Saturday, May 31, 2014

Has the West forgotten the lesson of Pearl Harbor?

Walt has not forgotten about the "situation" in Ukraine. There has been an election, and Poroshenko, the Chocolate King, has become the Chocolate President. The people of the Donbas and other eastern regions of the Ukraine didn't get to vote, since Russian-speaking armed gangs disrupted the polling. Russia denies arming and supporting the separatist thugs, and claims to have pulled its troops back from positions near the border. But it retains control of the Crimea.

The question has already been asked, but let's put it out there again. Where will Russia stop? If the rest of the world accepts the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea, will that be enough to satisfy Putin? Or is this a repeat of the German annexation of the Sudetenland in the run-up to World War II?

There are those -- notably in the United States Department of State -- who believe that it's improbable that Russia would try to occupy any more Ukrainian territory, and in so doing risk war with the West. While admitting that war is possible, they think it highly unlikely. Putin wouldn't be that stupid, they say. He must know that Russia would lose any war with the West, they say. And Russia doesn't want war any more than we do...they say.

Similar things were said about Japan in 1941, right up till December 7th and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. War with Japan was not impossible, but improbable...they said. For that reason, it was OK for the United States to let down its guard, and not pay too much attention to the threats, implicit and explicit, coming from the Land of the Rising Sun.

The resultant complacency and lack of preparedness was the chief cause of the disaster of December 7th, "the Day of Infamy". So wrote Professor Gordon W. Prange in several lengthy historical manuscripts published posthumously by his co-workers Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon as Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History (McGraw-Hill, 1986), which Walt just finished reading.

Prof. Prange was a Professor of History at the University of Maryland from 1937 to 1980, with a break of nine years (1942–1951) of military service overseas, including a stint in Japan during the US military occupation, when he was the Chief Historian in General Douglas MacArthur's staff. That period coincided roughly with the several investigations into the Pearl Harbor debacle, including that of the Joint Congressional Committee, 15 Nov. 1945 to 15 July 1946. The testimony at and reports of those inquiries are quoted extensively in his books.

Edward F. Morgan was an assistant counsel to that committee, and drafted its final report. He included a list -- quoted in its entirety -- of no fewer than 25 "supervisory, administrative and organizational deficiencies" apparent in the US Army and Navy. Here, with Dr. Prange's comments on relations between the West and Russia, is No. 18.

18. Failure can be avoided in the long run only by preparation for any eventuality.

[Morgan wrote]: The record tends to indicate that appraisal of likely enemy movements was divided into probabilities and possibilities. Everyone has admitted that an attack by Japan on Pear Harbor was regarded as at least a possibility. It was felt, however, that a Japanese movement toward the south was a probability. The over-all result was to look for the probable move and to take little or no effective precautions to guard against the contingency of the possible action.

"Here was the old problem of enemy intentions versus capabilities. U.S. military leaders in 1941 were far too concerned with what Japan might do, not with what it was able to do. Yet history has shown that if an enemy can launch a certain kind of attach, in all probability he will do exactly that. His intentions cannot hurt his opponent; his capabilities can

"Thus, while the United States would infinitely prefer peace with the Soviet Union, if the Russians...are able to overrun Western Europe in a conventional war, the United States and its NATO allies must assume that they will do so under the right set of circumstances. Furthermore, if the Soviets have the capability of knocking out the United States in one huge preemptive nuclear strike, American leaders must assume that that is what they will do if conditions are propitious. Any other attitude on the part of the United States would be irresponsible.

"The ultimate lesson which Pearl Harbor should teach American political and military leaders, as well as every person in the United States, is this: Always be prepared for the worst contingency."

Innocent questions from Walt to Hussein Obama, John Kerry et al. -- not forgetting David Cameron, Steve Harper, Angela Merkel and whoever's running France these days: Are we prepared? Or are we just assuming the improbability of Putin doing something foolish, like moving his armies westward? Just asking...

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to bring balance to your life

A good wife can bring balance to your life.

Thanks and a flip of the fedora to Agent 36.

Shitting in fields leads to gang rape, hanging of Indian girls

This week's posts about the "honour killing" of a 25-year-old Pakistani woman -- by her father and 20 other family members -- may have left the impression that abuse of women is endemic in Muslim (and Sikh) communities. And so it is. But you find the same barbarism in all over south Asia.

In mainly Hindu India, rape is an everyday occurrence, and is rarely reported, even more rarely punished. Not infrequent gang rapes do make the news, but the perps often get off scot-free, for reasons of culture and religion, notably the caste system with which Hinduism has burdened billions of Indians for thousands of years.

A particularly egregious case occurred this week in the village of Katra, in the impoverished northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Two teenage cousins -- members of the lowest harijan (untouchable) caste -- went to a field to relieve themselves, since there was no toilet in their home. ("Open defecation", as Indians call it, is still the norm for almost half of India's billion people.) They were caught with their pants down, literally, by a gang of men who gang-raped them, killed them, and then hanged them from a mango tree. Here's a picture.

The "strange fruit" was still hanging from the tree when the picture was taken because angry villagers refused to allow the bodies to be cut down, as a protest over the inaction of the police, who they said had done nothing to search for the girls when they were reported missing Tuesday evening. Quite understandable in light of what happened next.

The villagers allowed authorities to take down the corpses after the first arrests were made on Wednesday. Police arrested two men from the village and... wait for it... two police officers! Three more suspects are still being sought, or so the police say.

Meanwhile -- yes, there's more! -- police in the nearby town of Etawah have arrested three men for brutally attacking the mother of a rape victim after she refused to withdraw her complaint. The attack followed the May 11th rape of the victim's teenage daughter. A local man was arrested after the mother filed a complaint with authorities, but since the victims were of the lowest caste, the culprit's community felt that they were wrong to have complained.

So five men -- including the father, a brother and a cousin of the accused rapist -- followed the victim's mother away from her house and beat her relentlessly, demanding she drop the accusation. Police arrested three men on Thursday and are looking for two others... so they say. The mother is in critical condition in a local hospital, with numerous broken bones and internal injuries. The whereabouts of the raped girl is unknown, but at least she wasn't left hanging from a tree.

Footnote (31/5/14): If you doubt Walt's figure that nearly half of India's people practise "open defecation", and if you doubt that this poses dangers to women and girls, read "Why India's sanitation crisis kills women" on the BBC News India page. How fortunate for India that it freed itself from the evils of British rule two-thirds of a century ago and no longer has to tolerate such evils as proper toilets and sewers.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Husband of woman stoned to death killed his first wife, cops say

Yesterday's story about the "honour killing" of a Pakistani woman by a mob of her family and friends -- including her father -- gets crazier. Farzana Bibi (aka Iqbal) was bludgeoned to death Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore by family members who were enraged that she had married "the man she loved" -- Muhammad Iqbal -- of whom they did not approve.

Today police allowed that perhaps Farzana's family had good reason to disapprove, since her new husband hadn't divorced his first wife. Instead, he murdered her. Police spokesthingy Zulfiqar Hameed said that Iqbal, was arrested after the 2009 killing, but the charge against him was withdrawn because he was forgiven by a family member. According to Pakistani law -- a modified form of Sharia law -- that makes it OK!

Iqbal did not respond to repeated requests for comment from AP, but two of his cousins said he had been forgiven by one of his sons for the killing.

Although unwilling to discuss the 2009 killing, Iqbal criticized police for their failure to intervene in this week's stoning on the street outside the Lahore High Court. "I begged [police] to help us," Muhammad Iqbal told Reuters. "I took off my shirt [to be humble] and begged them to save her, but they said 'This is not our duty.'"

Pakistan is a nation of 180 million people, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims. According to their culture and religion, women are expected to agree to arranged marriages and refusal can mean an "honour killing", since many Pakistani families think it dishonourable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband. Farzana's family had chosen a partner for her -- a cousin -- but she preferred Iqbal. Whether she knew the fate of his first wife is unknown.

Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiancé [the cousin? Ed.] were among attackers. Muhammad Aurangzeb, Farzana's 20-year-old stepson -- Muhammad Iqbal is his father -- described how one relative tried to shoot her, then grabbed her head scarf, causing her to fall over. [Another good reason not to wear a hijab or niqab. Ed.]

While a member of Iqbal's party tried to wrest the gun away, a female cousin grabbed a brick and hit Farzana with it, Aurangzeb said. "She was screaming and crying 'Don't kill me! We will give you money!" said Iqbal. He said he tried to save her but the mob of more than 20 beat him back.

At one point, six people were beating her with bricks as she screamed, he said, and he and his stepson begged police to help. Finally she stopped screaming...because she was dead. All the suspects, except Farzana's father, have disappeared. The father said he gave himself up to police without fear of being prosecuted, since killing his daughter was a matter of honour.

MH370: Searching "pings" area turns up nothing. Surprised?

The search for the Malaysian Airlines B-777 operating on flight MH370, which vanished without a trace on March 8th, hasn't received a lot of media attention lately. The reason? Because there hasn't been anything to tell. Until today.

A robot submarine was searching the floor of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia, in an area where acoustic signals thought linked to the missing plane's black box had been detected. Today, Australian officials in charge of the search said that the little sub had found nothing. Rien. Nada. No wreckage, no debris, no bodies --

Bluefin-21 swept over 850 square kilometres of the seabed, but came up empty. The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) stated, "Bluefin-21 completed its last mission searching the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the towed pinger locator. The data collected on yesterday's mission has been analysed. As a result, the JACC can advise that no signs of aircraft debris have been found by the autonomous underwater vehicle since it joined the search effort.

"The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can now be considered complete," the statement continued, "and in its professional judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370."

That's hardly surprising, since (IWHO) [In Walt's Humble Opinion. Ed.] they're looking in the wrong place! Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the search had been based on "the best information available at the time". [Did he say, "Truss me?" Ed.

Evidently the JACC failed to read WWW, wherein I stated quite clearly (as always) that the place to look was in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, west of the Kra Isthmus -- somewhere between the Malaysian peninsula and Diego Garcia. See:
"MH370: 1 + 3 = ??? Walt puts two possibilities together"
"For the second time: Diego Garcia is a key piece of the MH370 puzzle"
"MH370: Suppose it was a test..."

You think this is just another crackpot conspiracy theory? You think there's no reason to suspect the US military? Think about this. The governments and JACC officials doing most of the talking about the mysterious disappearance of MH370 have been Australian and Malaysian. Americans have been all but invisible. Today, however, Michael Dean, the US Navy's deputy director of ocean engineering, told CNN (according to a BBC report) that the acoustic signals probably came from some man-made source other than the aircraft's black boxes.

"Our best theory at this point is that [the pings were] likely some sound produced by the ship...or within the electronics of the towed pinger locator," was how he explained it. "Always your fear any time you put electronic equipment in the water is that if any water gets in and grounds or shorts something out, that you could start producing sound." In other words, the electronic search device might well have been listening to itself!

Why, then, did the US Navy describe Dean's comments as "speculative and premature"? Did Dean know all along that looking for the wreckage in the area where the pings were heard was pointless? Did the US Navy mean that Dean should STFU? What does the US Navy know that the JACC should know, but apparently doesn't? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Muslim woman stoned to death at courthouse door by her own family

This isn't the first time Walt has posted a story about the killing of women by Muslims -- or Sikhs or Hindus, but usually Muslims -- in the name of "family honour", but never before have I seen such an egregious example. Today's story comes from Lahore, Pakistan, where the father, brothers and former fiancé of Farzana Bibi, aged 30, killed her with sticks and bricks on the steps of the high court. Why? For marrying against their wishes, thus besmirching the family's "honour".

Ms Bibi's parents accused her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her, and had filed a case against him at the High Court. However, police said the couple had been engaged for "a number of years", and that she had told them she had married him of her own accord. As she arrived at the court building for a hearing, police said about a dozen family members pulled her aside and began to attack her and her husband, who managed to escape.

Inspector Muhammad Knacker [Ed., please check name] told Reuters that all the family members escaped after the killing, apart from her father, Muhammad Azim, who waited on the courthouse steps for the police to arrive, and admitted his role his daughter's death.

In the BBC's report of the story, Shumaila Jaffery says marriage against the wishes of relatives is culturally unacceptable in some parts of Pakistan. Under Pakistani law -- a version of Sharia law -- the victim's family is allowed to forgive the killer. However, in many cases family members are themselves responsible for the killing.

Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Muslim Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are known to be murdered every year in so-called honour killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour. Many more cases go unreported, indeed unnoticed. Stonings in public settings, however, are extremely rare. Tuesday's attack took place in broad daylight on a busy downtown street, before a crowd of onlookers who were reportedly more curious than horrified.

Iqbal said he started seeing Parveen after the death of his first wife, with whom he had five children. "We were in love," he told Associated Press, "but her family wanted to fleece money from me before allowing her to marry, so I simply took her to court and registered a marriage."

The bride's father called his daughter's murder an "honour killing". A police spokesthingy quoted him as saying, "I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it."

If you use the "Search this blog" function at the bottom of the Blog Archive column to search WWW for "honour killings", you'll find 33 previous posts about such crimes in Muslim and Sikh communities in various parts of the world, notably Canada. [I'm looking for details of a "domestic" stabbing which occurred just yesterday in Brampton, Canada's Sikhest city. Ed.]
Here's another one from Pakistan: "Muslim couple doused daughter with acid because 'it was her fate'"
And here's how honour crimes were dealt with in Pakistan when it was part of the Raj: "How the British dealt with barbaric religious practices"

Note from Ed.: I hope you're not expecting a video. Even if I had found one -- yes, I did look -- I wouldn't show it. Some things are just too much, even for WWW. However, I did come across an interview -- part of the "Canadian Dream" series on CBC News -- with Dr. Amin Muhammad, a professor of psychology. He explains the motive for what the interviewer calls this "brutal cultural import".

Monday, May 26, 2014

Right wing parties win big -- really big -- in European elections

Much soiling of silky shorts in European corridors of power today, as one-worlders, socialists and "progressive thinkers" recoil in horror at the sweeping gains made in European Parliament elections by Eurosceptic and right-wing parties. BBC News headlines the story "Eurosceptic 'earthquake' rocks EU elections".

The aim of parties like France's Front National and Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is to slash the powers of the European Union or, even better, abolish it altogether. Their countries, they say, have all but completely ceded national sovereignty to the huge and unwieldy EU, making it impossible to determine their own destinies or even control their own borders. (If you think that means "restrict immigration", you're probably right!)

Yesterday, 21 of the EU's 28 nations held elections to choose representatives to the European Parliament. The other seven countries, including Britain and the Netherlands, had voted earlier in the week. And the big winner? ... May I have the envelope, please? ... Step forward France, where Marine Le Pen's Front National topped the polls with 26% support -— 4.1 million votes.

In her victory speech, Mme Le Pen said, "The sovereign people have spoken...acclaiming they want to take back the reins of their destiny!" She called the results "the first step in a long march to liberty." See "Against Islamization, the French send in La Marine!"

Need I tell you that the French government took a rather different view. Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the National Front win "more than a news is a shock, an earthquake." And President François Hollande is supposed to be holding a crisis meeting -- his office called it "urgent talks" -- with his top ministers even as Walt writes.

But France is not the only country experiencing widespread disillusionment with the EU and the Islamization of Europe. (Don't kid yourself. That's what this is really all about!) In Not-so-great Britain, Nigel Farage, leader of the fiercely Eurosceptical United Kingdom Independence Party, said, "It does look to me [like] UKIP is going to win this election and yes, that will be an earthquake, because never before in the history of British politics has a party that is seen to be an insurgent party ever topped the polls in a national election."

The first official results announced late Sunday had UKIP at about 30% -- 12% better than their result in the last European elections in 2009.
In Denmark, although the governing Social Democrats hung onto their five seats to remain the biggest Danish party in the European Parliament, the big winner was the populist Danish People's Party, which gained three seats for a total of four.

In Germany, a year-old party that wants that country to stop using the euro single currency reportedly won 6.7% of the vote.
In Greece, the leftist Eurosceptic Syriza party led with 26.49%, but the far-right Golden Dawn party finished a respectable third, with 9.33%.

In the Netherlands, however, the right-wing Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders surprisingly dropped a seat from five to four. As the Dutch voted in one representative each from a radical feminist party and an animal rights group, it's just possible that they didn't take the exercise very seriously. However, Mr. Wilders, optimistic as ever, said his party looked forward to working with Mme Le Pen, calling her "the next French president."

Are there any lessons in this for American and Canadian political parties? Probably not. Lamestream pundits in the USA are pushing the line that this year's mid-terms will show the Tea Party on the wane, with moderate Republicans moving the GOP towards the centre. And, as Ron Paul and a long line of others have found out, it's all but impossible to get Americans to actually vote for any group which the media call "extreme"... even if the "extremism" is in defence of liberty and personal freedom.

Canada is even worse. The old-line Conservative and Liberal parties are not nearly as far to the right or left as their names would suggest. Rather, they are parties of the "radical centre". Even the New [sic] Democratic Party, nominally of the left, hews so close to the centre that its members have changed the party anthem to "The Very Pale Pink Flag". Don't look for any political earthquakes in North America any time soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sikhs in Canada - from "boat people" to slave-keepers

Two stories appearing in the Canadian lamestream media this weekend tell us a lot about how far The Land of the Maple Leaf has come in banishing racism, promoting multiculturalism and celebrating diversity. We also learn something about white liberal guilt and the persistence of racism and slavery in other "communities".

The first story is an eye-splitter from Canada's self-styled "national newspaper", the Globe and Mail. In "Behind the Komagata Maru’s fight to open Canada’s border", Michael Bird tells how his grandfather, J. Edward Bird, led the fight to open Canada's borders to immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers from every corner of the Third World, including India. Especially Sikhs, who Bird believed were persecuted because of their religion.

This followed the rejection by the terrible racist Canadians of a bid to land at Vancouver the 376 passengers of the tramp steam Komagata Maru, all of them Sikh immigrant wannabes. "We are British citizens and we consider we have a right to visit any part of the Empire," said Gurdit Singh, a Hong Kong-based Sikh businessman who had chartered the Komagata Maru, told reporters earlier.

At the time (1914), third-worlders had not yet learned that all you have to say to Canadian immigration officers is "Refugee! Refugee! Where is the welfare office?" Anyway, in a display of political incorrectness remarkable even for the time, the Sikhs of the Komagata Maru were turned away, and the ship left Canadian waters, watched closely by the HMCS Rainbow.

Even a century ago, there were white liberals who felt guilty! guilty! guilty! about how badly their race had treated the poor vizmins of the American south and the British Empire, forcing on them such evils as roads, railways, schools and hospitals. J. Edward Bird championed the cause of unfettered immigration all the way to the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which opined that the government was entitled -- and perhaps wise -- to impose limits.

It wasn't until the great "civil rights" uproar of the hippy-dippy 60s that the Canadian government removed racial and ethnic considerations from the country's immigration policies. This was done by order-in-council, by the way, without reference to the Parliament which supposedly expresses the will of the Canadian people.

But feelings of white liberal guilt persist, in the Groan and Wail, the Toronto Red Star, and of course the ultra-PC CBC. And in Steve Harper's allegedly conservative Canadian government, which recently caused a stamp to be issued to (in the words of Sikh24 News & Updates) "honour the Sikh pioneers who faced racism from Canada".

Since the floodgates were opened in 1962, Sikh immigrants have succeeded in creating their own little Kalistans ["ghettos", surely. Ed.] in places like Surrey BC and Brampton ON. See "Saying the unsayable about the unspeakable in Brampton, Canada"

Now that they're established in Canada, enjoying the many benefits provided by Canadian taxpayers -- including, believe it or not, Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi on the CBC -- you would think, wouldn't you, that they would welcome and assist other victims of colonialism and discrimination from other Third World hellholes.

You would be wrong. The second story which caught Walt's eye this weekend was "55 tree planters win $700K over 'slave-like' discrimination in B.C.", which reports a decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal finding the operators of a tree-planting business in Golden BC guilty of racial discrimination against 55 temporary foreign workers from the so-called Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Khaira Enterprises, of Surrey BC, which was run by Pakistani-Canadian Khalid Bajwa and Indo-Canadian Hardilpreet (Sunny) Sidhu -- a Sikh -- was been ordered to pay each worker $10,000 for "injury to dignity and self-respect" plus $1,000 per 30-day period worked or portion thereof between March 17, 2010, and June 17, 2010.

Tribunal member Norman Trerise said in his 114-page ruling that Bajwa​ and Sidhu taunted and harassed the 55 workers with racial slurs and had a blatant disregard for employment standards. When officials from the provincial Ministry of Forests arrived at the site, the tree planters told them they had not eaten in two days, were living in squalor and were not getting paid for their work.

One of the workers testified that the camp was divided down racial lines, and that black employees were forced to plant on rougher terrain and were fed inferior food. "It was a kind of slave life," the worker told reporters. "I swear to God, it was so bad, trust me. We ate some expired food. Can you imagine? We slept in a container, with no washroom, no toilet."

Bajwa and Sidhu have since declared bankruptcy. In his ruling, Trerise wrote, "The chances of them actually receiving any money over and above that already obtained by the ESB on their behalf [is] extremely remote." About as remote, Walt thinks, as the chances of the Sikhs and other sub-continentals treating others according to the standards of the society which welcomed them.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Niagara politico sez someone's trying to make him look like a fool

Walt's Agent 3 continues to be fascinated by politics on the pretty (i.e. Canadian) side of the Niagara River. Politics in the Niagara Region, he writes, is practised much as it was a century ago -- a mix of cronyism, corruption and craziness which wouldn't be out of place in such democracies as, say, Zimbabwe. The craziness makes for some good laughs, as in two items from yesterday's news.

In Fort Erie -- across the river from the third-poorest city in the USA -- the town's Economic Development and Tourism Corporation general manager, Jim Thibert, is suing one of the town's Councillors, Don Lubberts, alleging violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

In his statement of claim, Thibert alleges Lubberts should have declared a conflict when a land matter was discussed in closed sessions of the town council in March and April. In the spirit of civil discourse for which Fort Erie public officials are known, Thibert told a local online paper he filed the lawsuit for the sake of political ethics. "The point is – he shouldn't have been in the fucking room if he has a conflict. That's the rule!", Thibert said.

Meanwhile, there's a provincial election going on. The Ontario Liberal Party is led by outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne, who just yesterday told a public meeting how glad she is to be a lesbian after 37 years of heterosexuality, and how wonderful it is to live in a province which celebrates diversity, yada yada yada.

For some reason, the Liberals had trouble finding a candidate in Niagara Falls, so finally parachuted in a Bay Street lawyer named Lionel Tupman, who is rumoured to have a cottage somewhere in the northern part of the riding. Not much is known about Tupman except that he appears to be male, was called to the bar in 2012, and has never been elected to anything anywhere.

And, apparently, he has a somewhat thin skin. Canadian Press/CTV News reports that Tupman is considering... wait for it... legal action after he says someone altered one of his tweets "to try and make a fool" out of him.

Seems someone intentionally altered his message — an invitation to a campaign event — to change the word "plans" to, errr, "penis". Tupman says he was not hacked but is the victim of an online troll who wants voters to think he can’t spell or use social media appropriately. Agent 3 says that would put him on a par with 95% of the voters and 99% of Ontario's other politicians.

Tupman says he’s consulting with the party’s leadership to determine how best to "control the damage" and get the word out that he never issued the controversial tweet. Perhaps he can start by figuring out how a tweet can be altered unless the sender's account is hacked, which Tupman says wasn't what happened.

Furthermore, Tupman says -- harrumph, harrumph -- his campaign is considering legal action [against an unidentified troll? Ed.] because the tweet can "seriously damage a campaign". Sounds like the beginnings of a great excuse for June 12th, when Tupman will finish a dismal third behind the NDP's Wayne Gates and the Tory candidate, "The Other" Bart Maves. [Walt's got the trifecta on this one. Lifetime pct .974.]

"There’s no doubt it will be injurious," Tupman told CP. "It makes me look like an idiot." And let's not forget that Tupman is a litigation lawyer -- oo, oo -- and says he takes the "nasty" attack on his Twitter account "very seriously". As do we all, Lionel. As do we all.

Friday, May 23, 2014

VIDEO: Barvinok dance troupe: "Stand up for Ukraine"

Barvinok is a excellent Ukrainian-Canadian dance company, last featured on WWW nearly a year ago in "Check out the "Barvinok" dancers -- doing multiculturalism the right way". Here they are performing "Stand up for Freedom! Stand up for Ukraine!", dedicated to "Nebesna Sotnya" and the people of Ukraine.

The videographers, Markian and Ustyna Radomskiy, did the fine video accompanying "Latest news on rebuilding St. Elias; your help is appreciated".

Thanks to the always elusive Agent 1 for sharing this. I'm sure she is very proud of her niece, a member of the troupe.

Dark continent celebrates half-century of corruption and misrule

Africans from Casablanca to Cape Town are looking forward -- or maybe not -- to Sunday, when many of Africa's states will celebrate the 50th anniversary -- more or less -- of the "liberation" of the Dark Continent -- or much of it -- from the white settlers. If this sentence seems a little vague, that's because things in Africa are always vague.

A couple of African writers have noted that in throwing off the shackles of the European colonialists, the Africans (in the lands below the Sahara, at least) seem to have liberated themselves from the bonds of peace, order and good government -- indeed, of civilization itself. Vince Musewe (Zimbabwean) writes that "Africa remains in the economic backwoods and torn apart by civil wars, coups and counter-coups."

In Malawi (formerly known as Nyasaland, and before that British Central Africa) violence erupted during Tuesday's presidential elections. No-one was killed though, so that's considered a peaceful election by African standards.

In northern Africa, Al-Qaeda terrorises the Sahel region and is fomenting jihad against Christians in the Central African Republic and Mali south of the Sahara. That there hasn't (yet) been mass genocide is due mainly to the presence of armed forces from France, which happens to be, errr, the former colonial power.

A bit farther south, civil strife in the diamond-rich Congo (Kinshasa -- not to be confused with Congo Brazzaville) never seems to end. The UN has a token force in the Congo's far east, but local people seem to fear them as much as any of the other gangs of marauders.

In western Africa, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls slacktivism doesn't seem to have had much impact on them. Just yesterday, suicide bombers killed scores of people in marketplaces in two northern towns. The Disunited Nations is threatening to impose sanctions. US assistance in searching for the missing schoolgirls has been delayed by "technical problems".

Want more? In Zimbabwe, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, once touted to by western liberals as a great freedom fighter and another Mandela, clings to power at age 90-odd, crushing opposition and establishing a de facto one-party state, while turning the former Rhodesia into an economic basket case.

Like Zimbabwe, most of the states of central Africa have failed, collapsed or are weak. South Sudan -- the world's newest nation! -- has collapsed into tribal war. Guinea, Niger, Mauritania, and Guinea Bissau are failing as a result of coups and civil uprisings. Walt's agent in Madagascar reports that water and power outages, banditry and looting are daily occurrences.

Corruption is out of control in every African state, with one or two possible exceptions. African society laughs at honest and accountable leaders and cherishes "big men" like Mugabe and South Africa's Zuma.

In Liberia, from whence Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei writes, about 75 people of Afro-American descent have held power for over 40 years, circulating the leadership amongst them to keep up appearances. The rest of the population still lives in poverty and hopelessness. Corruption is at its peak, casting doubts on the credibility of the regime and eroding public confidence in the state as a whole.

Conclusion: "Uhuru" (freedom/independence) remains an empty event for the majority of Africans. Why so? Could it be that the fact that blacks look like human beings and act like human beings, does not necessarily make them sensible human beings? This the theme of "Are we beast or man?", by Vince Musewe, an economist and author based in Harare.

Musewe quotes (with sorrow) from a speech made by former South African President P.W. Botha, speech made in that country's Parliament in 1987.

“We are not obliged even the least to prove to anybody and to the blacks that we [whites] are superior people. We have demonstrated that to the blacks 1001 ways. The Republic of South Africa that we know of today has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created it at the expense of intelligence, sweat and blood. We do not pretend like other whites that we like blacks.

"The fact that blacks look like human beings and act like human beings does not necessarily make them sensible human beings. If God had wanted us to be equal to blacks, He would have created all of a uniform colour and intellect. By now every one of us has seen it practically that blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other.

"They are good at nothing else, but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the black man is a symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence."

President Botha was a co-winner, with Nelson Mandela, of the Nobel Peace Prize, not because he changed his views on the fitness of blacks to run a modern nation-state, but because he worked with Mandela to ensure that the transition to "majority rule" in 1994 was as smooth and peaceful as possible, in the circumstances. Since then, South Africa has sliding the slippery slope downward, much like Zimbabwe, only not as quickly. It could take another 20 years or so under ANC rule before it hits bottom.

In his article, Musewe asks his fellow Zimbabweans: "What have we to show as a country since our independence in 1980?

"Horrifying corruption and outright theft, a leadership with an inexplicable obsession with luxury cars and sexual encounters, the destruction of prodigious value in all sectors of our economy, the use of arms of war against our Ndebele brothers and sisters, the decimation of agriculture and the dogfight over diamonds, the deliberate extermination of a national indigenous bourgeoisie, the destruction of our environment that is now happening particularly by small-scale tobacco growers and small-scale miners all under the name of indigenisation.

"In addition, just look at the dirt in our cities and townships, the noise that goes on daily, the potholes and sewage all over, the overcrowding and the common face of poverty, hopelessness and serious deterioration of our living standards. Look at our values and morals as a society and what we have become; the greed and selfishness all around us; all this, despite having the highest literacy rate in Africa!"

Can it there be said that Botha was fundamentally wrong or blinded by racism? Corruption, autocratic leadership, mismanagement, incompetence and misrule are the norms in today's Africa. Such is the fruit of the "liberation struggle" of the 60s which will be celebrated on Sunday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"If ignorance is catching, it's time to quarantine the USA"

Ed. here (again) with an absolute must-read for you! "America dumbs down" is from the current edition of Maclean's magazine, a Canadian publication. I can already hear some of our American readers whining (again) that Walt seems to give a lot of space to Canadians mocking America and Americans. This article, by Jonathon Gatehouse, is not mockery. Rather, the author describes the "advance of ignorance and irrationalism in the USA".

Dear American friends, Gatehouse is just holding up a mirror, so you can see what your country looks like these days. "The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking," he writes. "Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?" If foreigners are distressed about what the USA is becoming, you should be even more so!

"The term 'elitist' has become one of the most used, and feared, insults in American life," Gatehouse writes, as a preface to this quote from Catherine Liu, the author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique "There’s a pervasive suspicion of rights, privileges, knowledge and specialization.... We don’t educate people anymore. We train them to get jobs."

And who's to blame? The baby boomers -- "so triumphalist in promoting pop culture and demoting the canon", according to Liu -- and the lamestream media and politicians who pander to them. And the Internet -- the lamest medium of all -- just makes it worse!

Gatehouse argues that "The digital revolution, which has brought boundless access to information and entertainment choices, has somehow only enhanced the lowest common denominators—LOL cat videos and the Kardashians. Instead of educating themselves via the Internet, most people simply use it to validate what they already suspect, wish or believe to be true."

Another scathing critique of the deep and abiding stupidity into which the West has fallen. Read it. You're welcome.

Identity politics in the police state; "white privilege" in the university

Ed. here. Walt is north of the world's longest undefended (?) border to celebrate the Queen's Birthday. The queen in question is Queen Victoria, and even though she cannot visit Canada in person, she has sent her son, Prince Charles and his consort. Walt is hoping to get a royal autograph.

Meanwhile, it's my task -- just one of many -- to scan the Internet for items calculated to interest and enrage you, our dear followers. Today's edition of Canada's so-called National Post has two related columns, well worth reading, about racism and identity politics in the Great Not-so-white-anymore North.

"Why the Human Rights Commission is an early warning of Canada’s drift from free society to police state" contains some thoughts on political correctness and identity politics, penned by George Jonas, a Hungarian Jew who came to Canada as a refugee decades ago. Thoughts like this: "Identity politics play well in police states. We’re not there yet, not even in the vicinity. We’re just heading in that direction."

In "Check your bigotry" our old friend Rex Murphy -- we never miss his rants on CBC-TV's The National -- writes "Only in the very best universities would you ever be able to create a concept as stupid as 'white privilege'."

Here's a further quote: "...if there is one movement, that by its humourlessness, its obsessive mania and its blindness to its failings, chokes on its own goals, it is the so-called anti-racism movement. And you will find its most feverish exemplars in the very citadels of reason, the modern-day university campus. Nowhere in the West will one find such fundamentalist fury as in the frenzies of campus political correctness on the subject of race."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Obama national anthem

Today's really ho-hum episode of The Simpsons -- all the new ones are uniformly lame -- reminded me of The Glorious Fourth and got me in the frame of mind to listen to some patriotic music, something bloody and racist. Like "La Marseillaise". See "Is the French national anthem 'racist'?"

I thought about posting a video of "La Marseillaise" but Ed. asked what would be the point of that, and suggested something better -- The Obama National Anthem. Here `tis...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Latest news on rebuilding St. Elias; your help is appreciated

Walt is pleased to note that "Rebuilding Saint Elias - UPDATE", posted nearly six weeks ago, is getting steady readership. The post consistently ranks in our top 5. Even better, it appears that some of you are being motivated to donate through

The St. Elias website reports that approximately $75,000 has been received from outside the parish for the rebuilding of this lovely Ukrainian Catholic church, which was completely destroyed by fire just before Easter. Father Roman Galadza, the pastor, writes: "This outpouring of support is most humbling – and it continues.... God bless our friends!"

The latest news is that the stone footings and foundations of the church building have been compromised to the extent that they will all have to be removed. Clearing of the site will take place shortly. This week, Ilya Galadza and a team of helpers will sift through the remains. Those salvaged items no longer able to be used for worship will be set aside and placed in a mohyla-mound on the property. Date and time of the burial service will be announced.

Concerts and other forms of fund-raisers are being planned. Details will be posted on the church website. If you're in the Greater Toronto Area and can attend any of these events, you'll receive a warm welcome. And remember, even if you can do nothing else, you should pray for the parish -- its pastor, its members and its church building -- and for peace, freedom and justice in Ukraine. The prayers of the faithful (at about 38:00) should be listened to carefully.

Today Walt has for you an excellent video of the visit to the church, earlier this month, of Patriarch Sviatoslav. It begins with aerial shots of the church property, the ruins of the building and the marquee in which services are now being held. Total running time is 54 minutes. If you have never heard the beauty of Ukrainian Easter music (much of it sung in English), you'll want to watch all of it! And there's a great aerial shot of the church ruins at the end.

Friday, May 16, 2014

African terrorists kidnapping schoolkids - 1973 version

In "Nigerian schoolgirls: we've seen this movie before -- literally!", I said the saga of the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram -- did I mention they're militant Islamists? -- reminded me of an incident depicted in The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Agent 3, who lived in that part of the world for some years, tells me I could have done much better. The plot of the 1980 movie, he says, drew heavily on an actual kidnapping on the night of 5 July 1973. ZANLA terrorists fighting for the "liberation" of Rhodesia abducted 292
people -- almost the same number as were taken in Nigeria -- mainly children, from St. Albert’s Mission near Centenary.

Click here to read the Wikipedia article on the Rhodesian Bush War. Under what the black terrorists called the "white settler regime", Rhodesia was the second-most prosperous country in sub-Saharan Africa, after the Republic of South Africa, which coincidentally was also run by the white minority. Many Rhodesians were concerned that "majority rule" would bring chaos, as resulted when the Belgian Congo was decolonized in 1960.

The Bush War involved counter-insurgency operations by the Rhodesian Security Forces against two rival terrorist gangs, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA). In July 1973, ZANLA cadres, trained and supported by the Maoist Frelimo forces in Mozambique, attacked the school at St. Albert's Mission between Centenary and Mount Darwin in July 1973 and abducted 292 pupils and staff, whom they force-marched north into the Zambezi valley towards their base in Mozambique. This true story is almost exactly that told in The Gods Must be Crazy.

The terrorists were intercepted by the Rhodesian Security Forces, albeit without the assistance of the movie's bumbling but brave biologist. All but eight of the children and staff were recovered. Similar abductions were repeated over the following years and the security forces found themselves increasingly unable to prevent them.

The captured schoolchildren would be marched to ZANLA bases in Mozambique where they would undergo "political 're-education'" and guerrilla training. No mention is made of the girls being forced into marriage with the guerrillas, or worse, but unlike in Nigeria, the ZANLA terrorists were not Islamic fundamentalists.

Further reading: The St. Albert's Mission kidnapping is mentioned along with other incidents which occurred in Rhodesia in the months of July, 1890 through 1978, in the July 2013 edition of Contact! Contact!, a publication of the Rhodesian Services Association Inc. The online newsletter has all kinds of interesting factoids, photos, and Rhodie stuff for sale, so if you (like Agent 3) have some connection with the great country that has now become the far-from-great Zimbabwe, check it out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

VIDEO: Building a railroad from scratch for "The Lone Ranger"

OK, let's forget about the never-ending cares of the world for ten minutes. Here's a great video on the making of The Lone Ranger. To make the railroad scenes look real, they built a real, full-sized, 19th-century railroad, including the locomotives and rolling stock, from the ground up. Here you'll see why and how it was done.

Too bad, though, that The Lone Ranger turned out to be something of a rotten tomato. Johnny Depp is one of Walt's favourite actors, but (as mentioned in my review of The Rum Diary), his presence alone cannot overcome a bad script and/or bad directing and/or...

Thanks and a tip of the Stetson to Agent 6 -- a big fan of machines that move -- for sending this to us.

Footnote: If the opening shot in this video reminds me of the opening shot in Blazing Saddles... great minds think alike.

Not easy to find closure in current news stories

Walt is having trouble writing trenchant commentary on current events. Making predictions is tougher than it used to be. (Lifetime pct .982.) Why? Because for a prognostication to be declared true...or needs an end to the story, some kind of finality. And in the major stories of this year, we just don't find it.

Ukrainians are shooting each other in the eastern part of the country. Some of the shooters -- and some of the shootees -- may be Russians disguised as Ukrainians. Some of them may be Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Some may be Ukrainians who just wish they were Russians, although Walt can't imagine why. The numbers of dead, which were counted in single digits last month, are now counted in scores. No-one knows what Russia (meaning Putin) intends to do. The intention of the USA and the EU is obviously to do nothing.

The civil war Syria sputters on. Obama drew a red line in the sand years ago, Assaf crossed it, nothing was done, someone may have used chemical weapons but we're not sure who and anyway they're not doing it now, the balance of power seems to have shifted from the Islamic extremists back to the Assaf government, but half the sandpit is still contested, and on it goes.

The Afghanistan war is over. Well...kind of. All the infidel invaders have gone home except the Americans, and they're supposed to leave sometime this year, except that the Americans want to stay but want the Afghans to ask them to stay (to promote security and democracy yada yada) which doesn't look like happening until after another free and fair election (LOL) which just took place but whose result is unknown as yet. Meanwhile the poor people of Afghan are being forced to eat grass, according to the International Crisis Group, which means the West should pour more billions of your money and mine down the rat hole, and on it goes.

The search for MH370 continues, with not one body or piece of debris found and about 3/4 of the Indian ocean floor still to be combed. (No-one is going anywhere near Diego Garcia though.) The Malaysian government has released a report of its enquiry into the plane's disappearance. The paper takes all of five pages to tell us that they haven't a clue -- something they might have admitted in the first week, saving a lot of bad publicity.

The search for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls continues too. The Nigerian misgovernment says they haven't a clue as to where Boko Haram -- radical Islamic extremists, even though Obama doesn't like to say so -- has hidden the children, although they guess it might be in Nigeria somewhere. The USA may be sending drones to aid in the search, or maybe not, but no American boots will be on the ground, or maybe they will.

Having failed to bring peace to Israel/Palestine, John Kerry went on a tour of African hotspots -- South Sudan (Kerry went to Ethiopia -- close enough), Congo [which one? Ed.] and Angola, but not Nigeria -- yet the situation in Africa does not improve. Nor is the kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls a unique incident. See "Nigeria schoolgirls just part of Africa's cruel history of child soldiers, enslavement". Aren'tcha sick of it? Walt is.

And there's one more piece of "news" -- speculation, actually -- which is freezing the cockles of Walt's heart. The "Lexington" column in week's Economist magazine predicts that Hellery Clinton is almost certain to be the Democratic candidate for the US presidensity. Why? Many democrats, "Lexington" says, have buyer's remorse over the Obama debacle, and reason that it's Mrs Clinton's turn now, before she gets older than Reagan. Besides, who else is there? Joe Biden? John Kerry? Senator Hasbeen? Congressman Nobody?

But it gets worse. The Republican front-runner, according to "Lexington", is none other than Jeb Bush! (Michael Moore will be delighted!) As with the Dems, it's hard to think of any other plausible candidate. So we have 30 months in which to contemplate a presidential election between (a) Bush and (a) Clinton. Please excuse me now; I have to go outside and be sick.

Monday, May 12, 2014

VIDEO: Water bottle racism!

"Hey! Hey, ref! Hey! Dat honkie done put water up ma face!"

Walt's advice: Never mind the referee. Complain to the Human Rights Commission!

What's that all about? See "Subban's civil rights violated by racist Bruin player!"

Subban's civil rights violated by racist Bruin player!

On May 2nd, Poor Len Canayen asked the provocative question, "Is P.K. Subban a 'nigger'?". Len's point was that if someone doesn't want to be called a "nigger", he shouldn't act like one. Follow Hussesin Obama's example and act white!

Well, OK, you know what we mean. P.K. really needs to cut out the showboating and high-fivin', the prancing and dancing and carrying on like an NFL player who just scored a touchdown. The truly great hockey players just don't do those things. Even the other black hockey players don't do those things.

But P.K. Subban does. On Saturday night, he did a lot of fist-pumping and calling attention to his black self after scoring the Canadiens' second goal in what turned out to be a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. Throughout the game, he did what he's really good at -- antagonizing the other team and their fans. That's what Subban does and that's why he's reviled in every arena he plays in, except Montréal's Bell Centre where fans are content to have him inside the tent pissing out.

So antagonized was the Bruins' Shawn Thornton that, at the end of the game, he assaulted Subban! Not by hitting him with a fist or a stick in traditional hockey style, but -- gasp!!! -- squirting water on P.K.'s visor. Horrible! Racism!! Blackophobia!!! "That kind of thing has no place in our sport!" Yada yada yada.

But fear not. The National Hockey League is as politically correct as the NBA or any other professional sports group. The NHL assessed the hot-tempered Thornton a fine of $2,820.52, the maximum allowed under the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. That'll teach him, eh!

Will there be any more expressions of politically incorrect sentiment in Game 6? Find out tonight beginning at 1930 EDT.

Nigerian schoolgirls: we've seen this movie before -- literally!

Boko Haram, the fanatical Muslim militants who kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls a few days ago, have released a new video showing most of the girls are still alive. According to their captors, the girls are being well looked after and have converted to Islam. And they will be released, the thugs say, in exchange for prisoners being held by the Nigerian government.

Walt wonders why no-one has yet made the connection between the tragicomedy unfolding in Nigeria this month and the 1980 movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, a South African production starring Jamie Uys, the stunning Sandra Prinsloo and the little Bushman, N!xau, who plays the real hero of the story.

Since the IMDb plot summary misses half the story, Walt will explain the rest of it, and how it relates to the kidnappings in Nigeria.

The action takes place in the Kalahari desert, in Botswana, as Xi -- the Bushman played by N!xau -- encounters technology for the first time, in the shape of a Coke bottle thrown out of a passing plane. He takes it back to his people, who start to fight over it, so he decides to walk to the end of the earth to give it back to the gods who sent it.

On his trek, he meets Andrew Steyn (Uys) a shy and bumbling biologist (first seen analyzing elephant shit), who has himself just met and fallen for Kate Thompson (Prinsloo), who has come from the big modern city to the native village to teach school.

Meanwhile, in an unnamed neighbouring country [Agent 3 says it's meant to Angola. Ed.], a fanatical revolutionary has failed to overthrow the black dictator, and is fleeing to Botswana ahead of the dictator's incompetent security forces. In Botswana, the fanatic and his stupid and thuggish followers kidnap Miss Thompson's class of schoolgirls (and schoolboys), whom they force to march into the bush as hostages. Does this not sound familiar? Today, in Nigeria, life is imitating art!

"How does it all turn out?", I hear you ask. Well... Steyn and Mpudi (the coloured comic relief sidekick) and Xi cross paths, quite by accident, with Sam Boga and the kidnapped kids. They overpower the kidnappers using stupefying medicine -- Steyn is a biologist, remember -- and free the kids (and the lovely Miss Thompson), just as the Botswana police, led by a handsome white safari-leader, arrive to mop up. No-one is hurt and everyone is happy, including Xi, who eventually reaches the end of the earth and throws the Coke bottle over the edge.

Why has no-one drawn the parallel with this month's events in Nigeria? Could it be because The Gods Must Be Crazy was roundly denounced, from the day of its release, as being not just politically incorrect but frankly racist. The thuggish revolutionaries are black, cruel and incompetent -- just like Boko Haram. The Bushmen (so called in the movie although "San" or "Sho" are the PC terms) are shown as primitive and childlike -- which they were until very recently. The whities are portrayed as the only ones smart and brave enough to sort the problem out peacefully.

In short... whites civilized, blacks uncivilized. Well... sorry, my PC friends, but that's how Africa was at the time. Has it changed appreciably? Errr, no.

The Gods Must Be Crazy is very funny -- even if you're non-white -- well, and worth seeing. However, as sequels usually do, The Gods Must Be Crazy II sucks.

Further reading on WWW: "The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the Mirror Image Fallacy" and "'Slacktivism' -- idle, impotent and irrelevant"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Slacktivism" -- idle, impotent and irrelevant

Malala's doing it. Hellery Clinton's doing it. Michelle Obama's doing it.

Everybody's doing it. Except Walt. [And Ed. Ed.]

What's "it"? Why tweeting #BringBackOurGirls of course! The reference is to the dastardly kidnapping of close to 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram.

These guys are Islamic extremists by the way. Walt points that out because the PC media, politicians and pundits seem incapable of saying the words "Islamists" or "Muslims" in referring to these terrorists. Even the CBC's Rex Murphy -- usually a straight shooter -- got through his 5-minute piece on The National on Thursday without once alluding to the religion which Boko Haram claim inspires them.

But I digress. Most of the girls are still "missing", with the Nigerian authorities professing to have no idea where to look for them. Nigeria's head nagger, Goodluck Jonathan, has appeared on TV begging for technology, weapons and, errr, money to help his army rescue the girls. He said nothing about returning the weapons, jeeps or whatever once the girls are found.

Meanwhile, all right-thinking people agree that, yes, Boko Haram are a bad lot, and shouldn't sell the girls into slavery, prostitution and/or marriage. Hence the hashtag. It has become fashionable, in the last couple of days, to scrawl the hashtag on a piece of cardboard, take a picture of yourself holding it, and post it in the social media, which Walt thinks ought to be called the "anti-social media".

Twittering, tweeting, retweeting... whatever you call taking the "action" just described is, you see, Doing Something. Posting a picture of yourself displaying #BringBackOurGirls shows support for them, you see. One cam imagine them seeing all the tweets on their iPhones, somewhere in the middle of the African bush, and being encouraged.

And who knows? Maybe the thugs who call themselves Boko Haram will see that 1000s of people have the courage to put these pictures online, and be motivated by compassion or fear to do what the hashtag commands. But Walt doubts it. For one thing, these Muslim terrorists -- don't forget it! -- don't look very literate. If they can read Hausa, which is written in Arabic script. Seeing signs in English -- the language of "boko" (= "book", = western/Christian education and culture) probably provokes them to fits of anger and/or laughter.

Tweeting #BringBackOurGirls or anything other expression of your "thoughts" on this or any other subject is a weak and futile gesture. It's like adding a few flowers -- possibly accompanied by a teddy bear -- to one of those "memorials" that spring up at the site of an accident or a crime.

You may think you're Doing Something when you tweet or twitter or throw more garbage on the heap, but really you're guilty of "slacktivism" -- making a small, meaningless gesture to show that you "care" and ease your guilty conscience. Why you or Michelle Obama should feel guilty about something which you had nothing to do with, and which has nothing to do with you, is another matter. But if you really want to help, find a better way.

"Like what?", I hear you ask. That's a toughie, but perhaps a donation to an organization like Amnesty International, or a reputable NGO working to educate girls in the third world, would do some good. Meanwhile, please spare us the vapid and ultimately useless tweets.

Further reading on WWW: "The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the Mirror Image Fallacy"

Thursday, May 8, 2014

VIDEO: Awesome air show coming up in July

Marketing experts have long known that nothing stimulates a real man like... wait for it... moving conveyances -- things that get you from point A to point B (or beyond) in the fastest and most furious a manner possible. You know: planes, trains and automobiles. [That would make a great title for a movie! Ed.]

Earlier today we did a great camper-trailer, attached to a pretty great off-road unit. Who said the Japanese can't build a better jeep? Now it's time for stuff that really moves, a passion for which Walt shares with Agent 17.

Here's the trailer for this year's Duxford Air Show, featuring the wonderful warbirds. As far as I know, you won't see as large and fine a collection, all in the air at the same time, anywhere in North America. Definitely worth the trip to Old Blighty.

VIDEO: The camper trailer you've always wanted...

...but didn't know actually exists!

Of course you may have to go to Australia to take delivery.

Walt doesn't get a cent for posting this. [Do they have cents in Australia? Or is it "pence"? Ed.] I just think it's awesome. But if you do happen to visit the manufacturer's website and maybe buy one of their fine products, be sure to them Walt sent you.

Thanks to Agent 6 for the lead.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the Mirror Image Fallacy

BREAKING NEWS: "8 more Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram gunmen"

In case you've been on another planet, the last three weeks have seen a horror story emerge from Africa -- where else -- that has provoked more than the usual amount of international interest and indignation. Some 230 girls in their mid-teens were kidnapped from their school in the state of Borno, in northern Nigeria. This happened on April 14th and none of the girls has been seen since.

Reports last week said that some of the girls were taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad. Others are said to have been forced to "marry" their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price of $12. Paying a bride price is still customary in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, although the girl's worth is nowadays calculated in cash rather than cattle.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said everything was being done to find the girls. Walt wishes him good luck [Geddit? Ed.] and will help by explaining who took the girls and why. Here's a CNN video that makes things pretty clear. [No. Clear, but not pretty. Ed.]

CNN and the rest of the lamestream media make it clear enough that the schoolgirls were taken by Boko Haram. The CNN reporter describes them as "jihadists". What that means -- and what the politically correct western media almost never spell out -- is that Boko Haram are Islamic extremists. Fanatically militant Muslims!

Walt has written about Boko Haram before. See "Nigerian archbishop says Boko Haram fanaticism increasing" and "Islamic extremists don't discriminate; they kill anyone and everyone".

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", has attacked schools, churches, bus stations, anything and everything, all over the predominantly Muslim northern part of Nigeria. In a video circulating on the Net today, one of their leaders, Abubakar Shekau, said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married. "God instructed me to sell them," he said. "They are his properties and I will carry out his instructions!"

The other reason the lamestream media are downplaying the Islamic extremist angle is that these fanatics happen to be, errr, African -- as black as the ace of spades. So when attention is called to their race and their religion, it agitates the liberal one-worlders who believe that we are really all the same inside. To do so offends their naive notions about the Brotherhood of Man [and Woman? Ed.]

To aver that people are people, undifferentiated by race, religion, language and culture, is absurd. It is the Mirror Image Fallacy, writ large. The mirror image fallacy is the wrongly assumed belief that others share our thoughts, responses, and perspectives. That is just not so. The Islamic fundamentalists are nothing like us.

So when America and Britain offer to "help", to "facilitate" or "mediate" or somehow make a connection between Boko Haram and civilized people, they are committing what Charles Krauthammer called a "plural solipsism". In "The Mirror-Image Fallacy", penned for Time way back in 1983, Mr. Krauthammer concluded "To gloss over contradictory interests, incompatible ideologies and opposing cultures as sources of conflict is more than anti-political. It is dangerous."

Further reading: "The Mirror-Image Fallacy" is included in Charles Krauthammer's new book, Things That Matter (Crown Forum 2013),a collection of 88 of his columns spanning three decades. You'll find a review and some excerpts in "The Insights of Charles Krauthammer", by Lauri B. Regan on The American Thinker website.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's wrong with the canonization of John Paul II: Michael Matt

I am really sorry that I didn't post this before the Big Event. It only came to my attention this weekend. Michael Matt, the editor of The Remnant, calls on his neo-Catholic brothers to drop the narrative and come to the aid of the Church as the secular press turns on the Vatican's decision to fast-track the canonization of Pope John Paul II.

He quotes some interesting statements by the Vatican's chief media spokesthingy, Father Federico Lombardi, who tells us that a person doesn't necessarily have to lead a saintly life or do saintly things to be declared a saint. Incredible!

Note from Ed.: I've had to "disimbed" the video because the video player associated with it caused the video to start running the minute you hit our home page, which interfered with other posts and videos. Click here to view the Michael Matt video. It's well worth watching!

At about the 10 minute mark (total running time 14:51), Mr. Matt comments on the disaster that is the "New Mass" -- the Novus Ordo mass foisted on us by the Protestants and Masons who were "advisors" to Vatican II. I was reminded of just how bad the New Mass can be -- aesthetically if not theologically -- when I chanced on a televised "Mass for Shut-ins" earlier today.

The "music" was provided by two size-XL ladies accompanied by their husbands -- I'm guessing -- on the inevitable guitars. Oh Lord -- this is a prayer -- spare me from ever again having to hear 60s-style folk music in a Catholic church! Anyway, I knew the mass was over when the fat ladies sang.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Religious persecution rampant in 15 countries. Guess which ones...

Earlier today I wrote about the increasing persecution of Christians -- and Muslims and Buddhists -- in Communist China. See "Religious freedom guaranteed by Communist China's constitution? LMAO!" But China is not the only country whose government is out to get believers.

In its newly released annual report for 1914, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urges the State Department to designate (or redesignate) 15 nations as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because they are places “where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated.”

Here's the USCIRF list, in alphabetical order, with notes from Walt on who's persecuting whom.

CPCs -- Countries of Particular Concern
Burma - Buddhist majority would like to drive Muslim and Hindu minorities out of the country entirely.
China - No discrimination, persecutes all religions. Follow the link above.
Egypt - Cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood at the moment, but Coptic Christians are a much persecuted minority.
Eritrea - The Eritrean government tolerates Orthodox, Catholics, Lutherans and Muslims, but has cracked down in the last decade on evangelical Protestants. "In Eritrea, 'Persecution greater than ever and getting worse'"
Iran - The Ayatollahs are still in charge. No infidels allowed.
Iraq - Like Iran except that the Muslims are killing each other, with Christians caught in the middle. See "'We are a ruined church': Patriarch Sako talks about Christianity in Iraq"
Nigeria - "Boko haram". Virtual civil war between the militant Islamists in the north and the somewhat Christian south.
North Korea - Worse than China.
Pakistan - Kill anyone who dares to blaspheme against the Prophet.
Saudi Arabia - Worse than Iran.
Sudan - Another Islamic state. Christians should refugee to strife-torn South Sudan PDQ.
Syria - Worse than Iraq, even without the "help" of America.
Tajikistan - No. 44 (only) on the OpenDoors watch list of countries that persecute Christians.
Turkmenistan - See Tajikistan (above) or Uzbekistan (below). All the "Stans" are the same -- no place for infidels.
Uzbekistan - Human Rights Watch said in its 2013 World Report authorities "persecute religious believers who worship outside strict state controls". Yes, even Muslims.
Vietnam - Like China, only smaller, and with no to worry about. Like Cuba in struggling to suppress the Catholic Church.

"Governments that engage in or tolerate violations that are serious, but which are not CPC-level violators"
Afghanistan - No comment necessary.
Azerbaijan - Another state where all citizens are theoretically free to choose their religion. In practice the government -- like those of China and Eritrea -- maintains many Soviet-era controls over religion. 90% of the people are non-observant Muslims.
Cuba - Communist government hasn't been able to extinguish the deep Catholic Faith of the people, but the Church is far from free.
India - Supposedly a secular state, but violence by Hindu extremists against Muslims and (especially) Christians goes unpunished.
Indonesia - World's biggest Muslim nation (by population), with Sharia law being promoted in some places (like Aceh province) and ongoing violence against Christians.
Kazakhstan - Another "Stan"; see Pakistan, Tajikistan, etc.
Laos - Majority Buddhist population. Government doesn't mind Catholics, but seeks to control incursions by Protestant missionaries. Malaysia - Very Muslim, but Christians aren't killed so much as locked up if they don't follow Islamic laws and customs. For instance, a Christian who dares to say "Allah" could do some jail time.
Russia - Probably on the list because the USA doesn't like the Putin government. Orthodox Christianity is the established religion -- antagonism to Catholicism lurks below the surface -- but it's really the Protestants who are targeted.
Turkey - Officially a secular state, becoming more and more Islamic in practice.

Countries which persecute religious minorities but somehow got left off the USCIRF list
Israel - Even John Kerry knows it's a de facto "apartheid state".
United States of America - Where the secular humanists who run the media and the so-called administration of President Hussein Obama are trying harder than ever to restrict or eliminate entirely the freedom of Christians -- especially Catholics and evangelical Protestants -- to live their lives in accordance with their religious convictions. Or, we might say, to obey God rather than the godless.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the United States constitution. Just like that of Communist China.

Religious freedom guaranteed by Communist China's constitution? LMAO!

The constitution of the People's Republic of China -- Communist China, that is -- guarantees "freedom of religion". Yes, if you're a Chinese citizen, you're welcome to worship in any way, in any church, as long as it's "approved" by the Party. Example: the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a schismatic "church" set up by the comrades after the 1949 revolution.

If, however, you're a Catholic who wants to be in communion with Rome, you risk being arrested, imprisoned, tortured, even executed. See "Cardinal Zen: Vatican appeasement hurts true Church in China" and "Church refuses to see tyranny of Chinese communism: Cardinal Zen".

This week saw yet another example of the "freedom of religion" enjoyed by Catholics in China. Communist officials in Wenzhou -- a city known as "China's Jerusalem" -- have removed some statues and bricked over others at Longgang Hill, a famous Catholic pilgrimage site.

The New Zealand Herald passes on a report from UCA News that government workers sealed off the holy site, and used bricks to "hide" statues portraying moments from the Passion of Christ, including the Crucifixion. Statues of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, each weighing up to five tons, were "bricked around to hide them from public view" while cranes were used to remove other holy statues and tablets from the park. All other religious decoration was demolished.

But it's not just the Catholics who are being targeted. Officials in Zhejiang province (of which Wenzhou is the capital) have begun a campaign against all Christian institutions and recently demolished Sanjiang church, a large Protestant church that was a member of the Communist association of Protestant churches. The church had recently become a symbol of resistance to the Communist Party's draconian anti-religious policies.

Christians accuse Communist Party leaders of trying to slow the growth of the Faith by destroying churches deemed too "conspicuous". The "anti-church" campaign reflects Beijing's extreme discomfort with the rapid spread of Christianity in China, which one leading academic recently predicted could have the largest Christian congregation in the world by 2030.

But it's not just the Christians who are being targeted. The Communist government also fears the Uighurs, the largest of China's ethnic minorities, who comprise more than half the population of Xinjiang, and significant percentages of the people of neighbouring provinces. The Uighurs are Muslims, which to the Beijing government means "terrorists", actual or potential.

Then there's Tibet, where most ethnic Tibetans have the temerity to cling to their form of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is their spiritual leader, and they hope and pray for his return and for the independence of their country, which was invaded and annexed by China in 1950. That makes the Tibetans (along with the Uighurs), "splittists", in the eyes of the Communist authorities.

Those ungrateful Buddhists... and Muslims... and Catholics! They don't seem to appreciate the freedoms they enjoy under the constitution of the People's Republic of China. Why must they be so damn inscrutable?! Why do they have to have any religion at all?! Better to believe there is no god but the Party! Will they ever learn?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is P.K. Subban a "nigger"?

Note from Ed.: Today's topics are hockey and a certain Canadian hockey player, so we're turning the blog over to our old and cher ami, Poor Len Canayen.

Trending on Twitter today are the words "P.K. Subban" and "nigger". [Notice he didn't say "N-bomb". We're not afraid to call a spade a spade. Ed.] Seems that following the Montréal Canadiens double overtime victory over the big bad Boston Bruins last night, some Beantowners ranted and roared about the said P.K., a person of colour who scored the game-winning goal for les Glorieux... not to mention the first goal as well.

Remarks were made that were, frankly, racist and offensive. It was suggested, inter alia, that a "nigger" should not be playing a white man's game. Walt and I have been highly critical of Mr. Subban in times past, but wish to make it clear that our expressed wish to have him traded to some other team are not based on his race. Please reread:
"Memo to Marc Bergevin: It's time to trade Subban!"
"P.K. can't be trusted on the P.K.!" and
"M Bergevin, les amateurs du CH vous prient! [Don't worry. It's in English! Ed.]

Our quarrel with P.K. Subban is, first of all, that he's not the great defenceman he's cracked up to be.

But (I hear you say) he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman, and he was chosen to play on Team Canada in the 2014 Olympics. I have two words for you: political correctness! Yes, he was on Team Canada, and used by coach Mike Babcock for all of 12 minutes in Canada's easiest game (against Austria). Why? Because Babcock -- a pretty savvy hockey guy -- knows that when it comes to defence, P.K. is a liability. Which is what I said.

Look at the picture above. See P.K. skate. See his knuckles drag on the ice when he makes a turn. See him fall down. Why does he keep doing that? I'll tell you why. Because he's top-heavy, that's why! Not unlike a certain African animal whose genus begins with "G". A disproportionate amount of his size and strength is in his upper body.

So what does P.K. do? He tries to make a virtue of it by doing the Savardian spin-o-rama on offence and, on defence, diving to block a shot, sliding across in front of Carey Price or Peter Budaj, playing the hero. Trouble is, the other teams are onto that trick. All a smart opponent has to do is wait until Subban dives, then lift the puck over him. As Don Cherry often says, a defenceman can't do much when he's flat on the ice.

Speaking of which, Donless got called out in at least one Canadian newspaper today for daring to call attention (again) to Subban's several missed attempts to throw a mean hip check. Mr. Cherry says a hip check is great if you connect with the onrushing forward -- the way Alexei Emelin does -- but you're screwed if you miss -- as P.K. Subban often does.

All of which makes him risky on defence, as anyone paying attention could have seen last night. Yes, he scored two goals, and good for him. But he was the goat on Boston's third goal, the one which sent the game into overtime. He got running around in the Canadiens' zone, then stopped and stood like a pylon in front of Carey Price while trying to figure out what to do next.

Our other problem with P.K. Subban is his constant acting like the Big Star he obviously wants to be. Team management put a stop to the high-five-low-five routine he did at the end of games two seasons ago, but he still stands at the gate (after a win) and high-fives the other players as they come off the ice, as if he was the coach and the captain. Nobody else does that, not even the coach or the captain.

It's the show-boating and hot-dogging that makes people call P.K. Subban a "nigger". He acts like a person of colour playing in the NFL or NBA. But this is the NHL -- National HOCKEY League. Hockey players are expected to be modest and sportsmanlike. Yes, even the greatest ones, like Wayne Gretzky and Jean Béliveau. A more courtly and gentlemanly player than Béliveau cannot be imagined. A class act all the way, on and off the ice.

But that kind of modesty doesn't suit P.K. Oh no. Instead, we see the tugging at the "CH" logo on his chest, the alpha male breast-beating, the aforementioned high fives and suchlike showing off. That's nigger behaviour! And before you accuse me of a racist remark, let me point out that not all black people carry on like that. Can you imagine the Prez doing that kind of thing after sinking a 3-pointer on the White House basketball court?

OK, maybe that's stretching it a bit. But closer to home, there's the example of Wayne Simmonds, who's almost as black as Subban. He plays for the Philadelphia Flyers and plays pretty well too -- got a hat trick in their win over the Rangers last week. Yes, he'll pump his fist in the air and do the usual fly-by -- like all the other guys -- but none of this "look how great I am" stuff.

And guess what? You don't hear people booing Wayne Simmonds in every arena he goes to, every time he steps onto the ice. And I would guess that he is called a "nigger" rarely, if ever. Why? Because he doesn't act like one!

"We are a ruined church": Patriarch Sako talks about Christianity in Iraq

Migration of Christians: Percussion of the Alarm Bells is a very sad commentary by Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, on the situation of Christians in Iraq.

Patriarch Sako blames the American invasion of Iraq for the demise of the Church in his country. "We are a ruined church", he said. "1400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world."

The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church. Founded in the earliest days of Christianity (1st to 3rd centuries A.D.), it was originally a part of The Assyrian Church of the East, until in the 16th century Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa entered communion with the Roman Catholic Church. It was renamed as the Chaldean Catholic Church by Rome in 1683.

The Chaldean Catholic Church presently comprises an estimated 500,000 believers, mostly ethnic Assyrians indigenous to northern Iraq, and areas bordering it in southeast Turkey, northeast Syria and northwest Iran. This is a troubled area, coinciding geographically with large parts of what is called "Kurdistan", where the Muslim majority are struggling to carve their own state out of parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. In central and south Iraq, fighting between Sunni and Shia Muslims goes on as usual, in spite of -- or because of -- the failure of the American "intervention".

According to Patriarch Sako, the West would have been better off leaving the local peoples to sort out their differences on their own. "Democracy and change come through upbringing and education rather than through conflict," he said. "Intervention by the West in the region did not solve the problems...but on the contrary, produced more chaos and conflict."

Referring to the régime of Saddam Hussein, the patriarch said that "in the Church of the Ascension, Al-Mashtal, for example, there were about 5000 families and over 240 students preparing for their First Holy Communion before the régime’s fall.... On 25 April 2014, I celebrated in this church the Holy Mass for First Holy Communion of 13 students only."

"[Iraqi] government authorities bear part of the responsibility of this migration for failing to restore security and stability," Patriarch Sako continued. He called upon Muslim clerics to issue "a joint statement denying all forms of violence, mistrust and considering others as 'infidels'" and calling "for peace and brotherhood among the people."

For all the goodwill exhibited by Patriarch Sako, Walt thinks the likelihood of any such statement coming out of Iraq is about the same as that of Pope Francis admitting that "we are a ruined church" applies in the larger sense to the Roman Catholic Church as a whole.