Sunday, November 30, 2014

First American Thanksgiving - the true story

Note from Ed.: While digesting the Thanksgiving turkey, I came across an article on Traditio (the Traditional Roman Catholic Network) website, from which I learned something I should have known, but didn't. Here, with a few edits, is the story of The First American Thanksgiving, celebrated on 8 September 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.

That's right! 55 years before the Protestant Puritan Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, a Roman Catholic Mass and Te Deum were celebrated in St. Augustine, Florida, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Don Pedro Menendez came ashore amid the sounding of trumpets, artillery salutes, and the firing of cannons to claim the land for King Philip II and Spain. The ship's chaplain, Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, chanted the Te Deum, the Church's great hymn of Thanksgiving, traditionally attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan, and presented a crucifix which Don Pedro ceremoniously kissed.

After that, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors and 100 families and artisans, along with the Timucuan Indians who inhabited the region, celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in gratitude to God, after which a thanksgiving feast was shared by the Indians and the Spaniards.

The second American Thanksgiving occurred on April 30, 1598, when Spanish explorer Don Juan de Onate requested the Franciscan friars to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving, after which he formally proclaimed "La Toma" (The Capture), claiming the land north of the Rio Grande for the King of Spain. The men feasted on duck, goose, and fish from the river. Some of the Spaniards dressed in costume and presented a play.

Even at Plymouth Rock in the Massachusetts Colony, where the Pilgrims later landed in 1620, Squanto, the Indian who organized their first Thanksgiving, was a Catholic. He had been enslaved by the English, but was freed by Spanish Franciscans and subsequently received the Catholic Sacrament of Baptism.

We should also be clear (the author of the Traditio article writes) on the identity and character of the Puritan Pilgrims. They are usually portrayed in American history books as innocent victims of religious persecution, who simply wanted to find a place in which they could worship according to their own predilections. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The Puritans were English, who hated the Church of England because they claimed it was "too Catholic". So much so that they became vandals, destroying many of the great churches of England, most of which were Catholic churches stolen by King Henry VIII in a fit of anger because Pope Clement VII confirmed the doctrine of Christ in Scripture that men cannot divorce their legitimate wives.

The Puritans were Calvinists -- Protestant extremists -- who would put people in the stocks for celebrating the Nativity of Christ, for using musical instruments in church (even though such usage is documented in the Bible), and for singing hymns (even though the Bible records that Jesus Himself sang hymns). Even as they hated the Anglicans, the Puritans hated Catholics more and persecuted them viciously when they could.

Finally, American Catholics should remember that the word "Thanksgiving" is also Catholic, from the Greek "Eucharistia", referring not to Turkey, but to the Heavenly Bread, the Catholic Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

IS jihadists clash with Kurds -- guess where?

Aw, c'mon. You cheated, didn't you? Probably took a close look at the picture and figured (correctly) that they don't have "POLIZEI" in places like Mosul, Kirkuk or old Baghdad. No siree Mohammed!

This bloody clash, between hundreds of supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) and more hundreds of ethnic Kurds took place in the streets of downtown Hamburg, the second-largest city in, errr, Germany.

The violence -- said by der Polizei to have been as ferocious as anything seen in Germany in recent memory -- is just a reminder that the jihad (holy war) being waged by Islamic extremists against all "infidels" (i.e. non-Muslims) is not limited to Syria or Iraq or Armpitistan or suchlike desert wastes. A battle could break out anywhere... in any place with more than a handful of Muslim immigrants or "refugees"... the kind of people the Pope and the Prez want us to welcome into our communities.

But don't take Walt's word for it. Listen to Daniel Abdin, imam of Hamburg's Al-Nour Mosque, told Der Spiegel, "I had the feeling that we are living in Hamburgistan... The atmosphere was very, very explosive."

German police said they were shocked by what they described as an unprecedented level of violence. In an interview with Passau Neue Presse, the chairman of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, reported that police in Hamburg "experienced life-threatening brute force" by perpetrators who were "armed to the teeth."

The copmeister warned that the IS-Kurdish conflict is "threatening to unleash a proxy war on German soil." Yes... Today Germany, tomorrow...

Raped, hanged girls committed suicide, Indian police claim

Last May, in "Shitting in fields leads to gang rape, hanging of Indian girls", Walt told you the sad story of two teenage Indian girls found hanging from a mango tree in May, apparently following gang rapes by persons unknown. Like millions of Indians who have no toilet of any kind in or near their homes, the girls had gone to a nearby field to relieve themselves, when they were fallen on and brutally attacked.

Such events are common enough in south Asia. What was unusual about this story was that the girls' families raised enough of a fuss to catch the attention and outrage of the international media. That led to an investigation by India's Central Bureau of Investigation, which has just released its findings.

What did Inspector Singh and his colleagues conclude? Wait for it... The girls, they announced yesterday, were not gang-raped and murdered, but, errr, took their own lives.

But why would they do that? On this point, the investigators were less than clear. Perhaps, it was suggested, they were chagrined at being dalits -- members of the lowest of the Hindu castes, formerly called "untouchables". Or perhaps, as the CBI chief stated, the girls took their own lives "because of family pressure" over their friendship with a villager.

Ah yes, "family pressure". Or we could say "family honour", as in "honour killing". Perhaps it was the girls' own relatives who killed them, "pour encourager les autres", as the French say. [How do the Indians say it? Ed.] The identities of the men standing around in the grainy photo above are unknown, but Walt thinks they are more likely to be relatives than the actual perps.

Sohan Lal, the father of one of the girls, told the BBC, "CBI has tried to fudge the case and save the accused from the very beginning. I am very angry with their decision. The team did not show any promptness while investigating the case."

Further details of the CBI investigation, and how they arrived at their verdict of suicide, were expected to be released today. In just six months, there have been three different theories about how the teenagers died and each theory has raised more questions than it has answered. Indians are now beginning to wonder whether they will ever know the truth of what occurred on the night the two girls died so horribly. All that can be said is, "This is India. Anything could have happened."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Walt and Poor Len [and Ed! Ed.] 
would like to wish all our American readers
a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Hope you made it home safely.
If you're already there, count your blessings! 

If you don't think you  have anything to be thankful for,
hey, you could be a turkey!

It's NOT about "black lives"

Walt waited 24 hours to see if the rioting and looting in Ferguson MO would get worse or better [better rioting? better looting? Ed.] but last night was quiet, by comparison with the night before. Al Sharpton appeared. The Prez said (not in so many words, since the words are copyrighted by Bill Clinton) that he felt the pain of "the community", which Walt understood to mean not the entire community of Ferguson, but the black part of it.

And 1000s of people marched, danced and boogied through the streets carrying signs which read "Black lives matter!" There were relatively small and peaceful marches in other US cities and even in Canada's blackest city, Toronto. Marchers in those places carried the same signs. Walt suspects there's a factory somewhere -- probably in China -- that turns them out for sale at dollar stores. [Now there's an entrepreneurial idea! Ed.]

What's wrong with these pictures? Specifically, what's wrong with these signs? Walt will tell you. It's not about black lives or even the life of Michael Brown. It's about a breakdown of law and order in the black community. And it's about that community being a crime-ridden, undisciplined underclass.

How did it get like that? How did they get like that? Walt will tell you that too. For 50 years the majority (read "white") community has been bending over backwards [and forwards! Ed.] to accommodate the "civil rights" of every minority group ever conceived -- not just blacks, but gays, wimmin, non-English speakers, Muslims, refugees, atheists, etc etc and so forth.

Nowadays everyone -- except straight white males -- has not just rights but "entitlements". They are all "entitled", all "owed" everything from food and housing to preferred admission to college, where their education will, of course, be free. The world owes them a living! Well, not the world actually, but the rest of us -- the majority -- as embodied in The Government. After all, it was The Government who (especially around election time) promised all these minorities the sun, moon and stars. And if those who feel entitled have received only the moon, of course The Government is to blame.

Notably absent from the half-century of yammering and promises about "civil rights" has been any talk of civic responsibility, or civic duty. When I took civics in grade school [long, long ago. Ed.], I was taught that a good citizen had certain responsibilities and duties which he owed to his community. For instance, a good citizen should keep his home and neighbourhood clean and tidy. He should get a job and do his best to support himself and his family, so as not to be a burden on the community or the state. (After all, the tax monies used to support those who could not support themselves came from the community.)

A big part of civic duty was promoting and maintaining law and order. In the 19th century, many parts of the country did not have police forces, as we understand them today. Perhaps there was a marshal or sheriff or chief magistrate who, if there were criminals to be dealt with, would swear in a posse of ordinary citizens to do the necessary. And criminals would be brought before the courts to be further dealt with by judges and juries. Serving on a jury was part of one's civic duty. But who wants to do one's "duty" any more?

The Prez, in his mushy and caring plea for calm, said that the black community needs "good policing" -- quite a remarkable statement for him to make, when you think about it. If Michael Brown's lawyers, the "Reverend" Al Sharpton et al. complain that they are getting "bad policing", that the cops a bunch of white racists, could they answer a simple question.

Where are the black police officers? Where are the black National Guards? Why is the black community not able to police itself? Isn't that a part of civic duty -- particularly in Ferguson MO, at this very moment?

Further reading: Walt recommends The Police Officer's Dilemma, a landmark study by Joshua Correll, Bernadette Park, and Charles M. Judd (University of Colorado at Boulder) and Bernd Wittenbrink (University of Chicago) published in 2002. Once you get through the academic jargon -- the subtitle is Using Ethnicity to Disambiguate Potentially Threatening Individuals -- you'll learn that participants in the authors' study "fired at an armed target more quickly if he was African-American than if he was White, and decided to not shoot an unarmed White target more quickly than an unarmed African-American target".

And -- here's the "Wow!" -- a test with actual police officers, conducted give years later, showed that it didn't matter whether the cop was white or black! A black cop was just as likely as a white cop to shoot a young black man. Young black men are much more likely to die of lead poisoning (i.e. gunshot wounds) than young white men. And when you look at all the shooters, not just police, the shooter of a young black man is more likely to be another young black man than a white. And that's a fact.

Still more reading (added 29/11): "Progressive Mythography", by  Andrew C. McCarthy, on the National Review website. Mr. McCarthy explodes the myth that white cops kill black kids.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Last gay toon standing? - Part 1

For over 40 years now, the large and influential gay lobby in the meeja and more liberal "Christian" churches have been trying to convince us that it's OK to be gay. Commendable, even, especially when someone who kept his/her gender preference to him/herself comes out of the closet. What good is being homosexual if you can't flaunt it?

That's why, beginning in 1972, TV shows in western, "Christian" countries have increasingly featured characters who are openly gay. This is especially the case in sitcoms, where it's become almost mandatory to have at least one gay character -- always the cleverest, coolest, funniest one -- to prove that it not just OK, but hip to be gay.

It all started with Peter Panama, a character in the mercifully short-lived sitcom The Corner Bar. [Was that the one with Sam and Woody and Cliff and Norm...all those gay guys? Ed.] NO! That was another corner bar and those guys weren't gay... at least, not all of them! Anyway, Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli, was "the first continuing portrayal of a gay person on American television".

In 1975 we saw the first gay couple, the lovely George and Gordon, in Hot l Baltimore. You can look it up. Inevitably, gay characters were introduced in cartoons. This was not done to influence impressionable children, of course, because we all know that modern cartoon series are really for adults. I speak of The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy, which I admit to watching and from which these examples are taken.

South Park's Big Gay Al is a stereotypical homosexual man, known for his flamboyant and positive demeanor. For example, he almost always responds to the greeting "How are you?" with an upbeat "I'm super! Thanks for asking!" In the episode which sticks deepest in Walt's Mind, he took the position of scout master of troop 69, for which he was super-qualified, having been in the scouts since he was nine years old. Was it then that he discovered he was a homosexual? We aren't told...

The kids' parents were uneasy about a gay scout leader, so Big Gay Al was fired. But the boys didn't like the new leader -- a person whose sexual tastes were a lot more threatening -- and rallied to get BGA re-accepted. But Al rejected this, saying the scouts are a private club, and have the right to exclude people if they choose to, just as he has the right to express himself as a gay man.

Big Gay Al last appeared in "The F Word", which originally aired on 4 November 2009. For all his flamboyance (etc etc), he was, on the whole, a sympathetic character, kind of a warm and cuddly...and gay...teddybear. It was hard to dislike him.

But there was a dark side to Big Gay Al. In "Follow That Egg", we find him getting engaged to Mr. Slave (pictured left), who previously was the homosexual lover of Herbert Garrison, the South Park kids' school teacher. (Remember the name "Herbert"; it'll come up again.) Mr. Garrison starts a campaign to ban gay marriage, but fails, and Al and Mr. Slave are united in unholy matrimony. (It's worth noting that South Park is set in Colorado.)

Mr. Slave is far being a benign and cuddly character. His first major role was in "The Death Camp of Tolerance", in which Mr. Garrison learns that he can sue the school board if he is fired for being gay, so he hires Mr. Slave as his "TA" -- "Teacher's Ass". The lessons become increasingly sexual, and degenerate in nature, culminating in Mr. Garrison inserting the class gerbil into Mr. Slave's rectum. Not exactly the sort of behaviour you'd want your kids to emulate, is it. But there was no "Don't try this at home!" warning.

Walt also found offensive Mr. Slave's catchphrase, "Oooh, Jeez Christ!" or "Oh Jesus, Jesus Christ!", always delivered in a quavering lisp. He was rarely heard saying anything else. He last appeared in "201", on 21 April 2010.

Note from Ed.: Walt has the bit firmly between his teeth, but owing to constraints of space (and my patience) I'm going to have to divide "Last gay toon standing?" into two or even three parts. Scroll down to the next post to read about the other Herbert.

Acknowledgment of source: The information about South Park, Big Gay Al, Herbert Garrison and Mr. Slave was taken from South Park Archives. Many thanks.

Last gay toon standing? - Part 2

As detailed in Part 1 (above), South Park has (or had) its pervert named Herbert -- Herbert Garrison, the queer school teacher and sometime homosexual lover of Mr. Slave. Sure enough, Family Guy has one too. That would be John Herbert, US Army (retd) and neighbour to the lovable Griffin family. Well, maybe you don't find the Griffins lovable, but Herbert the Pervert does. Well, not all of them. Just Chris, the stupid teenage son.

"Mr. Herbert" is an elderly pedohebephile (you can look it up) who lives alone with his old, crippled dog, Jesse. He has a high-pitched, very soft, effeminate voice and speaks with a slight whistle lisp -- pretty tricky for the voice actor to do. He is often seen wearing a light blue robe and slippers and gets around with the aid of a zimmer-frame walker.

The old bugger became fixated on Chris in "To Love and Die in Dixie", in which Chris had a newspaper route that included Herbert's house. As he tries to persuade Chris to come inside, he gives his views on women -- "Who needs 'em?" -- revealing himself as a misogynist and/or gay as 18 balloons. When the Griffins returned from the South, Herbert left 113 messages asking what had happened to the nice boy who used to deliver his newspaper.

But that was nothing new, for Herbert frequently makes "inappropriate, sexually-tinged comments" to and about teenage boys. Here's a sample.

After first appearing in "To Love and Die in Dixie", Herbert became a major character, having a part in four to six episodes every season through the end of Season 12 last spring. But so far this season, he has had only a cameo in September's crossover spectacular "The Simpsons Guy".

Walt wonders why the writers didn't go for the obvious gag, and have Herbert develop a crush on Waylon Smithers... or vice versa... a very apposite phrase in this case. Could it be that Seth MacFarlane has finally figured out that pedophilia (or pedohebephilia) really isn't very funny?

Will we ever see Herbert the Pervert again? Stay tuned. As for Smithers, see Part 3, below.

Acknowledgment of source: Much of the information in this post was taken from the Family Guy Wiki. Thanks again!

Last gay toon standing? - Part 3

Having considered three openly gay characters from Family Guy and South Park, we turn now to The Simpsons, the oldest show of the three leading cartoon series, and the only one to have no character who is openly gay. The operative word there is "openly", and the one person that everyone suspects is a homosexual has not yet come out of the closet. Waylon Smithers, Jr., is not "open" about his gender preference. Let's just say he's "ajar".

What? You think this picture -- Smithers is on the right -- contradicts what I just said? Well, you have to see it in context. Smithers is the very willing and eager executive assistant, factotum and self-proclaimed best friend of C. Montgomery Burns, the owner of Springfield's nuclear power plant. That's Mr. Burns on the left.

Smithers worships the radioactive ground on which Mr. Burns walks. He has a picture of his boss as wallpaper on his computer, and even dreams about him flying in through the open bedroom window. Yes, Smithers loves Mr. Burns, but perhaps not in the way a man loves a woman... or a man loves a man... or, errr, you know what I mean!

On the other hand, perhaps Smithers' feelings for Mr. Burns are of a sexual nature. According to The Simpsons Wiki, most of the people of Springfield know that Smithers' is a "closeted gay man". Smithers is a confirmed bachelor, although he was once married to a woman. Sadly, the marriage fell apart when she wanted to have sex with him, and also referred to Mr. Burns as "awful".

Smithers has had a crush on Mr. Burns for as long as he's worked for him, but his love is never requited. The kiss pictured above is from "Lisa the Skeptic", in which, when the people of Springfield believe that the apocalypse is upon them, Smithers takes the opportunity to show Mr. Burns how he really feels. However, when it becomes apparent the "apocalypse" was just a hoax, Burns still remains oblivious to Smithers' feelings.

Ten years ago -- time flies so quickly in the wacky world of TV -- the producers of The Simpsons announced that one of the characters was going to come out of the closet, thus setting set off a firestorm of speculation in every English-speaking country, even the USA. Despite the Irish Independent calling Smithers "too obvious" a choice, 97% of the respondents in an online poll by PlanetOut thought Smithers would be the one to reveal his true colours. Imagine their surprise when it turned out to be Marge's sister, Patty Bouvier.

Unlike Mr. Slave, Herbert Garrison, and John Herbert, Waylon Smithers still appears regularly in The Simpsons -- a sympathetic and popular character. Star News Online named "Smithers' fey way" as one of the four hundred reasons why they loved The Simpsons. And in 2007, Entertainment Weekly named Smithers the sixteenth greatest sidekick of all time. They also described Smithers and Mr. Burns as being "TV's most functional dysfunctional couple".

What lesson do we learn from this, boys and girls? Walt suggests it's the wisdom of the US military's policy on gays in the armed forces -- don't ask, don't tell! Perhaps instead of proudly proclaiming their queerness and demanding to be respected if not, errr, loved, the LGBT crowd would be better advised to just shut up about it! 

Once more into Afghanistan

Walt learned this weekend that volleyball is immensely popular in Afghanistan, so much so that people actually go in large numbers to watch a match. Islamic extremists, however, regard the sport as sinful. Those who participate, or even spectate, deserve to die!

And so it came to pass, yesterday, that a suicide bomber rode a motorcycle into the middle of a stadium while a match was in progress, and sent himself to paradise (where 72 virgins were waiting) along with at least 50 others who weren't so keen to go. Amongst the others were 17 children. At least 60 people were wounded.

Just this morning, a soldier -- nationality so far undisclosed -- died in an attack on a NATO convoy in Kabul. The attacks appear to signal a resumption of hostilities after the Afghan parliament approved security deals allowing NATO and US soldiers to remain after the withdrawal of most foreign troops scheduled for next month.

Readers with longish memories will recall that when he was campaigning for the presidensity in 2008, Barack Hussein Obama promised a war-weary nation that he would end the war in Afghanistan and bring the American boys [and girls. Ed.] home. He made the same promise in 2012.

Americans may now be forgiven for poring over old campaign photos to see if the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had his fingers crossed behind his back. He never meant, he said later, to bring home all the US military personnel. In order to preserve the peace, order and democracy which America had succeeded in establishing there, it would be necessary for a few Americans to remain in Armpitistan. "A few", as in, errr, 9000 or so.

Of course they would only stay on with the consent of the Afghan government. When President Karzai expressed his opposition to the continuing occupation of his country, he was replaced -- after not one but two "free and democratic" elections -- by a more pliant leader. A new bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the USA and status of forces agreement (SOFA) with NATO were duly approved by 152 votes to 5.

The total number of soldiers in the new "peacekeeping" force will be about 12,000. Roughly three-quarters of them will be American. When the just-approved deal was cooked up, we were told that their mission would be training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Army and police.

Now we learn that there will actually be a bit more to it than the Prez was letting on. This week, while almost everyone was distracted by his plan to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the USA, Mr. Obarmy quietly authorized US commanders in Afghanistan to carry out combat operations and provide air cover for Afghan troops.

An administration official told CNN, "The new authorization...enables the deployment of US jets, bombers and drones." And "To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to al-Qaeda, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.

"The United States may provide combat enabler support to the [Afghan National Security Forces] in limited circumstances to prevent detrimental strategic effects to these Afghan security forces."

Walt will decode the military-speak for you. He meant that Americans and Afghans are going to continue standing shoulder to shoulder in fighting the Islamic extremists, just as they've been doing since, errr, 2001.

Shoulder to shoulder, eh... In this picture, it looks more like a couple of guys leading and a couple of guys following. Which are more likely to be killed -- the leaders or the followers? And which are the Afghans and which are the Americans? Answers on the back of a postage stamp please, to the usual address.

Footnote (and tombstone): Since its start in 2001, the Afghan war has claimed the lives of more than 3400 US and coalition soldiers.

Update and WOW! No sooner had I posted this than Chuck Hegel resigned from his position as US Secretary of Defense. Wouldn't you like to know why? The Prez didn't give any reason. Could it be that Mr. Hegel doesn't want to have his name associated with yet another American campaign that was lost before it started? 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Hockey Night in Canada" -- errr, not so much any more

Poor Len Canayen here. [What? Still?! Ed.] The sun is setting. Night is falling. Soon it will be Saturday night -- Hockey Night in Canada.

Notice from Rogers, Bell TV and the Canadian Broadcorping Castration. Some restrictions apply!

Due to a sweetheart deal between Rogers and the National Hockey League (G. Bettman, prop.), Hockey Night in Canada will no longer be offering games featuring Canada's team -- the Montréal Canadiens -- every Saturday as it did for the last century. Instead, the Canadian content will be provided by the Toronto Maple Laffs. Viewers who wish to see a real team are welcome to subscribe to NHL Centre Ice, at a modest extra charge. Call Rogers or Bell for details, and have your platinum credit card ready.

But never fear. HNIC is committed, as always, to viewer long as the viewer makes the same choice as Mr. Bitchman. There is a second game available on Rogers/Bell's basic service. Tonight, if you don't want to watch Toronto lose, you can watch Team Crosby (aka the Pittsburgh Penguins) play the Brooklyn Islanders. [That happens next year! Ed.] Some choice.

It makes my bleu-blanc-et-rouge blood boil. I have a good mind to write to someone, but I don't know who. Obviously G. Bettman doesn't give two shits for what the fans want, only for whatever brings in the most revenue. How could a New York Jewish lawyer think like that?!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pope Francis refuses to acknowledge Middle East "War of Religion"

On Monday, in "Under Pope Francis, Christianity matters less", Walt gave you the key points from a lengthy interview with leading Vaticanista Sandro Magister, on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of his career as an analyst and commentator on the state of the Church and religion in general.

Sig. Magister noted several trends in the Papacy of Pope Francis that disturb not just Traditionalists but many mainstream churchmen, including leading bishops and Cardinals. One of these was the inexplicable silence of the Vatican on Islam and the Muslim world in general. He called the Vatican's political correctness "caution pushed to extremes.... I don’t see any advantage to it. It seems to me that it hasn’t resulted in any help, even minimal or partial, for the Christians in those regions. Caution is understandable, if it’s measured in proportion to the effect. It’s valid if it produces lesser damage.

"We have a power like ISIS and we are too fast in saying that Islam has nothing to do with it; that they are instead nurtured by radical Islam, which doesn’t resolve the question of rationality and the relationship between faith and violence. That is exactly what Pope Ratzinger had addressed in Regensburg. In fact the only true dialogue between Christianity and Islam came about after that lecture...."

Today, in his Chiesa blog, Sig. Magister takes up the question again. In the face of the offensive of radical Islam, he writes, Francis’s big idea is that "we must soothe the conflict." Forget Regensburg! And forget about the 1000s of Christians among the many victims of puritanical Islam.

Sig. Magister finds it "impossible not to see in this the features of a 'war of Islam' pushed to the extreme, fought in the name of Allah. It is illusory to deny the Islamic origin of this unbridled theological violence. This has been published even by the officially supervised La Civiltà Cattolica, only to be contradicted afterward by its fearsome director, Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit who plays the role of Francis's interpreter.

"On Islam the Catholic Church stammers, the more so the higher up the ladder one goes.

"The bishops of the dioceses of the Middle East are calling upon the world for effective armed protection, which never comes. In Rome, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran publishes the most detailed denunciation of the atrocities of the caliphate, and declares an end to all possibility of dialogue with those among the Muslims who do not stamp out violence at its roots.

"But when the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, speaks in New York from the tribunal of the UN, as he did on September 29, he carefully avoids the taboo words 'Islam' and 'Muslims', and pays the obligatory tribute to the mantra that denies the existence of that conflict of civilization which is plain for all to see....

"In 2006 Benedict XVI, first in Regensburg and then in Istanbul, said what no pope had ever dared to say: that violence associated with faith is the inevitable product of the fragile bond between faith and reason in Muslim doctrine and in its very understanding of God."

But Benedict XVI isn't the Head of the Church any more, or so we're told. Instead we have Francis, who believes in "peaceful coexistence" with the Muslims. Perhaps next month he'll tell us he believes in Santa Claus too.

Speaking of broken immigration systems...

Americans who are dismayed at President Obarmy's imperial order (see previous post) to suspend enforcement of the USA's immigration laws might pause to give thanks that, broken as it is, their immigration "system" is not as bad as that of Canada.

From north of the world's longest quasi-undefended border comes word that a Canuck wannabe who received a grade of zero (0!) out of six on her citizenship language test and four (4!) out of 20 on the test’s knowledge component was nonetheless granted a Canadian citizenship certificate!

It wasn't political correctness or a desire to make nice with the Muslims that put Haheen Afzal — despite her abysmal results on the tests — before a citizenship judge in Hamilton ON to swear an oath to Her Britannic Majesty and receive a handsome certificate, suitable for framing. No, it was "a series of administrative errors".

"Comedy of errors" might be a better term. Except that Ms Afzal didn't find it so funny when the government discovered its, errr, mistake and tried to revoke her citizenship. Indeed, she fought to keep the precious parchment, all the way to the Federal Court of Canada, which resolved the dispute more than a year after the ceremony.

The facts of the case, as reviewed by Mr. Justice Donald Rennie, were that Ms Afzal failed the citizenship test not once but twice! The first time she scored 2/6 on language and 8/20 on knowledge. When she appeared before a citizenship judge and tried again, she scored even worse.

But the citizenship judge wasn't too good at the paperwork either. He noted in writing that Ms Afzal failed the tests and did not qualify but mistakenly checked the "Granted" box on the decision form. The next day, an official at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) office acknowledged that the judge’s decision had been "seen" and checked "Citizenship Granted" before sending the form along for processing.

A few days later, on 26 September 2013, Ms Afzal was asked to appear for a citizenship ceremony, and duly took the Oath of Citizenship. It was only after the ceremony that a citizenship clerk finally noticed the mistake. He twice phoned Ms. Afzal and left messages. Surprisingly, his calls were not returned.

Two months later, CIC cancelled the certificate. Arguing in the Federal Court, her (taxpayer-funded?) lawyer argued that CIC bureaucrats did not have authority to do that. Only the Governor-in-Council, which acts on behalf of the Crown, has such power, he said. But Mr. Justice Rennie disagreed, ruling that to accept that argument would be absurd.

Before someone can become a Canadian citizen, they are required to demonstrate linguistic competence in either of Canada’s official languages and show an adequate knowledge of Canada’s social, civic and political norms. Not too much to ask of a Muslim lady from the Middle East, surely? The judge said, "These competencies must be established before citizenship can be granted."

So, he ruled, even though a citizenship certificate was issued, the preconditions to citizenship had never been met. Therefore, citizenship was not so much being revoked as a certificate that had not been legally issued was being cancelled. And that was within the power of CIC bureaucrats.

"This interpretation also ensures that the privilege of Canadian citizenship is granted only as intended by Parliament," he said. That's good legal reasoning, judge! Nice save!

Emperor tells illegal immigrants to "come out of the shadows"

The American system of government [Is dis a system? Ed.] is one of checks and balances. To prevent any one person -- a dictator, a king, a prime minister -- from being able to exert too much power, the executive (of which the President is Chief) is supposed to work with the legislature (Congress), with both branches under the careful watch of the judiciary. The current proprietor of the Excited States, Barack Hussein Obama, once promised that he would never abuse his power as CEO. "I am not an emperor," he said.

Walt guesses the Prez had his fingers crossed behind his back when he said that. Speaking on the idiot's lantern last night, President Obarmy unveiled expansive and unprecedented executive actions to spare from deportation nearly five million (5,000,000) people who are in the country illegally. He does so "by the powers vested in me", in the face of furious opposition from Congress and contrary to the wishes (as understood from public opinion surveys) of millions of people who are in the USA legally.

What Mr. Obama is not doing is granting an amnesty to illegal immigrants. In America, even an emperor can't do that. He is merely "suspending" the enforcement of the existing immigration laws against 5 million of the 11 million -- mostly parents and young people -- for as long as he is Emperor [President, surely! Ed.], that is until the end of 2016 at which time things revert to the status quo ante.

Mr. Obarmy's excuse for ruling by decree is that the US immigration system is broken -- hard to argue with that -- and what he really wants is for Republican solons to focus their energy not on blocking his actions, but on approving long-stalled legislation to reform the system.

The Prez said that "tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic." No arguing with that either, since the authorities gave up trying long ago, frustrated by decisions of liberal judges who have ruled, for instance, that it's wrong (and doubtless racist) to stop people and ask them for identification. You'll find examples in Mark Steyn's After America, recommended by Walt recently.

The vehement reactions of Republicans, who will have control of both houses of Congress come January, made clear that if the Emperor wants a fight, they'll give it to him! House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (rhymes with "gainer", not "loner") who has refused to have his Republican members vote on broad immigration legislation passed by the Senate last year, said Mr. Obama's decision to go it alone "cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left."

Walt urges all illegal immigrants to take advantage of the six weeks or so of the de facto amnesty, and "come out of the shadows". Run -- don't walk, run! -- to the nearest immigration office or police station and identify yourselves. That way the government will know where to find you... when the time comes...

Further reading: "How Barack Obama's presidency has come undone". In this piece, written before last night's imperial decree, the CBC's Neil Macdonald analyzes how the Prez held out hope and promise, only to fail to fulfill almost all of his promises.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

British granny accused of displaying "potentially racially offensive object"

The PC police are at it again, this time in the small city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, in the Disunited Kingdom. A couple of days ago, members of the local constabulary [For our US readers, that means "police". Ed.] knocked on the door of 70-year-old Anne Feast to make enquiries [For our US readers, that means "inquiries". Ed.] about a "potentially racially offensive object" hanging in her window. Here's what they were looking at.

Two police officers, a man and a woman, knocked on the door at about 7.30pm," Granny Feast told the Daily Mail. "They told me they needed to speak to me about the 'black body' hanging in my window. I said 'Pardon? Do you mean the baby gorilla?'"

Mrs. Feast said she explained to the Peelers [You can look it up. Ed.] that she loved to knit and loved even more to display the toys she had knitted in her window for the amusement of neighborhood children. But the super-PC cops told her that — gorilla or not! — she still had to take down the toy because it had offended someone. And guess what? Granny Feast refused!

A spokesthingy for Cambridgeshire police later said that there had not actually been a complaint at all. "The police did not receive any calls from members of the public about this. Instead, while out on patrol, two PCSOs saw an object hanging from a window which they thought might be seen as a potentially racially offensive object."

But the spokesthingy denied that the officers asked Mrs. Feast to remove the toy from the window. "After establishing that the object was, in fact, a handmade knitted gorilla and nothing offensive," he/she said, the officers left and carried on their patrols."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two popes talk about peaceful coexistence with Muslims

Only a couple of days before Sandro Magister said in an interview he found the Pope's silence on Islam "a contradiction", the Head of the Church called for more careful instruction for seminarians on dealing with Muslims!

Meeting with African Bishops, Pope Francis said, "I think it is important that the clergy receive a more structured training in the seminary in order to carry out a constructive dialogue with Muslims, a dialogue ever more necessary to live a peaceful coexistence with them."

The Pope noted that Africa presents a special situation for Christians because Islam is "strongly majoritarian" -- whatever that means -- in many places. He added that there are great differences from place to place in the "conditions of reciprocal relations" with Islam. He made no apology for the gross understatement.

Walt wonders what the Pope is smoking. Or does he just make this stuff up as he goes along? He certainly can't have remembered -- if he ever knew them -- the teachings of St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas, who said we must combat the heresies of Islam and all other false religions.

A commenter on the Jihad Watch blog
"Does the Pope really think Boko Haram needs a heart-to-heart convo about tolerance? Is he nuts? Attacks, massacres, forced conversions of Christians, forced marriages and sharia: the protocol Boko Haram has been told in ghastly detail by the few fortunate survivors. Jihadists are slaughtering Christian children, kidnapping young girls and selling them in slave markets to Muslims, targeting teachers and doctors, and the Pope thinks it’s a lack of inter-faith dialogue?"

Indeed. But if any proof of the lunacy of the Party Pope's thoughts of coexistence was needed, it was offered within mere days by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared a jihad -- Islamic holy war -- on Rome, America and its "coalition", and all and sundry other infidels.

Calling on his followers to "erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere", the Terrorist-in-Chief added, "The crusaders' missiles will not stop our advance on Rome." That would be the same Rome from which the Church -- in the days when it was Catholic -- launched the Crusades to recover the Holy Land from the Muslim infidels.

One must ask, with Antonio Socci (see reference in the Magister interview) if someone gives voice to such foolish (and anti-Christian) ideas can really be Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis wants to love the radical Islamists to death, while they want to, errr, kill us to death!

Contrast what Pope Francis is saying with the 1928 teaching of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos, in which he ordered us not to sell out to the Muslim infidels, but to bring them to the Catholic Church!

Pius XI ordered the Dedication of the Human Race to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be made each year on the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, in these words: "Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God."

But that was before Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born. Perhaps no-one ever told him about it. Or perhaps he forgot.

Under Pope Francis, Christianity matters less - key points from interview with Sandro Magister

From time to time Walt has referred to -- and sometimes quoted at length -- the noted Vaticanista, Sandro Magister. I am a follower of his Settimo Cielo blog in l'Espresso. His first article appeared in the Italian daily l'Espresso in 1974.

On the occasion of his 40th anniversary, Maestro Magister was interviewed at length by Goffredo Pistelli, who writes for Italia Oggi. The interview was published, in translation, on the Rorate Caeli website. Here are the key points. Quotes from Signore Magister are shown in purple. The emphasis is mine.

Pope Francis, Sig. Magister conceded, has been basking in worldwide success. But, he said, there are contradictions inherent in the Pope's character, which can be seen  by analyzing  his statements and actions since his elevation. "Throughout his life, he has been a person who has acted on different fronts at the same time. He does the same thing now as Pontiff; he leaves passages open, and on first reading, there are many contradictions."

For example, Francis "is a very talkative Pope. He has telephoned and approached all different kinds of people both near and far. But he has been silent about [the plight of] Asia Bibi", the Pakistani Christian woman who has been imprisoned for years, condemned to death for apostasy. See "Martyr in waiting needs your prayers", posted on WWW in March 2011.

So also, the Pope has said not a word about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and "that unbelievable act of a few days ago in Pakistan when a Christian married couple were burnt to death in a furnace."

Indeed, the Pontiff has been silent about Islam and the Muslim world in general. And his hand-picked Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin was very prudent when speaking at the United Nations recently. They seem determined not to upset the Muslims, in contrast with Benedict XVI’s lecture at Regensburg, which incited strong reactions and even deaths.

Sig. Magister calls the Vatican's political correctness "caution pushed to extremes.... I don’t see any advantage to it. It seems to me that it hasn’t resulted in any help, even minimal or partial, for the Christians in those regions. Caution is understandable, if it’s measured in proportion to the effect. It’s valid if it produces lesser damage."

The point, the analyst says, is that "We have a power like ISIS and we are too fast in saying that Islam has nothing to do with it; that they are instead nurtured by radical Islam, which doesn’t resolve the question of rationality and the relationship between faith and violence. That is exactly what Pope Ratzinger had addressed in Regensburg. In fact the only true dialogue between Christianity and Islam came about after that lecture...."

Pope Francis has said repeatedly that he doesn't want to make compromises with doctrine, that he respects the Tradition of the Church. But then he opened discussions on "modernizing" or "reforming" the Tradition, like the ones at the recent Bishops Synod on the Family, about Communion for the divorced and remarried, which effectively touch the very foundations of the Church.

Why, the interviewer asked, does he do so? Sig. Magister responded, "It was all inevitable considering the Pope’s decision to assign the opening of the discussions to Cardinal Walter Kasper. This basically was the start of the hostilities...."

What Cardinal Kasper is proposing are the same theses defeated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Holy Office who later became Benedict XVI. Sig. Magister's opinion is that "it is inevitable that Communion for the divorced and remarried will result in the acceptance of second marriages, and so to the dissolution of the sacramental bond of matrimony."

Is that what Francis wants? As Cardinals Burke and George have remarked recently, it's hard to know. The Pope works both sides of the street! According to Sig. Magister, "It’s another recurring practice of this Pontificate -- reprimands to one side and the other. However...the scoldings aimed at the traditionalists, the legalists and the rigid defenders of doctrine appear to be much more numerous. On the other hand, whenever he has something to say to the progressives you never understand who he is really referring to."

That confusion to the point of bewilderment is growing is undeniable, Sig. Magister says. "We have leaders in prominent positions...who are making this clear, even if they don’t express it in drastic and antagonistic terms.... There isn’t a prejudicially hostile tendency against the Pontiff [but] certainly there are evident manifestations of uneasiness.

"Take for example the Episcopate in the United States, that is, the bishops of one of the most numerous Catholic populations in the world. In recent years, that Episcopal Conference expressed a coherent and combative line in the public arena, even regarding certain decisions by Barack Obama on ethical issues. A line shared by many prominent prelates."

Now, he continues, the American cardinals and archbishops "like Timothy Dolan from New York, Patrick O'Malley from Boston, José Gomez from Los Angeles or Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, are all uneasy. This is the episcopate that [Cardinal] Burke himself comes from and is certainly not restricted to the marginal traditional circuits, but continues to be part of one of the most solid national Churches."

The interviewer next refers to a new book by Antonio Socci, Non è Francesco, ("It's Not Francis", Mondadori, 2014.) Sig. Socci's thesis (as Walt understands it) is that since the Pope cannot lead the Church into error, if Francis is leading the Church into error, he must not be truly the Pope. QED.

Sig. Socci adduces evidence -- a missing ballot -- to suggest that Pope Francis was not validly elected. But even if he's wrong on that, could his reconstruction of the Pope's contradictions be taken to prove his thesis? Sig. Magister was asked if he'd read the book. Here's what he said.

"Yes, I read it all in one evening. It’s a real page-turner.... And not for the theory of the invalid election: the result of the cancellation of a ballot in the conclave because there was an extra blank ballot-card. In my view it’s an inconsistent theory.

"[I found it interesting] because of what’s creating the book’s success, so much so that it has reached the top of the best-sellers list, exceeding the books of and about Bergoglio. That’s because it reconstructs, in incontestable facts and words, the contradictions we have been talking about."

One of the contradictions of this papacy, the interviewer pointed out, is that despite Francis' enormous personal popularity,  religious practice has not increased. On the contrary, the aversion to Catholicism is increasing. Sig. Magister contrasted the popularity of Pope Francis with that of his two predecessors.

"The popularity of his predecessors was very strong. John Paul II experienced world-wide success and not only during the years of his illness. Also Benedict XVI between 2007 and 2008, reached the highest levels in the polls, even if this has been forgotten. His trip to the United States was the peak, where he received a great welcome even from secular public opinion.

"[The difference is] that the predecessors were mostly popular inside the Church, even if they were harshly criticized from strongholds of non-Catholic public opinion. Whereas Francis' popularity is more conspicuous outside the Church, even if it isn’t eliciting waves of conversions. Actually, with him there seems to be a certain pleasure in outside seeing the Head of the Church shifting towards their positions, which he seems to understand and even accept.

"The Christianity from the mouth of Bergoglio is no longer provocative, does not create problems as in the past, it can be treated with courtesy, superiority and detachment. Christianity matters less." 

Further reading from Sandro Magister's blog Chiesa (24/11/14): The Lenses of the Cardinal, the Sociologist, the Journalists - "All focused on Francis. To understand who he is and where he wants to go. In the Church, at all levels, criticisms of the pope are no longer being silenced. They are voiced openly. Among the cardinals, the most explicit is Francis George."

Further reading on WWW:
"The 'liquid' message of Pope Francis; will he be the last supreme pontiff?"
"Is the Catholic Church about to disintegrate?"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Ground control to Captain Ted..."

Agent 17 sent me what purport to be "actual exchanges between pilots and control towers". The references to 727s and 747s, Pan-Am and Eastern, tell me this has been around for awhile, and I'm in some doubt as to its "actuality", but it's good for some chuckles after a trying week.

Tower: TWA 2341, for noise reduction turn right 45 degrees.
TWA 2341: Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?
Tower: Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: I'm fucking bored!
Ground Traffic Control: Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!
Unknown aircraft: I said I was fucking bored, not fucking stupid!

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long rollout after touching down.
San Jose Tower: American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.

O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, eastbound.
United 329: Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the little Fokker in sight!

A Pan-Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following.
Lufthansa (in German): Ground, what is our start clearance time?
Ground (in English): If you want an answer you must speak in English.
Lufthansa (in English): I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?
Unknown voice from another plane (with a British accent): Because you lost the bloody war!

Tower: Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7.
Eastern 702: Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.
Tower: Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?
Continental 635: Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern. We've already notified our caterers.

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned for being a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan-Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a BA 747, callsign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway.
Ground: Speedbird 206, taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?
Speedbird 206: Stand by, Ground. I'm looking up our gate location now.
Ground (impatient and arrogant): Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?
Speedbird 206 (coolly): Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark. And I didn't land.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Open letter to Rogers, Bell TV, TVA, RDS and the NHL (attn G. Bettman)

Chers espèces de crotte!

I, Poor Len Canayen, am a fan of the Montréal Canadiens. If I can't go to their games in person, I would watch them on TV...if only I could!

But I live in western Canada -- "western" meaning anywhere west of Québec and the easternmost corner of Ontario. Until this season, that didn't matter. I was able to watch all the Habs games on RDS, and enjoy the superior commentary of their play-by-play team and analysts.

During this summer, though, you, Rogers, made a deal with the so-called National Hockey League (G. Bettman, prop. -- a man who knows nothing about hockey but everything about sharp business deals) by which you, Rogers, got the exclusive rights to broadcast the NHL in Canada.

So you, Rogers, greedy bastards that you are, figured out a way to make little people, like me, pay more to see our favourite team. You reduced drastically the number of Habs games telecast in English on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays or Hometown Hockey on Sundays. And you divided up the French telecasts between RDS and TVA.

No problem... or so I thought, as I signed up for Bell TV's "Le monde en français" satellite package. But whoooaaaa... You, Rogers and Bell, have colluded to block the RDS and TVA Sports channels in western Canada (see definition above) only and always when the Montréal games are on!

The object, obviously, is to force me to sign up for your premium "NHL Centre Ice" package, a snip at only C$209 for "the year". (What does that mean? My prediction is that it means "until the end of the regular season", when subscribers will be asked to pay still more if they want to see the playoffs.)

Guess what, greedheads?! I won't do it! I cancelled my subscription to "Le monde en français" and I'll be double damned if I'll sign up for anything else. In fact, I have a good mind to switch to cable TV -- not Rogers! -- and be done forever with Bell's intermittent satellite signals.

To Rogers, Bell and the NHL -- I'm not including RDS and TVA because it's not their fault -- PUCK YOU! Puck you very much!

c.c. Government of Canada Competition Bureau, Canadian Human Rights Commission

Friday, November 14, 2014

The war against ISIS explained... again... seriously, this time

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon... [Hey! That opening is copyrighted! Ed.] OK, it's been a quiet week in Mudge County. [Where dat? Ed.] Walt is following three "situations", as the military calls them -- the Yellow Umbrella protests in Hong Kong, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and the latest phase of the Oil Wars -- waiting for something definitive to happen in any or all of them.

If you read my Remembrance Day piece, "Some wars would be better forgotten", you'll know that I've decided "Oil Wars" is a good catch-all name for the American-led invasions and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Iraq again. "Oil Wars" is my feeble attempt to nutshell the reasons for those "missions".

Explaining why the Prez has led his country and the "coalition of the willing" once more into the sandpit isn't easy. With tongue firmly inserted in cheek, I tried to do so in "Are you confused about the war in the Middle East?". Agent 6 thinks -- and I must admit -- that a more serious analysis is overdue.

So, thanks to Agent 6, I'm going to give you a link to an essay posted on September 8th in The Equedia Letter, "Canada’s fastest growing and largest investment newsletter dedicated to revealing the truths about the stock market".

The writer, Ivan Lo, thinks the War against ISIS -- the self-described Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- is all about... wait for it... oil (and the gas that goes with it). Refer to the map below as you follow this excerpt from "The Real Reason for War in Syria: Pipeline Control".

Take a look at [the timeline of events listed earlier in the article] and you will see an astoundingly shocking chain of intertwined events all related to currency and energy.

Currency manipulation allows developed countries to print and lend to other developing countries at will.... When the developing nations realize they can’t pay back the loans, they’re at the mercy of the lending nations.

The trick here is that the lending nations can print as much money as they want, and in turn, control the resources of developing nations. In other words, the loans come at a hefty cost to the borrower, but at no cost to the lender.

That is why energy is much more valuable than currency in a fiat system. That’s why many wars have been fought over the control of energy. The current conflict in Syria is no different....

Russia is already the dominant energy powerhouse in Europe, supplying and controlling nearly 40% of total gas imports to Europe. Russia’s energy dominance in the Eastern Hemisphere has allowed the nation to amass fortunes; fortunes used to continue its energy dominance through resource acquisitions and the buying of support from resource-rich allies.

Russia wants this dominance to continue. That’s why it needs to maintain control over Syria.

Syria’s location puts it smack in the middle of Qatar and Turkey; a perfect crossroads for a natural gas pipeline that could make Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquid natural gas (LNG), a strong supplier of gas to Europe. A gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey means will Russia lose its dominance and control over energy supplied to Europe; thus Russia will lose lots of money and power.

In order for Qatar gas to reach Turkey, it has two options. One option would lead a pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and then to Turkey.

Saudi Arabia already said no to the first route because it wants to ensure that it gets a piece of the action and maintain control over the gas that goes through its region. Of course, that means less profits and control for Qatar. So that means option one won’t happen. On to Syria.

Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad has long been Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally. At the recent G20 summit, the media was shocked to hear Putin’s direct remarks regarding helping the Assad regime in Syria: “Will we help Syria? Yes, we will. We’re doing it right now, we’re supplying arms.”

It’s no wonder why Assad said no to the second route; he’s obligated to help block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe to ensure that Russia remains in control of European energy. It’s no wonder why Qatar has spent more than $3 billion supporting the rebels in dethroning Assad.

If Assad is forced out, Qatar could put in place a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline into Europe and give Qatar the ability to sell natural gas to Europe, undermining Russia.

Of course, the Saudis have also been helping the rebels because it too wants to control the flow of energy from the Persian Gulf to Europe. There are even rumours that Saudi Arabia and Qatar may be ‘bribing’ US congressmen to approve war on Syria in order to dethrone Assad.

If Qatar or Saudi Arabia gains control of Syria, it would be a major blow to Russia. The U.S. wants to supply Europe with gas; this was made clear when it backed the Nabucco-West pipeline.

America reaffirmed its natural gas stance last year with Exxon and Qatar proposing a $10 billion U.S. energy export project. The U.S. has the world’s largest supply of natural gas and it has boldly made plans to profit from supplying gas to Europe. Combine that with the fact that Washington and Iran are direct enemies, and you can see why it is in America’s best interest to dethrone Assad.

Dethroning Assad will kill two birds with one stone; it will bypass Iran and loosen the control Russian energy has over Europe. All of this means that the U.S. and its energy allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, will do whatever they can to remove Assad and implement their pipeline wishes.

Well, that's one man's opinion of the motive of Armerica and its Arab "friends". Makes a lot of sense to me. Perhaps "Oil Wars" is exactly the right name for what we're doing in the Middle East. Certainly it's better than calling what we're doing "the Right Thing".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some wars would be better forgotten

Today is Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, the day on which we honour the brave men and women who died, often far from their homelands, fighting for freedom and/or democracy and/or civilization. Many of us will wear poppies, reminiscent of those that blew in Flanders fields. And we will be doing so -- as we will be reminded, over and over -- that we do all this "lest we forget".

Walt means no disrespect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Most of them went into battle bravely, if not willingly, because they had to. Willingly or not, they answered their countries' call, and did what they were told to do, without questioning the right or wrong of the wars in which they fought.

Some of those wars, in Walt's opinion, were fought in vain, for the wrong causes. By all means, remember and honour the fallen, and pray for their souls, but forget what I'll call "bad wars". Four examples come to mind.

In Canada, today, the names and dates of two semi-forgotten wars were added to the "National" War Memorial*. They were the Boer War -- more properly the Anglo-Boer War -- and the Afghan War -- more properly the Third or Fourth Afghan War, depending on  who's counting.

The Anglo-Boer war was perhaps the first modern war, and a nasty affair it was, won by the British only by sheer force of numbers, and by tactics such as imprisoning the Boers' women and children in concentration camps. You can look it up.

It was an imperial war, fought by then-Great Britain and its colonial subjects (that's how Canadians got involved) against the Afrikaaner citizens of a couple of tiny republics who wanted nothing more than to be left alone. Did Britain subjugate them in the name of freedom or (as is now pretended) racial equality? Hardly. The war had more to do with the fact that the Boers were sitting on top of a mountain of gold.

The Boer War ended on 31 May 2002. Fast forward a century to find Canadian troops fighting alongside another imperial power against another people who wanted only to be left alone. The imperial power would be the US of A, and the people who wanted to be left to alone were the Afghans.

We pretend now that this fourth attempt to conquer a barbarian and unconquerable people -- the British had already tried twice, the Russians once -- was for the purpose of bringing them the benefits of Western civilization. In reality, history will see the Afghan wars as part and parcel of the larger War of the Middle East or -- my prediction -- the Oil Wars.

Dear readers, let's not kid ourselves about the real reason for Armerican "intervention" in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sandpits. No matter what Presidents Bush and Obama told us, there is considerable doubt, in my mind at least, that the Taliban/Al-Qaeda/ISIS pose any real threat to the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, or any other country which has joined the Armerican "coalition of the willing".

Let's be honest. The American government has sent tens of thousands of men and women to their deaths in some of the must useless land on earth because under that land are billions of gallons of oil. The USA wants to control the entire Middle East to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of cheap(ish) oil, and that's a fact.

Canada and the other members of the "coalition" have gone along with the Americans because, having sat out Vietnam and/or Iraq and/or Libya and/or the last-but-one Afghan war, they couldn't be seen to shirk any longer. Why? Because if it ever came to an actual threat against Britain and/or Canada and/or Australia and/or the Netherlands, they'd be screwed without the protection of the USA, and they know it!

I promised you four examples. As well as the Anglo-Boer War and the Oil Wars, I had in mind the Spanish-American war (which coincided neatly with the Boer War) and, of course, the Vietnam War. But I think the point has been made that there's no point in remembering the bad wars unless we do so with a resolve not to make the same mistakes again. Sadly, that resolve seems to be totally lacking in Washington and the other bastions of democracy and freedom.

* Footnote from Ed.: I put "national" in quote marks because Poor Len assures me that in Canada the word has two different meanings, depending on whether you're saying it in English or French. Advice taken!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

English brand names that didn't travel well

As readers of his admirable works Mother Tongue and Made in America will know, Bill Bryson is a cunning linguist.  His fascination with the evolution and usage of the English language is boundless.

His sense of humour shines through both both books, particularly when he writes about how English is mispronounced, mistranslated and misunderstood in other part of the world. Here, from Mother Tongue, is his example of brand names which are inoffensive in English, but take on negative connotations when used in countries where English is not the native tongue.

Some idea of the scope of the problem can be seen in the experience of a British company when it decided to sell its vintage port, Cockburn's Dry Tang, in Scandinavia. When it didn't sell well in Sweden the company investigated and learned that "tang" means "seaweed" in Swedish, and clearly the name "dry seaweed" was not conjuring up the requisite image of quality and premium taste that would lead Swedes to buy it by the sackful.

So, at the suggestion of the Swedish importers, the company changed the name on the label to Dry Cock, which sounds very silly to English speakers, but which was a big hit with the Swedes.

However, sales immediately plummeted in Denmark. Urgent investigation showed that "cock" there signifies, of all things, the female genitalia. So yet another name had to be devised. Such are the hazards of international marketing.

Presented to you as a Saturday Smile...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pro-LGBT sex ed coming back to Ontario schools

Here we go again, skipping gayly (geddit?) down the road to "gender diversity" and the "education" of children as young as eight in the benefits of the LGBT lifestyle!

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, having won a new mandate for her ultra-liberal, ultra-PC policies, is set to re-introduce a bill to mandate pro-gay sex education in Ontario elementary schools -- Catholic as well as "public" -- beginning in the fall of 2015.

Depending on how you count, this is the second or third time Ms Wynne has tried to push the LGBT agenda down the throats of Ontarians. She first trotted out the new curriculum in 2010, when she was the province's education minister. The reaction of the non-gay 90% of the population was so fierce that her boss, Dalton McGuinty, cancelled its implementation just hours after his own cabinet ministers had vigorously defended it.

Why were average citizens, especially the parents of school-age children, so horrified? Because the new curriculum called for teacher-led discussions of topics such as masturbation, oral and anal sex and homosexuality by Grade 8, and the general topic of sex and where babies come from as early as Grade 3!

Mr. McGuinty said the province "hadn’t consulted enough with parents", even though his own ministers insisted they'd been "having a conversation" with the public for two years. And so the pro-gay curriculum was quietly buried. But after Mr. McGuinty resigned and the premiership was handed over to Ms. Wynne, it was resurrected again! See "WARNING to Ontarians: queer sex ed is back on the table!" (WWW 14/10/13) and "Are perverts pushing Ontario's sex education curriculum? Could be!" (WWW 10/7/13).

But then Ms. Wynne, who headed a minority government, was forced to call an election, which she won, thanks to the ineptitude of Ontario's oxymoronically-named Progressive Conservatives. And so, as surely as "shoes" follows "sensible", the bill requiring the "updating" of Ontario's education curriculum is to be brought forward yet again.

This time, Ms. Wynne’s government says it will use an online survey to consult with parents before the new curriculum is rolled out. Do they mean all Ontario parents? Errr, no. They'll be asking the opinion of 4000 parents -- possibly including same-sex couples who have somehow acquired a child -- hand-picked by school principals to participate.

Let's see now. Who do the school principals work for? That's right. The Ministry of Education which is determined to get its new programme approved. Walt thinks it not unlikely that most of the parents selected will be the chairs and members of school councils who can be relied on to rubber stamp the proposed curriculum.

So sure of that is the Wynne government that Education Minister Liz [sic] Sandals has already said that the survey process is unlikely to lead to any changes. Nor will the province inform all parents about the contents of the new curriculum, which will be left up to individual schools. So much for "meaningful consultation".

Opposition to the new curriculum is being led by Parents As First Educators (PAFE), which has launched a petition objecting to the "graphic" revision of the sex education curriculum.

In "No input from Ontario parents, school trustees on Kathleen Wynne's new sex-ed curriculum: what are the Liberals trying to hide?", PAFE makes a good argument that what Ms. Wynne and her good friend Ms. Sandals want is to appear to be consulting with parents in the manner of the Jesuits of old -- letting the parents find their own way to a conclusion which has already been determined.

Finally! Foreign minister admits he's gay!

Canada's Sun newspapers chose this image to accompany their report that Latvia's foreign minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, revealed publicly (in a Tweet yesterday) that he is gay. 

The Vox website says this is significant, because Latvia is one of a handful of EU countries with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Its parliament recently advanced a bill banning sex ed curricula from teaching that same-sex marriages are equal to opposite-sex marriages, and there are plans in the works for a Russia-style bill banning "gay propaganda". So a top official like this coming out like this is a major political statement, or so Vox thinks.

Mr. Rinkēvičs is the one on the right. The other person in the picture is a Canadian, John Baird, who is also... wait for it... a foreign minister.

Obama writes another friendly letter to the Ayatollah

Earlier today -- in "Pope calls Islamic extremism 'product of the West'" -- I suggested that President Obarmy might be more interested in pursuing his foreign policy goals in the Middle East than in helping that area's Christian to resist Islamic extremism. Certainly that's the view of Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, whom I quoted.

Neither the Patriarch nor Walt should be surprised, then, by today's report in the Wall Street Journal that the Prez recently wrote a secret letter -- the fourth such missive -- to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, about their "shared interest" in fighting ISIS.

The Prez also expressed his hope -- he still uses that word a lot, even though hope is not a plan -- that they could make a deal on Iran's nuclear programme... preferably before the US mid-term elections. Walt supposes that the letter was entrusted to USPS and has yet to arrive in Tehran.

Just kidding. According to the WSJ report, November 3rd wasn't really the redline deadline. They say the Leader of the Free World(TM) stressed that any co-operation on fighting the Islamic State is contingent on Iran reaching such an agreement on its nukes by the November 24th diplomatic deadline.

The White House has refused to confirm the existence of the letter, saying it would not comment on Mr. Obama's "private correspondence". In response to questions yesterday, spokesthingy Josh Earnest could only say, "I can tell you that the policy that the president and his administration have articulated about Iran remains unchanged."

Republican leaders, however, had lots to say. House Speaker John Boehner (rhymes with "gainer", not "loner") said he doesn't trust Iran's leaders, and is opposed to bringing them into the fight against IS.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called it "outrageous" that the president would approach Iran, given its support for the Syrian government and Shia groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah.
In a joint statement, they said, "The administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us."

Still confused about who's doing what with whom and to whom in the Middle East? Read "Are you confused about the war in the Middle East?" [Duh! Like that's gonna help. Ed.]

OK, I can do better than that. Read "Should the West be meddling in the Middle East? Good question!"

Pope calls Islamic extremism "product of the West"

No. Not that Pope. The reference is to Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt's largest Christian group. The Fides news agency reports that Pope Tawadros denounced Western policies which have fostered Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

The Patriarch (pictured here with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church and members of the diplomatic corps)  made his comments in a television interview broadcast last Tuesday by the Al Hayat network, at the conclusion of the prelate's visit to Russia.

Responding to the interviewer's questions, Pope Tawadros made explicit reference to Western complicity towards extremist fanatical groups, aiming at reshaping the balance of power in the entire region. Their goals, he explained, include the total evacuation of the indigenous Christian communities in that area of the world.

He also called the confidence of those who expect aid from the West to the Christian communities of the Middle East misguided. "Some thought that America could protect us" when extremists burned dozens of Egyptian churches in 2013, he said, "no-one did anything."

The Fides report does not say if Pope Tawadros expressed any surprise at the lack of Western interest in or action on behalf of Christians in his country. Walt doubts it. Of course, Barack Hussein Obama is not a Muslim [Right! Ed.] but that doesn't stop him making nice with folks like Iran's Ayatollah Khameini, not known for being exactly pro-Christian. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Best cover comment on the mid-terms

From the New  York Daily News.

I like this. Like it a lot! The world, or at least an important part of it, might just become a better place, thanks to all Americans who voted with their heads this time.

Canada to be closed to immigrants in polygamous/forced marriages?

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister today acknowledged ["admitted", surely. Ed.] that there "at least hundreds" of cases of immigrants in polygamous marriages being admitted under Canada's notoriously PC ["lax", surely. Ed.] immigration system. Polygamy, Chris Alexander said, is "incompatible with Canadian values", so letting polygamists into the Great Not-so-white North has to stop!

What neither he nor the Minister for the Status of Wimmin failed to mention is that Islam is the only one of the three Abrahamic religions that allows polygamy. Just an oversight, obviously. What this means is that Muslims with more than one wife won't be allowed to immigrate. Unless, that is, they lie about the status of those "other women" who are named on their applications, which is what happened in the notorious Shafia multiple murder case.

The Shafias -- father, son and second wife -- were convicted in 2012. That it took nearly three years for the "conservative" government of Steve Harper to make any adjustment in its immigration policies shows you the strength of the multicultists in Canada and elsewhere. Yes, we must be tolerant of Muslims. If their beliefs and practices seem barbaric to us, it's our fault for being racist, Islamophobic, etc etc.

While they're at it, the Canuck government is going to tweak its immigration policies to protect women and girls who seek to escape polygamous or forced marriages. This was promised in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, which said, "Sadly, millions of women and girls continue to be brutalized by violence, including through the inhumane practice of early and forced marriage. This barbarism is unacceptable to Canadians."

Mr. Alexander said that the legislation he's introducing today would eliminate early and forced marriages from Canada's immigration system and the country as a hole ["whole", surely! Ed.] The targets here are not just Muslims, but Hindus and Sikhs, all of whom routinely send home to India/Pakistan/Bangladesh for suitable brides/grooms for their children, lest the kiddos be tempted to "marry out" and thus integrate themselves into Canadian society.

The changes to Canada's "system" will take effect only if the legislation is passed. There is less than a year left in the Harper government's mandate. If Mr. Alexander's bill is subject to prolonged liberal hand-wringing, as Walt expects, it could well die on the order paper. How Canadian would that be!