Gangs have a fun weekend in San Francisco – robbing and looting

Drivers blared their horns Saturday evening as dozens of thieves carrying luggage and bags darted from a Nordstrom department store near San Francisco and hopped into cars waiting for them outside. All but three of the 80 or so looters escaped, police said…

The spectacle Saturday night was one of several incidents of looting and shoplifting reported at high-end retail stores around the Bay Area over the weekend.

On Friday night, thieves broke into at least 10 stores, including a Louis Vuitton in San Francisco’s Union Square. And on Sunday night, officers in Hayward, about a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, were investigating after a group of smash-and-grab burglars destroyed glass cabinets and stole merchandise from a mall jewelry store.

…Nordstrom employees and shoppers in Walnut Creek were ambushed by approximately 80 thieves who entered the store in unison just before 9 p.m., police said.

Jodi Hernandez, a reporter with NBC Bay Area, was outside the store and recorded footage of what she dubbed the “flash mob robbery.” Hernandez said about 25 cars blocked the street in front of Nordstrom before the occupants stormed inside and then returned to the vehicles with stolen merchandise.

Jim Dudley, a retired San Francisco Police officer who now teaches criminal justice at San Francisco State University, said the burglaries might be the result of a “perfect storm” created by corporations and policymakers in California, where many retailers have “no chase” policies regarding shoplifters and where at least $950 of merchandise must be stolen for state prosecutors to press felony charges.

The weekend’s looting and shoplifting incidents “seem to be coordinated, with tools, lookouts, vehicles for getaway and swarming tactics used by criminals with intent to plunder,”

You know if these gangs were Left-wing political groups…just planning peaceful flash mob demonstrations…absolutely everything about the planned events would be known in advance by the local coppers. They all get sufficient funds to pay for informants inside any political organization standing to the left of Fox News. Just another line item in the budget.

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In case you’re worried about how the 0.1% plan to escape…?

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said.

Johnson, who heads the Institute of New Economic Thinking and was previously managing director at Soros, said societies can tolerate income inequality if the income floor is high enough. But with an existing system encouraging chief executives to take decisions solely on their profitability, even in the richest countries inequality is increasing.

Johnson added: “People need to know there are possibilities for their children – that they will have the same opportunity as anyone else. There is a wicked feedback loop. Politicians who get more money tend to use it to get more even money…”

So what is the solution to having the new voices being sufficiently recognised to actually change the status quo into one where those with power realise they do matter?

Former New Zealand PM Helen Clarke said: “Solutions are there. What’s been lacking is political will. Politicians do not respond to those who don’t have a voice In the end this is all about redistributing income and power…”

Author, philosopher and former academic Rebecca Newberger-Goldstein saw the glass half full, drawing on history to prove society does eventually change for the better. She said Martin Luther King was correct in his view that the arch of history might be long, but it bends towards justice.

I have to smile as the topic comes round and round, again. In my experience with selling to the very rich – and occasionally to folks a lot richer than that – I’d keep an eye on who’s buying global-class ocean-going sailboats. If the world devolves into anarchy, the fossil fuel processing and distribution network falls apart pretty easily.

Folks who want more than anything else to escape responsibilities will probably take to the sea. May even have an island stashed somewhere. Face it. Some of these folks can afford to buy small countries. 🙂

Vandals trim unkempt bush in park into shape – the wrong shape says the Mayor

City staff says vandals are responsible for trimming a shrub to look like a phallic symbol on the waterfront.

Workers on Wednesday moved quickly to fix the three-metre tall shrub…A photo of the shrub was first posted on an online blog sometime Wednesday.

The city made changes after CBC News brought it to the city’s attention.

Cathy Masterson, the manager of cultural affairs, said the city was unaware of the situation until CBC News emailed her a photo…

Mayor Eddie Francis was not happy when CBC News informed him of the prank.

Staff trimmed the bush into what Masterson called a “more traditional shrub shape.”…Workers cut the shrub back to its trunk in some parts.

Har!

Israeli Settlers desecrate West Bank mosque

An overnight attack on the West Bank village of Huwwara is believed to be the work of Israeli settlers, the Israeli army said Wednesday.

More than 300 olive trees were uprooted, two cars were set afire and a mosque in the town was spray painted with racist slogans, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

Tensions between Palestinian residents of Huwwara and Jewish residents in the nearby Israeli settlements of Yitzhar flared up in recent weeks after two settlers were wounded in a stone-throwing incident.

Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, called the vandalism to Huwwara “unacceptable” and ordered an immediate investigation, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Uh-Huh.