontarians", i.e. those not members of a visible of other minority.
As to the third item, it would seem that now the Tories want to make that same appeal, by taking away the HRC's power to punish discrimination and incitement to hatred. One of Mr. Hudak's opponents, Frank Klees, came out in favour of the reform of the HRC and was labelled a "dinosaur" by the media. Two other would-be leaders called the policy "toxic" and the Liberals rushed to agree. They are saying, now, that Mr. Hudak and his party are appealing to white, Christian Ontarians to the detriment of non-white, non-Christians. And, they say, "ordinary Ontarians" won't be taken in by this "appeal to racism and hatred".
They are wrong. The results of the 2007 election should be understood as an expression of the frustration of the majority -- white and nominally Christian Ontarians -- of being dictated to by the minority. Outside of parts of the GTA, the anger and sense of helplessness is almost palpable. Worse, the government won’t talk about this problem and won’t do anything about it. We all know (because the Toronto Star and CTV tell us) that it's not politically correct to even suggest that the politicians are pandering to the vizmins and other noisy minority groups. And those who do suggest it risk being hauled in front of the Human Rights Commission!
It's not that Joe Average wants to "keep the fuzzy-wuzzies down". Most people acknowledge that racism and discrimination on the grounds of race, religion and gender are real problems that need to be addressed. But Joe (and Walt) feel that the government only makes these problems worse through incessant and misguided tinkering. Government is falling for the "civil rights industry" propaganda which confuses equality of opportunity with equality of result.
Case in point: the proposed establishment of an "Afrocentric" school in Toronto. What problem does this address? Apparently the feeling is that because blacks are not scoring as well on examinations or staying in school as long as others, it must be because they need their own school! What other reason could there be? So...give them their own school. Excuse me, but wouldn't that be a segregated school -- the kind that the civil rights lobby fought for decades to outlaw in the USA?
Mr. Hudak and his party may be onto something here. Perhaps the Ontario Liberals should take a view of the province as a whole, not just the part that can be seen from the observation deck of the CN Tower.
The Governor-General had an option. As Brian Mulroney would have said, she could have said, "No, it's wrong and I'm not going to do it." But she didn't. No surprises there. And so the Harper government lived to pick fights with the opposition another day.
One wonders what the conversation at Rideau Hall must have been like. Might we suppose that at the end of their colloquy Harper said to Jean, "Thanks! I owe you one."? Perhaps so, judging by what happened last week.
Yes, fellow taxpayers, last week Harper, on our behalf, forgave the republic of Haiti foreign aid loans totalling in the neighbourhood of $2.3 million. Michaelle Jean, lest we forget, is originally from Haiti. Perhaps she still has Haitian citizenship. (It never hurts to have another passport.) Perhaps she called the Prime Minister, at the behest of her countrymen (and countrywomen, to be politically correct) to call in the marker, as it were.
Will any good come of this? Not likely to the people of Haiti. Remember when Brian Mulroney paid an official visit to Zimbabwe. He also paid fulsome tribute to Robert Mugabe, one of the worst of the many dictators with which Africa has been cursed. And he generously said that Zimbabwe would not have to repay the millions of dollars in soft loans previously given by the Canadian government with our money. And where is that money now? Look in Mugabe's bank accounts in Switzerland and other havens!
Nor will any good come to Canada or Canadian taxpayers. Of course $2.3 million dollars is just a drop in the ocean of a $50 billion deficit. Still, one wishes that the Harper government would exercise just a little restraint every now and then, just for show, as it were.
Finally, let us ask who will forgive the Harper government for the mismanagement and profligacy that somehow turned the surplus inherited from the Liberal government of Paul Martin into the greatest deficit ever planned -- planned, mind you -- by any Canadian government at any time in history. Who indeed?
Friday, July 3, 2009
Perhaps no-one will read it. I suspect very few blogs get much readership. But this one will be "out there" for those who care to read the other side of debates on politics, race, religion and other topics not fit to discuss at the dining table.
I am not trying to start a dialogue, only a monologue. My opinions are my own, not necessarily those of any party or organization to which I may belong. You are welcome to disagree. You won't be the first. You're also welcome to send me your comments. Unless they're incredibly stupid, intemperate or unhelpful, they'll appear in due course.
If you have something to say but don't want it published, you can e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.