Monday, September 29, 2014

Hong Kong's "Umbrella Revolution" -- paying the price for democracy

This past June, Joseph Cardinal Zen, the retired Archbishop of Hong Kong, reiterated his support for a democracy initiative in that "Special Administrative Region" of China. See "China -- not a good place to be a democrat or a Catholic". He predicted that the people of Hong Kong would "hit back if they are repressed and forced to be enslaved."

As surely as the red sun rises in the East, the Communist government of China announced in August that it would allow universal suffrage in Hong Kong when the next "Chief Executive Officer" of the SAR is elected in 2017. Just one catch though. All candidates for the office will have to be vetted and approved by the Communist Party of China. As they say in Harbin (where they actually do play hockey), the puck will be nailed to the stick.

The people of Hong Kong are not stupid. Although they never had universal suffrage in the days when HKG was a British colony, its people know how democracy should work, and what the Reds are "giving" them ain't it! So they've taken to the streets in their 1000s, in what started out as a peaceful protest. The "Occupy Central" demonstration turned into a near riot, as police assaulted the protesters with batons, pepper spray and teargas. As the picture shows, the protesters came prepared, raising umbrellas to deflect the noxious chemicals.

Leung Chun-ying, the po-faced incumbent CEO, surveyed the scene [That's a Chinese inside joke. Ed.] and declared the demonstrations illegal. The protesters were rioters, he said, and their demands for civic nomination of candidates for the position "lie outside the boundaries of the Basic Law" (Hong Kong’s mini-constitution).

Flanked by senior police officials as he spoke, Mr. Leung promised that protesters would be dealt with appropriately. The equipment carried by the special riot police on Sunday night suggests the authorities have access to much worse stuff than pepper spray and teargas, should they wish to use it.

Those brave enough to demonstrate for democracy and freedom -- most of them seem to be students -- may well fear for their safety, or even their lives. Remember what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989! It's one thing to face up to cops on foot, wielding batons, but quite another to stand in front of a tank.

The big question today is how much longer the cat-and-mouse game between riot police and demonstrators can go on. As of the early hours of this morning (HKG time), police were still holding up warning signs, announcing that tear gas canisters would be fired, so giving protesters time to disperse and then regroup. That kind of "playing by the Marquess of Queensbury Rules" shouldn't be expected if Beijing sends in the so-called People's Liberation Army. PLA troops will likely to be brought from northern China, unable to speak Cantonese and less sympathetic than local police.

Mr. Leung is under intense pressure from Beijing to end the demonstrations before October 1st, when the Communist party celebrates the 65th anniversary of its seizure of power in power. Says William Lam (an old China hand) "If he can’t clear the streets and restore order he will be scolded by Beijing."

The last thing China's president, Xi Jinping, wants is to have one of the country’s most important cities in open revolt. The censors of the Great Firewall of China are working flat out to stop the spread of news about what is going on in Hong Kong. Key words have been banished from popular microblogging sites such as Weibo. [WWW is permanently blocked in China. Ed.]

The only thing worse than an openly defiant Hong Kong would be if protesters in other Chinese cities came out in sympathy. Unfortunately for Mr. Leung, he can't even begin to negotiate with the protesters, because he has nothing whatever to bring to the table. His masters in Beijing -- Mr. Leung does not admit publicly to being a Party member -- will not budge on their pronouncement about universal suffrage, which establishes a screening mechanism to ensure that only pro-Communist candidates need apply.

The Umbrella Revolution has already made a mockery of the concept of "one country, two systems", proclaimed when the British handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997. The people of Hong Kong aren't kidding themselves. The reality is one big country, one little "special administrative region" and only one system.

Further reading on WWW: "Church refuses to see tyranny of Chinese communism: Cardinal Zen"

Today the Senate, tomorrow the Élysée Palace!

This is the Le Palais de l'Élysée, the residence of the presidents of France. Quite an impressive pile, isn't it? More so than the White House, although I'll give you the latter's better lawns.

The Élysée palace is currently -- and temporarily -- occupied by one François Hollande, the most unpopular French president of modern times. But all that could change with the next presidential election, due in 1917. Walt is sending a tape measure (so she can measure windows for new drapes) to Marine Le Pen, leader of France's rightist Front National (= National Front) party.

Supporters of the FN were mightily encouraged this weekend, when the party won its first two seats in the French Senate, in what Mme Le Pen described as a "historic victory... beyond what we hoped for."

Half of the Senate's seats are elected by regional officials across the country every three years. Final results today are expected to confirm control of the Senate passing to conservative parties such as the UMP and UDI, and the ultra-conservative Front National. They are expected to share a majority of 10 or 20 seats in the 348-seat chamber.

The win comes on the heels of a strong showing by the FN and other Eurosceptic and right-wing parties in May's elections to the European Parliament.

Stéphane Ravier, one of the two newly-elected FN senators exulted, "There is only one door left for us to push and it is that of the Élysée." Vive le Front!

Further reading on WWW: "The next president of France? Could be!"

"Mary Had a Little Lamb" -- the true story behind the poem

Walt was preoccupied this weekend with the fight for democracy in Hong Kong. Agent 78 is helping with translation but the time difference is making it difficult to get blow-by-blow coverage. Yesterday it was pepper spray and tear gas. Today... rubber bullets? And tomorrow?

I'll get to the heavy stuff in a little while, but for the moment -- a warm-up exercise if you will -- the true story behind the creation of "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Walt names names and gives you the straight poop.

It seems there was a Mary, a girl by the name of Mary Sawyer, who lived in Stirling MA, not far from Boylston, Berlin and Bolton. Her father had a flock of sheep, one of whom Mary adopted because it was kind of sickly. She called it "Snow". Not very original and not very accurate either. Those who have seen them up close know that sheep are not even close to snow white.

One day in 1814, Mary's brother -- his name was Nathaniel -- left the gate open. Sure enough, the lamb followed Mary to school, where the kids were allowed to play with it before the teacher locked it in a shed.

One of Mary's classmates was a young lad (aged 13) named John Raulstone, a wannabe poet. He turned the incident into the now well-known and much parodied poem. Fast forward to 1830, when the children's teacher, Polly Kimball, sent the poem to Today's Magazine for Ladies. The poem was an instant hit, destined for immortality.

As for Snow, Mary's mother made a couple of pairs of stockings out of its wool. Then the family ate it.

Adapted from My Cross-Country Checkup, by Walter Stewart (Stoddart 2000) -- an account of the Stewarts' motor trip across Canada from sea to sea to sea, a little dated now but still a good read.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NO! DON'T microwave your iPhone!

Walt hates to be the one to break the news to you, but not everything you read on the Internet is true. Not even the ads. Especially the ads! Take this example.

Writing on the "Mashable" website, beautiful Neha Prakash tells us that this authentic-looking ad is actually a hoax. The perps are some of the merry pranksters who hang out at 4chan, "a simple image-based bulletin board" where anyone can post comments and share images. That's the website where the stolen images of more than 100 nude celebrities (including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton) were first widely shared.

On Wednesday, some of the 4chan sleuths banded together to create this slick-looking ad, suggesting that Apple's new operating system, iOS8, was so advanced that you could "wave charge your device by placing it within a household microwave for a minute and a half." It also warns users not to "wave-charge" for more than 300 seconds.

The ad has been widely circulated on Twitter and Reddit, and, believe it or not, there are some people dumb enough to bite. Here's proof, as seen on Twitter.

Of course, this photo could be a fake. And that's the lesson to take away from today's Warning From Walt!

Note from Ed.: Walt doesn't mean you should disbelieve everything you see everywhere on the Net. You can believe what you see and read here on WWW. Well... mostly... most of the time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Dark guy in the middle..." OOPS! Not PC!

Who's "the dark guy in the middle" of this picture from last night's Vancouver Canucks pre-season game?

No! P.K. Subban has not been traded to Vancouver by Montréal, in spite of Poor Len Canayen's pleas last spring. "The dark guy in the middle" is actually P.K.'s youngest brother Jordan, who's trying to crack the Canucks line-up for the coming NHL season.

The caption, including the words "the dark guy in the middle", appeared in the Vancouver Sun. "Concerns" were immediately expressed in the Twitterverse by the usual suspects, the Forces Against Racism, Committee for Political Correctness, etc etc. Apparently it's not acceptable point out that the Subbans -- the middle brother, Malcolm, wears the "B" of the Boston Bruins -- are, in fact, black. [Please don't say "credits to their race". Ed.]

The Sun has since changed the caption.

Afghan refugee fails to learn ways of new home, meets sudden death

Here's a true crime story from Toronto, the most multicultural city in Canada...maybe in all of North America. Since the time of Trudeau the Father (not to be confused with the Son, who now walks among us), successive Canadian governments have swung wide the gates to the promised land, the Great Not-so-white-anymore North. Every year, Canada admits over 250,000 "newcomers" -- over 7% of its population -- as immigrants, refugee and asylum-seekers. The majority of the newcomers are vizmins -- the poor, the wretched, the huddled masses -- most of whom settle in Toronto and Vancouver, where they'll feel right at home.

You might think that there would be a lot of racial tension a city like Toronto, where white folks are in the minority. You would be correct, but you wouldn't have your suspicions confirmed by the lamestream media, particularly the Toronto Star and the local CTV outlet, which pointedly refrain from mentioning the race or ethnicity or immigration status in their coverage of the stabbings, shootings, robberies, rapes and suchlike daily occurrences in the wannabe world-class city.

Which brings us to the story of yesterday's killing of a student at North Albion Collegiate (a high school in the very dark northwest corner of Toronto) by another student. One student was stabbed to death by another. That was the extent of first reports in the local media. Of course viewers/readers knew immediately that the persons involved wouldn't be whites of European descent. When the bingo-callers on CTV said police were looking for a young male suspect, people immediately jumped to the conclusion that the word "black" had been omitted from the script. And it was so.

Unusually, though, the victim wasn't black. He was, in fact, a refugee from Afghanistan, 19-year-old Hamid Aminzada, who had been studying ESL at the school. He should have taken some classes in "social studies" too. If he had done so, or otherwise acquired the "street smarts" necessary to survival in multicultural Toronto, he would have learned that it's unwise to jump into the middle of a knife fight between two black guys!

Police said Mr. Aminzada had intervened in an argument between two other students and was stabbed multiple times. A spokesthingy told the media, "The victim was trying to defuse a situation between two other individuals... and it turned very, very tragic." Ignoring the poor grammar, the cop's statement was right on the money.

Last night, a 17-year-old boy turned himself in to police, accompanied by his lawyer (paid for by legal aid, of course) and was charged with second-degree murder. He made a brief court appearance this morning. Because he is a poor misguided juvenile [delinquent? Ed.] his name cannot be revealed. Because of political correctness, his race -- black -- won't be mentioned either.

But Walt's readers in Toronto need not be alarmed. This is not the first battle in a racial conflict between (just sayin') African-Canadians and Muslims. The chairperson of the Toronto District School Board described it as nothing more than "yet another isolated incident".

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In praise of demagoguery

You will have noticed, dear reader, that elections are in progress -- if such it may be called -- in many of the English-speaking Western democracies. Scotland, New Zealand, parts of Canada and, yes, the Excited States of America are being subjected to an onslaught of political speech-making.

Politicians of all stripes get up on their hind legs and flap their gums in an effort to convince the electorate to turn out in great numbers to vote for them. Yet, with the exception of last week's referendum in Scotland, voters are staying away from the polls in droves. Apathy reigns. In one small Ontario municipality, a newspaper poll suggested that voters prefer "Nobody" to the incumbent mayor or any of the challengers.

Why is this? Why do so few voters nowadays seem to care about who rules them or what policies their governments pursue? The answer, in Walt's humble opinion [!!! Ed.] is that no-one who speaks from a public platform is willing or able to deliver a truly inspirational stump speech -- the kind that gets people roused up, cheering spontaneously, throwing their hats in the air, and rushing into the streets to demonstrate, or at least vote.

I have to go back a half-century to recall the last time I heard a politician give such a speech. It was in 1964, in a state far away. The major issue dividing the USA at the time was "civil rights". Political correctness was in its infancy, then, and you had to be mighty careful about how you stated your views on the question, or on the group of people the great civil rights revolution was supposed to benefit.

Southern politicians had to learn a variant of the N-word to refer to folks who were later to be called "black", and, still later "African-American". But at least there were still some who had the courage to stand up and oppose forced integration, affirmative action, and all the other brilliant ideas which the Eastern eggheads assured us would result in equality for all Americans. This will all end badly, the "antis" said, because people are not all the same, and you can't legislate character and attitude. For saying so, those politicians were called "racists", "rabble-rousers" and "demagogues".

They had committed the grievous sin of standing up for what they believed, and shouting it from the rooftops or the courthouse steps. That was because they were white. It's OK, even today, to be a "demagogue" but only if you're black. A "demagogue", the dictionary tells us, is "a person, especially a political leader, who wins people's support by exciting their emotions". Like this gentleman.

Now that's what Walt calls demagoguery! You don't hear that kind of speechifying nowadays, at least not from white men. Jesse Jackson can still get a crowd to rise up. So can "Rev." Al Sharpton. Barack Hussein Obama would like to do it, but suffers by comparison, perhaps because he's torn between trying to sound like a (white) university professor and a "real black" leader.

Being an effective speaker -- like King, Jackson and Sharpton -- doesn't mean, though, that you have to be black. Nor does it mean you have to believe sincerely in what you're saying. (Hello, Reverend Sharpton!) Nor does it mean your ideas have to be sound. Your ideas can be crazy or downright evil. (Wie gehts, Adolf Hitler!) But you have to be able to express them clearly and forcefully. You have to be able to get the crowd with you, not just nodding their heads and applauding politely, but frothing at the mouth and champing at the bit to go out there and do what must be done...or at least vote.

Where are the orators of yesteryear? At the moment, Walt's favourite conservative politician is Dr. Ron Paul. (Yes, I know he's really a libertarian -- even better!) I've heard him speak. He speaks common sense. He speaks the truth. And he believes most sincerely in what he's saying. But, sadly, the passion isn't there.

In defence of Dr. Paul and all the other politicians and leader wannabes of our day, it must be said that the means of public communication has changed the style of public communication. The days when people would turn out in their 1000s to hear a speech by a politician are long gone. If there's a celebrity factor in play, as used to be the case with the Prez, you might still see a sizable crowd, but inevitably the speaker doesn't play to the audience, but to the video cameras.

A live speech to a large crowd is a hot medium. But, as Marshall McLuhan said, television is a cool medium. TV watchers don't want to be shouted at in their own living rooms. So people "making a speech" on TV adjust their styles, reading from the autocue -- no-one speaks off the cuff any more -- in the quiet, gentle voice of sweet reason. Histrionics and demagoguery are out. Being cool is in.

But how do people respond? Tepidly or not at all! People don't stand up in their living rooms and cheer! They don't even applaud. If the speaker makes a good point, without passion, the hearer thinks -- not "says", but "thinks" -- yes, that's a good point, I'll keep it in mind. They don't get up off the couch to go and vote or do anything else. That explains the declining turn-outs on election days and the general disinterest in politics and politicians.

Would an old-style politician who could deliver, sincerely and passionately, a barn-burner of a speech -- without notes -- ignite the fire in our bellies and under our asses? Walt doesn't know, but would like to see someone try.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Canada's courageous stand against ISIS, Russia, etc etc

60 years ago, Canada had an independent foreign policy, biased in favour of keeping the world from descending into another world war. For example, it was Canada, acting within the (then) United Nations, who brokered the deal that resolved the Suez Canal Crisis. For his initiative, then Foreign Affairs Minister Lester Pearson got a Nobel prize, of which many Canadians are still proud.

What a difference six decades makes. Today Canada is nothing more or less than the lapdog of Armerica, ready to yell "Ready, aye, ready!" not to Britain but to President Obarmy's call for yet another "coalition of the (un)willing" to fight yet another war against terrorism and ISIS/ISIL, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and all those other nasty Islamic extremists (who of course do not represent the peaceful and moderate followers of the Prophet).

There's also the matter of Israel. If the Prez pronounces the USA Israel's greatest friend, Steve Harpoon says he's wrong, that Canada is an even greater friend of the Zionist entity and its Chosen People. He and his foreign minister, Nancy Baird, will don a kippa at a moment's notice and proclaim loudly their opposition to any peace plan that requires the Jews to give back even one acre of the land they stole from the Palestinians.

As for the conflict -- not yet a civil war, just a conflict -- in the Ukraine, Canada is on the right side. You can be sure of that. That's what Mr. Harper told Ukrainian President Poroshenko on his visit to Ottawa earlier this week. [That was the day before Mr. P. went to Washington. Ed.] Don't worry, Steve said, we stand behind you and won't let one acre of Ukrainian soil be occupied by the evil Russians! Except for the part they've already occupied, of course.

Yes, there's lots of tough talk in the Canadian air these days. Messrs Harper and Baird to be having a contest to see who can cry war the loudest. But when it comes to action, it's another matter.

Canada has agreed to send its only aircraft carrier, shown here, to the Black Sea to shore up the Ukrainian defences against the invading Russians. But that's about all.

Item: Canada is giving millions of dollars worth of humanitarian and "non-lethal" military aid to Ukraine, but when Mr. Poroshenko asked for actual guns and bullets, the response was, "Errr, no, we won't be doing that."
"But," said Mr. Poroshenko, "we're not asking you to send troops, just weapons and ammunition."
"Errr, no," said Mr. Harpoon. "We won't be doing that."

Item: Canada has actually sent troops to Iraq -- boots on the ground -- 69 pairs of them, to be exact. [I heard it was 96. The numbers are so much alike. Ed.] They will be there for, errr, 30 days, counting from around Labour Day, which means they'll be coming home before Canadian Thanksgiving. By that time, of course, the war will be over... right?!

And of course the Canadian "special ops" guys [And gals? Maybe not in Iraq. Ed.] will be there as "trainers and advisors", not in any kind of combat role. As Walt pointed out when Mr. Harpoon was welshing on his promise to bring the Canucks home from Afghanistan, the jihadis don't pause while taking aim to ask if you're a fighter or an advisor. Trainers and fighting troops come home in the same kind of body bag.

The braggadocio of Messrs. Harper and Baird is really quite astounding. Writing in Maclean's, Scott Feschuk sums up their big talk this way: People of the world, Canada is here with its awesome weapons: words, and standing. Walt calls his excellent commentary, "Harper to world: We are angry, and we have adjectives" a must read!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

St. Louis County cops kill another black guy, < 5 miles from Ferguson

Ed. here. Walt is sleeping off the effects of the previous post about the millions of dollars being spent to investigate racial profiling by American cops. I don't have the heart to wake him to show him the story that just came over the AP wire via Fox News.

The St. Louis County police are bracing for more allegations of racism and "racial profiling" following the shooting of a 42-year-old black man, as yet unnamed, in Jennings MO, a town of about 15,000 just down the road -- that would be Ferguson Avenue -- from Ferguson MO, where young Michael Brown was shot dead by a policeman back in August. As you know.

The county cops may find it easier to defend themselves this time, seeing as how the "victim" was armed with a .22-calibre rifle, which he attempted to fire at officers who were pursuing him on foot following a 9-1-1 call from a woman who said a man was at her door with a sawed off shotgun. The woman and the man reportedly knew each other and "may have been romantically involved in the past".

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the man had a lengthy criminal record. Two white police officers fired 25 shots at him, with at least one finding its target.

"Rev." Al Sharpton is expected on the scene momentarily. Riots and cries for "justice" for the poor departed are expected as soon as the nearest liquor store can be located. And Attorney-General Eric Holder will come down from Washington to personally investigate this latest example of unfair and unjust "racial profiling".

Nearly $5 million to be spent proving US police are racists

More good news out of Washington! President Obarmy's Chief Kleagle [Attorney-General Eric Holder. Ed.] announced this week that the US Justice Department is going to spend $4,750,000 of Americans' tax dollars to study police arrest data for evidence of racial bias. The study will look at records from five cities (yet to be chosen) to see if police are using "racial profiling" to determine what kind of people could be described as "the usual suspects".

Putting it another way, "law enforcement experts" will be looking for evidence of bias against decent, law-abiding citizens like these.

Walt wonders who could possibly be biased against people like this, and why millions of dollars needs to be spent to study the alleged problem. Here are some possible reasons.

Item: This project comes after the violent unrest in Ferguson MO last month. The rioters -- for that's what they were -- looked a lot like, errr, the upstanding citizens shown in this picture.

Item: Mr. Holder happens to be a gentleman of the coloured persuasion... not too coloured, mind you. So is his boss.

Item: The study will be conducted by "experts" from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, as well as Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity [sic] at UCLA, and the Washington-based Urban Institute -- all fine institutions completely free of any eastern/intellectual/liberal/federalist bias.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "the researchers involved in the project say they bringing a holistic approach that combines training of police officers on issues of racial bias, data analysis and interviews with community members. They will be reviewing police behavior in the cities in hopes of building community trust and creating an evidence-based model that could be applied more broadly."

Note from Ed.: I regret to advise that Walt was taken violently ill after typing that last paragraph. I have given him a small dish of jellied gin and put him to bed. He may be able to return tomorrow.

A pun, my word!

Ed. here. Walt is preoccupied with the Scottish independence referendum, which seems odd considering that he has no ties with the Land of the Kilt-wearers, but there you are... It falls to me, then, to find something to fill this space today. So I will tell you a story...

Once upon a time, in ancient Greece, there was an artisan named Benny. Benny was a potter -- a maker of clay pots and bowls and amphorae and suchlike. Benny was produced nice works of art, but like many artists, received only a few drachmas for his efforts. Thus he remained a poor artisan -- in the other sense of the phrase -- and he wasn't happy about it.

Benny kept thinking and thinking about what he could do to become rich. He tried producing bigger and more beautiful urns and bowls, but increased his wealth by only a small fraction. So one day he decided to go and ask the famous Oracle of Delphi for the secret to success.

Pythia (for that was the Oracle's name) said she would whisper the answer to Benny, but that he must understand that the secret came with a warning -- a condition which Benny must accept and follow without question for the rest of his life -- in peril of dire consequences should he ever disobey.

The condition was that Benny must never again shave, but let his beard grow naturally, not even trimming it, until he died. If he did, the Oracle warned, he would instantly be turned into one of his pots!

Benny wanted so very much to be wealthy that he agreed. Sure enough, his work became much in demand. An ever-increasing number of patrons paid him ever-increasing sums for his objets d'art. And lo, he was rich.

But Benny became not just rich, but itchy. The longer his beard got, the more of an inconvenience he found it. It itched. It got in his soup. His wife hated it and his children were scared of it. So one day he thought he would take a chance, and shave it off. What could happen, he thought. It was a long time ago that I made that promise. Maybe the Oracle has forgotten by now.

So Benny shaved off his beard. And the moment he cut the last hair, he turned into a large vase, as you see here. The moral of the story is: a Benny shaved is a Benny urned.

We are very fond of puns, the more atrocious the better. If you know a real groaner, send it to Walt at the usual address and we'll use it one of these days when we're in need of filler. No limericks or clerihews please!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Once more unto the breach" (not Henry V, but Obama I)

Walt usually tries to write his own commentaries on the issues of the day, or at least append a few pithy [sp? Ed.] comments to the opinions of others. But today I'm feeling lazy. Besides, I can't think of a single word to add to or improve on " U.S. is off to a war that doesn't make sense – again" by Washington-based Neil Macdonald, senior correspondent for CBC News. I'll give you just the first few lines, for the flavour of his insightful piece, and leave you to read the rest on your own.

"America is going to war again. People are scared again.
"The American news media have a scary monster in the Middle East again, and commentators are practically saluting on air. Again.
"Dick Cheney, smirking, is back onstage. Last week, at a speech in Washington, he called for immediate military action, 'sustained … across several fronts.'
"'The president must understand we are at war,' he declared, relishing the new moment. 'We must do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to win.'
"At about the same time, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was speaking in Manhattan.
"'At present,' said Johnson, who is actually in office and whose entire job is protecting America, 'we have no credible information that ISIS is planning to attack the homeland of the United States.'
"Johnson may as well have been dancing a jig, for all anyone noticed."

What are you waiting for? Click on either of the links above, and read the whole piece.

And please...don't get me wrong. I hold no brief for ISIS or Al-Qaeda or Al-Shabab or Boko Haram or any other fanatical, barbaric Muslims. See "Islam 'the religion of peace'? Politically correct madness!" Damn the lot of them and damn their jihad!

But... and I believe this is what Mr. Macdonald is driving at... half-measures are not going to win this round of the war between the Muslims and the rest of us, no more than they did in Iraq (the first time) or Afghanistan. You (Mr. President!) cannot say, let others -- preferably other Muslims -- do the fighting, and we'll hold their coats (or turbans). If we -- the coalition of the willing (???) -- are going back into the sandpit, we'd better go in with everything we've got...go in to win!

Note from Ed.: That turned out to be a pretty pithy comment after all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Naked" women's cycling team uniforms raise eyebrows (etc)

The Giro di Toscana, Italy's annual "Tour of Tuscany" bicycle race, should draw more attention than usual this year, if only for the unusual competition uniforms to be sported by the team from Colombia, shown below.

Walt predicts onlookers will onlook twice, or three times, or more, as these ladies pass by. What you see is -- need it be said -- just a design painted on their one-piece speedos. Still, the uniforms are certainly eye-catching, aren't they? [What do they look like from the back? Ed.]

The Colombian team is sponsored by the capital city of Bogota, and backed by the Colombian government. Does this mean that sexism is still alive and well -- officially endorsed, even -- in Latin America? Protests from the usual wimmin's groups are expected within the hour.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Islam "the religion of peace"? Politically correct madness!

ISIS (or ISIL, as Obama and his government call it) has beheaded two Americans and one Brit, and published videos of the barbaric acts as a warning to the USA and its allies. At the end of the latest video there is said to be a warning that another British captive will be next. Today's Independent names him as Alan Henning, a "kind and funny" aid worker from Salford, taken captive in Syria. Such, we are meant to believe, will be the fate of all "infidels" who dare oppose the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

"Infidels". That's what ISIS calls us "Christians", which Walt puts in quotes because they mean people who come from so-called "Christian" countries, although the majority of "Christians" aren't really believers in the True Faith. Whatever they believe, they're not believers in Islam, therefore "infidels". ISIS wants to kill all the infidels -- Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists -- and even those Muslims who don't belong to their own (Sunni) branch of "the religion of peace".

And yet the leaders of the free world [? Ed.] or the Christian world [??? Ed.] keep telling us that the Islamic fundamentalists don't really mean it. They want to co-exist peacefully with us because their religion is really a "religion of peace". Killing infidels really isn't part of it. They just do that because... because... well... errr...

Anyway, not all Muslims are like that. That's what President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron are saying, even as they watch the horrifying videos. Mr. Cameron was quoted as saying, "They [ISIS] are not Muslims! They're monsters!" The Prez said ISIS "is not Islamic". [But if he's not a Muslim himself, how would he know? Ed.]

To Walt's way of thinking, to deny that ISIS is not an organization of Muslim fanatics, waging a jihad -- "holy war" -- on the rest of the world, is pure, unmitigated, politically correct bullshit! See "Quit making apologies for ISIS terrorists! They're Muslim fanatics!", posted here a few days ago.

Someone who agrees is a self-proclaimed atheist named Sam Harris, who writes "As an atheist, I cannot help wondering when this scrim of pretense and delusion will be finally burned away — either by the clear light of reason or by a surfeit of horror meted out to innocents by the parties of God.... Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas — jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy — reliably lead to oppression and murder?"

"Understanding and criticizing the doctrine of Islam — and finding some way to inspire Muslims to reform it — is one of the most important challenges the civilized world now faces. But the task isn't as simple as discrediting the false doctrines of Muslim 'extremists,' because most of their views are not false by the light of scripture. A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Koran."

Those quotes are taken from a post on Mr. Harris's blog titled "Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon". Oh yeah... Armageddon! Didn't Walt mention that not so long ago? Indeed I did! See "3 portents of the coming Armageddon", posted here August 26th. If even an atheist can see it coming, I'd suggest our religious and political leaders ought to govern themselves (and us) accordingly.

Another Ford in Toronto's future?

This weekend's bad news, for Jimmy Kimmel, is that Rob Ford is no longer running for mayor of Toronto. Last week he was found to have a tumour in his lower left abdomen, and is now at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, awaiting results of a biopsy and other tests. Consequently, he withdrew his name from the ballot on Friday afternoon.

You would think that Mr. Ford's principal opponents -- the aptly-named John Tory and Olivia Chow -- would be rubbing their hands in glee when not dabbing at their crocodile tears, but you would be wrong. For lo and behold, Rob Ford's older (and meaner) brother, Doug, has entered the lists in his place. Deus ex Etobicoke.

A week ago polls had Mr. Tory comfortably in the lead, with over 40% of those asked saying they'd be voting for him. Rob Ford was in the low 30s and Olivia Chow trailed at around 20%. Now all bets are off. Although he doesn't have the experience and charisma [??? Ed.] of his kid brother, Doug Ford is tougher and arguably smarter when it comes to keeping himself out of political or personal trouble. He doesn't drink, eats less junk food (by the looks of him), and isn't likely to appear in any videos of crack parties with Jamaican gangstas.

Now Rob has passed the torch to Doug. Poor Len came up with a great idea for an editorial cartoon but was unable to get hold of Brian Gable at the Groan and Wail. It would show Rob attempting to pass the torch to Doug, and Doug would be saying, "No! No! The other end! The other end!"

Both Walt and Poor Len endorse Doug Ford for mayor of Toronto. Hey, we don't live there!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

VIDEO: Groundskeeper Willie gives his views on Scottish independence

A couple of days ago, Walt called the United Kingdom the "Soon-to-be-disunited Kingdom". I'm following closely the referendum to be held in Scotland this coming week on whether or not it should "be an independent country". The question seems clear enough. The number of votes needed to secede has been agreed -- 50% + 1. And if the Scots vote to leave the UK, 18 months has been allowed in which a peaceful separation will be negotiated.

But can Scotland make it on her own? Here's what The Simpsons' Groundskeeper Willie has to say.

Note from Ed.: Hey, just because it's all over the Internet doesn't mean we can't use it here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"New morality" and approval of sinful sexual relationships becoming official US religion, says Cardinal

Everyone knows that church and state are strictly separate in the United States of Armerica. Unlike in the United [soon to be disunited? Ed.] Kingdom, there is no established church, no official state religion. Or is there?! Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago, says that American law has "taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what 'values' they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country."

What is the nature of the new state religion to which all Americans must bend the knee? Writing in Catholic New World, the newspaper of the archdiocese, Cardinal George explains that America's ruling classes would have us believe that "there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family."

As evidence for this assertion, Cardinal George mentions an editorial comment in the Huffington Post on June 30th. Discussing the Hobby Lobby case (in which the US Supreme Court allowed religious objection to a part of Obamacare), the writer raised "concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen." This, the prelate says, is "the self righteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as 'progressive' and 'enlightened'." And woe betide anyone who, even for reasons of conscience, dares to swim against the tide.

"Those who do not conform to the official religion," he says, "place their citizenship in danger."

"Swimming against the tide," the Cardinal continues, "means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic Faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect.

"Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law."

Conform or else! If you don't like the morality of Obama's America, you're free to leave.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The next president of France? Could be!

Manuel Valls is the Socialist Prime Minister of France. He is lying awake nights, worrying about the increasingly certain prospect of this lady -- Marine Le Pen -- becoming France's next president. Recent opinion polls suggest that Mme Le Pen will easily make the run-off in the presidential elections scheduled for 2017. And, if she is opposed by the feckless and unpopular François Hollande, she'd be virtually guaranteed to win!

At the top of the list of issues which could well put Mme Le Pen's rightist Front National into power is immigration, of which the French have had entirely too much, if you ask Monsieur Untel. [That's French for "Mr. Someone" or "Mr. Anonymous". Ed.] Just last week, 1000s of disgruntled Frenchpersons rallied in Calais to demand that the port city be "saved" from the large numbers of migrants who have arrived there in recent months.

Why are all those Afghans, Pakistanis, North Africans and so on flocking to Calais? Easy. They're really trying to get to No-longer-great Britain -- just across the Channel -- where welfare and social benefits are perceived to be even more generous than those of France. If they can just get on the ferry to Dover, they reckon, no-one's going to stop them settling in Old Blighty... unless the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) gets into power, which is not bloody likely.

Getting back to M Valls... he warned a group of fellow left-wingers in Bologna, Italy [Bologna, indeed. Ed.] that "In France, the extreme right of Marine Le Pen is at the gates of power. We have to act differently. We have to speak differently. In order to be listened to and to be heard."

In other words, the lefties would have to abandon the experiments in wealth redistribution and social engineering that have made France and many other countries of Europe a haven and a heaven for those who think the world -- the rich, white world -- owes them a living. If Europe closes its doors to third world migrants, where will they go then? There'll be no place left except, errr, North America.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Atlanta Hawks owner shares his thoughts about black fans vs white fans VIDEO ADDED: Mob of black yoofs go nuts in Memphis

A little over two years ago, Bruce Levenson, owner of the NBA Atlanta Hawks, was musing about his difficulties in building a substantial fan base, selling season tickets and attracting corporate sponsors. Unfortunately for Mr. Levenson, he chose to put his observations in the form of an e-mail, which he has now been forced to repudiate.

Such is the pressure of "public opinion", as shaped by the lamestream media. It's one thing to say the unsayable, but woe betide you if you put in writing the notion that there is any difference of culture, behaviour and so on between white folks and black folks.

What Mr. Levenson wrote, in August 2012, was that he had concluded that "southern whites" were uncomfortable at Hawks games. "My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.

Mr. Levenson said he often heard fans say the area around Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta is dangerous. "When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place," he wrote, "I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games."

Hawks crowds are 70% black, said the team's owner. The team's cheerleaders are black and hip-hop music was played at games. But, he said, "There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. I never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.... Then I start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different."

Though he said he disagreed with the conclusion, he said he told team executives to add white cheerleaders and music "familiar to a 40-year-old white guy."

What Mr. Levenson said two years ago, as Walt reads it, is that basketball is a black game played by black men for black fans. No kidding! But now, for the sin of making this "racist" observation public, he feels compelled to sell his controlling interest in the team, and will be doing so on Saturday. Here's part of his grovelling mea culpa.

"I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.

"If you're angry about what I wrote, you should be. I'm angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them."

Any suggestion that Mr. Levenson's eating of this heaping platter of crow [No racist remarks, please! Ed.] is in any way connected to the financial difficulties of the franchise is, of course, completely unwarranted.

Comment from Poor Len Canayen: I don't think it's a race thing. Atlanta sports fan like football and baseball and that's all. Look at the fortunes of hockey in Atlanta, where not one but two NHL franchises -- the Flames and the Thrashers -- both failed to draw flies. And hockey is a white man's game!

VIDEO UPDATE: If you can't understand why white people would be nervous being surrounded by a mob of blacks, check out this video of what happened on Sept. 6th at a Kroger store in Memphis TN. According to witnesses, a mob of teens attacked store employees at the front entrance to the store, then an elderly customer in the parking lot. [If the video won't load, you'll find a link below. Ed.]

Speaking of being afraid to tell the truth, this video was posted to Facebook by "a witness", but has since been taken down. And now, for some reason, Ed. isn't seeing it here, even though it seems to be there when we preview the page in Blogger. If it's not working for you either, you can see it here on LiveLeak.

You may be interested, too, in the report on WMC-TV, detailing the official response from the police and other community leaders, who managed to avoid mentioning, even once, that the perps were black yoofs!

If you find any of this hard to understand, check out the video in yesterday's post "Racial violence in the USA: the real story".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

VIDEO: Racial violence in the USA: the real story

No news from Ferguson this week. Everything's quiet now, and the lamestream media have turned their righteous indignation in another direction. They've succeeded in spinning the death of "poor, innocent Michael Brown" into a story about the militarization of Armerican police.

That take on the Ferguson race riots -- for that's what they were, just as in Detroit, Newark and Watts -- is right enough and truly worrying to those of us who care about freedom and liberty. But the real issue remains race, and the abject failure of the President Obarmy to deliver on his promise of a "post-racial America". See "Is Ferguson really about race?", post here August 20th.

That's the point made by Bill Whittle in "Ferguson and the Real Race War" -- just over six minutes of solid truth-telling.

You won't see anything like this in the lamestream media because it makes the point that America's real problem is not white racism but black racism! Best quote: "Black racism is the toxic glue that holds the progressive coalition together." And that's the truth of America today.

Thanks to Agent 17 and his man in Belgium for passing this along, together with this quote which makes a good PS: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps... then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved." Can you guess who said it? None other than Jesse Jackson.

For more from Bill Whittle and other unPC commentators, check out Truth Revolt. If you want to join the revolution and help defeat the left, it's FREE. Just follow the links on the site.

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Bro! Don't be breakin' into houses in Texas! Dey gwine shoot you daid!"

As I've said before, it takes time for news to filter its way up to us, here in the headwaters. Agent 17 has just now sent us a lead on an incident that happened in Texas a year and a half ago. The story is so encouraging to those who believe that a man's home is his castle that it's worth posting, even at this late date.

According to a report on NBC's Dallas channel, a homeowner heard a noise inside his resident at about 4:15 PM on 13 February 2013. The noise was made by someone climbing through the window, so the homeowner shot him, as you're allowed to do in Texas, which is a Castle Doctrine state, which means that a Dallas grand jury will determine whether or not the homeowner will face any charges. Dallas Police Sgt. Calvin Johnson affirmed the homeowner’s right to defend his home. "They don’t actually have to retreat once someone comes in their home. You have the option of using deadly force if you believe your life is in danger."

The would-be burglar was identified as 33-year-old Deyfon Pipkins, aka BJ, pictured here. When police arrived, following the homeowner's 9-1-1 call, they found BJ's body lying lifeless in the window. His mother, Catherine, arrived on the scene not long after the cops, having been called by her daughter-in-law. Ms Pipkins said "Yeah, it's something he would do.... Somebody called her [her daughter-in-law] and told her he had got shot. She said, 'Momma you need to sit down, they said BJ just got killed.' That's the reason I'm here."

NBC reported that Pipkins had a lengthy criminal history, including numerous charges for theft, trespassing and possession of a controlled substance. All the same, according to True News USA, Pipkins' family thought the homeowner should have given BJ a warning, or something, before shooting. "He could have used a warning," said Lakesha Thompson, Pipkins' sister-in-law. "He could have let him know that he did have a gun on his property and he would use it in self-defense."

Comment from the sideline (elsewhere on the Net):
That's certainly true, Lakesha. He could also have invited him in and given him a beer, then helped him cart the TV out to the curb....
For that matter, Lakesha, you could have warned Deyfon. Why didn't YOU tell him, "Deyfon, yo' needs to quit breakin' into those peoples' houses and stealin' they shit. Someone is goin' to pop a cap in yo' ass!"

In light of the steadily increasing cost and rising scarcity of ammunition, a warning shot is a frivolous and unnecessary expense. In this case, a substantial savings of taxpayer money was a side result: no investigation expense, no jail time awaiting trial, no expense of a trial, and no prison costs after sentencing!

Don't you just love it when things work out right?!

Cause for beatification of Abp. Sheen stalled by fight over his corpse

Walt has been following the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who could be called the first (and only) Catholic televangelist. Walt hesitates to use that word, though, as it calls to mind a negative stereotype. Abp. Sheen was was not the "hallelujah-send-me-your-love-offerings" type. Rather, in his Life Is Worth Living TV series, he brought understanding of the Faith and hope for salvation to millions in America and around the world.

In January 2011, Walt posted "Cause for beatification of Archbishop Sheen revived". 18 months later we read "Archbishop Sheen a step closer to being beatified". And this past June came the good news "Vatican experts verify authenticity of miracle attributed to intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen".

The miracle referred to was the revival -- bringing back to life -- of Bonnie Engstrom's stillborn baby, after she prayed for Archbishop Sheen's intercession. That miracle should fulfill the last formal requirement for the prelate's beatification, but, as Andrea Tornielli reports in his Vatican Insider blog, there's been a hitch.

Earlier this week, Most Rev. Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria, announced "with immense sadness" that the Vatican has decided to suspend the cause for Archbishop Sheen's beatification, after failing to reach an agreement with the Archdiocese of New York about the transfer of Archbishop Sheen's remains.

The problem is that, before a beatification can be finalized, the remains of the deceased must be inspected and first-class relics prepared. This would normally be done in the place where the person to be beatified was buried. Archbishop Sheen is buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, as the Archdiocese insists was his wish, but the cause for beatification is being led by the Diocese of Peoria, where Archbishop Sheen was born and raised, and began his priesthood. Hence the conflict.

Bishop Jenky said that he had been "personally assured on several occasions" that the New York archdiocese would cooperate in the transfer, but New York officials later withdrew their support and Vatican officials were unable to negotiate an agreement. Rev. Joseph Zwilling, speaking for the Archdiocese of New York, said on the day following Bishop Jenky's announcement that the archdiocese had not received any order from the Vatican for removal of Archbishop Sheen's remains. And, he added, the Sheen family does not wish the archbishop's remains to be moved.

It all seems rather unseemly, doesn't it. The word "unchristian" springs to mind. Mrs. Engstrom told a Catholic newspaper that her family was "incredibly saddened and confused" by the news that the cause had stalled, but she would continue to pray for an end to the impasse. As should all good Catholics.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

If you only had one bullet...

Poor Len Canayen here! Just saw this picture in Canada's Notional Pest, and it makes me wonder...

If you're a Canadian, a lover of your country and its national winter sport, and you only have one bullet... which of these orifices would you shoot first?

Replay from Walt: I'd make the tiny perfect Bettman stand in front of Lyin' Brian and shoot `em both at once!

Political correctness trumps justice! The Rotherham child abuse story

The horrendous story (see "Political correctness foils detection and punishment of 1400 sex abuse cases in English city") about systematic child abuse -- rape, trafficking and so on -- in Rotherham, England, has not received a lot of play in the lamestream media. The American media, in particular, don't give a lot of space or time to things that don't happen in the continental 48. Even a story like the ISIS terror in Syria and Iraq has to have an American slant -- like the beheading of a "journalist" or two -- or it barely gets mentioned.

Due to limitations of space, Walt was only able to give you the bare bones of the Rotherham story. To nutshell it again, more than 1400 minors, some pre-pubescent, were molested, abused, and passed around as sex toys by numerous men of Pakistani origin and "heritage". This went on for most of this century, and may be continuing even now. Three official enquiries were done, in 2002, 2003 and 2006. Their results were disbelieved or ignored by the "authorities" -- police, municipal council and child welfare agencies. So far only five of the Paki paedophiles have been charged and convicted.

According to the reports, most of the abused children were white. It is now suggested that hundreds of Pakistani girls may have been victims as well, with the crimes against them going unreported because of the culture of the male-dominated Muslim community, which doesn't take the mistreatment of women and children very seriously.

The latest report, by Dr. Alexis Jay, a former "chief social work advisor" to the government of Scotland", concluded that the Rotherham council "failed to engage" with the town's Pakistani community, despite the fact that victims described the perpetrators as "Asian".

"Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem, which they hoped would go away" said the good doctor. "Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so." See "Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?" Political correctness once again trumps justice!

Further reading: "The unspeakable truth about Rotherham", by Margaret Wente, in today's Globe and Mail. Here's the penultimate paragraph.
"No amount of liberal angst will make this story go away. Current Home Secretary Theresa May has acknowledged that “institutionalized political correctness” has inflicted appalling damage on the innocent. And the broader failures of Muslim integration are now too obvious to ignore. It’s not just all the young men who run off to join the caliphate and saw off people’s heads. It’s the Birmingham school scandal, where it was discovered that dozens of secular schools had been targeted for Islamization by Muslim radicals. It’s the imported culture of violence and misogyny." [The emphasis is mine. Walt]

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Should someone tell him?

Or just kick back with a bottle of beer and watch...
Thanks and happy motoring to Agent 6

Comment from Ed.: The boy wouldn't even know how to tie down his pumpkins. Why, when I was a boy... Wait a minute... When I was a boy I never tied down no pumpkins!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sign petition to save the Caledon "Badlands"

Some of Walt's readers and agents will recognize this place. You'll find it (if you hurry) in the more-or-less rural Town of Caledon, northwest of Toronto, Canada. Sometimes called "the Cheltenham Badlands" or "the Finger Hills" or just "the Funny Place" [Who calls it that?! Ed.], this property has one of the best examples of "badlands topography" in southern Ontario. Badlands topography is rare in Ontario. In most areas, the reddish shale is protected from erosion by overlying hard rock (limestone, dolostone or sandstone), sand or gravel. In this area, poor farming practices in the past have exposed the shale, causing it to erode into a series of striking ridges and gullies.

So striking is the Badlands that it attracts sightseers from far and near. "Near" in this case means Metropolitan Toronto, whose urban sprawl has reached even into the southern part of Caledon. What was once a quiet gravel road going past the site was paved some years ago, making it even more accessible to city people -- no respecters of nature and the environment. Now they come in scores and hundreds, especially on weekends, leaving behind crushed vegetation and the garbage that city-dwellers think someone else is going to clean up.

Now the Bruce Trail Conservancy, which manages the site, has come up with a plan to make things better. They have submitted an application to the Niagara Escarpment Commission to build a parking lot, with space for 33 vehicles. Yet, just like the Joni Mitchell song... "pave paradise, put up a parking lot". Don't it always seem to go that way?

Walt knows of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, known as the Bruce Trail Association before words like "conservancy" became trendy with the tree-huggers. Agent 3 was a member of the BTA executive, donkey's years ago. Back then, they tried to keep the trail as natural as possible, to the point of not even erecting an outhouse without a major debate. And now this! Have they taken leave of their senses?

That's exactly what the "Save the Caledon Badlands" residents group thinks. They say putting in a parking lot will lead to more visitors than ever coming to the site, without first doing anything to protect it. Spokesthingy Lisa Nichols told the Caledon Enterprise, "The overriding consensus is that the physical site does not have a solid and well funded plan in place. The only commitment to preserve the Badlands is a viewing platform which will only be constructed after fundraising efforts while the proposed parking lot will be paid for by the Region of Peel."

One of the fundamental arguments regarding the parking lot plan is whether or not it will encourage more people to come to the site, or facilitate those that are already coming. Paul Walker, another vocal resident at a meeting held last month, claimed the management team’s "basic hypothesis is wrong" in that there is no way to make the winding and hilly road by the site safe. If there is, he said, putting in a parking lot with 33 spaces is not enough given the large numbers that visit the site.

Caledon resident Irene Aziz added her two cents too. "If you are planning to protect this as heritage site, have the balls to say it's special and protect it, or cave in and put in a little old parking lot so school kids can come and wreck the place. We are not saying we don’t want people to come here, we are saying we have seen what happens and it’s a huge inconvenience but we love that place and love to see people appreciating it but don’t invite busloads to trample it."

If you agree -- and if you'd ever seen the Badlands you couldn't help but agree -- you can add your name to the online petition started by the Save the Caledon Badlands group. Please do it now!

Judgment Day - 19 September 2016 ???

3 portents of the coming Armageddon, published here a week ago, is drawing considerable interest. And why not? End-of-the-world questions and prophecies have been on people's minds and lips since about 90 seconds after Our Lord's Resurrection.

When is Jesus going to return in glory? How much longer will God tolerate the wickedness and perversity of His people? When will be the awful day of judgment? How long do we have to get ready?

These questions were perhaps even more real, more urgent to the people of the mid-14th century than they are to us, six-and-a-half centuries later. The 14th century was a time of terrible turmoil, with people from kings to commoners suffering from the Black Death and constant wars and pillage. The Church was even more corrupt and dissolute than it is today, held captive in "Babylon" (Avignon, France), then torn in the latter part of the century by the Great Schism.

In her monumental work A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century (Ballantine, 1978), historian Barbara Tuchman tells us that the people of that time were fascinated and entertained by liturgical plays (such as the Passion Play, which survived in parts of Europe until the end of the 20th century) and "miracle plays and mysteries", whose subject matter was religious, but scripts and presentation more like secular drama.

She goes on to describe "The Day of Judgment" and "The Harrowing of Hell", which may have been performed at the historic entertainment in Paris of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, by Charles V, King of France. Read carefully her synopsis of these plays of prophecy.

"Apocalypse...was enacted in the Day of Judgment and the Harrowing of Hell, when Christ goes down to lead Adam and the prophets out to Paradise. Anti-Christ appears at his appointed time, traditionally fixed at three and half years before the Last Judgment. Born of Satan's seduction of a woman of Babylon, and instructed in all the demonic arts, he gains such power that kinds and cardinals pay him homage until he is overthrown at Armageddon in the triumph of good over evil. The saved are separated from the damned, and angels empty the vials of wrath." [My emphasis. Walt]

Now let us suppose, just for the sake of the argument, that Pope Francis is the Antichrist, the devil wrapped in a cloak of gentleness and humility. Francis was "inaugurated" -- the Church doesn't "consecrate", "crown" or "enthrone" popes any more -- on 19 March 2013. Add the "traditional" three years and six months and you get 19 September 2016. That's the date. Don't say Walt didn't warn you!

I'll give you that it's hard to see in Pope Francis the "Peter the Roman" named in the prophecy of St. Malachy as the last pope. But hold on. Francis has been rumored for some time to be in poor health. Since being "installed", he has cancelled several audiences and appearances, and the Vatican has press office has denied he is sick, which means he probably is. Suppose he dies? Then all bets are off and we will look for some "Petrine connection" in his successor.

What about "the woman of Babylon"? Ask any evangelical Protestant preacher and he'll tell you the Church of Rome is the "whore of Babylon" spoken of in the 17th and 18th chapters of the Apocalypse of St. John the Divine (or Revelation).
"I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters (17:1)... on her forehead a name was written: A mystery; Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications, and the abominations of the earth. (17:5)"

The mystery plays speak of "Satan's seduction of a woman of Babylon". Has the devil seduced and perverted the Church of Rome, founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ when He walked among us? Don't take Walt's word for it. Heed the words of Pope Paul VI, who, following Vatican II and towards the end of reign, said publicly that "the smoke of Satan has entered the Church". He knew it full well, having been the pope who held open the window.

So there you have it. 19 September 2016. Walt isn't about to paint a placard saying "The end of the world is nigh" and go stand in front of the cathedral. Not just yet. But neither would I recommend turning a blind eye to the signs and portents.

What I do recommend, if this talk of Judgment Day is making you a bit nervous, is that you read Crucial Truths to Save Your Soul, by Father Nicholas Gruner, reviewed here last month.