Thanks for another week of lively letters - and thank you, too, for your ongoing support of my campaign against the climate mullahs. Michael E Mann is doing his usual flimflam - his most recent motion argued that he should be able to proceed with discovery against me, but that I should not be permitted to proceed with discovery against him, which even the judge regarded as "ironic". In fact, I responded to his discovery questions almost four months ago (on February 12th), so, as a practical matter, he's merely doing his usual shtick of obstructing and delaying answering anything himself.
I'm itching to get to court, but, while we're waiting for that, we're busy interviewing witnesses and more. I want to expand the fight to expose in full the thuggery with which the Clime Syndicate has dealt with its opponents. It's a worthwhile undertaking, but not a light one, so I'm very grateful for your generous patronage of the Steyn store. This letter, from Gary Pearse in Ottawa, is typical of many we've received:
I am a geologist and an engineer who studied in the1950s when it was common knowledge that natural climate change has varied from tropical and subtropical over the entire planet to "snowball earth" from pole to pole.
I bought a couple of your books to help out but I wanted to let you know that my wife and I have gotten around to reading them (Lights Out and After America); also I signed up for SteynOnline and I want to complain. The stuff is so delicious that I have had to put my productive life on a diet.
We followed your trials and tribulations and triumph against the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Human Rights Tribs and we are rooting for you in the present fight. My wife had some adventures as a defendant in frivolous litigation and was also dragged before Ontario's Human Rights Trib. She won both but it was costly and time consuming.
It always is "costly and time consuming" - because the process is the punishment. But you fight these cases to win because, if you don't, there'll be more and more and more of them.
I always like to see Stephen McIntyre's name in our mailbox because it holds out the promise of another forensic dissection of Michael E Mann. Lately, though, he's been busy with movie trivia and other matters. For example, last week's letters from New Zealand, India, South Africa and beyond on the long, bloody battle for Monte Cassino prompted Steve to write with some thoughts of his own that seem not inappropriate as we approach the 70th anniversary of D-Day:
One of the friends of my parents (Jack Rhind, still alive) was a 24-year old lieutenant at Monte Cassino. He has a short memoir on Monte Cassino here. In the 1950s, they were fun-loving thirty-somethings and never talked about the war. I saw him at a Remembrance Day ceremony a couple of years ago. He said that he knew the geography of southern Italy better than Toronto. I asked him why none of them ever talked about the war. He said that no one was interested.
In the obituary of another family friend of my parents - who I recall from the perspective of an 11-year old as a vivacious thirtysomething - I learned that she'd been a test pilot during the war. None of the children knew. She was just a doctor's wife.
In a recent obituary, I read that another old member of my squash and tennis club had been the chief tunneler in the Great Escape (of the iconic movie). Though he came from a wealthy Toronto family, he had been sent to Timmins to toughen up and knew how to mine. Both his eyelids had been burned off when he was shot down. A week before the Escape, he had been transferred for surgery by a visiting doctor and thus did not participate (and was thus saved.) But never of a mention of his past in the sixty years before his obituary.
One of my uncles just died. He crossed in the D-Day invasion. Towards the end of the war, he was driving a jeep and the steering wheel came off and he crashed. He was helpless in the ditch when a German fighter passed over him. He says that the fighter tipped a wing at him and spared him. I guess that he was sick of the war as well. He met my aunt who was a nurse on active duty. They got married in Paris. But again, not a mention of these events while we were growing up or even young adults. The recollections to the next generation only began when they were well into their 80s.
I think most of us who've spent time around the World War Two generation would agree with Steve. When I was giving the final once-over to the proofs of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade before the new eBook edition came out, I paused over this aside on the Duke of Devonshire, which I'd completely forgotten ever having written:
He displayed great physical courage in Italy but insisted for the next 60 years that they gave him the Military Cross merely for "being cheerful". As one son of privilege to another, he would have found John Kerry's war-hero campaign commercials utterly cringe-making.
Andrew Cavendish, as he then was, had led his company to capture an important hill in Italy, which they managed to hold despite being cut off, surrounded on all sides, and bombarded non-stop for the next 36 hours. Being a duke made him unusual, but, duke or dustman (as they say in Blighty), for the ensuing six decades all these guys seemed to share the same reticence to talk about it that Steve noticed. I wonder how many go to their graves without their grandchildren having any idea of the lives they lived.
Speaking of courage, finally a man of true grit, US Attorney-General Eric Holder, has had the courage to start nailing porn stars - by getting the bank regulators to lean on the banks to close their accounts. Even though they're not doing anything illegal, and their accounts are all in order. Israel Pickholtz in Jerusalem is already channeling Pastor Niemöller:
There must be some modern Martin out there to say "First they came for the porn stars..."
Indeed. First they came for the porn stars, and I did not speak out, because I was not a porn star, only an extra, and then just for a few low-budget straight-to-video productions in the late Seventies, and anyway the lighting's so bad you can barely tell that's me in the lower left-hand corner...
Carolyn Tackett in Florida thinks the banks are going along because, as is the way with Obama-era crony capitalism, it helps keep competitors out of the market place:
I've worked in the banking industry since the week after I graduated from college back during The Iron Age and I've way too much experience with the cozy little game of footsy that banks play with their regulators.
It is true enough that banks can face some pretty hefty fines but it isn't the threat of fines that keeps bank in line. Banks are helping with Operation Check Point because under the guise of co-operating with the regulators the banks are able to put the screws to the payday lending industry and if the banks have to screw (over) a few porn stars in the meantime, so be it.
A couple of people commenting at Instapundit said that the government is right to "choke" out the porn industry. But heck, why stop there? We have an obesity problem in this country so why not choke out the sugar industry? Everybody knows the Tea Party is the American equivalent to the Taliban so why not close the bank accounts of Tea Party organizations and their members? Cows contribute to Global Warming so no more accounts for Big Beef. The possibilities are endless!
Operation Check Point is just another example of the Obama Administration backdooring its perceived enemies. It is a sleazy way to do business but it is what we've come to expect.
But don't worry. Not everyone's going to be backdoored:
Re: Eric Holder's Money Shot: I'm assuming the bank accounts of gay porn stars are off limits?
Robert W May
In recent weeks, we've reported on the gay outreach efforts of the State Department, the Department of Agriculture and the National Park Service. And it doesn't stop there. Seventy years ago, across the Atlantic it was D-Day. But now its LGBT-Day. Actually, LGBT-Month...
Greetings from Spain! As I read the exciting news about the National Park Service going LGBT I couldn't help but think that they are just trying to keep up with AFN, the American Forces Network. We have been watching commercials of AFN's LGBT month (although we don't have commercials because that would be ...commercial - so we have constant public service announcements and show promos).
The troops are going to be entertained by LGBT movies and programs which are announced every few minutes so that the kids can enjoy them. Who'd a thunk that toleration would become advocacy. BTW the LGBT ads are right after the "do your part to prevent climate change" ads so your mention of the National Parks LGBT policy in a column that includes the Mann delusions is spot on.
In contrast to the all-gay all-the-time United States Government, in Burkina Faso they're grappling with an epidemic of missing penises. Phil Garber writes:
Good day Mark,
I'm surprised that you did not throw in a play on the country's name as part of your penis shtick. Burkina Faso, of course means "the country of upright men".
Having said that, as poor as Burkina Faso is, it is a country that hardly ever makes the news, which in Africa should be counted as a good thing. Most of the population lives on subsistence farming, hence the "poverty", but there are no areas of notable destitution or squalor. Although the population is 50% Muslim and 30% Christian, radical Islam has as yet not gained a significant foothold and there are very few reported instances of religious conflict. The government is never going to win any best practice awards, but while it governs poorly it governs little, which I would consider a net gain.
And it has been blessed with relative political stability for the last 27 years under Blaise Compaore (though there have been rumblings of discontent lately). Sometimes having a president-for-life can be a good thing. All in all, there are many much worse places to live in that neighbourhood. My sister has made her home in Burkina Faso for over 30 years.
Alas, one man's "country of upright men" is another man's...
When I lived in Liberia, Upper Volta had only recently changed its name to Burkina Faso, and the name was a source of much humor in the Vai community where I lived, in western Liberia. "Burkina" in Vai is an inflamed anus: "i burkina" (your inflamed anus) is a common insult.
To make matters worse, "Faso" is a shade of red - wouldn't normally be used in conjunction with burkina, but the combination was irresistible, and "Burkina Faso" was a big joke in the late 80s in Grand Cape Mount County.
Fates being what they are, when the war came a few years later, many of Charles Taylor's allies were Burkinabis, and after the devastation they wreaked on the country, people probably don't laugh as much anymore at the name...
Speaking of i burkina, John Marston ties it all together:
Disappearing penises are without doubt the result of climate change. Michael Mann would not doubt agree.
Chino Hills, California
I'm not sure climate change can make your penis actually vanish, but an Italian study says it does lead to an unhideable decline in the hockey stick.
Our major African story of the week was also, in its way, a tale of insecure manhood: A woman on death row in Khartoum for the crime of apostasy is forced to give birth in shackles, and to an American daughter. Chris writes from Ontario:
Re: your story on Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for the crime of marrying a Christian (and an American):
How is it that when some obscure pastor in Florida wants to burn a Koran he gets a phone call from the Secretary of Defense and Obama and all other offended lefties weigh in and the story is front page news round the world. Yet the wife of an American who will be killed for the crime of being a Christian is met with crickets chirping from the usual suspects.
Proves how 'Islamphobic' we are. Shameful.
Mike, meanwhile, points out the degree of leverage the west has over Sudan. Britain, for example:
Re Meriam Ibrahim: You can be excused for not knowing that the national budget of Sudan is £140m. You will be surprised that the declared foreign aid of HMG to the Sudanese government appears to vary between £30 to £60 million pa (see slide 8).
This last week also saw the death of Maya Angelou. Not everyone liked my farewell to her. Trappier Hall writes from Philadelphia:
Though I think your literary critic was a fair one to make, I feel the timing was poor and in bad taste because yes one can make the argument about the 'Sameness' of an artist's literary oeuvre, yes one can bring to light the self-parody and , in your words- "Occasionally to suffer from a lack of empathy and imagination".
All valid points but what I rail against is doing so after the good lord has called a person's name. It seems so lowly and ill-timed of you.
It wasn't all literary criticism. I also included a paragraph of capsule biography:
In 1972, she became the first African-American woman to have a motion picture screenplay produced; in 1944, she was the first person of color - and, indeed, the first person of gender - to be a streetcar conductor in San Francisco. She worked as a prostitutes' madam, a nightclub singer, a featured dancer in the State Department tour of Porgy and Bess, and as Kunta Kinte's grandmother in the TV mini-series of Alex Haley's Roots. Born Marguerite Johnson in St Louis, she went to live with her grandmother at the age of three, was raped by her mother's boyfriend at seven, and, after his murder by some of her uncles, didn't speak for five years. It was a helluva story, although, notwithstanding a gazillion volumes of serial autobiography, one felt she never quite got the full juice from it.
Hilary Ward didn't care for that:
I've loved your writing since coming across After America a few years ago. You always make me laugh, and sometimes I even agree with you. But it was disappointing to see you writing so flippantly about the rape of a little girl. Even if it happened 80 years ago. The rape of Ayesha took place 1 400 years ago and you don't seem to be flippant about that.
Having just bought and read Passing Parade in support of Mann-busting, I can say that you have written better obituaries.
My snippiness over Miss Angelou's line "Lift up your eyes upon/This day breaking for you" elicited some responses, too. Jim Strom:
If we take "upon" to be a reference to a time the line might make sense, as in "Destroy upon receipt", so she may be saying, lift up your eyes at the break of day.
Not that the poem is made a whole lot better; it's hard to be profound on command.
The title of her "caged bird" book so impressed me that reading Angelou went promptly onto my to-do list, and there, sadly, it has stayed for decades. Nothing of hers that I have encountered since has confirmed my original impulse, but I am happy that she achieved prominence.
Actually, my problem with "up/upon" is merely the repetition of "up", which I feel is clunky and unpoetic, if one can even make that criticism of something without not only rhyme or meter but grace or beauty or precision of thought. If your meaning is the one she sought, why not "Lift your eyes upon..."? Awful leaden stuff.
While we're in the mood for Clinton inaugural memories, Jeremiah Duboff, an American in Quebec, writes:
In your Maya Angelou comments, you liken her oft-quoted poem read at the Clinton inaugural to Clinton's own rhetoric. Are you aware of the Bible verse he himself chose for his swearing in? Galatians 6:8:
For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
A non-confession confession (i.e., a secret boast) if there ever were. Was it read on the Senate floor during the impeachment proceedings?
On Thursday, we looked in on one of Michael E Mann's increasingly bizarre media appearances. Mark Gebauer comments:
At 7:27 of the video you linked to from Mann's appearance on MSNBC with the undocumented science kids documentary lady, Mann unbelievably says: "Science is not a buffet . . where you select those findings you are going to accept and those that you are not . . . ."
He goes on to quote some "great science communicator" who said "the great thing about science is it is true whether you believe it or not."
Hmmm . . . seems I read something about "hiding the decline" and other such buffet-like science, and the willingness of Mann to declare as true, only the science and scientists he believes. Viewing the video, I can almost detect an alarm bell going off in Mann's head as he trots down this path, but he forges on nonetheless perhaps confident that being on MSNBC, no one will hear him.
Hey, don't mock the awesome power of "climate change". It's managed to kill Obama's "recovery summer". That's to say, it's apparently responsible for US GDP contracting by one per cent:
All over the media right now, the lemming chorus is chanting, "A harsh winter has battered the economy." And they are giddily running with it. No explanation, no context. Just merrily going with it. Quite Animal Farmish really: "A harsh winter has battered the economy!"
Just how exactly does a harsh winter batter the economy?
Seriously. How? This may be the first time I've ever heard that particular economic phrasing. Not to mention the climate-change conundrum. Barnyard chickens must be absolutely perplexed.
Quite so. On Friday's Rush Limbaugh Show, I mentioned that the one per cent shrinkage in the economy was being attributed to the cold weather - much like a chilly bath will cause Burkina Faso-type shrinkage.
Meanwhile, from the land of my mothers, my ancestral home of Flanders, one reader writes:
I recently discovered your work and I'm currently reading your sharp-witted book After America. I live in Flanders (Antwerp) and many of the opinions you hold are totally absent in our public debate. In fact, in my country, there is very little debate about the important issues. We live in a very closed-minded society where conservatism isn't considered a political philosophical worldview but rather represented as a state of mental retardation from with one must be cured. Luckily, in the English speaking world, there are still intellectuals like yourself who successfully dare to defend the obvious. For which I am grateful.
Concerning the column you wrote a couple of days ago about the shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, I must say you are absolutely right. Jozef De Witte, head of the Centre of Equality and Fight Against Racism (one of our many Orwellian institutions) declared shortly after the shooting that it is racist to suspect the perpetrator to be a Muslim. Police officials also urged our press not to make suggestions as to the identity of the killer. But according to a newspaper, the killer had fled to "De Marollen", one of our many flourishing multicultural neighborhoods. Today, it was reported that a Brussels-born Syria-fighter is suspected to have committed the attack.
I think you're also right about the rising Jew-hatred in Europe. I went to a school in Antwerp where about fifty percent of the pupils was of foreign origin, most of them Moroccan. On the other side of the road, right across our school, there was another school located, a Jewish school. Between these two buildings, there was the presence of a patrol car—every day of the year.
To be honest, most of my fellow Muslim students weren't very interested in politics. They couldn't care less. But those who were, all defended very appalling views (pro-Hamas, anti-America, anti-Israeli, anti-women, in short: the common Islamic resentment)—and those views are certainly on the rise. It's very hard to see how the presence of an expanding Salafist movement is compatible with the presence of the Jewish community of Antwerp.
Of course, I don't have to tell you this, you obviously understand this better than anyone. I'll keep enjoying your humorous and insightful books and columns while trying to restore common sense and conservative thought in my society.
Yes, it's totally racist even to think of that Jewish Museum killer as Muslim. Even after he's been arrested. Or as al-Jazeera headlines their coverage:
Frenchman Arrested Over Jewish Museum Attack
Finally, if you're north of the border, you may have noticed my radio appearances with John Oakley have been increasing in frequency. That's mainly because he's a terrific host and interviewer, and I always have a grand time - which is rarer than you might think in TV and radio. I'm glad to hear SteynOnline Ontario readers are enjoying it, too:
Greetings from the Great White North, Ontario to be more specific. Just wanted to drop a quick line thanking Mark Steyn for being Mark Steyn. I enjoy your visits to AM640 Oakley's show - you're truly full value and a much needed voice of reason which is in short supply especially here in the "have-not province" of Ontario.
Anyway, that's what a decade of pablum-puking Liberal governance will do. These maniacs have doomed Ontario to oblivion. It's inexplicably looking like another Liberal lead minority government - just shows you how many simpletons and masochists live in Toronto.
In fairness to the simpletons and masochists, the Conservatives' conduct of this campaign has not been impressive, and Tim Hudak's description of himself as "a purple Tory" - part blue, part red - was gruesome. Why not just call yourself a color-by-numbers Tory? Whatever the focus group says... Nevertheless, a Wynne win is too hellish to contemplate. So let us hope whatever hue Tim Hue-dak settles on, it's the color of victory.