Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shafia son to appeal honour killing conviction

Young Hamed Shafia, unlike his father and mother, didn't take the stand in his own defence on charges of killing his three sisters and his father's first wife. It appeared to Agent 3 that Hamed was being set up to take the fall. If so, it didn't work, as all three were convicted for four counts -- each -- of first-degree murder.

Now his lawyer says Hamed has filed an "inmate's notice" to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the first step in appealing his conviction.

His trial lawyer says the main grounds of the appeal relate to admissibility of what he calls “hearsay evidence” from the victims and of the expert evidence on “honour killing.” He says it will likely be at least a year before the appeal is heard.

The father and mother are also expected to be appealing... but not very. [I bet Walt has waited years to use that line. Ed.]

Many column inches of print and minutes of airtime have been devoted to this story, not just by the Canadian media but by newspapers and broadcast media around the world. the usual liberal voices have been harrumphing that only racists and bigots could say this has anything to do with immigrants or Muslims. One of the rare voices of common sense at the oh-so-PC Globe and Mail is Margaret Wente, whom Walt reads regularly. Here's a snippet from her column.

It’s impossible to understand this crime without the culture. And it’s important to understand honour crimes for exactly what they are. They are not ordinary acts of domestic violence carried out in a fit of rage. Instead, they are carefully premeditated acts that are designed to remove the stain of a wife or daughter’s sexual misconduct (real or imagined) from the family name.

They are often approved or tolerated by the community. Wives often condone these crimes against their daughters, or even help commit them. And the perpetrators are invariably convinced of the rightness of their deeds.

Click here to read the rest of the piece.

Comment from Ed.: Walt and I have discussed the possibility that some of you may be getting tired of the honour crimes issue. We anticipate having something else to talk about when the results of the Florida primary are known.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's wrong with Afghans?

Yesterday the jury brought back the expected verdict of first degree murder in the honour killing trial of Mohammad Shafia, his second wife and his son. They killed Mohammad's first wife (to whom he was still married -- it's called "bigamy" or "polygamy" -- and three of their daughters.

The convicted murderers are described as "Afghan-Canadians". Shafia was wealthy, fled Afghanistan as an "economic refugee" and basically bought his residency in Canada under the Canadian government's investor-immigrant program. He owned a $1.6-million mall in Laval, Québec, and was having a big, custom-designed home built in Brossard, a suburb of Montréal.

What was the reason for what the presiding judge called "heinous, despicable and onerous" crimes? Mr. Justice Maranger said Shafia acted out of "a sick and twisted concept of 'honour' which has no place in any civilized society." Where did that come from? Afghan culture? Or the family's Muslim religion? Or both?

A good argument can be made that the society and culture of Afghanistan is not civilized. Never has been.

On December 29th, Walt posted a story about an Afghan family who had been caught trying to force their new daughter-in-law into prostitution, a practice which had been noted by Canadian writer Gordon Sinclair three-quarters of a century earlier.

Today, Reuters reports that, in the northern Kunduz province, an Afghan man killed his wife for giving birth to a third daughter rather than the son he hoped for. Police said the victim was strangled by her husband and his mother on Saturday in revenge for bearing the couple’s third daughter three months ago in Mohasili village. Another question of honour, no doubt.

According to the head of the Kunduz women's affairs department, violence against women is commonplace in Afghanistan. In late November in the same province, an Afghan family that refused to give their daughter in marriage to a man they considered irresponsible was attacked at home by assailants who poured acid over both parents and three children. Police later arrested the rejected suitor and his three brothers for the attack.

As Peachey said to Danny, "They're savages..., one and all. Leave `em to slaughtering babes, playing sticka-ball with each other's heads and pissin' on their neighbours."

Worth reading: "How arrogance and mistakes led to Shafia’s murder conviction" by Timothy Appleby, in today's Globe and Mail.
And there's more: "Shafia trial a wake-up call for Canadian Muslims" by Sheema Khan -- the name says it all -- also in today's Globe and Mail.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winston Churchill's views on Islam

Walt's attention has just been drawn to a passage from The River War, the second book authored by Winston Churchill. It was an account of the British reconquest of the Sudan, written in 1899 while Churchill was still an officer in the British army.

The book provides a history of the British involvement in the Sudan and the conflict between the British forces led by Lord Kitchener and Islamic Jihadists led by Muhammad Ahmad, a self-proclaimed second prophet of Islam. Ahmad had embarked on a campaign to conquer Egypt, to drive out the non-Muslim infidels and make way for the second coming of the Islamic Mahdi. Not unlike the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood which has just now come into power in Egypt, thanks to the "Arab spring".

Here's what Churchill had to say about "Mohammedanism", which is what Islam was called, back in the day.

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries.

Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.

The fact that in Mohammedan law
[= Sharia law. Walt] every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science‹the science against which it had vainly struggled‹the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Churchill wrote his book in 1899. But as you read this, do you not think it could have been written today? Well, maybe not. In this era of political correctness, what publisher would put those "racist" thoughts into print? And if they were printed, how long would it be before Churchill was summoned to appear in front of a "human rights" tribunal. About eight seconds, would be Walt's guess.

Click here to read more about Islamofascism on the Hyscience website.

GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY in Shafia honour killings

Agent 3 reports that the jury in the Shafia honour killing trial has found all three accused -- (r-l Mohammad Shafia, 59, his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, and their eldest son, Hamed, 21) -- guilty of first degree murder on all four counts of murdering Hamed's three sisters, daughters of Mohammed and Tooba.

Mr. Justice Robert Maranger of the Superior Court of Ontario called the crimes "heinous, despicable and onerous". And, he said, "all for the sake of a sick and twisted concept of 'honour' which has no place in any civilized society."

The three Muslim murderers were immediately and automatically sentenced to life without parole for 25 years.

Click here to read the Globe and Mail's update. For Walt's previous posts on these honour killings, enter "Shafia" in the search box.

More topless Ukrainian protesters - Walt has video!

"Topless driving ban protest rocks Kiev" is a perennial leader on our "page views" stats board. So Walt knows many of our readers will appreciate this video.

These Ukrainian cuties bared all in the caues of social equality. They were detained yesterday at Davos, Switzerland, while trying to break into the fat cats summit. The poor people of the world should be grateful to have such fine upstanding young ladies calling attention to their... errr... well...

Video from the Daily Telegraph, which used to be a pretty staid, Tory paper.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ron Paul: "Mr. Authentic"

The Globe and Mail's Affan Chowdhry calls Ron Paul the "Mr. Authentic" in the race for the Republican leadership. Here's his analysis of Mr. Paul's chances.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a super-long shot to win the GOP nomination to take on Barack Obama, but every time he takes the stage during TV debates he expresses a candour and authenticity that endears him to audiences.

Mr. Paul’s libertarian ideas are unconventional: a dramatic downsizing and virtual elimination of the role of Washington D.C., including getting rid of the Federal Reserve, all income tax, and closing U.S. bases overseas and bringing all military personnel back to the country.

Mr. Paul has consistently won the support of independent voters and under-30s. They were key to his strong second place finish in the New Hampshire primary on January 10th behind winner Mitt Romney.

A Wall Street Journal and NBC News poll released Thursday evening shows Mr. Paul with 12 per cent support nationally among registered Republicans.

Mr. Paul is not expected to do well in the Florida primary on January 31st, but he maintains that he will continue campaigning so long as he continues to draw crowds and his ideas gain some traction.

Click here to read the entire article.

To da moon! Newt's not kidding!

As I wrote yesterday, I had a hard time believing reports that Republican presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich had actually called for colonization of the moon. But Canadian Press has the story today. Yes, Newton is already defending his insistence that the United States should build a colony on the moon. In fact, he thinks Luna could become the 51st state!

Speaking in the debate at Jacksonville FL, Gingrich said, "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American! I’d like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there."

Talk about grasping at straws! The reason for this lunar nonsense is that Newt is trailing "Catcher's Mitt" Romney in the polls in Florida against Mitt Romney just a few days before the state primary, and desperately needs to inject a positive note into his extra-negative campaign.

So Newt has proposed a "Northwest Ordinance for Space". Once the population of the moon reaches 13,000, its residents can apply to become one of the United States. Walt is not making this up.

As he restated his lunar proposals during the debate, Gingrich’s rivals seemed to be struggling not to burst into laughter. Congressman Ron Paul -- obviously one of Walt's followers -- quipped, "We should send some politicians to the moon."

If, as some say, the moon is made of green cheese, Walt thinks Newt's cheese has slipped off his cracker.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MA governor disses most valuable Bruin

As noted here on Tuesday, Boston Bruins' all-star goalie, Tim Thomas, refused to attend a White House reception given by the Prez, honouring the club for capturing its first Stanley Cup title in 39 years. (During the same interval, the Montréal Canadiens won the coveted trophy around a dozen times.) Thomas explained his choice to skip Monday's ceremony in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

Seem's like Tim's exercise of his right, as an American, to have his own opinion doesn't sit well with the governor of Massachusetts. Governor Deval "Patrick" Patrick said today that Thomas's decision to skip the ceremony points to a growing lack of courtesy in the USA. According to AP, the guv said Thomas is "a phenomenal hockey player and he's entitled to his views. It just feels like we are losing in this country basic courtesy and grace."

Governor Patrick is a Democrat.

Honour killings in Canada now average nearly 1 per year

By the sheerest coincidence, the Montreal Gazette and Toronto Sun have just brought to the attention of the Canadian public the results of a study by Marie-Pierre Robert, a law professor at the Université de Sherbrooke.

According to Prof. Robert, the number of honour killings committed in Canada has increased, along with the numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia. Since 1999, she writes in the Canadian Criminal Law Review, there have been 12 honour-killing victims in Canada, an average of one (1) per year. Between 1954 and 1983 there were only 3, an average of less than one every ten (10) years.

The study shows that all of the cases involved at least one female victim, and all of the killers were immigrants, usually of Muslim or Sikh background. . Most of the perpetrators were men. The average victim was 21 years old. Aqsa Parvez, shown here, was just 16 when her father killed her in December of 2007.

The Toronto Sun lists three more examples.

  • Hasibullah Sadiqi, sentnced to life in prison for shooting his sister and her fiance in Edmonton on Sept. 19, 2006. He claimed they had brought dishonour on his family.

  • Rajinder Singh Atwal stabbed his 17-year-old daughter Amandeep to death in 2003 for insisting on living with her boyfriend. Atwal found guilty of second-degree murder in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison.

  • Adi Abdul Humaid stabbed his wife, Aysar Abbas, 23 times in the neck and once in the heart on a lonely stretch of B.C. road on Oct. 14, 1999. He said he thought she was sleeping with her business associate. Sentenced to life in prison.

  • Murders such as these and the Shafia case -- see previous post -- have sparked calls for a separate section of the Criminal Code of Canada to deal specifically with honour killings. Professor Robert said such a move isn't needed because honour killers are always prosecuted "to the maximum" under Canadian law.

    But, since Canada has no death penalty, the "maximum" can mean life without parole for up to 25 years for first-degree murder, or as little as up to 10 years for second-degree murder. What would the penalty be, Walt wonders, in India or Pakistan or Afghanistan.

    Honour killing trial delayed by bomb scare

    When last we heard from Agent 3, the Shafia murder trial was expected to go to the jury this week. It might yet, but there has been a bit of a hiccup, as a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the Kingston ON courthouse Thursday morning.

    Inspector Doright of the RCMP [Ed., please check this] said someone called the court office, claiming bombs were set to explode at 10:10 and 10:20. "There are a couple of pretty serious speeding cases scheduled for this morning," he said, but "it could be related to the Shafias. You never know. Obviously with any security threat we've got to check out the whole building."

    By "the Shafias", the Mountie meant Mohammad Shafia, one of his wives, Tooba Yahya, and their son, Hamed. The trio are accused of killing teenage Shafia daughters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti, along with Shafia’s other wife.

    The three defence lawyers each delivered their closing remarks to the jury on Tuesday and Wednesday. Crown Prosescutor Laurie Lacelle began summing up Thursday afternoon after everyone was allowed back into the courthouse. If she finishes quickly, Mr. Justice Robert Maranger can begin charging the jury Friday morning.

    [Ed. Before we post this, can you have a chat with Agent 3 and see if he was drinking something other than Tim Horton's while everyone was huddled outside the courthouse?]

    He's goin' to da moon!

    Had to check the date on the calendar to make sure it's really January, not April 1st. But it's no April fool. Elect "Hold `er Newt" Gingrich and America will build a permanent base on the moon!

    I know. I had trouble believing it too. But Reuters is reporting it, so it must be true. Right? Speaking in Cocoa Beach FL, the erstwhile Republican presidential contender called for a base on the moon and an expanded federal purse for prize money to stimulate private-sector space projects.

    Said Newt, "We want Americans to think boldly about the future." [Surely "boldly go where no-one has gone before"! Ed.] In order to do this, he explained, it will be necessary to cut NASA's bureaucracy and expand on private-sector space programmes already proposed by President Hussein Obama.

    But for now, America will stop at the moon. "It will take some time and further research to put a man on the sun," Gingrich said. "We'll have to figure out a way he could go at night, when it won't be so hot."

    Reports that Newt had been out in the Florida sun too long could not be verified.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Masked American disses Obama maladministration

    As readers who are hockey fans will know, Walt is an athletic supporter -- a fan of the greatest hockey team ever, the Montréal Canadiens. As such, I consider the Boston Bruins Enemy No. 1. Of the big, bad Bruins, Tim Thomas, pictured, is Number 1. OK, he's really No. 30, but you catch my drift, I'm sure.

    Timmy has a deserved reputation for being more than a little unorthodox, on the ice. His awkward, goofy style goes against everything the goaltending coaches teach you, nowadays, but he's remarkably effective, especially against les Glorieux.

    Now Timmy has demonstrated that he can be just as unorthodox -- politically incorrect -- off the ice as on. The team he backstopped to the Stanley Cup last spring were received yesterday at the White House, but the man in the mask wasn't there. He refused to go!

    On his Facebook page, Thomas explained his absence thus.
    I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

    The lamestream media, led by the Boston Globe's Kevin Dupont and the Herald's Margery Eagan, jumped on Tim like ducks on a june bug. They accuse him of being self-centred, immature, a Republican or -- even worse -- possibly a libertarian.

    Seems to me the real "sin" of which Tim Thomas stands accused is speaking truth to power. Maybe he's a Republican, maybe not. What he's saying, as I read it, is that the US government as a whole is broken, so he has no time for the whole shower.

    Right on, Tim! Al O'Bama has been a dreadful disappointment to the people who voted for him. He only has a chance of being re-elected because the opposition is so fragmented, and because the mass media are giving him a free ride because to do otherwise might seem racist.

    Meanwhile, the voice of Joe Sixpack isn't being heard. So it's about time that someone spoke up. Good for you, Tim Thomas!

    As for Dupont, Eagan and the rest of the east coast liberal press, it looks to Walt as if freedom of opinion and speech are secondary to political orthodoxy and the importance of election-year photo ops at the White House.

    Let's hope that those Boston "journalists" don't ever get to run a sports team or a government. Imagine a parent telling a child "Just go along and be nice." Or "Pretend everything's fine." Or "Go along for the greater good and you'll be able to keep people's esteem."

    St. Thomas More said (according to Robert Bolt), "When we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?"

    As I said, I'm not a Bruins fan. And I'm no friend of Tim Thomas when he's playing against "my team". But I like people who stand up for what they believe in, and I don't like those who don't.

    Footnote from Ed.: A reader sent us a rude remark about this post, asking what in hell a Canadian would know about US government or politics. I've fixed the headline to make it clear that Tim Thomas is an American...the only one playing regularly for the Bruins.

    Africa today: Zimbabwe couple terrified by goblins

    As careful readers will have worked out, Walt has connections with and in southern Africa -- in particular, Zimbabwe, the fief of one of the Comrade Bob Mugabe, one of the world's worst dictators.

    It is tempting to say that under Mugabe's "majority rule" -- read, black rule -- Zimbabwe has gone back to bush, just like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. The truth is that even now, in the 21st century, many Africans still have "one foot in the bush", as the old saying goes.

    Here's an example, from today's online edition of NewsDay, an independent (not state-controlled) Zimbabwean Daily. I'll just quote it verbatim. No comment or editorial embellishment could make it more bizarre. Reader discretion is advised!

    'Goblins' haunt couple

    The love for quick riches has backfired for a Bulawayo man who yesterday confessed to buying five “goblins” which he said were now sexually molesting his wife. Malibeni Mhlanga of Entumbane suburb confessed to NewsDay yesterday his “goblins” were traumatising his wife, Margaret Dube.

    Mhlanga said he bought the five “goblins” in Insuza — 80km north of Bulawayo — but he now remained with two as the other three were killed in an exorcising ceremony. The man claimed he acquired the goblins to amass wealth, but all that had remained a pipedream as the traditional healer who sold him the creatures had died.

    His neighbours said their wives were also being sexually abused by the gnomes at night. Scores of residents gathered at Mhlanga’s home yesterday demanding that he be removed from the area.

    “I am seeking assistance to ensure the removal or destruction of these goblins because it now affects our daily lives such that we cannot even live in our own house,” he said. “I had five goblins, but two have remained and I cannot live in this house. I urinate blood every time, and it has sex with my wife every time.”

    His wife confirmed the “abuse”. “It walks like a goat, and when it has sex with me, I often feel tired and spit blood. One day my bag was mysteriously increasing in size and we called a Gokwe prophet to cleanse our homestead. It (the goblin) looked like an owl, the prophet removed two snakes, a human-creature-like goblin which when ripped apart contained a picture of our son,” she said.

    “After the event, a tenant who lived here was involved in an accident. We have sought assistance from the police and we had a meeting with the councillor yesterday. This thing is a mysterious. It is a power that is in use.”

    Dube said the goblin follows her to an extent where her relatives do not want to live with her.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Republicans! Make up your minds!

    Now that I have your attention, could we please talk for a minute or two about the race for the Republican presidential candidacy. Let me recap the results so far, and please pay attention because there's going to be a big test in August!

    "Catcher's Mitt" Romney has won two of the three primaries held so far.
    What?! OK, make that one. "Hold `er Newt" Gingrich and "Tricky Rick" Santorum have won one, too. Three primaries, three different "winners".

    And what of Walt's choice, "L. Ron" Paul? He has finished third, second and fourth. A respectable enough showing. But the pundits of the lamestream press keep saying Ron hasn't got a chance, and Republicans will have to make up their minds and unite behind middle-of-the-road Mitt or a real conservative. What's Ron Paul, if not conservative? But noooo, he's not electable, so forget about him.

    What, I ask you, is wrong with Ron Paul?! He's not Mormon. He's not Catholic. He's only had (and still has) one wife. And he's not filthy rich.

    Ron Paul advocates smaller government, lower taxes and a sound dollar. Is there anyone out there, Republican or otherwise, who doesn't want those things?!

    So what's the problem then? Oh. The foreign policy thing. Because he has called for the US to stop being the world's policeman, Congressman Paul is accused of being an isolationist, a pacifist/defeatist/comsymp, a latter-day "know-nothing". Like nobody else wants to stop pouring American money and American lives down some third world rathole?!

    Let's face it, folks. The US of A has not exactly brought democracy, peace and prosperity to the troubled lands of Africa and Asia. Regardless of who's been in power, America's post-war foreign policy has been pretty much a great big FAIL.

    Yes, but Hellery Clinton and her predecessors are winning friends and influencing Arabs, Russians, even the Chinese, to reform themselves and make the world a better place. Right? WRONG! Here's how one Chinese university student sees America's policy and actions vis-à-vis her part of the world.

    "America dropped an atomic bomb on Japan," Yvette told [Michael Levy], "sent its army to Korea, invaded Vietnam, sent the CIA to Tibet, bombed Cambodia, built bases in Okinawa, and stationed its navy around Taiwan. At a time when we were weak and you were very strong, you surrounded us with violence. This is what we remember."

    Yvette uttered those words in 2006. At the time, the US was also making friends in Iraq and Afghanistan. Libya came later. And now the Obama administration is mulling intervening in Syria, Iran, or just about any little country whose citizens have somehow missed out on the benefits of Western civilization.

    Honestly... honestly... does it make sense to continue that kind of foreign policy? It's what used to be called "gunboat diplomacy". Today it's not just gunboats, but gunships, gunmissiles, gundrones, guneverything.

    Should we change horses in mid-stream? Hell no! Steady as she goes! In fact, let's send US troops back into Iraq! OK, it was Rick Perry who said that, and it's now generally accepted that he's a moron. But did Gingrich, Santorum or Romney call him out? No. Only Ron Paul has had the courage to offer a clear alternative to "foreign affairs as usual".

    Come on Republicans! A candidate of principle is out there. Can you handle principles?!

    * Michael Levy is a former Peace Corps volunteer who was sent to China's Guiyang University to teach ESL. His book Kosher Chinese (Henry Holt & Co., 2011) is the source of the quote.

    Biggest boobs in Europe not real

    Thinking of getting `em done, ladeez? Go to your friendly neighbourhood plastic surgeon and ask for the "Bishayn".

    Yep, that's the one. Or should I say "those are the ones". That's German pron star Bishayn, showing off the biggest breasts in Europe...maybe in the world. Real? No way. Walt can tell the Firestones from the genuine articles at 100 yards. Click on "Huge Silicone Boobs" to see 14 more pix.

    Jolson was a Jew!

    To those who wrote to tell us Al Jolson was not "African-American"... please don't read Walt so literally! Walt knows [and so does Ed.] the man in blackface was actually a Russian Jew. [A Jew? In the entertainment industry?! Ed.]

    Wikipedia tells us that Al Jolson was born as Asa Yoelson in what was then the Jewish village of Srednik (Yiddish: סרעדניק, now known as Seredžius) in the Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire. He was the fifth and youngest child of Moses Reuben and Naomi (Cantor) Yoelson. Jolson did not know the date of his birth, so he later chose to celebrate it as May 26, 1886. In 1891, his father, who was qualified as a rabbi and cantor, moved to New York to secure a better future for his family.

    Jolson went on to become a huge star on the American stage. His life inspired the first talking motion picture, The Jazz Singer. From Wikipedia, again...

    On April 25, 1917, Samson Raphaelson, a native of New York City's Lower East Side and a University of Illinois undergraduate, attended a performance of the musical Robinson Crusoe, Jr. in Champaign, Illinois. The star of the show was a thirty-year-old singer, Al Jolson, a Russian-born Jew who performed in blackface. In a 1927 interview, Raphaelson described the experience: "I shall never forget the first five minutes of Jolson—his velocity, the amazing fluidity with which he shifted from a tremendous absorption in his audience to a tremendous absorption in his song." He explained that he had seen emotional intensity like Jolson's only among synagogue cantors.

    A few years later, pursuing a professional literary career, Raphaelson wrote "The Day of Atonement", a short story about a young Jew named Jakie Rabinowitz, based on Jolson's real life. The story was published in January 1922 in Everybody's Magazine. Raphaelson later adapted the story into a stage play, The Jazz Singer, which was later adapted for the silver screen.

    George Jessel -- remember him? -- was originally signed for the lead role, but in the end, Al Jolson wound up playing himself. Describing Jolson as the production's best choice for its star, film historian Donald Crafton wrote, "The entertainer, who sang jazzed-up minstrel numbers in blackface, was at the height of his phenomenal popularity. Anticipating the later stardom of crooners and rock stars, Jolson electrified audiences with the vitality and sex appeal of his songs and gestures, which owed much to African-American sources." [Walt's emphasis]

    So there you are. Al Jolson...the well-known "African-American" entertainer.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Islamists and hardliners win big in Egypt

    As predicted here on December 1st, Islamist parties have finished one-two in Egypt's first "free and fair" elections since the so-called Arab spring.

    The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won the largest number of seats under Egypt's complex electoral system. The hardline Salafist Nour party came second. Liberal parties including New Wafd and the secular Egyptian Bloc coalition weren't even close.

    Islamic fundamentalist parties now control around two-thirds of the seats in the national assembly. The FJP will end up with between a third and a half of all MPs, with the ultra-conservative Nour party holding nearly a quarter.

    Egyptair and other regional airlines have reported brisk ticket sales to Coptic Christians, while Immigration Canada has reported a surge in applications from Egyptian pharmacists.

    Walt told you so. Lifetime pct .983.

    Politically correct toothpaste makes your smile brighter

    Walt's Chinese new year greeting resulted in a "remember when" chat with an old China hand, which somehow got confabulated with a discussion of political correctness.

    Those who think we should be super-sensitive to issues of diversity will be glad to know that political correctness has reached even the People's Republic of China, as the morphing of "Darkie" toothpaste into "Darlie" shows.

    Darkie toothpaste -- literally 黑人牙膏, "Black Man Toothpaste" -- was first manufactured in Shanghai in 1933. The maker, Hazel & Hawley Chemical Co., later moved to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    The Darkie logo was, at first, a caricature of a grinning man in blackface, possibly inspired by that well-known African-American entertainer, Al Jolson.

    Mr. Darkie (or whatever his name was) would probably be with us still, had not Hazel & Hawley been acquired in 1985 by Colgate. When that happened, the jig was up! After complaints from the NAACP and other US "civil rights" groups, Mr. Darkie was replaced by a top-hatted, grinning man who is, errr, not obviously black.

    For good measure, the name got changed to "Darlie". However, a quick glance at the latest package (back row, fourth from left) shows that the 黑人 is still there. Walt's Chinese is not good enough to read all the characters on the box, but I'll bet Darlie toothpaste now makes your smile brighter...not whiter!

    Darlie toothpaste is on sale at fine stores throughout China and eastern Asia... and in North America... perhaps at a dollar store near you!



    Happy New Year of the Dragon to Agents 78 and 88

    and all our Chinese readers!

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Ontario honour killing trial goes to jury next week

    Agent 3 reports from Kingston that the trial of Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya (one of his wives), and their 21-year-old son Hamed, is set to go to an Ontario Superior Court jury next week. The trio are accused of murdering Shafia's other wife and three of his and Yahya's daughter in what the Crown calls an "honour killing", provoked by the daughters' behaving like normal Western teens rather than good Muslim girls.

    Before Christmas, Shafia told the court he never saw the pix of his nearly-naked daughters until "after". And when he called them whores, said he'd cut them into pieces if they were still alive, and said "May the devil shit on their graves!", he was just expressing his frustration in a traditional Afghan manner.

    After the holiday break, Tooba also testified in her own behalf. She wasn't sure what happened that fateful night because, errr, she wasn't there. She was really in a motel room some miles distant. And she just told the police she was there to protect her son. Putting it all on the kid, in Agent 3's opinion.

    Tooba also said she had never heard of honour killings until now, and that her husband was a kind and good father -- certainly not a murderer -- who only became enraged when shown the dirty pictures. And where were these pix? In an album that Tooba had packed in a suitcase, to keep them as remembrances of her children...or something.

    Those were the defence's star witnesses. Later the court heard from a string of relatives all of whom testified that they too had never heard of the concept of honour killings, the Shafia family were good people, they would never have done this kind of thing, yada yada yada. The fact that the witnesses live overseas and hadn't seen Shafia or Yahya in years was probably not lost on the jury.

    The last defence witness, who appeared yesterday, was an anthropologist and former journalist, Nabi Misdaq, who offered expertise on Afghan culture and use of language in that society. He was asked how expletives are used in Afghanistan, which Shafia left 17 years ago.

    Misdaq said curse words are "very common" among Afghan men and are used when they are "faced with something he thinks (had) nothing to do with him or was not his fault." The words don't mean that the speaker will act on them, said the witness. "They are not to be taken literally."

    Police wiretaps, captured after the deaths occurred, record an audibly angry Shafia calling his dead daughters names like "whore" and "treacherous", comparing them to prostitutes, and willing the devil to "shit on their graves".

    The witness was asked if "devil shit on their graves" is comparable to an expression in North American English. Misdaq answered, "The nearest would be, 'To hell with them' or 'To hell with it.'" Seems like a lot of feeling gets lost in translation.

    Misdaq was the last defence witness. Agent 3 finds it significant that the son, Hamed Shafia, did not take the stand to explain and defend himself. The fix is in, our learned friend says. The kid's going to take the fall and hope the jury lets the parents out. After all, even if the boy does the full 25 years -- the most he can get under the Canadian Criminal Code -- he'll only be 46 when he gets out. Still lots of time to get married and have daughters of his own.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012


    Walt joins Wikipedia, Reddit and the Internet Archive in suspending service for today to protest two pieces of proposed American legislation targeted directly at freedom of the Internet: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

    The proposed laws are just another step in the US administration's march towards creating a police state. Once America is firmly under control, the US government would then be in a position to control the entire world -- the New World Order envisioned by the Masonic founders of the USA and promised even today on the back of every American dollar bill.

    If SOPA and PIPA pass, the federal government would have even greater powers to blacklist foreign websites accused of hosting copyright-infringing content. The laws are excessive in both remedy and scope, and would essentially make it impossible for sites such as YouTube and Flickr to exist in their current form.

    Walt calls on his American readers to telephone, write or e-mail their congresspersons to demand that they not support these draconian and unnecessary measures to further restrict freedom of speech, not just in the USA but throughout the world.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Where did the dollar go?

    I've never been much good at managing money. [If you were, we wouldn't have to accept advertising on this blog! Ed.] But most of the time I can keep track of how much I owe to whom. So I'm thoroughly annoyed not to be able to solve the following puzzle, passed along through my old Zimbo friend CZ.

    You saw a shirt in a shop on sale for $97. Being January, you naturally did not have money, so you borrowed $50 from your mom, and another $50 from your dad, making a total of $100. You bought the shirt for $97 and got $3 change. [Would that be in three bills or just one? Ed.]

    From the change, you repaid your mom $1 and your dad $1, and you kept $1 for yourself. Now you owe your mom $49 and your dad $49. So...$49 plus another $49 equals $98, right? Which, added to the other $1 you pocketed, makes a total of $99. So where did the missing buck go?

    Answers to Walt by e-mail please. The person who submits the first correct solution will be recommended by Walt to President O'Bama (if he gets re-elected) for Secretary of the Treasury in the new administration.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Indo-Canadian doctor decries abortion of female babies

    You'd think, wouldn't you, that the killing of babies before birth, simply because they're girls, would be confined to heathen and atheistic cultures like those of India and China. Not so. Although the practice of aborting a fetus discovered by ultrasound tests to be female is not as widespread in Canada as in Asia, thousands of little girls are killed in the Great White North every year.

    So says Dr. Rajendra Kale, interim editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Immigrants from India and China bring their cultural and religious preference for boys with them, it seems. So when a doctor tells them, following an ultrasound, that they're going to have a girl, their response is "Kill her!"

    In today's editorial headed "It's a girl — could be a death sentence" Dr. Kale calls on Canadian doctors to try to halt sex-based abortion. He advocates withholding information about the sex of a child in the womb until 30 weeks' gestation to prevent "an unquestioned abortion" because parents prefer a boy.

    Writes Dr. Kale, "Female feticide devalues women completely.... Many couples who have two daughters and no son selectively get rid of female fetuses until they can ensure that their third-born child is a boy."

    He calls on the provincial colleges that regulate physicians to rule that health-care professionals should not reveal a baby's sex to any mother-to-be before the 30th week of pregnancy. "Doing so should be deemed contrary to good medical practice," he said. "Such clear direction from regulatory bodies would be the most important step toward curbing female feticide in Canada."

    Dr. Kale went on to say, in an interview, said waiting to divulge the sex of the fetus until after the start of the third trimester would still give parents who want to know whether they are having a boy or a girl enough time to prepare their nursery or purchase appropriate clothing.

    But the good doctor did not address the question of how to prevent parents bent on destroying female babies to go to American states, such as Maryland or Pennsylvania, where it's still possible to get late-term (or even last-minute) abortions with no questions asked from abortionists like Kermit Gosnell or other "good doctors" like Steven Brigham and Nicola Riley.

    As long as abortion remains legal -- anywhere -- parents hell-bent on killing their children will find an abortionist to "help" them. Pray that God will welcome the little souls of the innocent millions who are killed every year, and give His justice to their murderers.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    The rise of Ron Paul -- freedom is coming again!

    "The freedom Ron Paul stands for is coming again. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. What Ron Paul started is not going to go away. Republicans are in the midst of deciding what the GOP really is. He’s the only one standing on principles. And those principles are going to outlive Ron Paul. We’re going to make sure of it."

    So said Leah Wolczko, 45, an unemployed schoolteacher from Manchester NH, quoted in the lamestream press this weekend. And that, according to the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer, is Ron Paul's great achievement. "After a quarter-century in the wilderness, he’s within reach of putting his cherished cause on the map. Libertarianism will have gone from the fringes — those hopeless, pathetic third-party runs — to a position of prominence in a major party." [My emphasis. Walt]

    "Mormon Mitt" Romney may have won New Hampshire, but (with the votes of Leah Wolczko and others) Congressman Paul was a good second, better than any of the so-called conservative, candidates. Why? The media portray him as radical, dangerous, crazy, beneath the notice of Washington insiders. But ordinary people like him. A lot!

    That's because Ron Paul is the only presidential wannabe talking sense rather than the same old platitudes. Shrink the bloated federal government. End America's self-proclaimed role as the world’s policeman -- neither helpful nor affordable.

    Add in Paul’s unbending opposition to the Police State Act [Patriot Act, surely! Ed.] and the war on drugs, all in the name of individual liberty, and you've got a big bowlful of electoral appeal.

    Now, much to the consternation of pundits on the left and on the right, Mr. Paul’s world view is being welcomed into the conversation. Charles Krauthammer calls Paul’s undeniable momentum "a signal achievement, the biggest story yet of this presidential campaign."

    Congressman Paul will never enter "the promised land" of the Oval Office, writes Krauthammer. But there can be no doubting that he has already done something which others (hello, Ross Perot!) found impossible. He has won mainstream recognition -- albeit grudging -- for his cherished libertarian ideals.

    Quoting Krauthammer again: "I find him a principled, somewhat wacky, highly engaging eccentric. But regardless of my feelings or yours, the plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy."

    And conservative commentator Mark Steyn observes (in "Ron Paul beckons GOP to Fortress America") that the Texan’s clout is no longer in doubt. His foreign policy prescription may amount to "delusional" isolationism, Steyn writes, yet it is a view that is finding "more and more takers after a decade of expensive but inconclusive war.

    "Too many of my friends on the right are demanding business as usual — the Pentagon’s way of doing things must continue in perpetuity. It cannot." [My emphasis, again. Walt]

    Walt advises the GOP to take Ron Paul and his millions of supporters seriously. The libertarian voice must be heard. Mr. Paul should be a featured speaker at the Republican platform debate in August. He may be quirky and "out there" but he’s real! He's the little guy -- literally and figuratively -- the real guy in an otherwise fake roster of runners.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    FAT in life, FAT in death

    Walt has taken a couple of pot shots at the epidemic of obesity in the USA. [Geddit? Ed.] Apparently no-one is surprised that Americans are generally regarded as the fattest people on earth. Obese Americans are snickered at by foreigners and occasionally mooed at by less fat Americans

    But no-one cares. Ed. says people are reading my posts on new junk foods, pens for sausage-like fingers, even "showers for those who can't see their toes", and (we suspect) running right out to buy the latest fads for fatties.

    Well, if you're obese and know it, clap your hands...if you can. Now, thanks to the Goliath Casket Co., you don't have to worry that the undertaker will have to chisel the avoirdupois off your cold, dead corpse to squeeze you into your coffin.

    That's right, fatties! Goliath Caskets has burial boxes for the circumferentially challenged. And very nice they are, too.

    This is one of the popular Homestead models, available in widths up to 52 inches and lengths up to 8 feet. No kidding. If you're bigger than that -- truly mammoth -- they'll custom build one just for you.

    Goliath caskets come in colours too, including Fire Engine Red and, for the football fan, University of Tennessee Orange. And wait till you see the range of pictures and mottos you can get on the white crepe lid lining. For instance, you can get a Volunteer Fire Department logo for the inside of the Fire Engine Red coffin. Visit the Goliath Casket website for more pictures.

    Please note that Walt isn't getting any consideration for this, errr, endorsement. I'm posting it only because I think this idea is huge...really huge!

    Footnote from Ed.: Just had a great money-saving idea. One of these babies would be great for the last remains of a couple. Two for the price of one! Save big!

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    "Homage to a government"

    This poem, by Philip Larkin, is used by P.J. O'Rourke as a preface to Peace Kills, reviewed in Walt's previous post.

    Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
    For lack of money, and it is all right.
    Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
    Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
    We want the money for ourselves at home
    Instead of working. And this is all right.

    It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
    But now it's been decided nobody minds.
    The places are a long way off, not here,
    Which is all right, and from what we hear
    The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
    Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

    Next year we shall be living in a country
    That brought its soldiers back home for lack of money.
    The statues will be standing in the same
    Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
    Our children will not know it's a different country.
    All we can hope to leave them now is money.

    Philip Larkin wrote that in England, not the USA. In 1969. 1969!

    Book review: O'Rourke proves peace kills

    I was pretty hard on P.J. O'Rourke in "P.J. disappoints", a review of Don't Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2010). I wondered when P.J. stopped writing and started stringing quotes together and calling it a book. I now know it happened sometime after 2004, since Peace Kills, published in that year, is one of his better efforts.

    Perhaps I can be forgiven for missing Peace Kills when it first appeared. At the time, I was living on the other side of the world, in a place where the reading of books by Americans is discouraged. But all things happen for a reason, and to me, Peace Kills is more of a must-read now than it was then.

    The book is about American foreign policy, or the lack thereof. Say's O'Rourke, "Americans hate foreign policy...because Americans hate foreigners.... Being foreigners ourselves, we know what foreigners are up to with their...lying alliances, greedy agreements, and trick-or-treaties."

    And yet, he argues, Americans cannot ignore the world. He dips his pen in acid and looks at American involvement in such foreign policy triumphs as Kosovo, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait and Iraq, not forgetting 9/11. He demonstrates the muddle-headedness of the Clinton administration's made-up-as-it-went-along policies. Then he shows how Dubya's administration did no better. Both administrations, he says, left the world a worse place than they found it.

    Remember, this was written two elections ago. O'Rourke makes sport of the ignorance of the 2004 crop of contenders for the Democractic presidential nomination. Are the Republican hopefuls, this year, any smarter or better?

    That's a rhetorical question. The only one who's making any sense, IMHO, is Ron Paul, and he's arguing for a policy of isolationism. Here's what O'Rourke has to say about that. "Our previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan."

    Hm. Maybe P.J. is right. Maybe the USA can't just turn its back on the world. But if America must act as the world's policeman, if it must involve itself in the messes of the Middle East, Far East and Africa, it must have a coherent plan, and a vision of what should be done in the aftermath of conflict.

    Walt welcomes the suggestions of ordinary Americans -- O'Rourke calls them the "dull normals" -- for a sensible foreign policy. Answers on a postcard, please, to the usual address.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    "I'm not an angry black woman!!!" sez Michelle

    Michelle Obama, wife of the well-known president and prevaricator, told CBS News this week that she's tired of people portraying her as “some kind of angry black woman.”

    Mrs. Obama said she hasn't read New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's new book that characterizes her as a behind-the-scenes force in the Executive Mansion, whose strong views often draw her into conflict with President Al's top advisors.

    “I never read these books,” she told CBS's Gayle King, “so I've just gotten in the habit of not reading other people's impressions of people.” She added that she just hasn't got time to read what people write about her, because of her heavy schedule of gym workouts and MMA matches.

    Paul to make third party run?

    OK, so the Mormon candidate won New Hampshire. Hardly news. That Mr. Romney won both Iowa and New Hampshire, becoming the first ever non-incumbent Republican to do so, is news. It's beginning to look as if he has the GOP nomination locked up.

    However... Even the lamestream media can't ignore the fact that Romney’s margin of victory was narrower than polls predicted on the weekend days ago. And, much to the pundits' consternation, Walt's choice, libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, showed startling strength, winning 23% of all votes cast. A better-than-expected second place showing. Much better than expected.

    John Huntsman -- the latest conservative flash in the pan -- Rick Santorum and Not-so-New Gingrich finished down the track.

    What does this mean? If I can find a rabid right-winger in the woods behind my cabin, I'll place an immodest wager on Romney to win the Republican nomination. Lifetime pct .982.

    I'm also about ready to bet that Ron Paul, if he makes a respectable showing in South Carolina, will stand as presidential candidate for the Libertarian party, or some variant thereof with a new brand name. Like "Restore America Party". "RAP". That would be cool -- appealing to the college kids, who, by the way, turned out in NH in large numbers to vote for Ron.

    Walt told you first!

    Elderly Sikhs face extradition to India for arranging killing of bride

    Honour killings are not exclusive to Muslims or Afghans. Indians and Pakistanis of the Hindu and Sikh persuasions are known to kill brides who turn out to be bad choices, for instance by failing to provide sufficiently large dowries. "Kitchen accidents" resulting in fiery deaths are not unknown even in the west.

    This is Sheila Allan's drawing, published in the Globe and Mail, of Malkit Singh Sidhu and Surjit Badesha. (All Sikhs are Singhs... but not all Singhs are Sikhs.) They are in the dock of the British Columbia Supreme Court, facing extradition to India for allegedly having ordered the brutal slaying of Ms. Sidhu’s daughter, Jassi, after the young woman married a man of whom her wealthy family didn’t approve.

    Jassi Sidhu was from the Vancouver BC suburb of Maple Ridge and worked as a beautician. The 25-year-old met her eventual husband on a trip to India. Sikhs are not included in Hinduism's elaborate caste system, but they certainly believe in class. Jassi's family is said to have opposed the marriage because the groom was only a humble rickshaw driver.

    In June 2000, Jassi was found with her throat slashed, in an irrigation ditch in the Indian state of Punjab, the Sikh heartland. Her husband was seriously injured in the attack.

    The Mounties say Indian authorities have uncovered evidence Ms. Sidhu’s family was involved in her killing from Canada. A number of family members have been arrested and prosecuted in India.

    RCMP and other Canadian government officials have travelled to India on a number of occasions to work on the case and the extradition process, and have just now -- more than 11 years later -- issued arrest warrants. Ah yes, the Mounties always get their man. [Errr, "person". Be politically correct, please! Ed.] They just don't say how long it's going to take.

    Ontario honour killings latest

    In Kingston ON, the trial of Afghan-Canadian businessman Mohammad Shafia, his second wife -- second as in "bigamous" -- Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their 21-year-old son Hamed, resumed on Monday. The trio are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the drownings of three of their daughters, Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, aged 19, 17 and 13, and Shafia’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 53.

    Agent 3, formerly a criminal defence lawyer himself, is keeping us up to date. Before the Christmas break, Mohammad Shafia testified, in his own defence, that he was nowhere near the scene of the crime, knew nothing about it, and was a strict but loving father to his daughters. He had no grudge against them until he saw pictures of them dressed in revealing clothing and messing around with a boy. But that was after they were dead and that's why he said "May the devil shit on their graves."

    Now it's the surviving wife who's on the stand, and the defence strategy is becoming somewhat clearer. Mrs Shafia II had told police, in a videotaped interview, that she was indeed at the lock on the Rideau Canal when the car plunged into the water, but couldn't remember anything because she was some yards away and besides had fainted.

    Yesterday she said that was all a lie. She was really at the motel where the family was stopping en route from Niagara Falls to Montréal. The oldest daughter asked for the car keys, and that's all Tooba Shafia knows about it.

    So why did she lie to the police? To protect her son! That's because everyone knows Canadian police are just like Afghan police. They always torture and beat suspects until they get a confession. Tooba didn't want to see her son beaten to a pulp.

    What about her husband? Well, Tooba says now, Mohammad really loved all his kids, and only got angry when he saw the aforementioned pix... after the carful of bodies was pulled out of the drink. What about when Mohammad told Tooba that "if they were alive he would cut them into little pieces"? Oh, that's just an expression that Afghan men use all the times to relieve tension.

    What about killing to preserve the family honour? She never heard of such a thing until she came to Canada. No, it is unknown in Afghan and Muslim culture.

    Agent 3 says it looks like the plan is to put it all on the son, Hamed. If he serves the full 25 years -- Canada has no death penalty or "life means life" sentence -- he will still be only middle-aged when he gets out of Her Majesty's Prison.

    The trial continues.

    Footnote: Honour killings are not just "a Muslim thing". See following post.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Ron or Rick? Walt explains his choice

    A reader in New Hampshire asks if Walt is voting today. For Ron Paul or Rick Perry. The answer is "no". Lifetime pct .982. But I really should explain.

    My religious and political biases are fairly obvious. For a good summary, see my profile. I also like the motto "Live Free or Die". Which presidential wannabe shares my beliefs? Certainly not the incumbent. So that leaves the Republicans.

    Of the shower that have tossed their hats into the ring, only two don't make my gorge rise. They would be Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. In previous posts I've declared for Congressman Paul. [For all the good that does him. Ed.] But I've watched and listen to Mr. Santorum a lot since the Iowa surprise, and like much of what I see.

    A former aide to Santorum once called him "a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate". Mr. Santorum appears to be a real jump-through-the-hoops traditional Catholic, not one of these modern "cafeteria Catholics" who think they can dissent from the Church's teachings and still call themselves "Catholic". (Step forward, Newt! Step forward, Nancy!)

    Mr. Santorum stands firm against abortion, "gay rights" (especially "gay marriage"), sodomy and other perversions. He goes right down the line with Holy Mother Church in favour of family values and the right to life. In It Takes a Family (2005), Santorum says that family values are the foundation on which all else must stand.

    Pope Benedict XVI would agree. In his annual "State of the World" address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, the Holy Father laid heavy emphasis on the threats to the dignity of life and the family, violations of religious freedom, and the continuing economic crisis.

    So... if religion and family values were the only issues to be thought about, I'd be plumping for Rick Santorum. Unfortunately for Mr. Santorum -- and for America -- there are other concerns to be dealt with, not the least of which is the economic crisis of which the Pope spoke.

    As I said on Saturday, I worry that the LGBT crowd, the "progressive thinkers" and the lamestream media are going to focus solely on Mr. Santorum's "divisive" views on gender and abortion, and ignore what he has to say about economics and foreign policy -- issues on which Santorum's views seem to me fuzzy and indistinct.

    As nearly as I can tell, Rick Santorum believes that more government intervention is the answer to America's economic woes. Before he got clobbered in the 2006 election, he supported Dubya's "compassionate conservatism" -- pouring more taxpayers' money down the ratholes of welfare, medicare and the general doing of good for the "disadvantaged".

    The only difference between that view and, say, Obama's is that the compassionate conservatives would channel the money through faith-based organizations rather than hand it directly to the baby mamas and drug addicts. But, IMHO, redistributing wealth is not the answer.

    So also on foreign policy. Mr. Santorum has no ideas, let alone policies, other than to stay the course, do what's been done for the last half-century, only do it better. He offers no plan to write finis to America's act as policeman and saviour of the world. Nor does he propose reducing the military budget and bringing US forces home from foreign sandpits where they are doing more harm than good.

    The only -- repeat, only -- candidate addressing these issues is Ron Paul. People ask if there's any difference between Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum and the "other conservatives". There is pawlenty. (Sorry!) To me, the critical thing -- the one thing that would make me vote for Ron Paul and not Rick Santorum -- is Mr. Paul's libertarianism.

    Ron Paul believes in less government, not more. He believes America should disentangle itself from the snares of the Middle East and the rest of the Third World. I may be overstating the case a bit, but I read Mr. Paul as saying the government should just get out of the way and leave people alone. I couldn't agree more!

    Finally, a word about electability. The lamestream media would have us believe that only the Mormon candidate has a chance of beating the Muslim (?) candidate. It may be that Ron Paul and Rick Santorum cannot attract the votes of the "moderate majority". But that doesn't mean they should shut up and go home.

    And it doesn't mean they're wrong. Remember Barry Goldwater. If you're British, remember Enoch Powell. Both Goldwater and Powell painted word pictures of what would happen if the "moderate" and "mainstream" views of their opponents prevailed. Both Goldwater and Powell were vilified as mean-spirited, right-wing nutbars, and soundly defeated. And both turned out to be right!

    Footnote: Contrary to the Reuters report of the Holy Father's speech, Pope Benedict did not refer specifically to "gay marriage", although his condemnation of this perversion was certainly implicit in his remarks on the crisis in family life. Click here to read Vatican Radio's summary of the Pope's address.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Canadian PM denies staking Arctic sovereignty on hockey game with Russkies

    Cazart!!! Looks like the Canadian Prime Minister's Office -- or maybe Steve himself -- reads Walt! The Toronto Star's Rick Westhead has just reported a denial of today's top story. Here's part of the latest news on the Canada-Russia hockey faceoff.

    A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday that there is no agreement in place for Harper to play in two exhibition games involving Putin.

    Yet sources told the Star that there have been talks to get Harper and Putin on the ice as part of a month-long celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the eight-game Canada-U.S.S.R. Summit Series, played at the height of the Cold War.

    “I think that what you’re seeing here is the PMO is upset that someone stole their thunder on a future announcement,” said one of the tournament organizers. “No one has ever said that there’s a contract in place for this to happen, but we have had nothing but positive response from the PMO.

    “To say the story is false just sounds to me like they’re mad,” the organizer said.

    Walt stands by his prediction.

    Leaders to settle fate of Arctic in hockey shoot-out

    The Toronto Star's Rick Westhead reports today that the leaders of the two biggest countries in the world are making plans to play on teams that will oppose each other in two exhibition games to be played in September.

    The two leaders referred to are Russia's Vlad "the Impaler" Poutine and Canada's Steve "Harpoon" Harper. (Sorry, the USA is only the world's third-biggest country.) The games are being played as part of a month-long event to mark the 40th anniversary of the eight-game Canada-U.S.S.R. Summit Series of 1972. Canada lost three of the first five games of that series, but went on to win.

    To make things interesting, Canada and Russia are putting up a pretty impressive prize -- nothing less than control of the Arctic Ocean! Or so Walt's source reports. Winner gets to drill for oil, take home all the ice, then water-ski at will. So we're talking "high-sticks diplomacy" here! (I wish I'd written that, but it's Westhead's line.)

    Who will win the gold ... and silver, and bronze, and ice? And who will be left eating the yellow snow? The Star's photo tells you all you need to know.

    Someone needs to tell Mr. Harpoon that hockey is played on ice. On skates. You don't wear your Sunday-go-to-meeting pants. And Steve... both hands on your stick, eh! Walt's prediction? No contest. Lifetime pct .981.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Would you vote for someone whose name you don't dare Google?

    Considering that Ron Paul -- Walt's choice for Republican candidate -- came in a respectable third in Iowa, I really hate to say this. [Oh c'mon. You don't hate it at all! You love it! Ed.] No... really... if the Republicans are going to unite behind a conservative candidate, please let it not be Rick Santorum.

    Here's the problem. The powerful LGBTQ gang absolutely hate Mr. Santorum. The pro-deviant behaviour crowd have considered Rick a menace since his 2003 outburst against a Supreme Court decision striking down anti-sodomy laws. Since he's smart enough not to call himself "Dick", they are ensuring that, even though he lost his Senate seat, Santorum’s surname will live on in infamy.

    If you Google "Santorum", here's what you get, right at the top of the page.
    Santorum 1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum.
    Who's behind this? The creator of the website (http://santorum.com) is anonymous. No-one will take responsibility for it.

    Is it a problem? Yes, because it paints the former senator as a one-trick pony, and the Republican party as being obsessed with social conservativism and family values to the exclusion of larger issues. It is Santorum's relentless antipathy toward "gay rights" that truly makes him stand out. Says a spokesthingy for the Human Rights Campaign, "He is not just someone who is opposed to equality. He has made it his life’s work."

    The lamestream media, dominated as they are by "progressive thinkers" and perverts, are just lapping this up! They love shining the spotlight on Santorum's controversial career in the Senate, where he displayed a penchant for inflammatory metaphors and crass cultural warfare. Trouble is, people who believe what they read in the New York Times think that's all there is to the GOP, thus devaluing the ideas and policies of candidates -- like Ron Paul -- who deserve to be taken seriously.

    For the good of the Republican party and the nation, Walt calls on Santorum to quit. Everyone knows his name now. What more does he want?!

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Book review: Sinclair describes India as it was and is

    A couple of days ago, in "Politically incorrect India", I gave you a quick review of Gordon Sinclair's Khyber Caravan, a dated (written in 1935) but still cogent account of the author's travels and misadventures in the wild, wild northwest corner of the British Raj...and beyond. Three-quarters of a century since, the area he describes -- the Khyber Pass and its surrounds -- has changed very little -- and not necessarily for the better.

    Khyber Caravan was not Sinclair's first book about the south Asian sub-continent. Three years earlier he wrote Footloose in India (S.B. Gundy, 1932), subtitled "Adventures of a news chaser from Khyber's grim gash of death to the tiger jungles of Bengal and the Burmese battle ground of the black cobra". Melodramatic? Definitely. A fascinating portrayal of a "loco land of lotus, lice and loincloths"? Decidedly! Worth reading today? Walt would say so.

    21st-century readers may find Sinclair's style dated and a tad over the top. He writes in the "tough guy lingo" popular in Hollywood movies of the day. Imagine dialogue spoken by Edward G. Robinson reduced to print: gams, gats and bad eggs. Sinclair's prose is not just violet, but deep purple. But he was writing for a popular audience, what we might call the "middle-brow" readers of the Toronto Star. Did he speak to them in language they could understand? Footloose in India was published in October 1932 and the first edition sold out on the first day of release. It went on to become a best-seller in Canada that year, and in the USA and UK the following year.

    Sinclair's books would today be called racist and politically incorrect in the extreme. He said and wrote what he thought. Here's an example which he quotes from a brief interview with Mahatma Gandhi. "India is undoubted the filthiest, smelliest, unhealthiest country in the known world."

    Gandhi did not argue the point, possibly out of politeness, possibly out of annoyance. Or possibly because it couldn't be denied then and shouldn't be denied now. It's just that we don't say those things now. Which is exactly why Footloose in India should be read as an antidote to the poison of one-worldism and political correctness which the lamestream media is feeding us every hour of every day. We are not all the same! Some cultures and civilizations are more advanced, healthier, saner and generally better than others.

    Later in Footloose in India, Sinclair recounts a visit to a mosque in Delhi.
    The sight there was one to remember. Twenty thousand men faced the east and bowed in prayer like animated clockwork. Up front on a marble throne the priest droned his sing-song about life and death -- "What is written is written."

    Nobody can do anything about anything. You live and die exactly the way it is all planned out in the beginning. No wonder these people make no progress in the world. No wonder they crawl about in filthy hovels. No wonder they suffer from inferiority, lice, starvation and fear of devils. It is written.

    That observation could just as easily be written today, only in Pakistan, say, or Afghanistan, there being a dire dearth of mosques in Hindu India. Pious Muslims still believe "what is wwritten is written". Nothing has changed. It's just that we don't say those things now.

    Does Gordon Sinclair's jaundiced view of the sub-continent mean that he hated or despised India and Indians? No. Did he not go back only three years later for another look? Which is more than many latter-day travellers could stomach. He just told it like it was, no sugar-coating or wilful blindness. Footloose in India and Khyber Caravan are good books, honest and entertaining. Read them if you can find them, before the PC police burn them.

    Footnote: According to Sinclair's introduction to a 1966 edition of Footloose in India (McClelland & Stewart), he wrote another book, which was never published because "by the standards of that day, it was considered dirty". Ed. and I have looked hard [very hard! Ed.] but have been unable to find any trace of the hidden opus. Anyone with any information is asked to e-mail us.

    CBC Radio needs to demonstrate commitment to multicult

    Memo to Susan Marjetti, station manager of CBC Radio One, Toronto. (Walt knows that -- as a toon always responds to shave-and-a-haircut -- you can't resist reading something with your name in it.)

    Susan, you have not yet demonstrated to the Canadian Ministry of Enforced Diversity that you have done everything possible to make your station "sound like Toronto looks".

    The problem is that it's radio, not TV. Some of the presenters and guests, especially on your execrable morning drive-time show, may well be members of oppressed minority groups, but we don't always know that. We can't see whether they're brown, black, white or striped.

    It's pretty easy to pick out the Jamaicans, Colombians, Indians and gays by sound along. But some of the accents are indistinguishable, at least to Walt's Toronto-based agents. It's hard to tell the Congolese from the Haitians. And some of the less recently arrived vizmins have virtually no accent, so they sound pretty much "white-bread"...or white-bred.

    There's a problem though with the LGBT crowd, not so much the hissing homos but the lesbians, who sometimes sound like, errr, female business executives. And let's not forget the disabled, "locomotion-challenged", "vision-impaired" or whatever the latest PC terms are. Unless they say something like "I'm blind", how are listeners supposed to know.

    So, here's Walt's suggestion. At the start of each interview or commentary, could the host please say which box is being checked, like this: "The next speaker is a black, transgendered, homeless double amputee." Then we can keep score, kind of like listening to a baseball broadcast.

    Yours for diversity... Walt

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Book review: Politically incorrect India

    Late last year I mentioned Gordon Sinclair's Khyber Caravan (Hurst & Blackett 1936, Pocket Books 1975). Sinclair described a case of child prostitution in what would today be part of Afghanistan, and I made the comparison with a case reported in the press just last week.

    I've just finished rereading Khyber Caravan, and recommend it highly for those with a taste for tales of adventure in the benighted backwaters of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some of the stories -- alledgedly true -- which Sinclair tells make Kipling's tales of the Raj look tame.

    Khyber Caravan was written in 1935, published a year later. I doubt if it could be published at all in today's super-sensitive, ultra-PC society. Although he merely records what he saw and makes comparisons with western civilization, Sinclair would today be criticized (and doubtless hauled in front of a human rights tribunal) for being a hopeless racist, sexist, imperialist, whateverist.

    Oh yes, and a religious bigot too, for calling attention to the cruel and barbarous practices of both Hinduism and Islam. The truth is that Sinclair, a cynical Scot, didn't have much time for organized religion of any stripe, and was pretty sharp in his criticisms of Christians as well as heathens.

    As for being an imperialist, read what Sinclair has to say -- writing in 1935, remember -- about the British presence in Waziristan -- the patch of wasteland where Afghanistan, Pakistan and India today meet and compete.

    You look at these people [Pathans, Pushtuns, Waziris, etc.] living in the homeland in which they were born and raised and over which they still hold nominal control and you wonder why, by all that's just and holy, any outside nation should send a mighty army in to torment them and spy on them and burn their homes.

    Britain doesn't attempt to administer the tribal belt of Waziristan; doesn't claim to own it. In its hills live courageous, hawk-eyed hillmen.

    The hillmen endeavour to hold this homeland from invasion with native-made rifles; loosely-jointed home-packed shells. At the same time they must squeeze out a living from crusted mountain soil w hich sees no rain for seven months at a time.

    Opposed to them are 7000 men whose only job is fighting or preparing to fight. Well-fed men, men with every killing device known to science. Men so armed that they can blow up tribal villages of mud and sticks without ever seeing them or rain bombs on scurrying enemies from the air and wipe them from the face of the earth. But why do it?

    The emphasis is mine. It's as good a question in 2011 as it was in 1935. The only -- repeat, only -- US politician asking that question today, and pledging to bring all American troops home from the Middle East and other foreign hotspots, is Ron Paul.

    You may, if you're lucky, find Khyber Caravan in the 904 section of your local library, if your library uses the Dewey system. The paperback edition, 1975, is on Amazon.

    Note to those who are offended by the picture in Walt's post on Swaziland: Khyber Caravan has pictures that today would probably get the publisher slapped into the hoosegow!

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Canada says it will fight religious persecution (but doesn't say how)

    A year ago Walt told you about Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian minister in the so-called government of Pakistan. Mr. Bhatti had been quite vocal in calling for the repeal of Pakistan's anti-blasphemy laws, under which many Christians had been persecuted.

    Not two months later, a fatwa issued against Mr. Bhatti was carried out. Assailants purportedly sent by al-Qaeda and the Taliban sprayed his car with bullets outside his parents' driveway, killing him instantly.

    This kind of thing goes on all the time in the Third World, especially in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Or hellholes like Nigeria and India, where Muslims and Hindus (respectively) fighting with Christians for souls. And of course there's China and Vietnam, where Communist régimes routinely jail, torture and even execute those who adhere to religious institutions not approved by the state.

    Now, in a move that Walt finds not a little surprising, Canada's rightish Conservative government says it is preparing to carve out a new role for Canada as a "champion of religious rights abroad". This major shift in Canadian foreign policy is said to have its roots in... wait for it... the assassination of Shabaz Bhatti!

    Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Immigration and Pandering to Minorities, is quoted in today's Globe and Mail as saying Mr. Bhatti made a major impression on Prime Minister Harpoon when they met shortly before Bhatti's death.

    "The Prime Minister was deeply affected by this as was everyone who had the chance to meet him," said the minister. "His visit to Canada shortly before his assassination helped to galvanize within the government the reality of this kind of persecution."

    The Conservatives say they were impressed by Bhatti’s refusal to stop fighting religious intolerance despite death threats. Mr. Kenney recalls that "just before I brought Shahbaz to meet the Prime Minister, I told the Prime Minister it would be a miracle if the man he was about to meet would be alive in a few months’ time." How prescient!

    Well, whether it's to buy votes from immigrants, appease the "Christian Right", or honour and avenge Mr. Bhatti doesn't matter. The Tories are setting up an Office of Religious Freedom within the quite secular confines of the Department of Foreign Affairs – a controversial pledge that has drawn accusations of vote pandering and blurring lines between church and state.

    However commendable may be the notion of compelling the persecutors of Christians to stop creating martyrs, Walt wonders exactly how the Canadian government plans to do this. What will the ORF do, exactly, to force its vision of religious freedom down the throats of, say, the Mullahs of Iraq and Iran?

    Will Canada bomb Vietnam with 1000s of tiny Bibles? Will it invade the Middle Eastern bastions of the Islamic empire? Start a crusade, perhaps? The Chinese and the Arabs must be quaking in their boots!

    Or is it possible that the Office of Religious Freedom may be merely full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? What do you think?

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Happy New Year from Walt [and Ed.]

    And here's a little something for all my hoser friends. Got a little Canuck culture for ya, featuring -- who else -- Don Cherry!