Society's ChildS

Green Light

Australia Passes Controversial Carbon Pollution Tax

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© Agence France-Presseanti-carbon tax protest, known as The Convoy of No Confidence is seen encircling the Parliament House ring road in Canberra, in August. Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.
Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.

Cheers and applause broke out as the Senate approved the Clean Energy Act by 36 votes to 32, requiring Australia's coal-fired power stations and other major emitters to "pay to pollute" from July 1 next year.

The laws -- 18 in total -- will now return for a final vote in the lower house, where they are expected to again be approved after winning approval last month 74 votes to 72.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the passage through the Senate was a "victory for the optimists and... a defeat for the deniers."

"Today is an historic day for economic reform," he said ahead of the vote.

"No longer will the big polluters be able to pump carbon pollution into the atmosphere for free."

Arrow Down

US, California: Ronald Reagan Statue Vandalized In Newport Beach


A bronze statue of former President Ronald Reagan was vandalized early Sunday, according to officials.

Police received a call at approximately 5:30 Sunday morning about a possible vandalism in progress at the Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

A witness saw a suspect tie something around the top of the statue and the other end to the front of his vehicle. The witness said the suspect then got into his vehicle and put it in reverse in an attempt to pull the statue down.

Stormtrooper

US: Police Will Get Tough on 'Occupy D.C.' Protesters

Chief Lanier cites five injuries last week
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© Andrew Harnik / The Washington TimesWilliam G. Estrella, living in McPherson Square on K Street beats a drum as protesters, upset by multiple hit-and-run incidents last Friday during a protest of the American for Prosperity Conference outside the Washington Convention Center, converge on the front steps of the Metropolitan Police Headquarters at 300 Indiana Avenue, Monday, November 7, 2011.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Monday that her department is adjusting its tactics in response to Occupy D.C.'s "increasingly confrontational and violent" demonstrations, following the actions of other U.S. cities looking to evict - or at least crack down - on what officials are characterizing as unruly protesters.

The chief's tough talk changed the tone of what had been about a month of congenial relations between protesters and authorities. It came after a Friday night incident in which several people attending a downtown event where the protesters were demonstrating were hurt.


Stormtrooper

US: Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Che Guevara

Latest developments in the Occupy protests occurring in places around the world

Some of the latest developments in the Occupy protests:
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© The Associated Press / The Canadian Press / Seth Wenig A police officer walks by as Occupy Wall Street protesters erect a large military-style tent in Zuccotti Park in New York, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011.

New York

The Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City are preparing for the possibility of a punishing winter by erecting tents designed to withstand frigid temperatures and stave off hypothermia.

The tents, described as military-grade and half measuring as big as a tiny cottage, began to pop up Monday, with the first planned for medics and another designated as a safe space for women.

Jeffrey Brewer, one of the protesters working to put up the tents, said three had been erected early Monday and he was helping to install four more.

Brewer says another 20 tents are being ordered, half measuring 16-by-16-feet (5-by-5-meters), and the rest measuring 11-by-11 feet (3.3.-by-3.3 metres).

The structures are costing the protesters a total of about $25,000, he said, paid for through some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations the group has received.

The company that owns Zuccotti Park, where the protesters have set up camp, technically doesn't allow tents. But it has declined to enforce the rules for weeks.

Also, elected officials and labour leaders were among the nearly 1,000 black and Latino community members marching the length of Manhattan, from Washington Heights south to Wall Street, to show support for the Occupy movement.

Organizers of the 11-mile (18-kilometre) march say they want to connect black and Latino supporters from all over the city.

Info

US, Alaska: US Army charges soldier with attempted espionage, other counts

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© unknownSpecialist William Colton Millay
The U.S. Army charged a soldier Monday with attempted espionage, saying he communicated and transmitted national defence information to an individual he believed was a foreign intelligence agent.

According to the charges, 22-year-old Spc. William Colton Millay intended to aid a foreign nation.

"Millay had access to the information through the course of his normal duties both stateside and on a previous deployment, and although the information was unclassified, Millay believed that it could be used to the advantage of a foreign nation," according to a description of the charges released by Army officials.

Officials would not identify the country Millay believed the so-called agent represented or if their investigation involved a sting operation. Millay was assigned to a combat tour in Iraq from December 2009 to July 2010, and he served in Korea, according to information provided by the Army.

Millay, a military police officer, also is charged with communicating defence information, issuing false statements, failing to obey regulations and soliciting a fellow service member at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage to get classified material. According to the charges, the false statements were made to Army counterintelligence officials about the information Millay disclosed to the person he believed was a foreign agent and the scope of his attempts at contact with foreign governments.

Dollar

The War Against the Poor: Occupy Wall Street and the Politics of Financial Morality

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© Getty Images
Introduction by Tom Engelhardt:

It was a beautiful, sunlit fall morning when the patrol, many in camouflage jackets, no more than 40 of them in all, headed directly into enemy territory. Their ranks included one sailor in uniform, three women, and a small child named Viva in a stroller. Except for Viva, all of them were vets, a few from the Vietnam era but most from our more recent wars.

As they headed for Wall Street, several carried signs that said, "I am still serving my country," and one read, "How is the war economy working for you?" Many wore Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirts under their camo jackets, and there was one other thing that made this demonstration unlike any seen in these last Occupy Wall Street weeks: there wasn't a police officer, police car, or barricade in sight. As they headed out across a well-trafficked street, not a cop was there to yell at them to get back on the curb.

In the wake of the wounding of Scott Olsen in the police assault on Occupy Oakland last week, that's what it means to be a veteran marching on Zuccotti Park. Scott Kimbell (Iraq, 2005-2006), who led the patrol, later told me: "Cops are in a difficult position with vets. Some of them were in the military and are sympathetic and they know that the community will not support what happened to Scott Olsen." Just before Broad Street, a line of waiting police on scooters picked up the marchers, for once feeling more like an escort than a gang of armed avengers, while media types and photographers swarmed in the street without police reprimand.

Suddenly, the patrol swiveled right and marched directly into the financial heart of the planet through a set of barricades. ("Who opened up the barrier there?" shouted a policeman.) It was aiming directly at a line of mounted police blocking the way. In front of them, the march halted. With a smart "Left face!" the platoon turned to the Stock Exchange and began to call out in unison, "We are veterans! We are the 99%! We swore to protect the Constitution of the United States of America! We are here to support the Occupy Movement!"

Then, the horses parted like the Red Sea, like a wave of emotion sweeping ahead of us, and the vets marched on triumphantly toward Zuccotti Park as a military cadence rang out ("...corporate profits on the rise, but soldiers have to bleed and die! Sound off, one, two...")

The platoon came to attention in front of Trinity Church for a moment of silence for "our friend Scott Olsen," after which it circled the encampment at Zuccotti Park to cheers and cries of "Welcome Home!" from the protesters there. (One of the occupiers shouted to the skies: "Hey, police, the military's here and they're on our side!") And if you don't think all of it was stirring, then you have the heart of a banker.

Handcuffs

Finding Freedom in Handcuffs

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© AP/Bebeto Matthews Police arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters as they staged a sit-down at Goldman Sachs headquarters on Thursday in New York.
Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, an activist, an author and a member of a reporting team that won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize, wrote this article after he was released from custody following his arrest last Thursday. He and about 15 other participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement were detained as they protested outside the global headquarters of Goldman Sachs in lower Manhattan.

Faces appeared to me moments before the New York City police arrested us Thursday in front of Goldman Sachs. They were not the faces of the smug Goldman Sachs employees, who peered at us through the revolving glass doors and lobby windows, a pathetic collection of middle-aged fraternity and sorority members. They were not the faces of the blue-uniformed police with their dangling cords of white and black plastic handcuffs, or the thuggish Goldman Sachs security personnel, whose buzz cuts and dead eyes reminded me of the East German secret police, the Stasi. They were not the faces of the demonstrators around me, the ones with massive student debts and no jobs, the ones whose broken dreams weigh them down like a cross, the ones whose anger and betrayal triggered the street demonstrations and occupations for justice. They were not the faces of the onlookers - the construction workers, who seemed cheered by the march on Goldman Sachs, or the suited businessmen who did not. They were faraway faces. They were the faces of children dying. They were tiny, confused, bewildered faces I had seen in the southern Sudan, Gaza and the slums of Brazzaville, Nairobi, Cairo and Delhi and the wars I covered. They were faces with large, glassy eyes, above bloated bellies. They were the small faces of children convulsed by the ravages of starvation and disease.

Evil Rays

US: Judge blocks graphic images on cigarette packages

cigarette labels
© AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FileIn this combo made from file images provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows two of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images on their cigarette packages to show the dangers of smoking.
A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images including dead and diseased smokers on their cigarette packages.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that it's likely the cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit to block the new standard. He stopped the requirement until after the lawsuit is resolved, which could take years.

A similar case brought by the tobacco companies against the labels is pending before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley upheld most of the marketing restrictions in the law in January 2010. The appeals court heard arguments in the case in July but is not expected to rule for several months.

Leon found the nine graphic images approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June go beyond conveying the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy - a critical distinction in a case over free speech.

Comment: Propaganda antidote:

Let's All Light Up!

Pestilence, the Great Plague and the Tobacco Cure


Handcuffs

US: Michael Jackson's doctor found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

Dr. Conrad Murray
© Kevork Djansezian/AFP/Getty ImagesDr. Conrad Murray stands with defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan, left and defense attorney Ed Chernoff, right, prior to the start of morning court proceedings during the final stage of Murray's defense in his involuntary manslaughter trial in the death of singer Michael Jackson at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 3, 2011.

Los Angeles - A jury reached a guilty verdict today in the involuntary manslaughter case against Michael Jackson's doctor, deliberating for less than nine hours after the six-week trial that included the pop star's own recorded voice but no testimony from the physician accused of causing his death.

"I'm shaking uncontrollably!" Michael Jackson's sister LaToya commented via Twitter on the pending verdict.

Jackson family members arrived at the courthouse after court officials said a verdict had been reached.