The White Report

Catherine White connects and creates worth through powerful story telling

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell Apologised & Offers Qualified Compensation to Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

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Archbishop of Sydney, and a former archbishop of Melbourne Cardinal Pell testified at a parliamentary committee at Victoria’s child sex abuse inquiry, and apologised for the abuse committed by clergy.

Cardinal George Pell

 “I’m fully apologetic and absolutely sorry,” he told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse. That is the basis for everything which I’ll say now.”

Cardinal Pell said the church had dealt with child sex abuse “imperfectly” and had not understood the damage being done to victims.

Cardinal Pell said the sodomy of children was always regarded as totally reprehensible, and admitted that lives had been ruined as a result of the cover-ups.

But he said larger compensation packages reaching into millions, similar to payouts in the US, would not be appropriate in most cases.

“We are always ready to pay what the law of the land says in terms of compensation…”

He said he could only speak for the Sydney Archdiocese but would consider paying victims who had already received compensation more money if there was a good case.

“I don’t believe we have a moral obligation to match the unusual figures of the United States,” he said.

Cardinal Pell is the last witness to give evidence at the Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

AAP contributed to this report.

Photo: www.news.com.au

Unlocked: Poets, Police and Prisoners

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Unlocked: Poets, Police and Prisoners is a free festival event this week that showcases the groundbreaking poetry workshops in correctional centers across NSW.

Video recordings of poems written and performed by inmates in the original workshops will screen before and after the event.

A collaboration between Corrective Services NSW and The Red Room Company, the Unlocked workshops give inmates the opportunity to work with award-winning poets on reading, writing, publishing and performing poetry — often for the first time.

The Red Room Company’s spokeswoman Olivia Wright says:

“At first when we go in the response is like, ‘you’re kidding, poetry?’ but then they suddenly realise that poetry is also Poets, Police and Prisonersabout breaking rules: you don’t have to have punctuation, good spelling or correct grammar.

“For those inmates in particular whose literacy is really poor, they are taken by poetry as a communication tool, and what we get is these deeply personal stories they may never have been able to express before.

“We’ve seen remarkable outcomes from Unlocked, not just with improved literacy, but with the inmates’ self-confidence and esteem as well…”

The ability to read and write is a freedom most of us take for granted, however the United Nations upholds education as a human right. While imprisonment may deprive an individual of the basic right to freedom, it does not follow that other human rights such as education are restricted or withheld.

In fact, given the high proportion of prisoners  who’ve had very little successful educational experience, it’s only logical that education is a mandatory component in preparing prisoners for reintegration into society.

Reports consistently show that the majority or men and women in the criminal justice system either suffer with mental health issues, or lack basic literacy skills.

According to the report The Booming Industry: Australian Prisons,”  by Eileen Baldry, at the School of Social Sciences and International Studies, as the University of NSW, the prison population consists of men and women who are of lower  socioeconomic status, of poorer health and of lower levels of education than the rest of the population. For example:

  • · 60% of inmates are not functionally literate or numerate; and
  • · 60% did not complete year 10.

Prisoner doing artDespite the statistics, governments continue to invest in expansion, rather than education and reform. However expanding the prison system without an investment in reform is not only ineffective, but shortsighted.

If we are to produce a fairer and safer society, with lower rates of offending, governments need to address prison reform. Government must protect the human rights of prisoners by providing a range of study options: such as “Unlocked: Poets, Police, and Prisoners” or the art studio at Long Bay Correctional Center.

Art programs in prison are not without their skeptics, however too often prisons are viewed by society as universities of crime maintained by the state.

In addition to waging a war against crime on the street, governments need to take a broader approach, and reform the prison culture. A greater investment in programs that educate inmates to think above their reduced circumstance, also empowers them to break the cycle of recidivism.

NB: Unlocked: Poets, Police and Prisoners is free  from 3pm-4pm on Sunday 26 May at Philharmonia Studio, Pier 4/5, Walsh Bay, and is presented by Johanna Featherstone and The Red Room Company.

Photo: City of Sydney, The Red Room Company, State of Illinois Prison.

Written by Catherine White

May 23, 2013 at 11.27 pm05

Fox News Reporter James Rosen Secretly Targeted by Department of Justice

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Rosen-DOJReports the Department of Justice DOJ  had covertly conducted a large scale raid of Associated Press AP emails and phone records, has had a chilling effect on the media, and raised questions as to how wide spread is the government’s intrusion into the press?

It seems the DOJ has gone one step further, and not only targeted AP, but Fox News correspondent James Rosen, who has also had his records and private emails seized by DOJ investigators.

The warrant into Rosen’s personal emails was filed when a government adviser was accused of leaking information, after a 2009 story was published online reporting, that North Korea planned to respond to looming U.N. sanctions with another nuclear test.

The basis of the investigation  in both cases was in and of itself legitimate. However, in the case of the AP the focus was on identifying the leaker, whereas in James Rosen’s case, the focus of the investigation was the reporter.

In order to get a warrant without notifying James Rosen, (thereby running the risk he would object) the DOJ  inspectors needed to claim the reporter was involved in criminal activity.

All this subterfuge by the DOJ was not an attempt to find the leaker — a whistleblower they thought they already had — but to seize James Rosen’s records.

The DOJ seizure of AP and James Rosens’ records has not only raised serious questions about the government’s relationship with the press, but the ire of  the AP CEO, and Fox News’ executive vice president of news, Michael Clemente who said,

“We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter. In fact, it is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.” 

Former Senior Advisor, and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove points out that Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress last week, under oath, said he’d never been involved in the potential prosecution of a reporter. Holder had recused himself from the AP phone records seizure.

“He did not say that he recused himself from the James Rosen incident, and this subpoena asked for by the FBI, under Department of Justice guidelines, could not have been requested without the approval of the Attorney General, or if he does recuse himself, the deputy attorney general,” said Rove, questioning whether Holder was being truthful in his testimony.

After the Watergate scandal a US code governing investigators was created to protect the media from the government, so journalists could be free  to keep government accountable.

In James Rosen’s case it appears  to be the government who has broken the law, not the reporter. The fact is, the DOJ’s charge of  criminal activity against a reporter is all part of an ongoing and alarming campaign by the Obama administration, to intimidate journalists and silence their sources — whistle blowers.

New York Times’  David Carr said in the film  War on Whistleblowers  theObama administration is dangerously close to conducting a full-scale crackdown on freedom of the press. He said,

“The Obama administration came to power promising the most transparent administration in history … and began prosecuting [whistleblowers] every which way.”

Obama - bully pulpitIn light of recent scandals in the Obama administration, it’s evident, despite championing historic whistleblower protection laws and freedom of the press, the President only  upholds those freedoms when it advances his progressive agenda.

It begs the question: is the Obama administration so drunk on power that it would use it’s full force to not only intimidate a news reporter who’s doing his job, but mark him as a threat to national security?

Equally, the broader question is how does this happen in America — a country that boasts of it’s open society to the rest of the world, and holds itself up as a democratic model to which other nations should aspire?

Written by Catherine White

May 21, 2013 at 11.27 pm05

Dubious Whistleblower Detective Inspector Fox Fabricated “The Catholic Mafia”

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s  Royal Commission into Institutionalized Child Sexual Abuse, won her kudos from victims, the media and advocates of victims of sexual abuse.

However, the trigger for the Royal Commission has turned out to be a cruel hoax, and for no other reason than to make money.

Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Peter Fox, who supposedly blew the whistle on, what he called, ‘The Catholic Mafia’ in the Maitland, Newcastle diocese was lying.

In the witness box of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Matters Relating to Police Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations, Wayne Roser, SC, exposed DCI Peter Fox’s claims to be as double-handed as the police he claimed were protecting pedophiles within the diocese.

There is no “Catholic Mafia” as DCI Peter Fox called it, and there was no cover up by the NSW police force, on behalf of the accused pedophiles.

Which begs the question, why did he do it? Detective Inspector Fox

As it turns out, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox is not a whistle blower, but an author. He’s writing a book, and hoped to sell it by using these stories.

It beggars belief, that a law enforcement officer would exploit crimes committed against children, for no other reason than to sell books.

As a law enforcement Officer DCI Peter Fox, in the most egregious fashion possible, has breached the Police Force raison d’être, which is to serve the community — to serve the victims of crimes

Using the sad misfortune of victims of child sexual abuse to make money is as egregious as the crime in the first instance. Indeed, DCI Fox is as guilty of the institutional abuse over which he’s falsely charged his law enforcement colleagues.

NB: portion of court transcript can be read here.

Is Pope Francis a Socialist?

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Speaking to newly accredited ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis attacked the ‘‘dictatorship’’ of the global financial system, and warned that the ‘‘cult of money’’ was making life a misery for millions.

He  blamed “ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and “thus deny the right of control to states”, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.”

He further blamed inadequate regulation which has resulted in “a new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny … one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules.”

He said, “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life,”  he said, quoting St. John Chrysostom. “It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.”

I’ve no doubt Pope Francis’s austerity is sincere, and not a cynical  PR pose, so I’m eager to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe, just maybe, like John Paul II (who led worldwide political change against communism), Francis will be the Pope to take on globalization and unfettered capitalism.

However, in the case for wealth distribution, or accumulation, as a result of distribution, the Church has done very well indeed. It’s difficult to take Pope Francis seriously when the Vatican is sitting on an $8 billion institution where the nuns answer the phones.

Although the wealth of the church is on display, its financial details are not. Paolo Cipriani – director of The Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), often referred to as the ‘Vatican Bank’ – last year pledged to “lift the veil of secrecy” surrounding the organization. The institute manages $8 billion of the church’s worldwide wealth and investments as well as 33,000 accounts for clergy and parishes, held in euros.

Moreover, confidential documents, stolen by the pope’s former butler and published in 2011 in a scandal known as “Vatileaks,” revealed the haphazard and sometimes bizarre nature of the church finances. As well as tens of millions of dollars in small, personal donations from around the world,  including an Italian chat show host who gave 10,000 euros with a note seeking a meeting with Pope Benedict.

On top of which, over 5 million tourists see inside the Vatican’s grounds and museums every year – almost as many as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vatican EuroThe truth can be painful, but the leader of the wealthiest institution on the earth, for all his humility, represents a hierarchy that looks and acts like the CEO’s they criticise.

History shows quite clearly that whenever  the state claims to be “helping the poor”, they are invariably using the poor to build their own power. The control of the state for the common good never liberates, but enslaves it’s citizens.

If the Catholic Church and  The Vatican  are to remain relevant, they have s a great deal of internal work to do first. When the Church truly becomes the Church of the poor,  where the Cardinals give up their perks, and live like the poorest in their parishes, then we will have an unfettered, powerful body able  to speak with true authority on behalf of the poor.

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Found Guilty of Murder in Late Term Abortions

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So Kermit Gosnell turned out to be a baby killer after all – a verdict that’s sure to send a chill through the pro-choice community.

Effectively the court has recognized that the babies Gosnell pulled from the womb and then murdered with a pair of scissors were not just foetuses, but human beings with an inalienable right to life.

The number of children that Gosnell was accused of killing, after removing them from their mother’s bodies, (according to the court report) was in the hundreds. A practice that suggests more babies survive this procedure than Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice lobby would have us believe.

Across the United States stories of other abortion horrors are coming to light, such as the Kermit Gosnellexposure of practices at a Bronx clinic, caught on a hidden-camera, the recent death of a patient in Maryland, or a Florida clinic that threw away a baby in a waste bag.

The Kermitt Gosnell verdict is a small victory, as Gosnell was found guilty of only three out of seven charges of first degree murder of unborn babies; and guilty of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter of a patient who died from an overdose of anesthetic administered by an unqualified teenager. Nonetheless it’s a step in the right direction.

The Gosnell verdict has unquestionably opened up a wider debate about when human life really begins, and what kinds of legal protections life in the womb really deserves.

PolitiFact Ups the Ante Down Under For Australia’s Politicians

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PolitiFact has upped the ante down under with the launch of an Australian Truth-O-Meter that PolitiFactwill hold politicians accountable for their half truths and glib one-liners.

In the bewildering world of election campaigns politicians divide their time between intentionally misinterpreting their opponents, or getting outraged about being intentionally misinterpreted. All those humdingers, doozy’s and ripsnorters will earn ratings from true, half true, false to  ‘pants on fire’ for ludicrous claims on PolitiFact.

Australia’s PolitiFact head, Peter Fray, former editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, said PolitiFact Australia is a necessary addition to Australia’s journalistic scene because politics has become ”faster and noisier” and voters are overloaded with information. He said:

‘We are here to help sort out the facts from the fictions … we are not really out to get politicians, we don’t think they are all liars. But we do think they should be accountable for what they say.”

In the USA where fact checking sites have become famous for exposing political lies, several media fact checkers are left wing fronts. Indeed during the 2012 election campiagn the Obama administration communicated with the media matters journalists to get out Democrat talking points.

Julia Gillard and Tony AbbottOnly time will tell if the Australian fact checking site will use the same partisan strategy to undermine or attack the Coalition.

In any event, fact-checkers are unlikely to change people’s minds. If people care enough to find out what the fact-checkers are saying about an issue, the truth is their mind is probably already made up.

 

Still, let’s hope PolitiFact Australia, like the US site, inspires the main stream media to report on it’s findings.

A Great Australian Bank Robbery – Government Make Nuns Carrying Handguns Look Like Choir Boys

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Australia’s Postcard Bandit, otherwise known as the James Bond of the Australian bank robbing scene, was arrested and imprisoned for stealing over $5 million.  Many famous bank robbers have escaped arrest, whereas others have met their fate and done time in the vicinity of 6 to 25 years for armed robbery.

Which begs the question how much time should a government get for breaking in and taking without permission,  money from people’s bank accounts for no reason, other than the account has been inactive for three years?

That’s right —  following legislation that was “rushed” through parliament, Australian bank accounts that have been inactive for three years will have their money seized by the federal government after May 31, 2013.

Treasury will grab money from accounts with anything from $1 upwards and transfer it into the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

The Australian Bankers Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg warned that unaware customers face having accounts frozen, and could face months of delays trying to reclaim their savings  from ASIC. He says:

“It is very hard to see why this needed to be rushed through but there have been suggestions it was done more for the government’s own financial circumstances rather than customers needs.”

Experts warn this will have a negative impact on people that have put money away in a special account for their children’s education, holiday, retirement or unexpected illness.

It doesn’t take an economist to see this is a desperate grab for cash from a government that can’t live up to it’sThe Town promised budget surplus.  This heist is expected to raise over $109 million this financial year, which economists warn is on track for a $15 billion budget deficit.

The recent bank crisis in Cyprus was a sobering reminder  that you can’t trust politicians, and they will not only come after your money, but lock it up when it suits them.

May this government meet the same fate as that of the bank robbers of the 1930s.

NOTE: Banks are urging customers to make transactions on these accounts – adding or subtracting just $1 is enough to protect the account from ASIC. Interest payments, fees and charges are not considered transactions and will not prevent the balance of your account from being claimed.

The Government will continue to pay interest on all accounts claimed, so that their value remains the same. If your account is claimed and you discover it at a later date, you can reclaim the money if you can prove it is yours by filling out a form and writing to ASIC.

Photo: Courtesy Legendary Pictures — The Town

Royal Commission Lays Bare Child Abuse in the Australian Catholic Church

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In addition to a federal government Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, authorities are also conducting anCatholic Church sexual abuse inquiry inquiry into the alleged cover up of child sex abuse by the Catholic Church within the Maitland, Newcastle diocese in Australia.

The probe is examining claims by abuse whistleblower Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox who claims he was directed by his superiors to stop investigating the allegations of abuse by two priests in the Catholic Diocese.

The commission of inquiry was announced last November to find out why Inspector Fox was told to stop his investigations, and whether senior Catholic clergy deliberately hampered police efforts to bring two Catholic priest paedophiles  to justice.

From Rome down the Catholic Church has actively protected, denied and covered up repeated allegations of child sexual abuse, even to the extent of blaming the media for blowing some cases out of proportion.

Not helped by the fact so many Catholics haven’t found it easy to express their dissatisfaction with the response of the church hierarchy.  Some parishioners simply feel it’s not their place to tell bishops or popes the truth.

But hiding pedophiles is a serious criminal offense, punishable by the law of the land.

It beggars belief how any institution, much less an entity that teaches compassion, forgiveness and the fruits of the spirit, allowed offenders within it’s ranks to repeat their iniquitous crimes.

In the context of church teaching, it’s not difficult to understand how the clergy have used repentance as a get out of jail free card.  The foundational teaching of forgiveness has been misused in the most sinister way possible. It’s a dereliction of duty for a diocese to make provision for priests who are eager to get past their repentance and onto their next victim.

A sexual assault on a child is to be deplored, and any attempt by the church, in collusion with the police, is a reprehensible betrayal of public trust.

Hopefully, both the Federal Royal Commission, and the Commission in Newcastle will compel the church to reclaim it’s credibility by admitting it’s failures, and recompense those who have been damaged.

For the time has arrived for judgment to begin with the household of God … 1 Peter 4:17

Illustration: inkcinct cartoons

Are Australians Ready for an Obama-Style Election?

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Digital Media ElectionsPresident Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 election campaigns are proof positive that social media is a tool that can help win elections.

A masterful internet strategy not only helped him by-pass the media, and communicate directly with the voters, but helped raise more than $200 Million for the Democratic campaign. Funds that were used to buy more ads in the offline world of TV, radio, television and events.

Increasingly in Australia the major parties are bypassing newspapers, TV and radio in pushing their message out to voters directly. The Prime Minister is very active on both twitter and Facebook, as is Kevin Rudd. Malcolm Turnbull , a former journalist uses twitter with great finesse, and leader of the opposition Tony Abbott is minimalist on twitter,  though present nonetheless.

It should be kept in mind a major factor in the ALP’s very visible digital strategy is, the digital campaign team has increased from one staff member twelve months ago to a team of five paid staff, plus interns.

But politicians beware.

newspollAccording to research by Newspoll into the rise of social media,  users have mixed feelings in respect to receiving political messaging in their social media channels.

To the question ‘is social media a good way to get information from Government Agencies’, over half the users said they either didn’t think that social media was a good way to get information, or are bluntly not interested in reading about government agencies and/or programs in their social media channels.

Obama’s campaign Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani  emphasises the continued importance of traditional channels such as TV, local newspapers and volunteer armies that  knock on doors. He says,

“It’s very easy for people to click ‘like’ on Facebook,” … “but the hard part is getting them into the voting booth.” …  “digital needs to be treated as a channel and not everything.”

Clearly a social media strategy doesn’t automatically translate into an actual election victory for a candidate, as other factors determine victory or defeat.

While a number of Australian politicians are social media savvy, according to Newpoll, politicians need to be very considered in the execution of their social media campaigns, as  Australian users are not yet receptive to an Obama-style technology election campaign.

AP Photo: Rick Rycroft

Has the Liberal Party Laid An Egg Or Just More Sauce For The Gander?

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The new Liberal Party  TV ad “The Headless Chooks in ‘The Gillard Experiment” was sure to ruffle a few feathers — some claim the Liberal Party have laid an egg, whereas others counter, what’s good for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Whatever the opinion, the fact is it’s no worse than the futuristic post card mocking Tony Abbott and Rupert Murdoch’s age, that was sent out by the PM’s press office twitter account (using the F*** word no less).

Advertising was never designed to appeal to the intellect, but the lowest common denominator. That’s advertising …and politics.

Prime Ministers Office TweetPrime Ministers Office tweet

Tony Abbott’s Pollie Pedal Disabled Julia Gillard’s Emotional Blackmail

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I wouldn’t have objected to Prime Minister Gillard’s announcement of the national disability insurance scheme [NDIS],  but it’s the kind of emotional blackmail that implies, ‘You (Tony Abbott) have to do this for  the disabled and the most vulnerable otherwise you’re heartless.’

Not that we would think there’s anything wrong with NDIS, as the scheme is worthy of praise, however the announcement is nothing more than dirty demagoguery.

When the Prime Minister announced that the NDIS depended on a new levy, she was unprepared for Tony Abbott’s qualified support for the levy.

Hardly surprisingly,  since at the time of the announcement, Mr Abbott was on  his annual pollie pedal, where he was Julia Gillard with the disabledriding to raise funds in support of Australia’s 2.6 million carers and help ‘Make Australia Carer Aware.’ Oops …

This issue should have been above politics, as disability care and mental health impacts  millions of Australians every year.

However, Julia Gillard’s emotional blackmail and photo opportunities with the disabled as a political props, point to motivations other than a concern for the disabled.

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors” capital murder trial now in the hands of the jury

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A jury began deliberations this week on the capital murder trial of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who is accusedKermit Gosnell trial of murdering four live babies  in his Philadelphia clinic, known as The Women’s Medical Society, by “snipping” their spinal cords after botched abortions.

The jury will weigh Dr. Gosnell’s murder counts, and a charge of third-degree murder in the death of a 41-year-old patient from Virginia. According to the grand jury report, one witness testified that, despite warning Gosnell the patient had no pulse,  finishing the termination took precedence over reviving the patient.

Gosnell who is facing the death penalty, is also charged with racketeering; performing illegal third-term abortions; and failing to counsel patients and observe the 24-hour waiting period.

Along with Kermit Gosnell, an additional eight workers from the clinic have pleaded guilty to lesser charges, including Dr. Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped perform abortions.

According to a lawyer familiar with Pennsylvania law, who declined to be named because of the volatility of the case, it’s legal in Pennsylvania to abort a fetus up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, [sic] that it becomes murder if the infant is fully expelled from the mother alive and then killed.

A grand jury report of nearly 300 pages describes Gosnell’s clinic as a filthy, foul-smelling operation that was overlooked by regulators.

The report reveals state regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him, and made only five annual inspections since the clinic opened in 1979.

The Gosnell trial, which prosecutors called a “house of horrors” has undoubtedly drawn the battle lines between pro-choice and pro-life groups.

Dayle Steinberg, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, says Gosnell should be held accountable for his crimes, but also warns that imposing restrictions on abortions will drive them underground and make women — especially those who are poor — more vulnerable to disreputable providers.

Whereas vice-president of the Pro-Life Action League, Ann Scheidler said:

“I hope there will be more serious discussions on the value of human life and the rights of women to know what’s going to happen to them going into an abortion, and their child.”

Notably,  Day Gardner, the head of the National Black Pro-life Union in Washington, tied the media’s initial avoidance of the trial to what she said was deeply ingrained racism in American society, noting that many of Gosnell’s patients were poor black women and the doctor himself is black. Gardner said:

“The national spotlight would have shown brighter if the victim had been “a blonde, blue-eyed child … It’s very obvious that passion across America is not quite the same when it comes to black children.” 

The grand jury report suggests Gosnell knew he was preying on women who had nowhere else to go, and blames the state for failing to protect it’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Every aspect of that practice reflected an utter disregard for the health and safety of his patients, a cruel lack of respect for their dignity, and an arrogant belief that he could forever get away with the slovenly and careless treatment of the women who came to his clinic. The only thing Gosnell seemed to care about was the cash he raked in from his illegal operation.”

The report goes on to say:

“We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”

Despite the failure of the main stream media to adequately cover the Gosnell capital murder trial, a public back lash is challenging the pro-choice illusion, and  catapulted the pro-life cause into the legislative battle ground across the United States.

Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser implores:

“What is the difference between killing a baby minutes before delivery compared to moments after? Only the barest of legal nuances.” 

Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia raises hard cold questions about abortion.

Were the Boston Bombers Alienated Victims or Radical Jihadists?

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Sunrise co-host Andrew O’Keefe said in an interview with Dutch MP Geert Wilders,  Boston Bombers“every psychologist in the world will tell you, that the simplest way to radicalize a person is to alienate them, or marginalize them.”

However sweeping the claim, there are certainly many in the media over reaching in it’s search for a motivation behind the Boston Bombings.

In any event, the fact is the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the bombings, lived lives that demonstrated they were anything but alienated from  American culture. If anything they represented life in America today.

They both received welfare payments, attended college, participated in American sporting activities, and the eldest was an accomplished pianist who married at 26 at years of age, and fathered a little girl who’s learning to ride a tricycle.

According to Bloomberg News, Tamerlan even drove a C-class silver Mercedes-Benz, and “when he wasn’t wearing workout gear, he wore ‘boisterous, fancy clothes.’”

Their Americanization casts doubt on the notion their radicalization was the result of alienation from American society. Could the reason for their radicalization be closer to home — could it actually be the historical narrative the Tsarnaev brothers were raised on? Was it this narrative that predisposed them to the idea of violent jihad?

The Tsarnaev brothers emigrated to the United States from Chechnya and Dagestan, mostly Muslim areas in the Caucasus known for terrorist activity.

The Chechens are almost alone in the Muslim world in having an actual grievance. Chechnya was conquered by Russia in 1859, but after the Soviet Empire imploded, the Chechen sought independence. After a couple of bloody wars, the Chechens were subdued, but with incredible brutality by the Russian forces including shelling of civilians in the capital, Grozny.

The Chechens carried out a series of terrorist atrocities after the war, including one in Moscow in 2002 in which a group of Chechen militants took 800 people hostage in a movie theater. Chechens were also part of the forces that carried out an attack on a school in Beslan that involved the rape and murder of a number of the hostages, and the deaths of over 330 people, half of which were children. There was also al-Qaeda participation in Beslan.

Is it then surprising the brothers both evidenced significant support for Islamism and jihad in their social media pages, especially on YouTube and the Russian language site VK. There’s no doubt about their commitment to violent jihad against the infidel America.

Yet despite the evidence of their Islamic predisposition, just two weeks after the bombing, the politically correct media continue to rationalise the event by not calling them what they are: radical terrorists.

Radical Islamist IdeologyAlienated, marginalized, isolated, and angry are the afflictions the media apply to help shape a narrative that fits in with their progressive bias. For instance, former NBC news anchor, Tom Brokaw, said the terrorists are seeking vengeance because of the drone strikes. Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations was quoted in the London Standard,   “Second generation Muslims in the West lack a sense of belonging in their adopted countries.”

These were not random acts of vengeance from kids that killed random people. These are young men, who, despite enjoying the benefits of American society, observed the fanatical law of Islam. A law that’s in direct conflict with the  American touchstone of democracy and freedom.

The Boston bombings were radical; they were inhumane,  anti-American,  and anti all that is not in consonance with Islam. So radical in fact, the bomb was placed beside a child.

Essentially America is a character-driven society, which is an outcome of the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The belief of commitment to one’s fellow man has traditionally under-girded American values perhaps more than anything else.

Whereas adherents of Islam claim the right to behave contrary to the laws that protect our fellow citizens. Extremists [not moderates -- not all Muslims] practice pedophilia, pederasty, misogyny, wife beating, stoning to death of daughters and wives for fornication, for being in a vehicle without a male family member present, or countless other behaviors the male Muslim community perceive is in violation of strict Islamic law.

In the case of the skilled boxer Tamerlan, his record of domestic violence against his non-boxing wife is consistent with the wife beating encouraged in Islamic law.

While America is far from perfect, like any other nation, the reality of why these young men did what they did is far more complicated than the standard narrative of alienation put forth by the politically correct media.

Supposition and conjecture aside, the only reasonable starting point are the facts, which are, these acts were in violation of American law, and Americans have every right to bring to justice anyone who breaks American law; or commits acts of terror against it’s citizens.

While the true victims of the Boston bombing rebuild their lives, undoubtedly life in prison will bring to bear on the surviving brother, the unvarnished version of alienation.

Photo: Tamerlan Tsarnaev by Johannes Hirn

I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK — but what about journalists?

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It’s official: CareerCast.com has named the newspaper reporter the worst job in America, behind lumberjacks.

Newspaper Reporters

When CareerCast first started ranking the best and worst jobs in the U.S. in 1988, newspaper reporter was in the middle  ranking at number 126. It slipped in 2012 to 196, before coming in last, behind lumberjacks, at number 200 this year.

This doesn’t come as any surprise, given newspapers continue to cut jobs as they compete with free news online. In some cities in the U.S. newspapers have almost bypassed journalists  by moving  to an online-only model.

Many question if newspapers will survive, slating papers must start charging for their web content in order to support print issues. Others say printed papers will soon go the way of the Studebaker and that newspapers are destined to become online-only entities. But what the future holds, no one really knows.

Chip Scanlan of the journalism think-tank, The Poynter Institute,  argues the predicament the internet poses for newspapers today, is reminiscent of the Pony Express riders who in 1860 started what was meant to be a speedy mail delivery service, only to be rendered obsolete a year later by the telegraph.

They represented a great leap in communication delivery but it only lasted a year,” … “As they were whipping their horses into a lather to deliver the mail, beside them were these guys ramming in long wooden poles and connecting wires for the telegraph. It’s a reflection of what changes in technology mean.

Nonetheless, many still feel that newspapers continue to represent an unrivaled source of in-depth news, analysis and opinion, and that if papers disappear entirely, many feel there will be nothing to take their place.

Either way, journalists are not lumberjacks, and that’s OK.

Cyber Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act or CISPA Sails Through Unchallenged

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CISPAWhile the media was preoccupied with the hunt for the Boston bombers, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA, despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups.

The bill is in response to recent threats from Chinese hackers, and would essentially allow a free flow of information between private companies and the federal government.

For example, the provision would allow the government to notify Facebook should they notice any threat of hackers, and similarly Facebook could share information with the government if they notice any strange activity on their site.

A liability clause essentially requires private companies to hand over private information in certain situations, where as the sharing of government information with the private sector is entirely voluntary. Furthermore, national security measures require the government to anonymize any information they share with third parties, whereas private companies do not have this protection.

CISPA has managed stay out of the news due to the fact that a number of major corporations and tech firms are actually in support of the bill.

Business groups say the privacy concern is overblown.

“When it comes to sharing, there are practical, business reasons why companies carefully protect” sensitive information, Tim Molino with the Business Software Alliance recently wrote in an online post urging lawmakers to pass the bill.

“At the end of the day, personal information is customer information, and maintaining trust with customers is a core business imperative,” Molino added.

In its veto threat issued Tuesday, the White House echoed that concern.

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” the White House stated.

However, privacy advocates and civil liberties groups say the bill would open up Americans’ most private online records to the federal government. The bill doesn’t include a requirement that companies scrub data of sensitive information like health or credit records before sharing it with the government.

In its veto threat issued Tuesday, the White House echoed that concern.

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” the White House stated.

Compared with SOPA, a bill that was thrown out last year that would have given the government the power to pull any “dangerous” website offline, CISPA is more directly targeted toward hackers, something that companies lose millions of dollars to every year.

Hacktivist group Anonymous, who organized the internet blackout to protest SOPA last year, is planning another protest. However, the only groups that feel seriously threatened by CISPA are libertarians and other privacy rights organizations.

Larger sites however, such as Google and Wikipedia, have respectfully declined to be part of the Anonymous organized protest.

The corporate interests are too large, and these multi-million dollar companies have too much at stake when it comes to internet hacking that a rejection of CISPA would go directly against their better interests.

Unfortunately, the biggest losers here are consumers and daily internet user, who now keep more private and sensitive information in cyberspace than in their basement filing cabinets.

The law requires the government to acquire a search warrant to come into your home and investigate your computer history.

With CISPA, that legal middleman is eliminated and the government can go straight to Google or Bank of America to acquire your online emails or bank statements.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Tony Abbott Staffer Get’s a Demotion, Yet No Reprimand For Pete van Onselen?

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Sky News Peter van Onselen self-serving account of a political comment he thought he overheard to a third party, at an A list event, has put the shoe on the other foot.

Van Onselen claims he “overheard” a comment by Tony Abbott’s senior Advisor, Mark Roberts, to Andrew Penfold, the CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation .

According to this hard hitting, investigative journalist, the senior staffer was drunk and made a throat-slitting motion threatening to “cut the throat” of funding to the indigenous body.

Shortly after the incident Mr van Onselen tweeted “A Tony Abbott staffer told an eminent Australian that he would “cut his throat” once “we” are in government…. Much, much more to it…”

He followed up the next day with; “Wow the staffer in Tony Abbott’s office is denying the form of words that he used. A number of people heard it so that’s interesting.”

The kicker is, it’s Pete van Onselen who’s now withdrawn his claim, but not before his inaccurate and litigeous tweet hit the papers, and Tony Abbott’s senior Adviser was demoted.

Van Onselen now claims Mark Roberts did not “threaten that he would “cut his throat once ‘we’ are in government.” The threat was to cut the AIEF budget.

In one of his tweets van Olnselen took the moral high ground and said he was “totally disgusted” by Mark Roberts’ behaviour.

Actually Mr Onselen, what’s disgusting is a reporter publishing what he thought he “overheard” at a function where everyone is either on the way to getting drunk, or is completely plastered.

Even more abhorrent, is Mr Abbott’s staff member suffered a backlash as a result of Peter van Onselen’s titillating tweet-storm, while he himself suffers no professional consequences for his cock and bull reporting.

The fact is, it’s not just a breach of trust between political staff and media hacks, but a complete disregard for the public. It’s an election year so anything goes right…?

Sky News should take responsibility for their amateur ‘news pundits’, in particular Pete van Onselen and give him a demotion equal to Tony Abbott’s staff member.

Liberal strategist Toby Ralph jokes that the budget can be balanced if we kill off 20% of the poor

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According to a Liberal Party-aligned think tank the poor are to blame for Australia’s fiscal problems, and that killing off 20 percent of the poor would get the budget back on track.

Liberal Party strategist, Mr Ralph used his paper as an attack against the government’s planed superannuation changes that target the wealthy.

He said:

“in contrast to the fabulously rich, the enormously poor make little useful contribution to society.” ”They consume more than they contribute, putting tremendous strain on the national budget.

”A modest cull would strike at the root of our fiscal dilemma. If the least productive 20 per cent of citizens were decommissioned it would directly release a recurrent $25 billion, which would almost cover overspending by the Gillard government between now and September 14th, assuming Mr Swan maintains his long-term average rate of profligacy.

”This bold initiative would rid us of indolent students, hapless single mums, lower- order drug dealers, social workers, performance artists, Greenpeace supporters and the remaining processing personnel in our collapsing yet heavily subsidised manufacturing industries.”

In defence of the article, Tim Andrews, executive director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and a former vice-president of the NSW Young Liberals said:

”It’s a satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’ and, as such, I do not see any cause for persons to be offended.”

The 1729 essay a ‘Modest Proposal’ suggested the impoverished Irish could ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for the rich.

In addition to Treasurer Wayne Swan calling the paper a disgraceful rant, tweeters also condemned the broadside.

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To the poor, poverty is no laughing matter.

Mr Ralph and his defenders would do well to remember  former Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s words in his last speech:

“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

Both sides of politics would agree that welfare is not the solution to empowering the poor, which is why we should use it as a last resort, and make welfare applicants jump through hoops to qualify.

However, no rational and clear thinking person believes that a welfare recipient is content with his lot in life. Or a person who  lives in a “rat hole” in a dangerous suburb is happier than a person who gets up in the morning to go to work every day; or  that an alcoholic or drug addict is a jolly carefree individual.

The philosophy of arm chair economists like Toby Ralph is nothing more than a class hatred that serves to further isolate people who are already dispossessed and marginalised.

Kermit Gosnell’s trial in Philadelphia raises hard cold questions about abortion.

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In what’s been described as a “ house of horrors,” Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell stands trial, charged with the grotesque murder of at least seven infants, allegedly born alive after botched abortions, only to be brutally killed by Gosnell. Included in the charges is the death of a woman who suffered cardiac arrest after being given too much anesthetic from an unqualified staff member who’s job it was to answer the phones.

Kerimit Gosnel

One Gosnell worker described the abortion clinic as “raining fetuses and blood all over the place.” and others reported that one babies’s screams sounded like a little alien.

In conjunction with a Planned Parenthood lobbyist’s recent admission, that this life-ending practice is justifiable, the Gosnell trial has put the spot light on the contentious issue of abortion.

Representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Alisa LaPolt Snow,  testified that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion, and her doctor. [see video below]

In an outcry on the floor of Congress over this gruesome courtroom drama, Congressman Andy Harris from Maryland, referred to a paper authored by two medical ethicists Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who are associated respectively with Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, and with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, at the University of Melbourne.

Their paper, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” argues that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth. To emphasise the continuity between the two acts, they term it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.

“We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

This assertion highlights another aspect of their argument. Killing an infant after birth is not euthanasia either. In euthanasia, a doctor would be seeking the best interests of the person who dies. But in “after-birth abortion” it is the interests of people involved, not the baby.

Congressman Harris said, “apparently in Dr. Gosnell’s mind, there was little difference between a late-term abortion and killing a baby after birth,” … it’s  essentially the same logic used by the ethicists of the paper.” “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

“So why this may sound grotesque and shocking that they’re OK with killing a newborn, it’s merely an ethical, logical extension of the way we have been treating fetuses since 1973.” Mr. Harris said.

The Gosnell trial isn’t only a story of a rogue abortionist on trial for illegal late-term abortions, but is a collision of perceived rights. There’s more than one right at stake — who’s rights have priority over another’s perceived rights? This is no longer a question of reproductive health, which is the well-known euphemism for ‘abortion on demand’, but the rights of the most defenseless in our society; the unborn — in and outside the womb.

No one disputes the basic rights of women, or the foundational rights of individuals, but the question that divides us now, is how much right should the law accord to the unborn fetus or child?  The Gosnell trial, in conjunction with the ideology of Planned Parenthood begs the question if the law has gone too far the other way, and protected women’s rights over the rights of another human being?

There’s a sense that all these issues converge on one critical issue, that’s pivotal to pro-choice and pro-life advocates.  Is abortion murder — an act that involves the willful destruction of a living, human person?

This core question is singular, but has plural dimensions behind it  — is the fetus alive? Is the fetus a living human person.

The question is one of moral equivalence. If Gosnell is charged for the murder of a child outside the womb, then was that child a viable living person two minutes, five minutes,  an hour or day before it left the womb. If it is alive, is it human life, and if it is human life, is it the life of a human person?

Cancer is life, cancer is human life, but we don’t call cancer an individuated, human person in it’s own right.

If we all agreed that the fetus is life, is human and a person, that wouldn’t automatically solve all the questions about abortion. The question then becomes, when does the fetus become a living, human person?

Pro-lifers claim it’s at conception that a living human personal life begins. Others say, not until viability or quickening, or the first, second, or third trimester.

How do we reach the conclusion that a fetus is an alive human person? How do we discern when that life begins? How do we discern for ourselves what is ethically right and what is wrong?

The answers to these questions are crucial, as it’s those answers that determine whether a woman’s right over her own body includes the right to destroy a living human person.

The stumbling block is, in determining the answers to the most fundamental questions that divide us, we don’t agree on our sources of authority. The three major sources being the Bible, science, and the government.

The different view points of authority differ on what the bible teaches, not everyone’s conscience is held captive by the Bible; not everyone trusts government to protect human rights, and advocates of natural law are aware natural law is vague and difficult to discern.

The Gosnell trial has brought these questions to the fore, and rightly so, as it’s our judgements, our conclusions and ethics that are on trial.

Whatever position we hold, we need to examine it, and examine it carefully, because on the abortion issue there’s more heat than there is light.

Most of us rarely dissect an ethical question, or try to plummet to the depths of the question to get to the heart of the matter, but on the issue of abortion we must.  There’s simply  too much at stake to not wrestle with these questions.

On a social level we need to revisit the abortion issue rationally and objectively, as if we are a jury in a court room. Where, after listening to the evidence, and after serious deliberation, discussion and analysis we are compelled to answer the question — ladies and gentlemen of the jury where do you stand?

Written by Catherine White

April 15, 2013 at 11.27 pm04

Posted in Abortion, women

Richard Nixon’s spoils of victory from the jaws of defeat

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Who hasn’t experienced the sting of defeat? We’ve failed to win the coveted honor, suffered the ignominy of poor judgment, or moral failure.

In this life, the spoils go to the victor. The press, the public, and sponsors all want to know successful contestants. Winning is good for business — everyone wants to eat at the winners table. That’s life — no one wants to know a loser.

Though the truth is defeat is also a contest.  We’re confronted with who we really are, and suffer a worse defeat if we’re un-reconciled or blame others for our derailment.

The loss of fair weathered friends sting, but it’s a greater loss if we don’t carry ourselves with humility and deportment.

The lessons learned in defeat can be gleaned from those who’ve passed before. Not the winners, but the losers …those who’ve failed in a big way. Their lives, their stories become our inspiration in times of defeat and despair.

One of the most public displays of dignity in the face of defeat was the resignation speech of President Nixon. Undoubtedly it would have to be one of the most underrated Presidential speeches in US history.

In a press conference at the White House, the President spoke off the cuff, and from the heart, about failure, and how to use it to propel us into the future.

Noting that he had lived through a turbulent period, he said:

Now, however, we look to the future Here is another one [quote] I found as I was reading, my last night in the White House, and this quote is about a young man. He was a young lawyer in New York. He had married a beautiful girl, and they had a lovely daughter, and then suddenly she died, and this is what he wrote. This was in his diary.

He said, “She was beautiful in face and form and lovelier still in spirit. As a flower she grew and as a fair young flower she died. Her life had been always in the sunshine. There had never come to her a single great sorrow. None ever knew her who did not love and revere her for her bright and sunny temper and her saintly unselfishness. Fair, pure and joyous as a maiden, loving, tender and happy as a young wife. When she had just become a mother, when her life seemed to be just begun and when the years seemed so bright before her, then by a strange and terrible fate death came to her. And when my heart’s dearest died, the light went from my life forever.”

That was T.R. [Theodore Roosevelt] in his twenties. He thought the light had gone from his life forever — but he went on. And he not only became President but, as an ex-President, he served his country, always in the arena, tempestuous, strong, sometimes wrong, sometimes right, but he was a man.

And as I leave, let me say, that is an example I think all of us should remember. We think sometimes when things happen that don’t go the right way; we think that when you don’t pass the bar exam the first time — I happened to, but I was just lucky; I mean, my writing was so poor the bar examiner said, “We have just got to let the guy through.” We think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer a defeat that all is ended. We think, as T.R. said, that the light had left his life forever. Not true.

It is only a beginning, always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

And so I say to you on this occasion, as we leave, we leave proud of the people who have stood by us and worked for us and served this country. We want you to be proud of what you have done. We want you to continue to serve in government, if that is your wish.

Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.

And so, we leave with high hopes, in good spirit, and with deep humility, and with very much gratefulness in our hearts. I can only say to each and every one of you, we come from many faiths, we pray perhaps to different gods — but really the same God in a sense — but I want to say for each and every one of you, not only will we always remember you, not only will we always be grateful to you but always you will be in our hearts and you will be in our prayers.

Thank you very much. — Richard Nixon – August 9, 1974

Whether in failure or in success, defeat or in victories, in adversity or in prosperity— may we grow ever nobler, gentler, more unselfish, and more loving without losing heart.

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange latest release a Plus for Journalists

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Julian Assange

Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’s called on the US to end it’s ‘war on whistleblowers”, has unveiled a new search engine, that’s a portal to an archive of 1.7 million US diplomatic cables.

Using a search algorithm to rival Google, the search engine PLUS D makes it easier for journalists to search over 2,500,000 leaked State Department cables.

Though the documents were publicly available at the National Archives, they’re not easily searchable. Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said,  “… the  inaccessibility and difficulty of accessing them is a form of secrecy, … so we found it important to get it to the general public in a good searchable database …”

The data comprises diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence. Cables that have been made public during Cablegate, where memos of Henry Kissinger’s time as US Secretary of State.

The WikiLeaks cables have drawn attention to a chilling comment made by Kissinger in 1975 during a conversation with the then-U.S. ambassador to Turkey and two  Turkish and Cypriot diplomats. Kissinger quipped:

 “Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.”

Congress was quick to dismiss the Kissinger-era documents, in  cautioning India’s Opposition BJP against making attempts to draw political capital from the Wikileaks revelation that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was involved in  an aircraft purchase deal with a Swedish company.

Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange also been nominated for the Global Exchange 2013 People’s Choice Award for Wikileaks vital role in enabling human rights activists the world over. Wikileaks has helped push stories hidden from secretive governments.

Examples of Wikileaks work include exposure of insider trading at JP Morgan and the censorship of UK media outlets including BBC and the Independent. Wikileaks also revealed the inner dysfunction of copenhagen climate negotiations and gave content to discontent that sparked the early Arab Spring protests. The shocking “Collateral Murder” video depicted allged war crimes by U.S. airmen, who appear to knowingly shoot innocent Iraqis from the air.

Julian Assange has mounted a run for a seat in the Senate of the Australian Parliament in the federal election on September 14, 2013.

Remembering Margaret Thatcher as a woman who challenged assumptions and thought differently.

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I was born in England, so it’s with sadness and admiration I mark the passing of Baroness Thatcher. My parents left Northern Ireland for England when my father went AWOL from the Irish Army, so  I don’t share the Irish Republicans hatred for Margaret Thatcher.

At 87 years of age, she lead a long and illustrious life and will be remembered as the most significant figure in UK politics in post war history.  She will be remembered for her free-market economics, her close friendship with President Reagan and her role in bringing an end to the Cold War.

She wasn’t called an iron lady for nothing. Her move to confront Argentina over the Falklands was a major foreign policy highlight, to the extent it turned around her political prospects at home. She was there through the Falklands, through the fall of the Berlin Wall, and through the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc in the communist countries.

Right to the end she remained in the public eye as a leading figure in the Tory party, and was even portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie “The Iron Lady”. Meryl Streeps’ elegant and even handed statement will no doubt get an Oscar for best Margaret Thatcher eulogy.

Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century. Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty.

But to me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit. To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement. To have won it, not because she inherited position as the daughter of a great man, or the widow of an important man, but by dint of her own striving. To have withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer; and to have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas—wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now—without corruption—I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness, worthy for the argument of history to settle.

Britain’s current Prime Minister David Cameron, said,

“We’ve lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton,” “She saved our country and I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.” 

Margaret Thatcher served as the U.K.’s prime minister from 1979 to 1990. During this time her policies—some popular, some not—transformed Britain.

Australia appoints first Muslim woman to the NSW Parliament

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Making history in Australia, a Muslim woman has been appointed to the upper house in the New South Wales parliament. 

Academic Dr Mehreen Faruqi won the Greens pre-selection following a postal ballot from the first field of seven women-only candidates.

first woman muslim to the nsw parliament

first woman muslim to the nsw parliament

Another first for the  Greens party. Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, of Pakistani origin, will replace NSW upper house MP Cate Faehrmann in the new parliament later this year.

Dr Faruqi said her appointment was a “very progressive” move for Australia, and that she would seek to build a stronger community. Taking pride in her multicultural background, Faruqi says her Islamic faith is only “one element” of her background, that “I believe I might be the first environmental engineer in the NSW parliament as well.”

In 2010, Ed Husic, of Bosnian origin, was elected a member of parliament for western Sydney.

Questions regarding rehabilitation and prison safety at Silverwater Jail

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The deaths of two men at Sydney’s Silverwater Jail, aged 41 and 47, highlights the role prison education programs play in the rehabilitation of inmates. [The police are treating the deaths as either a murder-suicide or double suicide.]

Given the limited funding allocated by federal and state governments to the arts in general, one is left to assume the reason for the axing of the former Silverwater Arts Program was either limited funding, or worse, the arts are not viewed as a path forward for inmates.

The public know that prisons are required to punish offenders, however if they are to be socially rehabilitated, the public has a right to expect an allocation of resources for prison art programs to educate, improve and reform individuals.

Apart from the rewarding element in creative activities, art activities are both therapeutic and educational.

According to Alexandra Djurichk, author of the white paper, ‘Art in Prisons’, there’s no shortage of passionate individuals, artists and non-profit and academic organisations with the desire to affect a positive change for people who are incarcerated.  Yet there’s  no clear path for affecting that change (Brune 2007; Dean & Field 2003, 2-4).

Arts Access Australia report there’s value in prison art programs for educating, improving and reforming individuals, while contributing security and cost benefits to correctional institutions and, … to the society to which they will return to.

With an increasing prison population it’s critical that governments fund rehabilitation options that include, (among other initiatives), prison art programs.  Despite the philosophical contradiction between disempowering offenders, access to art programs can positively affect inmates’ lives, and empower individuals toward self rehabilitation.

Following the multiple deaths of two prisoners at Silverwater Jail the public will be asking tough questions about procedures and practices in Sydney’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Center.

Not least being, what is the Australian prison system doing to assist prisoners in the self rehabilitation process as they prepare to re-enter, and reconcile with society?

Silverwater Prison url-2

Mature age workers: is seventy six the new fifty six?

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Pope FrancisThe appointment of an older Pope has become a hot topic within the commentariat. Some claim at seventy six, the Pope is too old, and others say seventy six is the new fifty six.

A recent BBC documentary, “The Town That Never Retired”, reveal  unprecedented numbers of older people are staying in work longer. That since the start of the recession in 2008, the number of 16- to 24-year-olds in work has fallen by 597,000. Yet over the same period the number of workers over the age of 65 has increased by 240,000. A current trend in the western work force.

With declining birth rates and an ageing population it makes sense to provide incentives for older employees to either remain, or re-enter the work force. mature work force

What do you think? Do you believe the old guard need to move over and make way for younger workers, do older workers have a choice, or has seventy six simply become the new fifty six?

Written by Catherine White

March 14, 2013 at 11.27 am03

Has your Google RSS Reader replaced the local library?

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Overwhelmed is not myexperience when I visit my local library. On the contrary, as an active member of three libraries (Manly, Manhattan and Brooklyn – yeah I boast) my experience, is always one of hope and curiosity.

The book lined walls never reproach me for not having read them. Neither do I labour under the notion, that unless I’ve read every book in my area of interest, that somehow I’m not measuring up.

Yet, every time I open my Google RSS account, rather than curious, I feel paralized. Unread articles remind me that I’m not keeping up, even worse that my alerts are also unread in one of my subscribers Google Reader.

Unlike a library, where fines apply if books are delayed, RSS Readers are without built in actions that require us to stay on top of the avalanche of information. Sure, alerts ping our email, but it’s a safe bet that your inbox is in worse shape than your Reader.

Returning a read book to the library, on time, never fails to leave me with a sense of accomplishment. I’m always more productive when I use the library, instead of a cafe or home office.

When I use the the computers, or research library I’m rarely tempted to browse non related subjects. If I step away from a computer, another enthusiast won’t hesitate to take over. Even better, I rarely waste a minute of my time when I’m at the library, as unlike my home office, operating hours are non negotiable.

I confess, my RSS Google Reader feels more like a bourgeoning wheelbarrow that’s become too awkward to maneuver.

True to form when humans feel things have become difficult, my reading habits are returning to something simpler, less elusive and illusory.

NB: Written and posted from the Brooklyn Public Library :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

Written by Catherine White

June 22, 2010 at 11.27 am06

Three ducks and a blog

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Blogging is an art form. More than content, timing, form, and expression are all elements of a craft I’m yet to master.

For that reason, I was a little taken aback when I stopped by the blog of a Social Media Chieftain. It had been months since my last visit, so reading another post about life on the road, topped off with the question ‘does that make me sexist? engendered a feeling of dejavu.

If I were to display the contents of my bag, spendiferous with tampons, and dog eared post it notes, my sister and girlfriends might be amused. However, from leading experts, who command substantial fees on the conference circuit, I expect more than repetitive ‘me centric’ commentary. (I left a comment implying as such)

I’m far from a raving Seth Godin fan, in fact I disagree more than agree with Seth, however he has the blog down to a fine art. His pithy, relevant posts usually provoke thought or action.

In my humble opinion, posting is similar to hanging art or family photos. Space and balance are the key to a tasteful display.

Judicious minimalism gives the reader an opportunity to experience your work more intensely. Without the hyperbola, content takes on greater form, and the reader, (rather than the writer ) is invited into a deeper reflection and personal expression.

Perhaps I’m reacting against the burgeoning expression of the blogosphere, regardless, this stream called social media is beginning to sound like one quacked over the cuckoo’s nest.

Written by Catherine White

June 14, 2010 at 11.27 am06

For whom the iPhone tolls

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Has time with your gadgets replaced quality time with family? Do you respond to the ping of your iPhone quicker than a snuggle from your nearest and dearest?

To be honest, I’m becoming increasingly impatient with our excessive reliance on the internet and technology. Not that I don’t appreciate the benefits of the internet, on the contrary, I love social media, but my limit has been reached.

I need blocks of time to recharge and reflect. Time alone in a room without aural or visual stimulation come’s easy to me.

Notwithstanding, I’ve observed, since the acquisition of an iPhone, that my thinking time is constantly interrupted. I’m suffering from a ‘need’ to check my email, or browse the internet, whatever I’m doing at the time. (sound familiar?)

I’m disturbed that my thought processes are frequently interrupted, I’d go so far as to ask myself how this hand held device is reshaping my personality.

In a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia, subjected 173 college students to tests measuring risk for problematic Internet and gambling behaviors. Abour 5 percent of the students showed signs of gambling problems, but 10 percent of the students posted scores high enough to put them in the at-risk category for Internet ‘Addiction”

The study shows that technology use was interfering with the students’ daily lives.

A different group of 200 students were asked by the International Centre for Media and the Public Agenda, at the University of Maryland, to refrain from using electronic media for a day. It was found that giving up technology cold turkey not only makes life logistically difficult, but also changes our ability to connect with others.

Moreover, Dr Aboujaoude asks in her book ‘Virtually You: The Internet and the Fracturing of the Self,” if the efficiency of the iPhone, and anonymity of the chat room, is changing the core of who we are.

I too have to ask myself if the constant digital stimulation has diminshed my ability to focus. Am I the only one who’s frequently way laid by an email notification? Has browsing online [in the name of checking my facts] prevented me from finishing a good book, or simply writing in my journal?

For that reason I’ve decided to disconnect, or at least curtail the iPhone beast.

Think about it, we don’t have to dig too far back to recall the comfort of walking in the rain without the ping of the phone, or sitting by a reading light, instead of a computer screen.

I’m not an evangelist by any means, in fact, the ping from my iPhone continues unheeded as I write. However, like food and alcohol, everything is good in moderation.

Maybe it’s time you too asked if others in your life complain about the amount of time you spend with your technology?

Does going online comfort you?

If going online fixes you, then it’s time to ask what price the toll if we don’t fix it, and fix it NOW?

“Here it is, the shift from deadliness to normal family life that is the strangest” Ernest Hemingway [For Whom the Bell Tolls]


Written by Catherine White

June 10, 2010 at 11.27 pm06

Mark Zuckerberg: Red Faced or an Emperor With no Clothes?

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Today I came across this question on a friends Facebook status? A friend I respect, even if we occasionally disagree.

He asked ‘ Do you think the backlash against Facebook is real or is it a media event?

I had this to say, ‘media or member beat-up, Mark Zuckerbergs character is on record.’

As a Harvard Student, Mark Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s computer network in 2003.

Plundering students official ID photo’s, he placed them next to each other, and asked users to pick the hottest.

A year later, following allegations he stole the Facebook idea from fellow students, he paid out $65 million by way of compensation.

Not to mention Zuckerger’s latest embarrassment over the surfacing of an IM transcript, where he called his first thousand users ‘dumb f*cks’ for trusting him with their data. An allegation Facebook is not denying.

While Tech Reporters describe the bewildering tangle of Facebook Privacy Options as fiendishly complex, I have to bring the question back to Facebook users.

Media or member beat up, I can’t help feeling the towns people were complacent, in particular the gate keepers. Didn’t the same Marketing and Tech people who are now abandoning profiles, encourage their own communities to follow the Emperor?

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not absolving the Facebook Founder of his responsibility, on the contrary. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say gate keepers and users gave the Emperor the keys to his kingdom.

The Emperor is bewildered and asks why does everyone argue with me?

However, his Majesties Advisors assured him (and their own court) that it’s we who are the weavers of distinction.

Art work: J. P. McLaughlin http://www.jpmclaughlin.co.uk

Written by Catherine White

May 18, 2010 at 11.27 pm05

What Really Get’s Your Goat on Twitter?

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There are some people who add value to your day. They provoke thought, post interesting material, and are all round really lovely.

One such friend is Robin Dickinson. He’s very serious about the business of helping, and inspiring others.

He recently asked:

‘What’s something that people do on Twitter that really bothers you?

After thinking about his question, my conclusion was not much. How other’s run their stream, is their business.

My online policy is simple; tweet and let tweet.

Sure, others have their proclivities, as do I.

Indeed, there are times when I’m up for conversation, however despite my regular tweeting, I listen more than I talk.

It’s not what others do, but what they don’t do that get’s my goat.

What get’s my goat is a lack of critical thinking, shallow research and a lack of questions. In this information age, there’s no excuse for rent an opinion, or living our life on the quote of the day.

What do I say to you, if I get your goat? If I offend (I’m sure I will) or you need a favour, all I ask is you frame your question sweetly. Do unto me as you would like others to do unto you.

How is twitter any different to real life? In real life I greet my neighbour with a smile, stay under the radar when I’m having a bad hair day, and rather than call the police, wear ear plugs when they are entertaining.

To answer your question Robin, my policy is tweet and read the tweet.

Failing that …

Written by Catherine White

May 3, 2010 at 11.27 am05

Can the iPad Replace the Irreplaceable?

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Written by Catherine White

April 20, 2010 at 11.27 pm04

Let’s hear it for The New Dorks: They’ll tell you social networks are what dreams are made of

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So you’re in the blogosphere and the twitterverse, what of it? YOU tell me …

Spoof of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind”

Copyright Pantless Knights

Written by Catherine White

March 9, 2010 at 11.27 pm03

14 Million Stories, Half a Billion Diggs in 1883 Days Says It All

with 3 comments

If statistics drive your decisions, and in business they do, these are very compelling numbers.

No more dragging the chain.

Whatever your business model, whatever the format, getting your story on the internet is good for business.

Written by Catherine White

January 28, 2010 at 11.27 am01

Posted in social media, web 2.0

Tagged with , , ,

Recession Hits Adult Content: Sign of the Times

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Another sign in my ‘Sign of the Times’ Series.

Adult Store in 8th Ave, between 47 & 48th Streets, New York.

Written by Catherine White

December 31, 2009 at 11.27 am12

Posted in business, sex

Tagged with , , ,

Business Sucks Sale: Sign of the Times

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Shoe Store in 8th Ave, between 40th & 41st Streets, New York.

Here’s to a better things in 2010

Shoe Store in 8th Ave between 40th & 41st

Written by Catherine White

December 30, 2009 at 11.27 pm12

A Digital Deadline or The Dawn of a Social Media Revolution: A Decade in Review 1999 – 2009

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It’s official; when the clock struck twelve at the close of 1999 we didn’t all turn into pumpkins. The question remains, digital deadline or social media revolution?

As it turned out it wasn’t the global electronic systems that collapsed, but cultural and social barriers. A changing of the guard that’s become known the social media revolution. A change as unprecedented as the industrial revolution at the turn of the Century.

A Digital Decade in review:

1999 -Y2K

2000 – NAPSTER
Napster democratized the internet. Within nine months and without any advertising, Napster secured over 20 million users and paved the way for a myriad of file sharing start-ups.

Consequently Napster faced the music with Congress in the courts, hammering out copyright issues and definitions of sharing vs stealing. A debate which continues on all sides of the economic and cultural divide.

2001 – APPLE iPOD
Music officially became a free for all with the release of the Apple iPod. The size of a cigarette packet, iPods have become as ubiquitous as Apple’s iPhone.

This clip is a historical presentation by Steve Jacobs at an Apple Music Event in 2001 when the iPod was launched.

2002 -SMART PHONE
Surfing the web and sending email was made possible from anywhere and any time of day with the introduction of the T-Mobile Sidekick.

Wireless hot spots in coffee shops, airports and public spaces gave new meaning to accessible communication.

2003 – SKYPE
The connected generation gained access to free international phone calls on personal computers via Skype. You no longer needed to be hooked up to a land line, or a desk top.

A Skype call only needs a laptop and nearest WiFi Hot Spot.

2004 -BLOGS
Blogs hit the air waves when Delta flight attendant Ellen Simonetti lost her job after posting pictures of herself, in uniform, on a personal blog. Subsequently, Ellen was fired and was successfully reinstated after taking Delta to court.

Everyone from porn stars to prospective Governors now keep the news wire alive with titillating and news worthy content.

On the internet content is king and conversation is queen, however for marketers the challenge is on. With millions of consumers producing their own content, it’s not content that’s in short supply but attention.

The downside of the the prolific use of social media and social networking sites is we now live in an age of distraction.

2005 – YOUTUBE
From dancing babies to Filipino inmates performing a Michael Jackson Tribute, Youtube has become mainstream entertainment since it’s launch in 2005.

The most viewed YouTube video goes to improbable singing sensation Susan Boyle.

2006 – MYSPACE
At a rate of over 250,000 new members a day Myspace made perfect sense for emerging artists in search of fame and infamy. Members share content and media with friends and third-party sites like YouTube and photobucket.

Myspace most memorable moment was the organazation of the Largest Philanthropic Program to raise awareness and funds for the Dafur region of western Sudan.

2007 – APPLE iPHONE
The release of Apple’s iPhone provided users with new touch screen communication tools. Fuelling our addiction to updates from what we’ve had for breakfast, to what we’re thinking from the bathroom to the boardroom.

Adding insult to old media injury, the instant upload of photos from the iPhone to social networking sites like twitter, where often picked up before traditional media.

A case in point being the rapid-fire spread of a close-up photo of the US Airways plane that crashed in the Hudson River. A photo that was taken and uploaded by an eye witness within minutes of the accident, faster than any syndicated reporter could hope to cover the event.

2008 – FACEBOOK
Facebook trumps myspace as the leading social networking site, changing the way we relate. Prince Harry hit the news as officially dumped when girlfriend Chelsea changed her status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’.

2009 – TWITTER
Microblogging site Twitter proved itself as a powerful tool during Iran’s violent and contentious presidential election, after which followed a government crackdown on Web and media access.

Critics of the microblogging service continue to argue the merits of sharing everything from what we ate for lunch, to our prospects with the hottie sitting beside us in the local bar.

Notwithstanding, the close of 2009 is not without one of the most unthinkable cultural and political events in history. The Election of a Black American to the Oval Office in the White House.

Accordingly, the President claims a major reason of his success, was the mobilization of social media by volunteers within every state of the USA.

Who’d have envisioned at the end of 1999 consumers would become mass publishers and distributors of messages that’s reverberate to the highest office in the land.

Your prediction for the next decade? Feel free to muse out loud to yourself …

Twitter Outrage & Sympathy For Mother Who Tweeted After Son Drowned

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A Florida mother has received an avalanche of sympathy and anger after tweeting about her dying son just 34 minutes after the 2-year-old boy was found in the bottom of her backyard pool.

“Please pray like never before,” blogger Shellie Ross typed Monday in a message to her Twitter followers. “my 2 yr old fell in the pool.”

Five hours later, Bryson Ross was pronounced dead at a local hospital, whereupon his mother once again updated her 5,000 followers with a photo of her smiling son on twitter.

Personal privacy is the issue of the moment as a result of recent changes to Facebook, whereby users information on their profiles can now be indexed by google. Added to which, the discussion around the pros and cons of revealing intimate details of our private lives on social networking sites is no less intense.

Notwithstanding, as a mother who found her nineteen year old son after he died during the night of cerebral aneurysm, I know from personal experience Shellie Ross is in shock. Shock is natures way of helping us transition a crisis, during which time our judgment is impaired. We behave as if nothing has happened. Whatever the discussion about social networking protocols, in my view Shellie was genuinley reaching out through a means that was immediately available.

Social networking sites are after all communities where, like a pepple thrown into a pond, our status updates can be more than keeping in touch, but a genuine cry for help, albeit with unexpected and far reaching consequences.

Since the death of my son Trevor, one of his brothers has struggled with his own issues in recovering, not least drug addiction. A nightmare which our family has suffered prior to his brothers death, and more so after.

There have been more nights than I care to recount where I’ve been tempted to unburden an aching heart on a status update. But all the status updates in the world won’t bring my son back, help my son through rehab, or sooth an aching heart.

My heart felt condolences are extended to Shellie Ross, as well as a glimpse into my own story as a show of genuine internet support for little Bryson Ross’ family.

NB: The lead investigator in the drowning death of 2-year-old Bryson Ross said his mother’s involvement with online social media did not cause her son’s death.

“Her tweeting had nothing to do with what happened with regard to her son,” said Brevard County Sheriff’s Homicide Agent Joe Martin. “It was an accident.”

Martin said the investigation is still open but no charges will be filed in the case.

Written by Catherine White

December 18, 2009 at 11.27 pm12

Facebook Privacy

with 6 comments

This message is doing the rounds. Whether you use Facebook for personal or business, privacy is an issue of grave concern.

FB Privacy: Facebook will now automatically index all your info on Google, which allows everyone to view it. To change this option, go to Settings –> Privacy Settings –> Search –> then UN-CLICK the box that says ‘Allow indexing’. Copy and paste onto your status for all your friends ASAP.

Not everyone navigates facebook like a proam, so here’s a quick tutorial to help alleviate any unnecessary anxiety, but first let me get something off my chest.

Not only have the use of Social networking sites blurred the lines between not only what’s acceptable and appropriate disclosure, but seduced us into a false sense of security about our private lives. There is only one persona responsible for your privacy and THAT’S YOU!

Not only do I not have my personal address, phone number or marital status on any of my profiles, but I continually remind myself any information I post is forever recorded on the internet.

It has always been ever thus …

It’s only recently social networking sites are now are legally obliged to declare where your information is directed and how it’s used.

RANT OVER … now to adjusting YOUR settings:

When you click on Settings, click on Privacy which should look like this window. When you have that open click on Search

The search page looks like this, which you will note has a box to the right that is automatically ticked.

If you don’t want to be indexed, this is the box you need to untick.

What it should look like after the box is unticked. NOW SAVE YOUR NEW SETTING

Written by Catherine White

December 15, 2009 at 11.27 pm12

Stay connected when travelling

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The biggest thing when travelling for any length of time, is staying connected. If you’re like me and leave everything to the last minute, then quickly bookmark Wi_Fi Hotspot Locater because the first thing you will need when you land is a connection.

WiFiFreeSpot.com is a comprehensive list of 278,248 free and pay Wi-Fi locations in 140 countries.

Additionally, you can install and run a free program called SSIDer or NetStumbler that scans for available networks.

If connecting hotspots from your notebook is a problem, wireless range-extending antennas are readily available.

While travelling however, I’ve found my creativity has surged as a result of being less hooked up, it’s cheering to realise new opportunities and new content often only comes after we seriously unplug.

You should try it. Like fasting, the first three days are rough, but the realisation an unplugged life can be a more productive life is worth a few tremors.

She says as she returns to plotting her day around the hotspot route …

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Fourth Avenue, New York (man reading at outdoor book stall)

Written by Catherine White

November 7, 2009 at 11.27 am11

How Often Do You Kiss & Tweet?

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The most significant addition to the social media family is the microblogging platform twitter. From small beginnings in 2006, twitter has become the pocket sized social media accessory for social networking addicts.

One might ask who is using the microblogging platform and from where and when do they tweet?

According to a September 2009 study from Retrevo found that among those under age 35, 39% of Twitter users and 27% of Facebook users checked the sites at least 10 times every day.

twitter_stats

And twitter users were more likely than other social media users to feed their addiction from every location but school, including hotels, libraries, public transportation and restaurants.

56% tweet during work hours, 17% from the washroom or toilet, 11% while driving, 9% during class, 8% during live theatre performances and 3% tweet the word from Church.

As for my twitter addiction while on walkabout? Mine is satisfied with regular posts from the web when I can, however my lips are sealed. I don’t kiss and tweet, nor do I tweet from the bathroom, the echo from the cubicle is just too embarrassing.

tweeting-bar

Written by Catherine White

October 31, 2009 at 11.27 am10

No Room At The Holiday Inn For Negative Check Outs

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For the most part I buy quality and enjoy dining when assured the food is fresh, the kitchen clean and staff helpful. When I receive good customer service I feel affirmed at a basic level as a human being.

That said, I’m willing to sacrifice a few creature comforts while on the road in the USA for the next three months. I figure pennies saved on a few necessities equals more dollars to spend on those Manolo Blahnik shoes.

The Holiday Inn Downtown Columbus mixed reviews didn’t faze me, as clearly the Hotel had underfone a recent facelift. I was a happy camper when I landed in a double suite for the price of one.

For the most part the Holiday Inn staff are helpful, service agreeable and amenities comparable. But even a heated pool couldn’t cool my ire after a series of slights from one particular night staffer, boiled over into a loud run in.

holiday_inn_pool

*no room at the inn to be left out in the cold*

Checking out in loud protest the next morning, I was ready to kick the Holiday Inn to the kerb. Hell hath no fury than a blogger offended, my campaign to send my blog link to every travel agent and Holiday Inn in sight was averted after the General Manager Tyson Schweitzer stepped up.

Using the occasion as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive, Tyson not only provided me with two free nights at any Holiday Inn and their Associates, but put the Inn’s shuttle at my service for the remainder of my stay in Columbus (even if I had takenup lodgings with their competitor). A cute touch was was a little trick or treat goodies bag.

As a traveller in a foreign country I appreciated Tyson receiving the negative customer feedback as a positive. He not only turned the situation around to the satisfaction of both parties, but left no room at the inn for negative check outs.

As for me, I have two free nights accommodation in my pocket for emergencies, and an AMAZING deal on HOTWIRE with the Hyatt On Capital Square.
*check out my new lodgings*
Traveller Tip: Blessings speak with fork tongue at fork on the road of life.

Written by Catherine White

October 29, 2009 at 11.27 am10

Defending Against Negative Blogs

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I am my own writer, I don’t use others to do my stuff , so while I’m on the road please understand I’m not being lazy, but do want to keep connected with my subscribers by providing helpful information.

Written by Catherine White

October 25, 2009 at 11.27 am10

Here’s To The Crazy One’s

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Thanks to Luke Harvey Palmer who posted this on Facebook this morning.

An inspiring reminder for anyone feeling they must be touched by a degree of madness in the face of a monumental task.

Written by Catherine White

October 9, 2009 at 11.27 am10

Posted in social media

Tagged with

Communication Break Down Or Cross Cultural Difference?

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Next time you find yourself in a confusing situation, ask yourself how culture may be shaping your reactions, and try to see the world from the other point of view.

See it is an opportunity to learn new problem solving skills, and use the differences to challenge your own assumptions about the “right” way of doing things.

Culture is often at the root of communication challenges. Exploring historical experiences and the ways in which various cultural groups relate to each other is the key to opening channels for cross-cultural communication.

For instance, Anthropologists discovered that, when faced with an interaction we don’t understand, people have a tendency to interpret the others as “abnormal”, “weird” or “wrong.”

Notwithstanding, if we have an awareness cultural differences are at work we are well on the way to understanding each other and establishing a positive outcome.

Research show’s there’s a strong correlation between productivity and elements of trust, such as communication effectiveness, conflict management and rapport.

Since trust is built in different ways, and means different things in different cultures, we need to take cultural differences into account when building trust,

For instance, in the U.S.A you gain the trust of your colleagues by coming through and delivering on time on your commitments. In many other parts of the world, including many Arab, Asian and Latin American countries, building relationships is a prerequisite for professional interactions.

In these countries building trust often involves lengthy discussions on nonprofessional topics and shared meals in restaurants. Work-related discussions start only once your counterpart has become comfortable with you as a person.

Cultural differences in multicultural teams can create misunderstandings between team members before they have had a chance to establish any credibility with each other. Thus, building trust is a critical step in the creation and development of any team with more than two people from different cultural backgrounds.

Managers of a multicultural team fare better when they recognize that building trust between different people is a complex process.

While the social media revolution has granted us a world of exciting cross cultural opportunities, we do well to remind ourselves, without trust words are hollow, however with trust, words become life itself.

World_Globe_Jigsaw_Puzzle.jpg

Tags: americal, arab, asian, communication, conflict, countries, cross, cultural, latin, management

Written by Catherine White

October 5, 2009 at 11.27 pm10

The Lehman Women Use Linkedin To Connect & Create Worth For Their Members After Wall Street

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Lehman_Women_2009The Lehman Women 2009 is group of women who lost their jobs on Wall Street in September.

Lehman Brothers Former Managing Director and Chief Diversity Officer Ann Ernie has spent the last twelve months leveraging the value of Lehman Women on Wall Street by hosting women’s networking events through a group called Women’s Inititives in Leading Women (aka WILLpower)

Set up as a specific network for Lehman Women 2009, WILLpower went into overdrive after the crash and set up their own group on Linkedin.

Established as a centralized location where Lehman Women 2009 login to view job postings, networking events or collaborate with other women, WILLpower on Linkedin has helped over one hundred women find employment.

With over eight hundred members, one of WILLpower’s objective’s is to pay it forward. Members can ‘give back’ by mentoring younger women, getting involved in philanthropic work and focusing on women globally.

In addition to finding new employment opportunities, The Lehman Women 2009 have formed very deep professional and personal relationships.

While The Lehman Women 2009 are resourceful and renowned for their resilience, it’s also true Linkedin is known as the leading recruitment site that professionals and blue collar workers rely on for networking into new opportunities.

lehman-women-linkedin-screen-shot

Written by Catherine White

October 4, 2009 at 11.27 pm10

Posted in linkedin, women

Tagged with , ,

Wanted “WOMEN OVER 40″

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Never in the history of mankind have women over forty been more interesting, more educated and more empowered.

While I find this advertisement amusing, I can’t help wondering how women would respond to such an advertisement today?

women-over-40-floral-ad-735993

Disclaimer: Before you get your hopes up, please know this ad is from WWII

Written by Catherine White

October 1, 2009 at 11.27 am10

Posted in women

Tagged with , ,

Blue Collar Do Social Networking Naturally

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Bart_Gragg
This weeks Featured Author is Founder Of Blue Collar University, Bart Gragg. Blue Collar University specializes in Management Training for Blue Collar Managers. Bart is a Consultant, Speaker, Trainer, Author and Mentor.

Let’s just be plain, old honest here. Blue collar workers and managers are the original and best social networkers you will ever come across. How can I say that when you rarely see them on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc? Because as I wrote in another article, the words ‘social’ and ‘networking’ are more meaningful than a place on the internet for people to meet. People use today’s version of social networking as a means to fish for business.

I agree with Rob Becker’s statement in “Defending the Caveman” – “Fishing was created by God because He needed something one step above doing nothing. It is also not cool for one guy to say to another “Wanna go sit down by the water and talk?”

Fishing Boat Sinks

What’s this got to do with blue collar people and today’s version of social networking? Plenty. Let’s just start with the fact that they are the best networkers around. They go fishing (read: talk to people) with no expectation of favors. They get things done when no one else can because they have those contacts. Who wouldn’t want their people to be more effective, productive and savvy about their work world? (‘K, yeah, I know there are those that don’t but forget about them…)

Here are just a few ways that social networking can help the blue collar worker or manager:

  • Finding more sources for material and services. Look at John Deere’s MachineFinder.com where farmers can not only look at videos of new and used equipment but begin to have a sense of community as they read about other working families and their history.
  • Connecting with others to find projects to bid on. Most of the major trades groups have websites now, including places to post upcoming projects and positions available. They are also places to stay current with news in their industry.
  • Connecting with others to find employment. Bill M., an out of work printing press operator, has to make a career change. He monitors Twitter, is on LinkedIn, and asks advice on how best to look professional as well as move into management.
  • Discussing solutions for problems others never even hear about. There are experiences, and solutions, that will never be documented by writing. Usually they are talked about over a beer, or at a barbecue. It’s a whole different ball game when you talk about intellectual capital. Can we create a community to share these ideas and capture this experience? I think we need to.

“So what?” you might say? “Everyone else does that anyway, no new news there!”

Two things – it IS news to THEM. Effectively implementing social networking for the blue collar worker and manager will drastically raise their credibility. It can also motivate them to be better at what they do. Let’s face it, how often do you see a nice clean cut professional photo of a blue collar person on LinkedIn? Suppose, along with that photo went a well written bio? While we are at it, suppose then their boss recommends them on LinkedIn? What if your boss recommended you to the world on Linkedin?

Bart Gragg comes from some of the toughest industries out there. He is the founder of Blue Collar UniversityÆ – It’s What’s Above The Collar That Counts! He is known as a ‘translator’ between white and blue collar as he has walked in both sets of shoes. He writes The Blue Collar Blog.

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Written by Catherine White

September 29, 2009 at 11.27 pm09

Basic Email Etiquette Can Save Your Job

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Applying basic principals of email ettiquette can save not only a lot of time, but your job.

The recent termination of a New Zealand Accountant, for always shouting at her colleagues via the use of capitals is a case in point.email shouting

She successfully sued her former employer for wrongful termination after being accused of creating ‘disharmony in the workplace” because of her use of capital letters in emails (the e-mail equivalent of shouting)

According to research from the University of Queensland, Australia, the leading cause of stress in the workplace is not the volume of email, but ambiguous language.

CNN’s Andrew Stevens says a basic misunderstanding of email etiquette contributes to work place communication break downs.

Firstly, he says you can tell what level a person is in the company by the type of emails they send. For example, Senior Executives write to the point emails like yes, no or confirmed, whereas Middle Management write longer emails designed to create favor and influence outcomes.

Lower rung employees write chatty emails, talk about activies outside work hours, and write on a more personal level.

With so much work conducted online with Virtual Assistants and via social networks, possessing a grasp of human behaviour, as well as email etiquette can advance your career.

Five of Andrew Stevens Golden Rules are:

DON’T put the senders email in until it’s ready to send

Because the save and send buttons are so close together, it’s a safe bet you can make the mistake of sending an unedited email, so DON’T put the senders email address in until it’s ready to send.

DON’T send emails while consuming alcohol
‘nuff said on that one.

DON’T over complicate your message
K
eep It Simple Sweetie is a good rule of thumb in all communications, particularly in emails. The less said, the less likely you are to be misunderstood.

DON’T use too much humour
While I like to keep it light, I recognize in certain situations it’s not appropriate. Keep the knock knock jokes for the water cooler.

DON’T expect people to read between the lines.
When I worked in government I wrote press releases with spin and raised Ministerials with diplomacy. While I never lied, I understood the value of well chosen, ‘diplomatic dialogue.’ When email was introduced nuance and tone became critical, which I learned was difficult to transfer in an email.

While the New Zealand employee successfully sued her employer for wrongful dismissal, how much money could have been saved had the company the foresight to include email guidelines in a social media policy.

Finally, since Murphy’s Law often prevails, all company email policies should include the Irish quote “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far”
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Written by Catherine White

September 27, 2009 at 11.27 pm09

Helen Fisher Says Women Are Web Thinkers Who’s Writing Can Change Governments

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If your tools are words, and your passion is writing, then chances are you’ll write your way into a very powerful position in your field.

According to Anthropologist Helen Fisher, women have become a powerful force in the business community.

Because of the unique way the female brain is connected, Helen call’s women web thinkers who process and communicate data quickly and creatively.

Consequently women have become an economic and business power with the capacity to work their way onto boards or positions of government.

While 54% of of American writers are women, Japanese and Indian women, while not moving as fast as their western counterparts, are dominating journalism.

Helen is quick to point out men can also be good communicators, as most of the geniuses in the world are men. Notwithstanding, her research shows the gap between men and women is closing.

In her TED Talk posted below she closes with the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn quote “For a Country To have a great writer is to have another government.”

I hope you get as much out of Helen’s TED Talk as I have, indeed she is second to none in her field. But then she is a writer …

Written by Catherine White

September 23, 2009 at 11.27 pm09

Michel’s Patisserie Coffee Is Ordinary, But The Sex is Crafted To Perfection

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I have a confession to make; coffee always tastes better when it’s made and served by a dishy Barrista.

I rarely drink anything other than my favorites, which are Fresh Roashed Belaroma, and Toby’s Estate until last Sunday when I tried Michel’s Patisserie.

It begs the question how does a girl go from drinking fresh roasted Italian Coffee to Michel’s Patisserie?

It was a Sunday morning walk, I was feeling energetic and walked further than my usual coffee stop at Belaroma. In no hurry, I was enjoying the sun, thinking of the future and unaware of the temptation lurking up ahead.

expert barista

I’m not easily influenced by advertising, or sales men. In fact when my children were young I’d wait for a knock on the door from a vacuum cleaner sales man. Not that I didn’t have a vacuum cleaner, but busy mum that I was, my carpets always needed a quick clean.

Notwithstanding, no one was more surprised than me when I consciously allowed myself to be seduced by Michel’s Patisserie’s latest advertising. Added to which, I smiled with guilty pleasure as I drank a coffee I’d rank 6 out of 10 at a push.

I can count on one hand how many cups of Michel’s Patisserie I’ve drunk in my entire coffee drinking career. As far as coffee goes, this brand has never been on my radar, until now!

Michel’s Patisserie tag line should be “Michel’s Patisserie Coffee Is Ordinary, But The Sex Is Crafted To Perfection.”

Written by Catherine White

September 22, 2009 at 11.27 pm09

Word of strength

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> Hi Will
>
> Attached is the word I received some weeks back, which I read yesterday. >
> It is important to let you know, when I was writing this, I felt a great infusion of strength and reassurance that all is well, however things might appear at the present time. I was overwhelmed with great reassurance. >
> I sought the Holy Spirit’s direction in respect to its release, but could find no freedom to release it in church. This confused me a little, as it was a definite word from the Holy Spirit. >
> While I was waiting on the timing of its release, I was in prayer over it, that the words would find the heart(s) receptive when the time came. In essence, without knowing you at all. I was in fact praying for you. >
> When you walked in the door yesterday, without knowing you or your story, I felt the Holy Spirit say, that word you are sitting in is him. This is the person you are to deliver my word of strength. >
> I was pleasantly surprised, as it was a clear and precise direction. >
> So my only condition is that you discern the word, and retain that which quickens to you, and discard the rest. We are human vessels after all. >
> All the best to you Will — hope in the receiving it blesses and strengthens you I this season. >
> Warm regards
> Catherine White
>

Written by Catherine White

July 25, 2014 at 11.27 pm07

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