Brazil elections: Get Lula! Now! Or else…


A powerful array of institutional/oligarchic interests is behind the rabid demonization of all things Workers’ Party.

The interminable, ghastly telenovela aiming at turning Brazil, the seventh-largest economy in the world, into a Banana Republic of Scoundrels while destroying its economy, is—like the infamous GWOT (Global War on Terror)—a gift that keeps on giving.

No, this would never qualify as a Shakespearean tragedy or even a Monty Python sketch. Neither tragic nor funny; just nasty, brutish and overwhelmingly pathetic.

Center stage once again is Sergio Moro, the puny provincial prosecutor with an Elliott Ness complex in charge of the blatantly one-sided Car Wash corruption investigation. Moro is a pure product of Hollywood screenwriting. He is investigator, judge, executioner; in sum, he incarnates The Law. A Magnum-deprived Dirty Harry, but armed with plenty of cheap suits.

After the golpeachment of Dilma Rousseff, it didn’t take long for Moro to play his joker: Lula in jail by all means necessary.

It started with a—pathetically amateurish—Powerpoint presentation by the provincial crusaders in the southern Brazilian state which doubles as Car Wash’s seat, insisting they are “convinced” Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva is guilty of being the Don Corleone in a vast corruption ring. But they have no proof.

Ooops. They did it again (for the third time, actually). So sub-Elliott Ness had to run back to his handlers—in the belly of the Empire of Chaos—for new “instructions.” Moro, after all, was the lucky recipient of all that savory NSA spying on Petrobras, the Brazilian Energy Ministry and (regime-changed) President Rousseff.

Lula, ever the old fox, nailed it—observing how Moro has built, alongside the ultra-right-wing Globo media empire, a framework according to which Brazilian mainstream media is able to condemn anyone at will: “There are leaks and no one knows who leaked. Before proof is presented on whether the leak is true or false, five headlines are out. Then, you are guilty.”

Lula was referring to Moro’s by-the-book application of the 1990s Italian Mani Pulite proceedings—when all guilty verdicts were media-induced. In the remixed Brazilian version, the Public Ministry, the Federal Police and the Judiciary as a whole have been totally monopolized by political interests—all of them opposed to the Workers’ Party—with full corporate media support. The whole Brazilian political system is astonishingly corrupt to the core; but Car Wash only targets the Workers’ Party.

Will Rats Have Their 9/11?

Immediately after this (third-time-lucky?) “new” condemnation of Lula as Mob chief, the real (judicial) Mob doubled down, ordering the arrest of former Finance Minister Guido Mantega (then quietly revoked three hours later).

The ineptness of the whole thing became even more flagrant when it was proved, by lawyers defending disgraced former billionaire Eike Batista, that Mantega had never asked for hush money linked to the Petrobras racket.

It took a former minister and founder of the PSDB party—the former social democrats turned neoliberal enforcers—to confirm, on the record, Lula’s analysis; “Brazil is now under a regime in which you just need to be accused by someone in trouble with the law for it to be taken to the media and justify a preemptive arrest.”

The gift will continue to keep on giving. The next “police story” will certainly be directed against impeached President Rousseff—who has lost her political immunity. Mantega was hit because he had been chairman of the board at Petrobras. So was Dilma. It will just take another rat to accuse her out of the blue for Dilma to be “condemned.”

The “logic” of the whole enterprise remains inexorable. This is what’s been happening in Brazil in a nutshell. Various factions of the Brazilian parliamentary opposition—threatened by corruption investigations, Car Wash included—went for a new form of Hybrid War, supported to the hilt by the State Department, aiming simultaneously at a golpeachment against Dilma and dragging Lula’s name into the mud.

Golpeachment worked—based on a dodgy reading of a constitutional procedure targeting a “crime of responsibility.” Dilma did not commit any crime—responsibility or otherwise—and still she was impeached. It’s no wonder that no less than 8,000 irate Brazilian jurists have launched a “Campaign for Legality.”

A powerful array of institutional/oligarchic interests is behind the rabid demonization of all things Workers’ Party; virtually the whole judicial system, the Globo media empire, the absolute majority of the Supreme Court.

So it’s no wonder Brazil has been reduced to the slimy status of a Banana Scoundrel so-called Republic, where due legal process, burden of proof, right of defense, presumption of innocence have all been swept under the (rotten) carpet.

Rats scurrying for an escape route underneath now mirror rats mingling in the tower of power. The masterplan—with Moro as poster boy—is vicious; no less than to destroy the whole project—initiated by Lula—of autonomously developing Brazil as a top multipolar leader in parallel with wealth redistribution. It’s no wonder the illegitimate and vastly unpopular Temer The Usurper “government” is already accelerating the destruction of Petrobras and handing out exploitation of the pre-salt oil reserves to foreign corporations.

A Sub-Empire of Rats is in effect. Perhaps not for too long. Before 9/11 I published a story headlined “Get Osama! Now! Or Else” … 9/11 happened roughly 10 days later. Failing to take out Lula—so he’s back to win the 2018 presidential elections – may end up being a 9/11 for the Sub-Empire of Rats.

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Arkansas State Rep. who pushed for law to film police gets arrested for filming police


An Arkansas politician who helped pass state legislation protecting people who film the police, has been arrested for… filming the police.

Representative John Walker was arrested by Little Rock police on Monday for filming the arrest of a driver and his passenger following a traffic stop and charged with “obstruction of government relations”.

“I’m just making sure they don’t kill you,” said Walker to the driver being pulled over and subsequently arrested for an outstanding warrant, according to the police report.

“I ordered Walker several times to leave or be arrested. Walker replied ‘arrest me’ at which point I did,” wrote the arresting officer.

Walker’s associate, lawyer Omavi Shuker, 29, was also arrested at the scene for walking between the police vehicle and pulled over car.

LRPD released dashcam footage of the incident so members of the public could see how the situation unfolded.

By Tuesday, the Little Rock Police Department realized they had slipped up and dropped the charges against Walker, released a formal letter of apology and issued a full refund of his $1,000 bond. However, the charge against Shuker is still pending.

Walker rejected the city’s apology for their reluctance to recognize “pervasive racial bias in some quarters of the police department” and for their decision to uphold the charges against his colleague.

“It’s a mess,” said president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Tommy Hudson, to the Arkansas Times. “It’s a bad situation for everyone involved,” he added.

Hudson went to reiterate that members of the public are well within their rights to film law enforcement.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. You may not like it, but there’s nothing you can do,” he said.

Walker co-sponsored the passage of a 2015 bill protecting the right of citizens to film events in public places, Arkansas was the first state in the country to adopt such a legislation.

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SOTT Exclusive: The really heartbreaking thing about Syria


The UK Mirror put out a typically bad piece on Syria today. First, the typically over-the-top heading: Children in Aleppo laughing and joking as they go swimming in a BOMB CRATER after airstrikes demolish city. Not just a bomb crater – a BOMB CRATER!!! Forgive us for speculating that its author, Kirstie McCrum, has never even been to Syria.

Let’s take a closer look at her bad journalism.

The heartbreaking scenes show little ones finding fun even while their people are being maimed and killed by forces loyal to Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

First of all “their people” are not entirely “their” people. Eastern Aleppo is held by al-Nusra and its affiliates. Many of its fighters are foreigners. Second, if by “their people”, McCrum means Syrians, she neglects to mention that al-Nusra is also maiming and killing Syrians. That’s the reason the Syrian army is fighting them – i.e., to protect real Syrians from Western-backed jihadis. Third, no mention of the fact that al-Nusra cut off the water supply to 1.5 civilians in western Aleppo.

The rebel stronghold has been battered by renewed airstrikes over the past week, with two hospitals destroyed and food supplies growing shorter for tormented residents.

“Rebel” = al-Qaeda. Remember that, because shills like McCrum conveniently forget it. No sourcing is provided for the claim that two hospitals have been “destroyed”. (Recall: Propaganda fail: Aleppo hospital receives 46 patients, 4+ months after it was “destroyed”, “collapsed”.) Also, no mention is made of the fact that al-Nusra uses some hospital facilities as bases. Even if the hospital has no doctors or patients, it’s easy enough to claim a hospital has been destroyed – technically it’s true, but it can be entirely misleading.

Every day aid convoys are not allowed to pass to help with the suffering.

Notice the passive voice. Al-Nusra has publicly said they will reject aid convoys that will not pass through al-Nusra-held territory. What aid they do let through is then hoarded and sold to civilians at hugely inflated prices. Great guys, those “rebels”.

At first the Syrians did refuse to allow many aid trucks into eastern Aleppo, for the simple reason that the “rebels” had refused to leave the Castello road as they were required to do under the failed ceasefire. This prompted the Syrians to retake the positions they had abandoned during the initial days of the ceasefire. But today, the Russian ambassador to Syria says, “It was hard. We had been discussing it for a long time, but at last they [the Syrian government] agreed. They implemented their part of Geneva agreements relating to the Castello road issue.” Ambassador Kinshchak:

All those [necessities currently held in western Aleppo] could have been delivered to the territory controlled by militants. The Syrian government is ready for that. The militants inside [the besieged area] deny to accept humanitarian aid. I think their logic is the following: the worse, the better. The worse are the populations’ conditions; the louder may be their cries about the tragedy…

Back to the Mirror:

But the government and its allies have unwittingly left a makeshift swimming pool for those too little to understand what fresh hell they are facing.

No mention of the hell being faced by those on the other side of the front line – from “indiscriminate” gas canister bombs, mortar shells, snipers…

Radiologist Mohammad Abu Rajab works at the M10 hospital and told Reuters: “The warplane flew over us and directly started dropping its missiles… at around 4 am. Rubble fell in on the patients in the intensive care unit.”

Notice that Rajab doesn’t say if the hospital was targeted. In the original Reuters story it even says: “There were no initial reports of casualties there.” If it was directly targeted, there would be casualties – lots of them.

The fact is, the residents of Aleppo never supported al-Nusra in the first place. They were invaded and occupied. The Syrian government offers amnesty to all Syrian militants. They don’t even have to surrender – they are allowed to leave with their weapons as long as they go to another “rebel”-held region. Civilians are free to leave too. The problem is, al-Nusra doesn’t let them. Those that want to leave have to pay money, and those that don’t pay risk being shot by Nusra snipers as they attempt to make their way to the checkpoints administered by the Russians and Syrians.

Restoring full government rule to western Syria – where nearly all of the population were residents before the start of a conflict that has since made half of Syrians homeless – caused a refugee crisis and contributed to the rise of Islamic State.

Wow. Restoring government control caused the refugee crisis and the rise of ISIS? This journalist is delusional. Restoration of government control is the one thing preventing an even worse refugee crisis. And the only reason ISIS was able to “rise” was because the government was fighting an army of foreign-backed jihadis.

For an idea of what’s really going on in Syria, just watch this recent report from Syrian Girl:

And the latest updates from South Front:

Western media reporting is abysmal. Another example: RFE/RL tells us:

A Syrian opposition monitoring group that tracks Syria’s civil war says a year of Russian air strikes have killed more than 9,364 people, including more than 3,800 civilians, in the war-torn country.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on September 30 that the toll includes 3,804 civilians, among them 906 children, in addition to rebel fighters seeking to topple the Moscow-backed Syrian government.

The group added that the strikes killed 2,746 members of the Islamic State extremist movement and 2,814 fighters from other rebel Islamist groups.

But they neglect to point out that this “group” is one guy living in Coventry getting his information from al-Nusra and other unverifiable sources:

  • Propaganda spin cycle: ‘Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ is funded by US and UK governments

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Six years to bring case against CIA: Pakistani man finally gets chance to sue US over fatal drone strike


A high court in Islamabad has finally ordered the Pakistani government to initiate criminal proceedings against the CIA over a drone strike that killed the brother and son of journalist Karim Khan back in 2009, his lawyer told RT. Khan first started his legal push in 2010.

“Finally, Islamabad high court ordered the Pakistan government to initiate criminal proceedings against CIA officials in Islamabad,” Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Kareem Khan’s lawyer, told RT.

The case has taken 6 years to get registered. Now Pakistani authorities, according to the lawyer, are still trying to derail it.

“And the latest thing that has happened, is that Islamabad police, after initiating the proceeding, transferred the case to Fata, the tribal area from where he [Khan] comes from. But they ‘forgot’ the fact that there’s no police or investigating authority in the tribal areas. Basically, what they are trying to do is trying to sweep this case under the carpet,” Akbar told RT.

The decision to transfer the case investigation has been already protested, and the new hearings in Islamabad high court are scheduled for November.

“The main reason behind all this is the inaction from the Pakistani government as well because they are not willing to take this case against the CIA officials, because they are afraid it might ruin the US-Pakistan relationship, or once this case is open it would also get those people investigated who could be involved from the Pakistani side as well,” Akbar said, adding:

“We believe it’s not just the US which is doing the strikes, there are some Pakistani officials who come into this, including former President [Pervez] Musharraf.”

The alleged CIA attack happened on New Year’s Eve 2009. Local media reported it as a “mistake” of US forces targeting a high-ranking Taliban commander.

“I come to your house and inside your house I kill your brother, your sister, your mother, or your father, or your little innocent children. What will be in your heart? Won’t there be hate?” Karim Khan told Al Jazeera.

There were reportedly no Taliban commanders present at the site, and Karim Khan’s brother and son were the only people killed by the drone. His brother, Asif Iqbal, was a local school teacher with a Master’s degree in modern languages, while his son, Zahinullah, was a 10th grade student. According to Khan, his relatives had no ties to any terrorist groups.

The US ‘drone war’ in Pakistan began in 2004 under the administration of George W. Bush. The scale of strikes has grown rapidly under the Obama administration – during the first two years there was a drone strike every four days, compared with a strike about once every 40 days during the Bush era. The use of drones in Pakistan reached its peak in 2010.

Growing criticism of the program forced the US administration to revise its approach to drone strikes. In 2013 President Obama announced a new policy requiring “near certainty” that civilians would not be harmed. Reduced US military and CIA presence in Afghanistan, reduced presence of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and the decreased role of the CIA in execution of the strikes led to a decline in the number of attacks and victims. In 2014 the targeted killing program was described as “basically over,” but strikes continue to be carried out on an infrequent basis.

In the wake of the US Senate overriding President Obama’s veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) – effectively allowing the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia – some have already expressed fears that the law could lead other governments to allow their courts to exercise jurisdiction over the US, including in cases involving American drone strikes.

“I have tremendous empathy for the victims [of 9/11],” Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said earlier this month. “At the same time I have concerns about the precedent this bill will set and what it may mean to American service men and women and others. Let’s face it – our alleged drone attacks have killed civilians in Pakistan. Our alleged drone attacks have killed civilians in Afghanistan. And I think once you start opening the door for these types of activities, it can be very problematic.”

Statistics on drone strikes in Pakistan vary drastically from one source to another. Official US military figures as of February 2016 claim 3,058 casualties over 12 years – 286 of them civilians and 274 “others.” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates from 2,497 to 3,999 killed by UAVs over the same period – 423 to 965 of them civilians, including around 200 children.

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[9/30/16]  The owner of the Daily Mail has cut more than 400 jobs and launched a strategic review of its businesses as it continues to face a tough advertising market.

Daily Mail & General Trust said that it will take a £50m exceptional charge this year relating to the reorganisation of the business, more than triple the £15m it said it expected in May.

The company said that “just less than half” of the job cuts will come from its consumer division, DMG Media, which is the home of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Mail Online, freesheet Metro and US site Elite Daily.

Stephen Daintith, DMGT’s chief financial officer, said the cuts at DMG Media, which employs 2,700 staff, will come from all functions including ad sales, marketing, human resources and finance.

“Editorial [job cuts] are not a significant part of the mix,” he said. “We are continuing to ensure we are investing in editorial to deliver the highest quality content to our readers.”

Daintith said that the job cuts at DMG Media have already been completed during the course of this year.

About 40% of the total job cuts will come from the company’s DMG Information business in the US, with the remainder coming from its Euromoney, RMS and head office.

Overall, DMGT employs about 10,000 staff globally.

Daintith also said Mail Online will report revenues of more than £90m when it announces its results for the year to the end of September in December.

He said that in the final quarter of DMGT’s financial year Mail Online made £25m, meaning it is on a run-rate of £100m annually…CONTINUE READING

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[9/30/16]  Harrisonburg officials and the FBI are investigating allegations of voter registration fraud after officials say almost 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.

Harrisonburg Registrar Debbie Logan said Thursday that investigators have found from 18 to 20 potentially fraudulent registrations. The Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office confirmed Thursday that an investigation is underway, but offered no additional details on the case.

The applications were turned in by a voter registration group called HarrisonburgVOTES, officials said. The group’s representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday. No charges have been filed.

The Breeze, the student newspaper of James Madison University, reported that the applications were submitted by a student working for the group. The problem came to light when an employee in the registrar’s office noticed a new registration had come in from Richard Claybrook Sr., the late father of a well-known local judge.

“When they used a distinguished resident of Harrisonburg’s name and address, it came to the attention of an employee who has worked in the…CONTINUE READING

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Hurricane Matthew will threaten the central and northern Caribbean with flooding rain, damaging winds and an inundating storm surge early next week.

Matthew, currently a Category 4 (major) hurricane, will continue to move west-southwestward across the central Caribbean Sea before making an abrupt turn to the north this weekend.

Matthew is the second major hurricane of the season, following Gaston from August.

Rain and wind will pick up in intensity and seas will build across the Caribbean well ahead of the storm.

The system gained strength over St. Vincent with heavy gusts and several inches of rain, killing one person. The 16-year-old boy died when a boulder dislodged from the storm and crushed him against a house on Wednesday night, St. Lucia News Online reported.

Rough seas, dangerous surf, stiff winds and gusty, drenching squalls will impact Aruba, Bonaire, Caracao and the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia into Saturday.

As Matthew makes a turn to the north Sunday into early next week, hurricane conditions will ramp up across Jamaica and Haiti before eventually spreading into eastern Cuba, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos.

How quickly Matthew turns to the north will determine whether the worst of the impacts track closer to Jamaica or Haiti on Monday.

A slower turn to the north will take Matthew farther west toward Jamaica, while a faster turn to the north will take the storm farther east toward Haiti, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee.

Regardless, residents of Jamaica, Haiti and eastern Cuba should prepare for flooding rain, sustained damaging winds in excess of 80 mph, and gusts of over 100 mph, Vallee added.

“Widespread rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches can be expected across Jamaica, Haiti and eastern Cuba,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Miller said. “This includes the city of Kingston, Jamaica.”

Across the mountainous terrain, rainfall amounts well over a foot are likely, Miller said. Life-threatening landslides will result.

An inundating storm surge will accompany the rain and wind, threatening to flood coastal communities.

Even well away from the storm, impacts will be felt as far away as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

“Tropical moisture from Matthew will enhance squalls across the southern coasts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, including in Santo Domingo,” Miller said. “Three to 6 inches of rain and localized flooding will be possible.”

US East Coast on alert for potential impacts from Hurricane Matthew
Top 5 US cities most vulnerable to hurricanes
AccuWeather hurricane center

Residents and vacationers across the region need to heed all warnings and make preparations in advance of the storm. Loose outdoor items should be secured or brought inside to prevent them from becoming projectiles.

All cruise ships, fishing vessels and shipping interests should avoid the area until Matthew moves away later next week.

Weather conditions and seas will gradually subside from south to north across the Caribbean toward the middle of next week.

After moving away from the Caribbean, Matthew may approach the U.S. East Coast during the middle and latter half of next week.

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[9/30/16]  Macy’s remains a storied and immense American retailer. Founded in the 19th century (as many department stores were), the company operates 850 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, reporting 2015 sales of just over $27 billion. Its elephantine, 115-year-old New York City flagship is still the world’s largest department store, and the brand also holds an enviable place in popular culture thanks to Hollywood — “Miracle on 34th Street” is still a popular holiday movie and “Christmas in Herald Square” a favorite song — and its annual Thanksgiving Day parade, which it’s held since 1924.

But Macy’s isn’t the icon it once was. Sales are falling, and, after several store closings in recent years, the company shed another 41 in 2015, with yet 100 additional locations slated to shutter by early next year.

It’s not just Macy’s. A lot of department stores these days are stymied by shifting demographics, changing consumer priorities and behaviors, confounding competition from Amazon and a precarious economy that’s dampened spending. Department stores in general may have doomed themselves as far back as the 1960’s, when they began to trade their place in the urban landscape to become mall anchors, forsaking beautiful Beaux Arts buildings for mundane adjuncts to suburban shopping centers (sites that are themselves in steep decline).

Macy’s does face some unique challenges, however. Its namesake stores in particular are neither discount retailers like Target or J.C. Penney nor luxury shopping destinations like Saks Fifth Avenue, so they’re muddling along in an ill-defined middle. At the same time, Backstage, an off-price effort Macy’s launched last year in response to the continued success of retailers like T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Burlington, threatens to dilute its brand.

“Look at the growth rate of TJX and Nordstrom Rack,” Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive. “That’s where [Macy’s] market share is going.”

But perhaps above all, Macy’s also is grappling with an expansion that has left it over-stored and ill-equipped to offer merchandise that shoppers find unique or exciting. In 2005, department store operator Federated Department Stores (which changed its name to Macy’s in 2007) bought St. Louis-based The May Company, which itself had been amassing a series of department stores and retail chains throughout the West and Midwest, including most of the stores held by Dayton-Hudson, the parent company of a smaller discount chain called Target. In the wake of the deal, Federated crowed about its new juggernaut of “950 department stores, along with approximately 700 bridal and formalwear stores,” and Dayton-Hudson rebranded under the Target aegis.

That acquisition is the root of Macy’s troubles today, Egelanian says. And our experts contend that the takeover of so many department stores didn’t just leave Macy’s with too many locations over a wide swath of the country (though that’s part of the problem), but that Macy’s also gobbled up, Pac-Man-style, department stores that were once thriving local retailers deeply embedded in their respective communities and made them merely cogs in a machine, stripping away their local identities and connections while offering shoppers a homogeneous customer experience with few if any regional differentiators.

Macy’s has already begun to address this problem of subtraction by addition, scaling back massively. But experts suggest its current store closure plans may very well turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

“Twenty years ago, Dayton-Hudson sold its stores, which became Macy’s, and put all their eggs into the Target model,” Egelanian said. “Sometimes you think you’re beating your competitors, when you’re actually buying the remnants of their dying chains.”

The blow to merchandising—and loyalty

Macy’s didn’t invent department store consolidation. But its acquisition of The May Company and the subsequent rebranding of several institutions originally founded by local entrepreneurs like Marshall Field in Chicago, William Filene in Boston, Simon Lazarus in Columbus and Edgar J. Kaufmann in Pittsburgh one by one supplanted a local ethos with corporate conformity. That has eroded the connection with customers that once made those stores dependable, go-to retailers and that kept shoppers loyal.

“Those places were the town center, with a big one in the middle of town, maybe a couple near the outskirts,” said Lee Peterson, executive vice president of brand, strategy and design at customer experience consultancy WD Partners. “They had amazing atmospheres and amazing service — they’d get something to your house! Before online shopping, especially in apparel, there was always this element of surprise. ‘What’s Ralph Lauren coming out with? What’s up at Calvin Klein?’ And you’d have to go to the stores to see that stuff.”

Department stores (especially their flagship locations) were places of discovery because talented, attentive people were in charge of both the assortments and the service, Peterson explains. Buyers would go to New York City to see the new merchandise, then bring back what they believed would appeal to their hometown customers.

These days, Macy’s is instead generally buying for the entire chain, acquiring 500,000 of an item rather than the small purchases of maybe 300 or 500 once made by local buyers, Peterson says.

“In the consolidation of department stores, you lost the local thing,” Peterson said. “Once Lazarus became a Macy’s, it’s all about high-level decisions. Merchandise may be important in Columbus, OH, but not across the board, so it goes….CONTINUE READING

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[9/30/16]  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez told Congress Thursday that “not a single act of actual terrorist violence has been a committed by a refugee” who underwent USCIS screening procedures since 9/11. But when a senator asked him if it was “correct” that many people who came into the refugee program as adults had been “convicted of terrorist offenses,” Rodriguez admitted that that was “correct.”

Under further questioning by Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.), Rodriguez admitted that he did not know the actual number of refugees admitted to the U.S. who had later been convicted of terrorist offenses. Vitter said, in questioning Rodriguez, that Congress had asked the administration for this number and it had not been provided.

USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

“The fact is that since Sept. 11, not a single act of actual terrorist violence has been committed by a refugee who has undergone our screening procedures. There have been individuals who came to the U.S. as children,” Rodriguez told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest during its hearing on the refugee resettlement program.

“There are individuals who came a long time ago before our modern procedures, but since Sept. 11, all we have had is conspiracies – not only by refugees, but in fact by U.S.-born persons, other kinds of immigrants. It’s really an equal opportunity world,” he added.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee, asked Rodriguez, “You don’t count conspiracies?”

“They’re not actual acts of violence. They were effectively disrupted by U.S. law enforcement, is my point, sir,” Rodriguez responded.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) told Rodriguez about a report done by Fordham University Law School’s Center on National Security on ISIS prosecutions in the U.S.

“They looked at all ISIS prosecutions in the United States and determined that of those involved in that, 18 percent were refugees or asylees. Shouldn’t that be of enormous concern to all of us?” Vitter asked Rodriguez.

“Without a doubt. Yes,” Rodriguez responded.

“My question is: Isn’t that a very big percentage? 18 percent.” Vitter asked a moment later.

“One percent would be a big percentage. This is an area of significant concern,” Rodriguez said.

“Now a few minutes ago, you touted and made a big deal in your testimony, or perhaps in response to a question, that since 9/11 there has been no person who came in as an adult in the refugee program who was convicted of a violent terrorist offense. Now that’s great, but that was a very carefully crafted statement. There are many people who came in as adults in the refugee program who’ve been convicted of terrorist offenses, correct?” Vitter asked.

“That is correct,” Rodriguez replied…CONTINUE READING

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