Monday, January 31, 2005

Women Must Whore or Lose Job Benefits

As usual, The Last Amazon has posted an unusual story, this one from the News Telegraph, that I note is now being picked up by other bloggers.

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year. Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners "who must pay tax and employee health insurance" were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.
She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job "including in the sex industry" or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits." [emphasis is mine.] ....

Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered jobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a 23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nude model", and should report back on the meeting.

Hit the News Telegraph link to read the rest of this sordid little tale.

You see how this happens don't you. First, the state redefines what is morally and legally permissible in society. Then the state punishes anyone who does not conform to the new zeitgeist. Sound familiar? No?

Just ask the Knights of Columbus in British Columbia, who are under attack in the B.C. Human Rights Commission by a lesbian couple because the Knights refused to rent their hall for the matrimonial celebration; an act which runs contrary to the Knights' religious beliefs. See my January 21st post Lesbians Launch Attacks on Knights of Columbus .

Or you can ask registered nurses in Calgary's Foothills Hospital about how their beliefs were overridden when the hopital began requiring nurses in the maternity ward to assist in the slicing and dicing of babies.
Another nursing staff member, "Sally," wrote an anonymous letter to this
magazine last week describing the volatile situation currently gripping the
postpartum and labour and delivery wards at Foothills. She was outraged by
the administrative decision that forced postpartum nurses to care for women
aborting "imperfect" babies. "The present mood is... chaotic, helpless,
frustrated and highly emotional," Sally wrote. "In the past weeks, I have
witnessed tears, breakdowns, illnesses, and stress such as never before...Sick
calls have been high and experienced staff nearly impossible to recruit." ....

"As it stands now the union has told us that nurses can't refuse to
care for patients," says Catherine. "There are 125 staff on the unit, and no
matter what the hospital says about making efforts to accommodate nurses who
don't want to do [abortions], the head nurse and the charge nurse have told
us that we all have to take our turn. I have to shut off a part of me to do
this job now. It's bad."
Or you could ask the Durham District Catholic School Board, right here in the land of Castle Mad. The court forced my local Catholic school board to allow Marc Hall, a graduating student, to bring his boyfriend to the prom, despite an explicit written provision in the Canadian constitution guaranteeing Catholics in the province the right to schools based on our religion, and the clear magisterial teaching of the Church on this matter.

In his ruling, [Mr. Justice] MacKinnon wrote that "the idea of equality speaks to the conscience of all humanity dignity and worth. "Marc Hall is a Roman Catholic Canadian trying to be himself. He is gay. It's not an answer to Section 15 Charter rights on these facts to deny permission to attend a school function to celebrate the end of his high school career with his classmates." Hall's lawyer David Corbett said the ruling tells Catholic schools "you can't disciminate on the basis of sexual orientation when you're dealing with young people. You shouldn't be able to do that with anybody, but especially not young people in their care."
Or ask the provincial civil marriage commissioners in Saskatchewan who were forced from their jobs because marrying same-sex couples would violate their consciences.

Eight Saskatchewan marriage commissioners have resigned because of new laws requiring them to "marry" same-sex couples, according to Justice Minister Frank Quennell. Three others said they would go to court if they were fired for refusing to "marry" same-sex couples, according to Saskatoon Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott.If same-sex couples are refused "marriage" by a commissioner, the complaint will be reviewed by the Justice Department, Quennell said Tuesday, as reported by the Saskatchewan News Network."We'd have to investigate the circumstances and potentially remove their power to perform civil marriages because they weren't willing to administer the law as it stands," he said.
This latter violation of rights is happening despite assurances from the Right Honourable (Liberal) Prime Minister Paul Martin and his Honourable (Liberal) Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler that religious rights are fully protected in the brave new same-sex marriage world. To each of them I say, "Liar liar pants on fire!"

In all these cases the courts or the state started out by redefining the good by redefining civil rights. This is soon followed by the state implementing these new rights by trampling on the old rights of people holding to traditional (i.e., religious) moral beliefs. Some rights are more equal than others .... and the new one's are .... well .... new.

Today's Globe & Mail has an editorial advocating that we all ought to enthusiastically support gay marriage, on the grounds that it will save traditional marriage, which is under stress from liberalized divorce and common law domestic arrangements.

Before we mock Germans too much for tying job benefits to requiring women to protitute themselves, we ought to take a serious look at the demented dominion we are creating right here at home. Maybe Damian Brooks is right, and I'm John the Quite Sane, after all. It's the world that has gone totally stark raving mad.

Struggling with my Faith?

Nathan over at Nathan's Updates From Seoulhas published the 14th edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Go have a look. This synopsis of brigade posts is useful for others because the sheer number of members involved now. I get to catch some good posts which I had not seen. Nathan is to be commended for taking on this Herculean task.

I have only one slight, teansy weansy, minor quibble with his reportage. He says this of me.
The Holocaust represents the depths of utter depravity to which we human beings can sink. John the Mad struggles with his Catholic faith and the fact of the Holocaust.
Perhaps the fault is mine for not being clear, but I never intended to suggest I was struggling with my Catholic faith. I was struggling with the moral enormity of the Holocaust, the grotesque scope of the evil it represents, and my view that it was a result of a much greater spiritual warfare with its cause being at the beginning of creation. As for my Catholic faith, I assure everyone that it is quite secure. Dominus vobiscum Nathan!

Rick Salutin's Many Fetishes

It appears from early indications that the Iraqi vote turnout has exceeded expectations with at least 60% of the population risking physical intimidation including possible death to cast a ballot. Good for them. They have courage and hope for their future, which is more than Rick Salutin of the Globe & Mail can say.

His column in Friday's Globe was entitled, "Don't Mistake elections for democracy." The gist of it is that Iraqis may be holding an election, but that is something distinct from having a democracy.

He began by writing about fetishes, which he said anthropology defined as, "any object of irrational, or superstitious devotion." He described how Karl Marx (capitalists having more intense relations with things they buy than with humans they know)and Sigmund Freud ("a sexual proclivity for obsession with a part, like a foot or a shoe, rather than the whole to which it belongs") adapted the word. This was his clever segue into his assertion that George Bush has an election fetish.

He often renders the term in an empty, adoring, fetishistic way . He grows almost tumescent just saying the words. "People are voting.... It's exciting times for the Iraqi people....The fact that they're voting is itself exciting."

Well bless my soul. I'm not at all sure how Mr. Salutin knows Mr. Bush grows almost tumescent at the thought of elections. Mind you, I tend to look at the face of the President of the United States when he speaks. Rick Salutin seems to prefer gazing elsewhere on the presidential torso. Sexual fetishism takes many forms. Preferring to look at certain parts rather than faces may be one of them.

Regardless of Salutin's crotchety view on this matter, it seems that the President of the United States and I share something in common. Not near tumescence when speaking of elections, I hasten to add. Should I ever meet Rick Salutin I don't want to.... er, raise false expectations, as it were. Best to warn him up front. In my experience, elections, particularly Canadian ones with which I am most familiar, leave me rather deflated.

I mean that President Bush and I both seem to connect the election in Iraq with an actual attempt to institute a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Mr. Salutin says this is irrational because:

Well, the vote is being imposed after an unprovoked invasion and under an occupation that is onerous and humiliating - a set of contradictions that seems evident to almost every Iraqi passerby interviewed by a Western journalist who slips out of his barricaded hotel. It will occur under a virtual lockdown: traffic banned, airport closed, a three day curfew,

So it is. A rational person, however, might want to take the facts on the ground and subject them to some analysis. Who is creating the conditions of which he writes? Why is traffic banned? What is causing the airport closure? Who is creating these onerous conditions? Hmmm.

Concentrate on something other than George Bush's centre of gravity, Rick old boy, and you may arrive at some rational conclusions. I have considered the matter and I say the "lockdown" is necessitated because some very unsavoury people share Rick Salutin's disdain for allowing the Iraqi people to vote for their government.

First, we have the Sunni Baathist followers of Saddam Hussein. Their prime fetish is an obsession with tyrannical fascist rule, exemplified by such fascist pleasures as feeding opponents feet-first into industrial shredders, the known use of nerve gas on villagers and rather more esoteric fetishes like maintaining prisons for little children.

Sunni fascists don't like the thought of the majority (80% of the population) Shiites and Kurds running the government. In fact, they fear that result, since they were such meanies for so many decades. In the lead up to the election they threatened ordinary citizens with death if they went to the polls. Their fetishes also involve a love for machine guns and plastic explosives; fetishes which come in useful as they murder Iraqis with such obvoius fervour.

Next, we have the bin Laden Islamic weird beard fetishists. If this fetishistic cabal merely stopped at growing beards which made them look like the offspring of incestuous Ozark mountaineers, it would not be necessary to ban traffic in the downtown areas of Iraqi cities.

Unfortunately, the weird beard gang also likes to blow up vehicles in crowded markets so as to kill and maim as many people as possible. Most of the weird beards are not Iraqi, but their unrequested foreign intervention in Iraq does not seem to rate a mention by Rick Salutin. If he did bring it up he'd blame good old near tumescent George for their presence.

Additionally, we have the Iranian Shiite mullah fetishists. Their fetishes include the imposition of medieval Islamic dress and behaviour codes for women and generally oppressing the population of their own country through a radical clerical Islamic theocracy. The dreaded election fetish, however, is mercifully absent from their psychological makeup. It is so absent from their psychological profile that they will do almost any wicked thing to prevent an election in their beloved neighbour. You think I jest in using the word beloved. I do not.

There is nothing like spending time in sustained battle with people to bring out the camaraderie in them and the Iranians have spent far more time in battle with the Iraqis than the Iraqis have with the Americans. That is why the Iranian mullahs love the Iraqis so much more than the Americans do. So much so, that they are willing to save them from election fetishism even if they have to kill the last Sunni in Iraq.

Who would be so churlish as to suggest that the real reason is that they want to prevent this fetish from spreading into their own country? Their fetishistic proclivity for smuggling ground-to-air shoulder held missiles and other weaponry into Iraq is the reason the airports had to be closed just before the election.

The next proof of Bush fetishism is what Salutin says is the capricious nature of George Bush's penchant for elections. "(Her shoe and not others.)" He castigates George Bush for the fact that the US refused to accept the legitimacy of the 1984 electoral victory of the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. In my experience, if you want to excite old Marxists, or balding New Democrats with pot bellies (the latter after they've imbibed too much claret), just mutter the word Sandinista as the wine steward approaches with another bottle.

Leftist commentators literally foam at the mouth that anyone should have opposed this elected, central American Marxist-Leninist government. I would have thought that Rick Salutin would have been the exception to the foaming rule, given his publicly expressed disdain for election fetishism. But it is not so. (Rick, please note that George Bush was still 16 years away from being elected president when Daniel Ortega led the Sandinista government.)

Next, Salutin trashes the new democratically elected government in Afghanistan, and the fact that the American president hasn't taken on a number of other reprehensible regimes, such as Uzbekistan. Here, Salutin gets to... er, ... suck and blow at the same time. Damned if you overthrow, and damned if you don't.

Then, the claret no doubt flowing freely, he uses his fetish analogy to introduce the second biblical commandment against graven images, which he employs to flog Stephen Harper over his comments connecting same-sex marriage and polygamy and to decry, "our era of archaic religious clashes, Islam versus Christianity and Judaism, etc." I presume by "etc." he means Pakistani Islam versus Indian Hinduism and the genocide by Islamic Arabs of the black African Animists in the Sudan.

Beyond the obvious general religious element does anyone notice a common denominational factor in all these clashes? Maybe clashing with other religions and killing their adherents is a Muslim fetish? Salutin doesn't say. He ignores that completely. He is focused on his personal obsessions; his fetish for anti-Americanism, and his fixation with the state of George Bush's crotch.

One final point. Why is it that the left so frequently attributes psychological deficiencies to those who do not share their philisophical perspective? This lefist tactic is no less odious because it is so often employed. It speaks to a certain haughtiness of mind and an arrogant refusal to engage in debate in an intellectually honest manner. Rick Salutin's column is illustratative of this reprehensible approach.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iraq Votes

Tomorrow the people of Iraq have their first opportunity to elect those who govern them. Three years ago, this seemed an impossible dream. Even today there are significant forces arrayed against democracy in Iraq. Baathist fascists (all most all Sunni Muslims from central Iraq) are opposing the vote for the simple reason that they have for decades oppressed the majority and now stand will certainly lose it through the democratic process.

They are supported by the bin Laden's international band of murderers, Iran's fanatical mullahs and assorted thugs and brigands of every stripe. The pre-vote sentiment of the people is evident. They crave democratic self-governance and if large numbers stay away from the polls it will only be because of fear and intimidation by the fascists, terrorists and thugs. If the people turn out in large numbers it will prove George Bush and the coalition partners right and his detractor's wrong for yet another Muslim population will have been allowed to taste from the heady cup of freedom.

The country is the focal point for those wish President Bush and the American people ill. Quietly, governments from countries such as Russia, France and Germany and the bloated bureaucrats of the United Nations lean are praying for an electoral debacle, in order to bolster their anti-Americanism beliefs.

Bush proved them wrong in Afghanistan and he may well succeed in Iraq. I await the outcome with great worry mixed with real hope.

We shall see.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Today we remember the victims of the Holocaust by commemorating the 6oth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland. It is unlikely that anything I might say could approach what needs to be said about this subject. If you know of what happened there, and why, then you know words cannot suffice. But I will say something for those who do not understand. My comments are of necessity a bit of history and a lot more theology.

The Holocaust represents the depths of utter depravity to which we human beings can sink. The lives of over a million unfortunates (the majority of them Jewish, but not all) were systematically extinguished by the Nazis at Auschwitz in a grotesque display of Teutonic efficiency, perverted nationalism and spiritual nihilism. The latter is the key.

The German people were not a primitive folk. They were exemplars of Western scientific, cultural and industrial advancement. Yet the National Socialist ideology, which crawled from the mud of the Great War trenches in the possessed person of Adoph Hitler, grew to dominate Germany and most of Europe. It found its most visible and vehement presence in the hatred of the Jews.

They were slaughtered, not like cattle, - for the killing of cattle serves a positive purpose - but to to feed an unquenchable and ancient hatred of which anti-semitism is the primary corporeal symbol. Gypsies and the mentally handicapped, Catholic priests and Protestant clergy, the unfit and the politically and spiritually opposed, - all were destined for slaughter most foul. But especially the Jews.

As a Catholic, I find my spirit heavy to breaking when I contemplate the Holocaust. That Nazi hatred should find its evil focal point with the Jews tells me all I need to know about the spirit underlying Hitler and his many, many followers. My Lord and Saviour was, and is, a Jew. God comes to us through the Jews and without the Jewish people there would be no Catholic church and no Protestant church and no Eastern Orthodox church. Without the Jews there would be no Christianity. You may think this no big thing. I think it is everything.

The people Yahweh chose to make His own were the very people Hitler chose to destroy in full. More accurately, they were the people he was compelled to destroy, for he was merely the willing instrument of an ancient Adversary and the visible sign of the great spiritual battle which began with the words, "I will not serve" and which found its first corporeal manifestation in the serpent's corruption of Adam and Eve in the Garden, followed by the Divine response noted in Genesis:

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy [Satan's] head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."

We Catholics believe the woman of the Genesis prophesy was Mary, the Jewish mother of Jesus. By her pefect submission to God, - "Let it be done to me according to thy will" - a young, pure and perfectly humble Jewish woman allowed God to incarnate in her human flesh and spiritually crush the head of the Adversary. The ancient proud refusal to serve was countered by the perfect submission to humble service. Lucifer and Hitler can be juxtaposed with Abraham and Mary in the created order of things.

There can be no question Hitler, the conqueror of nations and murderer of millions, was in thrall to the ancient Adversary and therefore unable to comprehend that great question of the incarnate God, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?"

Hitler's complete unwillingness to submit to the Creator of Worlds led in a cosmic irony to his total submission to the Destroyer of men. Viewed in that light it is quite expected that Hitler's final act was to destroy his own life. The Destroyer destroys where he can, but he must desperately want to kill all God's chosen ones. With the Nazis he managed 6 million.

It is not for nothing we Catholics are required to reject Satan and all his pomps at our baptism and to renew these vows every Easter. Our choice of which spirit to follow is of eternal importance. Hitler's choice of a spirit to follow (he was a baptized Catholic, who plotted the destruction of the Church, as well) led directly to the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the systematic destruction of all undesirables, but first and foremost - the Jews.

Above the entry gate the Nazis placed the words, "ARBEIT MACHT FREI." Work makes free. You have no doubt seen the photographs. The words remain there. They are a great lie worthy of the father of lies.

It is knowing the Truth that sets us free.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Responsibly Preventing a New Ice Age

Over at Trudeaupia, we are advised that man-made global warming efforts may in fact be preventing another ice age from freezing all of us to our bedposts. Gadzooks! The truth has escaped from the media alchemists in the Prime Minister's office. This is not at all good news, in my view. My comrade in the Red Ensign brigade may be well intentioned, but consider the consequences if this story gets around.

We will see a massive new public relations spending program which circumvents the established procurement process in the federal civil service. I mean, if it was important enough to ignore due diligence in order to save Canada from the separatists, what measures will be undertaken to save the whole northern hemisphere from mile high glaciers. We all now know how it works thanks to the dozens of lawyers trolling for billable hours at the Gomery Commission.

Somebody like Warren Kinsella will tell somebody who is a second cousin to somebody who's sister once slept with somebody who has a job cleaning toilets in the Prime Minister's office and before we know it, bingo, there's a new Liberal sponsorship program with a new rogue civil servant appointed who never ever talks to his political masters about where the gazillian dollars of taxpayer money is going, except when he does, and the minister responsible for the new program will deny any recollection of the meetings which never happened anyway except when they did or take responsibility for the spending except when the responsible minister takes responsibility for remedial measures taken after the fact to remediate the program which he says was never doing anything wrong anyway and if it was it was it was all the responsibility of the irresponsible rogue civil servant who the responsible minister never knew was rogue and who can hold him responsible for that as he is not a mind reader and it is only now clear the responsible rogue civil servant was never responsible enough to tell except when he did the responsible minister who was not really responsible for who got the tax dollars anyway, ....

and,.... (puff, puff, ... a man's gotta breathe)

..... the Liberal Party will be responsibly aghast when they learn that the Crown corporation heads who received the glacier prevention sponsorship revenues then flipped gobs of it over to the Liberal Party's trust accounts in a most irresponsible manner and no one who is reasonable would hold the Liberal Party responsible for the fact that the rogue civil servant irresponsibly commissioned reports into the effects of mile high glaciers on Quebec dairy farms without responsibly demanding actual reports in return and it was all the fault of the responsible Crown corporation heads appointed by the Liberal Party who are not responsible because they had to act fast to save Quebec dairy cows from being crushed by the encroaching ice fields which seemed the responsible thing to do because saving Canada is what Liberals do and it would have worked too had the irresponsible rogue civil servant not been so regrettably irresponsible,...

and ...

... new tv ads paid for by the responsible Crown corporations heads will challenge Canadians to be doubly responsible and accept a two tonne challenge and pass extra wind to reverse the damage done by the irresponsible earlier tv ads urging us to be responsible and accept the one tonne Kyoto reduction challenge by holding back those farts which we now know was the irresponsible thing for responsible people to do as new computer models have conclusively demonstrated that withholding anal gases will lead to crushed frozen cows under a kilometer of ice all over Quebec if we don't cooperate ...

aaannd, ...

.... as the new scandal breaks we'll be told by the responsible minister in yet more tv sponsored ads that we know the two tonne challenge is a roaring success because there are no crushed frozen cows anywhere in Quebec especially in the responsible minister's riding in the Eastern Townships and that dear reader is what the Grits mean when they say they believe so strongly that responsible government is the cornerstone of Canadian politics .....

.... and lest I forget

.... Warren Kinsella would be the most not responsible in any way shape or form for any alleged irresponsibility I'm sure because no blogger least of all John the Mad wants to be so irresponsible as to leave himself open to litigation from the most completely responsible (in the nicest sense of the word) Warren Macho Grit himself and thereby have to sell Castle Mad to pay for Warren's billable hours which would deny the Mad heirs a castle in which to put their new 20 gallon fish tank with two really neat gold fish and two really neat black fish.

So comrades of the Red Ensign brigade, please keep it down about the positive effects of global warming won't you.

Lesbians Launch Attack on Nights of Columbus

From the CBC and from The Last Amazon we hear of this Madness on the west coast.

Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith rented a Knights of Columbus hall in Port Coquitlam for their wedding reception back in 2003. They allege the group cancelled the booking after finding out it was for a same-sex couple. The women claim it's discriminatory to offer a facility to the public and then say a particular group can't use it.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal began hearing their case on Monday. The couple's lawyer, Barbara Findlay, said they didn't realize a Catholic group operated the hall when they rented it. She said that after the women paid their deposit and sent out their wedding invitations, the Knights of Columbus backed out. "They got a call saying they had learned the celebration was in relation to a same-sex marriage and they couldn't countenance that, so they cancelled the booking," said Findlay.

The head of the Knights of Columbus in Port Coquitlam, Elemer Lazar, declined a CBC News request for an interview. But he has said in the past that he doesn't understand why a same-sex couple would want to book a Catholic facility.
I know lawyers have the capacity to look you in the eye and tell the most extraordinary tales, the foundation of which is not readily comprehensible to the non-legal brain, but this is a good one. We are supposed to believe Barbara Findlay's assertion that her clients didn't know the Knights of Columbus was an organization of Catholic men dedicated to living their lives in adherence with the teachings of the Catholic faith? Sorry, this is simply not credible, Ms Findlay.
Why even make such a statement? Now that the happy couple does know of the knights' religious convictions, they are proceeding to trample them under in their pursuit of their newly-minted lesbian marriage rights. Is the statement, then, only a ploy to portray your clients as the victims in this tawdry attack dog scenario? One is compelled to wonder.

As for Grand Knight Elemer Lazar, who doesn't understand why a same-sex couple would want to book a Catholic facility, I extend my sincere sympathies. You are evidently not sensitive to the politics of the gay rights agenda. Rest assured that by the end of this affair you and your fellow knights will be. Sensitivity to "rights" is not extended in this liberal society to those who base actions on deeply held religious convictions. Accommodation on that basis is now made grudgingly, if at all.

At the risk of being accused of engaging in the un-Catholic practice of divination, let me make the following prediction. Your KofC council will be ground into hamburger by the human rights commission, the gay rights lobby and most of the mass media. Prepare to repel boarders! When things get nasty, as they most surely will, remember the psalms.

"I shall not fear the dark of night, nor the arrows that fly by day."

The rest of us? Remember this story as you consider the Liberal government's spin that religious groups will not be affected by same-sex marriage. The Liberal bill may protect clergy from having to marry same-sex couples, but human rights commissions operating under entirely separate provincial legislation, will almost certainly demand they hold the receptions for the newlyweds in their church halls. You can count on it.

The Centre Cannot Hold

There is a good discussion over at The Heart of the Matter on the Canadian Forces and what to do about it's current situation. The comments from other bloggers are particularly thoughtful. My poor contribution to the commentary is as follows.

Let us all agree that things cannot go on as they are. The two Senate reports in the last year on the state of the Canadian military (on the Senate website) should disabuse even a dove of the foolishness of allowing the rust out and degradation of capabilities to continue. The Forces are hemorrhaging and cannot wait five years or so until the government of the day writes and implements a white paper.

I support the need for a strategic direction (upon which we base numbers, equipment and training). I just believe that current circumstances dictate that the grand strategy stuff must be done concurrently with some immediate remedial action.

Reducing foreign commitments, increasing authorized strength, concentrating existing depleted human resources on training new personnel and the purchase of critical materiel are but a few of the must-do things, regardless of the grand strategy which emerges from a white paper review.

We must also change the military procurement system, which is obviously too prone to political pork barrel politics and is focused on regional economic development support, rather than any identifiable needs of the military. This escalates costs out of sight. In the short term we need some off the shelf kit, not domestic designed, or manufactured, make-work projects.

As for the fiscal resource side, the reported federal surplus for just the first eight months of this fiscal year is rumoured to be about $10.5 billion. The money is there. It is the political will and the popular support that is lacking. The latter will follow the former if political leadership is given by our elected representatives. On that matter, I'm not holding my breath. Hmmm. Think I'll post this on my blog with today's rant on things military. It'll demonstrate that my Madness is episodic rather than continuous. Per ardua ad Astra.
See, ... I'm capable of some degree of rational thought as well as rip roaring rants. Good night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

If Ye Break Faith

Colonel Laurie Hawn of Strong and Free has posted on an article by Peter Worthington in Sunday's Toronto Sun. I recommend you read both. The specific story concerns a former military dependent named Krista Bruton-Anderson, but also affects the citizenship status of thousands of former military dependents.

She was born in the military hospital on the Canadian base at Lahr, Germany, where her father was a soldier (Intelligence Corps). A birth certificate was issued. When her parents returned to Canada, so did Krista, where she has lived ever since.

When contacted, DND public affairs at first insisted there must be a mistake -- children born overseas to service personnel, especially on a Canadian base, were automatically citizens. Citizenship and immigration in Ottawa also believed being born on a Canadian military base to Canadian military parents and possessing a Canadian birth certificate was proof of citizenship. Krista knows otherwise.

...Life was normal until she grew up, got married -- then tried to get her SIN changed to her married name. The ministry of human resources rejected her birth certificate and said no, she wasn't a Canadian citizen, and destroyed her social insurance card.

"A few weeks later I was contacted and told my application had been returned as I didn't have proper proof of Canadian citizenship, and that my SIN card had been destroyed," Anderson says. "I have been without a SIN card ever since."
It seems that Human Resources Canada (one of those Orwellian departmental names in which Ottawa specializes) changed the rules after 9/11 to require such individuals to jump through several bureaucratic hoops before their citizenship would be recognized by their government. The process can exceed eight months because of the usual bureaucratic backlogs and will cost $75.00.

Now, I happen to be an airforce brat and have had the great privilege and honour of holding Her Canadian Majesty's commission. Although I was born in Canada, many of my childhood friends were born overseas on Canadian military bases, (such as Marville France, or Lahr and Baden, Germany) where their fathers happened to be serving a four year tour of duty. Military dependents accompanied their parents as a matter of course in those days and no one would have dreamed that a child born on a Canadian base of Canadian military parents would not be recognized in the future as a citizen by the Canadian Government.

No one it seems, but the contemporary dreary dreadful dregs of the federal Department of Orwellian grotesquerie known as HRDC. In what miasmic, federal, fecal, bog of moral vacuity do these creatures breed? It is vital we find out so we can quarantine the slimy, sleazy, beastoids and their pus-brained political masters. (Steady Mad one, steady. Remember when you started this blog two months ago you promised yourself you would maintain the courtesies and not swear.... Remember!)

Ah yes, ... ahem, ... The Liberal government. Liberals have a peculiar knack for repeatedly doing exactly the wrong thing when it comes to our military forces. Once again we see this party treating its uniformed members and their families in an utterly contemptible manner.

Can their aim really be to bring the whole proud Canadian Forces to its knees and then kick each and every member where it really hurts? No? Is the goal then to abolish all the regiments, ground all the aircraft and scuttle all the warships? What is the plan? Death by rust, ... fiscal starvation, ... sneering neglect? No?

What then? One cannot attribute so many blunders to simple accidental political oversights. The Liberals are accomplishing what the whole arrayed might of the German armed forces and their allies could not do in two long and bloody world wars. There has to be an actual evil, twisted, pointy-headed, person directing this farce of public policy. There has to be a conscious decision to degrade the fighting capacity of the armed forces of this nation in such a criminal and unconscionable fashion.

Our Canadian Armed Forces survived Queenston Heights, the Somme, Paschendale, Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, Ortona, Normandy, the Scheldt, Hong Kong, the Battle of Britain, the strategic bomber campaign over Germany, the frozen convoys to Murmansk and the U boat wolf packs of the North Atlantic.

The battle honours are long and illustrious and the graves of our war dead fill foreign fields with their silent vigil. But in the end, our proud Armed Forces are being brought down by the Liberal Party of Canada and the utter refusal of we the people to demand better. "If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep though poppies grow in Flanders fields."

It must be deliberate, for neglect alone cannot account for Total, Bloody, Bullshit!

Oh hell. ... Well, two months was not a bad run.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Democracy is an Evil Principle

CTV news has published a story that a key aide to al-Zarqawi, named Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, or Abu Omar al-Kurdi, was arrested during a raid in Baghdad on January 15th. This charming fellow is said to be responsible for helping to carry out 75% of the 32 bombings in Baghdad since the US led invasion. Surely this is good news in the lead up to elections at the end of the month. A day earlier:

a man identifying himself as al-Zarqawi declared war on democracy in an audio taped statement posted on the Internet. "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," said the speaker. "Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it." The speaker continued to say that the Americans are using the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections to install the Shiite majority in power, and called the candidates "demi-idols" and the people who vote for them "infidels."
Of course, you may believe like al-Zarqawi that it is the American infidels who are the evildoers in Iraq. Everyone in the media seems to knows that, don't they? Now we know why, too. The Yanks are trying to assist the Iraqi people in accepting this evil principle of democracy. Got it!

The price of tyranny is eternal bloodshed.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Anselm Finnan is a Must Read

Anselm Finnan (a great Irish name, nearly as venerable as O'Mad) has a blog called Burton Front. Just found it today. It is a must read. Any man who describes one of his interests as "the Irish Catholic religion" is likely to have a good blog. For those of you who don't know, the Irish Catholic religion is very similar to the Catholic religion in all respects but one. We Irish have an extra sacrament, called "Imbibing of the Guinness."

Imbibing of the Guinness is a sacrament taken not much on Sunday mornings, but very often on Saturday nights. The sacrament is reputed to have amazing healing and social properties, which unfortunately last only about six hours, whereupon there is frequently experienced a monkish withdrawl for a sobering purgatorial period of reflection and physical penance.

Anselm (not the saint) has many very good posts, but be sure to read "Cowards they Are" written this morning at 11:39 am. This post is coherent and to the point and criticizes Mr. Martin and the Grits on same-sex marriage. That tells me three things. Firstly, he is an intelligent man. Secondly, he is probably closely related to the O'Mads. Thirdly, he did not partake in an excess of the Imbibing of the Guinness last night. Don't take my word for it. Taste his scorn.

On Friday, Martin said he now considers the recognition of same-sex marriage so important that he is ready to call an election on it in order to uphold the Charter.

He accused opponents of same sex marriage,like Conservative Leader Stephen Harper,of being unwilling to defend the Charter.Martin's eleventh-hour conversion to the cause of same-sex marriage is laughable, given his own flip-flopping in the past.

In 1999, when Martin and most Liberals (then under Jean Chretien) thought it was politically expedient to pay lip service to the sanctity of marriage as "the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others", they voted in favour of a Reform party motion using those exact words.

It passed the Commons by an overwhelming 216-55 margin, but the Liberals went even further. Then-justice minister Anne McLellan assured Canadians that "the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage, or of legislating same-sex marriages." [emphasis is mine.]
Nor are those lines Finnan's best. Read it to see. But before you do, consign Anne McLellan's 1999 comment to memory. It is a useful reference point to maintain when you're trying to digest statements from the Right Hounourable Himself about polygamy, like the one he made two days ago in China.

"I don't believe there's any support in the country for the recognition of polygamy in law." ... "I cannot conceive how anybody can say that and not understand just how ridiculous he must look," Martin told reporters in Beijing, adding that the laws against polygamy will not change. "As far as I'm concerned it will always be against the law." [The emphasis is mine. The lie is his.]

Victory For Ukrainian Freedom

There is good news from Ukraine, as reported by CTV.

Viktor Yushchenko called his triumph a "victory over tyranny" after being sworn in as Ukrainian president on Sunday, two months after an election marred by fraud divided the country.
And so it is. A triumph over the old guard with close ties to the resurgent Russian Stalinists. It is a time for rejoicing and a time for hope.

Yushchenko, a Western-leaning politician, promised to steer Ukraine away from "all evil" and into the European Union after taking the oath of office in Ukraine's parliament.
Given the alternative, joining the European Union is a good thing. It is unfortunate, however, that Ukrainians, having just thrown off the yoke of Russian imperialism, may now willingly hand their newly won sovereignty over to the unelected and mostly unaccountable mega-bureacrats of the EU in Brussels. But on the whole, the latter devil is preferred to the Russian bear. The EU will provide the needed counterweight to Russian expansionist aims.

What will President Putin do now? Will he accept the verdict of the Ukrainian people, or work to undermine Mr. Yushchenko? My bet is that he will do the latter. Russia is in it for the long game.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

England Swings as a Pendulum Do

A tip of the hat to Tim Dormain of The Black Kettle for a timely warning. (I visited his blog for the first time tonight and I recommend you have a look.)

If you are American, Australian, New Zealander, Canadian or from
another land in the Anglosphere you are about to lose the womb of your civilization, your culture, your laws and your language.
He links to an article by James Lewis, at the American Thinker. Lewis warns that Britain faces an impending loss of sovereignty and independent governance, as it is sleepwalks into the European Union's mega-bureaucracy run by Paris and Berlin. He is primarily concerned about the impact on Britain and on the USA, but as Tim Dormain notes, it will have an impact on us, as well. Here is part of James Lewis's article:

Piece by piece, the British socialist government is giving up:

--- control of the British military. The British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy are being cut severely, and part of the remainder will soon be assigned to a European Defense Force. Soon, the EU will have a veto over British military decision making.

--- control of British foreign policy. The EU demands a common foreign policy ? meaning that France and Germany will decide together with Britain what policies to adopt. Given the level of animosity toward the US among the elites in Europe, those policies will not be friendly to us.

--- control of domestic police powers. Today, the European bureaucracy can issue arrest warrants for British citizens. The time is not far off when EU police will be able to range far and wide across the old national borders. Sovereignty means independent control of one?s nation. That is going fast.

--- free speech and the right of habeas corpus. Recently the head of a small nationalist party was arrested for criticizing Islam in a private meeting.

--- the sovereignty of Parliament, the centerpiece of British democracy. The unelected European Commission is taking on the powers of the British Parliament, while the European Parliament itself is not even allowed to propose any laws.

--- democratically accountable government. The EU is run by the new Axis Powers --- the Franco-German axis, with walk-on parts for the smaller countries. They are the new ruling class. The capital of the new superstate is Brussels, but the strings are pulled in Paris and Berlin.
Gadzooks! Encroyable, mes amis! Just imagine! If Canada's social, defence and foreign policy were to be turned over to people who thought like those execrable political leaders in Berlin and Paris, why we'd, ..... uh, ..... hmmm, ..... well ...... never mind ............

The Counter Attack Begins

Well, well, the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Mr. Harper, seems to have struck a nerve with his slippery slope polygamy comment. The defenders of same-sex legislation, from Prime Minister Martin and Justice Minister Cotler, to the editorial writers of my morning's Globe & Mail are aghast at the association of polygamy and same-sex marriage. Recognizing the association's potential political traction, they've gone into spin doctor overdrive.

Apparently, there is no room on the "living tree" of our progressively interpreted Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the exotic branch of the polygamy flower. The polygamy flower must be nipped in the bud, before a whiff of the aroma from its many dusky petals intoxicates a public hitherto denied its exotic aroma.

According to Liberal social scientists tasked with researching and developing policy on Canada's social biosphere, there is no compatibility or causality between the newly evolved domestic species "matrimonious homogenensius" and the swarthy interloper "polygamous multitudinous." They say they have reviewed the known literature on the subject and there are good socially scientific reasons for continuing the ban on the importation of the latter species.

A spokesperson for the federal Department of Justice says the Department is aware that a few individuals have illegally smuggled "polygamous multitudinous" into the country. Unfortunately, where this has occurred it has resulted in a biologically unsustainable overcrowding of domestic flower beds and excessively assertive breeding programs by patriarchs who own these illegal hybrid gardens.

"There is no cause for panic, or even a need for the average person to be concerned," said the Liberal government spokesperson. "We will not allow this foreign floral breeding program to flourish, because of its negative impact on the stamens of domestic Canadian plants. The public can trust us on this matter. We are very vigilant on their behalf."
Social scientists, employed by the Liberal government, have assured us that we have nothing to fear from the recent graft on the living tree of "matrimonious homogenensius." (Grafting is required because of the new species genetic structure is apparently unsuitable to regeneration through the usual reproductive methods.)

"The new domestic varietal adds the richness of diversity to the nation's flower beds. We should rejoice in the harmonious blend of the vibrant new flowers with the staid old floral arrangements to which Canadians have been accustomed," the Prime Minister stated, while his handlers scraped the mud of Sri Lankan graves from their flack jackets.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Red Ensign Raised Again

Chris, at Striving Against Opposition, has enlisted in the Red Ensign Brigade. At this growth rate, we'll soon outnumber the Patricia's.

Welcome to the Brigade. I see on your blog that Damian has beat Nicholas to the mess bar. The scent of free drinks appears to drive Brigade members mad, which as you can surmise, makes me feel quite at home.

So far, in my short time with the unit, I've seen no uniforms, room inspections, or close order drill. From this I can only gather that we are a special ops unit, charged with making stealthy incursions into hostile territory, cutting their supply lines and blowing their bridges.

This suits me just fine. The days of enjoying boot polishing in the barrack laundry room, while jostling with thirty other guys to grab one of the three operational washing machines are thankfully over. Since you're from Alberta, where men are men and sheep are nervous, I know you'll do fine. Grits, after all, are sheep. Baaaaah.

Now, I must recall how to place you on my blogroll. Good Lord, it's already there! Wizards are afoot! Man your brooms ....... prepare to repel warlocks ......

Prime Minister Martin On Polygamy

Moving on from the near DART visit disgrace, the photogenic PM and his padre shoving, grave stomping entourage finds itself in China.

It is reported that the Right Honourable Himself became agitated today over comments made by Stephen Harper that, "the Liberal government's move to extend marriage to include gay and lesbian couples could, one day, evolve into support for polygamy." Harper said it was a slippery slope. According to CTV News:

Prime Minister Paul Martin says the issue of same-sex marriage is so important to him, he'd be willing to call an election -- if he has to. .."Am I ready to go into an election to uphold the charter of rights against those who would attack it? The answer is certainly yes." ...

"I don't believe there's any support in the country for the recognition of polygamy in law." ... "I cannot conceive how anybody can say that and not understand just how ridiculous he must look," Martin told reporters in Beijing, adding that the laws against polygamy will not change. "As far as I'm concerned it will always be against the law."
Of course, Mr. Martin will not always be Prime Minister, so his assurance means exactly squat. As I recall, ten years ago politicians were blowing off suggestions that the gay rights agenda had anything to do with marriage and asserting that it was inconceivable that the country would ever see it. But here it is folks, in all its inconceivable glory.

I'd advise not placing bets against polygamy, if I were you.

Mr. Martin Visits DART- Not!

Just when I begin to feel a little less antagonistic towards the Prime Minister about his reaction to the tsunami, he and his staff pull this stunt. As reported by Garth Prichard in the Torionto Sun.

IT WAS a circus when Prime Minister Paul Martin visited the disaster area of Kalumai in Sri Lanka this week for a photo opportunity. His people from Ottawa, including the RCMP, were pushing people out of the way, grabbing at cameras, and trampling over graves on the beach in order to photograph the PM. An RCMP guy tried to interfere with my camera, but one of our soldiers intervened. A couple of women from the PM's office were running around yelling at people. It got out of hand. It was crazy.
Apparently the Right Honourable Himself did not even make time in his Photo Op blitzkrieg to visit the camp where the 300 member Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) set up operations. He met with the CO and a token group of medical personnel. 90 minutes and then he helicoptered away (not, I bet, in a Canadian Forces Sea King).

The whole visit was a photo opportunity -- with cameras set up for the PM in designated spots: Martin on the beach looking out to sea, Martin amid the wreckage, Martin with a homeless kid, Martin taking a token drink of water produced by the DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) water purifier. ...
Martin's handlers wanted no one but their people taking photos.
Apparently, even the unit's padre was shoved out of the way. What class! What leadership! What a bloody disgrace!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bishop Henry's Virtue

In a previous post I criticised Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary for what I said were his unpastoral and imprudent remarks in his pastoral letter on same-sex marriage. I still believe that his choice of words (i.e., coercive power of the state)was not pastorally prudent. Nor were the comments politically astute.

Having said that, and having observed the outpouring of condemnation directed at him, I should make it clear that I support the substance of his letter:

The committed union of two people of the same sex is not the same human reality as the committed union of one man and one woman. A same-sex union is not a physical union that transmits human life, producing children. A same-sex union is not the joining of two complementary natures that complete each other. Simply stated, a same sex union is not marriage. The idea that homosexuals can create same sex ?marriage? through their individual choice is false. All the packaging in the world doesn?t alter substance.

Perhaps the most silly charge leveled at Bishop Henry is the ridiculous and unfounded idea that his comments somehow breach a doctrine of separation of church and state. Those suggesting such a thing reveal themselves to possess a superficial understanding of political theory and an ignorance of Canadian political history. One has to wonder why this charge is only used on those church leaders who speak against same-sex marriage?

In his favour, Bishop Henry is a prelate who has demonstrated that he has the virtue of spiritual courage. He is doctrinally orthodox and forthright. This is something to be cherished, as Canadian Catholic prelates as a whole have not been particularly strong in this regard.

Cut to the Chase

Let us cut to the chase. Irwin Cotler, Canada's Justice Minister, is rejecting the call of Cardinal Amrozic to use the Constitution's "notwithstanding clause" in order to allow time for debate and reflection on the possible effects on society of same-sex marriages. Cotler's response (supported by Prime Minister Martin)is predicated on the spurious premise that the notwithstanding clause should never be used to take away rights.

I take issue with the idea that there is a "right" to same sex-marriage. What we have here is a judicially altered Charter of Rights, which adds homosexuals to the equality provisions of the charter. The courts "read" this provision into the Charter after Parliament had several times rejected it's inclusion. Having undemocratically established the basis for further expansion of "rights," the Ontario Court of Appeal then felt it was on firm legal grounds to strike down the common law view of marriage, which has formed the basis of our civilization, in order to give effect to a judicially created new "right."

I know judges are fond of describing the Canadian constitution as a "living tree." I just wonder why it is that unelected judges are the only ones who get to fertilize the tree?

The Liberal government of Jean Chretien greatly assisted in this agenda by refusing to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Martin is further assisting in the transformation of marriage by bringing in legislation to implement the decisions of the courts.

But our constitution gives parliament, not the courts, the final say on whether there is such a thing as a right to same-sex marriage. That exercise of authority may be undertaken through the invocation of the notwithstanding clause, which allows the elected branch of government (and, therefore in theory, the people) to over ride (for a period of five years at a time) any provision of the Charter. The final constitutional power respecting such matters is supposed to rest not with the unelected judicial elites, but with the people, via their elected parliament.

The use of the notwithstanding clause is the peoples' check on the otherwise unfettered judicial elites. Through this process our elected representatives exercise their constitutional obligation to uphold the public interest by determining whether there is in fact a right at issue here. To suggest that the same-sex rights Charter issue has been determined with finality by the courts is a deceitful political spin designed to undermine any political opposition to the proposed same-sex legislation.

The Liberal spin doctors know well that the Canadian public is (correctly) adverse to removing rights from anyone. Accordingly, they have positioned the use of the notwithstanding clause as an act removing an established right, rather than as a final piece of the consitutional process determining whether there is a right to same-sex marriage at all. That is both clever and disingenuous.

So we are inculcated with the untruthful view that the Liberals are merely giving legislative effect to an established political right which has been judicially determined with finality. It's not the devil making them do it, you see, it's the courts.

The other canard is that this matter is being put to a free vote in the House of Commons. This part of the Liberal spin is intended to give the whole process the appearance, but not the substance, of democratic action. How? First, it permits recalcitrant backbench members of the Liberal caucus to vote against the proposed legislation without seriously damaging the chances of the bill passing in the House of Commons. Passage is for all practical purposes assured by requiring the Liberal cabinet (38 members) and the parliamentary secretaries (28 members) to vote for the bill.

Just ask Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, whether the vote is free. He has obliged all NDP members of his caucus to vote for the bill. No free vote among these paragons of progressive social thinking.

Perhaps the most revealing thing is the horror with which these rights advocates view the people actually having a direct say in determining the matter. We are told that rights should never be the subject of a majority vote. How greatly they must hold the people of Canada in contempt.

Take my word for it. This goose is well cooked before it is even placed in the legislative oven. Only a sustained outcry from the despised people of this nation can now stop it being served to us as the main course.

Let the Polygamous Games Begin

Family responsibilities in the past few weeks have prevented me from posting as much as I'd like. Events are thereby overtaking my blog, it seems.

I see on the front page of this morning's National Post that the federal Liberal government is making plans for an expected challenge respecting polygamy. That there will be a challenge to Canada's laws prohibiting polygamy ought to surprise no one. As night follows day, polygamists will now agitate for additional restructuring of civil marriage to accommodate their tastes in marital bliss.

What will Paul Martin say to men who cannot accept that their destiny lies with having only one spouse? Having surrendered his Catholic moral beliefs in a political quest to accommodate a spurious human right to same-sex civil marriage, he now has no principled basis on which to oppose further demands for change.

Remember that it was a Liberal government which instructed Justice Department lawyers to not appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal judgment on same-sex marriage, thereby opening the gates to homosexual civil marriage. Having acquiesced to the dictate of the unelected and unaccountable judicial elite, (which ignored the expressed will of our elected Parliament and the provincial legislatures when it unilaterally rewrote the Charter of Rights to accommodate same-sex equality rights), how can he now possibly object to several people who want to share the joys of matrimony with each other?

The Post story has a most peculiar comment from the Status of Women Canada (what an Orwellian moniker that is!).

"In order to best prepare for possible debate surrounding Canada's polygamy policy, critical research is needed," a Status of Women Canada document says. "It is vital that researchers explore the impacts of polygamy on women and children and gender equality, as well as the challenges that polygamy presents to society."
Really? What an interesting idea. Of course, this was not contemplated, or undertaken with the same-sex marriage question.

I wonder if the good sisters of the secular order Status of Women Canada realize how similar their views on the process of restructuring marriage are with those of His Eminence, Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic in his January 18, 2004 letter on the same-sex marriage debate?

So far the debate has been among lawyers. It is time for there to be a debate in Canadian society as a whole. It is time for ordinary Canadians to be given a sufficient opportunity to discuss the issues and to reflect on the deeper implications before a debate occurs in Parliament and a decision is made that could irrevocably change the nature of marriage and the family in Canada.

My purpose in writing this open letter to you [Prime Minister Martin]is to urge caution in taking this step towards the re-definition of marriage. We all would do well to pause reflectively before we alter social structures like marriage and the family that lie at the core of our society, and that represent the accumulated wisdom and experience of the ages.

The conjugal partnership of a man and a woman is the beginning and basis of human society and the family is the first and vital cell of society. Tampering with marriage and the family poses significant social risks.

Can we say with certainty what the social outcome of a re-definition of marriage would be? In all humility, none of us can do so. Human sexuality is a powerful force, which society has acknowledged through many of our laws and social customs.

If same-sex marriage receives the approval of Parliament, then what?
Well, we all know what, don't we. Let the polygamous games begin!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What Does the Bishop Mean?

From my morning reading of the Globe & Mail I see that Bishop Fred Henry, the Catholic Ordinary of Calgary, has launched into media orbit a pastoral letter on Same Sex marriage, which is blowing up into a major controversy. Bishop Henry last caught the attention during the last federal election campaign when he attacked Mr. Martin for his stance on this issue. The following quotation is at issue.

Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good.

It is my guess that Bishop Henry has stepped into a large cow paddy on this one. What can he mean by the use of the phrase "coercive power of the state?"

Those who read my blog regularly know at least two things about me. First, I am a practicing, believing, Catholic. Second, I am opposed to same sex marriage. To this list you may add a third item. I am appalled at the unpastoral language used by this bishop of the Church, who does the cause of faith and reason no favours with his letter.

Frankly, much of the letter ought not to surprise anyone with a modicum of knowlege of the Church's doctrinal positions on marriage and sexuality. The Catechism of the Catholic Faith (which lays out the doctrines of the Church) teaches a difficult truth about homosexuality. It views homosexual activity as being sinful. Anyone surprised so far?

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

It is Section 2358 of the Catechism where Bishop Henry falls short in his pastoral duty. He failed to treat the subjects of his pastoral letter with, "...respect, compassion, and sensitivity." ..... and I want an explanation on what he means by advocating the coercive power of the state.

Lost Books of Antiquity

A tip o' the hat to Quotulatiousness for this intriguing story to be found at the Telegraph.

An earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely to destroy a library of ancient books at Herculaneum, near Pompeii, before they can be excavated unless urgent action is taken, according to the founder of a new group based in Oxford.

Scientists have discovered new ways to read 1,800 charred manuscript scrolls already found in the ruins of the so-called Villa of Papyri at Herculaneum, a city that, like neighbouring Pompeii, was buried in volcanic matter when Vesuvius erupted in AD79.

Scholars are convinced that many more scrolls lie awaiting discovery there, among which are probably lost books by great authors such as Aristotle and Livy.
"The chances are very high that much remains to be found in three newly identified and unexplored levels," Professor Robert Fowler told a meeting of the Herculaneum Society at Wadham College, Oxford, at the weekend.

The society was founded last year to promote the excavation and preservation of sites at Herculaneum before it is too late.

I don't know about you, but this news is really exciting to me. Imagine being able to recover books by the likes of Aristotle that were believed to be lost forever. I could add them to the list of books I intend, but never get around, to actually read. Joking aside, this is truly intriguing.

Monday, January 17, 2005

College Bans Passion of Christ

The website for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a remarkable post. I note that Kathy Shaidle of Relapsed Catholic has also posted on this article.

Florida's Indian River Community College (IRCC) is engaging in a campaign of repression against a Christian student group for attempting to show Mel Gibson?s The Passion of the Christ on campus. In November 2004, the college banned the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) from showing the film because it was R-rated, despite the fact that the college has hosted a live performance entitled "F**king for Jesus? that describes simulated sex with ?the risen Christ." CSF students report that after their group wrote President Edwin R. Massey in protest, administrators pulled group leaders out of class and, astoundingly, demanded an apology from them for their actions. Now, CSF is unable even to officially meet because its advisor resigned after IRCC imposed a burdensome new policy requiring that faculty advisors attend all student group meetings.

Well, what can I say? I am surprised that The Passion has an X rating. I've not seen the movie, but I understand that the scenes where Christ is whipped are very graphic. Regardless of the rating, I'm shocked that a college would feel it appropriate to refuse a screening of the film by a Christian group.

In January, college spokesperson Mary Locke contacted FIRE. Locke defended the policy against R-rated movies and told FIRE that allowing the No Shame Theatre skit was a breakdown of procedure and would not happen again, even though FIRE made it clear that both the film and the play should be permitted on a public college campus.

O' the Madness!

Friday, January 14, 2005

How God Makes Babies

Six year old Master Brendan was lying with me in bed before I rose to prepare for my day at the coal face. The radio was on and there was a story about the tsunami. Brendan turned to me and said, "Daddy. God's going to have to make a lot of babies." I agreed that this was so.

He looked thoughtful for a minute and then said, "How's he going to do that?" I paused, thinking about my reply and decided to ask for clarification.

"What do you mean Brendan?"

Well, dad .... Babies come from mummies. How is God going to make all those new babies? ... All the mummies are dead."

I was left speechless. .... And we think they don't listen to the news.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Late Tips Are Better Than No Tips

Forgot to say thanks to Occam's Carbuncle for the tip on the Poor Master Jordan post.

Poor Master Jordan

Today's Windsor Star contains an article about an 11 year old public schoolboy suspended for (gasp) gelling his hair into a mohawk replica of his soccer hero, David Beckham. It seems the more things change,the less school authorities are able to adapt. T'was ever thus.

Upon attending his class, young Master Jordan was confronted by his teacher and told to wash the gel from his hair. He refused and was sent to the office. There he once more refused to comply on the grounds that, "I think I should be able to wear my hair the way I want to." Silly Master Jordan.

When contacted, his mother supported his son on the grounds that, "It's not hurting anybody." She said she supports her son's desire to express himself through his hairstyle and there's nothing in the school policy that prohibits students from sporting a Mohawk. Silly mom. (It may be genetic.)

Apparently the school's failure to anticipate gelled Mohawks in its dress code was no deterrent to those who must be obeyed. He was suspended for two weeks! (We are told that the length of the suspension was determined by the fact that, "there was a history of issues over Jordan's behaviour." I bet. After all, the kid shows signs of possessing spunk (or is that punk?).

"I told the vice-principal he will be coming to school tomorrow with his hair like that," Muzzin [his mother] said, pointing to Jordan's spikes. (Teachers to the left of them. Principals to the right. Into the valley of death rode the Muzzin family.)

But superintendent Rod Peturson said such disruptions hurt other students, who come to school prepared to study. "If I'm a parent and I want my kid at school for an education, I don't want some kid's fashion statement to become a distraction."

Peturson said he applauds Jordan's teacher for wanting to keep the classroom "focused on instruction.... It was the ongoing gel, the mess and the primping which became a distraction."

I agree. Aside from the pure horror of the distraction, as a child of the sixties, I know in my heart that if you allow unorthodox hairstyles to flourish in the schools, the streets will soon be filled with peacenicks and the coalition of the willing will lose the war in Iraq. It's happened before.

So Master Jordan, I'm afraid John the Mad must support the cruel and arbitrary decision of the Superintendent Peturson. I know you probably aren't aware that the geopolitical destiny of the West is intimately entwined with your emerging testosterone surges and your antipathy to follow the bleating sheep in your classroom. But it is. O'the innocence of youth.

In your young exuberance and your mother's guileless simplicity you may think you'll win this struggle for independence, but I have every confidence in the capacity of the public school authorities to extinguish any trace of independent thinking from your character. They are the Borg. There must be no fashion distractions. You will be assimilated. The fate of the Western world depends on it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Via Little Green Footballs we learn of this obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times. My condolences to the family. It must be difficult to lose a treasured family member because of Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST). Damn those Bushites!

Herbert M. Hazelkorn, DDS, PhD Herbert M. Hazelkorn, of Glencoe, Illinois, left us on December 7, 2004, of a broken heart at the recent passing of his wife of 35 years, Bobby, exacerbated by a broken spirit arising from the results of the Presidential election.

The Taint of Cruelty

I find it difficult to read the testimony of abused prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. The testimony exemplifies why a military force, or a government in a democracy must never succumb to the temptation to abuse prisoners. To do so taints our men and women with an insidious evil that cannot but damage the fighting effectiveness of the troops. More seriously, the taint is contagious and if it goes unchecked at the military level, it will spread throughout the society. Consider this sample from the trial of Specialist (prison guard) Graner of the US Army.

Defense lawyer Guy Womack has maintained that Graner and other soldiers had no choice but to obey orders by military and civilian intelligence officers to soften up detainees for questioning.

Earlier Tuesday, an insurgent from Syria who went to Iraq in 2003 to fight U.S.-led forces told jurors about alleged abuse by Graner. Amin al-Sheikh, also testifying by video, said Graner forced him to eat pork and drink alcohol in violation of his Muslim faith, and on one occasion made him thank Jesus for keeping him alive at the notorious Baghdad prison.

Al-Sheikh described Graner as the "primary torturer" at Abu Ghraib and "a naturally aggressive man" - a characterization that led Graner, sitting in the courtroom, to roll his eyes and chuckle.

Asked if Graner appeared to enjoy hurting him, al-Sheikh said: "He laughed. He was whistling. He was singing."
There is more, including forced masturbation, urinating on prisoners and striking them on their wounds. As I said, it is difficult stuff to read.

I believe that the profession of arms is a noble profession in which to serve. In a democracy the military has the role of protecting us all from harm. It sometimes has to do so through the concentrated application of lethal force and, as such, the military must be constrained by rules of engagement which are consistent with the values of the society it serves. Adherence to this principle is what prevents the military from degenerating into a gang of armed thugs.

Something went terribly wrong at Abu Ghraib. The military guards claim they were simply carrying out orders to "soften up" the prisoners. This has the ring of truth and if it is true, then the government of the United States has a duty to determine who fostered this ethos and to root them out of the military and government .... period.

Much of this abuse is attributable, in my view, to the refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to these prisoners. I happen to be among those who agree that many, if not most, of the prisoners fall outside the ambit of the conventions, as written. When this issue first arose, I was uncomfortable with the matter, but went along with US Government's decision not to apply the accords, as being driven by circumstantial necessity. Clearly, I should have paid more attention to the tweaks of my conscience and to the ramifications of ignoring internationally recognized constraints. We shall know the quality of the tree by the fruit it bears.

Now, in the cold light of experience, we need to look deeper at this issue. There are reasons why the nations of the world gathered together to formulate the Geneva conventions in the first place. The arbitrary detention of people, for extended periods of time, without resort to trial or legal counsel, fosters a climate in which abuse can (and does)flourish. If we believe we are truly a people that is governed by the rule of law, we cannot allow the executive branch of government unfettered powers of detention. This is a legal principle that goes all the way back to the Magna Carta and beyond. It finds its genesis in natural and divine law.

The fact that we are dealing here with our enemies (and yes they are Canada's enemies, as well) makes it more compelling that we hold to just means when detaining such men as these. We are not judged by how we treat the easy cases, but by how we react when faced with the hard ones. You may think me soft for writing so. You would be wrong.

This is not the stuff of wet, bleeding heart sensibilities, although superficially it may mimic that. It requires us to be tough on ourselves as well as our enemies. It requires us to accept that our principles are not matters of mere administrative convenience, to be jettisoned when times are difficult.

In my view, justice for all is a rock bottom conservative principle of good governance, and our ultimate strength, which we abandon to our peril.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Cheer for Torture

The trial of US army specialist Charles Graner, charged in the Iraqi prison torture scandal is underway. His lawyer, Guy Womak, in his opening remarks made the following statement,
Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year? Is that torture?

Well Mr. Womak, if we forced cheerleaders to perform pyramids while hooded and naked, all the while surrounded by mocking uniformed thugs, it would be. The lawyer also compared the leashing of naked prisoners to, "parents putting tethers on toddlers."

I haven't seen much comment about this from conservative bloggers at this point. You will hear about it from me. Anyone who know me understands that I am not an anti-American. Quite the contrary. But what happened at that prison in Iraq runs contrary to the values which Americans themselves hold dear. In my view, the actions of the prison guards ought to be severely punished and anyone who allowed the abuse to take place ought to be punished as well, no matter how high up the chain of command this goes.

Lest any reader is tempted to assume airs about our inate moral superiority as Canadians, I remind you of what happened in Somolia a few years ago when certain members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment tortured a 16 year old prisoner named Shidane Arone to death. His crime was attempting to pilfer some items of minor importance. He was beaten to death over a period of several hours. Soldiers sleeping in tents only a short distance away claimed they did not hear his screams of agony and terror. The murder was a blot on the proud history of the Airborne Regiment and ultimately provided the pretext for the Liberal government to disband our most effective fighting regiment.

Permitting, or encouraging, the abuse of prisoners is not consistent with good order and discipline of a military force. The Abu Ghraib incident harmed the reputation of the American forces and government at a very critical time. It is simply not defensible and it needs to be punished fully, in accordance with applicable law.

And as for you Mr. Womak. By your odious comparison to cheerleaders, you have shamed your profession, just as Specialist Graner shamed his. Away with you both.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Time For Evening Prayers

In an article called, Angry with God , Jeff Jacoby comments on the God's role in the tsunami disaster. He includes this insightful tale by Elie Wiesel.

Elie Wiesel tells the haunting story of three rabbis in Auschwitz who convened a court of law and put God on trial for allowing His children to be slaughtered. At the end of the trial, which stretched over several days, they pronounced Him guilty of crimes against humanity. Then one of the rabbis glanced at the darkening sky. And now, he said, it is time for our evening prayers.

Jacoby says that getting angry with God has valid roots tradition in the Judeo- Christian tradition. This may be true, but my sense of it is that arguing with God (as a practice) may be more Jewish than Christian.

In my younger days I came to the conclusion that God was calling me to respond to a vocation to be a Catholic priest. After visiting my local bishop and having some discussions with him about this matter he agreed and set the process in motion for me to become a seminarian.

This process seemed to take forever and obstacle after obstacle was placed in my path. I remember visiting the seminary in late July in an unsuccessful attempt to address some of the academic obstacles. The visit did not go well, and I stopped by the chapel on the way out to visit with the real presence of Our Lord in the chapel tabernacle.

Although I did not intend to do it, I found myself, in my great frustration, arguing heatedly with God. It was a humdinger of a one way verbal commentary, with me demanding answers from Him and commenting caustically on His failure to smooth the way. After all, I reasoned, the vocation was His idea, not mine. I finished off by challenged Him to straighten things out right away if that was what He wanted me to do. Anyway, after my tirade I knelt, said a prayer(my personal equivalent of the evening prayers above)and left.

I remember being quite shocked at my vehemence and attitude. You have to understand that shouting at God, particualrly before the tabernacle, was not included in the list of permissible things in my Irish/Scots Canadian Catholic upbringing.

I fully expected to miss a year of seminary training as matters were not going well. Two days later I received a very nice letter from my bishop saying he had removed all the barriers and I could start at the major seminary that September.

To this day, I believe that my angry tantrum was well received in Heaven. I think He liked my complete honesty and granted my demands. (After all, it really was His idea.) I also learned, through the experience that He has a real sense of humour. I think He had a good laugh at my stupified reaction on opening my bishop's letter.

In the end, I did not become a priest. That too is okay by Him (... I think). I don't regret the experience in the seminary, although at the time I left I was very angry with the liberal, anti-Vatican tenor the of the place. But that's a story for another time.


As for God's role in the tsunami disaster, I can only say as a man with faith that we cannot know His ways fully. How does one square God's love and compassion with so much obvious suffering, so unequally shared? I see folks arguing now that the tsunami is proof that God is either heartless, or lacking in omniscience, omnipresence, or omnipotence.

A superficial contemplation may suggest these ideas have merit, but I ask you to look deeper. I suggest to you that pain and suffering are inextricably part of the human experience and are somehow closely tied up with God's great gift of free will and our reluctance to choose to live entirely in Him.

This is hard to understand and harder to accept, as our understanding of the matter is constrained by our finite nature. We earthlings are necessarily people of the moment because we are not (yet) people of the heavenly peaks. We cannot understand fully because we cannot see things as He sees things.

That is the reason God took on His creation's nature, so we can learn from His time among us. Accordingly, I believe that the answer to the problem of pain and suffering lies in contemplation of the bloody cross of Calvary and the loving man-God that died on it, only to rise again from the tomb. Just as He now views things from a transcendental summit, He once viewed things from that cross. That is part of His eternal experience.

So be angry with God over ther tsunami disaster if you wish. I fully recommend you tell Him you're angry and why. Shout, scream and yell at Him. Denounce Him for what you believe to be His shortcomings as God. Then, once you've had your say, kneel and say your evening prayers. He knows what it's like to suffer and has shown to us how good can come from our pain.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Leadership Means Being There

LCol Hawn, of Strong and Free has an excellent commentary on leadership and the Prime Minister's vacation on the beaches of Morocco in a time of crisis. I agree with his view of leadership. There is no substitute for a leader's physical presence in a time of crisis. Mr. Martin may be in overdrive on his Captain Damagecontrol bit now, but he failed as a leader during the first week of the tsunami tragedy. Most Canadians instinctively know this to be true.

Another Ukrainian Reformer Success

Ukraine's Supreme Court has rejected former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych's appeal of repeat election results, bringing the country closer to a resolution of its political crisis.

It remains to be seen whether Yanukovych will file an appeal after the Central Election Commission announces the final results of the Dec. 26 vote. That move would exhaust all of his options.

Yanukovych resigned from the prime minister's post on January 1, but said his supporters would still prepare a final appeal.

Barring some sort of unexpected intervention from Mother Russia it appears that the Ukrainian forces of democratic goodness and light have succeeded for now in pushing back the communist despots who would rule their land. They must still address any efforts to divide the country along Russian speaking and Ukrainian speaking lines. Godspeed to the democratic reformers.


Merry Christmas to all Eastern rite Christians.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Better Late Than Never

After a maddening delay, it appears that Prime Minister Martin and Liberal government ministers in general have arisen from their collective duffs and are being reasonably effective in sending aid to the stricken areas of Asia. This is good and it should be noted. After all, if something's worth doing, ...... .


I'm somewhat contrained from posting in the next few days while as work and other matters are piling up around me. A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do ......


Thanks to Kate of The Last Amazon for finally showing me an easy way to link to stories and other sites. Much appreciated.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Fairness is a Virtue

I am about to post on a subject fraught with great peril in our politically correct society. But I shall gird my loins and plunge in anyway. Tip of the Hat to Let it Bleed for putting me on to this one.

The Toronto Star is reporting (that the Scarborough Mirror is reporting) that city councillor Mike Del Grande is under attack for stating that, "a lot of the white people are moving out" of his ward.

Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) said Del Grande's statement smacks of racism and is "not acceptable by any elected official." "We should be celebrating the diversity of our city, the richness, talent and vitality," Davis said.

One can hardly quarrel with the last sentence, but the first statement is ridiculous.

Tam Goossen, past president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, called the remarks "really concerning" and "totally divisive," referring also to comments here Del Grande said Chinese from Hong Kong and those from the mainland are clashing with each other in his ward.

"This is pitting groups against each other and that's not the way a councillor should do his job," Goossen said.

Councillor Del Grande might be accurately depicted as pitting groups against one another if there was no friction between the two groups in the Chinese community and he was stirring the ethnic pot, so to speak. I don't know whether there are clashes among the two ethically Chinese groups or not and the Star story is of no help to us at all. But if there is indeed friction between the two groups he cannot, on that account, be properly accused of racism.

Councillor Joe Mihevc, who chaired city council's task force on access and equity issues, called the remarks "totally inappropriate."

"Our tradition has been to view each incoming group as an asset to the city. "To hear someone say white people are leaving and Chinese are coming in can be nothing other than a racist comment," said Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's).

Apparently Councillor Del Grande's statement is demographically true, if Statistics Canada can be believed. Truth however, is not apparently a defence for some diversity stalwarts. Was Councillor Del Grande speaking while robed in a white bed sheet, astride a foam-flecked horse? The Star does not supply the context. Accordingly, any fair-minded person might want to hold off on accusations of racism and give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Del Grande.

Perhaps the most bizarre statement made was also by Councillor Mihevc, who uttered this gem.

"Part of ... anti-racism work is knowing what you don't know. Maybe Michael needs to know a little bit more about what he doesn't know," Mihevc said. "That means that you approach these kinds of issues with greater humility, which is lesson number one in equity training."

This may well be true of the current state of equity training, though one would hardly know it from Mr. Mihevic's pompous statements. I know I don't know a thing about the first principles of equity training but, frankly, this knowledge of my ignorance neither makes me arrogant or humble. Neither Statistics Canada, nor the Star are of help to us on this matter.

Now, it is also true that I don't know whether any of Mr. Del Grande's critics are closet racists, hiding behind fancy diversity sloganeering to mask their intense hatred of other races. I don't know whether any of them are child molesters either. The Star article is silent on those points, as well.

I'll wait until I actually know whether any there are any facts consistent with these assertions before branding them as, or implying that they might be, racists or perverts. You see, (perhaps because I'm Mad), I believe that avoiding unsustantiated smears is a first principle of fairness.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Possibilities

It is the beginning of a New Year and as always we find ourselves at the beginning of new possibilities. I have been blogging now since November 14, 2004, less than two months. What an extra-ordinary experience it has been. One of the most rewarding things about placing my thoughts on the web has been the kind comments made by others who for one reason or another have enjoyed, or been moved, by a post.

I, too, have been moved by posts written by other bloggers, many of them in the Red Ensign Brigade. It is a doughty band of bloggers that I have joined. I make regular (daily) trips to Occam's Carbuncle, Babbling Brooks, the Last Amazon, Raging Kraut, Ghost of a Flea, and am finding new gold nuggets in blogs such as Northwest Winds, Strong and Free, Doxology and Paul Cella. (There are others, of course. Please don't be offended if you aren't named in dispatches today. They say anticipation is half the fun .....)

Thanks to this surfing, I don't feel like I have been transported to a parallel universe only vaguely resembling my world. The nicest internet compliment I've received is from Damian Brooks, who called me John the Quite Sane. I liked that one so much I nearly changed the name of my blog. Thanks Damian.

The nicest news I've heard in a long time is that Rebecca of Doxology and her husband Curt have received word that Rebecca's earlier marriage is being annulled. This will allow their marriage to be blessed in the Catholic Church and they will be able to receive communion shortly. I've never met them, but I'm filled with joy for them. It is the season of glad tidings.