Society's ChildS


Occupy UK converges on London

Occupy London
© DemotixMembers of Occupy movement celebrate the "reopening" of the UBS building as a discussion venue.
City offices of UBS bank reopened as forum for discussion by Occupy protesters arriving from across Britain

The Occupy movement continued to acquire momentum on Saturday as protesters from camps across the country converged in London to begin shaping a national campaign.

The supporters - from more than 10 Occupy sites, including Plymouth, the Isle of Wight and Edinburgh - gathered as the campaign opened an empty office building owned by the Swiss bank UBS as a venue for discussions, after taking control of it on Friday. Christened the "Bank of Ideas", the vast complex on the periphery of the City is the third London site to be occupied, following encampments at St Paul's Cathedral and Finsbury Square. Organisers said that more sites would follow as the movement grew.

The fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, 70, became the latest high-profile supporter to address protesters on Saturday, on the steps of St Paul's. She said that the global financial crisis was intrinsically linked to the world's ecological travails, and called for people to embrace culture as a means to help wean them "off the drug of consumerism".


Antismoking Wolves

Extremist antismokers in Japan attacking smoking while completely ignoring the Fukushima fallout (which ironically will give them lung cancer within a generation)
I've often thought that the antismokers made a political mistake when they started demonising smokers, because they created for themselves a highly numerous enemy which they didn't have before, when they were just battling the tobacco companies.

But perhaps it wasn't a mistake at all. Perhaps it was always an essential part of their strategy.

Antismoking organisations are essentially predatory in character. They survive by stealing from people. This theft is carried out largely through taxation of smokers and through things like the US Master Settlement Agreement, by which the tobacco companies pay out huge amounts of money. Those billions of dollars in pay-offs and taxes have funded the growth of the antismoking industry just like a rich diet of deer funds the growth of a wolf pack.

But if you're going to steal people's money off them in broad daylight, then it helps a lot if you can make it not seem like theft. And that's where the demonisation comes in. If you can make tobacco companies look like they're a menace to society, then it isn't theft to take huge amounts of money off them. It's money they don't deserve. And it's a noble thing to relieve them of it.

So the tobacco companies have been thoroughly demonised. And it was essential for the antismokers to demonise them in order to get away with their money, and win applause for doing so.


Diaspora social network co-founder dead at 22

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, R.I.P.
A 22-year-old co-founder of privacy-themed online social network Diaspora died during the weekend, the San Francisco coroner confirmed.

Local media reports indicated that Ilya Zhitomirskiy may have committed suicide, but the coroner's office said it will take several weeks to determine the cause of death.

Zhitomirskiy was one of four US college students who launched Diaspora last year in a bid to win fans as an easier, more private alternative to social networking powerhouse Facebook.

Mysteriously, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly among those who financially backed Diaspora.

The fledgling social network's home page at on Monday featured a picture of a giant dandelion going to seed next to an image of Zhitomirskiy seated in a classroom. Beneath the image was his name and "1989-2011."

"We'll all miss Ilya more than we can say," Diaspora co-founder Peter Schurman said in a statement released late Monday.


Maryland, US: Mysterious Odor Detected At Fort Detrick Area B

Tests are being done after an odor was detected during drilling at Fort Detrick. It's concerning because the odor is coming from an area that's been contaminated with toxins.

Contaminants were buried at the site when Fort Detrick's Biological Weapons program was ended in the 1970s.

Robert Sperling with Fort Detrick said employees noticed the odor last Wednesday while they were installing a well. But that information wasn't released until Saturday morning.

"Once they smelled the odors, they stopped what they were doing, and they put on protective gear, they put on a respirator," he said in a phone interview with 9 NEWS NOW's Lindsey Mastis

Sperling said vapor didn't travel off base and therefore, is not a threat to the community.

Black Cat

UK: Teacher 'lined his pupils against gym wall and hit golf balls at them'

Accused: Teacher James McMenemy

  • Facing 15 abuse charges after school is closed
  • 'Youngsters feared staff who covered up violence'
A teacher at a troubled residential school for vulnerable children could be struck off amid allegations he lined his pupils up against a gym wall and hit golf balls at them.

James McMenemy is also said to have hurled rocks at the teenagers and thrown them into rivers and streams.

The incidents allegedly happened at Kerelaw residential school in Ayrshire, which looked after children with significant emotional, social and behavioural problems.

It was closed amid a police probe into abuse in 2006. Mr McMenemy is facing 15 charges of violence towards pupils and failing to comply with guidelines.


Financial Analysts Everywhere Are In Agreement: The World is Ending

© Wikimedia Commons
If you like your Wall Street analysis with a heavy dollop of rapture and Armageddon, today was the day for you.

Blame the weighty issues of the day (Europe, mostly), and yesterday's big selloff for the spasm of bearishness.
It started off with Nomura's Bob Janjuah. He said that any talk of the ECB saving Europe was a mere pipedream, and that if the ECB did go whole-hog buying up peripheral debt to suppress yields, then that would prompt a German departure from the the Eurozone.
Germany appears to be adamant that full political and fiscal integration over the next decade (nothing substantive will happen over the short term, in my view) is the only option, and ECB monetisation is no longer possible. I really think it is that clear and simple. And if I am wrong, and the ECB does a U-turn and agrees to unlimited monetisation, I will simply wait for the inevitable knee-jerk rally to fade before reloading my short risk positions. Even if Germany and the ECB somehow agree to unlimited monetisation I believe it will do nothing to fix the insolvency and lack of growth in the eurozone. It will just result in a major destruction of the ECB‟s balance sheet which will force an ECB recap. At that point, I think Germany and its northern partners would walk away. Markets always want short, sharp, simple solutions.
Okay, but that's Janjuah. He's always bearish so maybe that's not even news.


Post WWII Worldwide Governmental Structure Breakdown

Throughout the world we are seeing a breakdown of the governmental structure that has existed since World War II. After the fall of the Soviet Union, President Bush gave a speech in which he called for a new world order. We are now seeing the birth of that new world order whether we want it or not.

The financial system that has been established is failing. The social welfare system that was born after World War II is failing under the weight of spiraling costs. Social order is fraying because of commitments that European governments can no longer afford to keep. The political leadership of the EU is trying desperately trying to paper over the problem, however the contagion continues to spread.

Red Flag

The War on Addiction Has Been Brought Home

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Combat veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries are suffering from skyrocketing rates of addiction, alcoholism and suicide. Thirty-five years after Vietnam, is America creating another lost generation?

Every war has its "signature" wound. In the Civil War, it was gangrene; in World War I, it was lungs shredded by mustard gas attacks; in World War II, shrapnel. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it's Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. With armored Humvees and new body protection, soldiers are surviving massive IED blasts that send huge shock waves through their bodies. The concussive force of five artillery shells exploding beneath a vehicle damages a soldier's brain in ways researchers are just starting to understand.

The symptoms of TBI are similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); one of the main commonalities is, of course, increased alcohol and drug use. Take First Sergeant Hector Matascastillo, a warrior's warrior. He finished top of his class in Ranger training, and had boots on the ground in 57 countries with a whopping 13 combat deployments in an 18-year career in the military.

Arrow Down

Supercommittee failure could trigger US credit downgrade, economists warn

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSupercommittee member Chris Van Hollen (centre and smiling - does he find it all funny?) said: 'We are leaving no stone unturned, negotiations continue and we are looking to find...blah, blah, blah...'
Economists are warning of dire consequences if US politicians fail to make progress this weekend in tense talks aimed at reducing America's massive deficit ahead of a Wednesday deadline.

The bi-partisan congressional super-committee is charged with drawing up plans for a $1.2tn reduction in the nation's deficit by the middle of next week. Failure to do so will trigger an automatic "sequester" that will make cuts of that size to defence and social welfare programmes starting in 2013. But the two sides seem far from finding a solution after clashing over tax revenues.

While Wednesday is the official deadline for the supercommittee to report back, it has until Monday to tell the Congressional Budget Office about the impact any plan they send to Congress will have on the budget.

"Time is running out. What I can say is we are leaving no stone unturned, negotiations continue and we are looking to find a way. We recognise what's at stake and we're hoping to reach an agreement," Democrat committee member Chris Van Hollen told CNN Friday.


US: New Developments in Priest Abuse Cases

child abuse
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Almost every week there are new developments, new accusations and new court actions surrounding the Catholic Church's priest sex abuse case.

This week there were two, which I shall recount in a moment. But it's not so much the amassing scandal that is shocking, rather the church's continued pattern of stonewalling that is so shocking.

Priests and prelates keep fighting efforts to bring church records out in the open. They cling to the belief that they're still operating in the Middle Ages.

Most of all, Pope Benedict has failed to issue an all-encompassing apology to the tens of thousands of victims of priests' perversions who have come forward thus far.

This week the Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $3.2 million to a man who as a boy between the ages of 10 and 12 was repeatedly sexually abused by convicted former priest Daniel McCormack.

The victim sued the archdiocese for failing to remove McCormack from having contact with children, even though the hierarchy well knew of the alleged abuse he was perpetrating. This is an often-repeated pattern on the part of the church and one for all we know continues in cases that have yet to go public.

Also this week the top Catholic official for the Kansas City, Mo., Diocese agreed to allow prosecutors to monitor his activities.