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Another U.S. company downsizes - Office Depot to close 165 stores

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© Foxnews
Boca Raton-based Office Depot said Tuesday it would close 165 stores during 2014 - up from the 150 estimated earlier this year - but stuck with a total count of 400 store closures through 2016, the company said.

The office-supply retailer, which merged with OfficeMax last year in a $1.2 billion transaction, said it has completed its analysis of which stores will be closed across the U.S. and Canada. Locally, the retailer has closed two OfficeMax stores, in Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach.

The company also announced on a conference call following its second-quarter earnings announcement that it has settled a California lawsuit for $80 million, which it expects to pay in the fourth quarter.

Five years ago, former Office Depot business accountant David Sherwin sued the company, along with the State of California, claiming Office Depot overcharged state agencies for office supplies. Sherwin died March 16, but his estate continued to pursue the lawsuit.

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, the company said. The allegations related to a contract in place from 2001 to 2011, when Office Depot was under previous management.

Water

Man in Oregon jailed for...collecting rainwater

© Natural Society
Since when do you need a permit to collect rainwater? An Oregonian man has been sent to prison after local authorities found he had collected more than 13 million gallons of rainwater in 3 man-made ponds on his own property.

Gary Harrington is a 64 year-old man now sitting in jail for collecting a God-given right. He and his brother asked the 'water master' for a water certificate in 1973, but since he was just collecting rainwater, they couldn't issue him one.

Over time, Harrington has built three massive water collection reservoirs - ponds - on his 170 acre property on Crowfoot Road in rural Eagle Point.

Just by collecting snow runoff and rainwater, his ponds hold more than 13 million gallons of water that he uses to irrigate crops, and 'be prepared in case of forest fires.' I guess the water privatization people are pissed.

He has enough water to fill about 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Arrow Down

Oakland officer reinstated with back pay after throwing grenade at unconscious man, bystanders

© Noah Berger, special to the Chronicle
Oakland riot cops surround the protesters.
California - An officer who violently attacked a group of civilians - including an incapacitated man bleeding from a head injury and the people who tried to help him - has been reinstated to the department with back pay for the nearly 3 years of missed work.

© AP/Jay Finneburgh
Scott Olsen suffering from a fractured skull after being attacked by Oakland police.
The incident dates back to October 25th, 2011. Citizens were protesting the perceived injustices in their government in what was called an Occupy Oakland rally, which involved day-and-night occupation of the public square.

Oakland police initiated an unprovoked attack on peaceful bystanders when an unidentified OPD officer launched a metal tear gas canister directly into a man's head, causing him to collapse into a pool of blood, and resulting in brain damage.

The incident didn't end there. The man who had been injured was Iraq veteran Scott Olson; who received swift attention from non-uniformed bystanders. When people had gathered to aid Mr. Olson, another cop, OPD Officer Robert Roche, attacked the crowd by throwing a flashbang grenade only inches from Mr. Olson's bleeding head.

A violent explosion followed, injuring and scattering the first responders. The incident was previously detailed by Police State USA.

Black Magic

Detecting the trickle-down corruption and tyranny from Washington, D.C.

© REUTERS/Jason Reed
How will history judge America 100 years from now? Right now we live in an age were despotism trickles down from the very top where the President resides down to the local dog catcher . I mean from the highest levels of our federal government down to our local municipalities including the county seat. We can see the reign of terror starting with the Department of Homeland Security at the top down to the local county Sheriff, the city police and local constable. It is very obvious seeing the thuggery of Police today abusing the public.

Seeing that Police Officer saying just because President Obama does not follow the Constitution gives him an excuse not to abide by his oath either. Monkey sees, Monkey does. To the Police officer in Halmetta New Jersey who made that remark not following his oath. If he is a married man back then when Bill Clinton was President. I would like to ask him this question. Just because President Clinton did not keep his vows to his wife Hillery sleeping with every woman that aroused him. Does it give you the right to go cheat on your wife because the man in the oval office did it?

Comment: For more on the roots of corruption and tyranny in Washington, D.C. see:

Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes


Quenelle

Actress Penelope Cruz reportedly blacklisted by Hollywood studios for her support of Palestine

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© Adrian Sanchez/Getty
Penelope Cruz has enraged Hollywood by her open letter condemning Israel's actions in Gaza.
Actress Penelope Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem have roused the fury of Hollywood producers, with pledges made to snub the Spanish couple. Oscar-winner Bardem and Cruz signed an open letter speaking against "the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army". The letter accused Israel of "advancing on Palestinian territories instead of withdrawing to the 1967 borders.

"Gaza is living through horror... while the international community does nothing."

The Spanish letter was signed by 100 leading figures in the film industry, including director Pedro Almodovar. One top producer who has worked with Cruz says he privately has vowed not to hire her again, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

V

Tens of thousands protest Israeli occupation of Gaza in London

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© John Stillwell/PA
Protesters will march past the US embassy in Grosvenor Square before ending at Hyde Park with a rally.
Pro-Palestine groups hold march in hopes of raising more than £4.5m to help victims of attacks on Gaza

Some 20,000 people are marching through central London on Saturday to call for an end to the conflict in Gaza and a ban on UK arms exports to Israel.

The protest, organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War, set off from Oxford Circus at 1pm and will march past the US embassy in Grosvenor Square before ending at Hyde Park with a rally. Speakers including George Galloway and Diane Abbott will address the protesters.

The march is being held as a public appeal for funds to help the victims of Israel's attacks on Gaza raise more than £4.5m in less than 24 hours.

The Disasters Emergency Committee launched its Gaza Crisis Appeal on Friday night on all major UK television networks. The Department for International Development has matched the first £2m donated by the public pound-for-pound.

The funds will allow the committee's member agencies, such as Oxfam and the British Red Cross, to help the hundreds of thousands of Gazans needing of clean water, food, shelter, medical treatment and psychological support.

Stormtrooper

Evidence emerges of Israeli "shoot to cripple" policy in the occupied West Bank

Israeli soldiers use live fire and expanding bullets to shatter the legs of West Bank protesters.

© Dan Cohen
At 10 PM on August 8, a twenty-year-old resident of the Al Amari refugee camp named Muhammad Qatri arrived dead at the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah. He had been killed by Israeli soldiers during a protest near the illegal West Bank settlement of Psagot - shot through the heart right on the spot on his shirt that read, "Gaza."

From the parking lot outside the hospital's emergency room, a group of men bellowed chants about the latest unarmed young man to fall before Israeli gunfire in an usually bloody few weeks. I arrived at the hospital gates with a colleague and met Dr. Rajai Abukhalil, a 26-year-old resident physician who had just phoned Qatri's father to deliver the bad news. Not even midway through his night shift, Abukhalil was already on his fifth coffee and still awaiting a free moment to take breakfast.

Cult

Pastors from every U.S. state travel to Israel to support its genocide of Palestinians

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Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. of Beltsville, Md.
Fifty-one pastors from every U.S. state and D.C. touched down in Israel early Tuesday for an unprecedented last minute solidarity mission aimed at expressing their support for the Jewish state's right to defend itself from the terror group Hamas, a sentiment that some say is not shared in the White House.

As Israelis wait to see if another tenuous 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas will hold, the pastors say that they dropped everything to make the journey, which was pulled together several days ago by the Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a pro-Israel organization with nearly two million members.

The emergency sirens in Jerusalem that warn of incoming rocket attacks remained silent all day Tuesday as the pastors landed in Tel Aviv. They immediately traveled by bus to Jerusalem's Old City, where they gathered at the Western Wall to silently issue prayers for the Jewish state, which has been struck by thousands of rockets during the past weeks.

Light Sabers

Join the BDS movement: 9 brands to boycott to hold Israel accountable for 60 years of violating international law

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are big news in 2014. If Scarlett Johansson's Sodastream fiasco didn't grab your attention, perhaps the American Studies Association's boycott of Israeli universities did, or Netanyahu's increasing talk of million-dollar PR campaigns, legal offensives and diplomacy efforts to counter the BDS threat. Opinion pages are filled with debate, John Kerry has warned Israel that it could be facing a delegitimization campaign "on steroids" and voices from all sides are speculating that a boycott movement against Israel could be about to break into the mainstream.

But what would that actually mean in supermarkets and shopping baskets? The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It's a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in - and make hefty profits from - occupation policies. These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon - and they may not be the ones you'd expect.
© Associated Press
1. Sodastream

Thanks to Scarlett Johansson's recent adventure in international politics, most of us now know about Sodastream's role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank. The fizzy drinks makers are produced in Ma'ale Adumim, one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that cuts through Palestinian land, seizing resources and making the development of an independent Palestinian economy look impossible. "The Israeli army forcefully expelled 200 Palestinian families from their homes to make space for the construction of Maale Adumim," says Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the BDS National Committee. "Recently, it announced a plan to expel another 2,300 Palestinians to make way for the settlement's growth."

Cow Skull

You reap what you sow: Who's hit hardest by Russian trade ban?

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© Reuters/Brian Snyder
Germany and Poland will lose the most trade with Russia, and neighboring Finland and Baltic states Lithuania and Latvia will lose a bigger proportion of their GDP. Norway will see fish sales to Russia disappear, and US damages would be very limited.

Russia has banned imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from the 28 countries of the EU, the US, Canada, Norway, and Australia for one year.

EU trade is heavily dependent on Russian food imports. Last year Russia bought $16 billion worth of food from the bloc, or about 10 percent of total exports, according to Eurostat.

In terms of losses, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands - the top three EU food suppliers to Russia in 2013 - will be hit hardest. Food for Russia makes up around 3.3 percent of total German exports.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said his government is already working together with Germany and Poland to reach a coordinated policy on the new Russian sanction regime.

Last year, Ireland exported €4.5 million worth of cheese to Russia, and not being able to do so this year is a big worry, Simon Coveney, the country's agriculture minister, said.


Comment: We can't say the EU didn't have it coming. This is what you get for bowing down and caving in to U.S. diktat like the sniveling cowards you are.