The late Right Honourable Pierre-Eliot Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada from 20 April 1968, to 4 June 1979, and again from 3 March 1980 to 29 June 1984. During his reign -- I use the word deliberately -- he changed Canada from the Great White North to the Great(ish) Not-so-white North, just as he promised.
He had been asked a question about which nation’s administration he most admired and why, and gave this response. "There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime. I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about, of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted, that I find quite interesting."
That's kind of like saying that Hitler built some nice highways, Mussolini made the trains run on time, and Stalin deserves credit for running a pretty tight ship. It's true that the Communist rulers of the self-styled People's Republic of China (PRC) know how to get things done. Did they not dam up the mighty Yangtze and build a high-speed railway that will take you from Beijing into the heart of occupied Tibet? And how about the 2008 Olympics? Great accomplishments, to be sure. But at what cost?
The fact is that Communist China is one of the most authoritarian police states in the world. The price for its economic and material achievements is paid by the Chinese people in physical suffering -- imprisonment, torture and execution -- and deprivation of the human rights and freedoms.
In the early 90s, Beijing lost out to Sydney in its bid to host the Olympics, because of Western criticism of China's abysmal human rights record. When it applied again, in 2001, the pitch was that its record had improved, and if it was awarded the Olympics, it would do better. And so Beijing was awarded the Games. People wanted to believe -- then as now -- that increasing prosperity and engagement with the international community would soften China's authoritarian political system.
And did it? The answer, according to Philip P. Pan, is NO! Mr. Pan was the Washington Post's Beijing bureau chief from 2000 through 2007, and witnessed firsthand the persecution and prosecution of Chinese citizens who had the courage to assert the rights supposedly guaranteed to them under the PRC's constitution. He also investigated accounts of the fate of others who had earlier -- before 2000 but after the death of Chairman Mao -- fought and died for a freer society.
In Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China (Simon & Schuster, 2008), Mr. Pan presents detailed profiles of 11 Chinese who fought for a freer society. The result is a not-so-pretty picture of what life is like for large numbers of ordinary Chinese in the post-Mao era of economic and political "development".
Mr. Pan's book is history, written in the best and most engaging way, in tales from the lives of real people. The author takes us inside the dramatic battle for China's soul and into the lives of ordinary men and women struggling to come to terms with their nation's past and take control of its future. Among the 11 people we meet are...
* An elderly surgeon who exposed the Communist cover-up of the SARS epidemic, then, years later, had the courage to write about his experience during the Tiananmen Square Massacre. For his pains, Jiang Yanyong, "The Honest Doctor" (that's the title of Chapter 8) was detained, interrogated, subjected to house arrest, and forbidden ever again to visit his children in the USA.
* A filmmaker, Hu Jie, who spent years making an unauthorized documentary on the execution of a young woman, Lin Zhao, during the Cultural Revolution. Ms Lin was at first an avid, slogan-shouting, little-red-book-waving Communist. But her eyes were opened by the mindless violence, mass starvation and other horrors unleashed by Chairman Mao. Her denunciation of the Communist Party and its "system" landed her in prisons and mental hospitals, where she wrote hundreds of pages of thoughts and pleas in her own blood. Hu Jie's film "Searching for Lin Zhao's Soul" (Chapter 2, followed by "Blood and Love", Chapter 3) was an underground success, but led inevitably to the knock of state security agents on his door.
* A blind man, Chen Guangcheng, who wasn't satisfied to be a masseur or musician -- about the only work open to blind people in China then and now -- so learned the law by self-study. Although not a lawyer, Mr. Chen devoted himself to bringing court challenges on behalf of the poor and oppressed, especially peasants who were being taxed to the point of starvation, and suffering the loss of millions of babies aborted or killed at birth because of China's evil One Child Policy. We read in "Blind Justice" (Chapter 11) how Mr. Chen was abducted, beaten and imprisoned, but lived to tell his story.
Do any of the stories have a happy ending? Yes and no. Like some films where titles at the end tell you what became of the characters, Out of Mao's Shadow has an epilogue in which we learn what became of Dr. Jiang, Mr. Hu, Mr. Chen and the others. Except for Lin Zhao, they all survived. They are still alive.
But did they win their battles? For the most part, they fought the Communists to a draw or, at best, a narrow win. But the larger war for basic human rights and freedoms continues. 11 Davids -- or 11,000 or 110,000, as in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution -- are not yet enough to be more than a mere annoyance to the Goliath that is the Communist Party of China.
Out of Mao's Shadow challenges the conventional wisdom that free markets automatically lead to free societies. Justin Trudeau should read it. So should Pope Francis, Hussein Obama and all the other naive leaders of the West who think that "engaging" and "dialoguing" with the Communists will make them change. And yes, you should read it too!
This just in from beautiful downtown Hayden ID -- a town of about 9000 souls up in the Idaho panhandle, about 40 miles north of Coeur d’Alene.
Errr, better make that 8999 souls. A spokesthingy for the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that an unidentified woman was shot dead by a 2-year-old boy at the local Walmart yesterday.
It was an accident, you understand. The kid was one of several children with whom the woman was shopping. He reached into her purse in search of who-knows-what and put his little hand on a pistol she had concealed there. It discharged, as the cops say, killing her instantly.
There's a lesson there somewhere, something to do with parenting skills, the American gun culture and possibly karma. Walt invites his reader to explain the lesson in 25 words or less. The prize and the name of the winner will be announced next year.
The year-end wouldn't complete without a list of some kind: best this, worst that, top ten the other. Walt has been making a list [and checking it twice? Ed.] but hesitates to publish it for fear of offending someone and being hailed in front of a human rights tribunal or the Legion of Decency.
As a substitute, and in keeping with the tradition, we present the 10 worst 9-1-1 calls of 2014, as compiled by E-Comm, the largest 9-1-1 call centre in British Columbia, and published by CBC News. In Letterman order, here they are:
10. "What's the date today?"
9. Home internet isn't working.
8. Wants help finding lost glasses.
7. Food they ordered is cold.
6. "Is today a stat holiday?"
5. "Can you call a taxi for me?"
4. "What's the number for my travel agency?"
3. Pizza not fresh; wants a replacement slice.
2. "What's the fine for jaywalking?"
1. Wi-fi at a local coffee shop isn't working!
These aren't as far-fetched as you might think. Long ago, before there was 9-1-1, I used to get calls like these from my sister-in-law! And what ever happened to 4-1-1? "Information" operators used to keep lists of stupid questions they got asked every day!
Walt's Agents 1 and 78, both of whom have manned ["personned", surely. Ed.] information desks, have similar lists. One day I'm going to put them all in a book. People will have to call 9-1-1 to find out where to get it.
Footnote: Readers in the UK are advised to dial 9-9-9 for answers to their stupid questions. People wishing to call the Springfield Police Department should call 9-1-2.
- What's dis yere? A pile of trash? - NO, fool. Dat be a memorial to Mike Brown, killed by the racist Ferguson police! - But it sho looks like trash. Look, you can even see where it been burned. - Hey, dat was an accident. Somebody din't know dat if you puts candles next to teddy bears and balloons, dey gonna burn. - Well why it lyin' all down da middle ob de street like dat? - Fool! Din't I tell ya, all dem Ferguson people racist! Some honky done drove his car into de memorial.
Well, I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. But "a pile of trash" was what it looked like to Officer Timothy Zoll of the Ferguson MO Police Department. At least, that's what he told a reporter for the Washington Post who called what about a tip that the trash had been trashed on Christmas Day by an unsympathetic (and doubtless white) motorist.
The Post quoted Officer Zoll as saying, "I don't know that a crime has occurred. But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?"
Seems to Walt like a good question, but the Post characterized the comment as... wait for it... racist. But St. Louis radio station KMOX later reported that Zoll told its reporter he had been misquoted and actually said that the memorial might have been destroyed by a motorist unfamiliar with the area who had mistaken it for a pile of trash.
That explanation didn't wash with the cop's bosses though. They said yesterday that "the officer admitted to Department investigators that he did in fact make the remarks attributed to him, and that he misled his superiors when asked about the contents of the interview."
For his sins of racial insensitivity and political incorrectness, Officer Zoll has now been placed on unpaid leave, while the investigation into the dastardly crime continues.
City officials were at pains to note that police Chief Thomas Jackson kept investigating the statement even after Officer Zoll initially denied making it. "The City of Ferguson wants to emphasize that negative remarks about the Michael Brown memorial do not reflect the feelings of the Ferguson Police Department and are in direct contradiction to the efforts of City officials to relocate the memorial to a more secure location."
A more secure location? Walt suggests the Ferguson Memorial Sanitary Landfill. And my suggestion has nothing to do with the identity or race of the dear departed who was being "memorialized". It's just that I am sick and tired of seeing these unsightly and pointless "memorials" that pile up on the site of any sudden and public death.
The practice of leaving flowers, candles, teddy bears, balloons, crudely lettered signs and other detritus at the scene of the accident or crime is maudlin, mawkish and pathetic. Pointless, too.
The only people who are made better off by these empty gestures are the sellers of toys, flowers, candles and what-have-you. For them, a sudden death -- particularly of a child or other "innocent" -- is better than Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Christmas all rolled into one!
I don't know how, where or why this sloppy sentimental nonsense started, but I hope one day we'll see memorials, in the more dignified form of flowers and wreaths, confined to the cemeteries in which the victims are buried. Toys, balloons and suchlike dumped in the city streets deserve to be treated as... well... trash.
Ed. here. The clock on the wall [calendar, surely! Walt] says we're nearing the year-end, so let's dip into the mailbag and answer some of the questions that have piled up since... errr... last time.
Rufus Leaking, of Knockemstiff OH, wants to know, wants to know how to become one of Walt's agents.
Well, Roof, sorry to dampen your enthusiasm, but all of Walt's agents are known to him personally, so first you have to get eyeball-to-eyeball with him -- no easy task now that he's making like a hermit. You might try going to Montréal to take in a Habs game. Walt will be the guy in the red sweater sitting next to the guy in the red sweater, who will be Poor Len Canayen.
Dick Hertz writes from Dinkytown MN, to ask why there aren't more comments following our posts.
That's a good question, Richard -- one which we ask ourselves every day. There are two possible answers. One is that the majority of our "readers" aren't reading so much as looking at the pictures and videos, such as the Swazi girls, the Asia Adult Expo and the guy in the Winnie-the-Pooh outfit.
The other possibility is that people hit the landing page, read the latest posts, and don't know how to open up the "comments" box. Here's how. Click on the headline of the post -- any post -- and that post will open up in a new window (or tab), with the comments box available at the bottom, right below the tags. You can comment as "Anonymous", or with your blog ID, or OpenID, or other IDs. Not difficult at all.
Oh, here's another letter from the same guy... "What happened," he asks, "to the comment I submitted in which I called Walt a 'racist asshole'?"
Well, gee... couldn't you figure that out? Comments are moderated by, ahem, me! If you cast aspersions on Walt, Poor Len or even me, I won't publish them. That's my right -- nay, my duty! -- as Editor! Bwuhahahaha... And by the way, if you include a hyperlink to your blog or anything else I don't like, I won't publish that either.
Cy Clone, from Superior Bottom WV, asks if there is any way to contact Walt other than by posting a comment.
Hi Cy! Been talking to Dick, have you? You're welcome to send an e-mail to Walt at the usual address. If you haven't been paying attention, that address would be email@example.com.
Finally... Gloria Inexcelsis writes from Lick Fork VA, wanting to know if we -- Walt, Len or Ed. -- are real people.
No, Gloria, we're not. But then, who is?
In a PS to her letter, Ms Mundi tells us that she became ill on the local bus on December 15th. Sick transit Gloria Mundi. Hope you're feeling better, dear.
Footnote: The towns and hamlets mentioned are all real. You could look them up...
"A Better World for All" -- great title for the Christmas season, even better as a resolution for the New Year. But how to achieve a better world for all? Is the power of prayer our only hope? NO! says Ron McPherson, the author of a new book (or booklet -- just 64 pages) bearing the aforementioned title.
A Better World for All is the "Reader's Digest version" of Mr. McPherson's first opus, Freedom's Dawning, reviewed by Walt way back in 2010. See "'Facilitism': a better answer?"
What Mr. McPherson articulates in these books is a modern version of the Utopian ideal propounded nearly five centuries ago by St. Thomas More. Mr. McPherson argues that his system, Facilitism, can deliver to us a world without poverty, with far less stress, free healthcare, free education and... wait for it... no taxes! It will be, he tells us, a healthier world, a friendlier world, a happier world.
Skeptical? Sure. But we've tried everything else -- capitalism, socialism, communism and every combination and variant of those "isms" -- and nothing has worked. But, you may say, isn't capitalism working? Even in one of the few remaining Communist countries, China, they're now practising "capitalism with Chinese characteristics". Whereas in the United States it's socialism with Democratic characteristics. How's that working out?
The root of the problem, Mr. McPherson argues -- indeed, the root of all evil -- is money! [Haven't we seen this movie before? Ed.] Yes, others have said that if there were only more money, everyone would be fat and happy. Major C.H. Douglas, the pioneer of the British "Social Credit" economic reform movement, proposed a "National Dividend" to distribute more money (in the form of debt-free credit) equally to all citizens, to help bridge the gap between purchasing power and prices. This would be coupled with a price adjustment mechanism, which he called the "Just Price", which would forestall any possibility of inflation.
Printing more money turned out to be the wrong answer. In 1936, the Social Credit government of the Canadian province of Alberta, printed "prosperity certificates" in an attempt to alleviate the effects of the Great Depression. The federal government took umbrage, saying only it had the right to print (and thus create) money. Canada's Supreme Court agreed and that was that.
But printing money is not Mr. McPherson proposes in A Better World for All. Think about it. Who uses cash money nowadays? The world runs on credit, which is to say, bookkeeping entries made by the banks. The "dollars" created by the Fed, for instance, don't really exist in the form of cash. Can you imagine how many dollar bills it would take to stand for the trillions of dollars in the USA's national debt?
Nor are US dollars back by anything. Once upon a time you could exchange a paper dollar for a silver dollar, or even a (very small) piece of gold. Not any more. It's all credit -- more accurately, debits and credits on bank computers all over the world.
So, Mr. McPherson asks, why don't we just do away with money? It's the kind of question that might provoke a certain amount of skepticism, not to say laughter, but the author thoughtfully provides a methodology for doing just that.
When I say "thoughtfully", I mean that literally. Facilitism is a system that Mr. McPherson has been thinking about and writing about for years. It deserves consideration. Walt recommends that you get A Better World for All -- click here to explore the Facilitism website -- and give it yours.
It seems to be open season on cops and soldiers, not just in the USA and Canada, but in Europe too. If it's not blacks, it's Muslims...or black Muslims...or Muslim blacks. No wonder they're nervous!
BBC News reports that police in the town of Joue-les-Tours, in central France, shot and killed a black man who attacked them with a knife while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great!" in Arabic). The man, a French citizen born in the tiny African country of Burundi, injured three cops before being send to paradise.
Now get this! The BBC's Lucy Williamson reports from Paris that investigators are focusing on whether radical Islam played a role, and have launched an inquiry into "attempted murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorism organization". Gee, do ya think?
In the video embedded on the web page, Grainne Harrington says the attacker appears to have acted alone -- the usual "lone wolf" story -- which would appear to be at variance with Lucy's report. However, other reports suggest the attacker's brother was known to have expressed a desire to travel to Syria. So, a conspiracy then?
Walt is reading the AP report of the "assassination" -- Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's word -- of two New York cops by someone the lamestream media is being careful to call a "lone gunman".
"Targeted for their uniform" -- Commissioner Bratton speaking again -- were New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. They were sitting in their patrol car in the crime-ridden Bedford-Stuyvesant ghetto of Brooklyn, when they were shot in the head by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a Georgia boy with a long history of arrests on various charges, including robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
In other words, the shooter was "known to police". And, if anyone had been paying attention, they might have known that he was out to kill a cop or two. He'd written on Instagram: "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs." He used the hashtags #Shootthepolice #RIPErivGardner [sic] and #RIPMikeBrown.
Eric Gardner and Mike Brown. Yes. They were too large black men who were killed, rightly or wrongly, by white cops. Officers Liu and Ramos were, respectively, Chinese and Hispanic. What about Mr. Brinsley? From his first name, you might think that he was Muslim, either by birth or conversion. We don't know.
Well, was he black? Errr, yes, but you have to dig deep into the AP account to learn that. Commissioner Bratton confirmed that the suspect made "very serious 'anti-police' statements" online, but declined to get into specifics of the posts. He professed ignorance of Brinsley's motive, saying they were still trying to figure that out!
However, two city officials with direct knowledge of the case -- one a senior city official and the other a law enforcement official -- confirmed the posts to Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity, since they were not authorized to speak publicly on the topic!
When white people kill black people, they're racists -- even when acquitted by grand juries -- but when black people kill white people, a politically correct pall of silence descends from on high. Welcome to the new, "post-racial" America!
Update and !!! - Word just in from Tarpon Springs FL that a police officer -- almost certainly white -- has been shot and killed by a suspect... errr... Well, let's wait and see. But if the cop-killer turns out to be black, school's out! (I got that line from Howie Meeker.) [Who he? Ed.]
We haven't heard much about the search for the Malaysian Airlines B-777, flight MH370, which went "missing" back in March. Buried on the inside pages of the mainstream papers, some weeks back, was a squib about the search being resumed in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, west of Australia, but when or if this actually happened was unclear.
Well, guess what, boys 'n' girls? There are others who think that there's a lot more to the story than we've been told by "the authorities" in general and the US military in particular. France 24 reports that French author Marc Dugain -- a former CEO of Proteus Airlines -- theorizes, in a six-page article in Paris Match, that there has been a cover-up in the disappearance of the airliner, which could have been hacked and then shot down by the Americans!
M Dugain believes argues that MH370 crashed near... wait for it... Diego Garcia. The Americans have always officially denied that flight MH370 came anywhere near Diego Garcia, but then, what else would they say. After all, the US military does not have a sterling record of truth-telling.
M Dugain's theory into the disappearance has all the ingredients of a spy thriller and, says France 24, has grabbed the French public’s attention. His investigation took him to the neighbouring Maldives -- nice place to go for business purposes if you can manage it! -- where residents told local media on March 9th (the day the plane disappeared) that they had seen an airliner fly in the direction of Diego Garcia.
"I saw a huge plane fly over us at low altitude," a fisherman on Kudahuvadhoo island told Dugain. "I saw red and blue stripes on a white background" –- the colours of Malaysia Airlines. Other witnesses confirmed the sighting, but their claims were promptly dismissed by "the authorities".
So what happened? M Dugain speculates that a modern aircraft such as Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 could have been hijacked by a hacker. "In 2006, Boeing patented a remote control system using a computer placed inside or outside the aircraft," he wrote. This technology led him to the idea of a "soft" remote hijacking.
But the writer also suggests that a fire could have led the crew to deactivate electrical devices, including transmission systems.Whatever the initial reasons for leaving its flight path, M Dugain suspects that the plane headed to Diego Garcia, where a number of scenarios may have played out, including the US Air Force shooting it down for fear of a 9/11-style attack.
M Dugain met the mayor of neighbouring Baarah island, who showed him pictures of a strange device found on a beach two weeks after the plane had disappeared. The object was immediately seized by the Maldives military. Two aviation experts and a local military officer concluded that the object was a Boeing fire extinguisher.
For the extinguisher to have floated, the writer says, it must have been empty, having been automatically triggered by a fire. He adds that precedent exists in which fires on board aircraft caused all passengers and crew to die of asphyxiation, while the plane’s automated systems extinguished the blaze and kept it in the air.
The rest of his article draws more conclusions from the information that has remained buried than from new facts. He notes that the search operation in the southern Indian Ocean was based on satellite data from the last organization to receive a signal from the airliner. That would be Inmarsat, a British company which is "very close to intelligence agencies".
For M Dugain, the suppression of testimonies from the Maldives, the unlikely event that Diego Garcia’s US intelligence officers "equipped with the best technology in the world may have 'lost' a 63-metre-long object", and the secrecy surrounding the cargo in the plane’s hold all point towards a large-scale cover-up.
And that, dear readers, is exactly what Walt said, about half a year ago. But why (I hear you asking) would the Americans shoot down a civilian airliner which was, for whatever reason, off-course? Because they're paranoid! That's why!
In the end, the epitaph of the Obama administration will be written that it really did “fundamentally transform America” — though in ways that Barack Obama would have hardly wished.
So writes Victor Davis Hanson in "Epitaph for Hope and Change", in the online edition of National Review. Walt won't attempt to summarize a succinct and trenchant recap of the failures of six years of Obamarule [with still two to go. Ed.], just provide the link and a strong recommendation.
Who says so? None other than the Honourable Bradley W. Miller, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, who Canada's Conservative government has just appointed to the bench of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice.
Since he doesn't become a judge until next month, we'll just call him "Professor Miller" for now. "Progressive thinkers" and the liberal media in Canada are already pissing and moaning about his appointment. Why? Because Prof. Miller had the temerity to say, in "Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada" that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada has harmed religious freedom and free speech, and led to the indoctrination of children in public schools.
In his article, Professor Miller writes that the "new orthodoxy" about gay marriage in Canada means that those who object to it are treated [by the media, "human rights tribunals", and, worse, the courts - Walt] as bigots. They are denied their rights as parents, workers, pamphleteers or religious believers.
He also said that parents who do not want their children hearing discussions on the subject would have to pull them out of public schools. And this was written two years ago, before Kathleen Wynne (North America's first openly lesbian government leader) reintroduced her controversial "modernized" sex education bill.
Referring to her previous attempt to push the pro-LGBT agenda down the throats of children as young as 8, Prof. Miller wrote, "The new curricula are permeated by positive references to same-sex marriage, not just in one discipline but in all. Faced with this strategy of diffusion, the only parental defense is to remove one's children from the public school system entirely."
Walt notes with alarm that in Ontario the term "public schools" includes all schools receiving government funding, including "Catholic" schools. Thus the only options for parents who don't want their kids to be persuaded to "re-examine their gender choices" is to send them to private schools or home-school them.
Prof. Miller said that while the goal of promoting tolerance of all people is laudable, "the means chosen to achieve it is a gross violation of the family. It is nothing less than the deliberate indoctrination of children (over the objections of their parents) into a conception of marriage that is fundamentally hostile to what the parents understand to be in their children's best interests."
The chattering classes are already branding Prof. Miller as a homophobic right-wing religious nut, and demanding that his appointment to the bench be rescinded. Too bad for them that the Canadian system doesn't require any kind of confirmation process. Once the appointment is made, that's it. So, beginning on January 15th, there will be at least one voice of liberty... and sanity... in Ontario's Superior Court.
Congratulations to Mr. Justice Miller (as he then will be)... and good luck to him!
It's less than two years until the Big One -- the 2016 presidential election. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that Obama won't be running again. The bad news is that Hellery Clinton will almost certainly be the Democratic candidate. The even worse news is that her Republican opponent might well be Yesterday's Man, Mitt Romney. Aaaaargghhhh!
But let us not give up yet! It's possible, just possible that Ron Paul might respond to a draft. At least, that's the hope of his devoted followers, who are organizing a petition on the new Ron Paul 2016 website.
But isn't he retiring from politics? Well, that's what he's been saying, but you know how it is with politicians. Even the good ones [Is there such an animal? Ed.] have been known to say one thing and do another. Mr. Paul's fans say that if 100,000 supporters pledge by February 2015 to support Ron Paul in 2016, it might still be possible to convince him to run for President again.
You are invited to join in encouraging Ron Paul’s candidacy by signing the message of support on the site. And since the USA is still the Land of the Free -- in theory, anyway -- you should feel free to include your comments and suggestions for his campaign.
Disclaimer: Walt should point out that Ron Paul 2016 is not connected directly or indirectly with Mr. Paul. It is a new version of a site that has been maintained for at least four years by fans of the Great Libertarian. They make a few bucks by selling "Ron Paul" merchandise. Help the cause and antagonize your liberal friends by buying some!
Fancy that! Walt no sooner posted "Why the Australian terrorist wannabe did it" than Agent 3 sent us a link to a story from the online edition of the Toronto Star, headlined "Parliament shooter may have been in contact with Islamic State, Peter MacKay says".
Mr. MacHackey is Canada's Minister of Justice. (Before that he was Minister of Defence, until he got rather too fond of being photographed sitting in jet fighter cockpits and making vroom-vroom noises.) The Star's reporter says that Minister MacKay told him, at the Halifax International Security Forum (sic) in November, "They were influenced by ISIS there is no question."
He (MacKay) was referring to Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau, Canadian converts to Islam. Zehaf-Bibeau was the one who killed a Canadian soldier standing on ceremonial guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa. Couture-Rouleau had, just two days earlier, driven a car into two soldiers near Montreal, killing one of them.
At the time (as Walt told you) the Harper government's politically correct line was that the cowardly killings were caused by a "mix of personal disaffection and jihadist zealotry" -- the same syndrome now ascribed to Man Haron Monis, the perpetrator of Sunday's hostage-taking in Sydney, Australia.
"But," writes Josh Rogin-Bloomberg, "sometimes, early reports are later proved wrong. Several weeks after the Ottawa attack, Canada’s top law-enforcement official now says the gunman was not only inspired by Islamic State, he may have been in direct contact with the group.
"[MacKay] said that Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies were still trying to pin down exactly what sort of back-and-forth might have occurred between the homegrown terrorists and Islamic State. 'I don’t know that for certain, we have that suspicion, let’s put it that way,' he said, referring to “statements both of these individuals have made to others.
"In the case of the Parliament Hill shooter, there is also evidence contained in a video that Zehaf-Bibeau made before carrying out his suicide mission. The Canadian authorities have not released the video to the public. MacKay said the attacker’s statements in it are 'consistent with our belief that his motivations were very much as a result of being radicalized by the Islamic State.'"
Will the linkage between these attacks and the involvement of Canada and Australia in the "degradation" of ISIS result in any change in their government's foreign policy? Errr, no!
Following 9/11, Dubya famously [infamously? Ed.] said that the Islamic terrorists hate us for our freedoms. Ascribing that motivation to al-Qaeda was risible at the time, and, as anyone who's been dealt with by TSA and other "protectors of our freedoms" knows, is now ludicrous. America "the land of the free"? HAH!
The same question was asked in Canada back in October, after two "radicalized" Canadian converts to the Religion of Peace [HAH? Ed.] killed two Canadian soldiers in separate incidents outside of Montréal and in the nation's capital.
The Canadian government (Steve Harper, Beloved Leader) was keen to downplay any notion that the killings had anything to do with its decision to join the American coalition attacking ISIS (or "ISIL", as they and Obama persist in calling it, lest we believe it has anything to do with Syria). The Canucks could barely bring themselves to admit that the killers were, by conversion if not birth, Muslims. No, they were just misguided young men with emotional problems. Probably drug addicts too. Drug-addled nutbars, really. That was the PC government spin on the story.
So fast was the story spinning that the Mounties, who had promised to release a video made by the Parliament Hill shooter, reneged on their promise. They are now saying they might release a "transcript" of the video, which will doubtless be sanitized to remove images of the IS flag and the killer's repeated declaration that he acted to protest the Canadian involvement in the anti-IS coalition.
So now in Australia, we are seeing the same spin on what is basically the same story. It's a little more difficult for the Australian government to gloss over the late Mr. Monis's motives, since he had already been convicted of writing threatening letters to the families of Australian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, and -- more important -- had ranted on a widely-circulated video about wanting to make the Aussies pay for joining the US invasion of the Middle East.
The governments of Australia, Canada and (of course) the USA, would like you to forget that, until the Americans started bombing IS, it was confining its barbaric activities to killing fellow Muslim men, women and children, as well as religious and ethnic minorities -- particularly Kurds -- in Syria and Iraq.
It wasn't until after the American "intervention" in August that they started beheading westerners. And only after the September extension of the bombing to include Syria did IS urge its followers to attack Westerners wherever they might be found. That is exactly what the "lone wolves" in Canada and Australia did. And that's why they did it.
Will the governments of Australia and Canada and the Paranoid States of America now rethink they disastrous policy of constant meddling in the Middle East? Walt doubts it. Lifetime pct .977.
While Americans are marching against "racist" cops, Germans are taking to the streets by the 10s of 1000s to protest something that really matters -- the Islamization of their country.
Just this last November 27th, Walt posted "IS jihadists clash with Kurds -- guess where?". The answer turned out to be Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany. Daniel Abdin, imam of Hamburg's Al-Nour Mosque, called the area "Hamburgistan". And ethnic Germans -- as opposed to the hordes of Muslim immigrants, refugees and "guest workers" who have swamped their country -- have had enough.
Immigration has become a hot topic in Germany this year, amid a surge in the numbers of asylum-seekers, fuelled by the wars in Syria and Iraq. Germany takes in more asylum-seekers than any other country. By the end of this year, they expect to have received 200,000 claims for asylum, a 63% increase over the number for 2013.
Asylum-seekers, yes... like Man Haron Monis, who we see here preaching jihad against us infidels in Australia. The Aussies took him in as an asylum-seeker from Iran back in 1996. Was he grateful? Apparently not. Yesterday, the self-styled imam took several hostages at a café in downtown Sydney. Following a lengthy standoff, he was shot just hours ago by the (doubtlessly Islamophobic) police. Presumably he's now in Muslim paradise being serviced by 72 virgins.
But back to Germany... A march against "Islamization of the West" is due to take place in Dresden, with turnout expected to reach about 10,000 in the eastern German city. Dresden is the birthplace of a movement called "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" (Pegida), which staged a big rally a week ago.
"Most of their demands are legitimate," said Bernd Lucke, leader of the conservative Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), which has campaigned for a tougher policy on immigration, as well as rejection of the euro. The AfD leader in Dresden, Frauke Petry, said Pegida "is protesting against inadequate legislation on asylum rights - they are also demanding that German law be applied against law-breakers, and they are opposing religious extremism".
Good for them, says Walt. But will patriotic Australians, Americans, Britons and Canadians have the courage to take to the streets to voice their opposition to "make nice with the Muslims" policies of their governments? Or will they refrain from doing so, for fear of being accused by the chattering classes and PC police of acting like Nazis? I know which way I'm betting!
In a restaurant in Zambia: “Open seven days a week and weekends.”
On the grounds of a private school in South Africa: “No trespassing without permission.”
On the window of a Nigerian shop: “Why go elsewhere to be cheated when you can come here?” Walt regrets he cannot vouch for the authenticity of the following compilation, forwarded by a friend from the Dark Continent.
On a poster in Ghana: “Are you an adult who cannot read? If so, we can help.”
In a hotel in Mozambique: “Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9.00 am and 11.00 am daily.”
On a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo: “Take note: When this sign is submerged, the river is impassable.”
In a Zimbabwean restaurant: “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.”
A sign on a hand dryer in a Lesotho public toilet: “Risk of electric shock – do not activate with wet hands.”
In a Botswana jewellery shop: “Ears pierced while you wait.”
On one of the buildings of a Sierra Leone hospital: “Mental Health Prevention Centre.”
In a maternity ward of a clinic in Tanzania: “No children allowed.”
In a cemetery in Uganda: “Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.”
In a baker's shop in Luanda, Angola, “Bitter cakes for sale. Antidote to poison also sold here.”
In a laundry in Khartoum, Sudan: "Don't kill your wife, let us do the dirty work for you."
In a shop window in Accra, Ghana: "We do part exchange and will accept whatever you bring: hair-dryers, DVDs, shoes, etc. Bring your wife and get the deal of a lifetime!!"
A few weeks ago, Francis Cardinal George, on his retirement as Archbishop of Chicago, said he was struggling to understand Pope Francis and the latter's puzzling and often contradictory pronouncements. In a November interview with Crux ("Covering all things Catholic"), the prelate posed a series of questions he’d like to ask Pope Francis, including whether the pontiff fully understands the way some of his statements "leave people wondering if he still holds the doctrine."
Francis did two things this week that could only have increased the wonderment -- perhaps we can even say "doubt" -- of Cardinal George but 1000s of other churchmen and faithful Catholics.
The Dalai Lama visited Rome this week, and, like most tourists, had a yen to visit the Vatican and meet the Pope. But Francis -- the great apostle of ecumenism -- refused! How strange! In the name of ecumenism, this pope has met with leaders of our separated (Orthodox) brethren, going so far as to bow low to Patriarch Bartholomew I and ask for his blessing.
Strange behaviour for someone who is supposed to be the successor of St. Peter, and head of the Church established by Our Lord Himself.
Pope Francis has also met with Jewish leaders and (of course) Muslim leaders, in the name of the false ecumenism which he preaches nowadays. (What he's promoting is actually a form of syncretism, the heretical notion that all religions are equal, all leading towards the same God. This is contrary to Catholic dogma.) But for the spiritual leader of millions of Buddhists? Errr, sorry, no. That might upset the Chinese Communists, with whom the Church is trying to coexist peacefully, in spite of the fact that they keep killing our clergy and faithful.
But wait, there's more! Mysteriously unreported on Jeff Mirus's Catholic World News website -- I call it "The Daily Pope" -- was Francis's pronouncement this week that... wait for it... all dogs go to heaven!
"One day," the Pope said, "we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures." Amazing! It may be a popular sentiment -- great news for all animal lovers -- but it's completely contrary to Catholic dogma, which teaches us that only human beings can go to heaven, because only humans have souls!
We really must wonder, with Cardinal George, if, in his quest for praise and popularity from the world at large, the Humblest Pope Ever has abandoned completely the Catholic Faith which it is his solemn obligation to protect. God knows.
Comment from Ed.: Perhaps Francis intends his pronouncement to be the new "dog"ma. Geddit?!
UPDATE AND CORRECTION! - Apparently there was much soiling of shorts at the Vatican over reports that Pope Francis said all creatures can go to heaven. Deputy Spokesthingy Fr. Ciro Benedettini said he received a number of calls on the story on Friday, and was taken by surprise because he didn't recall the Pope saying anything like that in remarks at his weekly general audience on Nov. 26.
The New York Times, which ran a story on Thursday about the purported
comment, acknowledged its mistake in a correction on
Friday that it had misattributed a remark made by Pope Paul VI. So that's OK then because we know that Paul VI is only a step from sainthood, so he must be in heaven and he hasn't sent down a correction.
Another comment from Ed.: Sadly, the misquote may dog Francis' papacy for years.
According to the dating system used in the USA -- I'm speaking of calendar-type dating, not hormone-driven dating -- today is December 12, 2014. Since most computer software is written in the USA, your computer, by default, probably shows it as 12/13/14. Geddit?
No? You didn't get it? It's a sequential date. 12, 13, 14. And it's the last such date we'll see until... wait for it... the 2nd day of January, A.D. 2034.
Assuming, that is, that we're not all using the Muslim calendar by then. And that we should live so long. Long life to you, dear reader.
It's been a quiet week and Walt has been preoccupied with things he considers important, like the funeral of Jean Béliveau (+RIP) and the price of crude. [I've been saying for a long time that there's an oversupply of crude. Ed.] There wasn't anything else about which I felt moved to write...so I didn't.
I did notice, however, that the committee of ultra-liberals that awards the Nobel Prize for Peace made yet another bunny-brained but ultra-PC decision, giving medallions, half-shares of 8,000,000 kronor (= £690,000 = $1,110,000 in real money) and a year's supply of Rice-a-roni to "child rights activist" Kailash Satyarthi of India and "child education activist" and prominent victim of Islamic extremism Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.
Miss Yousafzai is a young Muslim woman and Mr. Satyarthi is an older Hindu male. They represent two nations, Pakistan and India, which have hated each other ever since Partition in 1947 and have actually gone to war two or three times within living memory...not counting the sectarian violence which killed millions at the time of Partition itself. Nice balance there. Got a bunch of boxes ticked.
Walt admits to not having heard of Mr. Satyarthi before. Who had? Miss Yousafzai, however, has been an object of adulation down at the pub for years, what with being one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, an honorary citizen of Canada, etc etc and so forth.
Would it be churlish to ask exactly what Miss Yousafzai has done to bring peace on earth? [Yes. Ed.] She has addressed the United Nations and many other august assemblies, received numerous degrees and other honours, shaken the hands of rulers spiritual and temporal. But what has she actually done?
As nearly as I can determine, her sole "accomplishment" so far in life was to be shot in the head -- by a fellow Muslim -- and live to talk about it. And talk and talk and talk.
Never let it be said, though, that the lack of any concrete achievement should disqualify her or anyone from consideration by the Nobel Prize committee. Why, only five years ago, the Peace Prize was awarded to one Barack Hussein Obama, who up to that point had done nothing more than get himself elected President of the Paranoid States of America.
The Prez accepted the prize in Oslo on 10 December 2009. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Obama said he was "surprised" and "deeply humbled" by the award. He stated that he does not feel he deserved the award, and that he did not feel worthy of the company the award would place him in. Cries of "Amen!" may well have been edited out of the video.
And what has the 2009 laureate done since for the cause of world peace? Unlike Malala, he didn't get shot by a fellow-Muslim. He did declare an end to the American occupation of Iraq, which finally took effect earlier this year. But then he reversed himself and ordered the beginning of yet another invasion and occupation, under way as we speak. Is the committee going to ask him to give his Peace Prize back? Errr, not likely. (Lifetime pct .964.)
World peace remains an elusive goal. But Walt's for it! Peace on earth, I say! And if you don't believe in peace on earth, then peace on you!
Agent 6, a disinterested but not uninterested observer of the oil biz, passed on some thoughts on President Obarmy's continuing opposition to the proposed Keystone oil pipeline. His sycophants and the enviroweenies would like to believe that his motives are pure and noble and rooted in a desire to save Mother Earth from unspeakable environmental catastrophe, but that analysis should be taken with several large bags of salt. This picture tells you why.
Haven't made the connection yet? Well, this is how 80% of the crude oil coming south from Canada reaches the American midwest and Texas, at present. It's either carried in tankers of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (seen here passing through Burlington, Iowa), or in those of other short line railroads who pay BN to use its tracks.
Burlington Northern charges about $30 per barrel to haul the oil. But according to the State Department's own estimates, the cost using the Keystone pipeline would be just $10 per barrel. If the pipeline were operating right now, Americans would be paying about 15% less for gasoline!
So why wouldn't the Prez go for it? Here's why. Burlington Northern is owned by Berkshire Hathaway -- Warren Buffet, Prop. Mr. Buffett is a known (and mighty generous) supporter of Democrats and Democratic [with a capital D. Ed.] causes. He's also (in spite of everything) a big fan of Mr. Hopey-Changey, and has hosted several major fundraisers on his behalf.
Got it now? If the Keystone pipeline goes through, Warren Buffett will lose a cool two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) per year. He gains the same amount every year that the construction of Keystone is delayed. Anyone who believes that this has nothing to do with Obama's stonewalling is invited to contact me for details of some land I have for sale in central Florida.
"It was one hell of a summer." So begins the last clause of the last sentence of the last chapter (bar the epilogue) of Bill Bryson's latest tour de force, One Summer: America 1927 (Doubleday 2013), which Walt recommends most highly.
Bill Bryson is one of my favourite writers. But it must be said that the quality and "interest quotient" of his earlier works (especially his travel books) is more consistently good than that of his more recent writing. Of all his books, I can think of only three that I haven't particularly enjoyed. Two of those -- A Short History of Nearly Everything and At Home -- are among the more recent.
So it was with a bit of doubt that I laid out the spondulix (Bryson would love that word) for One Summer, wondering if I might later suffer from buyer's remorse. I didn't.
Although the dust jacket illustration of the Spirit of St. Louis, a baseball player and a flapper should have tipped me off, I also wondered what happened in the summer of 1927 that merited a whole long(ish) book. Here, from the last chapter (bar the epilogue) is the answer.
Babe Ruth hit sixty home runs. The Federal Reserve made the mistake that precipitated the stock market crash. Al Capone enjoyed his last summer of eminence. The Jazz Singer was filmed. Television was created. Radio came of age. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. President Coolidge chose not to run. Work began on Mount Rushmore. The Mississippi flooded as it never had before. A madman in Michigan blew up a school and killed forty-four people in the worst slaughter of children in American history. Henry Ford stopped making the Model T and promised to stop insulting Jews. And a kid from Minnesota flew across an ocean and captivated the planet in a way it had never been captivated before.
The kid, of course, was Charles Lindbergh. One Summer begins and ends with him. In between, Mr. Bryson manages -- this is the amazing part -- to tie together all of the events and personalities mentioned above, as well as countless others of lesser note. The depth and detail of his narrative is astounding. Besides being a voracious reader, I believe he must have had at least one very good research assistant. [Hey! Is that a dig at me? Ed.]
It is a tribute to Bill Bryson's skill as a writer that, although One Summer runs to 458 pages -- plus notes, suggestions for further reading, a bibliography and index! -- I found it a fast-paced and entertaining read. It's part social history, part biography, and part pure story-telling. And, as they say, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. Best new book I've read this year.
Post scriptum et caveat: It must be said that some fairly large chunks of One Summer -- particularly the story of Charles Lindbergh -- have been, errr, recycled from Made in America (Martin Secker & Warburg, 1994). But since Made in America antedates the travel books that made Bill Bryson famous, many of you may not have read it. And even if you did, Mr. Bryson is such a good storyteller that you won't mind a rerun.
You think "the truth is out there"? Hah! If by "out there" you mean "in the mass media", you are sadly mistaken. All you're going to get from the lamestream media in the USA and Canada is "all the truth that fits" into their secular humanist, politically correct template. Anything that doesn't fit, that contradicts political and social orthodoxy, will be ignored.
Case in point: the murder of Zemir Begic, beaten to death by hammer-wielding assailants on Sunday morning in... wait for it... St. Louis.
You didn't hear about it? Gee, what a surprise! The story has been notably and woefully under-reported by the American meeja. Why? Because Mr. Begic was white -- a Bosnian immigrant -- and the killers were... wait for it... black.
Mr. Begic was driving his car with two passengers, including his fiancée, when something hit his vehicle. When he got out, he was confronted and assaulted by several dark-complected attackers. He was unconscious when emergency personnel arrived on the scene, and later died at a local hospital.
Police have arrested three teenage suspects and charged them with murder. They are still looking for a fourth. Although the suspects are black (or at least non-white), and the victim was white, a St. Louis police spokesthingy says that they have no indication that race was a factor in the attack. And if you believe that, he has some nice bottom land on the banks of the Mississippi he'd like to sell you.
Given that the attack occurred less than 14 miles from the town of Ferguson, which has been under a bright media spotlight since the August shooting of a black teen by a white police officer, local residents have been quick to draw comparisons.
In "The protesters near Ferguson who are begging for more police", a member of the city's small Bosnian community is quoted thus. "In Ferguson, they want to make a protest about nothing and yet that attracted attention across the nation. We're just trying to keep more police down here because of these little thugs."
The Post's reporter observes that it's police inaction, not action, that has demonstrators angered. He describes the scene at the protests, drawing an implied comparison to the occasionally violent demonstrations that took place after officer Darren Wilson was cleared by a grand jury last week in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
"The protesters did not chant," writes Todd Frankel. "The protesters didn't hurl insults at police. Some huddled around a bonfire on a garage's parking lot. A memorial for Begic with stuffed animals began to take shape in a corner. The protesters only edged into the street whenever police showed signs of losing interest and departing."
Outside of St. Louis, the murder of Mr. Begic has gone largely unnoticed. However, the story has gained traction among conservative commentators and bloggers, who view it as an example of media and liberal activist hypocrisy.
Why is there nation-wide outrage over the death of Michael Brown -- shown on video to be one of the "thugs" from whom the larger community wants police protection -- but silence on the murder of Zemir Begic -- by all accounts a law-abiding immigrant trying to make his way in a land he came to to escape just such race-based violence?
If the episode can somehow be linked to the Ferguson demonstrations, that fact could be used to discredit the protest as a whole. Some might even think that the looting, the vandalism, the mindless violence and attacks on white people are somehow related -- the criminal acts of a lawless and violent... and black... underclass.
Every now and then we get a bizarre tale from the southern African country of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe itself is rather bizarre, a case study in what happens when the wicked white colonists are forced to hand over to the black majority. This was the case in what was then Rhodesia, which was betrayed by the UK government and in 1980 was handed over to Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who is still in power (at least nominally) over 34 years later. Under Mugabe's kleptocracy, Zimbabwe has regressed, by every measure, in every aspect of human development, to pre-independence, even pre-colonial levels. As a case in point, Walt offers the following story, as it appears in today's online edition ofZimbabwe NewsDay.
In a bizarre incident that occurred in Gutu yesterday, a mentally challenged woman allegedly wrestled a male villager, and fatally axed him before devouring part of his flesh.
Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa confirmed the spine-chilling incident and identified both the suspect as Esther Katandawa (27) and the deceased as Simon Muzenda (29). The incident occurred yesterday morning at Mupandawana village under headman Gadzingo. "We have indeed heard about the incident, and we can confirm that the accused, who is mentally challenged, has since been arrested and is in custody," he said.
He said Katandawa met the deceased in the same village in the morning and disarmed him of the axe, before chasing after him and turning the axe on him. "The now deceased was limping as his leg was aching,” Dhewa said. "After the axe was taken away from him, he tried to flee, but could not go further as he could not run due to his leg that was troubling him. Unfortunately, he was struck with the axe and died on the spot. The accused then started eating his flesh."
Other villagers who were passing by were said to have heard his cries, before they apprehended Katandawa and made a police report, leading to her arrest.
It could not be established if Muzenda is related to the late Vice-President, Simon Muzenda, who also hailed from the same district.
Walt wonders if the "mentally challenged" lady thought that perhaps her victim was the late Muzenda, risen from the dead. Such beliefs are not uncommon in bizarre Zimbabwe. Nothing that a little civilization wouldn't cure, but, as the locals say, "this is Zimbabwe".
You think I'm kidding about the persistence of the African belief in sorcery and witchcraft? From the same source comes a report that Comrade Bobyesterday claimed that
discredited Vice-President Joice Mujuru, working in cahoots with members
of her cabal, secretly consulted n’angas (with doctors) seeking juju (magic potions or spells) to kill him in a
bid to wrest power from him.
Addressing a Zanu PF Central Committee meeting in the capital yesterday
ahead of today’s 6th national people’s congress, Mugabe said Mujuru and
her co-plotters also clandestinely plotted to assassinate him before
their plans were exposed.
Comrade Bob is 90, and is widely believed to have the necessary juju to live and rule Zimbabwe forever. Forever, do you hear? Bwuhahahahaha....
I'm pretty sure we ran this last year we ran this last year, but Ed. is curled up in the corner with a jar of jellied gin, so I can't persuade him to look. Anyway, Agent 6, who sent this to us, tells us that it's been updated. Rerun or not, it's worth listening to.
Vocal by Carrie Rinderer, with the ACLU (American Christian Life United!) choir...
The title of this morning's article by Philippe Cantin in La Presse says it all. In the days to come, there will be countless obituaries and lengthy articles on the life and incredible career of Jean Béliveau, who died last night, aged 83. +RIP.
Walt and Len will not attempt to duplicate or even summarize the 1000s of words which will be written in praise of an athlete who was loved by many and respected by everyone. Few professional athletes have exuded as much class and dignity. And no-one personified the essence and spirit of the Montréal Canadiens longer or more completely than the elegant Monsieur Béliveau.
Jean Béliveau will no longer be sitting behind the Habs' bench at le Centre Bell, but will smile down on the team from his place in hockey heaven, and will remain forever in the hearts of all canadiens -- pure laine or otherwise.
From the beginning, a serious problem for the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters has been leadership -- not so much lack of leadership, but division of leadership. Protesters have been encamped for over two months at two or three different sites in the city state -- Causeway Bay, Central and Mongkok -- and there has been a conspicuous lack of communication between them, or even within them. The protests resemble nothing so much as the stereotypical Chinese fire drill.
There seem to be two or three factions: students; members of the "Occupy Central" movement and other assorted other community leaders and political activists. They share the same goal -- free elections for the position of CEO of HKG -- but differ on the means of achieving it. In the last week clashes between the student protesters and police have become increasingly violent, to the dismay of the Occupy Central faction. Today the leaders of the latter group surrendered to HKG police, in hopes of bringing peace back to the "peaceful protest".
In this Reuters photo, we see (L-R) Joseph Cardinal Zen, Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, as he walks with Occupy Central civil disobedience founders, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, chairman of the Hong Kong Democracy Development Network, Chan Kin-man, professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Benny Tai, law professor at the University of Hong Kong, as they arrive at the Central Police Station to surrender themselves.
The three leaders turned themselves in voluntarily, calling on students to retreat from protest sites in the city's financial centre amid fears of further violence, just hours after student leader Joshua Wong called on supporters to regroup.
"I hope we can show others the meaning of the surrender," said Mr. Tai. "We urge the occupation to end soon and more citizens will carry out the basic responsibility of civil disobedience, which is to surrender."
The three leaders filled in forms and were allowed to leave without facing any charges. Including them, Hong Kong police said, two dozen people aged between 33 and 82 had surrendered for "taking part in an unauthorized assembly", and authorities would conduct follow-up investigations based on the information provided.
The students, however, seem unimpressed by this show of pacifism and, as Walt is hearing on the phone this very moment, are bracing for another night of clashes with the police. Stay tuned and show your solidarity!
Because it was more civilized and prosperous than the barbaric tribes living outside its borders, the Roman Empire was flooded with illegal immigrants, for the same reason that Europe and North America are being inundated today. Life is better for the illegals here than in the corruption-ridden and poverty-stricken states they call "home". And of course there are the welfare and social benefits we foolishly extend to them, to assuage the hurt we inflicted on them in the bad old colonial days.
Every now and then, as in the Excited States of America at the moment, someone discovers that there are millions of illegals living amongst us, sponging off the legal residents who pay taxes, and demands that something be done about it. At the same time, residents of Planet Crackpot march in our streets, chanting "Nobody is illegal", and demanding that all the wetbacks and bogus refugees be given amnesty, freed from fear of deportation, and entitled to even more "rights" than they enjoy now.
Walt offers excerpts from the article, in which the writer discusses what happened when the governors of Rome decided, as President Obarmy did just recently, to let all the illegals "come in from the shadows".
Around the middle of 4th century AD, conditions outside boundaries of the Roman Empire became so bad that large numbers of people who were not citizens of the empire wanted entry for a better life… And just like in U.S. today, there were many ancient Romans, at that time, who believed that any kind of immigration (illegal or not) was good for the country and there were economic benefits that could be derived from allowing illegals to stay and settle in the country. Isn’t that today’s U.S. story line; illegals are doing work Americans won’t do and the economy will suffer without their low-cost labor? The ancient Romans subsequently changed laws to give illegals legal status. Once illegals had legal status, other illegals wanted to enter the empire to gain legal status also. (Sounds familiar). It’s estimated that there are between 12 and 20 million illegals in the U.S., and under various proposals that are being considered by U.S. government, almost all of illegals will be given opportunity to gain legal status and eventual citizenship. There are lessons that can be learned from past great movement of illegals... They overwhelmed the ancient Roman Empire, smothered its culture. The U.S. is now at a critical point; either effective action is taken or the country faces much greater issues later, as the ancient Romans did. There are no easy solutions for illegal immigration, for example; many immigration advocates say that it’s impossible for the U.S. to deport the many millions of illegals in the country, so just let them stay. But others say, that since illegals are here to work and make money, which many of them send to families in their country of origin, if existing laws against the employment of illegals were enforced, the magnet of employment would disappear. And without the prospect of work many or most of the illegals would deport themselves. The presence of millions of people who have no regard for the U.S. culture or traditions, who speak little English, whose loyalties lie elsewhere, is not a recipe for a healthy country. The prospect of taking action to legalize millions of illegals -- which will attract tens of millions more -- is a recipe for national suicide.
The emphasis above is Walt's. Thanks again to Agent 6 for sending us the URL.