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Global protests – The Big Picture – Boston.com

There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people. Protests can also take many forms – from individual statements to mass demonstrations – both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries. The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights. — Paula Nelson

via Global protests – The Big Picture – Boston.com.

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Top 10 Things Herman Cain Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him | Care2 Causes

Written by Scott Keyes, a ThinkProgress blogger

After just six weeks, ever-fickle Republican presidential primary voters are cooling to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), setting their sights instead on a Tea Party favorite: former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (R).

Though Cain has been running since January, his recent debate performances and straw poll victories have created a boomlet for the former pizza executive. Now, Cain is leading state polls from North Carolina to West Virginia to Nebraska and surging nationally as well. Taking up the mantle once occupied by the likes of Donald Trump and Rick Perry, pollster Tom Jensen declared yesterday that “Herman Cain is the new GOP frontrunner.”

Now, as Cain enters the Republican top tier, it’s worth taking a look back at the former CEO’s policy positions. During his nine months on the campaign trail, Cain has repeatedly shown a lack of understanding on foreign policy matters, a lack of empathy for immigrants and poorer Americans, and a lack of respect for religious liberty.

ThinkProgress has put together the top 10 hits from Cain’s presidential bid:

(1) PLEDGED THAT HE “WILL NOT” APPOINT MUSLIMS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION: In an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year, Herman Cain declared that he “will not” appoint a Muslim in his administration if he were elected president. In the months that followed, Cain qualified his position a number of times – at one point even telling Glenn Beck that he would appoint Muslims but only on the condition that they take a special loyalty oath – before finally recanting this unconstitutional stance and issuing an apology to Muslim-Americans. Unfortunately, since that time Cain has continued to peddle the ridiculous notion that Sharia law is a threat to the American legal system.

(2) TOLD THINKPROGRESS, “I DON’T THINK THE CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE IS NECESSARY”: During his time as the top lobbyist for the restaurant and fast food industry, Cain fought against an increase in the minimum wage. During a recent ThinkProgress interview, Cain went further, saying “I don’t think the current minimum wage is necessary.” As Greg Sargent noted, not even conservative icon Barry Goldwater supported eliminating the minimum wage.

(3) CONFUSED BY BASIC CONCEPT OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS: In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Cain was asked his opinion on the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Cain was clearly confused by the question, responding, “The right of return? [pause] The right of return?” When host Chris Wallace explained the issue to him, Cain suggested that Israel wouldn’t have a problem “with people returning,” a prospect Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu fiercely opposes. The incident was not the first time Cain displayed lack of familiarity with international affairs. Previously, Cain said he doesn’t know enough to say what he thinks about the war in Afghanistan.

(4) IMMIGRATION PLAN INVOLVES A “GREAT WALL OF CHINA” AND A “MOAT [WITH] ALLIGATORS”: In a speech to Iowa Republicans, Cain called for building a fence along the entire U.S.–Mexico border, comparing the effort to the Great Wall of China. Building a fence along the nearly 2,000-mile border not only wouldn’t work, it would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. Cain also suggested building a moat next to the fence and filling it with alligators.

(5) BELIEVES “WE ALREADY RECOGNIZE” THE GOVERNMENT OF TAIWAN: Discussing U.S.-Chinese relations with ThinkProgress, Cain confirmed fears that he lacked a firm grasp on foreign policy matters when he declared that “we already recognize” the government of Taiwan. In fact, the United States stopped recognizing Taiwan in 1979. Cain, visibly confused about relations between the U.S, China, and Taiwan, refused to say whether this belief meant he planned to send an ambassador to Taiwan, saying instead, “President Cain will get back to you!” Lest the matter seem trivial, Chinese-Taiwanese relations are extraordinarily tense and the matter of diplomatic relations with the United States carries enormous implications for the billions of people living in southeast Asia.

(6) WANTS TO PUT DIRTY ENERGY CEOS IN CHARGE OF EPA REGULATIONS: After an Iowa voter asked about increasing domestic oil production, Cain proposed creating a commission consisting of businessmen from the coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas industries to gut environmental protections. Cain even said he would appoint the CEO of Shell, claiming the company had been “abused” by the EPA. Cain has close ties to several top oil executives.

(7) BELIEVES IRAQ SHOULD PAY U.S. BACK FOR INVADING THEIR COUNTRY: Cain suggested in a 2008 interview that Iraq should pay the United States back for invading and occupying their country. Even Rick Santorum, who nobody would confuse as a moderate, strongly disagreed with this idea, saying, “I think that would send every possible wrong signal.” Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died and millions have been displaced.

(8) TRIED TO HIDE HIS GAY TREASURER: A former staffer to Cain, Kevin Hall, testified in court that Cain attempted to cover up the involvement of his openly gay PAC treasurer Scott Toomey. According to Hall, the campaign was trying to cover up Toomey’s involvement due to his sexuality. Cain’s lawyers declined to dispute the allegations.

(9) SAYS HE WOULD SUPPORT A NATIONAL PHOTO ID LAW: With an increasing number of conservative governors implement new requirements for voters to present photo identification at the polls, Cain told ThinkProgress he’d support such a bill on a federal level. “If you need a picture to get on an airplane, why shouldn’t you need one in order to be able to vote?” Cain asked. To be clear, voting is not like getting on an airplane – only one is the basis of our very democracy – and requirements that citizens present photo IDs instead of other forms of identification has the potential to disenfranchise millions of voters, especially minorities and poorer individuals.

(10) BELIEVES THAT AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN MOSQUES: During a Fox News Sunday interview, Cain professed his belief that if a community wants to ban a mosque, “they have a right to do that.” Rather than idle banter, Cain’s comments came fresh off his speech blasting the proposed expansion of an existing Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee because it was, in the former pizza executive’s estimation, “not an innocent mosque.” Cain’s view is squarely at odds with not only the Constitution, but basic precepts of tolerance and diversity as well.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/top-10-things-herman-cain-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about-him.html#ixzz1aGbdvhjP

via Top 10 Things Herman Cain Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him | Care2 Causes.

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‘Secret memo made case for Awlaki killing’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English

A secret legal memorandum paved the way for the killing of the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen late last month, according to US media reports.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the memo, written last year, found that Awlaki’s killing would�be�lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive.

The memorandum�followed months of extensive interagency deliberations and offers a glimpse into the legal debate that led to US President�Barack Obama’s decision to kill Awlaki, a US citizen, without a trial, the paper added.

The secret document justified the killing despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, the Times reported, citing sources familiar with the analysis.

The memo, however, was narrowly drawn to the specifics of Awlaki’s case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any US citizens believed to pose a terrorist threat, according to the Times.

The Obama administration has refused to acknowledge or discuss its role in the drone strike that killed Awlaki.

Awlaki was killed in an air raid along with four others believed to be members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The attack targeted two vehicles travelling through an al-Qaeda stronghold in central Yemen.

One of those killed with Awlaki, Samir Khan, was a US citizen of Pakistani origin and co-editor of al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine.

‘Significant milestone’

Khan was a specialist in computer programming and was also wanted by the Yemeni government and the US.

Obama called the Awlaki’s killing a “significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates”.

The US government has since resisted growing calls that it provide a detailed public explanation of why officials deemed it lawful to kill a US citizen, the Times reported.

It said the move had led to a precedent that scholars, rights activists and others say has raised concerns about the rule of law and civil liberties.

Shahid Buttar, a civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said the “departure from the rule of law is now well established”.

“We are losing an oportunity to defend a constitutional rule of law as distinct from our very short-term perceived nationals security interests … Guantanamo Bay would be subject, I think, to a very similar perspective here,” he told Al Jazeera from washington, DC.�

The Times�said the document that laid out the administration’s justification — a roughly 50-page memorandum completed around June 2010 — was described on the condition of anonymity by people who had read it.

The legal analysis, drafted by lawyers in the justice department’s office of legal counsel, concluded that Awlaki could be legally killed, if it was not feasible to capture him, the Times reported.

Intelligence agencies, it added, argued Awlaki was taking part in a war between the US and al-Qaeda and posed a significant threat to Americans, and that Yemeni authorities had been unable or were unwilling to stop him.

The memorandum does not independently analyse the quality of the evidence against him, the paper reported.

It said there was no comment from US administration officials.

via ‘Secret memo made case for Awlaki killing’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

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Gone in 60 nanoseconds | Richmond Times-Dispatch

“We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender.

A neutrino walks into a bar.

— Joke circulating on the Internet

The world as we know it is on the brink of disintegration, on the verge of dissolution. No, I’m not talking about the collapse of the euro, of international finance, of the Western economies, of the democratic future, of the unipolar moment, of the American dream, of French banks, of Greece as a going concern, of Europe as an idea, of Pax Americana.

I am talking about something far more important. Which is why it probably only made the back pages of many newspapers. Scientists at CERN (the European high-energy physics consortium) have announced the discovery of a particle that can travel faster than light .

Neutrinos fired 454 miles from a supercollider outside Geneva to an underground laboratory in Gran Sasso, Italy, took less time (60 nanoseconds less) than light to get there. Or so the physicists think. Or so they measured. Or so they have concluded after checking for every possible artifact and experimental error.

The implications of such a discovery are so mind-boggling, however, that these same scientists immediately requested that other labs around the world try to replicate the experiment. Something must have been wrong to account for a result that, if we know anything about the universe, is impossible.

And that’s the problem. It has to be impossible because, if not, everything we know about the universe is wrong.

The fundamental axiom of Einstein’s theory of relativity is the absolute prohibition on speed faster than light. Einstein’s predictions about how time slows and mass increases as one approaches the speed of light have been verified by a mountain of experimental evidence. As velocity increases, mass approaches infinity and time slows to zero, making it progressively and, ultimately, infinitely difficult to achieve light speed. Which is why nothing does. And nothing ever has.

Until two weeks ago Thursday.

That’s when the results were announced. To oversimplify grossly: If the Gran Sasso scientists had a plate to record the arrival of the neutrinos and a super-powerful telescope to peer (through the Alps!) directly into the lab in Geneva from which they were being fired, the Gran Sasso guys would have “heard” the neutrinos clanging against the plate before they observed the Geneva guys squeeze the trigger on the neutrino gun.

Sixty nanoseconds before, to be precise. Wrap your mind around that one.

It’s as if someone told you that yesterday at drive time Topeka was released from Earth’s gravity. These things don’t happen. Natural laws don’t just expire between shifts at McDonald’s.

Not that there aren’t already mysteries in physics. Neutrinos themselves are ghostly particles that travel through nearly everything unimpeded. (Thousands are traversing your body as you read this.) But that is simplicity itself compared to quantum mechanics, whose random arbitrariness so offended Einstein that he famously objected that God does not play dice with the universe.

Aphorisms don’t trump reality, however. They are but a frail, poignant protest against a Nature that disdains the most cherished human notions of order and elegance, truth and beauty.

But if quantum mechanics was a challenge to human sensibilities, this pesky Swiss-Italian neutrino is their undoing. It means that Einstein’s relativity — a theory of uncommon beauty upon which all of physics has been built for 100 years — is wrong. Not just inaccurate. Not just flawed. But deeply, fundamentally, indescribably wrong.

It means that the “standard model” of subatomic particles that stands at the center of all modern physics is wrong.

Nor does it stop there. This will not just overthrow physics. Astronomy and cosmology measure time and distance in the universe on the assumption of light speed as the cosmic limit. Their foundations will shake as well.

It cannot be. Yet, this is not a couple of guys in a garage peddling cold fusion. This is no crank wheeling a perpetual-motion machine into the patent office. These are the best researchers in the world using the finest measuring instruments, having subjected their data to the highest levels of scrutiny, including six months of cross-checking by 160 scientists from 11 countries.

But there must be some error. Because otherwise everything changes. We shall need a new physics. A new cosmology. New understandings of past and future, of cause and effect. Then shortly and surely, new theologies.

Why? Because you can’t have neutrinos getting kicked out of taverns they have not yet entered .

via Gone in 60 nanoseconds | Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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Women’s rights trio wins Nobel Peace Prize – CBS News

Africa’s first democratically elected female president, a Liberian peace activist and a woman who stood up to Yemen’s authoritarian regime won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to secure women’s rights, which the prize committee described as fundamental to advancing world peace.

The 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award was split three ways between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, peace activist Leyma Gbowee from the same African country and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen — the first Arab woman to win the prize.

via Women’s rights trio wins Nobel Peace Prize – CBS News.

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Occupy Wall Street: Penn Badgley, Tim Robbins latest celebs to join protests – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post

Occupy Wall Street has gained two new celebrity supporters, as the protests continue for the 20th day in New York City.

“Gossip Girl” actor Penn Badgley was spotted by a Gawker tipster Wednesday marching with demonstrators to City Hall and holding a sign that said, “Bring Back the Glass-Stegall Act!! No to Corporate Greed!”

The actor told Capital NY that he came to the protests after a friend was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge “I mean, listen, it’s cheesy … but I want to do whatever I can,” he said of his participation. “Let’s be honest: I’m on [expletive] ‘Gossip Girl.’ So, why not try and … right? It’s absurd that celebrity power is what it is, but, like, use any tool you have, you know?”

Perhaps following the lead of his former partner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins stopped by the protests Wednesday. He told the Financial Times (via People), “This is what an actual grassroots movement looks like. … It’s a bit sloppy and disorganized but full of passion.”

via Occupy Wall Street: Penn Badgley, Tim Robbins latest celebs to join protests – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

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