Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walt's greeting to all who celebrate Hallowe'en

One picture is worth 1000 words, they say. So I don't need to spell this out, do I? Walt dislikes Hallowe'en intensely.

I speak of "modern Hallowe'en", as it is celebrated in English-speaking North America in the year of Our Lord [and don't you forget it! Ed.] 2013. In some parts of our land, more money is spent on decorations and costumes and parties for Hallowe'en than is spent on celebrating Christmas. Just another sign of our sick society's abandonment of Christian values and adoption of paganism. Because that's what Hallowe'en is -- a pagan festival!

In medieval times ignorant people believed strongly in the devil and all his works -- witchcraft, vampires and zombies, ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night. As so beautifully illustrated in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in Disney's Fantasia, they thought that on the eve of All Hallows Day (= All Saints Day), the poor sould suffering for their sins in Purgatory rose from their graves for a night of revelry, after which they would return to the netherworld for another year. That is the origin of our modern Hallowe'en and the idea of dressing up as ghosties, etc etc.

But aren't we carrying it a bit far, these days? Why the sudden fascination with zombies, the "living dead", who tonight will be seen in their numbers stumbling along our streets? Zombies are the flavour of the month -- or year. Last year vampires, this year zombies. Go figure.

But vampires and zombies are not creatures to be admired or envied. They are the undead! In olden times, it was considered wise to drive a stake through the heart of a vampire or other evil creature, to prevent them from rising on Hallowe'en or any other night. Today we have "zombie runs" through the streets of our cities. Go figure.

Walt notes that the make-believe monsters infesting our public places are mostly teens and "young adults". Only a generation ago, Hallowe'en was for children, not juvenile delinquents. And the kids dresed up as fairies (the Tinkerbell kind), ladybugs and cute cartoon characters. All that has changed. Now it's a competition to see who can be the bloodiest and scariest. Some fun, eh, kids?

And we don't seem to have as many children calling at our cabin in the woods, because little kids are no longer allowed to be out after dark without parental supervision and "security". (That's one reason why Daylight Savings Time now ends on the first weekend of November.)

When Walt was a kid [before the earth's crust cooled. Ed.] we used to go out, by ourselves, in groups of three or four, and we roamed all over town -- OK, it was a small town -- in quest of tooth-rotting Hallowe'en kisses and other sugary goodies. Now our society is so sick that people feel the need to accompany their children, lest some pervert lure them into his lair or put something harmful -- like a razor blade concealed in an apple -- into their Gucci loot bags. And of course they only call on the houses of close neighbours, because the children must learn never to talk to strangers.

One last thought. Tomorrow is All Saints Day, and November 2nd is All Souls Day. (In countries such as Mexico and the Philippines, where Catholic tradition is still strong, All Souls Day is known as "The Day of the Dead".) At one time these were Holy Days of Obligation in the Church, and Catholics who strive to keep the Faith of our fathers should still hear Mass and pray for the souls of the faithful departed, RIP+.

Right on point (and on cue!): "Hallowe'en: when did it become so gory?", on the CBC News website.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SHOCKING! Pope Francis did NOT "consecrate" "the world" to the "Immaculate Heart of Mary" after all!

Following his "installation" last spring, many Catholics hoped that Pope Francis -- rumoured to be a devotee of the Blessed Virgin -- would finally obey Our Lady's Fatima request and consecrate Russia by name to Her Immaculate Heart.

Father Nicholas Gruner and other "Fatimists" insist that Sister Lucia, the seer of Fatima, was told that the Consecration must be done solemnly and publicly, in union with all the world's bishops. So far, no pope, from Pius XI through Benedict XVI, has been willing to go that far, although Pius XII and John Paul consecrated "the world" on several occasions.

Around the time of Walt's birthday, the Vatican announced that on October 13th Pope Francis would again consecrate "the world", in the presence of the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which would be brought to Rome from Portugal for the occasion. Believers in the Fatima prophecies began to hope that he might even mention "Russia" by name. Father Gruner went to Rome to press his campaign for this more specific act of consecration.

On October 14th Walt reported -- as did all the Catholic media -- that the Pope had consecrated the world as he said he would. And in my October 23rd update, I pointed out that nothing happened. There was no Miracle of the Sun, no sudden outbreak of peace in the Middle East, not even a resolution of the impasses in the United States Congress. Why not? Because, I said, what Francis (and his predecessors) did was not what Our Lady wants.

Little did I know -- I didn't go to Rome for the Big Event -- that Pope Francis didn't even go as far as his predecessors towards obeying Heaven's command. I have seen only today the October 15th report in Catholic Family News which gives the full Italian text (and an English translation) of the Pope's prayer in St. Peter's Square on the 13th.

Follow the link and read it carefully. You will find no mention of the specific words "consecrate" or "world" or "Immaculate Heart". None. What the Pope said he was doing was an "act of entrustment", not an act of "consecration".

Does it matter? Isn't it just a semantic quibble? Isn't an "entrustment" as good as a "consecration"? Well, seems to me a public prayer -- which is what Our Lady asked for -- is a combination of actions and words. We can't know what's in the mind of the person praying. Francis may have had some kind of "mental reservation" -- thinking something other than what he said -- but his spoken words were all the public could hear.

So, as far as we mere mortals know, no "consecration" of any kind was done on October 13th. Our Lady of Fatima is still waiting.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Céline Dion speaks out in favour of Québec's Charter of Values

You all know this lady, EH! She's Québec's darling, unofficial Canadian ambassador-at-large, and reigning queen of (white) pop in the Great Not-so-white North, Céline Dion. Just because she's a major celeb doesn't mean that Ms Dion has neither brains nor opinions. [That would be more like the Kardashians. Ed.]. Nor is she shy about expressing herself on matters other than her career and her lovelife.

In an interview with Maclean's Magazine, published on Saturday, Ms Dion spoke her mind on many things, including the Charter of Québec Values proposed by that province's government.

If enacted, the Charter would effectively ban public employees from wearing "overt" religious symbols while at work. Is this a good idea or should Québec try harder to celebrate diversity and "accommodate" its religious and cultural minorities? Here's what Céline thinks.

Q: Lucien Bouchard once called you Québec's greatest ambassador.... Amnesty International just declared Québec's controversial charter of values as a limit on fundamental rights that further stigmatizes vulnerable women. Do you agree with Amnesty?

A: It's a very delicate question to answer because I'll hurt some people and please others but you have to have an opinion. For me, it's not about the veil; it's beyond that. I'm not against what people wear but if you go to the hospital, and you are in Québec and we have embraced you and opened our country for you to live in a better world, you have to adapt to our rules.

If the doctor is a boy or a girl, you're gonna see the doctor that [is] sent to [treat] you. You can’t just say, "My religion doesn't permit me to see a woman or a male doctor." That's the problem for me....

Q: Yet you've stood up for women's causes throughout the years.

A: Of course! It's just that these women who practise the things they believe in have to adapt to our country. They have to not change our laws. Because you have a lot of Anglican or veiled women in a school, you can’t just take off the cross from the walls, or take down Christmas trees. If I go live in their country and have to be veiled, I will.

Footnote: A few days ago the Parti Québecois released details of comments the government has received on the proposed charter. Of 27,000 letters, faxes, e-mails etc received, 47% were in favour of the Charter. Adding in those who would approve of it with some changes, the favourable response tops 60%.

Friday, October 25, 2013

VIDEO: Muslim "no-go" zones in France -- the failure of multicult

Here's "Multiculturalisme et islam en France", a report from CBN News that's been viewed more than 3.7 million times. It's had its share of "dislikes" on YouTube, but there are over four times as many "likes"!

Voiceover is in English, but there are subtitles in French and (sometimes) in English. More important than the words are the images. Is this a vision of the future of countries like the USA and Canada who still espouse multiculturalism and the "celebration of diversity"? Don't say you weren't warned!

Thanks to Agent 6 for sending us the link.

Iranian Christians warned to lay off communion wine...or else!

The persecution of Christians in Muslim countries continues. Of course apologists for "the Religion of Peace" -- Hello President Hussein Obama! Hello Tony Bliar -- don't like to talk about the intolerance of the "Religion of Peace", but it's a fact. And sometimes it takes bizarre forms.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a UK-based organization which champions religious freedom [especially for Christians! Ed.] reports the existence of something called the Church of Iran, a Christian sect whose rites include the taking of wine at communion. This is not a good idea in countries governed by Sharia law, since alcohol is strictly forbidden to Muslims.

According to a report on the CSW website, four members of the Church of Iran congregation in Rasht -- a small city in northwestern Iran -- have been sentenced to eighty (count `em -- 80) lashes for consuming communion wine during a recent church service.

The report says that the sentence was handed down on October 6th, but doesn't say when it will be carried out. Walt will be keeping his eyes on YouTube for the video, which will almost certainly be posted "pour encourager les autres".

"Disease of victory" infects US military to this day

Walt is still catching up on his reading. I'm still stuck in 1988, which seems to have been a banner year for books about the American malaise. Earlier this month I recommended The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream, by Studs Terkel, in which ordinary folks talk about what they thought was wrong with America. The point of reading The Great Divide a quarter of a century later is that things seem not to have changed, except perhaps for the worse.

I'm now half-way through Neil Sheehan's 1988 book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. His name may ring a bell in connection with the Pentagon Papers which he obtained from Daniel Ellsberg in 1971. Mr. Sheehan's series of articles revealed a secret US Department of Defense history of the Vietnam War and led to a case in the Supreme Court case when the American government attempted to halt publication.

The Vietnam War, which Mr. Sheehan covered for UPI and the New York Times, was the subject of A Bright Shining Lie, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. The monumental book is a penetrating analysis of why the United States lost the war, based on the wartime experience of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann -- something of an American counterpart to Lawrence of Arabia.

According to the dust jacket summary, "A Bright Shining Lie reveals the truth of the war in Vietnam as it unfolded before the eyes of John Paul Vann: the arrogance and professional corruption of the US military system of the 1960s; the incompetence and venality of the South Vietnamese army; the nightmare of death and destruction that began with the arrival of the American forces."

In the chapter titled "Taking on the System", the author identifies the syndrome which caused the US military to fail in Vietnam, which persists even today in the American campaign in Afghanistan. He calls it "the disease of victory". Here's the quote.

"By the second decade after World War II, the dominant characteristics of the senior leadership of the American armed forces had become professional arrogance, lack of imagination, and moral and intellectual insensitivity. These are the kinds of traits that cause otherwise intelligent behave stupidly.

"The attributes were the symptoms of an institutuional illness tha might most appropriately be called the disease of victory, for it arose out of the victorious response to the challenge of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.

"The condition was not limited to the armed services. It had also touched the cilian bureaucracies -- the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, and the lesser civilian agencies -- that joined the armed services in managing American overseas interests for the president. The attitudes had spread as well to the greater part of the political, academic, and business leadership of the United States.

"World War II had been such a triumph of American resources, technology, and industrial and military genius, and the prosperity that the war and the postwar dominance abroad had brought had been so satisfying after the long hunger of the Depression, that American society had become a victim of its own achievement. The elite of America had become stupedfied by too much money, too many material resources, too much power, and too much success."

Walt asks you, dear reader, to ponder the stalemate in Iraq and the debacle of Afghanistan. Were any lessons learned from Vietnam? Was the illness which John Paul Vann and Neil Sheehan identified even treated, let alone cured? Has anything changed? Evidently not. On the contrary, Walt sees the possibility that the illness has become terminal.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Only living in Canada can make you "Canadianized", sez judge

This article is not intended to be read by any would-be immigrant to the Great Not-so-white North. Already on the rustbucket boat or Air Lanka DC3? Stop reading now!

Here's how the Canadian immigration "system" is supposed to work. First, you get into Canada by lying or bribing your way through the application and interview -- or by just showing up and hollering "refugee" -- and then they give you your house and your car and the other benefits to which you are entitled as a "permanent resident".

After four years, you can apply for citizenship, which gets you another free house and car. Just kidding. What you get is a nice dark blue passport (a steal at just $120), plus the right to vote in the travesty Canada calls "elections", and serve in the armed forces if you want to go back where you came from and shoot some of your former countrymen.

But there's a catch. To pass the citizenship test, you're supposed to be "Canadianized". You have to be able to sing the first verse of O Canada in either English or French, and know how to make love in a canoe. And you're supposed to have actually lived in the nitwit country for 3 years -- 1095 days -- out of the last four.

But, says Federal Court of Canada judge Peter Annis, the law has repeatedly been interpreted incorrectly to mean that some people could become citizens by fulfilling only a fraction of the 1,095-day residency requirement. In one case, he said, a student was granted citizenship after spending only 79 days in Canada.

And then there was the case of Fatima Naveen, a medical student born in Pakistan [surprised? Ed.] who was granted citizenship after spending only about 150 days in Canada -- well below the three years called for in the Citizenship Act. Ruling that Ms Naveen had not spent enough time in Canada to qualify for citizenship, Mr Justice Annis said the intrinsic values of Canadians are unique in the world and can only be understood by those who have spent sufficient time in the country.

He went on to attempt to correct what he called "radical" interpretations of the citizenship law, setting out not only the "essential characteristics of being a Canadian" but also how one becomes "Canadianized". He wrote that being a Canadian was based on "attitudes of respect for others and a willingness to accommodate cultural, social and economic challenges to resolve our differences." Apparently the term "politically correct" didn't occur to him.

However, Mr Justice Annis expressed agreement with former Federal Court judge Francis Muldoon that "being a Canadian is something that cannot be readily learned, but only experienced by living here because 'Canadian life and society exist only in Canada and nowhere else.'"

Furthermore, the judge wrote, "If one tries to make the case that the time spent by students who attend universities around the world in those countries that share democratic principles and political and cultural experiences with Canada constitutes Canadianization, then this is to admit that Canada is no different from other countries for the purposes of citizenship or for what it stands for.

"I am satisfied that our history and unique circumstances have created a Canadian character and institutions that are significantly distinct and different from those of other countries, including that of our neighbour to the south, despite all that we share with them."

Ms Naveen's lawyer declined to comment.

Footnote: Steve Harpoon's government last week announced plans to make Malala Yousafzai an honorary Canadian citizen. As far as is known, Ms Yousafzai has never set foot in Canada. She did, however, shake the Dear Leader's hand when they met for a photo op at the Disunited Nations.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ONLINE NOW: halal sex shop!

You couldn't make this stuff up. And let this story be a chastisement to anyone who says the Muslims are not entrepreneurial and business-minded.

Reuters reports that Haluk Murat Demirel, a young Turk -- well OK, he's 38 -- has opened what he says is the first online sex shop for Muslims. It's called Helal Sex Shop Bayan, and sells everything from lubricants to herbal aphrodisiacs.

And there's more! If you read Turkish, you can get advice on how to have "halal" sex. They'll tell you which sexual practices are banned by Islam, and which are not. [Don't go there. Ed.]

Mr. Demirel said he was inspired to launch the website by friends who wanted sex advice and products, but found the content on other websites and in specialist stores too explicit. "Online sex shops usually have pornographic pictures, which makes Muslims uncomfortable," he said. "We don't sell vibrators for example, because they are not approved by Islam." Walt suggests that perhaps that's because electricity was unknown in the days of the Prophet. [And still is, in parts of the Islamic world. Ed.]

In theory, Turkey is a secular country. [Like France? Ed.] However, the majority of its citizens are Muslims. [Like France? Ed.] So sexual mores provoke a lot of debate... a lot! There are relatively few bricks-and-mortar sex shops, even in major cities, although in parts of Istanbul those that do exist advertise themselves with neon signs.

Mr. Demirel said his website, launched only last week, has already proven popular, with 33,000 visitors on Sunday alone. And Walt is sure that the counter has ticked over by at least one, just within the last two minutes. So how's your Turkish? Could you figure out what "seks" means? LOL

Sunday, October 20, 2013

VIDEO: Media, Obama ignoring world war against Christianity: Sen. Rand Paul

"From Boston to Zanzibar, there's a worldwide war on Christianity," Senator Rand Paul told the Values Voter Summit in Washington on October 11th. Yet, he charged, the fanatical Muslim attacks on Christians are being studiously ignored by the mainstream media and the Obama administration.

Here are some quotes, as published in The Blaze, following which we have the video of Senator Rand's address. (Running time, 19:10)

"Christians are being attacked around the world, but you won’t hear much about it on the evening news because the answer’s not convenient," Mr. Paul said. "It doesn’t fit the narrative we have been told about radical Islam. The president tries to gloss over who’s attacking and killing Christians. The media describes the killings as sectarian. But the truth is, a worldwide war on Christians is being waged by a fanatical element of Islam.

"Elsewhere in Syria, Islamic rebels have filmed beheadings of their captives," the Republican senator from Kentucky continued. "They’ve filmed themselves eating the heart of their enemy. Two Christian bishops have been kidnapped, and one priest was recently killed. These rebels are allies of the Islamic rebels that President Obama is now arming. We are now arming Islamic rebels who are allied with Al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11. Does that make any sense at all?"
[Shouts of "No!" from the audience.]

"American tax dollars should never be spent to prop up a war on Christianity," he continued. "But that’s what’s happening now across the globe. As Christians, we should take a stand and fight against any of your tax dollars funding any persecution of Christians."

Sen. Paul cited a Pew Research poll that found 21% of Egyptians, 15% of Jordanians, and 13% percent of Pakistani Muslims find terrorism acceptable. And he mentioned a Daily Telegraph survey which found that over 100,000 Muslims in Britain supported the London subway bombings.

"It’s a minority to be sure," he said, "but if you add up the numbers in just three countries...over 40 million Muslims sympathize with violence against Christians.... Radical Islam will end only when Islam begins to police itself. Only then will knowledge [and] enlightenment begin to glow and grow [and] religious violence will recede."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

One French politician likens another to chimp, found politically incorrect

One of the anthropoids pictured above is a French politician. The other is a chimpanzee. One of them is the French Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira. The other is not.

Which is which seems to have caused confusion in the mind of Anne-Sophie Leclerc, a Front National candidate in a local election being held in the northeastern town of Rethel. Mme Leclerc posted these pix on her Fecesbook page. On TV, Mme Leclerc called Mms Taubira "a savage, showing up on TV with that devil's smile."

Mme Leclerc added that of course she is not a racist, but "I'd rather see her up a tree...than in the government like this."

The FN, which has been taking a strong stand against immigration, has been working hard to shake off accusations of racism, made by the usual pro-multicult crowd. The party and its leader, Marine Le Pen, have been gaining ground in opinion polls ahead of municipal and European elections next year. Last Sunday the FN won a by-election in the southern town of Brignoles.

Mme Le Pen's popularity has grown amid high unemployment and public frustration over illegal Roma [= gypsy. Ed.] camps, with a poll this week showing voters consider her the strongest challenger to Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Further reading: "Charles De Gaulle warns about Muslim immigration", posted here on WWW over a year ago. As early as 1959 Le Général saw clearly what would happen once the floodgates were opened. He's probably laughing, from somewhere over Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, right now.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Extraordinary topiary in Windsor, Canada

You remember George Bush, right? Did you know he had a brother named "Richard"? Or "Dick", for short. That's the affectionate nickname given by city parks employees to this cleverly trimmed shrub, located in a riverfront park in Windsor ON.

Unfortunately for "Dick", some of the local blue-stockings found its shape too stimulating. Complaints were made to city hall, and Dick is no longer in such good form. Click here to read the full story -- complete with better pix -- in the Windsor Star.

Yes, that's all I have for you today. I want to get in at least 9 holes before it rains. [I think Walt must be talking about golf. Ed.]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UPDATED 23/10: Do you have to accept Vatican II to be Catholic?

Walt apologizes to non-Catholic (and even anti-Catholic) readers for posting so many items about Pope Francis, the dire state the Roman Catholic Church, and the traditional Catholic opposition to Vatican II and the mainstream Church. But, dear readers, the Church is in crisis -- more so now than ever before -- and if the Church falls, the Western world will fall, and the rest of the world with it.

That is what Our Lady of Fatima meant when She warned that if Heaven's requests are not obeyed, the consequences will be the enslavement of millions and the annihilation of nations. So please bear with me. This is important.

My post yesterday about the rather Damascene conversion of Bishop Fellay, leader of the Society of St. Pius X, echoed strong comments both for and against the bishop, from within the SSPX and from people who consider themselves good Catholics, in communion with Rome and obedient to the Magisterium of the Church and the "teachings" of Vatican II.

One such is Jeff Mirus, of Trinity Communications, publishers of Catholic World News. In an e-mail to Agent 3, he wrote "the Traditionalists (by which I mean those who reject the authority of the Church in favor of their own private reading of tradition) seem more and more sure to spin away now from any pretense of Catholicity, as Bishop Fellay has already done.... Bishop Fellay has...rejected the Church of Christ. It is impossible to reject an ecumenical Council and condemn the Church’s liturgy without rejecting the Church...."

Like Pope Francis, Jeff Mirus is in error. Traditional Catholics stand for the traditional Catholic Faith as defined by numerous truly ecumenical councils, papal bulls and encyclicals, and the infallible and unchangeable dogma of the Church. "Private reading" as nothing to do with it!

Mr Mirus is in error also when he calls Vatican II an "ecumenical" council. It was not and did not hold itself out to be, which is one of the reasons why the teachings of the Council were never defined anywhere its documents as dogma.

UPDATE, 23/10/13 - Before you go on to the talk by Father Gregory Hesse (below), take a look at "On Pope Francis’ Consecration of the World: A Reply to Jeff Mirus" by Christopher Ferrara, which appeared October 18th in Fatima Perspectives.

Agent 3 has referred Mr Mirus to a talk given some years ago, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, by Father Gregory Hesse. Fr Hesse held doctorates in both Thomistic theology and Canon Law. From 1986-88 he served at the Vatican as Secretary to Alfons Cardinal Stickler, one of the periti on the Liturgy Commission of the Council, and one of those who spoke out -- too late -- against the Council and the New Mass.

Father Hesse spoke extensively on the true and false understanding of Papal infallibility and the modern errors in the understanding of sacred tradition, religious liberty and ecumenism brought about by the errors or obscurity and lack of definition in the documents of Vatican II.

His talk "Vatican 2 gave us a New Religion" contrasts what the Council documents (and the first encyclical of John Paul II) teach with established Church teaching derived from previous councils and Papal encyclicals. I'm sorry this "video" is really an "audio". It runs for almost 50 minutes and is well worth listening to in its entirety.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SSPX leader finally gets off the fence, gives up on reconciling with Rome

Just over a month ago, Walt had an eyeball-to-eyeball chat with John Vennari, the editor of Catholic Family News, one of a handful of newspapers and magazines that are still Catholic in more than name only. John mentioned that he would be at the Angelus Press Conference in Kansas City this past weekend, and was looking forward to hearing talks by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X. I don't know if John expected to hear the strong views expressed by the bishop.

You see, Bishop Fellay has for some months now been accused by "radical traditional" Catholics of being "soft on Vatican II and soft on Rome", in a push to reach an agreement with the Vatican that would see the SSPX brought back into communion with Rome and end the break which occurred in 1988.

It has been suggested by some that Bishop Fellay's motives for desiring the "regularization" of the SSPX were more personal than spiritual, since he would presumably be the head of any new "personal prelature" that might be set up by the Vatican. One group, led by Bishop Richard Williamson, has left to form the "Society of St. Pius X of the Strict Observance". Their stated reason for breaking away is that they absolutely refuse to accept Vatican II and any sort of accommodation with the mainstream Church.

Many in the audience at Kansas City were shocked to hear Bishop Fellay -- after months of dithering -- clearly denounce Vatican II. He described the Novus Ordo (New) Mass imposed by the Council as "evil", and said he is grateful that the SSPX never reached the mooted accommodation with the Holy See.

John Vennari has written a lengthy summary of Bishop Fallay's talks, well worth reading in full: "Bishop Fellay on Pope Francis: 'We have in front of us a genuine Modernist!'" Here are the highlights.

The clear statement that so many traditionalists have waited for for so long was this: "It is has never been our intention to pretend either that the Council would be considered as good, or the New Mass would be 'legitimate'. Bishop Fellay explained that although the Novus Ordo Mass may be valid, "The New Mass is bad, it is evil."

The SSPX leader said that talks with the Vatican collapsed last June because the Vatican insisted on acceptance of the teachings of Vatican II. He flatly rejected the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI that the statements of Vatican II should be read in the light of consistent Catholic teaching. "The Council is not in continuity with tradition," he said. You couldn't ask for a much clearer pronouncement than "It is not."

However, the bishop said, while the "hermeneutic of continuity" preached by Benedict was unrealistic, he acknowledged that the former pope was at least somewhat sympathetic to the concerns of traditionalists. But Pope Francis, he said, the gap between the SSPX and the Holy See is widening. "When we see what is happening now," Bishop Fellay said, "we thank God -— we thank God! -— we have been preserved from any kind of agreement" with the Vatican.

Bishop Fellay noted that we cannot simply obey the present popes without question, because then we would endanger our Faith and so destroy ourselves. He warned also that we may be entering into the time of Antichrist, although we cannot know when, or how far off in the future this may be. Be sure to read: "The 'liquid' message of Pope Francis; will he be the last supreme pontiff?"

Quasi-Canadian governor of Afghan province blown away by mic bomb

Note from Ed.: I want to assure readers who don't like Walt's crudités assorties [assorted crudities] that I have made him promise not to make fun of the name of the subject of this story. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Meet Arsala Jamala. Until today he was an example of a refugee who made good. He came from his native Afghanistan to Canada some years ago, but kept in touch with people who matter back home, and eventually returned as governor (no less!) of the eastern Afghan province of Khost. He was appointed by his great and good friend Mohammed Karzai, often mentioned here in WWW.

Then Mr Jamal returned to Canada briefly, coming back again last April as governor of neighbouring Logar province, strategically located just to the south of Kabul. Logar happens to be the site of what will be the world's second-biggest copper mine, being developed by the Chinese [Who else? Ed.] who doubtless will be paying many many yuan in royalties and other "incentives" to, errr...

Well, not to Mr Jamal, that's for sure. Why? Because Governor Lepetomane [Jamal, surely! Ed.] was killed in an explosion in a mosque, while greeting and congratulating worshippers during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. A bomb hidden in a microphone went off, killing Mr Jamal and injuring 18 others, some seriously.

The BBC's Dawood Azami said the assassination is not particularly unusual, for that part of the world. Over the past ten years about 1000 mid-level Afghan leaders have been killed, with provincial and district governors, religious scholars and tribal elders being the favourite targets. Just another hot day in the sandpit.

Further reading: "How Canada made things worse in Afghanistan". How Ironic that Walt posted this only yesterday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book review: How Canada made things worse in Afghanistan

Walt would prefer to write his own reviews, but, unlike journalists and critics in the lamestream media, he doesn't get review copies in advance of publication. When I'm able, I'll certainly read [and possibly purchase? Ed.] The Dogs Are Eating Them Now, by Graeme Smith, formerly a reporter for the Globe and Mail, now a member of the International Crisis Group, still hanging his hat -- or perhaps it's a helmet -- in Kabul.

I have made a decision to read The Dogs Are Eating Them Now ASAP, based on the review by Mr. Smith's one-time colleague, Jeffrey Simpson, in today's G&M. He calls the book "a wise, enthralling, detailed, realistic account of [Smith's] time in Afghanistan." Here are a couple of excerpts.

"Many are the lessons from Mr. Smith’s book, but one emerges above all: that the presence of foreigners did not necessarily turn the tide against the Taliban. Indeed, the foreigners’ military forays and strange (to the Pashtuns) ways may even have allowed the Taliban to survive and, ultimately, to grow....

"His is a picture of Kandahar and its surroundings, where the Pashtun code of tribal identity and revenge has for centuries proved difficult for foreigners to understand. In southern Afghanistan, at any rate, 'we are leaving behind an ongoing war; at worst, it’s a looming disaster,' Mr. Smith says.

"How the West, including Canadians, unintentionally made things worse is a textbook case of cross-cultural misunderstanding and hubris. The West will tell itself heroic stories, then forget about Afghanistan."

Did you notice "the West, including Canadians"? Although Canada punched above its weight in Afghanistan, at large cost for a small country, it was and still is the USA that took the lead, both in invading that wretched country and in fighting on although the "war on terror" was lost (for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph) years ago.

I would think The Dogs Are Eating Them Now should be required reading for American (as well as Canadian, British, etc etc) politicians and policy-makers, in order that we avoid a future fiasco -- in Syria, for instance. But I wouldn't bet on it.

WARNING to Ontarians: queer sex ed is back on the table!

This post is going to have a lot of links, because we've seen this movie before. But, dear readers in the "Province of Opportunity" (LOL), it's coming again to a cinema -- make that a school! -- near you. Yes, it's the "OK to be gay" sex education curriculum, which the Liberal government of Kathleen "I'm queer and I'm here" Wynne is going to try once again to force down Ontario schoolkids' throats.

Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to make controversial announcements, because no-one's paying attention. Sure enough, Ontario's new Minister of Education, Lez Sandals, appeared on TV to say that she'd been hearing from many concerned citizens, teachers and other "progressive thinkers" that Ontario's sex ed curriculum is "15 years out of date" and badly in need of revision to keep up with trends in modern society.

That's code for swallowing the LGBT pro-queer agenda. [That's the second time you've come close to using the same old joke. Ed.] And the "group of educators pushing the government to make changes" turns out to be a new pressure group called "Ophea" -- "a non-profit association that advises on health and physical education".

Last week Ophea launched a campaign for funds to buy newspaper ads warning the public that what students are learning "does not address the range of issues impacting today's youth". The propaganda will urge the government to implement a new curriculum. That would be the one introduced four years ago by Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne (surprise, surprise!), which was shelved after an outcry from a group of parents and religious leaders who objected to bombarding elementary students with "information" validating and encouraging homosexual and other deviant sexual conduct.

What, specifically, was the problem with the new pro-queer curriculum? Click here to read excerpts, taken straight out of the 2010 curriculum, as published by Campaign Life Coalition. Prepare to be shocked. You'll see that words like "penis" and "vagina" are to be taught to Grade 1 students, and the concept of "different gender identities" introduced to children in Grade 3!

The part about "gender identity" enraged the Institute for Canadian Values, among many others, and led to the famous "Don't confuse me! I'm a girl!" ad campaign, which drew the ire of the lamestream media and the chattering classes of Toronto. The TV ad was even better and if Ed. can find it again we'll put it up here ASAP.

The "Don't confuse me!" campaign was successful, too... thank God! With an election in the offing, the Liberal government quickly sent the pro-queer curriculum back to consultants for further study. But it resurfaced almost immediately after the Gliberals won re-election. This time, though, they called it an "anti-bullying" initiative, and managed to force government-funded schools to set up (or at least accommodate) "Gay-Straight Alliances", which students quickly dubbed "Queer Clubs".

The LGBT crowd were content with that. The camel's nose was in the tent flap, so to speak. [Stop there! Ed.] But once the proudly lesbian Minister of Education became proudly lesbian Premier of Ontario, it was only a matter of time until the queer agenda was brought forth again in the pink sandstone palace at Queen's Park.

One of those who would be happy to see the adoption of a "new, modern, relevant" -- code for "gay-oriented" -- curriculum would be Benjamin Levin. As reported in July, Prof. Levin was one of many "progressive thinkers" consulted by Ms Wynne and her department in the shaping of the new syllabus.

Dr. Levin awaits trial on charges of possessing child pornography and accessing child pornography. He was earlier charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16. See "Are perverts pushing Ontario's sex education curriculum? Could be!".

Agent 3, a former lawyer, wonders if teaching the new "whatever floats your boat" sex education curriculum would open a teacher up to charges of "counselling to commit an indictable offence" contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada. Is bestiality (for instance) still an indictable offence in the Great Not-so-white North? Hmmm...

UPDATED 23/10: Pope Francis consecrates "the world" to the Immaculate Heart. Nothing happens!

Back in April, Walt speculated on whether Pope Francis would be the one to finally obey the request of Our Lady of Fatima, and consecrate Russia by name to Her Immaculate Heart. She asked that this be done solemnly and publicly, in union with all the world's bishops. So far, no pope, from Pius XI through Benedict XVI, has been willing to go that far, although Pius XII and John Paul attempted consecrations of "the world".

So, when the Vatican announced in the summer that on October 13th -- the 96th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin's final apparition at Fatima -- Pope Francis would again consecrate "the world", Catholic believers in the Fatima prophecies began to hope that he would take at least one more step, and mention "Russia" by name. Hopes grew when it was further announced that the original statue of Our Lady would be brought from Fatima to Rome for the occasion.

At the "Path to Peace" conference held in Niagara Falls in September, Father Nicholas Gruner -- head of the the world's leading Fatima apostolate -- urged the Holy Father to do the Consecration as Our Lady asked. He was joined by a score of other speakers, clergy and laypeople alike.

Just today Walt saw "The Consecration of Russia: Even the Huffington Post Gets It!", by Christopher A. Ferrara referring to an article by Noel Irwin Hentschel, a Catholic mother of seven, head of the world’s largest privately-owned travel agency, and holder of a master’s degree in theology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Mr Ferrara says Ms Irwin Hentschel's background suggests that she is no "Fatimite", but a Catholic of decidedly non-traditionalist leanings who nonetheless understands what is at stake in the fulfillment of Our Lady of Fatima’s long-unheeded request. Her article on the HuffPost religion page is headed "Pope and Putin: Seize Opportunity, Heed Directive for World Peace and Good, 'Consecrate Russia!'"

Ms Irwin Hentschel makes a connection which never occurred to me before, linking the philosophy of Laozi (aka Lao-Tse or Lao Tzu) with the heavenly directive of the Blessed Virgin. "All under Heaven," wrote the Chinese sage, "have a common Beginning. This Beginning is 'The Mother of the World'. Having known the Mother, we may proceed to know her children. Having known the children, we should go back and hold onto the Mother..."

Ms Irwin Hentschel sees in this proverb a prophetic indication of the need "to take heed and obey the Holy Mother to spawn virtue and harmony for good, confronting the evils of corruption and violence."

Later she asks the same questions posed by Father Gruner and all the others (including Walt) who have begged the Holy Father to do as Our Lady of Fatima asks. "Will the pope and President Putin respect the explicit directive 'Consecrate Russia', which began in 1917 from Our Lady of Fatima, the holy woman they both hold as 'Mother of the World'? Will Pope Francis unequivocally 'consecrate Russia' to Her Immaculate Heart so the maternal promise of world peace and ultimate good may come to fruition?"

Walt has been surfing the Web assiduously for reports of yesterday's ceremonies. So far all I've been able to come up with is the official news from the Vatican's own website: "Pope consecrates world to immaculate heart of Mary". That's exactly what the Holy Father said he would do -- no less and, sadly, no more.

You can read the full text of the Pope's homily in the Vatican News report. In one of the first paragraphs, Pope Francis repeated the Old Testament story of King Naaman.

The story of Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, is remarkable. In order to be healed of leprosy, he turns to the prophet of God, Elisha, who does not perform magic or demand anything unusual of him, but asks him simply to trust in God and to wash in the waters of the river. Not, however, in one of the great rivers of Damascus, but in the little stream of the Jordan. Naaman is left surprised, even taken aback. What kind of God is this who asks for something so simple? He wants to turn back, but then he goes ahead, he immerses himself in the Jordan and is immediately healed (cf. 2 Kg 5:1-4). There it is: God surprises us. It is precisely in poverty, in weakness and in humility that he reveals himself and grants us his love, which saves us, heals us and gives us strength. He asks us only to obey his word and to trust in him.

Anyone who has heard Father Gruner preach knows the story of King Naaman is a favourite of "the Fatima priest". He has said time and again that all the pope has to do to obey Our Lady's request is to humble himself to say a simple, five-minute prayer, and use his power to command all the world's bishops to say the same prayer at the same time.

It appears that Pope Francis has worked up the courage to take himself to the bank of the river, and even to stick his toe in (so to speak), but is not yet quite ready to take the plunge. The world and Our Lady are still waiting.

UPDATE, 23/10/13 - Don't miss "On Pope Francis’ Consecration of the World: A Reply to Jeff Mirus" by Christopher Ferrara, which appeared October 18th in Fatima Perspectives.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

VIDEO: Incredibly flukey own goal scored on/by Canucks' goalie

Regular readers of WWW know that Walt is an incorrigible hockey fan. Poor Len Canayen is, if anything, even fannier. And both are followers of the Montréal Canadiens, the most successful professional sports team of all time.

However... we get that most of our readers are not so minded. Many of you may even prefer the wimpy diving exhibition which you call "football". So we try to keep the hockey coverage to a minimum. But this video is too good not to share.

Last night both Walt and Poor Len were watching as les Glorieux beat the hometown Vancouver Canucks 4 to 1. Here is how the winning goal was "scored".

We post this not to make fun of Roberto Luongo, one of the best goalies in the NHL. It wasn't his fault, except maybe for thinking that he could clear the puck out to his defenceman without having to worry about what might happen to it. But it wasn't really Hamhuis' fault either. It wasn't anybody's fault! Lars Eller -- we like him a lot -- gets credit for the game-winning goal.

Nanny statism forces USPS to withdraw "active kids" stamps

Walt is a stamp collector. What else would an old man do on a cold winter night? Besides, it's a fascinating hobby. One never knows when a stamp, even a newly issued one, will become a rarity or at least something to provoke bemused discussion. Like these stamps, scheduled for release this month by the US Postal Service.

These are -- or were -- 10 (of 15) "active kids stamps", intended by the USPS to promote physical fitness. The message is that obese American kids should get up off the couch and go out and play! Alas, three of the ten stamps are "inappropriate" and "causing concern" to Forces for Good in the Community. So the whole series is being withdrawn, lest we get the Wrong Ideas.

"What 'wrong ideas'?", I hear you ask. Look carefully. One shows a young swimmer doing a cannonball into water. In another, a child is skateboarding wearing a helmet but no kneepads. In the third, a youngster is doing a headstand without a helmet.

The New York Times "Motherlode" blog says it has confirmed with the USPS that the stamp series is on hold, saying the three drawings showed children moving in ways that "could prove detrimental to their health."

In the old days, we used to tell kids not to touch the hot stovetop or they'd get burnt. When they disregarded the warning, they did get burnt, and they learned a lesson. Today's kids aren't allowed to even look at the stove! Isn't it wonderful to live in a country so solicitous for the welfare of its children?

The last Christian nation in Europe?

If a country's identity can be seen in its declared faith and morals, and if that identity is to be found in its constitution, there are virtually no nations on earth which self-identify as Christian. Phrases like "one nation under God" have been deleted from most supreme laws in the name of secularism and political correctness.

One or two European countries -- Britain and Sweden -- have "established" (official) churches. But overt expressions of a nation's belief in Christianity are discouraged by the European Union, lest people of other religious persuasions should feel excluded. Case in point: Slovakia, which last June was told by the EU to take the images of Sts Cyril and Methodius off its coins.

Happily there is one prominent exception. Italian journalist Alessandra Nucci, writing in Catholic World Report, characterizes the constitution and guiding principles of Hungary as "everything the EU has labored to abolish".

In sharp contrast to current EU policies, Sr Nucci writes, Hungary’s fundamental law includes:
* the recognition of Christianity as the religion of Hungary’s people
* the protection of the right to life from conception
* the definition of the family as a unit based on male-female marriage
* the acknowledgment of parents’ rights
* the duty of legislators before God
* the ban on eugenics, and
* the definition of the nation in ethnic terms (albeit with protection for minorities).

According to the article, Hungary’s new constitution begins, "God bless the Hungarians". It acknowledges St. Stephen as the founder of the Hungarian, or Magyar, state as “a part of Christian Europe.” The preamble further celebrates "the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood".

Good for the Hungarians, I say! And shame on all the European politicans who disregarded Pope John Paul II’s reiterated call to fight, for a mention of Europe’s Christian heritage in the European Constitution.

Had Europe’s historical Christian roots been acknowledged in the EU’s founding documents, there would now be a solid foundation on which to base resist media and political pressure to adopt laws that fly in the face of Europe’s identity and tradition.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why do Muslim fanatics keep killing Christians? Isn't it obvious?

Maybe not. People like John Kerry and his Prez keep saying it's all a big misunderstanding, and we should try to "make nice" with the "moderate Muslims". See "Catholic commentator on Obama's dangerous attitude to Islam". Presumably that would included Mohammed Mursi, since deposed from his position as Egypt's head of state, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani -- this month's great white hope. [Is this right? Ed.]

About the same time President Rouhani was telling the United Nations how much his country wants to be reconciled to the West, Islamic extremists two countries to the east -- that would be Pakistan -- were exploding bombs at All Saints (Anglican) church in Peshawar. The death toll in that attack now stands at well over 100, with a like number injured and maimed. And just today BBC News reports another bomb attack in Peshawar, this time on a polio clinic. A polio clinic!

Why do the followers of "the religion of peace" -- that's what "Islam" means -- do this? See "Fanatical Muslim imams preach jihad against non-believers" And consider the explanation given by Most Rev. Joseph Coutts, the Archbishop of Karachi. It's simple, he says. They hate the West, and America -- "the great Satan" -- in particular. And to them, all Christians (American or otherwise) are identified with the west.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Abp. Coutts linked the actions of NATO forces in Afghanistan to the persecution of Christians in Pakistan. "The problem is the increasing intolerance and the perception, in general, among the Muslims is that the Christians are identified with the West. There’s a lot of anger among Muslims, especially over the drone attacks."

The lesson should be clear, then, even to the dullards who inhabit Foggy Bottom. As long as the West (and America in particular) keeps meddling in the affairs of the Middle East and the Maghreb, we can expect attacks on Christians -- westerners and non-westerners alike -- to continue. Ron Paul is right.

More proof that the Devil lurks within the Vatican

Traditional Catholics insist that in the wake of Vatican II "the smoke of Satan has entered the Church". Those were the words of Pope Paul VI, not long before his death. He should know, since he and his predecessor, John XXIII, were the ones who opened the window.

Of course it's hard to see smoke. Sometimes it comes disguised in human form. (Hello, Cardinal Bertone!) And sometimes we catch a glimpse, if not of the Old Nick himself, then of the work of one of his minions, for example a gremlin.

Surely it must have been a gremlin -- or perhaps a Freemason -- in the Italian State Mint, who caused the spelling error in the name of our Lord, forcing the Vatican to withdraw 1000s of bronze, silver and gold medals commissioned to celebrate the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate. [But it hasn't even been a year yet, has it? It just seems longer... Ed.]

Look carefully at the inscription on the medal pictured. That's the Pope's official motto, the words that (Catholic Culture tells us) "moved the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he felt the call to the priesthood." Perhaps there was some static on the line, since the name of Jesus is spelled "Lesus".

It is said that four coins were sold before the mistake was realized and the medallions recalled. Instant collector's items! Walt wonders who got them. If you see them on eBay, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Medical tests to be used to keep gays out of Arabian Gulf states

Seems like the Russians aren't the only ones who don't welcome homosexuals into their countries. Sodomy and other homosexual acts [Please don't go on! Ed.] are unlawful in the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -– and their nationals presumably know better than to get caught packing fudge or whatever.

Homosexual acts can draw a long stretch in prison in states like Kuwait (10 years), or the death sentence in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Walt is not sure if the sentence is carried out by beheading, but wouldn't be surprised. Serves the buggers right!

A problem arises, though, when gay foreigners enter the highly moral Arab countries, bringing with them their decadent Western ways and diseases. So, on the theory that it's better to deny them entry than have to behead them (with the attendant Western liberal pissing and moaning), the GCC are busily devising new means to detect members of the LGBT gang and keep them out of their countries.

Even as we speak, the Kuwaitis are developing a new medical test to separate the sheep from the goats. [There's something queer about that metaphor. Ed.] Yousouf Mindkar, the Director of Public Health at the Kuwaiti health ministry told the Kuwait newspaper Al Rai: "Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states."

Mr. Mindkar did not give details of the "stricter measures". One shudders to think.

Lest you think that it's only the backward Muslims and homophobic Russkis who are resisting the Great Englightenment ("It's OK to be gay!"), Walt can confirm that it’s illegal to be gay in 78 countries. Lesbianism is banned in 49. Those figures are from the Daily Mail article which is the source of this story. I find them a bit confusing because I thought you had to be gay to be a lesbian, and vice versa, but I'm not up on the latest permutations and combinations.

In a totally unrelated story, of possible interest (only) to Walt's Canadian readers, John Greyson and Tarek Loubani are still detained in Egypt, which is one of the 78 countries mentioned above.

Rex Winship explains what Jimmy Carter couldn't -- how to fix America

Working is a musical with a book by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, based on Studs Terkel's book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), which has interviews with people from different regions and occupations. One of the lesser characters in the musical also appears in The Great Divide, highly recommended here a couple of days ago.

When I first read about the musical, I began to worry that Rex Winship might be a fictional character, a figment of Studs Terkel's imagination. But no, he's real -- a character from recent American history.

So accurate and so powerful were his observations on the state of the nation (as transcribed by Mr. Terkel) that his remarks are being read and discussed by students looking for a fix for what ails America. Check out the posts on Andrew's US History Lounge (by Andrew Sloan) and Maddie's US History Lounge (by Maddie Greenberg).

Andrew says, "Rex Winship used the pattern of money and markets to predict future society and economy. I planned on reading about trading [Mr. Winship was a successful dealer in futures], but all I can think about is his foresight.

"The prediction that really resonates and truly amazed me was when he declared that there would be tremendous debt in the nation’s future because everybody would become consumers rather than savers. That exact situation is presenting a great problem for the nation’s economy. I am in awe of these predictions and truly do not understand how he could have had such great foresight."

See now, Rex Winship had it all figured out, way back in the 70s and 80s! And he knew what needed to be done to counteract the downhill trends that he saw in those days, something apparently eluded Jimmy Carter, who (as Walt pointed out yesterday) still hasn't got it figured out. I chose this Rex Winship quote from The Great Divide:

"If we lowered the taxes and cut down on government spending, the business sector will explode. The first thing I'd cut would be the military spending. Blowing up bombs...doesn't help the economy.

"I wouldn't cut welfare payments. When you give money to somebody on welfare, she spends it to buy food and clothing. Jobs are created.... I would always give poor people money because they spend it."

Right on, Rex! It all seems to simple, and yet the bloody fools in Washington are yammering about increasing the debt limit, cutting welfare, keeping the "stimulus" going, and all the other magic which everyone seems to think it's up to the government to perform.

The government, and only the government can solve America's economic problem. Who do they think put the USA into the mess in the first place?! Ron Paul is right. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Paul read Rex Winship!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

UPDATED: Muslim's girl's private Facebook photo!

This started out as a joke, see. Ed. found a picture of a Muslim woman (?) wearing a burqa, and said to me, "I guess all their Facebook profile pages look like this." Ha ha. So we put it up.

Then last night, while tidying up my library, I found this book, which I can't recall reading. I must have bought it [or stolen it. Ed.] and put it away for future reference. So I'm referring to it now. [Geddit? Ed.]

Sold, by Zana Muhsen (with ghostie Andrew Crofts) is "one woman's true account of modern slavery". (That's what it says on the cover.) It was published by Warner Books in 1991.

According to the summary on the back cover, the author -- 15 years old at the time -- and her still younger sister, Nadia, born in Birmingham, England, were asked by their folks if they'd like to go on a holiday to visit relatives in northern Yemen. To the innocent girls, it sounded like the trip of a lifetime.

Those who know a bit about Islam and the countries of the Arabian peninsula will not be surprised to learn that the girls' father had sold them into marriage! Once they arrived in the sandpit, they were held virtual prisoners in primitive stone houses, with shit-plastered walls and no running water. They were subjected to beatings, rape and "the terrifying ordeal of childbirth on bare mud floors with only old women in attendance".

This went on for eight years, and the book is the story of how they escaped what is, sadly, "normal life" for young women in countries bound by the feudal barbarism of Sharia law. Is it still like this for Muslim women, a quarter of a century later? Answers on the back of a postage stamp, please, to the usual address.

See also: "Hijab, niqab, burqa -- what's the difference?"

Yesterday's man equates today's middle class with yesterday's poor

Have you read "American then (25 years ago) and now", posted here yesterday? Walt recommended that you read (or reread) The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream, by the late Studs Terkel. The book tells, in their own words, the plight of America's poor.

The Great Divide was published in 1988. It is a compilation of interviews Mr. Terkel did earlier in the 1980s. Ronald Reagan was president of the US of A in those years. His immediate predecessor, whose Democratic maladministration was responsible for much of America's economic distress, was a former farmer from the Peach State, one James "Jimmy" Carter.

Ronald Reagan is no longer with us. Jimmy Carter, like the poor, still is. And yesterday, just by coincidence, he offered a waiting nation his views on America's "economic challenges".

During an interview with The Associated Press, he said that years of tax breaks for the wealthy, a minimum wage untethered from the inflation rate and electoral districts drawn to maximize political polarization have reduced the quality of life for all but the richest Americans.

Note from Ed.: There's a video clip embedded in the Washington Times report, which I've been trying for half an hour to copy and embed here, but thanks to Blogger's screwed-up GUI, you'll have to go to the newspaper account if you want to hear the words from the horses's mouth. Back to Walt...

In the video, President Carter said there was "a great deal of discouragement since 2008." Well DUH! But how can that be? When the affirmative action version of Jimmy Carter was sworn in, you'd have thought the Choir Invisible was going to descend from Heaven and make everything right -- as right as Carter himself would have made things if only he'd had a second term. What happened to "Yes we can" and all the hopey-changey stuff?

Seems to Walt that people who create messes should have some ideas about how to clean them up. If Mr. Carter has a magic wand which could be waved to end the present impasse in Washington, he would do well to hand it to the incumbent... immediately!

Krazai Afghan president calls NATO mission "failure"

Maybe Afghan president Mohammed Karzai is not so crazy after all. Maybe he's just telling it the way it is. Or maybe he's trimming his sails to run with the prevailing wind. The krazai guy is quoted in British Forces News today as calling the US-led "NATO" mission to save his country from the Taliban "a failure". Who can argue with that?

You might ask, a failure of what? Walt will tell you. Western intervention in Afghanistan -- for which the Excited States of America must take the lion's share [eagle's share? Ed.] of the blame -- is a failure of foreign policy, a failure of interventionism, a failure of modern military technology, a failure born of ignorance of other cultures and religions... I could go on. How much time have I got? [That's enough failure. Ed.]

If that's not enough to make Dubya and Tony Bliar choke on their cornflakes this morning, Karzai now says he intends to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the Taliban. "I will only be letting the camel's nose half-way in the tent," says the krazai guy, "and I'm sure they will abide by their Islamic promise not to take over everything." Kula haga mumkin!

Walt is only going to say this one more time... today. The rest of the world (particularly the Middle East) doesn't want American-style democracy. You don't have to look beyond the current standoff in Washington to understand why. And there's no reason why America should be the world's policeman. Particularly when it has proven incapable of doing so.

Walt says: forget about the Middle East! It's a sandpit full of heathen savages. Let them duke it out until Mohammed returns... or however the world is supposed to end, according to the Quran. Meanwhile, the money (and lives) saved can be usefully employed right here at home.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The "liquid" message of Pope Francis; will he be the last supreme pontiff?

Even mainstream Catholic theologians are tiring of Pope Francis. His rambling, apparently off-the-cuff speeches tha frequently contradict traditional, even dogmatic Catholic teaching, are leaving them astonished and bewildered. How much more so is it for your average parish priest and us humble laymen ["laypersons", surely! Ed.]

Sandro Magister's studious and highly informed newsletter, Chiesa, brings us today a lengthy commentary -- over 2500 words -- by Professor Pietro De Marco, a teacher at the University of Florence and the Faculty of Theology of Central Italy. Its title is "A 'liquid' message". And to call it critical is the grossest understatement.

Prof. De Marco analyses recent public statements by the Pope -- Sr Magister calls them "encyclicals by interview" -- and points out the flawed reasoning and heresies into which Francis seems to have fallen. Notice I didn't say "unwittingly". Neither does Dr. De Marco. It is his contention that the Pope knows full well the import of what he's saying, when he says things like "Who am I to judge [homosexuals]?" and has fallen into serious error.

Walt and Len said the same thing, albeit not with such eloquence or at such length, back in July. Here's an excerpt from Prof. De Marco's commentary on this point.

No one is exempt, in daily and private conversation among a few, from approximations and distortions, But there is no person who has responsibility in regard to many - who teaches, for example - who will not adopt another register in public and seek to avoid improvisation.

Now, instead, we have a pope who exclaims: “Who am I to judge?" as one can emphatically say at the table or even in preaching spiritual exercises. But before the press and the world a “who am I to judge?” spoken by a pope objectively jars with the entire history and profound nature of the Petrine function, moreover giving the distasteful sensation of an uncontrolled outburst. Because of his function as a vicar with respect to Christ, not as an individual, the pope judges. [Walt's emphasis. Ed.]

The good doctor goes on to excoriate the Pope's slighting references to "religion" -- as if it were something bad or something of the past -- and his reversal of his predecessor's efforts to correct the abuses of the liturgy which are the bitter fruits of Vatican II.

Walt is tempted to reproduce the entire commentary here, for the sake of its comprehensive criticism of the Pope's utterances and the profound damage being done to the Faith. (Dr. De Marco didn't say anything about placing a soccer ball and t-shirt on the altar. Perhaps words failed him as they fail me.) Sadly, constraints of space prevent posting the whole thing here. You can read it on the Chiesa site, or, if you wish, we'll send it to you as a .doc file. Just e-mail your request to Ed. Here's the closing paragraph:

The expressive model chosen by Bergoglio cannot be pushed to the limit of knocking down the ordinary magisterium and making it hardly or not at all obligatory. The powers of a pope do not extend to the very nature of his own "munus," which transcends him and imposes limits on him. I do not approve of the traditionalist extremists, but there is no doubt that tradition is the norm and the power of the successor of Peter.

And a closing thought from Walt... well, actually from Saint Malachy, known as a great prophet. While in Rome in 1139 he received a vision showing him all the Popes from his day to the end of time. According to his prophecies, only two Popes would come after John Paul II.

The 111th prophecy, describing the second-last pope, is "Gloria Olivae" (The Glory of the Olive). The Order of Saint Benedict claimed that this pope would come from their ranks. The 111th pope was, sure enough, Benedict XVI.

St. Malachy refers to the last pope in his vision as "Peter the Roman". It is hard to relate this title to Pope Francis, who was born "Jorge Mario Bergoglio" in Argentina, half a world away from Rome. But that's the maddening thing about prophesies -- it's almost impossible to understand them until after the predicted event occurs.

Anyway, many believe that the final pope will likely be Satan, taking the form of a man who will gain a worldwide allegiance and adoration. Ah yes, a crowd-pleaser, a very "humble" man of the people, deceiving even the elect! He will be the Antichrist which students of prophecy have long awaited.

The 112th prophesy states: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End."

American then (25 years ago) and now

Louis "Studs" Terkel was born in New York into a family of Russian Jewish immigrants in 1912. Although he graduated from Chicago Law School, he never practised, becoming instead a radio DJ, sports commentator, TV emcee,  host of a long-running radio talk show, and -- most notably -- a historian, author and veritable national treasure. He died almost five years ago.

Although arguably a member of an educated minority elite, Mr. Terkel had a profound empathy with the working class, the poor and the oppressed. He was an archtype of what I call the "Volvo liberal", the kind who can be found in the van of anti-poverty, anti-racism, anti-business, anti-government movements anywhere and everywhere in the USA. In the old days, he would have been targetted by the House Unamerican Activities Committee. Today he would be out there protesting against the Keystone pipeline, the "homophobic" Olympics, the G8 and the G20.

You may wonder, then, why Walt recommends that you read (or reread) The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream. Walt is a social conservative and a political libertarian. [No kidding! Ed.] But it seems to me that ultra-liberals like Studs Terkel and libertarians like (say) Ron Paul, differ only in their approaches to the same problem. That problem is the plight of the working (and non-working) poor -- those at the bottom of the economic and social heap. That's what The Great Divide is all about.

Mr. Terkel's great gift was the ability to listen. The Great Divide is, like most of his books, a collection of stories of the lives of ordinary people, describing the America in which they lived. You'll hear, in their own words, the complaints and frustrations (but also the hopes and dreams) of farmers, welfare moms, bartenders, minimum wage earners, aimless young people, manual labourers and disillusioned teachers. Mr. Terkel hears and transcribes the voices of those struggling to just get by. He hears America talking.

The Great Divide was written in the mid-80s and published in 1988. Some of the movements and organizations mentioned have faded into obscurity. Who remembers the Sanctuary Movement, or the FLAG (Farmers Legal Action Group)? They've given up fighting against "the system". Now we have other, more sinister pressure groups on the right as well as the left.

Meanwhile, the poor -- as Our Lord told us would be the case -- are still with us. And there are more of them. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Lately it has become fashionable to talk about the Gini coefficient. [Indeed `tis the sole subject of talk down at t' pub. Ed.]

C'mon, pay attention! The Gini coefficient is a commonly used measure of inequality of income or wealth. A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where everyone has an exactly equal income. [In our dreams! Ed.] A Gini coefficient of one expresses maximal inequality, for example where only one person has all the income. [In our office! Ed.] Here's a map that makes a telling point.

In 2008-9, the countries of the Dark Continent had the highest Gini coefficients, with South Africa the world's highest at 0.7. (The coming of "majority rule" in 1994 was supposed to fix that, but there you are.) In 2005, the global income inequality Gini coefficient -- for all human beings taken together -- was estimated at between 0.61 and 0.68. But forget the rest of the world and forget the numbers. Just take a look at the shade of colour in which the USA is painted, compared with the lighter shades for Australia, Britain, Canada and even Mongolia! Get the picture?

Walt's point is that in the quarter-century since the publication of The Great Divide, nothing has changed. Indeed, things -- including inequality of income -- have gotten worse.

Studs Terkel was inclined to blame the Republicans, and the policies of the Reagan era. But since then we've had the Republican Bushes (pater et filius) and the Democratic Clinton and Obama administrations (two of each, with another Clinton on the horizon), so let us not kid ourselves that either party has the answers.

"The system" is broken. Millions of Americans are in want, struggling not just to get by, but to survive! Some of them are the authors of their own misfortune, but Walt believes the majority are like the good people described in The Great Divide. They want better lives -- "better" meaning at least a modicum of security and freedom from hunger -- and have done their best to pick themselves up by the bootstraps, the way "the system" preaches.

Get a good education, get a good job, work hard, play by the rules, and you'll get your reward. Anyway -- including our political "leaders" -- who thinks this is true is not listening. At least, they're not listening with the empathetic ear of Studs Terkel. Read the book.

The Great Divide was published in 1988 by Pantheon Books, New York. Other worthwhile books by Studs Terkel include Division Street: America, Hard Times, Working, Talking To Myself, American Dreams: Lost and Found and The Good War (1985), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. "In American Dreams," said critic John Leonard, "Mr. Terkel, a superb editor as well as the ideal listener,...becomes Walt Whitman."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

VIDEO: "Sweet child o' mine" on the 古筝

You know how it is here at WWW. When Walt's not first with an item, he's often a day (or a week or a month) late [and a dollar short. Ed.]

I meant to post something special for Agents 78 and 88 for the Moon Festival, which was, errr, a couple of weeks ago. But it took me until just now to find this tuneful and delicate cover of "Sweet child o' mine" -- originally recorded by Guns 'N Roses -- played by Michelle Kwan on an ancient Chinese instrument called the 古筝.

Oh... 古筝 is written in Pinyin as "guzheng", pronounced more or less as "goo jung". Very pretty, eh? The tune too. Hope you liked it.

Note from Ed.: Any resemblance to Agent 78 is purely coincidental.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kenya: a lot of damage for only 4 terrorists

New estimates of the death toll in the terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall keep coming in. The Kenyan government -- whose president is awaiting trial in the International Criminal Court -- says there might be another 4 bodies left in the rubble. Or maybe 6. The Red Cross says there are three dozen (or so) still missing. As with most things in Africa, who knows?

Another interesting number has leaked out this week. Reviews of extensive CCTV footage suggests that there were fewer al-Shabaab terrorists than the Kenyan army claimed. It is now believed that the Islamic extremists numbered four. That's 4 -- count `em, FOUR!

Which begs the question, how could four crazed Muslims cause so much damage? You've likely seen video clips showing a huge crater which used to be the centre of the Westgate Mall, apparently destroyed by the explosion of several RPGs. The grenades seem to have been fired by, errr, "rescuers" from the Kenyan army. How many bodies are buried in the rubble is as yet unknown.

Other videos seen in this report from the Sydney Morning Herald, show a horrendous amount of looting -- much more than could have been perpetrated by four crazed Muslims who were probably already dead. Mannequins were stripped clean, jewellery cases smashed, racks of expensive suits carted off, and dozens of cash registers cracked open. At least one member of the Kenyan "security services" was arrested, caught with a bloody wallet.

According to the paper, the looting appeared to have the scope and organisation of a large-scale military operation, and many Kenyans are speculating that it was just that. From the first hours after Islamist militants burst into the mall on September 21 until a week later, when shopkeepers were let back in to sweep up the broken glass, very few people were allowed inside the mall except the Kenyan security forces, mainly the army.

More and more Kenyans believe those soldiers methodically cleaned out the mall, and that the barrages of gunfire ringing out for days were being directed not at the last of the militants but at safes and padlocks to blast them open. Some business leaders even question whether the Kenyan army deliberately prolonged the crisis by saying shooters were still in the building when they were actually dead, to give themselves extra time to steal.

Witnesses said that the most they saw militants loot was a couple cans of soda, and shopkeepers cited no instances of panicked shoppers helping themselves to merchandise as they ran for their lives, leading to the widespread conclusion that the security forces must have been involved.

The Herald reports, rightly, that Kenyans are accustomed to corruption. Corruption is the norm in sub-Saharan Africa, and Kenya is consistently rated as one of the worst of the worst.

And there's a second payoff for Kenya. Western governments, still suffering pangs of white liberal guilt, are falling all over themselves to send millions of your tax dollars to Kenya's corrupt government and thuggish military. It's all about fighting terrorism, they say. But who are the terrorists? Will Western aid and intervention succeed in making Africa a safe and better place to live? Walt says there are two chances -- slim and none.

Thanks to Agent 17 for sending along the report from the Antipodes.

Highly recommended reading: The Africans, by David Lamb. Vintage Books, 1987.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Over-50s! You're still on the green side of the grass! VIDEO

Thanks to Agent 71 (nice to hear from you!) for passing along this "new comical (?) song about aging". Sound up.

Note from Ed.: Sincere apologies if you tried to play this but couldn't hear anything. We've been having problems linking to YouTube lately. Please try again, and if you still have no sound, click on the "watch on YouTube" icon at the bottom right corner of the screen.

This has already had well over 6,000,000 hits on YouTube, maybe because it speaks to all us geezers!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nigerian archbishop says Boko Haram fanaticism increasing

Walt is still checking stories on the persecution and killing of Christians. Last Sunday we told you how the Muslim extremists who call themselves Boko Haram had massacred 44 students at a college in northeastern Nigeria. Today, the Vatican news agency FIDES has a comment from Most Rev. Ignatius Kagama, the Archbishop of Jos and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.

Abp. Kagama averred that Boko Haram is becoming more fanatical. "In the beginning the aim of Boko Haram was to attack Christians in order to destabilize the community," said the prelate. "But now the ferocity of the members of this movement has no limits to the point of slaughtering even those who should be their fellow Muslims."

"Boko Haram has made further progress in the sophistication and ferocity of their attacks," he added, "but it is now made up of fanatics who have lost their original goal."

Walt isn't so sure about that last part, about "losing sight of their original goal". Is there goal not to exterminate all the infidels in Nigeria, and rid the country of every trace of Western culture and influence? Seems to me they're right on track.

I saw the behatted Nigerian president shaking hands with the Prez himself on TV just a couple of nights ago. I didn't hear O'bama say anything about sending US forces to deal with Boko Haram. So the slaughter of Christians looks likely to continue. Any Muslims killed in the crossfire will be just collateral damage.

Christians attacked every day in Mid-East, Africa and Asia

News from "the cradle of civilization" continues to be depressing, at least for Christians. All the other "belief systems" -- fanatical Muslims, Hindus, even Jews ("our fathers in faith", as the mainstream Church calls them now) -- keep killing and otherwise persecuting those who hold to the True Faith. Here are three items from yesterday's Catholic World News. We'll include the links so you can read for yourself.

2 Christians shot in Libya after refusing to convert to IslamTwo Coptic Christians were shot in northeastern Libya after they refused to convert to Islam, according to Morning Star News, a news service that reports on the persecution of Christians. . . .

Attack on Catholic mission outpost in Central African RepublicSudanese members of the Séléka rebel coalition, which assumed power in the Central African Republic in March, have ransacked the Catholic mission in Bouar, a city of 40,000 in the western portion of the nation, according to the Fides news agency. . . .

Tombstones smashed in Christian cemetery in JerusalemFour young men whom the Jerusalem Post described as “Jewish nationalists” smashed tombstones and broke off crosses in a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem, according to a story that appeared on the newspaper’s website. . . .

Assassination attempt against Coptic bishop in EgyptA Coptic Orthodox bishop survived an assassination attempt as he was traveling to console the family of a murder victim, according to multiple media reports. . . .

This kind of thing is reported every bloody day! (I chose that adjective deliberately.) And yet the Church and Francis the Party Pope keep telling us that we must love the heathens and the heretics, keep reaching out to them, invite them into our places of worship, not to mention out countries. DAFT, isn't it?

Confession from Ed.: I borrowed the graphic from the cover of this week's Economist because I thought it was about right for this story. Look for the mag at your newsstand. Oh... no more newsstands in your neck of the woods? Walt will keep you posted!