Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Niagara Parks Commission GM on the way out, but why?

For our readers in Ontario's Niagara Region who are following the turmoil at the Niagara Parks Commission, some shocking news today.

Bullet News broke the shocking news that, after less than one year on the job, Fay Booker is out as general manager of the Niagara Parks Commission. According to the online story, the decision was made Tuesday and senior staff members at the NPC were informed this morning. It is not clear if Booker resigned or was asked to leave, or when this change will come into effect. Nor is it clear who made the decision or why.

Ms Booker came to Niagara Parks in the spring of 2010 as Interim Chairthingy, tasked with cleaning out the Augean stable which the NPC had become. Well-documented allegations of cronyism, untendered contracts, secrecy and downright corruption forced the Ontario government (the supposed masters of the NPC) to bring in someone to clean up the mess, which is what Ms Booker did.

With an open tender for a new lease for the Maid of the Mist boat ride attraction well in hand, Ms Booker applied last summer for the position of general manager, from which John "Peachey" Kernaham had retired -- early -- in the opposite of grace. Booker was appointed in July 2011 on a 30-month contract.

Did she jump or was she pushed? Nobody, from the Minister of Tourism on down, is saying anything. But Agent 3 is following the story for us. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where is this place?

Agent 1 asks us to guess what this building is, and where it is. Hint: check out the topiary.

Give up? Well, Agent 1 says (although Walt has been unable to verify) that this is the Canadian headquarters of Viagra. Who says Canadians don't have a sense of humour?!

Bringing democracy to the Afghans and other benighted peoples

Walt hopes Brian Gable, editorial cartoonist for the Globe and Mail, will take our occasional use of his cartoons as a sincere compliment. That's what it's meant to be. Today's offering fits so well with our recent posts: "Canadian government could fall over election dirty tricks" and "Why the Afghans keep killing Americans".

Here we are -- "we" meaning Western troops, NGOs and assorted do-gooders occupying Afghanistan, Iraq and other sandpits -- trying to teach the ignorant Muslims the "right way" to do things. I'm talking about running elections, which we can't even do in our own countries without resorting to dirty tricks, cheating, and suing one another to get the result we want. (Hello, Dubya!)

About the only thing we don't do is shoot opposition supporters. At least... not yet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Online petition against Harper's dirty tricks

News travels fast in the wired world. So do on-line petitions. Not that the petitions get a whole lot of attention from those on the receiving end, but sometimes it makes you feel better to sign one.

The revelations -- the lamestream media would say "allegations" -- that Stephen Harpoon's Conservatives used automated phone calls to keep opposition supporters from the polls in last May's federal elections have generated a lot of heat. Inevitably, petitions are springing up. I'm looking right now at one headlined "Robocall election fraud: demand a public inquiry and real consequences."

Although no sponsorship for the petition is indicated on the website, Walt wouldn't be surprised if it were the work of Liberal and/or NDP operatives. Or it could just be good citizens trying to promote honest and fair play in matters political. Good luck with that!

Sign the petition. And if you're in touch with the organizers, tell `em Walt sent ya!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shocking tale from the dark continent

From Zimbabwe, NewsDay reports a current event in the Harare suburb of Highfield.

A commerical sex worker, Mati Nhamo, was hired by Last* Mbele on Sunday night to end his weekend with a bang. She spent the night at his place, and decided to give him a little extra service by doing his laundry the following morning. Sadly, the line on which she chose to hang the wet wash turned out to be a live wire. She was electrocuted, dying on the spot.

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority personnel ferried the girl's body to Machipisa Police Station, from where it was transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospital for a post-mortem. In a blinding flash of discernment, doctors blamed the death on an electrical fault.

Here the plot takes a disturbing twist. Mati's family have refused to remove her body from the hospital, saying they will not bury her until Mbele pays the customary bride price. For his part, Mbele says the woman was only his "regular girlfriend", not his wife, so her family should get compensation from the power company, not from him because her death was not his fault, but an electrical fault. Geddit?

The shocking part of this story, as any resident of Harare can attest, is that the line in question was connected and operational.

* About Mr. Mbele's name... During his years in Zimbabwe, Walt met many people with the given name "Last". This phenomenon is directly attributable to a misunderstanding of the birth registration form's instructions: "Last name first, first name last". No, I'm not making that up.

Why the Afghans keep killing Americans

This past week nine Americans fighting for freedom and democracy and other Good Things in Afghanistan were shot by Afghans -- the very people they were trying to help. (There is some doubt about the first two, since the chain of events inside one of the most "secure" buildings in Kabul is unclear, but the Taliban are claiming responsibility so let's work with that.)

The proximate cause of the killings and this week's anti-American riots was the burning, by "ISAF" (read "American") troops of some copies of the Qu'ran which had been thrown into a binful of trash and taken to a burn pit. Spokesthingies for the ISAF and the American military have apologized profusely, but saying "we're sorry" apparently isn't good enough for those damn Afghan Muslims!

And why should it be? Suppose the shoe was on the other foot. Suspend your disbelief and suppose the Afghan army somehow occupied Washington DC [Hmmmm... Ed.] and carted a truckload of Bibles off to the incinerator. What would be the likely reaction of the American citizens whose country was being occupied by an army of dirty infidels? You don't need an expert to tell you the American people would go ballistic... so to speak and rise up against the heathen foreigners.

Of course experts could have told the Americans occupying Afghanistan that ignoring religious and cultural sensitivities could only lead to tears. But even if such advice were given, would it have been heeded. Americans are notorious for lack of understanding of foreign cultures. That's "foreign" as in anything outside the borders of the lower 48.

Actually it's worse than lack of understanding. It's wilful ignorance. The American troops in Afghanistan are not cultural, political or historical experts. They are fearful and far from home. And they have been taught all their lives that Arab Muslims are dirty, sly, cruel enemies of All That is Good. Why they're even worse than those faggoty French and other, whiter foreigners.

The US soldiers are victims of their government's propaganda -- brave fighters in the "war on terror". Their commanders believe it too. So does their Supreme Commander. The pity is that before the USA finally throws in the towel, hundreds or perhaps thousands more Americans will be killed on Mission Impossible.

Footnote: Walt is dismayed that both Gingrich and Santorum have declared the American apologies for the burning of the Qu'rans wrong or worse. "Why should we apologize?", they ask. It's exactly that kind of patronizing contempt for other peoples' cultures that has informed -- read "misinformed" -- US foreign policy for two hundred years, with the results which could have been predicted, in the case of the Middle East, at any time after 1947.

Further footnote: Ron Paul maintains a stance on American involvement in foreign wars totally at odds to that of Newt and Rick. If Mr. Paul was president, no apologies would be necessary, because Americans would not be over there in the first place.

Canadian government could fall over election dirty tricks

The lesson of Watergate was (supposedly) that in an election in a democractic (note small "d") country, the contesting parties are supposed to play fair. Rigged elections are for places like Russia, Egypt and Zimbabwe. But in the democractic west, dirty tricks are to be punished in the courts and at the polls. Anyway, that's the theory.

Canada -- a democractic and fair-minded country if ever there was one -- had a general election* last spring. On only the third try, "Call me Steve" Harper's Conservatives finally got the majority of seats in the House of Commons, something they'd been lusting for since Walt's little boy was a little boy.

Mind you, the result was pretty close, with the Tories winning 165 of the 308 Commons seats. 11 seats fewer, and they might be sitting on the Speaker's left. And of the Cons' 165 seats, at least 11 were won by narrow margins, often in tight three-way contests against the Liberals and NDP.

Suddenly all this matters, because the validity of the results in 34 ridings has now been called into question because of -- you guessed it -- dirty tricks.

The Mounties and Elections Canada, the government agency in charge of rigging elections ["running", surely! Ed.] are looking into reports that "robocalls" -- automated telephone calls -- falsely advised voters that the location of their polling stations had changed. In other instances, voters received harassing late-night or early-morning calls that purported to be from an opposition campaign office.

Another lesson learned from Watergate (and recent US elections) is that dirty tricks work only if you don't get caught. Unfortunately for whoever was making the robocalls, many people now have "caller ID" on their phones. And some had the wit to write down the number from which the robocalls originated.

It has now been revealed that the calls were made by a company based in Edmonton, Alberta -- Canada's version of Texas and, like Texas, a hotbed of conservatism. And sure enough, the company, RackNine Inc., frequently works on Tory campaigns. But who was their client, and who actually ordered the calls to be made?

So far no-one has stepped forward to say "I am the one." Just by coincidence, though, a Conservative staffer named Michael Sona resigned from his junior position in the office of a Conservative MP. Neither his reported departure nor whether there was a connection to the robocall controversy could be confirmed, owing to Sona's virtual disappearance. What is known is that during the election campaign, he was working for the Conservative candidate in Guelph -- one of the targetted ridings.

Kneedipper MP "Pusillanimous Pat", speaking in the Commons on Friday, said it would be unacceptable for the Conservatives to scapegoat a junior staffer for the matter. He called for a public enquiry to get to the bottom of the affair, because "the facts as we know them to date would indicate a well-orchestrated, widespread conspiracy from the top, not some rogue punk out in the boondocks."

Liberal MP John McCallum said he hopes the investigation by Elections Canada will be a deterrent against the proliferation of "US-style political tactics". "Even if it’s just one seat, it’s important," he said. "I’m not saying this would make a difference in terms of a Liberal majority government, but in a democracy those who practise dirty tricks to subvert democracy should be caught and punished."

And it was McCallum's fearless (but "interim") leader, Bob "Ray" Rae, who brought Watergate into it. "We are entering into a kind of Nixonian moment in our political culture, where all kinds of dirty tricks seem to be possible, all kinds of dirty tricks seem to be encouraged," said the white-haired boy.

Who, then, was the mastermind of the robocall disinformation campaign? Here's all you need to know. The Conservative Party of Canada is led by the aforementioned Stephen Harper -- the Prime Minister -- who under that bland exterior is the meanest, surliest, dirtiest Canadian politician of the last half-century.

Harpoon's mentor (and former Tory PM) Brian Mulroney was described as a street fighter. Harper, by comparison, is an alley fighter. And he is the ultimate control freak. Not one freakin' thing goes on in his party or his government that he doesn't know about and approve.

The Liberals are demanding an emergency debate on the issue in the House of Commons on Monday. Will it do any good? Will Elections Canada or a public enquiry succeed in pinning anything on Harper? Walt's prediction: no. Lifetime pct .985.

* From Ed.: Do you know when the Chinese have their best elections? Just before bleakfast.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Canuck Tories shelve internet spy 'n' snoop bill

Just checking the overnight news before I head out the door, and am delighted to read the report in this morning's Globe and Mail that "Call me Steve" Harper's government has put on hold legislation that would grant new powers to authorities to police the Internet. Let's hope that -- like when you call the government's "help line" -- it gets put on hold forever!

Time is Walt's enemy today, so I can only refer you to the newspaper article and posts in this space last week. But I do have time to say congratulations to all the Canadians who weren't fooled by the Tories' law and order bullshit, especially the part about protecting the world from pornographers.

A big debt of thanks is owed to all who posted comments in the social media and the lamestream media, and especially to those who took the time to e-mail or call Old Vic Toews and Rob "the Boy Wonder" Nicholson.

More anon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Niagara Parks gets a GRIP on Maid of the Mist

Way back in 2009, Walt wrote "Power to the people of Niagara Falls", about the sleaze and corruption surrounding the decision of the Niagara Parks Commission to renew its lease contract with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company.

The company, owned by the Glynn family of Niagara Falls NY, had managed, by hook or by crook -- mostly crook -- to secure a sweetheart deal for the continued operation of the famous "Maid of the Mist", while sharing less of the revenue with the NPC, which depends on revenue from that and other attractions to keep its magnificent parks open without government (meaning "taxpayer") funding.

The whistle was blown by an NPC commissioner, Bob Gale, who quit in disgust, and by William Windsor, who thought than an open competition for the right to operate the boat tour would have been a better idea than nailing the puck to the Glynns' stick.

In the aftermath, the provincially-appointed commissioners were sacked, and two very senior managers were either fired or quit in disgrace. A proper -- open and transparent -- competition was then ordered by the Ontario government. Today the result was at long last announced.

And the winner is -- envelope, please! -- not the Glynns! The Niagara Parks Commission announced this afternoon that Hornblower Canada -- their American parent runs boat tourst to Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty -- gets the new 30-year lease. Visitors to Niagara Falls get a new and improved boat ride, and the NPC gets an estimated $500,000,000 in revenue.

Everybody wins, except those who sought to give and get corrupt benefits to line their own pockets.

Bribery, corruption and sleaze happen to be the subjects of Bill Windsor's website "Lawless America", to which Walt's attention has just been drawn. Check it out for Windsor's crowing comments on today's decision. Hey, he has a right to crow!

And while you're there, read about GRIP, the Government Reform & Integrity Platform. Think it can't work? It worked at Niagara Parks in Canada. Are Americans not at least as committed to honesty in openness in government as their neighbours to the north?!

Beijing to Tibetan Buddhists: pray and get arrested!

Catholics loyal to Rome are not the only ones being persecuted by China's Communist government. (See today's first post.) In a country where freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution -- subject of course to approval by the government -- you can be arrested for following your faith, no matter what faith it is.

Especially if you're a Tibetan, a Buddhist and loyal to the Dalai Lama. One, two, three strikes and you're out! Or rather... you're in, as... in jail. AsiaNews reports that, after receiving permission from the Beijing government to travel to India to attend a prayer meeting under the direction of the Dalai Lama, 7000 Tibetan Buddhists are being arrested on their return to China.

Hundreds of people have already been arrested without formal charges. Evidently this is a new phase in China's continuing crackdown on Tibetan resistance to Chinese occupation. "The authorities no longer try to understand. They want to turn people into zombies," a source told AsiaNews. Communist zombies, of course.

How Beijing keeps Catholic "bishops" in line

It's been a while since we looked at the state of the Church in China. Walt is sorry (but not surprised) to report that despite the efforts of Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, to make nice with the the Communists, bishops and priests who remain loyal to Rome continue to be persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed.

The least that can be expected by a bishop who doesn't toe the party line is to be discriminated against when it comes to things like travel outside (or even inside) China, and the freedom (or lack thereof) to speak out on matters of faith and the governance of the Church.

On the other hand, Catholic bishops who accept the leadership of the schismatic Chinese Patriotical Catholic Association -- the puppet "church" established by Beijing following the Communist revolution -- are richly rewarded for their objectively sinful allegiance.

In "Reward or Punishment. How Beijing Sanctions the Bishops", Sandro Magister, a Vatican insider, describes the very favourable treatment accorded by Beijing to "Bishop" John Baptist Li Suguang, who was ordained in October 2010 without the approval of the Holy See. The "bishop", by accepting this invalid ordination, is subject to automatic excommunication. However, he now claims to be acting as a force for reconciliation between the puppet "church" and the millions of Chinese Catholics who practise their Faith in the "underground Church".

Joseph Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong, an outspoken critic of Beijing, recently scolded the Sant’Egidio community for inviting Bishop Suguang to participate in an international conference. Cardinal Zen argued that all Catholics should accept the directive of Pope Benedict XVI to refrain from giving any recognition to the CPCA and its Communist-appointed leaders.

The fact that Bishop Suguang was allowed to travel to the meeting in Germany is itself evidence of the government's favour. Bishops loyal to the Holy See have been routinely denied permission to travel to Rome on Church business.

But that's how it is in the People's Republic of China, where freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution... as long as the Communists approve. There's one law for Communist Catholics, and another for real Catholics.

Mind you... there are many traditional Catholics who would say it's the same way in the Church of Rome itself: one law for the modernist, liberal Catholics who go along with the Vatican II "reforms", and another for the traditional Catholics who still cling to the Faith of our fathers.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where next? Syria? Iran? Walt's morning line

Last week was a slow news week. Republican presidential wannabes are chewing on each other's haunches. The Greeks and the EU are still in denial about the former's effective bankruptcy and the inevitable demise of the euro. (Lifetime pct .986) And sound of gunfire and explosions reverberates through the streets of Baghdad, Tripoli, Homs, Damascus, Cairo etc. etc. ad infinitum.

As to Syria, the usual forces for Peace and Progress are shrieking that Something Must Be Done. And since the Arab Union (sic) and the United (sic) Nations can't agree to do anything, who better to take matters in hand than the good ole US of A.

There's also been some talk that Weapons of Mass Destruction -- to wit, nuclear bombs -- are being developed by Iran. You may think you've seen this movie before, but that was Iraq and the intended target of the non-existent WMDs was... well... that was never altogether clear but it didn't really matter, since the WMDs were really just a pretext to start a fight that the US was pretty sure it could win. (Lifetime pct .010)

No, the next American invasion of a Middle Eastern country will be a sequel to the glorious successes of Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's been in the pipeline -- the oil pipeline, that is -- for at least nine years.

In February of 2003, John Bolton (then "under-secretary of state for arms control" -- how's that for a title?!) told Israeli government officials that it would be "necessary to deal with" Iran, Syria and North Korea after the war in Iraq. Source: respected journalist Gwynne Dyer, in his column of 30 March 2003, reproduced in With Every Mistake (Random House, 2005).

Note, please, that Bolton was speaking to Israeli officials. Today the high-ranking American "advisor" doing the talking is General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. General Dempsey, echoed by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, is warning the Israelis not to attack Israel, because an Israeli attack is "not prudent". Since that phrase was already taken, Mr. Hague said an attack would not be "a wise thing".

Walt's translation and sub-text: "Hang on a minute. We're not ready yet!"

Clearly, if the Jews start a war with Iran, they will be counting on the West to intervene on their side. And plenty of people in high places in London, Ottawa and (especially) Washington would be happy to do so. The only problem is that the West is broke. The war in Afghanistan is still syphoning billions of dollars a month out of the American and Canadian economies, and the governments of Britain and other EU countries are still pouring their pounds and euros down the rathole that is Greece. The West can't afford another war.

Nor can Israel, if the West doesn't send troops, arms and matériel. Yet Iran is the Middle Eastern power the Jews fear most. Israel believes a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its very existence, citing Iran's support for Arab militant groups, its sophisticated arsenal of missiles capable of reaching Israel, and its leaders' calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

The Jews have been known to attack their neighbours before. There was the infamous Six-Day (Non-)War in 1967. In 1981, the Israeli air force destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor. And in 2007, Israeli warplanes are believed to have destroyed a target in Syria that foreign "experts" think might have been an unfinished nuclear reactor... or possibly a hospital, who knows?

But Iran would prove a much tougher nut to crack than Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq or Syria. It is doubtful that the Israelis could single-handedly destroy, Iran's nuclear facilities, if such there be. And the Iranians (not being Arabs) would surely fight back. They could fire missiles at Israel, get their Muslim friends Hezbollah and Hamas to launch rockets into "the Jewish entity" and cause global oil prices to spike by striking targets in the Gulf.

So... if the Jews are smart ["if"? Ed.] they'll wait until Western support has gone from rhetoric to military readiness. That should take until 2013, at least. Walt's prediction: no war against Iran... this year. (Lifetime pct .986)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Canada's Tories backtracking on internet snooping bill

"Old Vic" Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety & Security & Law & Order & Correct Behaviour, was interviewed on CBC Radio's The House today. The subject was Bill C-30. That's the one which, if you don't support it, you're standing with the child pornographers, according to Vic.

Mr Toews's characterization of those who believe in freedom of expression and freedom of information as supporters of porn peddlers drew a lot of ire, not just from the usual "progressive forces" but from libertarians as well. The outcry from normally passive Canadians seems to have surprised the minister, and his puppet-master, "Call me Steve" Harpoon. To judge from the interview, they're now in damage control mode.

Hence the unusual move to refer Bill C-30 to a parliamentary committe for further study, following first reading rather than second reading as is the usual procedure. Toews also says the government will look at any and all amendments which the opposition or anyone else -- for instance the Privacy Commissioner -- might suggest. (Canada's Privacy Commissioner was also interviewed on the programme.)

So the ball ["bill", surely. Ed.] has been pretty well kicked into the long grass. But that doesn't mean Canadians concerned about the invasion of their privacy shouldn't make their voices heard... while dissent is still legal. Here are some useful links.

The Honourable (sic) Vic Toews can be reached (supposedly) at And here's his office phone number: +1-613-992-3128. For those still living in the `80s, Vic has a fax number too: +1-613-995-1049.

To yank the chain of the Rob Nicholson -- the one standing with Toews in the picture, not with the pornographers -- e-mail (Are you starting to see a pattern to these e-mail addresses?) His phone number is +1-613-995-1547, fax +1-613-992-7910.

If you want to contact another of the 308 MPs, go here to find his or her co-ordinates. If it's a senator you want -- like that great champion of free speech Mike Puffy -- here's a list of those who slumber in the Red Chamber.

One more tip. It's still the law, in Canada, that anyone can write to a Senator or Member of Parliament for free! (That means Canada Post has to pay the cost, which sounds only fair to Walt.) Here are the addresses:

Senators: Name of Senator / The Senate of Canada / Ottawa / Ontario K1A 0A4
MPs: Name of Member of Parliament / House of Commons / Ottawa / Ontario K1A 0A6

And don't forget... no-one ever said you could write only once! Go ahead! Knock yourself (and them) out!

Note from Ed.: I meant to take some pornographic pictures for these posts, but I forgot my pornograph.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do you want these men to know what you're looking at on the Net?

You know these guys, right? They are the federal ministers in charge of protecting Canadians from indecency, immorality, and incorrectness in all its forms.

Rob Nicholson, on the right, is the Minister of Justice. Vic Toews (rhymes with "raves"), on his right -- and that's pretty far right, believe me! -- is the Minister of "Public Safety". Old Vic is the one who, earlier this week, said that anyone who doesn't stand with the Harpoon government in support of its internet snoop and spy legislation is "either...with us or with the child pornographers". Walt's not making this up. Neither is Toews. He really means it.

In yesterday's post, I got the name of the Conservative government's latest police state law wrong. As you can see from the picture, it's now being called the "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act". So if you're not a paedophile -- like that dreaful Herbert on Family Guy -- you've got nothing to fear.

If you're not using electronic communications devices, like computers and smartphones, to lure kids into your web of iniquity, the police will have no reason to read your e-mails or track your movements through cellphone signals. Right? Mind you, they wouldn't need a warrant to do so, so if they feel like "just checking", there's nothing to stop them. So even if all you're into is a little light self-gratification, you can't be sure no-one knows.

If you're still not worried, you might want to have a look at "Online surveillance bill targets child porn", on, which is the website of the government-owned broacaster -- the same government that's pushing this bill (C-30) through Parliament. Once passed, this noble-sounding act will require telecommunications and Internet providers to hand over -- without getting a warrant or other court order -- your subscriber data, including name, address, mobile phone number and IP address.

But wait (as Vince Offer says)... there's more! The bill will also make the communications companies give police a “back door” for easy surveillance. [Ah yes... the old back passage. Ed.] Police can also get warrants to track any information sent online, so they'll know who sent it and from where. And they can get court orders forcing other parties to preserve electronic evidence. That means if you delete a file that someone sent you -- even by mistake -- you can be guilty of an offence.

And that's the one that really sucks. (Sorry, Herbert!) Here we are fretting about what Google and Yahoo! and Facebook do with the stuff we put online, without thinking about who's going to be looking at our profiles, our pictures, our searches and so on. These things can now be seen by any cop or other guardian of the law or "protector of public safety" who asks for it.

NDP Member of Parliament argues that the Act will give the police an unlimited "fishing licence", letting them trawl through any and all "private communications", that being the all-encompassing term used in the bill. Mr. Angus said cellphones would become "electronic prisoner’s bracelets".

Welcome to the Conservatives' Canada. Will you being staying long, or will you be looking for someplace where you can have a little privacy? Good luck with that!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Big Brother wants to look into your computer... really!

Warning to Canadians! Any Canuck who uses the Internet to download, upload, share, look at, or even search for anything which is incorrect -- legally, morally, politically, or otherwise -- should be very, very afraid. The Conservative government of "Call me Steve" Harpoon has reintroduced the "Investigative Powers for the 21st Century" bill.

If enacted -- and given the Tory majority in Canada's Parliament this is almost a certainty -- the ultimate "snoop and spy" law will require Internet service providers to install surveillance technology on their networks. They, and such portals and search engines as Google and Yahoo!, will be obliged to tell the police and other "authorities" what you're viewing and what you're doing. All the storm troopers have to do is ask. No warrant will be required.

A firestorm erupted in the House of Commons on Tuesday, as opposition MPs charged the Tories are bent on turning Canada the Great White North into a "surveillance society", along the lines foreseen by George Orwell in 1984. Walt says Orwell was only out by a generation or so, and you could get an argument that he didn't miss by even that much.

Time doesn't permit further comment today, but I have to share with you the editorial cartoon by Brian Gable in today's Globe and Mail.

Warning to non-Canucks: Don't think for even a minute that your government -- American, British, whatever -- doesn't want to control your computer and your mind. An Internet lobotomy is being planned for you even as you read this.

Walt will return

Note from Ed.: Walt has been called away on an urgent matter but will return as fast as his horse can carry him, possibly later today. Could his absence be connected with rumours of a "palace revolt" in the Vatican? Probably not...

Friday, February 10, 2012

O ye of little faith!

Some of you were tempted to make mock of yesterday's advertisement by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montréal, urging the faithful to pray that the Montréal Canadiens -- "le CH" -- will squeak into the NHL playoffs. Well, did you see last night's game on the Island which is Long?

There can be no doubt that God heard and answered Habs fans' prayers. Scotty Gomez scored his first goal since February 5th ... 2011 .. and it proved to be the game-winner as les Glorieux triumphed over the Islanders 4-2.

Never doubt the power of prayer.

Tidbit of trivia: Why are the Canadiens known as "le CH"? It's because their logo looks like a giant C surrounding a smaller H. But in fact there are two C's, a red one inside a blue one. It's really "CHC", for "le Club de Hockey Canadien" or "Canadian Hockey Club". And someone thought that up before Canada became officially bilingual!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pray for le CH

It has often been said that the true religion of Québec is not Catholicism, but hockey. Nowhere is this more true than in Montréal, home of the Canadiens, a.k.a. le CH, la Flanelle, or les Glorieux.

Sadly, the Habs (as les têtes-carrées call them) aren't so glorieux this year. In fact, it looks as if they might miss the NHL playoffs for the first time since... well... the first time in a long time. Too many nights, the tearing of hair and rending of garments (bleu, blanc et rouge) can be heard clearly through the walls of le Centre Bell.

What is to be done to help the Canadiens escape the almost perennial fate of the Toronto Maple Leafs? The only hope would seem to be divine intervention!

So... the Archdiocese of Montréal has today placed ads in local newspapers Thursday encouraging the faithful to pray for a playoff spot for the team that represents Québec, French Canada and Holy Mother Church.

What the ad shows is the NHL Eastern Conference standings (as of last weekend) with every team listed except the Canadiens. In eighth place, where the Habs need to finish to get into the playoffs, the copy says, "Let us pray."

And if prayer avails nought? The only thing left would be the sacrifice of a virgin. But this being Québec... well...

Racist photo in Sun newspapers?

Canada's Sun Media decided to do a pre-Valentine's Day story about what to get your best beloved for the occasion. Title:
"Think outside the chocolate box".

And here you see the Fotolia picture they chose to illustrate the story.

Coincidence or systemic racism?! You be the judge!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 ways the Obama administration offends Catholics

Frankly, I'd lost count of the number of ways in which the policies of the Prez have offended not just Catholics, but Christians of all stripes. But someone -- other than God -- is keeping score!

Writing for Catholic, Tom Hoopes lists 10 ways in which the Obama administration's policies have offended Catholic voters. The HHS mandate, he says, is merely the latest. So here's the list.

1. Pro-abortion extremism, attacking the right to life.
2. Forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception and sterilization.
3. Forcing Catholics to pay for birth control pills.
4. Breaking Obama's Notre Dame promise to “draft a sensible conscience clause”.
5. Disappointing anti-war Catholics by sticking to the Bush administration’s Iraq timetable, Afghanistan strategy and Guantanamo Bay policy.
6. Ordering US Army chaplains to not read a pastoral letter about forced contraception coverage.
7. Trying (until stopped by the Supreme Court) to insert the federal government in the hiring and firing of civilian ministers of religion.
8. Demonizing Catholics officially as bigots for supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, and refusing to assist homosexual couples in adoptions.
9. “Catholics need not apply” policies, denying Catholics the ability to fulfill certain charitable grants.
10. Anti-immigrant policies, especially targetting Latinos who are predominantly Catholic.

Catholics! Is there some or any of this you didn't know about? Read the article for examples and proofs. And don't forget to vote in November!

Too young to wed

As mentioned a couple of days ago, I don't mind having to wait to be seen by my dentist because his* palatial office has a pretty good selection of reasonably up-to-date magazines -- "up-to-date" meaning published in the 21st century.

Among them is National Geographic, which has the best pictures in the world of the world, IMHO.But reading National Geographic is like reading Playboy. [Does Playboy still exist? Ed.] It actually has articles to go with the pictures, and the articles are often worth reading. Case in point: "Too Young to Wed", in the June 2011 issue.

In the article, which you can read online by clicking this link, you can read about the practice -- supposedly illegal but still persistent -- of marrying girls as young as 6 to much older men. The story documents examples in Yemen (pictured above), Rajasthan (in northwestern India), and Nepal. And, of course, Afghanistan, where westerners are still laying down their lives to change the culture and emancipate girls.

What are the chances of putting an end to this centuries-old tradition? Christian missionaries have been trying for centuries to show these heathens -- for that's what they are -- the error of their ways. To no avail. Anyone who thinks there's any hope for change tomorrow or next year or anytime this century should think again.

Read the article. If you want to see more pictures of these pretty sad little girls, you'll have to buy the magazine. Walt recommends it.

* Footnote: Walt's dentist is of indeterminate gender. I call my dentist "the tooth fairy".

How gay is "gay enough"?

Sometimes it takes the news a while to get to Walt. The Wells Fargo rider just brought the November 29th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The headline
"'Not gay enough' softball players settle suit" caught my eye.

Pictured here (courtesy of the National Center for Lesbian Rights) is the D2 softball team, which plays in the San Francisco Gay Softball League. (Of course I'm not making this up. It's San Francisco!) In 2008 D2 finished in second place in the Gay Softball World Series. But then came the challenge.

Seems the league rules allow a maximum of two heterosexuals (or metrosexuals or whatever it is) per team. But, the Atlanta Mudcats complained, D2 had three players who were not sufficiently light in the loafers. The three countered that they were actually bisexual -- capable of batting left or right, so to speak.

There followed a hearing in front of a panel of 25 LGBT types from the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (not making that up either) who asked some very intrusive and embarrassing questions.

LaRon Charles, who was D2's manager, and whose Facebook profile says he's married to, errr, a woman, was asked whether he could say he was bisexual. When he replied in the affirmative, he was told, "This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series."

The Alliance ultimately determined that the three men were "non-gay" and that D2 had broken the rules. This being America, the decision was followed by a lawsuit, which was finally settled late last year.

The settlement came a week after U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled that the group had the right under the First Amendment to limit the number of heterosexuals who could play on a team to two. The judge also found that there had been no discimination against the bis.

However, the NAGAAA will kiss and make up. They will pay D2 an undisclosed sum and will give back their second-place 2008 championship trophy.

Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it? If your cockles get too warm, rub them with ice.

A Catholic in the White House?

Stunning news from Middle America! "Roman Rick" Santorum scored a hat trick, beating "Mormon Mitt" Romney in three semi-important nominating contests.

Checking the results to hand at this moment, looks like Missouri went 55% for Santoum to 25% for Romney. Astronewt wasn't on the ballot there, and the vote doesn't actually mean anything until the state holds its caucuses on, errr, St. Patrick's Day.

Meanwhile, denizens of Lake Wobegon, Mist County and other parts of Minnesota decided that a Catholic was a lesser evil than a Mormon, giving Santorum 45% of the vote, and putting Romney third with 17%. Guess who came in second? Ron Paul, with 27%. Newt took it in the rear [brought up the rear, surely! Ed.] with a measly 11%.

Then there was Colorado, which Romney was supposed to win, being closer to Utah, both physically and philosophically. Mr. Santorum took about 40% of the vote there, to 35% for Mr. Romney. Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Paul pretty much tied for third with 13% and 12%.

So what have we learned today? In their search for the perfect ABR candidate, Republicans have been through Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and now it's Santorum's turn. But can he win? If nominated, can the conservative Catholic Rick Santorum beat Al O'Bama (religion undetermined)?

Could Americans really get over their suspicion of Catholics, particularly a Catholic like Rick Santorum who (unlike the pretending Catholic Newt) actually accept the Church's teachings on social and moral issues?

Have the voters of Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado not heard about the secret protocol between Rick and the Vatican? Walt has it on good authority that Mr. Santorum has promised, if elected, to pass legislation changing the very nature of America.

  • Massachusetts will be divided into two states: High Mass and Low Mass

  • Ascension Day will be made a holiday for elevator operators

  • The national motto will be changed from "In God we trust" to "The Pope, we hope"

You read it here first.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Is this what you're looking for?

Ever since it was posted last April, this picture has led Walt's league table of page views every month. Every month!

Here you see some nice Swazi girls getting `em out for the Swazi boys -- Mswati III, King of Swaziland actually -- in the annual reed dance.

This is the kind of picture Walt used to look for in National Geographic, to learn the basics of human anatomy so I'd have some idea of the lay of the land [so to speak. Ed.] if I ever got to second base.

National Geographic doesn't run photos like this any more, as nearly as I can tell from research conducted while waiting to be seen by my dentist.

But I digress. The story here is that we have a new heavyweight champeen. A picture posted just a few days ago -- January 22nd, to be exact -- has rocketed to the top of the standings, attracting waaaay more attention than the Swazi ladies, particularly from readers in eastern Europe as well as the breast-fixated Excited States of America.

Click here to see what our (presumably) male readers like to look at.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"The Jew is a satan in human form", sez Sheikh

In his quest to promote fairness and peace on earth, as well as bring some balance to the debate about Obama's support for Israel, Walt is pleased to present a short clip of remarks by Sheik Bassam Al-Kayed, Head of the Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association in Lebanon.

Oops! Looks like Big Brother is watching! If you have trouble getting the embedded video to load, try clicking here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Duck joke

Things have been getting a tad tense in this neck of the woods, so Ed. suggested I should tell a joke. Here it is.

This duck walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "I'll have a beer."
And the barkeep says, "OK. Want me to put that on your bill?"

What? You don't like it? Would you prefer the old one about the lesbian and the pop-up toaster? That's what I told Ed. "You can't please everyone." That's what I told him.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Let murderers hang themselves" has lots of support, Senator says

Hundreds of Canadians have contacted Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu to express their support for his suggestion that convicted murderers have their cells furnished with lengths of rope so they could do the right thing and remove themselves from society permanently.

M Boisvenu told Canadian Press, "The comments I got from 500 people, maybe even 600, said the media are exaggerating this. Also, these people are saying, ‘What Mr. Boisvenu said, that’s just what people think.’ The people who wrote to me, the majority are victims."

Walt awaits the senator's explanation of how murder victims could take pen in hand -- or keyboard, whatever -- to write, but perhaps something got lost in the translation there.

Something that people should know, before they rush to condemn M Boisvenu as some kind of right-wingnut is that he was a prominent victims’ rights advocate whose own daughter was murdered, and who lost another daughter in a car accident. Even so, the senator has advocated capital punishment only in cases where there is no hope of rehabilitation.

If you wish to express your support... or your revulsion... click here to e-mail Senator Boisvenu.

My own view on the matter of capital punishment is that of the Church, which reminds us that Exodus 20:13 has not been repealed. That said, if someone who has killed others -- especially members of his or her own family -- should ask for a dollar to buy a piece of rope, I would be at the head of the line to donate.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Canadian senator: Let murderers hang themselves in jail

Each assassin should have the right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life. So says Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative member of the Canadian Senate.

Speaking before a Tory caucus meeting today, l'Hon. M Boisvenu said he was against the death penalty, but... he is in favour of a "reflection" on the fate of serial killers and those without any hope of being rehabilitated.

M Boisvenu added that there are also economic issues at play. He referred specifically to the Shafias who were found guilty on Sunday of the honour killings of four female members of the family. (See previous posts for grisly details.) "Their incarceration will cost $10-million to the Canadian government," said the senator. "There is an economic problem there, it’s $10-million that won’t be spent elsewhere, that is being spent on criminals."

A better solution, Senator Boisvenu added, might be to send the Afghanistan-born Shafias back where they came from. "Returning them to their country might be a tougher sentence than to keep them here, where our prisons are a lot more comfortable."

Newt fails to reach moon, Mitt wins Florida - What next for Ron?

Looks like Mitt got his Mojo working again (???) in Florida. Being able to outspend your closest opponent by a ratio of 6:1 didn't hurt, of course. Mitt won in a walk, as they say at Hiahleah, and left AstroNewt behind in the dust. Conservative Catholic Rick Santorum finished third, and Ron Paul fourth with 7% of the vote in the Republican primary.

Now what? Mr. Gingrich, apparently deaf to the voice of the people, vows to fight on. The next couple of rounds, which include his home state of Georgia, should be easier for him. Rick Santorum, having been weighed and found wanting, is going home, and will doubtless begin a Novena for the Republican Party.

Congressman Paul, the only candidate who really believes in power for the people, says "We've only gotten started."

Mr. Paul points out that even after Florida he is still in third place in number of committed delegates. And, he says, the caucus states are coming up. He reckons he will do well enough in those states to make a real fight of it on the Republican convention floor.

Walt notes an online poll on Yahoo! this morning which puts Romney out in front -- a long way in front -- with Paul second and Gingrich third, separated by only 1 percentage point. Looks to me as if we're now down to a tussle between the mercurial Mr. Gingrich and the common-sensical Mr. Paul for the favour of the ABR Republicans. Stay tuned.

"He has many sons, if you are preferring boys"

Walt is paraphrasing a great line from The Man Who Would Be King, the **** movie starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery, about two British ex-soldiers who set out to be kings of Kafiristan. There actually is (or was) a Kafiristan, a.k.a. Waziristan, in the region where Afghanistan, Pakistan and India meet. You can look it up.

A point that is being overlooked in all the talk about honour killings is that the people who inhabit the armpit of the world are not like us.

"Afghanistan's dirty little secret", which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle points out that for centuries, Afghan men have taken boys -- 9 to 15 years old or thereabouts -- as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player."

The men like to boast about it. Afghans say pedophilia is most prevalent among Pashtun men in the south. The Pashtun are Afghanistan's most important tribe. For centuries, the nation's leaders have been Pashtun. Freely elected President Karzai is Pashtun, from a village near Kandahar, and he has six brothers. So the natural question arises: Has anyone in the Karzai family been bacha baz?

An American who worked in and around Karzai's palace in an official capacity for many months told the writer of the Chronicle piece that homosexual behavior "was rampant" among "soldiers and guys on the security detail. They talked about boys all the time."

My point -- and I do have one -- is that these people are not like us. When we allow 1000s upon 1000s of them to immigrate to our so-called civilized society, and expect them to adopt our values, we are deluding ourselves.

Footnote: Walt assumes there was a reason why the editors of the Chronicle thought this story would be of interest to their readers. Hey, it's San Francisco!