Tuesday, March 13, 2012

498 US ties Foreign Aid to Gay Rights. Islamic states, Africans walk out on UN gay panel

US ties Foreign Aid to Gay Rights. Islamic states, Africans walk out on
UN gay panel

(1) Angry backlash over Katter gay marriage ad
(2) US ties Foreign Aid to Gay Rights
(3) Hillary: LGBT rights a top foreign policy priority
(4) Hillary's speech: “Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights”
(5) Islamic states, Africans walk out on UN gay panel
(6) African Leaders reject U.N. call for Gay Rights, will not compromise
for Foreign Aid
(7) UK Catholic leader calls government's Gay marriage plans 'madness'
(8) Robert Gates introduces a Stricter "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
(9) Gates: Don't End DADT abruptly. It could have "enormous
consequences" for American troops
(10) Church's Nativity display with Gay and Lesbian couples vandalized
(11) Control illegal immigrants or I'll pull France out of visa free
zone, says Sarkozy
(12) Federal Referendum to recognize Local "Government" - an arm of U.N.
Agenda 21
(13) Australia's Opposition to reduce Free Speech restrictions, by
amending Racial Discrimination Act. Greens upset
(14) Caterpillar: US education system has failed: we have to retrain
every person we hire

(1) Angry backlash over Katter gay marriage ad


Updated March 12, 2012 09:48:36

VIDEO: Furore over Katter's anti-gay ad (ABC News)

RELATED STORY: Katter's ballot bid thrown out of court

RELATED STORY: Bligh, Gillard launch Qld Labor campaign


AUDIO: Calls for Katter's gay ad to be withdrawn (AM)

Katter's Australian Party says it has already received hate mail and
threatening phone calls over a controversial anti-gay marriage
advertisement that aired on television last night.

The advertisement targets Australian Greens leader Bob Brown and
Queensland Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman on the issue of
gay marriage.

"How well do you really know Campbell Newman?" a voice asks in the

"Do you really think he will stand up for your family values? Do you
really think he will stand up to the Greens and other minority groups?

"Then think again. The LNP leader supports gay marriage just like Greens
leader Bob Brown."

The ad shows two shirtless men holding each other and features repeated
grabs of Mr Newman "I support gay marriage".

The Queensland leader of Katter's Australian Party, Aidan McLindon, says
the ad is confronting and it is meant to be.

"Campbell Newman has tip-toed on this issue and tried to say 'yes I am
for gay marriage' on one hand, but then of course he gets all the
Christian lobby groups and says another," he said.

Mr McLindon says his email, Twitter and Facebook accounts have been
bombarded and people have made threatening calls.

"It is controversial and we have certainly copped a lot of flak," he said.

"But at the end of the day we are a party that stands for something.
Unfortunately what you have seen with Campbell Newman he has tried to be
everything for everybody and as a result he stands for nothing.

"We have just highlighted something that he said and if people want to
get angry they have every right to be angry at Campbell for his position
on this and being so public about it."

Mr McLindon says the ad will run all week.

Mr Katter's gay half-brother Carl Katter has used the social networking
site Twitter to slam the advertisement as homophobic, accusing Katter's
Australia Party of using the politics of fear and hate to win votes.

Gay rights activist Tony Robertson says the ad is a disgrace, and he is
not surprised by the angry backlash.

"Katter is using this issue for his own political gain," he said.

"This is political opportunism at its worst in the midst of an election

"This doesn't tell us anything about what Bob Katter and his or even
Campbell Newman and his party intend to contribute to the development of
this state."

He says the ad will backfire on the party and is urging lobby groups to
demand the ad be taken off air.

"I don't see the purpose of these advertisements, I don't see what they
are contributing to a healthy political debate in our community," he said.

"I think they are just a waste of money and a waste of time. If they
keep running the ads they are going to lose support."

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh called the ad "bizarre and confused" but
stopped short of calling for it to be withdrawn.

"While Mr Newman has publicly said he supports gay marriage, he and his
party have universally opposed civil unions in the Parliament and he's
now promised to repeal ALP's civil union laws if he is elected," she said.

"It's a very strange attack from the Bob Katter Party - it's not only
tasteless but politically very confused."

(2) US ties Foreign Aid to Gay Rights


US to use foreign aid to promote gay rights

By Julie Pace, Associated Press | AP – Tue, Dec 6, 2011 2:58 PM EST

AP foreign, Tuesday December 6 2011


Associated Press= WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is
announcing a wide-ranging effort to use U.S. foreign aid to promote
rights for gays and lesbians abroad, including combating attempts by
foreign governments to criminalize homosexuality.

In a memorandum issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama directed U.S.
agencies working abroad, including the State Department and the U.S.
Agency for International Development, to use foreign aid to assist gays
and lesbians who are facing human rights violations. And he ordered U.S.
agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.

"The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to
the United States' commitment to promoting human rights," Obama said in
a statement.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is also expected to speak
about the announcements in Geneva later Tuesday.

The White House said Tuesday's announcement marked the first U.S.
government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and
lesbians abroad.

The order also directs U.S. government agencies to use foreign
assistance to protect human rights and advance non-discrimination, and
work with international organizations to fight discrimination against
gays and lesbians.

Obama's announcement is part of the White House's outreach to gays and
lesbians, a core Democratic constituency. Since taking office, Obama has
advocated for the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service
members and ordered the administration to stop enforcing a law defining
marriage as between one man and one woman.

However, Obama has stopped short of backing gay marriage, saying only
that his personal views on the matter are evolving.

Gay rights groups praised the order as a significant step for ensuring
that gays and lesbians are treated equally around the world.

"Today's actions by President Obama make clear that the United States
will not turn a blind eye when governments commit or allow abuses to the
human rights of LGBT people," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy organization.

The presidential directive applies to all U.S. agencies involved in
foreign aid, assistance and development, including the Departments of
States, the Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security.

(3) Hillary: LGBT rights a top foreign policy priority


Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights: Reflections on Secretary Clinton’s


Daniel Baer serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy,
Human Rights, and Labor.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a
historic speech in Geneva, Switzerland entitled “Free and Equal in
Dignity and Rights.” I was honored to be in the audience with activists,
student, and diplomats representing countries throughout the world, when
Secretary Clinton invited all people -- those who defend the human
rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those who
have not yet embraced the fact that human rights apply to everyone,
government officials and individual activists, and people of all faiths
and from every corner of the world -- to come together to address "one
of the remaining human rights challenges of our time" -- the challenges
facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in their
pursuit of equal human rights and protections.

“We engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of
creating greater understanding,” said the Secretary, acknowledging that
“the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of
LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and
religious beliefs.” And she called for a conversation about those
beliefs, remarking that “understanding of these issues takes more than
speech. It does take a conversation. In fact, it takes a constellation
of conversations in places big and small. And it takes a willingness to
see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation,
not to avoid it.”

For me, part of the answer to overcoming those obstacles lay in simple
questions the Secretary asked those opposed to gay rights to consider:

"How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How
would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself
that I cannot change?"

In the United States, our conversation about the human rights of LGBT
people is still ongoing. But any individual who reflects with empathy on
the questions the Secretary posed will recognize the responsibility to
protect and promote the human rights of LGBT people lies with us all. As
the Secretary pointed out:

“The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the
treatment they receive every day from their families, from their
neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights
worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to
home -- the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the
factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your
domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can
determine whether human rights flourish where you are."

In yesterday's speech, Secretary Clinton confirmed that protecting the
human rights of LGBT people is a top foreign policy priority, both for
herself and for President Obama. Indeed, earlier in the day, the
President announced the launch of the first government-wide strategy
dedicating to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad.
Here at the State Department, I look forward to continuing our ongoing
efforts to protect the rights of LGBT persons and to working with other
agencies in making the President and the Secretary's vision a reality.

In my two years at the State Department, nothing has made me prouder
than to see our country stand up and fight for American principles and
ideals, wherever and whenever they are threatened. I am incredibly
grateful to have witnessed this historic speech, and will work
tirelessly to help us live up to its words in the years to come.

You can find a transcript of the Secretary's speech and more information
on the U.S. government's engagement on the rights of LGBT people here.

(4) Hillary's speech: “Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights”


Secretary Clinton’s Address On The Human Rights Of LGBT People (Video
And Additonal Resources)

"Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights"

December 06, 2011


Transcript: Secretary Clinton – “Free And Equal In Dignity And Rights”
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

December 06, 2011

See also: Video of the speech, fact sheets, and additional resources

[...] Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect
one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many
parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority.
They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated
with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities
empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in
the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from
their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are
to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human
beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a
right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights
challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own
country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect.
Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT
Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and
for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily
experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect
human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that
the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT
people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious
beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and
humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot
delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and
important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus
that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested
that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in
fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the
governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community.
They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or
children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet
in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these
groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because,
like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as
it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always
had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a
woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being
LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human
rights, and human rights are gay rights. ...

(5) Islamic states, Africans walk out on UN gay panel

Published Wednesday 07/03/2012 (updated) 08/03/2012 14:05

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addresses the 19th session
of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva Feb. 27, 2012.
(Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) -- Brushing aside high-level UN appeals for cooperation
to halt murder and violence against gays and lesbians around the globe,
Muslim and Arab countries on Wednesday stalked out of a Human Rights
Council panel to tackle the issue.

Speaking before the walkout for the 57-nation Organization of Islamic
Cooperation, Pakistan described homosexuality as "licentious behavior"
while African group leader Senegal said it was not covered by global
human rights accords.

Nigeria - where gay rights groups say there have been many attacks on
male and female homosexuals - declared none of its citizens was at risk
of violence because of sexual orientation or gender identity before it
too left the chamber.

And Mauritania, for the Arab group, all of whose members are also in the
OIC, said attempts to impose "the controversial topic of sexual
orientation" would undermine discussion in the council of all genuine
human rights problems.

The walkout, which diplomats said not all countries in the Islamic and
African groups joined, was the first by three major blocs in the
47-member council, which has been dominated until recently by a caucus
of developing countries and their allies.

It came after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Human
Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay told the session that gays and
lesbians should be protected by all governments.

"We see a pattern of violence and discrimination directed at people just
because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender," Ban said in a
video message to the panel, chaired by African group dissenter South Africa.

"This is a monumental tragedy for those affected -- and a stain on our
collective conscience. It is also a violation of international law. You,
as members of the Human Rights Council, must respond," the UN chief

US, South Africa pushed

Islamic and most African countries have long kept discussion of what the
UN dubs "sexual orientation and gender identity" out of the council but
a strong drive by the United States and South Africa brought it onto the
agenda last June.

With a developing country bloc in the body eroding, Latin American
countries like Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay joined in to push through a
narrow vote to mandate Wednesday's panel and the High Commissioner's report.

Pillay, once a South African high court judge, told the session her life
under apartheid had taught her that "ignorance and bigotry" could only
be overcome by education and frank discussion among people with
different views.

In her report she detailed the often fatal abuse - she labeled it
"homophobia" - homosexuals faced around the globe ranging from mob
killing for males, multiple rape of lesbians "to cure them" and torture
in public and private jails.

The report said 76 countries among the U.N.'s 192 members had laws
criminalizing homosexual behavior. At least five - in particular Iran -
provide for the death penalty while efforts are under way in Uganda to
introduce the same punishment.

"I know some will resist what we are saying," said Pillay, who earlier
this week was accused by Egypt in the council of promoting homosexuality
by pressing on with the report despite the objections of Islamic countries.

In a clear reference to Islamic and African countries, she said some
states would argue that homosexuality or bisexuality "conflict with
local cultural or traditional values, or with religious teachings, or
run counter to public opinion".

But while they were free to hold their opinions, she declared, "That is
as far as it goes. The balance between tradition and culture, on the one
hand, and universal human rights on the other, must be struck in favor
of rights."

(6) African Leaders reject U.N. call for Gay Rights, will not compromise
for Foreign Aid

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 17:00:44 -0500 (EST) From: IHR News <news@ihr.org>


African Leaders Reject U.N. Call For Homosexual Equality

By Patrick Burke

February 20, 2012

(CNSNews.com) -- Leaders and government officials of at least four
African states publicly resisted United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-Moon’s recent call for an end to social and legal discrimination
against homosexuals in Africa.

In remarks to the Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
on Jan. 29, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the issue of
homosexuality in Africa, saying, “Let me mention one form of
discrimination that has been ignored or even sanctioned by many States
for far too long: discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender
identity. This has prompted some governments to treat people as
second-class citizens, or even criminals.”

“Confronting this discrimination is a challenge. But we must live up to
the ideals of the Universal Declaration,” he said, in reference to the
U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Last week at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Switzerland,
  Libya’s envoy to the U.N., Ibrahim Dabbashi,  said that issues
concerning homosexuality “affect religion and the continuation and
reproduction of the human race,” reported the Geneva-based U.N. Watch.
Dabbashi also criticized a U.N. pro-homosexual resolution, passed in
June 2011, saying Libya would have opposed it had it not, at the time,
been suspended from the Council.

U.N. Human Rights Council President Laura Dupuy Lasserre responded to
the Libyan delegate’s comments by stating, “the Human Rights Council is
here to defend human rights and prevent discrimination.”

According to foreign media news reports, such as West Africa Democracy
Radio, there are some African leaders, including President John Atta
Mills of Ghana, who do not share the same view as the U.N. secretary

“We have made our position well known. Ghanaian society frowns upon
homosexuality and everybody has been telling us that democracy means
governance for the people, by the people in the interest of the people,”
Mills told Ghanian journalists in response Secretary Ban Ki-Moon’s remarks.

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s press secretary issued a
statement saying she would veto legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

“Liberians should hold this government by her word. This president will
not sign into law anything called same-sex marriage. This government
opposes gay rights. In fact, government will not compromise its
religious belief for any (foreign) aid,” said Press Secretary Jerolinmek

Similarly, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia reaffirmed that he would
never accept homosexual practices in his country, according to a South
African news service, saying it was destructive to Gambian culture.

In recent months, the issue of homosexuality has become increasingly
prevalent in African politics and has contributed to the shaping of
relations between Africa and Western powers. In a speech last month to
diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva, Secretary Hillary Clinton
advocated for gay rights overseas, saying that “gay rights are human

Additionally, UK officials, such as Prime Minister David Cameron and
Foreign Secretary William Hagu,e have threatened to hold foreign aid
from nations that do not give equal rights and respect to homosexuals.

“Britain is one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see
countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights. We are
saying that is one of the things that determines our aid policy, and
there have been particularly bad examples where we have taken action,”
said Cameron in an interview last October.

According to the research group Public Agenda, homosexual practices
among men are illegal in 14 African states.

(7) UK Catholic leader calls government's Gay marriage plans 'madness'


Catholic leader calls government's gay marriage plans 'madness'

Cardinal Keith O'Brien accuses coalition of trying to 'redefine reality'
with plans to legalise gay marriage

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 4 March 2012 10.35 GMT

A Catholic church leader has called the government's plans for gay
marriage "madness" and a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted
human right".

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic church in Scotland,
also accused the coalition of trying to "redefine reality".

In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, he says the prime minister is a
"passionate" advocate of the change and told his party two years ago he
supported gay marriage "because I am a Conservative".

O'Brien wrote: "Since all the legal rights of marriage are already
available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not
about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the
whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists.

"Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a
mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which
deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.

"Other dangers exist. If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer
means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why
not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if
they pledge their fidelity to one another?"

The cardinal has added his voice to those of leading figures in the
Coalition for Marriage, a group of bishops, politicians and lawyers
opposed to the changes. The group's supporters include Lord Carey, the
former archbishop of Canterbury. He urges people to respond to the
government's consultation on the proposals by signing a petition in
support of traditional marriage.

Earlier this week the Home Office defended the plans after the Tory MP
Peter Bone called them "completely nuts".

A Home Office spokeswoman said the government believed that "if a couple
love each other" and want to commit to a life together they should "have
the option of a civil marriage irrespective of their sexual orientation".

The equalities minister Lynne Featherstone is due to launch a
consultation on the plans later this month.

Margot James, the first openly lesbian Conservative MP, criticised the
"apocalyptic language" used by the cardinal and accused him of

She told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "I think it is a completely
unacceptable way for a prelate to talk.

"I think that the government is not trying to force Catholic churches to
perform gay marriages at all. It is a purely civil matter."

She added: "I think this sort of scaremongering is what it is, it is
just scaremongering."

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said she hoped the comments
would not end up "fuelling or legitimising prejudice".

She told the Andrew Marr Show: "We have had prejudice, discrimination
and homophobia for hundreds of years. That doesn't make it right."

"I don't want anybody to feel that this is a licence for whipping up

(8) Robert Gates introduces a Stricter "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011

Robert Gates Introduces A Stricter DADT

By Carlos Santoscoy October 22, 2010,


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced Thursday that the restart of
the policy that bans open gay service will be in the hands of six officials.

The ban, known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” was revived Wednesday at
least temporarily by the Obama administration when the Ninth U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted defendants the stay
they sought while the government prepares an appeal to
<http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=6382> U.S. District Judge
Virginia Phillips' September ruling striking down the law as
unconstitutional and <http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=6641>
subsequent injunction against its enforcement.

Only the secretaries of the armed forces can authorize a separation
under the law, and the Defense Department's top attorney and the
undersecretary for Defense for Personnel and Readiness must also be
consulted, leaving the policy in the hands of six civilians appointed by
the president.

The rule changes are meant to “ensure uniformity and care in the
enforcement of 'don't ask, don't tell' law and policy during this period
of legal uncertainty,” a senior defense official is quoted by the Army

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense
Network (SLDN), said the change could strike a severe blow to the policy.

“This important change could dramatically reduce DADT discharges, if DoD
applies the Witt legal standard throughout the military, which requires
the Pentagon to find that gay service members would harm military
readiness, unit cohesion and good order, before they are discharged,”
Sarvis said in a statement.

Sarvis also warned gay service members from coming out during this
period of uncertainty.

“But this Pentagon guidance memo does not end DADT. It is still in
place, and service members should not come out.”

On March 19, 2009, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran
fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show.
Because of three words – “I am gay” – Lt. Choi’s life changed forever.
Despite his extreme value as an Arabic speaker able to communicate
quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, one month after his
announcement Lt. Choi was notified that the Army had begun discharge
proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his
graduating class who majored in Arabic.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced it would accept openly gay recruits
and several high-profile service members previously discharged under the
policy – including Army Lt. Dan Choi – immediately reenlisted.

(9) Gates: Don't End DADT abruptly. It could have "enormous
consequences" for American troops

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011

Gates: Don't End DADT Abruptly

This is a job for Congress, not the courts, he says

By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User


Posted Oct 14, 2010

(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates says an abrupt end to 'Dont'
Ask, Don't Tell' could have "enormous consequences" for American troops.
He didn't answer directly when asked by the Washington Post whether the
government should appeal a worldwide injunction stopping enforcement of
the policy, but said that the Pentagon should review, by Dec. 1, how to
integrate the armed forces. Then Congress, not a judge, should overturn
the ban… "This is a very complex business," he said arguing that the
military needs time to consider issues like integrated housing and the
question of whether same-sex partners will get spousal benefits.

(10) Church's Nativity display with Gay and Lesbian couples vandalized


December 29, 2011 9:18 PM

Nativity scene with gay figures vandalized

(AP)  CLAREMONT, California - Vandalism of a church's Nativity display
that includes depictions of gay and lesbian couples was being
investigated as a hate crime, police said.

The damage at Claremont United Methodist Church happened late Saturday
or Sunday morning.

The display's three panels feature silhouettes of three hand-holding
couples — two men, two women and a heterosexual pair. The vandal knocked
over the depictions of the gay and lesbian couples but left the straight
couple alone.

"It's a hate crime based on it being church property as well as the
wooden box knocked over that depicted two males holding hands," police
Sgt. Jason Walters told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

The display created by artist church member John Zachary includes the
phrase "Christ is born" and a Star of Bethlehem but no traditional
manger figures. For the past six years, Zachary has designed and built a
scene on the church's front lawn. The scene has had controversial themes
before, but this was the first about gay couples, the Daily Bulletin said.

Zachary said the artwork suffered at least $3,000 worth of damage. The
exhibit had three panels that weighed 600 pounds (272 kilograms) each.

The Rev. Dan Lewis said he was saddened by the incident.

"We have members of our church who are gay and lesbian who it sends a
very personal message to," said Lewis, who learned of the vandalism on
Christmas Day. "I tried to say in worship on Sunday morning that we will
not let it trouble us."

Ed Kania, 60, an openly gay member of the church, called the act of
vandalism disappointing, especially because Claremont is a generally
seen as a progressive college town.

"It's a reminder that although there are pockets of acceptance, not
everybody is accepting," he told the Los Angeles Times.

(11) Control illegal immigrants or I'll pull France out of visa free
zone, says Sarkozy


AFP   March 12, 2012 9:35AM

PRESIDENT Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened in a key election rally to pull
France out of Europe's 26-nation visa free zone unless the European
Union does more to keep out illegal immigrants.

Mr Sarkozy, who this week said France had too many foreigners, made the
threat at a mass meeting which he hopes will turn the tide against
front-running Socialist Francois Hollande with just 42 days to go before
election day.

The so-called Schengen passport-free zone must urgently be overhauled to
fight the flow of illegal immigration, said the right-wing leader,
returning to a constant theme in his bid for five more years at the
Elysee palace.

To chants of "Nicolas, president!" from the tens of thousands in the
flag-waving audience, Mr Sarkozy said unchecked immigration would put
extra strain on social safety nets for Europe's poorest.

"In the coming 12 months, (if) there is no serious progress towards this
(reforming Schengen), France would then suspend its participation in the
Schengen accords until negotiations conclude," he declared.

The Schengen area is home to 400 million Europeans who can cross borders
without a passport, and once inside the area illegal immigrants can
theoretically move freely between the participating states.

Mr Sarkozy accuses some EU states of having lax border controls that let
in illegals who may later turn up in France.

Mr Sarkozy's UMP party chartered TGV high-speed trains and fleets of
buses to ferry supporters from across France for the rally in a
cavernous exhibition hall in Villepinte, near Paris Charles de Gaulle

Mr Sarkozy also said he wanted the EU to introduce a Buy European Act
based on a US measure that obliges the state to use domestically
produced products in public contracts.

If the European Union did not do this within a year, he would, if
re-elected in the two-round vote in April and May, implement a
unilateral Buy French law, he said.

"I want a Europe that protects its citizens. I no longer want this
savage competition," he told the crowd, which the UMP estimated at
70,000. He rejected the idea of "a Europe that opens up its markets when
others do not", he said.

"I have lost none of my will to act, my will to make things change, my
belief in the genius of France," he insisted.

Mr Sarkozy produced few surprises, sticking to familiar themes such as
immigration and portraying himself as the steady captain steering France
through the economic storm.

He got the loudest cheer of the rally when he reminded his supporters he
had banned Islamic veils in France and was opposed to having special
Islamic halal meals in school canteens.

"It was to give back to women control of their destiny that we wanted to
ban the burqa...," he told the crowd.

Mr Sarkozy a week ago picked up on a debate about halal meat launched by
Marine Le Pen, declaring that its spread was a major problem for the French.

But his critics have accused him of fishing for support from voters who
lean towards the National Front, the anti-immigrant, anti-EU party led
by Ms Le Pen, who polls put in third place in the presidential race.

Mr Hollande, who has never held a ministerial post and whose ex-partner
Segolene Royal lost to Mr Sarkozy in 2007, this week pressed home his
attacks on his rival's record in five years at the Elysee palace.

He mocked Mr Sarkozy's plan to slap a new tax on the profits of listed
companies. The president has said it would bring in up to three billion
euros ($3.9 billion) a year to help cut the public deficit.

An OpinionWay-Fiducial opinion poll on Thursday forecast that Mr
Hollande would take 29 percent of the vote in the first round, with Mr
Sarkozy at 26 percent and Ms Le Pen third at 17 percent.

Mr Hollande, who has enjoyed a clear lead for five months, would romp
home in the second round with 56 percent, well ahead of Mr Sarkozy at 44
percent, the poll said.

Among the celebrities at the rally were actress Emmanuelle Seigner, wife
of Roman Polanski, and actor Gerard Depardieu.

Depardieu described the president as frank and honest and said that
since Mr Sarkozy had been in power, "I only hear bad things about this
man who only does good".

The Villepinte rally came just days after the 56-year-old Sarkozy said
he would quit politics for good if not re-elected.

(12) Federal Referendum to recognize Local "Government" - an arm of U.N.
Agenda 21

{comment - Peter M.: one plan is to replace local councils, and State
Governments, with Regional Governments - based on "bioregions". That's
because World Government would add a 4th tier - one too many}

From: "Olga Scully" <muffyandbrian@westnet.com.au> Sent: Thu, 01 Mar
2012 19:35:35 +1100

Fwd: Constitutional Recognition NOT to Councils but to Local Government


Dear Friends,

I urge you to campaign for a "NO" vote in the coming referendum to give
Local "Government" recognition
in the Federal Constitution..

There is a very nasty U.N. programme called "Agenda 21"  an agenda for
the 21st century. It requires giving vast powers to Local Governments -
not local Councils - but Local Governments.

The coming referendum has the purpose of recognizing Local Government as
an arm [a very strong arm] of the U.N. Agenda 21.  This is why they will
not ask us to give recognition to Local 'Councils' - no, it must be
'Government'. ...

The Federal government is pretending that direct funding is the big
issue in the referendum - but no, they want the terminology of Local
Government to fit in with the terminology of the U.N. agenda which is
full of references to Local Government, which is planned to become more
powerful than the State Governments, or even the Fed Government. Vast
funding will go from Canberra to Local Government, of course.

At a recent public hearing [Launceston 25 October 2011] concerning the
referendum, we were told that the gang- Greens and some independents had
agreed to support Labor in office on the condition that this referendum
be held. So you see, it is verrry important to the Greens - Bob Brown is
on the committee to steer the referendum into the direction that he
wants, and he says he wants a World Government.

Please note that the hearings were held in state capitals on U.N. Day -
24 October, and in regional centres like Launceston, on the day
following U.N Day - thus subtly linking the referendum to U.N Agenda 21.

Please spread the word so that the idea of recognizing local
"Government" is defeated. A NO vote on its own will not stop the U.N.
Agenda 21, but it just might slow down their satanic plans.

The Australian, Friday, Dec.16, 2011, has an article by Jared Owens
about replacing the "losses of production in the Murray-Darling basin"
with a new food bowl in the monsoon-prone Queensland north!  Apparently
the Murray-Daring basin is unsustainable, but the monsoon area is
reliable for growing our food !!!

Please watch the video - Agenda 21 for Dummies.

(13) Australia's Opposition to reduce Free Speech restrictions, by
amending Racial Discrimination Act. Greens upset


From: Denis McC <wizard_of_aus@hotmail.com> Subject: 2 decades too late
- Conservatives now race to create RVL Bolt  hole...
Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 06:10:48 +0000

Coalition targets free speech restrictions in racial discrimination laws

Matthew Johnston   Herald Sun   February 29, 2012 4:25PM

UPDATE: THE Greens have hit out at the Coalition's plan to change free
speech restrictions in racial discrimination law.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has revealed the plan to change the laws
if he was made prime minister.

The plan would see sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that were
used to prosecute Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt last year, after he
wrote about light-skinned Aborigines, repealed by the Coalition.

Greens legal affairs spokeswoman Penny Wright said the Opposition’s
proposal to allow people to express views that could be offensive would
lead to ''distortions of the truth''.

''If the Coalition have their way we will see a situation where an
influential commentator may use errors of fact, distortions of the truth
and inflammatory and provocative language to offend or insult people of
a certain race, colour or ethnic origin, with impunity,'' Senator Wright

''Yes, there is an important balance to be struck between the right to
freedom of expression and the right to be protected against
discrimination. But we think that the Act in its current form gets that
balance right.''

The Australian newspaper reports shadow Attorney-General George Brandis
saying that the changes would mean the removal of provisions that
prevent the use of words that could offend or insult.

"We consider that to be an inappropriate limitation on freedom of speech
and freedom of public discussion – as was evident in the Andrew Bolt
case," he said.

"Offensive and insulting words are part of the robust democratic
process, which is essential to a free country."

The changes would bring the Act's restrictions on free speech closer to
limits found in defamation laws, The Australian reports.

Liability for racial vilification would be limited to comments that
humiliate or intimidate.

(14) Caterpillar: US education system has failed: we have to retrain
every person we hire


Caterpillar says has worker shortage despite job woes

CALGARY, Alberta | Fri Sep 9, 2011 5:56pm EDT

(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) is struggling to add skilled workers
in its manufacturing operations despite high U.S. unemployment levels
that have forced President Barack Obama to take extraordinary measures,
the company's chief executive said on Friday.

The dichotomy in the makeup of the workforce is threatening U.S. and
Canadian competitiveness, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

"We cannot find qualified hourly production people, and for that matter
many technical, engineering service technicians, and even welders, and
it is hurting our manufacturing base in the United States," he told a
business audience at the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility outside Calgary.

"The education system in the United States basically has failed them and
we have to retrain every person we hire."

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