Friday, September 22, 2017

France may make wolf-whistling and asking women for their phone number a CRIMINAL offence

This is almost certainly aimed at egregious immigrant behaviour

WOLF-WHISTLING is set to be banned in France as the government declares war on men hassling women in public.

Under new plans bugging women for their telephone numbers and following them could also be prohibited.

The crackdown comes after surveys show virtually all French women have been harassed on public transport, in the street or elsewhere at some time.

France’s new leader, President Emmanuel Macron, has pledged to end this during his election campaign this year.

Only a few countries, including Belgium and Portugal, have banned such behaviour.

The UK and others have broader laws against harassment in general but none so specific.

Some lawyers believe men should only be prosecuted when police officers witness an offence.

Others say women should be able to file criminal lawsuits against offenders at a later date.

But Marlène Schiappa, the under-secretary for gender equality, defended the plan and gave an example of behaviour that would be illegal. She said: "You are a woman in an underground train. I am a man. I follow you. "You get off the train. I get off. “You get on another train. I get on too. I ask you for your telephone number. I ask again. I ask a third time.

“You feel oppressed. That is street harassment."

Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer, accused Ms Schiappa of seeking to outlaw "heavy Latin chat-up lines".

He said the only consequences of the law would be to enrich feminist lawyers and to clog up the court system.


Women soldiers are facing an enemy within

Rates of suicide and sexual attacks by male troops are shockingly high in the US military

Last Friday at 5pm the Veterans Affairs Department in Washington released its analysis of suicide statistics for the 55 million people who left the US armed services between 1970 and 2014. It’s a quiet time of the news week, designed to attract little interest. And that’s not surprising because the figures were shocking. They showed that male veterans had a 20 per cent increased risk of suicide over male non-vets. Female veterans, though, were 250 per cent more likely to kill themselves than other women.

Which raises the question: just as women are being encouraged to join in larger numbers, what is happening to them that so markedly increases their suicide risk? Serving in an army at war is stressful but why should women suffer so much more than men?

In the general population women are much less likely to kill themselves than men. Male suicide rates are 3.5 times higher. But the experience of serving pushes their rates up dramatically. When you break the figures down it is clear that it is the youngest veterans of both sexes who are by far the worst affected. Men under 30 who are serving have almost triple the suicide rate of male civilians. For women under 30 the rate is more than six times.

In the past three decades the official view of women in the military has shifted from keeping them at the fringes to declaring that there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be at the centre. Fifteen per cent of America’s 1.34 million active duty troops are female.

In December 2015 the US defence department announced that women would be allowed into frontline combat, driving tanks, firing mortars and leading infantry, as long as they could meet the same physical standards as the men. Last October the first ten female infantry leaders graduated from their course.

The assumption is that women in the forces should be treated equally. Unfortunately, the reality is that women are more likely to be assaulted, harassed and discriminated against within the military, and find it harder to get jobs and homes when they leave. For many, joining the forces is still a good career choice, offering opportunities that they wouldn’t have in their home towns. However, most women are simply not having the same experience that’s on offer to men.

The bleakest difference is in the rates of rape and assault. A 2013 paper on treating US veterans found that 25 per cent of military women have been assaulted and up to 80 per cent harassed. Women report being commonly referred to by male soldiers as either bitch, slut or lesbian. A 2014 survey commissioned by the defence department found that 6.5 per cent of women in the navy, almost 5 per cent in the army and 7.9 per cent in the Marines had been sexually assaulted in the preceding year. The figures for men were between 0.3 per cent and 1.1 per cent.

In 2013 a PBS documentary reported that a woman in a combat zone was more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by the enemy. The Pentagon estimates that only one in six assaults is reported. That is probably because women are 12 times more likely to experience retaliation for their reporting than they are to see their attackers convicted. Almost 60 per cent of victims are assaulted by a supervisor or unit leader. Fewer than one in ten cases are tried but more than half of women are professionally or socially victimised for reporting assaults.

Women recount the terrible disorientation they go through when this happens. In a discussion thread online one soldier described how she tried to stick to “the good guys” in her unit for security, only to be raped by one of her best friends after a year. The betrayal is immense, she says, and so is the confusion because everything in your training teaches you to cut ties with outsiders and rely on your small group, and yet they can turn out to be your greatest threat. The camaraderie that men can trust in does not exist for them.

A Marine told Human Rights Watch what happened when her attackers were cleared. She had anonymous text threats, her car was vandalised, her picture was posted to a Marines Facebook page, saying she was a “wildebeest” who must be silenced “before she lied about another rape”. Someone posted: “Find her, tag her, haze her, make her life a living hell.” She stopped going to the dining hall out of fear.

The differences between men’s and women’s experiences are compounded when they leave the forces. Women find it harder to get jobs, possibly because their skills are likely to be in classically male areas. While 40 per cent have children, they have less support from partners and three times as many women as men are single parents. Those who have been raped or violently attacked are more than six times more likely to be homeless.

Veterans’ mental health support groups are geared to men; a single woman doesn’t want to join a group of nine men to discuss her trauma from military sexual assault.

America is working on all this, collecting evidence, tracking veterans’ health, trying to transform sexist military culture. But what the evidence tells us is that women are being betrayed by optimistic assertions of equality and opportunity. They are dying for it.

Britain is taking the same path but with even less research or follow-up. Last year it too lifted the barriers on frontline troops. This isn’t good enough. Women cannot serve on equal terms unless the military finds effective ways of constraining male aggression. Until then women on the front line risk being sacrifices rather than leading lights.


Atheist Hypocrisy and the Assault on Religious Liberty

Attacks on faith have increased dramatically in recent years, but there's still hope and reason to fight

Knowing the perils of disease, shipwreck and discomfort, the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower in search of one thing: religious liberty. While many died on the voyage, and half of those who made it here died in the first winter, they knew that their lives were but “stepping stones” for the next generation’s freedom to practice Christianity. Their journey had taken them from an underground church in Scrooby, England, to an escape in Holland. However, as Holland’s secular society began corroding the hearts and minds of their children, they realized that a voyage to the New World was worth the risk. The Plymouth landing in 1620 stands as one of the earliest pieces of our country’s quest for religious liberty.

Today, almost 400 years later, the United States has become an increasingly difficult place for a Christian to work, be educated, and to serve his or her country. This has happened despite the statement found in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

In fact, First Liberty Institute’s 2017 report notes that in the past five years, documented attacks on religious freedom have increased 133%. In the past year, attacks have increased 15%. These attacks take place across broad sectors of the public arena — education, religious institutions and the U.S. military.

A case from the public arena, Barton v. Balch Springs, involved a Texas senior center in which city officials told the senior citizens that they could not pray before meals, listen to messages with religious content, or sing gospel music because public buildings do not allow religion. The senior citizens filed a lawsuit, and the government officials threatened to take away their meals if they won because praying over meals paid for by the government violated the “separation of church and state.”

In Pounds v. Katy I.S.D., a school district in the Houston area banned religious Christmas items and religiously themed Valentine’s Day cards. School officials told one student that she could not answer the question “What does Easter mean to you?” with “Jesus.” A federal court ultimately ruled against Katy I.S.D. for its hostility to religion and for violating the student’s constitutional rights.

In Sterling v. United States, Montifa Sterling, a Marine Corps lance corporal, placed three notes in her cubicle that referred to the Bible verse: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). While her supervisor allowed the other service members to display personal items, he ordered Sterling to remove the notes. Sterling believed that her First Amendment rights protected her ability to post the notes, so when she found them in the trash the following day, she reposted them. As a result, Lance Corporal Sterling was court-martialed. The highest U.S. military court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, believed the note to be minor and thus unworthy of religious protection. First Liberty Institute is appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

These examples, a small selection of more than 1,400 documented incidents, illustrate the direct assault on the constitutional rights of Americans. A combination of misinformation among the populous and lobbying efforts by atheist groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association and the American Atheists have resulted in prayers being banned, Ten Commandments displays being made illegal and veterans memorials with crosses being torn down or moved.

The American Atheists claim to not be a religion, yet require equal representation of their “non-religion” at interfaith events and councils. Additionally, college campuses routinely list humanists, secularist, free-thinkers and agnostics among other religious groups. They claim to believe in nothing, but in fact believe in a lack of belief and have faith in a lack of faith.

Atheists claim that Christians force their religion on others. Yet atheistic secularism has been forcing students, military personnel, ministers and workers to adhere to their lack of belief standards or suffer the consequences. Far from learning to “coexist,” as many bumper stickers advertise, atheist lobby groups seek nothing less than to persecute and destroy all religions except their own lack of one. Their rejection of religion is their religion and their unrelenting desire to “convert” the rest of us is unconstitutional, intolerant and wrong.

In terms of the quest to totally eradicate religion, the Soviet Union at least communicated its objectives honestly: to destroy religion and establish an atheist, secular state. A state church or a state “non-church” both qualify as an establishment of a religious state. Are atheist lobbyists, then, not the greatest offenders of their own unconstitutional demands of others?

The Pilgrims came here for religious freedom, not freedom from religion imposed on them by atheist lobby groups. The right to “not be offended” does not outweigh the right to practice one’s religion. Ironically, people rarely ask Christians if it offends them to have their child told he cannot pray. Christians have a right to believe in God, just as much as atheists have a right to believe in nothing. The assault on religious liberty only gains victory if people of faith choose fear over courage. As Ronald Reagan stated, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” While courage may cost social standing, job mobility or favor among others, ultimately standing tall in the face of evil gives others courage and reminds us of our purpose: to do the right thing, despite the consequences.

If you are experiencing religious persecution and need legal representation, contact these non-profit law firms:


Public fury after Australian discount chain removes the word CHRISTMAS from its replica Christmas trees

Discount department store Big W has removed the word 'Christmas' from boxes and signage in the lead-up to the holiday season.

The decision to remove references to the Christmas tradition from product lines in their Australian stores has baffled and infuriated shoppers.

Big W's Facebook page has been inundated with posts accusing the store of bowing to political correctness and 'banning Christmas'.

'You are joking,' wrote one disgruntled consumer. 'Banning the word Christmas. Hang your head in shame.'

Fabian Iuele, owner of Christmas Tree Farm, called the move 'disappointing' and said the store was ignoring both history and tradition, The Herald Sun reported.

'That's really sad. It ignores the religious element and history of the holiday which is still important to people,' he said.

'We get people from other religions purchasing our trees regularly but they always know that they're called Christmas trees like everybody else does.'

Renamed trees include the Black Forest [Christmas] Tree, White [Christmas] Tree, Emerald [Christmas] Tree and Mayfair [Christmas] Tree.

Cameron Harrison, a Big W Highpoint customer, said the store was overreacting and using the word Christmas is not a problem.  'Christmas did have a religious meaning but we are not a religious country. I think it’s more of a tradition these days,' he said.

Facebook has filled up with furious customers claiming they will be shopping elsewhere for Christmas.

'Big mistake Big W, how many people decorate their houses with trees just for the sake of it? It is Christmas CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS stop the ridiculous wording on your CHRISTMAS trees,' wrote one irate shopper.

'I will be shopping elsewhere from now on! One completely offended (former) customer.'

'If you don't want to acknowledge Christmas, don't sell it! Lost this customer. Plenty of other places to spend my money,' wrote another.

The Big W website still has trees listed under their original names, and spokeswoman told The Herald Sun the chain was proud of its line of trees this year.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, September 21, 2017


Three current articles below.  Australians get to vote on approval for homosexual marriage -- unlike America, where it was imposed by unelected judges

Gay student heckled after declaring his support for ‘No’ campaign.  Skywriters harassed

And they call conservatives haters!

A GAY man campaigning against same-sex marriage has claimed there are thousands of homosexual Australians like him whose views are being “drowned out” by the “yes” campaign.

The Queensland university student is seen proclaiming his views to a heckling crowd in a video shared online by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

“We’re here today because we support marriage as it has always been, between one man and one woman,” the man says at the demonstrated at the University of Queensland. “I am here, specifically, because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.

“They want to drown us out. They want to drown me out. They want to speak for me. They want to speak for me because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.”

The man goes on to claim there ae “thousands” of gay Australians who are against same-sex marriage, and says they are being vilified for their views.

“There are thousands of gay people in this country who are against same-sex marriage, who see the effects that it will have on the family, on schools, on politics, on churches,” he says.

Referring to supporters of changes to Australian marriage laws, he says: “These people hate us. They call us Nazis, bigots, homophobes. Where is the real hatred?”

Sharing the video with his followers, Mr Abbott, who has become a leading voice in the campaign against marriage reform, inferred the clip was a “case in point” that supporters of same-sex marriage were “responsible for bullying and hate speech”.

The former Liberal leader shared a second clip from the event in which it could be seen same-sex marriage campaigners had attempted to take over the demonstration, chanting “yes” over the top of the man’s words.

The demonstration, held on Monday, comes as the electoral watchdog has received complaints about the “Vote No” skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised.


The words “vote no” appeared four times over the city on Sunday morning, a day after the Coalition for Marriage launched its campaign against same-sex marriage.

A grassroots campaigner against same-sex marriage crowd-funded more than $2500 on GoFundMe to pay the pilot to write the message in the sky. One woman donated $1000 to the cause.

The anonymous author of the GoFundMe page declared it was “time for traditional Australian’s (sic) to take a stand”. “It’s time we all sent a clear message that we will not put up with our way of life been (sic) deconstructed any further,” the page said.

The author later announced the money had been frozen by the website “until we give our names and locations”.

The page was inundated with messages of condemnation. “I feel sorry for all of you,” one woman wrote.

“What an awful way to live your lives. I can’t imagine being so hateful.” Organisers said they were “keen to stay fairly anonymous” and defended their actions.

According to the Daily Mail, flight tracking information confirms a Cessna owned by Skywriting Australia left the message in the sky. The company’s charges start from $3990. Social media users began to circulate the company’s contact information and posted the abusive messages they’d sent.

One message called the business owner an “a***hole” while another post said it was “probably the end of your business”.

One text message to the business owner read “usually fighting hate with hate isn’t my style, but you really are a sh** human. You’re definitely the biggest piece of sh** in Australia today. Probably tomorrow too. Hope you’re proud of yourself. Don’t be surprised by the hate coming for you. Titt for tatt, it’s only fair, right? You stupid, ignorant, remorseless, pathetic, old, LOSER”.

Another read “I hope the weather gets hotter this week. It might help to warm your cold black heart #loveislove”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is encouraging a “yes” vote, told reporters people were entitled to express their views.

“If you want people to respect your point of view you’ve got to be prepared to respect theirs,” Mr Turnbull said.


Leftist hate leads to a firing

A Canberra businesswoman says she 'fired' a contractor who posted to social media that 'it's okay to vote no' to same sex marriage.

Madlin Sims, who runs a party entertainment company, posted a blunt message to Facebook this week announcing she had a staff member go.

'Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel "it's okay to vote no"',' Ms Sims wrote.  'Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech. Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. 'As a business owner I can't have somebody who represents my business posting hate speech online.'

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Sims explained the contractor had been representing her business by often posting photos of parties she worked at. 

The small businesswoman said she didn't want the woman's views associated with her company. 'It's all quite public she worked for the business... That's not something I want to be affiliated with,' she said.

She compared it with employing a staff member who posted racist material online. Ms Sims added she had gay friends, staff members and clients. 'It's just like if I had a racist person working for me especially someone who's so vocal with their beliefs.'

In the post, Ms Sims urged her friends to vote 'yes' in the upcoming same sex marriage survey and listed three justifications for her staffing decision. 

'1. It's bad for business.

2. I don't like s*** morals.

3. I don't want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.'

The 'yes' and 'no' campaigns are currently canvassing the country for votes

The apparent sacking is likely to spark the ire of the No campaign, which has made concerns about freedom of expression a major plank of its argument. 

But Yes campaign representatives have said it's 'misleading' to suggest same sex marriage would affect freedom of speech. 


Same sex marriage supporters hostile towards billboard

Even a church is not allowed to preach Christian teachings, apparently

A BILLBOARD outside a Brisbane church has sparked outrage ahead of the same-sex marriage vote.

The Bellbowrie Community Church posted the sign: “God designed marriage between a man & a woman”.
The sign that caused outrage at a Bellbowrie church.

It was condemned on social media, and critics took to the church’s Facebook page to object.

“Hopefully there are churches in the area that cater to ALL Christians and not just the ones who fit in the narrow minded view of this “Church of God”. I’m sure Christ would be very disappointed in your view of Christianity,” one post said.

Others started taking to the church’s review section and posting one-star reviews.

“A closed-minded group which overtly discriminates against members of our valued community and their (very reasonable) quest for marriage equality,” one woman wrote.

Cartoons of same sex couples and sailors waving rainbow flags were posted in the comments under unrelated posts by the church.

All the reviews and comments about the issue later disappeared.

A spokeswoman for the group 4070 Says Yes said the message on the church sign was not representative of the majority of residents.

“Our community has implored the church to remove the offensive sign, making phone calls, writing letters, emails and meeting with officials to point out the damage and distress it is causing,” she said.

“The church, self-appointed spokesperson of our community, has instead increasingly closed down avenues for feedback.”

But Pastor John Gill said it was not a message of hate, and simply presented God’s view.

“There are two sides to this debate so it was no surprise that some do not agree with the sign. But what did surprise me was the degree of malice expressed by some, which could only be described as hate speech,” he said.

Pastor Gill said freedom of speech was important to Australians.

“This means gay people are entitled to speak their minds, and anybody who does not agree with their views should still respect them and not abuse them for expressing their opinions,” he said.

“In a free country, Christians also have this right. They do not expect everyone will agree, but should they not expect the same freedom to speak and be given the same respect that they give to others?”

Pastor Gill said the Facebook activity had been “difficult” for many in the church. “And as a result, many now realise that it is no longer easy to hold and express a Christian viewpoint in Australia,” he said.

He said he had answered every negative email and extended an invitation to everyone who contacted him to meet in person.

“There have also been a few occasions where a protester with a signboard has protested on the street outside the church,” Pastor Gill said.

“The beauty of a free country is that they are welcome to do this and we don’t begrudge it. It can be hot out there, so we have tried to give any protester some bottled water when somebody has been at the church.”

“There are however some in the community who are supportive of the sign and have thanked me for our stand, but are afraid to say anything on Facebook for fear of being abused,” he said.  “But apart from Facebook, I have had more supportive emails, phone calls and visits than I have had negative ones.”

Pastor Gill said his congregation is free to vote in the plebiscite however they choose.  “As a pastor, it is not my place to tell people how to vote,” he said.

“Many of us have friends and family who are gay, and it is absurd to think we hate them. We love them very much. It is possible to hold different views, yet still love people. So this does not need to be a source of division throughout Australia. We can differ, yet still respect and care for each other and let the voting determine the issue.”


Trump Condemns Racism, but Here's the Real Problem

Racism remains a problem because some folks are invested in it. Fascism, meanwhile, threatens Liberty

Donald Trump signed a resolution condemning racism Thursday. Trump said, “As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry and racism in all forms.” He continued, “No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We are a Nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. As one people, let us move forward to rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.” Sounds pretty much like his Inaugural Address.

Trump’s statement came on the heels of a one-on-one meeting with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican senator. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the problem of race relations and possible solutions to help bring about greater unity in the nation. After the meeting, Scott, who was critical of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence, said via a spokesman that he “was very, very clear [with Trump] about the brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.” Moreover, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to expect the President’s rhetoric to change based on one 30-minute conversation is unrealistic. Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period.”

The difficulty with the issue of race in America today is the often convoluted nature by which it is both understood and discussed. Scott is absolutely correct about the past history of white supremacy and the evil it inflicted on blacks. But it is also true that today white supremacist groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis represent the extreme fringe within America — they have no political power and they have been soundly rejected by the vast majority of Americans for decades now. Those few individuals who cling to the racial hatred espoused by these groups are essentially living in a fantasyland of a bygone era.

However, what Scott seems to be missing or maybe too easily dismissing is the larger and growing real threat to Liberty. That threat is the rise and growing appeal of extreme leftist groups like antifa. There is no question that antifa advocates using violence and justifies its violence by labeling those it attacks as fascists and Nazis, gross irony notwithstanding. Couple that with the fact that antifa explicitly calls for the silencing and suppression of free speech rights and Americans should rightly be concerned. But what makes antifa currently the greater threat than these fringe white supremacist groups from yesteryear has been a sympathetic mainstream media that has been all too willing to overlook or excuse antifa’s violent rhetoric and actions.

When ethnicity is conflated with political ideology the result is a virulent form of identity politics that so demonizes the “other side” that it is unable to hear, let alone consider, opposing ideas or opinions. Identifying with and protecting the group or tribe is prized above all other values. Individual identities and opinions are overshadowed and subordinated by the collectivist group identity. This is where faulty concepts like “white privilege” or “micro aggression” originate. No longer are individuals judged by their own words and actions, but by their tribal identity. The irony with groups like antifa or Black Lives Matter is that they practice the very things they claim to be fighting against.

The rioting over the weekend in St. Louis following the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of a black man attests, once again, to this problem of conflating a political agenda with racism. Over the last eight years, Barack Obama lowered the bar for civil unrest and racial discord. And that’s the nice way of putting it. The consequences of that are what we’re now witnessing across the country.

As Morgan Freeman once said, the best way to deal with racism is to “stop talking about it.” The reality is that most Americans aren’t racists. Like a scab, the more it’s picked at the more it bleeds and the longer it takes to heal. We’ve been picking at this scab for so long now, one would think that slavery is still happening today in America.


Why is anyone talking about DACA when the RAISE Act ending chain migration still has not passed?

“Chain migration cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on immigration!”

Now we’re talking. That was President Donald Trump on Twitter on Sept. 15 throwing out another condition to his calls for Congress to legalize former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that allowed illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors to remain.

The stipulation came a day after Trump, speaking in Ft. Myers, Fla. said, “Very important is the wall. We have to be sure the wall isn’t obstructed because without the wall I wouldn’t do anything… It doesn’t have to be here but they can’t obstruct the wall if its in a budget or anything else” and “If there’s not a wall, we’re doing nothing” and “We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here…”

In addition, Trump had assured his followers on Twitter on Sept. 14 that “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

So far, then, Trump’s conditions for any deal on DACA are four-fold: 1) No chain migration allowing DACA extended relatives access to the U.S.; 2) No path to citizenship for DACA illegal immigrants; 3) A boost to border security must be included; and 4) The wall must be built in the budget.

That is far from a done deal, since it is not at all clear that House and Senate Democrats — or Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for that matter — have agreed to any of it.

Trump’s conditions came after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rushed to the microphones to declare that a deal had been had with Trump. That DACA would go through without any preconditions. The remainder of the week was spent by Trump, the White House and Republican Congressional leaders disabusing anyone of the notion that the deal was done.

Now, either, Democrats overstated what had been agreed to. Or, Trump is walking back what was turning out to be a bad, bad deal.

Either way, observed President of Americans for Limited Government Rick Manning in a statement issued on Sept. 14, “this could wind up being a productive conversation about how to enforce the nation’s laws and reform a broken system.”

Manning called on Trump to add one more condition to his negotiation, which is to pass the RAISE Act. “The paradigm must be to pass the RAISE Act, end chain migration, move to a merit-based system, build the wall and secure the border first as the concrete foundation of a solution to the illegal immigration problem.”

Manning added, “The American people elected President Donald Trump to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, secure the border and to end chain migration in the immigration system. To put America and Americans first.” Passing the RAISE Act would do that.

The RAISE Act, proposed by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) would, according to the bill’s description by the White House, “replaces the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merit… reduces overall immigration numbers to limit low-skilled and unskilled labor entering the United States… prioritizes immediate family members of United States residents, including spouses and minor children, but ends preferences for extended family members and adult children… [and] eliminates the outdated Diversity Visa lottery system.”

That would be an absolute game-changer. Which is why it should be the bare minimum of any legislation to do with immigration considered by Congress.

The President is right not to allow chain migration to be a part of his deal on DACA. But that should not only mean for DACA illegal immigrants, if they are allowed by Congress to remain, who would be blocked from bringing their extended families. Instead, the entirety of chain migration should be ended, and a skills-based system put in its place by passing the RAISE Act.

Besides that, Trump’s call for the southern border wall to be built, enhanced border security and no path to citizenship for illegal immigrants are critical, common-sense stances that would affirm the mandate he received from the American people in 2016 to address these issues.

But here is the most critical condition of all. These things need to happen before any consideration of DACA or any other illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Amnesty of any kind cannot be put before fixing the broken system and enforcing the law. The American people got bamboozled by similar broken promises in 1986. That can never be allowed to happen again.

Granted, Congress is needed to appropriate funds for the wall and border security, and to pass the RAISE Act. And Trump appears to recognize that he can use DACA as leverage to get these things he promised. It will be up to Trump’s supporters to decide, if achieved, if that’s good enough. But an honest process on this issue has to include the President’s priorities. Otherwise, there shouldn’t be any deal.

As President Trump is quickly learning, the debate on DACA is fraught with pitfalls. Trump made big promises in 2016 that he would put the American people first when it came to immigration policy. At a minimum, that can only mean passing the RAISE Act, ending chain migration, securing the border and building the wall. Other considerations like DACA should only come later.


I’m a T-Shirt Maker With Gay Customers and Gay Employees. I Still Was Sued

In 2012, my promotional printing company, Hands on Originals, was approached by a customer to print a message that conflicted with my conscience. When I said no, they sued me

Hi, my name is Blaine Adamson. I got into the T-shirt printing business because I wanted to create Christian shirts that people would want to wear. Christian T-shirts at the time were so cheesy, they were so bad.

For all the years that I’ve been running my business, Hands on Originals, I’ve happily served and employed people of all backgrounds, of all walks of life.

That’s why it was hard in 2012 when a customer sued us after I politely declined to make T-shirts promoting the local pride festival. I was surprised because I work with and serve gay people. But I can’t print any message that goes against my faith, no matter who asks me to print it. And whenever I can’t print something, I always offer them to another local print shop.

As is the custom for T-shirt makers of all kinds, I’ve declined plenty of orders in the past. For example, I was once asked to make a shirt with Jesus on a bucket of chicken, with chicken coming out of the bucket. I didn’t feel right making that one. I’ve been asked to make a shirt promoting an adult film, one that promoted a strip club, and one or two that promoted violence. I couldn’t in good conscience print any of those shirts.

Another shirt we declined was a simple black shirt with white text that read, “Homosexuality is a sin.” I didn’t feel right making that one either. I don’t think that’s how Jesus would have handled the issue; Jesus would have balanced grace and truth.

I have gay customers and employ gay people. For example, we have printed materials for a local band called Mother Jane whose lead singer is a lesbian. That was never a problem for us because, as I said, we’ll work with everyone, but we can’t print all messages.

Shortly after our case started, two lesbian printers in New Jersey voiced their support for us because they didn’t want to be forced to print messages that would violate their consciences.

That’s why I was glad when a judge ruled that I had the freedom to decide which messages I wanted to promote. An appeals court also agreed. Unfortunately, though, the government has appealed again, this time asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to hear the case.

The bottom line, for me? I love designing T-shirts, and I’d be pretty crushed if I had to close down Hands On, especially after all the years of building the business, serving the community, and doing what I love.

All we are asking for is that the government not force us to promote messages against our convictions. Everyone should have that freedom.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trump Calls for Tougher Travel Ban, Bemoans Political Correctness

Following the Friday morning suspected terrorist attack in London, President Donald Trump tweeted that the "travel ban in the United States should be far larger."

The president began his address of the London train attack by calling it the work of a "loser," and terrorists losers in general, in two consecutive tweets. He also said that terrorists "must be dealt with in a much tougher manner."

"Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!"

"Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!"

In another tweet, he then addressed the "travel ban" on some Muslim-majority countries he implemented through executive order during the first month of his presidency.

Trump tweeted, "The travel ban in the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific- but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!"

The travel ban, which the administration initially argued was not a "ban," has come under fire from various activists and politicians since its implementation.

The Supreme Court overturned a lower court's limits on the travel ban this week, the Washington Free Beacon reports:

The full Supreme Court concurred with Justice Anthony Kennedy on Tuesday to overturn a lower court's limits on the Trump administration's travel ban.

The court issued a one-paragraph summary statement late Tuesday evening overturning a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Post reports.

Tuesday's ruling concurred with the preliminary ruling issued by Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday evening. Kennedy's ruling was also summary; neither offered reasoning for the decision, although this is not an abnormal practice.



Political correctness runs amok in sports media

Before Colin Kaepernick took a knee and became a movement, he was a pretty good football player. And then, he wasn’t anymore. Whether his foray into social activism coincided with his athletic devolution is debatable, but it is clear that we would not be talking about the fellow today if he were practicing his throws instead of scolding white society for being racist.

And that’s his right; and as far as protests go, it’s pretty tame stuff. But the people around Kaepernick are not quite as innocuous, including his girlfriend, Nessa Diab, who tweeted out a racist picture of Ray Lewis. Diab juxtaposed a photo of Lewis hugging Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti with a shot of Samuel L. Jackson’s slave hugging Leonardo DiCaprio’s master in Django Unchained. The implication was unmistakable: Black athletes who don’t disrespect the flag or the national anthem are Uncle Toms, while people like Kaepernick are heroic.

I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with the politicization of sports. It was bad enough when Eagles fans started boycotting games because they didn’t like the fact that reformed dog torturer Michael Vick was on the team (and can I say he turned out to be one of the most decent and humble men to ever wear the green and white?)

But now it’s really gotten out of hand, with people caring more about what happens off the field (or court, or ice) than on, and grafting their political grievances onto the games themselves. We have Colin K., weeping about the racism inherent in denying a job to a washed-up athlete with too much baggage. We have ESPN giving the “Arthur Ashe Courage Award” to Caitlyn Jenner instead of a courageous teen who died of brain cancer, primarily because Jenner changed from male to female on a Diane Sawyer prime-time special. I have to say that if acquiring a set of breasts is considered courageous, half of Hollywood should have qualified for the award.

And speaking of ESPN, the network has produced a cottage industry of hysterical, “you can’t make these up” gaffes that show just how far up the derriere of political correctness they’ve traveled. First, there was the decision to remove a broadcaster named Robert Lee from covering a football game at the University of Virginia because they were worried that, in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, it would seem tasteless. Robert Lee is Asian American and has about as much to do with the Confederate general as Vivien Leigh, who won an Oscar for playing a woman who supported General … oh, never mind.

Then there was the debacle of Sergio Dipp, who spent his inaugural appearance on the network by rambling on about how wonderful diversity and immigrants and all that stuff is, when the people who are paying to watch a football game didn’t care about the cultural heritage of the coach and just wanted to hear some marginally coherent commentary from the sideline. He explained his performance as follows: “All I wanted to do was to show some respect, making my debut as a minority on American national TV, the biggest stage out there, on the most heartfelt day in this great country made up by immigrants, but on some people’s perspective, it all went wrong.” That “most heartfelt day” was 9/11 and frankly, it wasn’t a time to extol the virtues of immigrants, especially not at a football game.

But ESPN has decided it must now carry the water for the Social Justice Warriors and inject its own view of how the world should be into the sports arena. So when Curt Schilling wrote, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much,” he was immediately fired. But when Jemele Hill, another employee, tweets, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” she gets a finger wagged in her face and the network comes out with “We have addressed this with Jemele and she realizes her actions were inappropriate.” And she still gets a paycheck and a covert wink from the higher-ups.

I wonder why Schilling wasn’t given the same consideration. I wonder why starring in a reality show is courageous. I wonder why worrying about triggering snowflakes with the last name of “Lee” is an issue, and why some Dipp goes all Emma Lazarus on Monday Night Football.


National Idolatry and Constitution Day

By federal statute, September 17 is designated as a holy day in the American civic religion. On that day in 1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention affixed their signatures to the document that they had created and that governs us today. The website encourages public demonstrations of love for the Constitution and features a picture of smiling and diverse citizens waving American flags and looking up as if a god is about to descend.

Exactly what we are supposed to celebrate is not clear. A national debt above $20 trillion? A president and Congress with few, if any, limits on their power? A Supreme Court that dares to hold that the antediluvian definition of marriage is unconstitutional?

The priesthood of our civic religion admits we face challenges but claim, in the words of the editors of Investor’s Business Daily, that the Constitution is “as close to perfect as man has come” in the science of government.

So what document could rival our Constitution? Actually, the constitution that preceded it.

The Articles of Confederation, drafted by the same Continental Congress that declared independence, is truer to the Spirit of 1776 than any plan of government that ever existed.

The United States, in their infancy, sought a union strong enough to guide the collective desire for independence from Great Britain but unable to infringe upon the right of self-government in the individual states. Contrary to what our high priesthood tells us, the Articles were an American success story. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris officially ended the American Revolutionary War. King George III acknowledged that the 13 former colonies were “free sovereign and independent states” that could govern their affairs without interference from the distant British Parliament in Westminster.

The people had little to fear from a union styled as “firm league of friendship.” Congress had no power to act upon individuals. Instead, it had to work through the state governments. In this manner, the states served as mediators between Congress and the people. This buffer provided greater security to the people in their rights secured by the state constitutions.

The Articles also restricted congressional power with term limits. Under Article V, “no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years.” The Articles endeavored to prevent the establishment of an American ruling aristocracy and championed the idea that public service should be open to individuals as talented as those already holding power (or perhaps more so).

Before the Confederation Congress could borrow money, a supermajority of delegates had to approve. Although the confederal government struggled with fiscal issues because of the cost of the War of Independence, the supermajority requirement was meant to protect the fiscal soundness of the government and to prevent the rulers from incurring unnecessary debt. Congress was to live within its means absent extraordinary circumstances.

Under the Articles, there was no omnipotent judiciary that claimed the final say on the meaning of the charter of government. The Confederation opted for a more modest judicial system in which Congress could only create courts to adjudicate maritime matters. State courts were the institutions that decided disputes among the citizenry.

While the states enjoyed vast powers, we should not think that they operated with no limits. The Articles imposed reasonable restrictions on the state governments. For example, absent the consent of Congress no state could send or receive ambassadors, enter into treaties, or engage in war. The Articles sought to make the states one as to foreign policy but leave them otherwise free to govern their internal affairs.

Of course, the Articles were not perfect. Congress needed an independent power to raise revenue, and the struggles to service the debt after the peace was concluded ultimately led to the Philadelphia Convention and our more energetic system of national government. Modest revisions in the Articles could have permitted the United States to function as a viable confederacy for the remainder of their existence.

Rather than bow down and venerate the Constitution on September 17, Americans should dust off the Articles of Confederation and study the handiwork of the Continental Congress. In it they will find a plan of government that makes liberty the primary object of government and power serving as a mere satellite.


Extraordinary black on black violence

A brawl has been captured on video of two couples fighting in a New Jersey Walmart on Saturday while their young children look on in horror and try to stop the fight.

In the minute long video, the two couples can be seen tussling near the jewelry section in the store.

The two sides appear to be a woman and man both wearing black tops versus another couple in red and burnt yellow shirts. 

As they beat on each other, two little girls can be seen trying to stop the chaos and hit on one of the women to stop while crying.

Another woman wearing a pink blouse comes up and tries to separate the mothers while their partners continue to duke it out.

More people start to spectate and grow more in concern for the children who are almost being trampled by the fight.

A woman wearing galactic blue and purple leggings comes to assist, removing the children as the woman in pink detains one of the mothers.

As the fathers continue fighting, Walmart personnel intervene and tries to stop them and the mother in yellow who has now joined the fight.

Meanwhile, a woman wearing a pink jacket and a headscarf starts screaming at everyone involved in the fight 'What about the kids?' and 'STOP!'

As the father in the black shirt gets separated from the fight, she literally steps in front of him and keeps repeating 'look at your kids' until it dawns on the man that he was fighting in front of him.

She yells for him to 'walk away' and he finally turns to see his family.

As the other couple walks toward them again, the woman in the pink jacket who has managed to control the situation more than the employee staff starts screaming at them to think about the kids as well.

The video ends with all the couples in corners being visited by patrons and staff who chastise them for having fought in front of the children. 



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Racist" America

IT WAS early September 1956, the High Holidays were approaching, and Elihu Schimmel was in the Cold War's coldest theater.

The young internist, an Orthodox Jew, had graduated from Yale Medical School in the spring of 1954 and gotten married the following year. A week after his wedding, he'd entered the Navy with the rank of lieutenant. Now he was the medical officer on the USS Lindenwald, a dock landing ship steaming in the Arctic Ocean as part of a squadron charged with supplying the DEW Line — the far-flung Distant Early Warning network of radar stations built to detect incoming Soviet bombers in case of an attack on North America. For three months each summer, before polar ice made the seas impassable, multitudes of military personnel brought construction materials, communications equipment, and fuel to the web of northern bases stretching across Canada.

As the only Navy doctor in the Arctic Ocean that summer, Schimmel was responsible for the medical care of men on dozens of ships. Often he had to be transported — by helicopter, by launch, by seaplane — from the Lindenwald to another vessel to see a patient. But with Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) just around the corner, Schimmel was wondering whether a few men could be moved in the other direction. Specifically, a few Jewish men: enough to assemble a minyan, a quorum of 10, so that services could be held on the most sacred days of the Jewish year.

There were a few other Jews on the Lindenwald. One was an Army private named Sam Levin, who was assigned to the 588th Transportation Company. Hundreds of men from the 588th were serving on ships throughout the area, and Levin knew quite a few of them, including several who were Jewish — enough, he told Schimmel, to make a minyan. If they could get those guys aboard the Lindenwald by sundown on Sept. 5, they could hold proper Rosh Hashana services — perhaps the first ever to be held in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

But would the Navy and Army be willing to indulge a few Jewish service members? Would it go to the trouble of transporting men to the Lindenwald and let them temporarily skip their regular duties for religious reasons? Schimmel didn't know, but — nothing ventured, nothing gained — decided to ask.

He approached the Lindenwald's executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Paul Hurry. Without hesitating, Hurry told Schimmel that he and Levin could count on the Navy's support, assuming there was no objection from the Army. So Schimmel went to the Army colonel commanding the 588th. Recounting the story to me last week, he couldn't recall the colonel's name, but he's never forgotten his response: "Done. Absolutely. I'll have the orders drawn up."

They were as good as their word. By the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 5, a handful of Jewish troops from other Navy vessels in the Arctic were aboard the Lindenwald. That day's shipboard "newspaper" — a mimeographed handout called "DEW Line Daily" — matter-of-factly listed "the schedule of Jewish Services for the High Holidays," to be held in the Crew's Lounge that evening. For the benefit of curious readers, it went on to explain the significance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in Jewish culture ("days of repentance and of rededication ... called collectively the Days of Awe ... according to tradition, everyone is judged ... ends with a final sounding of the ram's horn").

At 1900 hours (7 p.m.), an announcement was broadcast over the public-address system: "Attention all hands: Jewish divine services are beginning in the crew's lounge. The smoking lamp is now out in all parts of the ship." In Navy jargon, it was a directive banning anyone from smoking anywhere on the Lindenwald: a gesture of reverence for the tiny group of High Holiday worshipers.

After Rosh Hashana ended, Schimmel dashed off a quick letter home. "We had 100% attendance, which fortunately was just 10 boys," he wrote. "Only one other boy read Hebrew . . . so we had services mostly in English. Took 2-2½ hours both days. . . . Ship & Army personnel were very cooperative and interested in the services — Commodore (via chaplain) came through with an official dispatch to release all Jewish personnel for services — I really never expected any airborne lift to assemble us! I'm very grateful."

Schimmel's Navy stint ended the following July, and he went on to a distinguished medical career in Boston. Now 87, he is still grateful at how readily the military accommodated his religious needs. "I never encountered the least whiff of negative reaction," he told me. Having grown up in an America where casual antisemitism was widespread and bigotry toward minorities far from taboo, he'd had no reason to think the Navy would be particularly enlightened.

In reality, the US military establishment is remarkably broadminded about religion. As far back as the Spanish-American War, thousands of Jewish troops were granted furloughs to attend High Holiday services. During World War II, with more than half a million American Jews in uniform, military commanders authorized High Holiday services and Passover seders, many of which were attended by hundreds of service members. Some of those services ached with poignance: In 1945, some 500 Jewish GIs assembled on Rosh Hashana to pray in Verdun, France — a city from which every Jew had been eliminated during the Nazi reign of terror.

This month, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California will host a full schedule of High Holiday services and meals for Jewish officers, enlisted personnel, and veterans.
Gathering a minyan aboard the Lindenwald from ships throughout the Arctic took some operational doing. But according to Jonathan Sarna, the prominent Brandeis University historian, such "non-trivial logistical exercises" advanced two goals important to US policymakers.

One was displaying America's commitment to religious liberty, reinforcing the contrast with the Soviet Union, where religion was banned and believers were cruelly persecuted. The other was strengthening cohesion within military units by refusing to countenance anti-Semitic (or anti-Catholic) prejudice, and by bending over backward to treat religious minorities with courtesy.

To this day, Elihu Schimmel glows when he recalls the respect with which he and his fellow Jews were treated as they prayed aboard the Lindenwald in 1956. When the High Holidays begin at sunset next Wednesday, Jewish soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines on duty around the world will again gather in prayer, with the full support of the US military. May those men and women, and the grateful nation they serve, be blessed with a safe and sweet new year.


A multicultural cannibal

A CANNIBAL caught scoffing a woman he beheaded has died in hospital after a police shoot out.

The Sun reports Aphiwe Mapekula, 23, collapsed in a hail of bullets with arm, leg and stomach injuries when police tried to arrest him at his home. He apparently ignored several warning shots as he continued to eat Thembisa Masumpa’s raw flesh.

Officers finally opened fire on him when he attacked them with a knife, police said.

Mapekula is said to have slit 35-year-old Thembisa’s throat and hacked off her head in Mount Frere, South Africa, on 9 September.

His horrified mum called police after witnessing the gruesome slaughter. But officers said he was tucking in to Thembisa’s raw flesh by the time they turned up.

He then attacked them with a knife before being shot, said police Captain Edith Mjoko.

He was then taken to hospital where he died a few days later on September 12.

Mapekula’s devastated mother said: “I never raised a son like this one. I never imagined this.”

But neighbours said she did odd jobs at his home and was washing in the back yard when he attacked her.

Captain Mjoko said: “He killed her with a knife by cutting her throat. “When the mother of the suspect saw what was happening she rushed and called the police to the scene. “When they arrived the suspect was busy eating the flesh of the deceased.

“Police ordered him to stop and to hand himself over. “He went berserk and stormed at them with the knife. “Several warning shots were fired to deter him but in vain.”

Mayor Bulelwa Mabengu suspected Mapekula could have been drugged up. “I believe that drugs and substance abuse was a major contributing factor and yearn to call upon law authorities to show a more proactive visibility in our area,” she told RNews.

Mapekula was under police guard when he died at Nelson Mandela Hospital‚ Mthatha. Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told TimesLive: “He was transferred with gunshot wounds and needed emergency surgery. But he unfortunately died.”


'If you don't know, vote no': Gay, conservative professor joins the push to oppose same-sex marriage

Flinty was a good-looking guy in his early years so I always suspected that he had a good time with the ladies. It seems I was wrong

Professor David Flint, who is openly gay but discreet about his personal life, quoted another gay conservative, Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones, to argue why voters should vote 'no' in the federal government's postal vote survey.

'As Alan Jones said in 1999, if you don't know, vote no,' the 79-year-old academic told Sky News Australia.

'We just don't know what's going to happen.'

Jones, a perennial top-rating broadcaster on radio 2GB, is actually in favour of gay marriage but shares former Liberal prime minister John Howard's concerns about religious freedom.

'I'll be voting 'Yes' for same sex marriage. But John Howard is right. We must protect parental & religious freedoms and freedom of speech,' Jones tweeted last week.

The phrase 'if you don't know, vote no' was used by opponents of Australia becoming a republic during the November 1999 referendum on whether to cut ties with the Queen.

That phrase actually belonged to future prime minister and Howard government minister Tony Abbott, who was the leader of the 'No' case 18 years ago as an ardent constitutional monarchist.

Mr Abbott is now a leading 'No' case campaigner, despite having a lesbian sister, Christine Forster, who supports gay marriage.

Professor Flint, who is also a monarchist, has joined gay couple Ben Rogers and Mark Poidevin in publicly speaking out against gay marriage.

The men from Wollongong, south of Sydney, fell in love 15 years but don't want to tie the knot. Mr Poidevin, a practising Catholic, opposes gay marriage on the grounds it could be a slippery slope that leads to polygamy.

'If we make one exception for one community - that being the same-sex couples - where does it stop?,' he told the ABC's 7.30 program earlier this month.

'Do we then see other cultures being allowed to have multiple marriages?  'Do we allow, see the age of consent being lowered for another group of minorities? 'That is my concern of where it would lead.'

Mr Poidevin hasn't always opposed the idea of same-sex marriage, having popped the question to his partner five years ago.

Professor Flint, a former head of the Press Council and the Australian Broadcasting Authority, is a former Labor Party member turned conservative with close ties to John Howard, who is spearheading the 'No' campaign.

Gay former High Court justice Michael Kirby is a monarchist who supports gay marriage and will be voting 'Yes'.

The Coalition for Marriage launched its 'Vote No' campaign at Sydney's Darling Harbour on Saturday night.

Ballots are being sent to Australian households and are due back by November 7.


Town of the damned: the Australian town with ‘staggering’ child sex abuse rate

Aboriginal men very commonly abuse their women and children but it seems to have got really out of hand in this community.  Only a much increased police presence would seem to offer any hope of control

ONE tiny town is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic which in a population of 1400 has seen 184 sexually abused. Warning: Confronting.

ROEBOURNE, Western Australia, is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic that has seen such a high incidence that child sex abuse is “normal”.

Police have charged 36 men with more than 300 offences against 184 children from Roeburne and surrounding communities.

West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has described the rate of alleged child sex offending in Roebourne as “staggering” and the problem as “a cancer”.

The former gold rush town, which has a greater population of around 1400, lies in the Pilbara region 1500km north of Perth.  The Pilbara, with vast mining resources and sparsely populated Aboriginal towns, covers 500,000 square kilometres stretching from the Indian Ocean to Central Australia.

Roebourne, where the streets are lined with brick and stone colonial buildings, has dwindled since its 19th century boom as the largest settlement between Darwin and Perth.

It has now been singled out as a festering mess of intergenerational child sexual abuse where kids are more likely to be raped than almost anywhere else on earth.

“It’s a war zone out there and the victims are little kids,” Mr O’Callaghan told the ABC in a recent news report following the multiple arrests of local men under ­Operation Fledermaus.

In a nine-month operation across areas including Roebourne and the neighbouring city of Karratha, police identified almost three times as many suspects as the number arrested.

The scale of the abuse uncovered was the worst WA Police had ever seen and the communities were in an “almost unrecoverable crisis”, Mr O’Callaghan claimed.

Earlier this month, The Australian reported that child sex abuse in Roebourne was so “normal” that even jailing known paedophiles was not enough to end it.

That was the opinion of West Australian Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk who visited Roebourne following the ­Operation Fledermaus arrests. “Yes, you would have to say that, through the sorts of numbers we are starting to see,” she told West Australian Bureau Chief, Paige Taylor. “It’s intergenerational. Many of these perpetrators were victims themselves.”

Alcohol, drugs and violence afflict the Roebourne and surrounding communities whose population is more than half indigenous.

In September last year, police made a public announcement to residents encouraging them to report child abuse.

Several Aboriginal women, young people and children came forward and in the same month, police charged three Roebourne men with child sex offences against girls aged between 13 and 16.

A 45-year-old man was charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years, offering a prohibited drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A 52-year-old man was charged with two counts of sexual penetration of a child over 13 and under 16 years and one count of indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

A 39-year-old man has been charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

Minister McGurk said “child protection workers, specialist police officers and other dedicated resources [were] on the ground giving support to the families and the community”.

“I’d like to acknowledge the strength of the children, the families … who have the courage to come forward,” she said.  “Actually coming forward is a first step in systemic change.”

Commissioner O’Callaghan, however, identified another factor in the community, which is 80 per cent on welfare. In an article he wrote for The West Australian, Mr O’Callaghan said child sex offenders were spending welfare money on drugs and alcohol to lure children.

“A further pattern emerging is that offending activity seems to increase when offenders receive substantial amounts of money and spend it on a combination of alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.

“Knowing that welfare payments contribute to increases in many types of offending, particularly alcohol and drug-related offending, is hardly rocket science.

“Linking such payments to an increase in sexual abuse of children, however, is a much newer phenomenon.”

Communities in WA and South Australia were trialling a cashless debit card for welfare recipients, which cannot be used for alcohol, gambling or illicit substances.

Seven years ago, a WA government report painted a bleak picture of the life of Aboriginals in Roebourne.

The Roebourne Report said alcohol abuse, child neglect, violence and crime were occurring at an alarming rate.

Annual alcohol consumption in Roebourne Shire was 26.8 litres per person, three times the state average.

Cannabis use was rife among young people.

On fortnightly welfare pay days, gambling soared and children were left to their own devices. Unsupervised children roamed the streets at night and house break-ins were viewed “as the rite-of-passage for many Roebourne youth”.

A high proportion of Roebourne children considered vulnerable in terms of their physical, social and emotional development.

According to Roebourne local, Violet Sampson alcohol abuse has turned the town’s grandmothers into safe house operators.

Ms Sampson told that she began looking after her grandchildren when their parents were out drinking. “I have three kids here,” she said. “When their parents split up and went off drinking, the kids came to me.

“When they need a good sleep, without overcrowding and a feed, I take them. “And they can go to school in the morning.

“It’s what grandmothers do here in Roebourne, Karratha. Aboriginal families we look after the kids.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, September 18, 2017

Labelled bigots for protecting our child's innocence: Upset by their son's confusion when a six-year-old classmate changed gender, they took him out of school. Little did they know the hatred it would unleash

To witness the vilification of Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe this week, you’d have thought they’d not just broken each and every one of the Ten Commandments but hurled Moses’ stone tablet from the silenced bell tower of Big Ben as well.

Take the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show, during which their religious ideals were said to be ‘as extremist as people like ISIS’. Or This Morning’s Phillip Schofield, who hectored them: ‘You are the ones with the problem.’

Their problem? To voice concern about their six-year-old son’s ‘confusion’ when a classmate began turning up to his Church of England primary school asking to be treated as a girl one day and a boy the next, which flew in the face of the family’s Christian beliefs.

The school responded with a letter defending its approach on pupils ‘exploring their gender’ and warning how ‘incredibly seriously’ it would take any ‘transphobic behaviour’, such as the failure ‘to use [the pupil’s] adopted name or using gender inappropriate pronouns’.

Given their son is at an age when he hasn’t yet mastered joined-up writing, let alone the politics of personal pronouns, the Rowes, who also have a son aged eight, were horrified.

They have since removed him from his school on the Isle of Wight and are now bringing a legal challenge in the hope that guidelines — that require schools to accept the wishes of children and their families regarding gender identity, and which are being rolled out in schools the length and breadth of Britain — will be open to public scrutiny.

‘My son still believes in Father Christmas. He is six years old. It’s an age of beautiful naivety,’ says Sally, 42, a housewife and part-time teaching assistant.

‘They should be exploring nature, playing ball on the beach, skateboarding — doing the things boys do. You think: “Why can’t they just let children be children?”

‘Imagine going into school at six without knowing whether the boy sitting next to you is going to be Johnny or Julie today. Then having to treat them like a girl if they’ve decided they’re a girl — or a boy if they’ve decided that today they’re going to be Johnny.

‘This transgender agenda is almost like a trendy thing that’s infiltrating schools, and if you don’t subscribe to it you are a bully. The hatred we’ve received is . . . is . . . ’

Sally is in tears now. She stops. Collects herself. ‘This is painful for us, really painful,’ she says. ‘We’ve been so churned up. This is our community, our friends and now . . . now . . . ’

‘Now’ Sally’s phone pings with nasty texts, while Nigel, who runs his own plumbing company after giving up his job as an aerospace engineer, has received numerous vitriolic phone calls and emails. He looks as if he’s barely slept a wink in the week since announcing their legal challenge.

These are not hard-hearted bigots. Indeed, they only took this stand after a great deal of soul-searching, for each of them was deeply involved in the community and the school. So much so that they took part in a school assembly each week and helped with reading classes.

Indeed, when a boy in their elder son’s class announced in a Show and Tell lesson two years ago that she had decided to be a girl and wanted to be addressed by a girl’s name, the Rowes, owing to their close friendship with the child’s parents, resolved to live and let live.

This time, however, they felt the situation was asking too much of very young children. ‘This boy in our youngest son’s class, who’s six at the moment, decides one day to be a girl and the next to be a boy,’ says Nigel, 46.

‘One night I was putting the boys to bed, reading them a bedtime story and having a little chat as we do every night, when my son said, “Daddy I’m confused. How can — let’s call him Peter — be a boy one day and a girl the next?” It was really upsetting him. At least if the child was a girl all the time you’d have some chance of explaining.

‘We wrote to the school expressing our concerns and received that letter about transphobic bullying back. We felt we had no choice but to do what we’ve done.

‘It wasn’t an easy decision. We care for these families. We care for the school. This is not about them. We are challenging the education authority and the diocese on the guidelines they’re giving. We believe they’re quoting from laws [the Equality Act 2010] that don’t apply in this situation; that’s because the age of when someone is legally recognised as transgender is 18.’ His eyes rest on a happy family photograph taken months ago. He shakes his head and is visibly upset. Sally rubs his arm.

‘When we went to see the head and deputy head to tell them we were removing our son from school, they said: “To be honest we’re not surprised,”’ she says. ‘The head told us: “We’ve done everything we’ve been told to do. I have no choice. If a child wants to come as whatever, I have to accept it or I could lose my job.” ’

Now Sally shakes her head in despair. She is, she confesses, ‘scared stiff’. Such is the hate campaign being waged against them she is terrified for her family’s safety.

Time and again this gently-spoken couple have questioned whether they should have taken this stand. In truth, I suspect they often wish that they hadn’t. For they are an easy-going, outdoorsy couple more comfortable on the beach with their boys than in a TV studio.

They are also, though, people of conscience who, while fully accepting that not everyone shares their Christian values or their views on gender identity, believe in their right to bring their children up according to their religious beliefs without being forced to submit to the wishes of the rainbow activists.

After all, imagine the condemnation had Sally or Nigel accused these activists of being ‘as extremist as people like ISIS’. This is what one Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) campaigner was allowed to label the Rowes’ fellow Christians without so much as a raised eyebrow on the BBC.

‘It’s all so bizarre,’ says Sally. ‘Nothing seems real any more.’

Take, for instance, a discussion on a BBC current affairs programme this week during which it was claimed that the mother of the older transgender child had said her daughter, who is eight, was ‘scared’ following the Rowes’ stand. The couple were lambasted for airing their grievance so very publicly when the interests of vulnerable children were at stake.

That child, however, is the very same one whose mother plastered her story over the pages of a tabloid newspaper two years ago after she decided to become a girl.

Sally says they had known this child’s family since pre-school and the mother had spoken to her a number of years ago about her then son becoming more interested in stereotypically girls’ toys, such as Barbies, and more feminine in his behaviour. ‘She said she didn’t know what to do. I told her not to worry. There’s often a bit of confusion, isn’t there?’

Things changed, according to Nigel, after the BBC broadcast Louis Theroux’s Transgender Kids documentary in April 2015. ‘I believe that was the catalyst for the whole of Britain,’ he says. ‘The statistics for transgender children went from something like 300 to 3,000 after that programme.

‘I remember speaking to the child’s dad in the playground after the documentary and he said: “He wants to be a girl, but I’m not sure. We’re going to discuss it.” It went from that to the child announcing in Show and Tell: “I am now a girl.”

‘Our son came home and said, matter-of-factly, So-and-so’s now called, let’s say Sarah, and is now a girl. We didn’t want to make a big thing about it because our son was only six. But gradually questions started.

‘They’re like: “A boy can be a girl?” “A girl can be a boy?” “A boy can marry a boy?” That’s fine with some people, but as Christians we believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

‘Our boys don’t even know how a baby is made. They know it came out of mummy’s tummy but that’s about it. Gender for them is trying to work out why they have a willy and mummy doesn’t.’

The Rowes muddled through school with their elder son for another year. Sally says he became increasingly withdrawn and reluctant to go in. They decided to home school him at the end of Year 2.

‘“Sarah” was wearing skirts and had grown her hair by then. ‘But it has nothing to do with boys wearing frocks,’ says Nigel, who spent much of his childhood in Africa, where his father worked as an economic adviser to developing countries receiving aid. ‘If a child came into school in a kilt or a sarong, it wouldn’t bother me. When I’m in Kenya I wear a sarong. ‘Saying this is about us being upset that a boy is turning up to school in a dress is trivialising it.’

Sally nods: ‘My youngest son has dressed up in girls’ stuff. He has a fancy-dress box and used to love dressing up as Supergirl. It’s just experimenting. Kids experiment. You don’t make a thing of it.

‘Academics and medical professionals are divided on whether we should introduce young children to transgender policies.

‘Ninety-eight per cent of gender-confused children stick with their biological sex once they’ve gone through puberty.

‘How many of us were tomboys when we were little but enjoy being women now?’

Their younger son was part way through Year 1 when the second child — the one currently confused about their gender — joined the school. Sally and Nigel’s youngest told his parents: ‘One day he was a boy and the next day a girl,’ which ‘confused’ him, and they decided enough was enough. The exchange of letters followed, leading to where they are today. They went public on their decision about legal action last week.

On Saturday night the mother of the older transgender child, Sally’s friend, phoned at 10.45pm. ‘She said: “I can’t believe it. You’ve got the kindest heart, how could you do this to me?” She broke down and kept sobbing: “How could you do this,” ’ Sally recalls.

‘I said: “I haven’t mentioned your name. I haven’t mentioned the children. I haven’t mentioned the school. I care for you but you have to understand our feelings.” Then she put on Facebook: “Sally Rowe is going to sue my beautiful daughter’s school.”

‘I sent a text saying: “This isn’t about you. I’m not attacking you.” ‘This is a concern for children all over the country. We have to take a stand. We’re taking legal action so these guidelines that affect all of our children can be debated and scrutinised publicly.

‘The last I heard from her she said: “I am going to the police tomorrow because this is inciting hate.” I’d explained to her before that we’re not being hateful.

‘We’re doing this because we’re concerned. If anything, we’re going to receive the hatred.’ Which they have, by the bucket-load. So much so that there is a sense of bewilderment today, as if they’ve fallen down Alice In Wonderland’s rabbit hole and nothing is the same. ‘Some mums have texted to say: “I’m sending you a big hug” but don’t want to speak publicly.

‘One parent texted on Sunday to say: “Big love from our family and you’re in our hearts and thoughts,” but nobody wants to put themselves through the hostility we’ve faced . . . ’ Again, she is on the verge of tears.

‘We’re trying to keep a low profile. The people who are lovely and supportive have told us to keep off social media. There’s been a torrent of nastiness. It does churn us up. It does affect you, the foul language, the ranting down the phone. Nigel’s tummy has been in knots since last Saturday.’ She nods to her husband.

‘I don’t understand it,’ says Nigel. ‘When you go to hospital and your child is born, they lift them up and say: “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl.” That’s the way it’s been for centuries. ‘Why is there now such a social agenda to change that?’


Judge Suspends City’s Ban of Farmers Over Their Marriage Views

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Michigan farmers who were banned from selling their produce at a farmers market on public property because of their religious beliefs about marriage may resume selling their goods there as early as Sunday while their case proceeds.

The decision provides much-needed relief to Steve and Bridget Tennes, owners of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Michigan. East Lansing city officials had banned the Tennes family from selling at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market over a Facebook post addressing the farm’s policy on hosting same-sex weddings.

“As the court found, East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Steve because they don’t like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage,” Kate Anderson, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing the Tenneses, told The Daily Signal in an email.

“The court was right to issue this order, which will allow Steve to return to the 2017 farmers market while his case moves forward,” Anderson wrote.

The Tenneses told The Daily Signal in an interview earlier this week that the farmers market in East Lansing is the largest market where they sell.

“Since June 1, we’ve already missed three and a half months of being able to attend East Lansing Farmer’s Market, where we’ve served everyone for the last seven years,” Steve Tennes said by phone Wednesday.

“Now we only have about six weeks left of the market to be able to sell, and the … East Lansing Farmer’s Market was the largest farmers market [where] our family sold organic apples and cider.”

In May, the Tenneses filed a federal lawsuit against East Lansing over the decision to ban them from selling produce at the city’s farmers market, even though their farm is 22 miles outside the city in a different jurisdiction.

“Due to our religious beliefs, we do not participate in the celebration of a same-sex union,” they wrote in part on Facebook in August 2016, in response to a question about the family farm’s services as a wedding venue.

The Tenneses, who are Catholic, say they have never before faced a discrimination complaint of any kind.

The city responded to the couple’s lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss the case. Country Mill Farms sought an injunction allowing the Tenneses to return to the market while the case proceeds.

Both motions were heard for an hour Wednesday before District Court Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In his decision issued Friday, Maloney did not address the city’s motion to dismiss.

His decision to grant the Tenneses the temporary injunction is good news for the family, although their legal fight is far from over. Maloney has yet to rule on the merits of their case.

In the meantime, lawyers for Country Mill Farms are taking the ruling as a positive sign for the family.

“Just like all Americans, a farmer should be free to live and speak according to his deeply held religious beliefs without fear of government punishment,” Anderson said.


Hope Hicks Shows Accomplishments for Women, by Women, Count Only If You’re a Democrat

This week, Hope Hicks became communications director for President Donald Trump, joining press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to make the first female-led White House communications team in history.

Naturally, this was celebrated in every major female-oriented publication.

Just kidding.

The announcement came in the form of a promotion for Hicks, who has been serving as interim communications director since Anthony Scaramucci’s dramatic departure. The 28-year-old from Greenwich, Connecticut, keeps a uniquely low profile, and is thought to be one of Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisers.

In addition to Hicks, the White House also announced Mercedes Schlapp a senior strategic communications adviser.

To be clear, I didn’t expect Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and the rest of these “women” magazines to celebrate Hope Hicks or any other woman in the White House for their politics. In fact, they’ve made it pretty clear where they stand on Donald Trump’s presidency.

But I do expect these “feminist” magazines to celebrate the fact that yet another young woman has climbed to the top in her field—in the White House, no less.

This is a perfect example of the problem that Sheryl Sandberg and so many others attempt to highlight. The problem with women’s equality isn’t that women can’t get jobs—it’s that they’re underrepresented as they work their way up the career ladder.

We can debate why this is for years to come, whether it’s because they leave the workforce earlier than men, whether it’s the type of industries they go into, what they actually want out of their careers, or whether they’re actually being treated unfairly. But the reality is, women lag in leadership roles, and the White House is doing its part to change that.

Putting aside the politics involved, you’d think the president of the United States’ choosing women to lead his communications team would be a big deal for female-focused publications, particularly coming from a man they so often paint as a misogynist.

But of course, feminists are staying silent, showing once again that accomplishments for women, by women, only count if you’re a Democrat.

We, on the other hand, think it’s pretty awesome, and would like to recognize Hicks, Sanders, and all the other women in the White House for setting an example for young girls and women, that they can lead and inspire from inside the nation’s most important office.


Thought crime fears motivate same-sex marriage opponents at 'no' campaign launch

Australia is at the moment having a plebiscite to determine if homosexual marriage will be instituted

Leading "no" campaigners, including Turnbull government MPs, say they fear it will become illegal to oppose same-sex marriage in word or even thought, if gay marriage is legalised.

The extraordinary claims, made at the campaign launch for the Coalition for Marriage on Saturday night, went as far as expressing fear that thought crime would be punished by law.

Cory Bernardi drives 'No' campaign

The South Australian senator claims that the anti same-sex marriage campaign is on the 'right side of legal and moral history'.

Matthew Canavan, a member of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet until he resigned over his dual citizenship, told the 1500-strong Sydney audience: "The 'yes' side want to make it illegal to just express a different view about marriage, that is their agenda."

On the sidelines, he told Fairfax Media he feared "a strong push to effectively eradicate the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, to make it illegal".

Asked if his concerns about freedom extended as far as thought-crime, replied: "Yeah, well it is. The anti-discrimination [laws], particularly the state-based ones, are very wide ranging in application."

Senator Canavan was backed by Turnbull government minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, who said these were valid concerns of same-sex marriage opponents.

"If the state redefines marriage, it also redefines how you can speak, think, advocate and believe about marriage," Senator Bernardi said. "That is the very real consequence of what is to come if we lose this battle."

Several speakers at the $15-a-head event cited the case of Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous being hauled before the state's anti-discrimination commission over a booklet opposing same-sex marriage - a case in which the church prevailed.

Speakers also portrayed the "no" side as the victim of a concerted campaign by elites, the media and big business. There were boos from the audience for Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, who is backing the "yes" side with ratepayers' money.

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York described the "yes" side as "carefully orchestrated, cashed-up and ruthless".

To rapturous applause, she suggested a "no" vote in Australia could be the start of a global "push back" against same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in more than 20 countries.

Outside, 60-year-old Doreen Kirchner from Pennant Hills said she feared moral decline if marriage were to be expanded to include gay couples.

"I think if same-sex marriage gets in it'll be a slippery slope downhill morally. And I want to protect my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren," she told Fairfax Media.

"I don't have a problem with gays per se, I don't have a problem with them having a civil union. But the Marriage Act is for a man and a woman."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here