Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Killer winters

I had occasion to get out the storage box of winter kit the other day. I found

  • two pairs of dress gloves, good to about 5C below
  • one pair of leather gloves, without lining, old but serviceable, of the same warmth value
  • three tuques (wool hats) for serious cold
  • two or three tuques for down to minus 10C (not serious cold), the kind skateboarders seem to wear in summer
  • four scarves, wool or fleece
  • two tube neck warmers,for more serious cold
  • two pairs of winter gloves, one piece, suitable for skiing
  • three pairs of leather gloves with complete wool liners, good to -15C
  • two complete fleece head masks for weather colder than -20C
  • three pairs of glove liners in various modern fabrics, with no outers
  • two pairs of mittens, with liners in fleece or wool, for down to -30C

I am not even discussing the number of heavy socks in another bin.

Coats? I have three of them

  • one with hood for down to minus 10C if you wear a fleece below it (good for fall, spring, or early winter)
  • one good to minus 30C, with hood, super modern, well-insulated
  • one Arctic parka good for down to minus 40C, which is worn every few years or so for a day or two, and I thank God for it.

So call me Canadian. What is my point?

In today’s Telegraph, an article on British winters reported that there were 43,900 excess deaths last winter (2014-2015).

There were an estimated 43,900 “excess deaths” last winter – the highest figure for 15 years, official figures show,

Experts said the failure of the flu vaccine last year, as NHS services struggled to cope with winter pressures, is one of the key factors behind the deaths of thousands of people, mainly elderly.

The figures are particularly worrying because last winter was warmer than average.

In 2012/13, one of the worst winters on record, with the coldest March for 50 years – there were 31,000 excess deaths.

The report from the Office of National Statistics show the number of excess winter deaths in 2014/15 was the highest since 1999/00, with 27 per cent more people dying in the winter months compared with the non-winter months.

The accompanying chart showed that, for the United Kingdom, average winter temperature (not defined by month) was 4.8 Centigrade above zero.

These were the figures for Ottawa, Canada from


Av. Daily
Max. Temp.

Av. Daily
Temp. (°C)

Av. hours
(per day)

Av. Days

Av. Days

Av. Depth
Snow on
Ground (cm)

Av. Wind
(km per hr)

Jan. -6 -15 3.3 4 15 21 14
Feb. -4 -13 4.4 3 11 25 14
Mar. 2 -7 5.2 6 8 20 14

As the Telegraph reported, the issue is not merely about cold.


Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “These shocking figures show that the over 75’s are most at risk by far of excess winter deaths. But tens of thousands of excess winter deaths do not need to be an inevitable part of cold weather. Countries like Finland and Germany have significantly lower levels of excess winter deaths, despite having colder winters than us.

“The uncomfortable truth is that, as a country, we not very good at coping with winter and some of these deaths are preventable. This isn’t just a story about cold weather; it’s a story of cold, damp and poorly insulated homes and pensioners who can’t afford to pay heating bills.

If half a million people died in a harsh winter in England, then they would do something about the lack of  insulation, double glazing, and heating of many older English homes.

But because winter fails to kill enough people, its mortality toll is tolerated, as it has been for millennia in western Europe (France, the Low Countries, England, Ireland). Central European dwellings have had double glazing and warm stoves since they were invented, because they had to. Every place in the world is engineered around its climatic extreme: heat, dryness, rainfall, snow loads, cold, earthquakes, hurricanes.

If you are going to die without adequate heat, for a certainty, you will have a warm house and a fuel supply. If you can just scrape through being miserable, but alive, you will tend not to invest in insulation, double glazing and adequate heat. Simple as that.

It took the English settlers of New England many years to stop building daub and  wattle housing (bent sticks and mud) and adopt the log cabins of the Swedes, or ethnic Finns, of the Swedish colony in Delaware.

And then there is this British equation of enduring cold dwellings as a form of being virtuous.

It is all very well to open the bedroom window at +5C, and sleeping under a warm blanket. Opening the window at -15C is insane, in my view.

A Danish older man once said to me: “Ja, there are a lot of Englishmen in the Arctic, all wearing tweed jackets, all dead.”

I have adapted. Winter is not a matter of endurance; it is a matter of equipment.


Periodically the public seems to put its wrists together and asks government to handcuff it to higher taxes and more regulation. Such was the news this morning as Prime Minister Trudeau and his provincial counterparts gather to devise fresh ways to make us poorer through taxation and regulation.

I would say that, as a legitimator of collective action, global warming hysteria has been the most successful left-wing plot of all time. It makes Marxism look like the kludgy effort it really was.

Why bother with dreary economic ideas of  “exploitation” – the Marxist equivalent of sin –  when the very air you breathe out is filled with minute quantities of CO2?  Sin! Now it is not merely the capitalist class which is to be supplanted; today everyone is guilty. So everyone can pay up! Genius!

So tax us more, please, to end anthropogenic global warming.

A warming that, so far as we can tell, has not been occurring for 19 years.

A warming that, so far as we can tell, is wholly within the range of normal climatic variation.

A warming that is producing longer crop seasons, shorter winters, and receding ice in the Arctic- though not the Antarctic.

The young think we deniers and skeptics will disappear and then we will live in a carbon-neutral utopia, with no more voices of dissent – dissent about anything really.

Sometimes it is necessary to live long enough to know that some cycles are just that, some processes work themselves out over time. If you have not lived sixty years, you will not have seen the rise and fall of cholesterol.

If you have not read history you will be unaware that almost every conscious being in the 1940s assumed that capitalism was on its way out and that a planned economy was the only way to go.

In 1940, Friedrich Hayek published “The Road to Serfdom”. No writing at the time more thoroughly disagreed with the consensus that planning was the way of the future.

Hayek’s argument was that the substitution of commands (regulations) for prices led inevitably to social and political tensions and distortions, which led to conflicts that would eventuate in the rise of the Strong Man who would come to power on the promise of putting an end to the chaos. In part it was an explanation of what happened in Germany, but in the main it was an attack on central planning, the consensus belief of its time, and hence on the Soviet Union.

I cite Hayek because we need to remind ourselves of the importance of cycles in thought. Today it seems that the central planners have fashioned a fool-proof legitimation for themselves, their rule, and the taxes to support them, for ever. To disagree is to be a heretic; to be against “carbon” regulation is to be against every belief of the bien-pensant establishment.

To be against carbon taxation and the massive global warming-inspired (oops! climate change) energy policy errors which we are about to make is to isolate oneself socially, not just intellectually. One does not want to turn oneself into a bore for the sake of truth – any more than is absolutely necessary. Some errors are just too large to fight in a social context.

I have been here before, in the pro-Communist 1970s, when Soviet agents of influence like Gwynne Dyer droned on about how we were all going to have to get used to a future where the Soviet Union was a permanent feature of life, and the Great Powers, the USA and the USSR, were morally equivalent.

There are days when I have to remind myself that the Soviet Union was actually taken seriously by Western intellectuals, to encourage me to face the coming dark age of carbon regulation and government sponsored poverty-creation with something approaching equanimity.




The deadly obsession with Islamophobia

News broke on the weekend that the last Jews in Aleppo, Syria, had finally made a break for it and found haven in Israel.

Undaunted, Canada’s political and social elites – to which the nation’s media kowtow with unrivalled slavishness – continued to reassure our Muslim communities that they are loved and will be protected.

Not that empathy and compassion are to be discouraged – as Judeo/Christian virtues of course they aren’t. But the maintenance of sanity becomes increasingly challenging within a psychosphere that demands greater outrage over verbal abuse/hurt feelings than wholesale, genocidal, psychopathic slaughter.

Publicizing a handful of incidents involving unkind or insensitive words towards Muslim women and incidents of mischief does little to calm that segment of society. Sure, it inspires the United Church, various mayors, premiers etc to “reach out” and even attend mosques as did the much-adored Kathleen Wynne on the weekend. But when people of such stature in society do so, they are clearly sending a message that there must be something to fear when there is scant evidence to indicate that is the case other than that some people are fearful. The end result of this hysterical overreaction to a feared hysterical overreaction will simply be the creation of more hysteria, overreaction and isolation within Muslim communities.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, cult figure of pop culture that he has become, got nationwide coverage when he worried about what he assumed to be the two per cent of Canadians involved in this “backlash,” which according to the CBC consisted of:.

“A mosque in Calgary was broken into. Another mosque in Peterborough, Ont. was torched. A Muslim woman in Toronto was assaulted while picking up her child at school. An Ottawa immigrant was sent a note telling her to “Go back home. Canada is no place for immigrants and terrorists.”

This, then, is the list of horrors about which the nation’s leaders and media, overwrought, have conspired to end. Good for them.

And yet there is utter silence when it comes to the conclusion, through active and ongoing genocide, of 3,000 years of history in Aleppo. Nor is or was there a peep when 2,000 years of history came to an end in Mosul with the departure of the last Christians there. Examples are widespread, but the Twitter feed of Canada’s most widely published columnist is typical. When Republican candidate Jeb Bush opined that perhaps Syrian Christians, seeing as they had been specifically targeted for extermination, should go to the front of the refugee queue, Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt tweeted sentiments to the effect of “like Christianity was never the cause of any violence.” As the last Jews from Aleppo, disguised as Muslims, ftook their terrifying ride through jihadi checkpoints, he was earnestly retweeting a Globalpost story   about how Islamophobic “crimes” – none of which, distasteful as they may be, appeared to involve violence – had tripled in Britain. He stands ever-ready, eternally on guard to denounce the harsh words of frightened, angry people. But there is no trace of alarm on behalf of those  terrified souls facing torture, death and cultural extermination. No doubt he, like so many of his fellow travellers, is willing to remain silent while thousands have their throats slit and are crucified lest he be accused of inspiring “Islamophobia” by reporting this news, the latter of which is his job.

Were the likes of these ignorant of the facts, we could perhaps dismiss them as just another manifestation of The Time Machine’s Eloi. But they are not. They know exactly what is going on and they refuse to even acknowledge it. And this makes their ideas very dangerous.

Just imagine if these people were in charge of Canada in 1939. There would have been no war declaration when German tanks rolled into Poland. Instead, there would have been concerns raised about getting to “the root causes” of this action. Perhaps apologies would have been issued for the unnecessary humiliation at Versailles. The degrading renaming of Kitchener would have been reversed. Premiers and mayors would don lederhosen in a courageous bid to minimize “backlash.” And the tanks would have rolled on.

When news of the Holocaust broke, if indeed it ever did, there would have been an outpouring – not of outrage – but of concern for the spread of Germanophobia. And the Jews would have kept on dying.







On line porn blamed for sex addiction

So says the infallible Daily Mail.

The easy supply of porn is feeding a sex addiction in some people.

I have another idea. What if the easy supply of food is feeding a food addiction? What if the easy supply of breathable air on this planet is feeding an oxygen addiction?

What if we just labelled every natural desire to be an “addiction”?

At any given time, some people would rather wank than work or study. If they get their work or studying done, what  business is it of anyone that they masturbate rather than go running? or shopping?

More important, why is every pleasurable impulse of man and woman treated as an addiction? This is just Calvinism dressed up in psychobabble.

We have not yet defeated spiritual Calvinism, and its parallel spiritual impulse, Islam. The struggle against the superego is a struggle unto death. The struggle against the ideologies of anti-pleasure is never-ending. Talk of “addiction” is just secularized Calvinism at work.



Calvinism is a theological system of Christian interpretation initiated by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination and salvation. The five points of Calvinism were developed in response to the Arminian position (See Arminianism). Calvinism teaches: 1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions; 2) Unconditional Election: that God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11); 3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11, 15); 4) Irresistible grace: that God’s call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted; 5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one’s salvation (John 10:27-28).


Bill Maher and Chrystia Freeland

The interesting things about Chrystia Freeland‘s appearance on the Bill Maher show is her total naivety concerned Islam and diversity.

Miss Freeland tries, as it were, to hand out cookies and prevent any of the children from saying anything nasty about Muslims on their way to saying true things about Islam.

It also confirms that Liberals have a shockingly shallow understanding of “diversity”, and if possible, an even shallower understanding of religion.

The world is waking up just when the Liberals want to put Canada back into its doctrinal sleep. Say “diversity” 50 times and fall asleep.

I am not Charles

A noted climate scientist and royal gadfly opines.

The Prince of Wales has said climate change may have been a factor in the emergence of civil war in Syria.

Prince Charles said he was one of those who warned many years ago that there would be rising conflict over scarce resources if the issue was not tackled.

Not likely chap.

Media Diary in The New Era

Dear Diary:

By now we are all reaccustomed to the giggles and glee of Canada’s mainstream media as their world returns to the control of leaders they can relate to. In other words, insecure, narcissitic people who get confused when intellectual capacity atttempts to interfere with the sheer feel-good nonsense, fawning gibberish and knee-jerk pack attacks that frame their understanding of the world before them.

Happy days are for sure here again, Dear Diary, as we witnessed this past week:

  • We begin with the fascinating defamation trial being conducted in Calgary between home town hero and yummy Stud Scud Arthur Kent, a failed candidate for provincial office in the 2008 Alberta election, and Parliamentary Press Gallery celeb Don Martin. Martin is a former Calgary Herald columnist who was eventually subsumed by National Post, after which he avoided that organization’s drive for efficiencies and replaced the notorious Mike Duffy as host of CTV’s Powerplay. While coverage of the trial on CTV’s website has been not so fullsome, Canadian Press has provided daily reports of the juicy affair on the Calgary Herald website. Setting aside details, surely of great interest to those who deal with media on a regular basis was the revelation in court by one of Martin’s many unnamed “off the record protected” sources (the commentary in question apparently contained no named sources – an increasingly common although once heavily discouraged practice). The poor woman, who testified that she was physically ill upon reading the column in question, also noted that Martin had informed her he would have to reveal her as a source because, well, he had been sued. Surely all whistle blowers will feel more secure after learning of this courageous stance.
  • Speaking of ethics in journalism (a thigh-slapping phrase in and of itself) all news manipulators living and dead were impresssed with the guile of the CNN reporter who masterfully posed a incendiary question and then was oh-so-cute in editing the response to get the story intended. The noble search for the Truth marches on, with no hint of correction.
  • We felt badly, Dear Diary, for our beloved Mothercorp’s news channel  on Friday morning when it was breathlessly promoting a story on the horror’s- horrors, we say – inflicted on Canadian Muslim’s due to the “backlash” following the butchery of what Canadians generally view as innocent people in Paris by agents of the so-called Islamic State. (Surely, somewhere in the corridors of journalism someone has noted that well, maybe those folks in Paris were decadent carriers of the cross after all, but we’ll wait a couple of weeks for that.) Not only had an incendiary device been tossed into a mosque in Peterborough, a break and enter had taken place at a similar institution in Calgary, a woman was mugged in Toronto and, alarmingly, a young woman was a further victim of “hate” in a grocery store when someone said “please don’t blow me up” to her. Alas for the Mothercorp, they were rudely interrupted when they had to break away to cover the Islamist assault in Mali. Fortunately, our guardians of public morality were able to give full coverage to the atrocities being committed here in The Great White North later in the day – most certainly an enriching and satisfying moment for all.
  • On this note, Dear Diary, surely the headline of the week belongs to the Globe and Mail’s website that noted, in shivering tones: “‘Motivated by hate’: Muslim girls told not to walk alone in Toronto at night.” Well, thank heavens someone finally told them. Pretty much every woman and girl in Canada has been cautioned since a very young age for centuries that girls and women should not walk alone at night, whether in Toronto or Truro. It is good to see young Muslim woman are finally getting the word and integrating into society where by the way, sexual assault far outstrips hate crimes by about 500 to 1.
  • Speaking of hate crimes, our friends in media are often taught in journalism school (a whole other barrel of monkeys to be addressed on another day) to place news in context. As we could find no evidence that this fundamental had been honored, we checked with Stastistics Canada, as Dear Diary, we assume others will be forced to because, well, as they say in the nation’s newsrooms “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” In a nutshell, most police-reported “hate crimes” in Canada involve “mischief,” and a Canadian Jew is stastically nine times – count ’em 9 – more likely to be a victim of “hate” than a Muslim in Canada. In fact, 51% of a all relgiously-motivated incidents are against Jews, who represent 1% of the population. No doubt further nuance is required. Alas, we can find no stastistics on convictions and less still on the sources of  this anti-Semetic sentiment.
  • A quick note: while there has been much reporting in the British press, Canada’s editors appear to have displayed no interest whatsoever in the massive air and cruise missile assaults launched against ISIS last week nor of President Vladimir Putin’s call-up of 150,000 reservists. Nothing going on there, we suppose, but it appears Canada’s ballyhooed new leadership and influence in international affairs may, um, not be consistent with that narrative. (update: as of Sunday PM CTV and CBC news channels began to show some awareness that something counter to Canada’s unicorn and rainbows approach might be going on).
  • A tip of the hat to CBC for liberating itself from tiresome gender political correctness standards last week in referring to Canada’s new Prime Minister as an “APEC hottie.” Some women may object to others of their peers who, when speaking of our new leader, display an emotional control typically reserved for junior high girls overwhelmed by arousal  at a Justin Bieber concert, but not in this corner. It is, after all, a new age of transparency. No need to hide our true feelings.
  • Of note also that buried in the wave of hysteria over selfie frenzies with our new “hottie” PM (whom a friend insists he now only refers to as “Margaret” due to his stunning physical and intellectual resemblance of his mother) the Ottawa Citizen managed to note that in his debut on the international stage “Margaret” merely managed to mispronounce the Mexican President’s name twice and similarly praise China by mistake when unaware he was speaking with the Japanese. Perhaps  unforgivable for a conservative politician who would be assumed incapable of distinquishing one oriental chap from another, but just fine, Dear Diary, for “Margaret.” That, at least, appears to be the assumed wisdom of our media deans who, quite naturally, are in full agreement.
  • And, finally, good for our much-loved Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for tweeting that she had attended a mosque to “share our grief for those murdered or injured in the Paris and Beirut attacks.” One assumes this included the “martyrs” and that she delighted in the diversity of gender discrimination. We expecct to see her next Sunday at a Syrian Christian Orthodox Church to express solidarity with the their, um, issues, which we all know has been of deep concern to her lately as feelings seem to be being hurt. And we can’t have that.

It has nothing to do with Islam! You racist!


Dilbert – An Elbonian start-up invented a new kind of computer mouse.

Angry Green Guy – Wait until I tell the world that you compared Elbonians to mice, you racists!

Angry Green Guy- Hi. I’m Dick. From the Internet.

Wally – We’re familiar with your work.

Which brings me to the subject of Western fatuity, and Mark Steyn’s brilliant observation, on hearing people argue about safe spaces and trigger warnings, a few weeks ago, that “this is what we will be debating when the mullahs nuke us”.

And the best one of all is from Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, an Iraqi-born secular humanist out of Washington DC, who dissects the western response to Islam deliciously as follows:

“It must be incredibly frustrating as an Islamic terrorist not to have your views and motives taken seriously by the societies you terrorize, even after you have explicitly and repeatedly stated them,” the author began.

The author then launched into a mock Monty Python-type exchange between a “self-loathing” liberal and an Islamic terrorist about exactly who is responsible for Islamic acts of terror — and what the motivations are.

It began with the Islamic terrorist’s declaration that “we did this because our holy texts exhort us to …”

The liberal is having none of that: “No, you didn’t.”

And then things get really interesting:

“Wait, what? Yes we did…”

“No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”

“WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers.”

“No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so.”

“Huh!? Who are you to tell us we’re not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being.”

“Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that’s why you did this. We’re sorry.”

“What? Why are you apologizing? We just slaughtered you mercilessly in the streets. We targeted unwitting civilians — disenfranchisement doesn’t even enter into it!”

“Listen, it’s our fault. We don’t blame you for feeling unwelcome and lashing out.”

“Seriously, stop taking credit for this! We worked really hard to pull this off, and we’re not going to let you take it away from us.”

“No, we nourished your extremism. We accept full blame.”

“OMG, how many people do we have to kill around here to finally get our message across?”



The Trudeau government has announced it is desisting from a case against the supposed right of a Muslim woman to cover her face at the citizenship ceremony, and not pursuing a case to strip the citizenship from a convicted terrorist.

The federal government is walking away from a legal battle over attempts to strip Canadian citizenship from dual-nationals convicted of terrorism offences.

Lawyers for the government recently asked the Federal Court to suspend proceedings in two cases brought by Canadians convicted of terrorism-related offences who had been told by the previous Conservative government they would lose their citizenship.

As a respondent in the cases, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship cannot abandon the litigation but, instead, asked for and was granted adjournments while it re-examines a policy that featured prominently in last month’s federal election.

We will come to regret young Mr. Trudeau. And quite soon.

The Liberals will suck up to Indian attempts to block pipelines, just as they have blocked access of Alberta oil to the BC Coast.

We elected them, and they will do as Liberals do.

And we will all be required to listen more often to John Lennon’s antinomian doctrines in his anthem to nothingness, called “Imagine”.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

The notion that we will live in peace when we are all secular humanists living without states and without religious faith is insane. And that, folks, is pretty much where we are today.

Rest in peace western civilization. John Lennon will be played at the funeral. Oh, I forgot. Islam bans music, as well as art, literature, freedom, humour, sex and alcohol. Enjoy the cheerless future.

cross gravestone

Stripping terrorist of citizenship, then and now

A few months ago the former PM Harper proposed the following.

The policy of stripping Canadian citizenship from those convicted of terrorist crimes and associated offences is a standard affront to international laws and tends to sit uncomfortably with domestic laws as well. But it fits in well within this economy of manufactured fear.

Apologists for it have come out everywhere, and Harper can count on substantive legal opinion to back his claim. If you can have citizenship removed in circumstances of fraud, you can certainly have it pinched off you if you are a convicted terrorist.

This also elicited the following response from the BC Civil Liberties Assocation.

It’s official – second class citizenship goes into effect

Last Friday, part of Bill C-24 went into effect, officially creating a two-tier citizenship system.

Today the French suggested the following.

Hollande said he wanted French law to allow dual nationals to be stripped of their French citizenship if they were convicted of terrorism and dual nationals to be banned from entering France if they presented a “terrorism risk”.

Notice the similarity with the proposed Canadian legislation which according to CBC, the “Conservative-drafted law, known during the legislative process as Bill C-24, strips dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism or high treason, among other serious offences.” It will be interesting to see how the same pundits respond to this move by the French.

In an earlier post on this blog, it was suggested that fight against Muslim terrorist will only commence when the following condition is met.

When the French intellectuals come to realize the threat that Islam poses.

Once that happens all the apologists and idiots will be brushed aside.

This is the first small step in that shift in thinking. Now that the ‘enlightened and sophisticated’ Europeans are adopting the same ‘discredited’ strategy, will the leftist around the world fall in lockstep?