Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Your Work Email Is NOT Yours!

Tips for your work email - it is not YOURS.

It can be tempting and easy to reply to anything using your work email.  Common sense indicates to take a deep breath and reflect before you run off at the finger!

While far from resolved, the key points from the current [ September 2017] Channel Seven and Starr cases is that all employees should follow some simple guidelines:
  • Have a work email and a personal email — and keep them separate.
  • Use your personal email for private communication.
  • Don't use personal email for work-related issues — this is something Hillary Clinton and currently Jared Kushner have been reflecting on.
  • Don't use work email for personal communication as your employer has the right to check your work emails.
  • Rule of thumb — if you wouldn't say it in the middle of the office, don't say it on social media or any other e-communication. It is there forever and you don't know how it will be interpreted.
This is the central tenet in the article written by Peter Holland, an associate professor at Monash Business School in the article that appeared on the ABC web site today.

Sounds like good advice, but as a few comments below the article allude, the work / personal space is less clear in today's world. 

For the full article - visit:

Lots of sensible and considered advice in today's connected world.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Vegemite - NOW owned by Australian Company

Vegemite back in Australian ownership

Bega Cheese has now finalised its takeover of the Vegemite brand on 6 July 2017, after a cyber attack stalled the deal.
In a deal worth $460 million, Bega has acquired food giant Mondelez International’s Australian grocery and cheese business, which includes the Vegemite brand, as well as others such as ZoOSh salad dressings and beef extract Bonox.
The acquisition includes the brands’ manufacturing facilities.
Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin has said the Vegemite brand will continue to focus on local growth, however there are also plans to expand to the Asian market.
The deal has led to the creation of 200 jobs in Melbourne.
The takeover was initially stalled due to an outage of the Mondelez global IT network, which was attributed to a global cyber attack.
This is the first time in 90 years that the Vegemite brand has been in Australian ownership.
Vegemite is an Aussie icon......loved by many Australians and equally loathed by many non Australians.   Lets describe vegemite as an acquired taste!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Hardly Frog Weather

It is now mid June. Deep in the dry season with low humidity [ 20% or so], quite vigorous SE winds, no rain, cool to cold nights [ < 20C] - well, at least for the Darwin area........and more to come it seems.  A great burst of serious dry season weather.

Hardly seems any time since the complaint was about high humidity and plenty of rain.

Current conditions are NOT frog weather!  Needs to be enjoyed while it lasts though.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Frog Weather

The monsoon is visiting again.........or maybe it is best to consider it has been here since just after Christmas.

Only been a few days it has not rained since January 1, and many have been very very wet.  Several weekends have received more than 200mm over the 2 day weekend period........makes it difficult to get things done.

Our zoysia lawn has not been mown since a few dry days in mid-January, although the nature strip had a mow when the neighbour did their nature strip area last weekend - really just a light has been poor for grass growing, with rain and overcast conditions.

This morning the forecast was for continuing monsoonal conditions for a few days at least with the possibility of the conditions extending past the weekend.  At least it is not so hot and with cloud cover also reducing the baking from bright sunshine.

It is easily described as ideal frog weather.

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in cane toad numbers / sightings in our street, and we managed to somehow miss eliminating two of the blighters in the front yard over the past few weeks.  First ones actually seen in our front yard  since a year or so back.  Disappeared into the shrubbery and under the house.....out of reach of the weapons of mass destruction.

Vigilance has increased.

But of course the more pleasant green tree frog continues to vocalise in the neighbourhood.

Also had a small [ very small really] yellow tree snake noted in a palm over the past weekend.

Is it just frog weather?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Orchids in Flower

Those amazing orchids flowered again today.

How is it that all of them seem to flower on the same day.........every time?   Not just at our house where we have 4 or 5 large orchid plants on separate palm trees around the yard, but near neighbours as well.

All have different watering and nutrition regimes, even different light profiles, as some are well shaded, other are not.

A magnificent perfume aroma this morning as I walked into the garden.......and a huge flower display. last but 1-2 days.

Needs to be enjoyed while there!

orchids in flower 1 Feb 2017

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

GOLD - 31 Incredible Facts

No metal can claim a legacy comparable to gold.

Gold has been used to show affectionate love, but it has also represented power, status, and riches for the greatest kings of antiquity. Gold’s history is truly legendary, ripe with colorful tales and anecdotes from people ranging from William Shakespeare to Christopher Columbus.

But gold doesn’t just “talk the talk”.

Gold also walks the walk, because its grandeur is backed up by impressive chemical properties and uses. As we documented in our extensive Gold Series, it’s been used as a monetary metal for thousands of years by ancient civilizations such as the Lydians, Greeks, Chinese, and Romans. It’s the most malleable and ductile metal, and it doesn’t tarnish or corrode. Over time, these properties have helped people to associate gold with concepts such as immortality or royalty.

Even today, people are still finding new uses for gold that are impressive in their own right. For example, scientists recently discovered a gold alloy that is four times tougher than titanium.

Without further ado, here are 31 incredible facts about gold.


The following infographic puts the rich history of gold into perspective.
Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Rare Earths - Help Run our World

7 Rare Earth Elements that Run our World

7 Rare Earth Elements that Run our World [Infographic] by the team at
911 Metallurgist

Friday, 18 March 2016

Some Notes on Zika Virus - US source

The link provides a direct link to an infographic and text about Zika virus from data in early 2016.

Not totally relevant for Australia but still a good set of information guidelines.

The main carrier mosquito is NOT present in the Darwin region. 

Worth reading to help sort fact and fiction.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Orange Footed Scrub Fowls

Most consider them a pest.........they excavate mulch and toss it everywhere in their hunt for food in suburban gardens.

Yet, are they filling a role in turning over the mulch and surface soils, eating army worms and sod worms and generally improving soil quality?

Anyhow....... captured them in action in some photos at our house block over the past week.  If a local I am sure the same scene has been noted if you live in a house, and not an apartment.  Enjoy the action photos.

There are also Torres Strait pigeons nesting in the palms - with one enjoying a bit of sunshine last week.

Torres Strait pigeon

Orange footed scrub fowls in action  - excavating - what they do well!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

It is Raining in February 2016

Rain fell in late lowest ever records of rain for January were not broken.

But that said.......the total amount for January was VERY low, compared to the average or median values.

Rain started to fall over the last weekend of January and has continued into the first week of February.  The met bureau describes it as a weak monsoon burst, but is raining, and quite regularly, the sky is overcast and cloudy.......typical monsoon conditions, and predicted to continue next week as well.  

And Darwin River dam is inching closer to being full, as are local aquifers.

And it is considerably  cooler.  Blessed relief from the burning sun, although there is mostly enough solar energy to keep the solar HWS ticking over nicely.

Pleasant weather.

Friday, 29 January 2016

When Will It Rain?

As we approach the end of January one needs to realise that rainfall over the past month has been VERY LOW in Darwin.

Quite a burst of wet weather around Christmas.........not much since.

The lowest rainfall EVER for Darwin Airport was 136.1mm.  While there are a few days left this month, and the Met Bureau is talking about a wetter weekend, the reality is..........rainfall has been poor in January 2016.

Records show that officially we have not yet exceeded the lowest record  for Darwin Airport, but close to it [ 132.8mm as of today, 29th January].  However, there may be many other locations around the Darwin area below the 136.1 mm claimed as the lowest on record from 1965.

The average is 427.1 mm and median 418.6mm.  For the record the highest for January was 940.4mm in 1995 and the highest daily rainfall a mere 290.4mm also in January 1995[ the third].

Remember though that full seasonal rainfall for Darwin varies wildly between months, yet still is often reasonably close to the median or average.  Some months still to come!!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Will a Detox Diet REALLY Rid your Body of Toxins and Make you Healthier?

A Detox Diet

The following article was on the ABC web site today and really says it all.  Do not believe the hype about detoxifying to clean your system.......just make longer term changes to eat well.
Detox diets are hugely popular at this time of year. And little wonder.

Promising to rid your body of the "toxins" resulting from poor diet and lifestyle, the claim is these diets will leave you cleansed and revitalised — and perhaps a few kilos lighter to boot.

But do these programs, which often involve consuming expensive powders and potions, really do anything to improve your health?

Generally not, says Tim Crowe, an associate professor in nutrition at Deakin University. It is a view supported by many others, including a thorough review of studies of eight popular detox diets published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2015.  "A lot of things they recommend cutting out are actually not a bad idea," Professor Crowe says.  "If you cut out alcohol, stop smoking and eat less junk food, you will feel better. But that's not because you're eliminating toxins. You're just putting less rubbish in your body."

But Professor Crowe says the premise that our bodies need to be "cleansed" of toxins built up from our lifestyle is not supported by scientific evidence.

What is a detox diet?

  • You can find a wide variety of detox programs and kits; some last a day or two, others go on for several months.
  • Some simply aim to boost your intake of raw vegetables and unprocessed foods, while encouraging you to cut out caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar.
  • Others involve the use of supplements (such as vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements) or laxatives.
  • Some even border on starvation diets, permitting you to drink only juice.
  • A 2015 literature review found there was NO compelling evidence for the effectiveness of detox diets.

"We encounter toxic substances all the time, but our body does a perfectly good job of removing them," he says.

Fruit and vegetables, for example, contain natural insecticides that could be harmful to our bodies.
But our kidneys, liver and gut effectively neutralise such substances within hours of eating them, converting them into products that can be passed out of our bodies.

Our lungs, skin and immune system are also primed to remove or neutralise toxic substances.

Professor Crowe says there are no special herbs, juices or diets that enhance that process, and the companies marketing detox programs cannot even name the toxins they are claiming to remove.
"You won't find any evidence that following any of these programs means you will eliminate more toxins full stop," he says.

Potential detox harms include bowel issues, aches and bad breath.

Not only are detox diets not actually "detoxifying", in some cases they can be harmful.
"Some can be very extreme; they can eliminate whole food groups, particularly dairy foods," Professor Crowe says.  This means you can miss out on important nutrients.

He says drastically cutting kilojoules can also cause:
  • stomach and bowel upsets
  • feelings of tiredness
  • aches and pains
  • bad breath
This is often claimed to be a sign your body is getting rid of toxins.  "But it's actually just a sign you haven't had enough carbohydrates; you're going into starvation mode," Professor Crowe says.You've done the 'bad thing', now here's the detox diet to absolve you of your sins.  

"While you will lose a lot of weight quickly, this is because you're losing mostly fluid and your carbohydrate stores, rather than stored fat. You regain that weight as soon as you start eating normally again."

Detox diets recommending you drink large amounts of water can also lead to dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood that can cause seizures, comas or even death. This is especially a problem if your salt intake is already low from severely cutting your food intake.

Consumer group CHOICE has identified a number of ingredients in some detox kits that are potentially harmful for people with conditions such as high blood pressure, or those taking medicines such as blood thinners. Warnings about these ingredients are often lacking.

They are popular because they offer an apparent quick-fix solution to poor lifestyle and diet habits.

"You've done the bad thing, now here's the detox diet to absolve you of your sins so you can start a clean slate," he says.  "If a detox diet makes you start eating better that's a wonderful thing," he says.

But if you are serious about improving your health, you need to make changes that last beyond the few weeks or months of your detox program.  "Eat more fruit and vegetables and less processed foods, cut back on alcohol, quit smoking if you're a smoker, and do more exercise," Professor Crowe says.

A few preliminary studies have suggested certain nutritional components found in coriander, grapes and wine, and citrus fruits, may be useful for the elimination of toxic metals, but more robust research is needed to verify if this is really the case. your $$$, and do not buy that detox kit that is for sale in the chemist or supermarket, just eat sensibly, and in many cases just ease off the booze!!

By Cathy Johnson.  Originally posted 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

World's Most Expensive Materials

The World's Most Valuable Substances by Weight

This infographic was produced by Jeff Desjardins a founder and editor of Visual Capitalist, a media website that creates and curates visual content on investing and business.  Amazing stuff!!

Worthwhile thinking about.........dreaming of course!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Frog Weather

Yes, frog weather has arrived in the north over the past week.

With close to 600mm in the rain gauge since the week prior to Christmas, including one big day with close to 200mm [ many other places with much more than this, and on multiple days] the monsoon arrived in serious mode.  Ground developed a serious squelch - absolutely saturated!

Unfortunately these conditions also accentuate conditions for the nasty soil borne disease meliodosis - often fatal.  Our neighbour was infected and although now on the mend, had a nasty,awful,  horrible time and seems to have suffered quite badly with pain.  He is recovering, thankfully.  At least locally in Darwin, if you present at emergency at the hospital, they are sufficiently aware of the issue to start treatment quickly - a major step to prevent death.  I noted when at the doctor myself a few days ago - there was a poster about the disease on the wall - a needed warning!  

The rain was however, a pleasant relief, given the dry, yet humid weather of the past two months of so.

Now - New Years Eve - it is drier, with no rain for a couple of days, although humid with rain around - just not in the rain gauge!

The expected cyclone fizzled into a tropical low as it moved SE across the NT- mainly because it failed to move over water and pick up intensity, yet it was an important and major event, as it moved SE to South bringing RAIN .

It brought good drought breaking rain to the parched areas of western and south western Queensland, Barkly Tablelands, the SE of the Northern Territory and is continuing to move south with more rains forecast at least for today in those regions.

Western Queensland was in serious drought - and had been for some years.  I bet there are some glimmers of smiles on property owners faces now. will be a long and difficult time back to recovery, as most places have got rid of stock and no doubt prices for new stock will rise as demand escalates over the next few weeks or more.  

They do need more rain- not necessarily huge quantities just a more normal rainy season the help rebuild pastures, vegetation and soil cover.  Lets hope they really have a decent rainy season.

For Darwin, a few days without rain are welcome - gets the solar HWS charged up, and allows a few activities outside.  The cloud cover is still around which keeps pool water temperatures a bit lower, and the monsoon wind flow is still strong at around 20 - 35km/hr from the west, also creating a few miserable choppy waves at local beaches.

Still plenty of green tree frogs around at night though, enjoying the change in weather!  AND - so far seen no cane toads this past week or two. Even a healthy and fat Torres Strait Pigeon or two around.

Torres Strait pigeon on African Mahogany tree

Thursday, 19 November 2015

NEW DISCOVERY - World's Second Largest Ever Diamond

Lucara Diamond Corp has uncovered the world’s second largest single diamond - not the largest!.

The 1111 carat, type IIa, gem was found from the south lobe of Lucara’s Karowe mine, in Botswana.

The miner was ecstatic over the find, with CEO William Lamb stating "this historic diamond recovery puts Lucara and the Karowe mine amongst a select number of truly exceptional diamond producers”.  “The significance of the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1000 carats, the largest for more than a century and the continued recovery of high quality stones from the south lobe, cannot be overstated."

“Our focus on mining the south lobe, which is delivering value beyond expectation, has been perfectly timed with the commissioning of our recent plant modifications, enabling the recovery of these large, high quality exceptional diamonds."

The world famous Cullinan diamond, which sits in the British crown jewels, is the largest, coming in at 3106.75 carats, roughly three times the size of the new diamond.

I think I would be impressed if I had found a quality diamond THAT big!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

It's VERY HOT........Trees Thrive

Over the past week the weather has turned NASTY, VERY NASTY.  Hot and sticky, relatively windless and oppressive.  Sunday was awful- 36.9 maximum [ just 0.3C below all time hottest for November] and there is little relief in the offing.  Oh for a cooling storm!

There has been virtually no rain around Darwin over the past month or so, after a burst on one day of around 15 -  25 mm.  While there has been rain south of Darwin, it has not penetrated as far north as city areas, although there has been rain south of the city around Berry Springs and Adelaide River, and even further south to Katherine.

But oh the local trees.............they are flowering magnificently.

Pride of India - pink and purple, Albizzia / Samanea saman the majestic rain tree covered in yellow fluff,  Poinciania  [ Delonix regia] - both red and orange forms; a wide range of colours in frangipanni, a few yellow flowered Peltophorum,  Allosyncarpia sp - now more common as a street tree in Darwin city and even in a few suburbs with their attractive pale yellow/ lemon bunched flowers.

One should not forget the displays of bougainvilia shrubs - white, purple, red and many more colours also now in full flower.  They thrive on dry weather!  

It is time.........the regular pre wet season flowering.

Purple Pride of India street trees

Red Poinciania in flower

Peltophorum in flower - bright yellow

The piece de resistance - a magnificent orange poinciana [ fairly uncommon] near the Trower Road overpass, in absolutely glorious full flower

Monday, 9 November 2015

BYOW - Bring Your Own Water

How to Reduce Your Water Footprint (Infographic)

How to Reduce Your Water Footprint (Infographic)

It’s no secret that we use a lot of water in our day-to-day lives. However, eating locally and choosing to drink the local water rather than bottle water can help reduce your water usage and footprint. While there are some places where bottled water is certainly the safer option, in most developed countries the tap water must pass rigorous testing. This infographic from Wheels for Wishes  details some ways to reduce your water footprint as well as some details on how much water we actually use.

It has been extraordinarily hot in the NT over the past few days.  Near record maximum temperatures, as well as very high minimum temperatures, so warm that even a dip in the pool is not all that pleasant either.

the inforgraphic is a great reminder that everyone can do their bit to be sensible about water use, and try to bring your own.

Would hardly be a cyclist around that did not carry their own water so follow that example!

Infographic via Wheels for Wishes

Read more:

While US focussed there is no doubt the story for Australia is similar.

Remember the common story...........BYOW........yes, Bring Your Own Water

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Marijuana Use in USA Doubles

US Marijuana Use Has More Than Doubled in a Decade

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Solar Impulse on Round the World Flight - by Sun!

After 13 years of planning, the Solar Impulse SI2 took off from Al-Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi at 7:12 a.m. local time a day ago. 

This initiated the first leg of its historic attempt to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. If all goes well, the plane will return to Al-Bateen in June or July. As reported in January, the first leg was a short 12-hour “shakedown cruise” to Muscat, Oman, piloted by Andre Borschberg. 

The plane landed safely in Muscat, more or less on schedule.

Of the two pilots who will take turns behind the wheel, Borschberg is the engineer and former fighter pilot who is intimately familiar with every detail of the plane’s design and construction.

This is a flight that representatives of the aviation industry, when approached, said couldn’t be done, at least not to their standards of safety.

Of course, it should be understood that commercial aviation operates with a high margin of safety. This flight has many known risks that would not be acceptable to commercial flyers. That is why these two men, Bertrand Piccard and AndrĂ© Borschberg, are pioneers, risking their lives for a principle that they believe in. That principle is, in essence, we can do it without fossil fuels.

There have been plenty of images on tv in Australia, with no doubt, more to come.

Early stages are relatively short, but there is one to Hawaii which is a 5 day - yes 5 day - leg across the Pacific.  That will be interesting, and yes it flies non stop over that period including at night!!

Solar Inpulse in flight
partially sourced from ENN.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Radical Islam - Newspaper Articles by Thomas Friedman

Thomas L Friedman is an author and journalist now working for the NY Times.  He has written a number of books and was based in the Middle East for many years.

He is a well respected author and columnist and has recently penned a few columns around the theme of radical islam, protest and events in France in early 2015.

The following two articles which appeared in the NY Times in early January are part of his comments on the unfolding theme around Islam and reformation.

Google his name to see the extent of his writings and books.

We Need Another Giant Protest
JAN. 13, 2015

This makes it sound as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violent extremism and only subsequently, when they realized that they needed some justification, did they reach for Islam.In short, jihadist zeal is easy to condemn, but will require multiple revolutions to sPresident Obama was criticized for failing to attend, or send a proper surrogate to, the giant anti-terrorism march in Paris on Sunday. That criticism was right. But it is typical of American politics today that we focus on this and not what would have really made the world feel the jihadist threat was finally being seriously confronted. And that would not be a march that our president helps to lead, but one in which he’s not involved at all. That would be a million-person march against the jihadists across the Arab-Muslim world, organized by Arabs and Muslims for Arabs and Muslims, without anyone in the West asking for it — not just because of what happened in Paris but because of the scores of Muslims recently murdered by jihadists in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Syria.

Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, one of the most respected Arab journalists, wrote Monday in his column in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: “Protests against the recent terrorist attacks in France should have been held in Muslim capitals, rather than Paris, because, in this case, it is Muslims who are involved in this crisis and stand accused. ... The story of extremism begins in Muslim societies, and it is with their support and silence that extremism has grown into terrorism that is harming people. It is of no value that the French people, who are the victims here, take to the streets. ... What is required here is for Muslim communities to disown the Paris crime and Islamic extremism in general.” (Translation by

The truth is there is a huge amount of ambivalence toward this whole jihadist phenomenon — more than any of us would like to believe — in the Arab-Muslim world, Europe and America. This ambivalence starts in the Muslim community, where there is a deep cleavage over what constitutes authentic Islam today. We fool ourselves when we tell Muslims what “real Islam” is. Because Islam has no Vatican, no single source of religious authority, there are many Islams today. The puritanical Wahhabi/Salafi/jihadist strain is one of them, and its support is not insignificant.

Ambivalence runs through Europe today on the question of what a country should demand of new Muslim immigrants by way of adopting its values. Is Stratfor’s George Friedman right when he argues that Europeans adopted multiculturalism precisely because they didn’t really want to absorb their Muslim immigrants, and many of those Muslim immigrants, who went to Europe to find a job, not a new identity, didn’t want to be absorbed? If so, that spells trouble.
mbivalence runs through Washington’s ties with Saudi Arabia. Ever since jihadists took over Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca in 1979, proclaiming that Saudi Arabia’s rulers were not pious enough, Saudi Arabia has redoubled its commitment to Wahhabi or Salafist Islam — the most puritanical, anti-pluralistic and anti-women version of that faith. This Saudi right turn — combined with oil revenues used to build Wahhabi-inspired mosques, websites and madrassas across the Muslim world — has tilted the entire Sunni community to the right. Look at a picture of female graduates of Cairo University in 1950. Few are wearing veils. Look at them today. Many are wearing veils. The open, soft, embracing Islam that defined Egypt for centuries — pray five times a day but wash it down with a beer at night — has been hardened by this Wahhabi wind from Arabia.

But U.S. presidents never confront Saudi Arabia about this because of our oil addiction. As I’ve said, addicts never tell the truth to their pushers. The Saudi government opposes the jihadists. 

Unfortunately, though, it’s a very short step from Wahhabi Islam to the violent jihadism practiced by the Islamic State, or ISIS. The French terrorists were born in France but were marinated in Wahhabi-Salafi thought through the web and local mosques — not Voltaire.

Also, the other civil war in Islam — between Sunnis and Shiites — has led many mainstream Sunni charities, mosques and regimes to support jihadist groups because they’re ferocious fighters against Shiites. Finally — yet more ambivalence — for 60 years there was a tacit alliance between Arab dictators and their Sunni religious clergy. The regimes funded these uninspired Muslim clerics, and these clergy blessed the uninspired dictators — and both stifled the emergence of any authentic, inspired, reformist Islam that could take on Wahhabism-Salafism, even though many Muslims wanted it. An authentic reformation requires a free space in the Arab-Muslim world.

“Muslims need to ‘upgrade their software,’ which is programmed mainly by our schools, television and mosques — especially small mosques that trade in what is forbidden,” Egyptian intellectual Mamoun Fandy wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. (Also translated by “There is no choice but to dismantle this system and rebuild it in a way that is compatible with human culture and values.”

tem — revolutions that will require a lot of people in the Arab-Muslim world and West to shed their ambivalence and stop playing double games.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on January 14, 2015, on page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: We Need Another Giant Protest.

Say It Like It Is
JAN. 20, 2015

I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.

Last week the conservative columnist Rich Lowry wrote an essay in Politico Magazine that contained quotes from White House spokesman Josh Earnest that I could not believe. 

I was sure they were made up. But I checked the transcript: 100 percent correct. I can’t say it better than Lowry did:
“The administration has lapsed into unselfconscious ridiculousness. Asked why the administration won’t say [after the Paris attacks] we are at war with radical Islam, Earnest on Tuesday explained the administration’s first concern ‘is accuracy. We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.’

The day before, Earnest had conceded that there are lists of recent ‘examples of individuals who have cited Islam as they’ve carried out acts of violence.’ Cited Islam? According to the Earnest theory ... purposeless violent extremists rummage through the scriptures of great faiths, looking for some verses to cite to support their mayhem and often happen to settle on the holy texts of Islam.”

President Obama knows better. I am all for restraint on the issue, and would never hold every Muslim accountable for the acts of a few. But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn’t coming out of their faith community. It is coming mostly, but not exclusively, from angry young men and preachers on the fringe of the Sunni Arab and Pakistani communities in the Middle East and Europe.

If Western interventions help foster violent Islamic reactions, we should reduce them. To the extent that Muslim immigrants in European countries feel marginalized, they and their hosts should worker harder on absorption. But both efforts will only take you so far.

Something else is also at work, and it needs to be discussed. It is the struggle within Arab and Pakistani Sunni Islam over whether and how to embrace modernity, pluralism and women’s rights. 

That struggle drives, and is driven by, the dysfunctionality of so many Arab states and Pakistan. It has left these societies with too many young men who have never held a job or a girl’s hand, who then seek to overcome their humiliation at being left behind, and to find identity, by “purifying” their worlds of other Muslims who are not sufficiently pious and of Westerners whom they perceive to be putting Muslims down. But you don’t see this in the two giant Muslim communities in Indonesia or India.

Only Sunni Arabs and Pakistanis can get inside their narrative and remediate it. But reformers can only do that if they have a free, secure political space. If we’re not going to help create space for that internal dialogue, let’s just be quiet. Don’t say stupid stuff. And don’t hold airy fairy conferences that dodge the real issues, which many mainstream Muslims know and are actually starved to discuss, especially women.

The Arab journalist Diana Moukalled, writing in the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat last week, asked: “Don’t all these events now going on around us and committed in our name require us to break the fear barrier and begin to question our region and our societies, especially the ideas being trafficked there that have led us to this awful stage where we are tearing at one another’s throats — to mention nothing of what as a result also happens beyond our region?”

And a remarkable piece in The Washington Post Sunday by Asra Q. Nomani, an American Muslim born in India, called out the “honor corps” — a loose, well-funded coalition of governments and private individuals “that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in order to protect the image of Islam.” It “throws the label of ‘Islamophobe’ on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion. ... The official and unofficial channels work in tandem, harassing, threatening and battling introspective Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. ... The bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism. ... They cause governments, writers and experts to walk on eggshells.”

I know one in particular.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on January 21, 2015, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Say It Like It Is.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Leatherneck - Definition and Meaning

Leathernecks were to prevent beheadings!!  This is the True history of Islam in America !!

Here is a little history, including how the term ‘Leatherneck’ came to be.

Most Americans are unaware of the fact that over two hundred years ago, the United States had declared war on Islam, and Thomas Jefferson led the charge!

At the height of the eighteenth century, Muslim pirates were the terror of the Mediterranean and a large area of the North Atlantic . They attacked every ship in sight, and held the crews for exorbitant ransoms. Those taken hostage were subjected to barbaric treatment and wrote heart breaking letters home, begging their government and family members to pay whatever their Mohammedan captors demanded.

These extortionists of the high seas represented the Islamic nations of Tripoli , Tunis , Morocco , and Algiers – collectively referred to as the Barbary Coast – and presented a dangerous and unprovoked threat to the new American Republic .

Before the Revolutionary War, U.S. merchant ships had been under the protection of Great Britain . When the U.S. declared its independence and entered into war, the ships of the United States were protected by France . However, once the war was won, America had to protect its own fleets. Thus, the birth of the U.S. Navy.

Beginning in 1784, seventeen years before he would become president, Thomas Jefferson became America ’s Minister to France . That same year, the U.S. Congress sought to appease its Muslim adversaries by following in the footsteps of European nations who paid bribes to the Barbary States , rather than engaging them in war.

In July of 1785, Algerian pirates captured American ships, and the Day of Algiers demanded an unheard-of ransom of $60,000. It was a plain and simple case of extortion, and Thomas Jefferson was vehemently opposed to any further payments. Instead, he proposed to Congress the formation of a coalition of allied nations who together could force the Islamic states into peace. A disinterested Congress decided to pay the ransom.

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli ’s ambassador to Great Britain to ask by what right his nation attacked American ships and enslaved American citizens, and why Muslims held so much hostility towards America , a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

The two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

Despite this stunning admission of premeditated violence on non-Muslim nations, as well as the objections of many notable American leaders, including George Washington, who warned that caving in was both wrong and would only further embolden the enemy, for the following fifteen years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to over twenty percent of the United States government annual revenues in 1800.

Jefferson was disgusted. Shortly after his being sworn in as the third President of the United States in 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli sent him a note demanding the immediate payment of $225,000 plus $25,000 a year for every year forthcoming. That changed everything.

Jefferson let the Pasha know, in no uncertain terms, what he could do with his demand. The Pasha responded by cutting down the flagpole at the American consulate and declared war on the United States . Tunis , Morocco , and Algiers immediately followed suit.

Jefferson, until now, had been against America raising a naval force for anything beyond coastal defence, but having watched his nation be cowed by Islamic thuggery for long enough, decided that it was finally time to meet force with force.

He dispatched a squadron of frigates to the Mediterranean and taught the Muslim of the Barbary Coast a lesson he hoped they would never forget. Congress authorized Jefferson to empower U.S. ships to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli and to “cause to be done all other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war would justify”.

When Algiers and Tunis , who were both accustomed to American cowardice and acquiescence, saw the newly independent United States had both the will and the might to strike back, they quickly abandoned their allegiance to Tripoli .

The war with Tripoli lasted for four more years, and raged up again in 1815. The bravery of the U.S. Marine Corps in these wars led to the line “to the shores of Tripoli ” in the Marine Hymn. They would forever be known as “leathernecks” for the leather collars of their uniforms, designed to prevent their heads from being cut off by the Muslim scimitars when boarding enemy ships.

Islam, and what its Barbary followers justified doing in the name of their prophet and their god, disturbed Jefferson quite deeply. America had a tradition of religious tolerance, the fact that Jefferson, himself, had co-authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, but fundamentalist Islam was like no other religion the world had ever seen. A religion based on supremacism, whose holy book not only condoned but mandated violence against unbelievers was unacceptable to him. His greatest fear was that someday this brand of Islam would return and pose an even greater threat to the United States .

This should bother every American. That the Islams have brought about women-only classes and swimming times at taxpayer-funded universities and public pools; that Christians, Jews, and Hindus have been banned from serving on juries where Muslim defendants are being judged, Piggy banks and Porky Pig tissue dispensers have been banned from workplaces because they offend Islamist sensibilities. Ice cream has been discontinued at certain Burger King locations because the picture on the wrapper looks similar to the Arabic script for Allah, public schools are pulling pork from their menus, on and on in the news papers….
It’s death by a thousand cuts, or inch-by-inch as some refer to it, and most Americans have no idea that this battle is being waged every day across America . By not fighting back, by allowing groups to obfuscate what is really happening, and not insisting that the Islamists adapt to our own culture, the United States is cutting its own throat with a politically correct knife, and helping to further the Islamists agenda.   

Sadly, it appears that today’s America would rather be politically correct than victorious.

Any doubts, just Google Thomas Jefferson vs the Muslim World or click this link: