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Wed, 23 Aug 2017
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Stone Mountain Confederate carvings now in the crosshairs

The huge raised-relief images show a Confederate trinity sitting astride their horses, high above the ground. Hats held across their chests, President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson ride across the face of Stone Mountain into faded glory.

Part theme park and part shrine to Dixie's Lost Cause, this granite outcrop east of Atlanta - sculpted like a Mount Rushmore of the Confederacy - is once again an ideological battlefield as a new fight rages over rebel symbolism across the South.

In the aftermath of the Aug. 12 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a Democratic candidate for Georgia governor said the carving should be removed. But removal would probably mean destroying a work of public art that took decades to complete and is the centerpiece of one of Georgia's biggest tourist destinations.

The images carved into the mountain, "like Confederate monuments across this state, stand as constant reminders of racism, intolerance and division," Stacey Abrams wrote in an email to supporters following the violence in Charlottesville. Abrams is vying to become the nation's first black female governor.

Heart - Black

Elite Brentwood schoolteacher arrested for sex with underage student

Aimee Palmitessa
A teacher at the elite Brentwood School has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage student, authorities said.

Aimee Palmitessa, 45, was taken into custody Friday by detectives, said Tony Im, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. The alleged victim is a 16-year-old student at the school.

Palmitessa was booked on suspicion of statutory rape - sex involving a minor, Im said. She has since been released on bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

She could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Palmitessa is a biology teacher at the private school, one of Los Angeles' most expensive schools, sources told The Times. She has a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology and previously taught at Penn State Abington.


Spreading hysteria: University of Texas starts removing Confederate statues

University of Texas President Greg Fenves ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and other prominent Confederate figures from a main area of campus, saying such monuments have become "symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism."

Fenves announced the move late Sunday night as crews were in place to begin taking the statues down. The school also blocked off the area during the process, and the statues are expected to be gone by mid-morning Monday, a spokesman said.

The university moved a statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its perch near the campus clock tower to a history museum in 2015. Fenves now says statues of Lee, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan, which were in the same area as Davis, also will be moved to the Brisco Center for American History on campus.

Comment: No country for old monuments


The angry mobs catch the whiff of anarchy as the Color Revolution comes home

The Color Revolution is Coming Home
When I watched the following video for the first time, one word kept on flitting it's way in and out of my mind: Demented. Judge for yourselves:

There they are shouting and spitting and kicking at a statue. A statue! As they do so, no doubt they're congratulating themselves on their goodness, tolerance and liberal values, not to mention their enlightened views. Is this Monty Python? It's almost comedic, until it hits you that the line between people doing this to a statue and doing it to a living person runs much closer than we might like to think
"You want a vision of the future," wrote Orwell, "imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

Comment: For a detailed discussion of the hysteria currently gripping America see: Behind the Headlines: Charlottesville Mass Hysteria Bubble, Terror Strikes Barcelona

Red Flag

Special courts for first responders with mental health issues questioned by Texas counties

There's one new law on the books intended to help police in Texas that has gotten less attention than several others in a year when lawmakers touted their "back the blue" bills. It's a measure that will allow counties to create pretrial diversion programs for first responders who commit crimes because of job-related mental health issues.

The law, inspired by similar courts available to veterans, was pushed by one of Texas' largest police unions, and it sailed through a Legislature eager to help law enforcement in the year following a Dallas shooting that left five police officers dead. But at least a few county judges and experts say the courts seem unnecessary or concerning, and many large counties don't appear interested in setting them up anytime soon.

Starting in September, counties will be able to establish a specialty court for law enforcement officers, firefighters, prison guards, county jailers and paramedics charged with any misdemeanor or felony. The law focuses on those who suffer from a brain injury, mental illness or a mental disorder - such as post-traumatic stress disorder - that they got from their job. Eligible defendants could bypass criminal prosecution and instead go into a treatment-based program specific for each case.

Eye 1

Disney apps spy on kids and illegally share data; class-action lawsuit filed

© AP Photo/Richard Drew
The Walt Disney Co. secretly collects personal information on some of its youngest customers and shares that data illegally with advertisers without parental consent, according to a federal lawsuit filed late last week in California.

The class-action suit targets Disney and three other software companies - Upsight, Unity and Kochava - alleging that the mobile apps they built together violate the law by gathering insights about app users across the Internet, including those under the age of 13, in ways that facilitate "commercial exploitation."

The plaintiffs argue that Disney and its partners violated COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law designed to protect the privacy of children on the Web. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California, seeks an injunction barring the companies from collecting and disclosing the data without parental consent, as well as punitive damages and legal fees.


CNN gets destroyed by tweeters after Jake Tapper trolls RT

CNN's Jake Tapper tried to troll RT with the tweet below, which in reality is a veiled effort to do the bidding of his corporatist masters by trying to connect the Alt-Right to Russia.

The irony in Tapper's tweets (aside from what Jimmy Dore points out) is that RT America is actually much more progressive and left of center than CNN could ever claim to be.

Then we have all of the documented fake news and war mongering that CNN has historically supported from Iraq to Libya, Syria to an "alt-right" coup in Ukraine.

Tapper makes a fool of himself, citing a tweet from Michael Weiss, a Russia hating, new breed of hipster neocons being trotted out to make war cool to the millennial crowd.

Red Flag

Poll finds 1 in 3 British Jews considering leaving country over safety fears

© Getty
One in three British Jews have considered leaving the country because they no longer feel safe here. And almost four in 10 say they hide their faith for fear of antisemitic attacks, a poll found.

The survey by YouGov shows that only 59 per cent of Britain's 270,000 Jewish people feel welcome in the UK. And three quarters believe the Labour Party harbours antisemites.

Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader two years ago he has had to fend off claims he is not doing enough to tackle discrimination. A report by MPs last year said his party failed "consistently and effectively to deal with antisemitic incidents".


Fiat Chrysler shares soar after China's Great Wall Motors confirms purchase interest

Last week Automotive News reported rumors that at least one Chinese automaker had made a bid for Fiat Chrysler (FCA) at a slight premium to the company's prevailing market price though it was reportedly rejected. While it's unclear whether an official bid was made, this morning Reuters is confirming that China's Great Wall Motor Company has expressed interest in acquiring FCA, sending the company's shares to a new 52-week high.
China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a company official said on Monday, confirming reports it is pursuing all or part of the owner of the Jeep and Ram truck brands.

"With respect to this case, we currently have an intention to acquire. We are interested in (FCA)," an official at Great Wall Motor's press relations department told Reuters by phone. He declined to give his name and gave no further details.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it had not been approached by Great Wall Motor, and was busy with implementing its current five-year business plan.

The industry publication cited a Great Wall spokesman confirming interest, but saying the Chinese automaker had not made a formal offer or met with FCA's board.


US Immigration agency expands partnership with local law enforcement to arrest illegals

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has successfully expanded a program that allows state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law, The Daily Caller has learned.

The 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement to assist in the arrest and removal of illegal immigrants, has increased from 32 participating agencies in 16 states to 60 participating agencies in 18 states during President Trump's time in office.

President Trump signed an executive order shortly after getting into office that directed the expansion of the 287(g) program. Former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly called the program a "highly successful force multiplier" in a February memo and noted that between January 2006 and September 2015 the program identified 402,000 illegal immigrants.

The program was largely gutted by the Obama administration, but is now being put to use again under Trump. These new partnerships have been concentrated in Texas with 18 departments there joining the program in 2017. In July, five agencies in Texas signed 287(g) agreements. An ICE official has told TheDC that this growth will continue, albeit slowly as there are bureaucratic barriers slowing down the signing of agreements.

The expansion of this program is yet another sign that the Trump administration is serious about cracking down on illegal immigration, a key component of the president's campaign for office. Trump has ordered the construction of a border wall and put all illegal immigrants, except those benefiting from Obama's amnesty, up for deportation. The Justice Department also moved in the past week to restrict sanctuary cities from receiving certain grants.