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Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Vandals topple dozens of headstones at Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia (VIDEO)

© Dominick Reuter / AFP
Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA.
Dozens of tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were discovered toppled and damaged, according to media reports. Police classified the incident as an act of vandalism, the second in a week since the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.

The discovery was made on Sunday morning at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming neighborhood of Philadelphia by a local man who came to visit the grave of his father.

Police say up to 100 graves were affected, while locals claim up to 500 tombstones had been overturned, according to ABC6.

Comment: See also:

No Entry

The retail apocalypse gains momentum as debt ceiling holiday approaches

© Seph Lawless
J.C. Penney and Family Christian Stores are the latest retail giants to announce widespread store closings. As you will see below, J.C. Penney plans to close between 130 and 140 stores, and Family Christian is closing all of their 240 stores. In recent months the stock market has been absolutely soaring, and so most people have simply assumed that the "real economy" must be doing well. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the retail apocalypse that I have been documenting for quite some time appears to be gaining momentum.

J.C. Penney is not in as rough shape as Sears is just yet, but it is definitely on a similar trajectory. In the end, they are both headed for bankruptcy. That is why it wasn't too much of a surprise when J.C. Penney announced that they are getting rid of about 6,000 workers and closing at least 130 stores...
J.C. Penney (JCP) plans to close 130 to 140 stores and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry sags in competition with online sellers and nimble niche retailers.

The company said Friday that it would shutter 13% to 14% of its locations and introduce new goods and services aimed at the shifting preferences of its customer base.
Meanwhile, many observers were quite surprised when Family Christian Stores decided to fold up shop for good. They were known as the largest Christian retailer on the entire planet, but now after 85 years they are going out of business forever...

Comment: The last time this occurred in stock markets an epic crash followed


Campus wars against BDS activism rage on

© Facebook
Pro-Israel stand in front of pro-Palestinian students during protest at the University of California, Berkeley, March 2016.
Activists for Palestinian rights have long known that our universities are overwhelmingly-hostile environments where freedom of speech about, and critical inquiry into, Israel's oppressive policies are heavily censored. The mainstreaming of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and the growing support this grassroots movement is gaining have had the effect of increasing, rather than alleviating, university administrators' clamping down on support for Palestinian rights.

Over the past few weeks, two separate and noteworthy incidents have illustrated this heavy-handed approach. And while these incidents are particularly outrageous, they are not exceptional, but rather indicative of the overall climate of political repression that continues to blanket the nation.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, in an egregious twist to a still-unfolding story, Fordham University student Sapphira Lurie received a "disciplinary reprimand" by Dean of Students Keith Eldredge, in what the advocacy organization Palestine Legal has described as a "pre-determined outcome."

Lurie, a senior at Fordham, had been found in violation of her school's "demonstration policy" when she participated in a Jan. 23 rally protesting the dean's decision to deny her request to start a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on her campus. That decision, as well as the charge, was condemned by civil rights groups as a violation of the school's free speech and association policies.

Eye 1

Welcome aboard, but first US Marshals will scan your retina

For some 15 years, airport security has become steadily more invasive. There are ever more checkpoints, ever more requests for documents as you make your way from the airport entrance to the airplane. Passengers adapt to the new changes as they come. But my latest flight to Mexico, originating in Atlanta, presented all passengers with something I had never seen before.

We had already been through boarding pass checks, passport checks, scanners, and pat downs. At the gate, each passenger had already had their tickets scanned and we were all walking on the jet bridge to board. It's at this point most people assume that it is all done: finally we can enjoy some sense of normalcy.

Apple Red

Anti-PC Professor who fought back against 'preferred pronouns' is running for top University job

Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto professor who sparked a firestorm of protest last year for being politically incorrect, has been nominated to become the Rector of Scotland's prestigious Glasgow University.

Peterson entered the public spotlight when he rejected the use of manufactured gender-neutral "preferred pronouns" rather than "he" or "she." His objection to the Toronto government's move to criminalize pronoun misuse earned him the ire of the progressive left, who accused him of bigotry against transgender-identifying students, who insist gender rests on a spectrum, and not a binary.


Bad Guys

Rachel Maddow: Corporate shill for the oligarchs

I was surprised to see an old photo going around late last week in the Green Party circles I'm in showing Jill Stein dining with, among others, Vladimir Putin. Green Party folks are sensitive creatures, so my momma bear hackles got raised right away because they were so distressed in their search for an explanation for why their lady was seen fraternizing with the corporate media's current official supervillain. I had already seen the photo because it had previously been used to smear Jill Stein during the lead-up to the general election in the days when McCarthyist red-baiting was still a shocking new thing that stuck out like a sore thumb, before it hit the ubiquitous perpetual shriek that it's at today. Not everyone's a progressive news junkie though, so for many this photo was a startling revelation.

I figured someone must have brought it back into mainstream circulation, and I figured who that person probably was. There's no public figure who's been such a virulently Russophobic nutcase and so relentlessly aggressive in their attacks upon third parties as one Rachel Anne Maddow.


Citizen militia in US experiences explosive growth following last election

Until the 1990's, civilian run volunteer militias weren't all that common in the United States. They were the fringe of the fringe in our culture. But after Waco and Ruby Ridge, their ranks swelled and they became a common subject in the news and in pop culture. Their numbers fell again under President Bush, and then grew to new heights under President Obama.

It's an obvious pattern. Conservative militias multiply like crazy under Democratic presidents, and for good reason. When Democrats take the reigns of government, they always threaten to restrict gun ownership. They then decline under Republican administrations, when conservatives don't feel as threatened.

However, there may be a new trend emerging. CBS Atlanta recently did a piece on a militia called the Three Percenter Security Force (which obviously showed them in slightly negative light, given the source). The organization is run by Marine Corps veteran Chris Hill, who says that their membership has grown from a few dozen, to roughly 400 members since November. The Marine told CBS that the militia would protect the Second Amendment under any administration, and that "The government or law enforcement agencies, disarming people, it's a constant threat."


The last time this occurred in stock markets an epic crash followed

The Dow Jones continues to hit record highs and yesterday it reached a milestone not seen since January of 1987.

Back then, the band Starship was at the top of the charts with their hit song Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, which appears to also be the rallying cry of Wall Street, Main Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today.

Of course, for those who are familiar with their history, that year didn't end up so well for investors. On 'Black Monday', October 19th, 1987, the U.S. stock market suffered the largest crash in history with the Dow Jones losing 22.6% in value, amounting to roughly $500 billion in losses by the end of the trading day.

Comment: Former budget director for the Reagan Administration David Stockman agrees, and says a lot more about how possible a true economic turn-around is. And it ain't pretty.

Life Preserver

True humanitiarians: Russia delivers another 17 tonnes of aid to Syria

© Sputnik/ Andrey Stenin
Russia has delivered 17 metric tons of humanitarian cargo to Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria.

A Russian Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifter has delivered 17 metric tons of humanitarian cargo to Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said Sunday.

"Il-76 transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces has delivered humanitarian aid (food products, clothes, items of first necessity) provided by the Russian Federation. Total weight of the humanitarian cargos has reached 17 tons," the ministry's Center for Syrian reconciliation said in a daily bulletin.

Comment: Russia has been routinely delivering humanitarian aid to Syria for quite some time:


South Korean prosecutors to file charges against Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong on Monday

© AFP 2016/ JUNG Yeon-Je
Special prosecutors of South Korea plan to file charges against Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., over corruption scandal on February 27, local media reported on Sunday.

The prosecution plans to indict Lee, former presidential aide Woo Byung-woo and several other suspects on Monday, Yonhap news agency reported citing unnamed sources.

According to the media, special prosecutors questioned Lee for the second day straight on Sunday on suspicion of bribing President Park Geun-hye's friend Choi Soon-sil in return for state support of a controversial merger.

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