‘Ferocity’ of China crackdown ‘unseen in recent years’

China is violating human rights at an intensity that is unprecedented in its recent history, a top watchdog group said Thursday.

The ruling Communist Party has “unleashed an extraordinary assault on basic human rights and their defenders with a ferocity unseen in recent years”, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said in its annual report.

The group added that recent developments in China are “an alarming sign given that the current leadership will likely remain in power through 2023”.

Since taking office as Communist chief in 2012, China’s President Xi Jinping has overseen a campaign against government critics with hundreds detained or jailed.

“China remains an authoritarian state, one that systematically curbs fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion, when their exercise is perceived to threaten one-party rule,” Human Rights Watch said.

Xi’s much-publicised anti-corruption campaign, the group said, “has been conducted in ways that further undermine the rule of law, with accused officials held in an unlawful detention system, deprived of basic legal protections, and often coerced to confess”.

Activists and other rights defenders in China increasingly face retaliation, Human Rights Watch said, citing a number of cases including that of dissident Cao Shunli, who died in detention last year.

Cao had been detained in 2013 shortly before she was due to travel to Geneva to attend a UN session on China’s rights record.

From Yahoo News –

Monsanto earnings fall 34% after global protests

Monsanto said Wednesday its earnings fell 34% in its first fiscal quarter, as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds.

US farmers harvested record crops of soybeans and corn last year, sending prices on those food staples to their lowest levels in years. That has resulted in farmers in South America and elsewhere reducing the number of acres they dedicate to corn. Monsanto said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia.

The agriculture products company’s revenue fell more than 8% to $2.87bn in the period, on lower sales of corn seeds and herbicide. Analysts expected $2.96bn, according to Zacks.

The St Louis-based company reported a profit of $243m, or 50 cents per share, down from $368m, or 69 cents per share in the same period last year.

Earnings, adjusted to account for discontinued operations, came to 47 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Even with the fall in earnings, the results topped Wall Street expectations….

Monsanto shares have decreased nearly 3% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed slightly more than 8%. The stock has increased slightly in the last 12 months.

The food conglomerate has been at the center of controversy over its genetically-modified seeds for some time, with the focus intensifying in the US last year with marches against the firm and a “Millions Against Monsanto” campaign….

From The Guardian –

Soros funds Ferguson protests

There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.

Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.

Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.

In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.

The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre.

“Our DNA includes a belief that having people participate in government is indispensable to living in a more just, inclusive, democratic society,” said Kenneth Zimmerman, director of Mr. Soros‘ Open Society Foundations’ U.S. programs, in an interview with The Washington Times. “Helping groups combine policy, research [and] data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable.”

By Kelly Riddell – The Washington Times –

Communist Group in Michael Brown and Eric Garner Protests

Mixed among the faces of protesters nationwide calling for justice in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown is a group of Communists fueling a movement against police officers and calling for mass demonstrations.

The Revolutionary Communist Party USA actively organizes and participates in protests against the deaths of Garner and Brown, who were both black and were killed by police officers. Now, the group is preparing for a New Year’s Eve protest that calls for an end to police brutality through whatever means possible.

The Chicago-based group, founded in 1975 and led by chairman Bob Avakian, advocates for socialism with the “final goal of a communist world.”

The Revolutionary Communist Party did not return multiple phone calls and emails from The Daily Signal requesting comment.

Photos from demonstrations in New York City show protesters carrying signs calling for the end of police brutality, with the Revolutionary Communist Party’s website written across the bottom.

The myth-debunking website Snopes.com pointed out it’s unlikely the Revolutionary Communist Party planned and organized protests. However, multiple photos (including two purchased from Newscom by The Daily Signal for this article) and posts on the party’s website show that the group is, in fact, involved in protests against police officers.

According to a correspondent for Revolution, the party’s newspaper, many people stood behind the Revolutionary Communist Party’s banner at a Dec. 13 protest in Washington, D.C., organized by Al Sharpton. More than 100 people took signs from the group advocating for an end to police brutality.

In the latest issue of Revolution, Carl Dix, a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, issued a call to action to supporters to end the “business as usual in Amerikkka” that “includes wanton police murder of black people.”

“We should live in a society where those who are entrusted with public safety would sooner risk their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person,” Dix wrote. “But in this society, cops who brutalize and murder are given the benefit of the doubt and are almost never punished in any way for their crimes.”

“If you think that police murder must stop, be out in the streets with that message on New Year’s Eve,” says Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA

Dix asked supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party to gather on New Year’s Eve for mass protests and emboldened them to “figure out imaginative ways” to punish law enforcement officers.

By Melissa Quinn – The Daily Signal –

Obama now trying to outlaw single-sex classrooms & sports

The Obama Administration is now trying to outlaw single-sex classrooms, a practice that has been growing as parents and teachers see its good results. The Obama Administration is discouraging that option in conformity with demands by the feminists who believe in the interchangeability of the genders and insist that schools forbid any deviation from their peculiar belief that there is no difference between male and female.

The Minnesota State High School League, which controls policy for all extracurricular activities in all schools, public and private, voted 18 to 1 to outlaw recognition of all sex differences in high-school sports. The new policy, adopted December 4, allows students the choice to play on either boys’ or girls’ teams if they claim transgender status.

Obviously, the school didn’t clear this radical new policy with parents. A group of parents opposed to this agenda ran an ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune stating “A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are you okay with that?”

Under this new policy, there can be no recognition of sex differences in high school sports, on the field, or in locker rooms, or bathrooms, or hotel rooms. Minnesotans sent more than 10,000 protest emails to the State High School League, but their protests were overruled.

The National Federation of State High School Associations published language to “guide” organizations that may have to respond to parents’ complaints. This national explanation reads: “It is important for policy-makers to understand that transgender girls (who were assigned a male gender at birth) are not boys. Their consistent and affirmed gender identity as girls is as deep-seated as the gender identity of non-transgender girls.”

This nonsense comes out of a belief that schools and sports should ignore obvious anatomical differences because children supposedly become a boy or a girl only after they are old enough to decide which gender they choose to be. This sets up an authority for the child that conflicts with parental authority and probably emanates from the controversial judicial fiat once enunciated by the Ninth Circuit that parents’ rights stop at the threshold of the school door.

The perpetrators of this nonsense try to convey the impression that they are merely fine-tuning the rules of Title IX, but that is not true. Title IX was written to support equal opportunities for girls in schools and colleges, but allowing boys to play on girls’ sport teams certainly does not promote that goal, nor was it ever intended.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has moved to suppress the effort by a few public schools to experiment with single-sex classrooms. The senior counsel of the National Women’s Law Center criticized single-sex classrooms because they supposedly rely on “sex stereotypes” that assume boys and girls respond to different methods of teaching.

The terrible sin that precipitated the lawsuits was that the boys were assigned to read a story about hunting and dogs, while the girls’ classes were assigned a love story. “Stereotyping” has become an epithet like “racist” to silence opposition.

The ACLU filed some ten administrative complaints against stereotyping with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights against schools in Florida, Wisconsin, Idaho and Texas. The ACLU sued schools in Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and West Virginia in 2009 and 2012.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Gloucester County (VA) School Board urging it to reject the policy that would limit school rest rooms and locker rooms to “the corresponding biological genders.” On December 9, the Board voted to retain boys’ and girls’ rest rooms and allow transgender students to use “an alternative private facility,” but the ACLU rejected that compromise and says it will sue.

Time Magazine reported scientific studies which show that girls’ and boys’ brains are “hard-wired” differently and support the view that separating the genders will improve learning. These studies suggest that “girls learn better in emotionally supportive, collaborative groups and may not be as good at grasping abstract mathematical concepts, while boys thrive in competitive environments and tend to struggle with reading and art.”

Principal Skyles Calhoun of Woodbridge Middle School in Virginia has been so successful in using different teaching styles for boys and girls that grades and test scores for both have soared. He will now be in violation of the new rules, and that will kill a good thing that has produced wonderful results.

There is nothing compulsory about the single-sex option. Woodbridge School offers parents a choice for their children’s education, and requires them to answer 33 questions so the schools can be sure that the parents really, really want the single-sex classroom and are not worried about stereotypes.

Meanwhile, the feminists have renewed their drive to put the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Since the operative word in ERA is “sex” and not “women,” judges would probably rule that ERA would put their transgender sex nonsense into the U.S. Constitution.

By Phyllis Schlafly – Eagle Forum –

NYPD police commissioner hit at Ferguson grand jury decision protest

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and his officers were sprayed with fake blood while walking among demonstrators protesting against the grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting.

The commissioner was left with the red liquid splattered across his face, after a protester threw a bag of the fake blood at him and his entourage in Times Square, New York.

Another officer was hit by the red liquid, which was seen covering his face and shirt as the surrounding crowd scattered.

Several thousand people had marched from Union Square to Times Square to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who shot dead 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

By Annabel Grossman – MailOnline.com –

Can We Fight Police Brutality With “Massive Servility”? (gun rights)

By Jack – LibertySetSquare.com –

On August 29th, 2014 Trevor Lyman posted this video essay on LibertyCrier.com: Is It Time to Open Carry at Protests?

Lyman is not the first person to suggest that peaceful protesters can deter abusive police tactics by carrying firearms openly. But his “Massive Open Carry” strategy was first proposed not a month before the Ferguson, Missouri protests, so the topic is controversial all over again.

There should be no argument that the police response to initially peaceful protests in Ferguson was despicable and immoral. People who failed to desist in “unlawful assembly” as well as journalists covering the events, were arrested. There were countless incidents of protesters and journalists being attacked with rubber bullets, flashbang and CS grenades and the increasingly popular (with the police, that is) “LRAD.” Journalists were even threatened with death at gunpoint by one particularly insane police officer who seemed to think he was Judge Dredd.

Police assaults against those attempting to exercise their rights as espoused in the 1st Amendment have only grown more common over the years. As Lyman observes, since the crackdown on the Occupy protests, we have typically witnessed demonstrations and protests from the “left” of the political spectrum subjected to assault, whereas mass assemblies from the “right” have proceeded relatively unmolested. Lyman asserts that this is largely due to the fact that the unmolested protesters often carried firearms.

From Lyman’s piece:

“If you compare the Occupy Now and other liberal protests to the Tea Party protests you’ll notice that one group suffers at the hands of the police state while the other does not.

While there are other differences, I believe one of the main differences is that the tea party protesters bring guns to their protests and that is why they do not suffer as much at the hands of the police state.

I believe that both the left and the right should, always, open carry at protests.”
.
Can any of us argue the with the reasoning?

During the actual moment crowd dispersal operations begin, authorities are already beyond the point of debating the decision to bust up a gathering of the people. Logically, the next best deterrent against violation of the right to assemble is to get the police to weigh the risks they incur by choosing to use violence.

“Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” – Thomas Jefferson

Oddly enough, I have seen quite a few people over the years who are very convinced that open carry of firearms during a protest is going to cause all sorts of problems. Every time I have seen this idea put forward, tons of people come out of the woodwork warning the rest of us of the doom that awaits, or at the very least, how it “won’t make any difference.”

What is even more odd is that most of these people preface their statements with a disclaimer, where they make clear that they “believe in the 2nd Amendment,” or they “support people who bear arms,” BUT…when it comes to protests, they don’t see it as a good idea.

Allow me to list what I have found to be the four most oft-repeated objections and nitpicks, followed by refutation:
1.Open carry will make police more likely to use force.
2.Open carry will increase the risk of agents provocateurs.
3.Carrying firearms to a protest makes the protesters look “crazy.”
4.Carrying firearms to a protest is maybe a good idea, but it should only be done in a concealed manner. Carrying anything other than a concealed pistol is over the top.

 
Continue Reading

U. S. Now Admits it is Funding Occupy Central in Hong Kong

By Tony Cartalucci – Global Research –

Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong.

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation.

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

 
Continue Reading

Hong Kong protests: Standoffs between pro-democracy protesters, opponents get ugly

By Associated Press – CBC News –

Standoffs between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters and their antagonists grew increasingly ugly Saturday, as the two sides traded insults and at times taunted police. The city’s leader said streets occupied by the protest must be cleared by Monday.

“Democracy now! Democracy in Hong Kong!” thousands chanted as speakers from the movement seeking wider political reforms for the former British colony urged them to persist in their campaign. The rally in the downtown business district lasted for hours, with participants at times clapping and cheering as a stream of speakers and singers addressed them and performed popular songs.

“We are not seeking revolution. We just want democracy!” said Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student leader. “We hope there will be no violence,” he said. “It would be unfortunate if this movement ended with bloodshed and violence.”

Although the mostly student-led protesters stuck to their pledges of non-violence, holding up their arms to show peaceful resistance, some shouted abuse at people who gathered to challenge their occupation of a major street in the blue-collar Mong Kok district, which is home to many migrants from the Chinese mainland.

“Go back to the mainland,” some shouted, cursing them in Cantonese.

Minor skirmishes broke out constantly, broken up by police or bystanders. Adding to the disorder, some residents dumped water from their apartments onto the people below.

The students accused police of failing to protect them from attacks on Friday by mobs intent on driving them away, shouting “Black Police!” — a reference to their claim that the police had allied with “black societies,” or criminal gangs, to clear out the protesters. The claim was vehemently denied by the government.

 
Continue Reading