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Human Rights Watch reports on US human rights violations

© www.liberationnews.org
HRW report decries widespread abuse of mentally disabled prisoners in the US.
Human Rights Watch has published a scathing report criticizing the United States for violating human rights in a variety of areas. According to the report, US laws and practices violate internationally recognized human rights in incarceration, racial disparities, criminal justice, police killing of African Americans and foreign policy to name a few.

"The United States locks up 2.37 million people, the largest reported incarcerated population in the world," the report says, adding "about 12 million people annually cycle through county jails." It says that thirty-one US states still "impose the death penalty" with seven of them carrying out executions in 2014. Also, 27 people had been executed by lethal injection in the US in 2015, the report revealed.

On racial disparities in criminal justice, the report shows that "while whites and African Americans engage in drug offenses at comparable rates, African Americans are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated for drug offenses at much higher rates." Even though African Americans account for "only 13 percent of the US population, they constitute "29 percent of all drug arrests," says the report, adding "black men are incarcerated at six times the rate of white men."

Comment: A reality check. Unfortunately, the US is far down the road to a fascist military-police state accountable to no one. It is gearing to implode and it appears there's very little that can stop it.


Heart - Black

Australian driver 'deliberately' mows down 17 kangaroos near Brisbane

© EPA
The carcasses were found along a 330-foot stretch of road on the outskirts of Brisbane.
Authorities in Australia are searching for a driver who ran down and killed 17 kangaroos along a stretch of road where the creatures are known to feed at night.

The carcasses were found along a 330-foot stretch of road on the outskirts of Brisbane. Sixteen were dead but one was still alive and had to be killed.

"They've definitely been deliberately run over," said Michael Beatty, a spokesman for the RSPCA. "You can quite clearly see the tyre tracks where they've gone off the road to hit them."

The RSPCA, which has the power to investigate and to initiate prosecutions, is investigating the slaughter and is appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

The driver is believed to have had a bull bar, or front grill, and is likely to have been in a four-wheel drive. "They would have had a bull bar - otherwise they would not have any car left," Mr Beatty told The Telegraph.

"You can clearly see the tyre marks where the person has driven from the left side of the road to the embankment on the road and killed five or six [kangaroos] and then done the same thing 30 yards later."

Comment: More signs and symptoms of pathology in a society without a sense of conscience or respect for Mother Nature.


Newspaper

The 'world's best chef' found dead in apparent suicide

© Getty Images
Benoit Violier outside his Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier near Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2012.
The "world's best chef" was found dead in his home in Switzerland over the weekend in what appeared to be a stress-related suicide, reports said Monday.

Benoît Violier, 44, ran a renowned Swiss restaurant that gained worldwide recognition in December when it was crowned the best in the world by France's Foreign Ministry.

The French-born chef had beaten out 1,000 others in 48 countries. New York City's Per Se came in second.

But the pressure of being on top would prove too much for Violier.

Fueled by the stress of his job, the Michelin-starred chef took his own life on Sunday night — shooting himself with a hunting rifle inside his home in Crissier, according to French reports.

While authorities have opened an investigation, they said they are "99 percent certain" the cause of death is a suicide by firearm.

News of Violier's passing shocked the culinary community Monday as the much-anticipated Michelin Guide released its 2016 edition for France. Violier had been scheduled to appear at the event and was supposed to take a train to Paris Sunday morning, according to French media reports.

Organizers chose to start the proceedings with a moment of silence in his honor.

Gingerbread

American 'pick-up artist' and 'neo-masculine' guru Daryush Valizadeh ridiculed online for advocating legalization of rape


Chief of the Man-Boy tribe, Daryush Valizadeh
Social media users have slammed and ridiculed an American blogger who leads a so-called "neomasculinity" movement which advocates the legalization of rape. He is due to visit Australia to meet some of his international supporters.

Return of Kings, an online group proclaiming men's supremacy over women, headed by anti-feminist blogger and pick-up guru Daryush Valizadeh, is to hold a real-life meeting which has sparked a firestorm among Twitter users.


Comment: 'Men bonding'? Boy bonding, more like.

Yes, there is sound basis for 'men being masculine' and 'women being feminine', but these boys in men's bodies are incapable of discerning which is which.


Health

Mother and Baby die from carbon monoxide staying warm during blizzard while dad shoveled snow from around car

© Photo: Christopher Sadowski
Sasha Lynn Rosa and her son died of carbon-monoxide poisoning in their car (pictured) after the tail pipe became clogged with snow.
A New Jersey mom and her 1-year-old son died of carbon monoxide poisoning while keeping warm in a car as the dad cleared snow from around the vehicle, cops said.

Sasha Lynn Rosa, 23, was in the white, four-door Mazda in Passaic with her son, Messiah, and daughter, Saniyah, when the tailpipe became clogged with snow in the blizzard Saturday night, cops said, according to NorthJersey.com.

As the mother and children huddled for warmth, the man, who was not identified, told Rosa to start the engine, cops said.

The dad was shoveling for about 20 minutes when he checked on them and found that they were all unconscious.

Comment: See also: Fumes from generator kill father and 7 children after power company shut off electricity


Books

Michigan Court of Appeal rules state has no responsibility to provide quality public education

© Zenobia Jeffries/The Michigan Citizen
Highland Park parent Michelle Johnson, a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit against the state of Michigan, says students deserve a fair education.
In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District.

A 2-1 decision reversed an earlier circuit court ruling that there is a "broad compelling state interest in the provision of an education to all children." The appellate court said the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading — but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality. Waving off decades of historic judicial impact on educational reform, the majority opinion also contends that "judges are not equipped to decide educational policy."

"This ruling should outrage anyone who cares about our public education system," said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties of Michigan. "The court washes its hands and absolves the state of any responsibility in a district that has failed and continues to fail its children." The decision dismisses an unprecedented "right-to-read" lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Michigan in July 2012 on behalf of eight students of nearly 1,000 children attending K-12 public schools in Highland Park, Mich. The suit, which named as defendants the State of Michigan, its agencies charged with overseeing public education and the Highland Park School District, maintained that the state failed to take effective steps to ensure that students are reading at grade level.

Comment: Cue the charter-school carpetbaggers promising to remedy the situation. Once the profit motive enters into the picture, all other considerations are subordinated to it.


People 2

Bigotry on the rise: Over half of France doesn't want their child to marry a Muslim


Comment: Imagine if the headline were this: Over half of France doesn't want their child to marry a Jew. That would be fairly shocking, wouldn't it? Instead, bigotry like this against Muslims is the new normal. It's acceptable to hold opinions about Muslims that would be lambasted as disgustingly racist if they were in reference to Jews.


© Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters
Members of the Muslim community pray in a mosque in Marseille during an open day weekend for mosques in France
A survey gauging racist sentiment polled the French on how they would react if their children married Muslims and whether they think that there are too many Jews in France. The results have turned out to be shocking.

The provocative poll published in the French weekly Le Journal Du Dimanche (JDD) was commissioned by the Jewish Foundation of France. It was conducted over the course of 18 months by Ipsos which asked 1,000 random people questions. Furthermore the pollsters sourced additional respondents from the Jewish and Muslim communities to allegedly level the bias. Many regarded the questions to be inflammatory.

One of the questions to respondents was about their likely reaction should their children marry a person from another ethnic group or a person of the same sex. More than half of French respondents said they would not like it if their daughter-in law or son-in-law were Muslim.

Black Magic

People disintegrating: Females on the attack and acting like vampires in New Zealand

A number of people have been injured during a series of vampire-like biting attacks on New Zealand's North Island.

Over the past two days, a woman was accused of biting a man's neck so hard, her teeth cut through an artery, while another woman was arrested after allegedly chomping on a woman's ear.

Stuff.co.nz reports the two incidents on Saturday and early Sunday were unrelated.

"It was a fight between three females and during the fight one of the females has bitten another one's ear and drawn blood. She hasn't bitten it off, but quite badly so she needed some medical attention," a Hawke's Bay District Command Centre spokesman said of the first incident.

Comment: Certainly New Zealand isn't the only place to be experiencing such bizarrely violent behavior. Over the past few years we've heard other stories from around the world that resemble this one. So what's happening??


Heart

Edward Snowden, Nobel Peace Prize candidate

© AFP
Demonstrators hold placards supporting former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden during a protest against government surveillance in Washington, DC
US whistle-blower and former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is among the top candidates for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize which is awarded in Oslo, Norway. "2016 may finally be Edward Snowden's year ... His leaks are now having a positive effect," Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo told Reuters, putting him on top of his list of candidates.

In the wake of Snowden's leaks of details of the US government's spy programs, many countries have been reforming laws to restrict surveillance programs, helping human rights, Harpviken said.

Snowden began leaking classified intelligence documents in June 2013, revealing the extent of the NSA's spying activities, including the massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world. The US government has filed espionage charges against Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia.

Comment: The two Norwegian politicians, who have nominated Snowden, stated his revelations "revealed the nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance," and "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order." "His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies. Its value can't be overestimated."


Heart - Black

Chris Hedges: Pity the children

© mike mois
Larry—not his real name—is 38. He is serving a 30-year sentence for murder in a New Jersey prison. He will not be eligible for parole until 2032, when he will be 55. His impoverished and nightmarish childhood mirrors that of nearly all prisoners I have worked with who were convicted of violent crimes. And as governmental austerity and chronic poverty consume the American landscape, as little is done to blunt poverty's disintegration of families, as mass incarceration and indiscriminate police violence continue to have a catastrophic impact on communities, Larry's childhood is becoming the norm for millions of boys and girls.