Four Arrested In Fatal Shooting Of Off-Duty LAPD Officer

Four people were arrested in connection to the shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles cop who was killed during an alleged botched robbery.

LA County Sheriff’s investigators said the four suspects were arrested on Wednesday— two days after LAPD Officer Fernando Arroyos was gunned down in South LA as he and his girlfriend were house hunting.

Sheriff’s officials didn’t release the names of the suspects or list the charges against them.

Arroyos, 27, and his girlfriend were crossing a street at about 9:15 p.m. on Monday in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood when a truck with three men approached the couple, officials said.

The men got out of the vehicle and confronted Arroyos, who then yelled at his girlfriend to run, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said. One of the men opened fire on Arroyos, Moore said.

Deputies who responded to the scene found Arroyos lying in the alleyway suffering from a gunshot wound, according to officials.

Arroyos was rushed to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. 

Arroyos is survived by his mother, stepfather, and girlfriend. Arroyos’ family declined to comment on the arrests when reached by The Post on Wednesday.

The three-year LAPD veteran was assigned to the Olympic Division.

Click here to read the full article at the NY Post

Before Promising To Solve the World’s Big Problems, Politicians Should Aim To Fix Potholes

The lonely crusade against government hubris.

Upon election to office, politicians come to believe that they have the wherewithal to solve the world’s toughest problems. They usually mishandle the nuts-and-bolts chores they’re charged with addressing, yet dream of altering the Earth’s climate and eliminating enduring human conditions such as inequality and poverty.

Most pols view themselves as the second coming of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, or even Ronald Reagan, when most of us just want public servants who make sure the potholes are filled, the streets are marginally safe, the government budget balances, the trash gets picked up on time, and homeless people aren’t defecating in our local park.

The latest example of such governmental hubris comes from the county of Los Angeles which, you know, can’t even put an end to alleged gangs among the ranks of its own highly paid deputy sheriffs nor figure out how to run its child-protective services agency in a competent and humane manner. Now county officials want to “solve” the crisis of loneliness.

Before Christmas, the county Board of Supervisors “took on a problem that is typically private and put it in the public eye,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “They voted unanimously to ask staffers to research how residents are affected by loneliness and isolation and how the county can help—particularly during a pandemic where in-person contact has been off-limits.”

Loneliness is a serious mental-health scourge, but the last part of the above sentence provides insight into the main reason for the current bout of isolation. Governments want to study why we feel lonely and disconnected, but government pandemic rules limited the ability of Americans to socialize with one another as we approach two years of mandated social-distancing rules.

“Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, researchers warned in a recent webcast, and the problem is particularly acute among seniors, especially during holidays,” according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. You probably didn’t even know that there is a federal agency with such a name, but I digress.

“A Harvard University survey conducted in October 2020 found that feelings of social isolation are on the rise during the pandemic, and that those hardest hit are older teens and young adults—61 percent of respondents felt ‘serious loneliness,'” noted a Boston University report. “And social media, where young people live and breathe more than any previous generation, is not helping.”

Say it ain’t so. I’m not sure what Los Angeles County staffers will add to the debate, but the board might have thought about that scenario when it previously embraced draconian shutdowns rather than more reasonable and flexible pandemic-related restrictions. This is such a government phenomenon—create a crisis, then vow to solve it for us.

Fortunately, the county isn’t planning on repeating its mistakes as the Omicron variant emerges, at least not as of this writing. I don’t mean to be too hard on county supervisors, who at least acknowledge the pandemic-related policy causes of the Great Alienation. Their intentions are good, but you know what they say about good intentions.

“We didn’t mean to do it,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said during the board meeting. “We don’t mean to cause isolation. But we are, in some cases, a part of the problem.” Indeed. Government officials don’t mean to cause many of the problems they do cause, which is good reason to at least show skepticism next time they want to save us from something.

Do a Google search of “loneliness epidemic” and you’ll find multiple news stories, government statements, and academic reports—some even pre-dating COVID-19. A well-known book from 22 years ago, “Bowling Alone,” spotlighted the crisis in connectedness caused by trends in family, work, and media.

I don’t minimize this issue, but my wife offered my kids the best advice: Get together with friends. Turn off the TV. Log out of Facebook. Perhaps I should put her in touch with county brain trusts. Some issues are beyond the pale of government intervention. Sometimes we have to take control of our lives.

We all play along with the notion that politicians can solve all of our problems, even though we know better. I don’t know anyone who has heard, say, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s soaring rhetoric and come away thinking he’ll really change the Earth’s climate—even as he fails to keep his own Employment Development Department from sending billions of dollars in unemployment funds to scammers.

It’s not a Democrat vs. Republican thing, either, as GOP politicians have suddenly discovered the supposed crisis of masculinity just as they have long bemoaned troubles in the American family. Politicians are adept at mining votes by identifying societal shortcomings, but their solutions always involve giving them more money and power.

I eagerly await Los Angeles County’s report on loneliness, but I still wish county supervisors would spend more time filling the potholes.

This article was published by Reason

Gun Violence Hits 15-Year High In L.A., Taking Lives And Erasing Hard-Fought Gains

Sean Reynolds almost lost his life over a PlayStation.

The 17-year-old high school senior had arranged to sell his gaming console through the app OfferUp, and agreed to meet the buyer — another teenager — near a public housing complex in Watts. He intended to save the cash he earned for college expenses that fall.

Instead, one of two teens who met Reynolds at his car that hot day in May pulled out a gun and shot him, the bullet ricocheting off his hip and fragmenting through his abdomen. As he lay on the ground bleeding, he said, the second teen urged the first to fire again.

“Finish him off,” he heard the boy say

“I was in shock,” Reynolds, now 18, recalled in a recent interview with The Times. “It was a lot to process.”

Reynolds, who was badly wounded, is among more than 1,400 people who survived shootings in L.A. in 2021 — the second year in a row in which gun violence has increased in the city.

Had things gone differently — and they easily could have, given his extreme injuries — Reynolds would have been among the nearly 400 people killed in L.A. this year, whose deaths mark a more than 50% increase in homicides since 2019.

“We’ve seen all different types of surgeons,” said Qiuana Williams, Reynolds’ mother. “After reading his medical documents, they all look at him like he is a walking miracle.”

Amid a pandemic that has ravaged people’s financial and emotional reserves and undermined long-standing initiatives to stem violence, families like Reynolds’ are persevering through surgeries, physical therapy and the emotional labor of trying to pull their lives back together after being blindsided by bullets.

Other families — more than in any other year in L.A. since 2007 — were forced to plan funerals and process their first holiday season without sons, daughters, brothers and parents, whose lives were snatched away, mostly by gunmen.

Click here click to read the full article at the LA Times

Time to Cut Gas Taxes?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced earlier this month that energy prices in the U.S. rose 33 percent for the 12 months ending November.  In many regions of California, prices rose even higher.

In the L.A.-Long Beach-Anaheim region, energy prices jumped 35 percent. In the Inland Empire, prices shot up 36 percent.  And in the San Francisco area, prices climbed 25 percent for the 12-months ending October (the latest available data).  Analysts attribute much of the increase to the price of gas.

Californians now pay $4.67 per gallon at the pump, compared to an average of $3.32 for the rest of America. But what most Californians don’t realize is that their dollars aren’t all going to local gas station owners or far-flung oil companies. A whopping 67 cents of every gallon goes to state taxes and 18 cents to Federal taxes.  This prompted one California lawmaker to title his op-ed: “I’m a Democrat and it’s time for our government to stop making gas more expensive.”

Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10) from the Central Valley reminded his colleagues in Sacramento that the massive infrastructure bill passed last month was already going toward fixing roads and bridges.  The “kicker,” Harder wrote, is that “our families are getting taxed twice at the pump for a service — rebuilding our infrastructure — they’re only getting back once.”

He pointed out that state governments, soon to receive billions in federal infrastructure money, “shouldn’t fleece drivers to pay for roads and bridges the federal government is already paying to fix, especially as businesses are recovering from the pandemic. Instead, state lawmakers across the country should freeze and lower these gas taxes to put money back in the pockets of working families.”

Refreshing the memories of Sacramento lawmakers, the gas tax, Harder wrote, was expected to raise $5 billion annually when it was implemented in 2017. But along came a $31 billion budget surplus for 2022 and another $30 billion in federal dollars from the new bipartisan infrastructure law.  Awash in cash, you would think that lawmakers could afford a little generosity and offer some much-needed tax relief to Californians.

Click here to read the full article at the Pacific Research Institute

What You Need To Know About California’s New Composting Law — A Game Changer For Food Waste

Californians will ring in the new year with the unfurling of a groundbreaking law that will change how they dispose of their organic waste, particularly leftover food and kitchen scraps.

Senate Bill 1383 requires all residents and businesses to separate such “green” waste from other trash, but the program will be rolled out gradually for homes and businesses in the coming months, with the actual startup date varying, depending on the location of your home or business.

Fines can be levied for failing to separate organic refuse from other trash. But those charges aren’t scheduled to begin until 2024. CalRecycle, the state agency overseeing the change, has lots of information about the new requirements on its website.

Others offering composting solutions include LA Compost — which gives instructions on home composting and also offers community hubs where organic material can be dropped — and CompostableLA, which provides a home pickup service in some neighborhoods, for a fee.

Residents and businesspeople should check with their local governments, and with waste haulers, to find out the specific rules for their communities. Here are some frequently asked questions about the new requirements, with answers from Los Angeles County Public Works and the Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation.

Isn’t garbage just garbage? Why are California lawmakers requiring us to separate organic waste from the rest of our trash?

Scientists have found that organic waste dumped into traditional landfills decomposes and creates methane, a super-pollutant with as much as 80 times the Earth-warming potency of carbon dioxide.

To slow the advance of global warming, the state wants to redirect the material to composting centers or anaerobic digestion facilities, where it can help sink carbon back into the Earth or capture natural gas to — for instance — power trash trucks.

When do I need to begin separating my kitchen waste from other trash?

The opening date for organics diversion varies, depending on where you live. San Francisco, Berkeley, Costa Mesa and other communities have been recycling kitchen waste via curbside green bins for years. Those bins also accommodate yard trimmings.

Los Angeles County Public Works officials say homes in unincorporated communities will get notices over the first half of 2022 telling them when, and how, to segregate their food waste. Some businesses in L.A. County already have voluntary recycling of food waste, a program that will become mandatory over the course of the new year.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

California Redistricting Commissioner Misses Key Meetings

On the day California’s independent redistricting commission approved and released to the public long-awaited draft political maps, one of the panel’s 14 members was missing for the bulk of the key meeting.

Commissioners spent seven hours on Nov. 10 reworking draft legislative, congressional and board of equalization lines that, once finalized, will be used for the next decade. Antonio Le Mons, a No Party Preference commissioner from Studio City who now has a Rancho Mirage address, logged on late and didn’t participate in the process, video recordings and transcripts show. But before voting to approve the draft lines, he congratulated his fellow commissioners for the accomplishment.

“I’m very proud to have been a part of this process with my fellow commissioners,” he said. “This has been quite a journey in the heart of a pandemic, and I think we should all feel very good.”

This wasn’t the first time Le Mons logged on late or missed a meeting before important deadlines. The commission has marked Le Mons absent for roll call in 16 of 44 hearings since October, as members met for marathon line-drawing sessions. Commissioners have until Dec. 27 to send certified maps to Secretary of State Shirley Weber before they’re used in 2022 statewide elections.

Sometimes, as happened on Nov. 10, Le Mons was marked absent during roll call before arriving late. The commission, according to spokesperson Fredy Ceja, records attendance only to establish a quorum at the start of a meeting.

The nonpartisan panel comprises five Republicans, five Democrats and four No Party Preference voters selected during a lengthy process that began in 2019. Commissioners are charged with drawing lines using census data that “provide fair representation for all Californians” under ballot measures voters approved in 2008 and 2010 to strip the Legislature of redistricting power.

Le Mons’ commissioner profile outlines 25 years of nonprofit and private sector leadership. He’s listed as the chief operating officer of the Skid Row Housing Trust, a Los Angeles-based organization that helps homeless, disabled and poor people, along with those struggling with drug addictions, to find permanent shelter. Le Mons is also, according to his commissioner biography, a former member of the California Assn. of Marriage and Family Therapists. He now runs a personal coaching and consulting firm.

He is also a co-star on streaming channel Fox Soul’s “The House,” a show that premiered Oct. 8 and focuses on Black LGBTQ issues. It’s unclear when filming began or if it coincided with commission responsibilities.

Most commissioners have missed a meeting, and some more than one, though it’s difficult to determine how many under the commission’s record-keeping system. Certain members also participate more than others, and many turn off their cameras during meetings. Republican commissioner Derric Taylor was marked absent for nearly as many meetings — 14 — as Le Mons over the last few months. Ceja said Taylor started a new assignment with additional responsibilities in his role at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Ceja said he did not know why Le Mons had missed meetings.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Questions About Crime Ruin Soros-funded George Gascón’s One-Year Anniversary Party

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón gathered “progressive” prosecutors from around the country to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his time in office, but the party was derailed by questions about rising violent crime.

Gascón, who ran against the first black woman to hold the job, and who received millions of dollars in donations from left-wing billionaire George Soros, has pursued an aggressive, radical agenda of “criminal justice reform” since taking office.

But crime has spiked, leaving the city in the throes of what the Los Angeles Times has called a spate of “brutal, brazen” crimes.

Last week, Jacqueline Avant, a prominent philanthropist in the black community who was married to legendary music producer Clarence Avant, was gunned down in her home, allegedly by a man recently freed from state prison.

In a statement touting his achievements after a year in office, Gascón was short on crime numbers, but heavy on “reforms.” For example, he touted ending the death penalty — a controversial policy that he has applied to cases like child murder:

Death sentences are no longer sought in Los Angeles County. Nor will the office seek execution dates for people sentenced to death. In addition, post-conviction death penalty cases currently are being reviewed to determine if thereis [sic] ameritorious [sic] legal reason to vacate the death sentence or resentence the individuals in the interest of justice. To date, five people, including four with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, have been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gascón had hoped to celebrate, as he did after 100 days in office, when he celebrated thousands of hours in reduced prison sentences. But as the Times reports, his party was crashed by reporters seeking answers to the public’s urgent questions:

One year and one day later, Gascón was flanked by progressive prosecutors from around the country as he stood before a room full of reporters during a 90-minute news conference meant to celebrate what he saw as his successes during his first 12 months on the job.

But on the heels of weeks of high-profile crimes, including the killing of a beloved Beverly Hills philanthropist, an explosion of gunfire that left one child dead in Wilmington and viral videos of smash-and-grab robberies at retail stores, Gascón instead spent much of his time sparring with reporters and trying to counter questions about criticism levied by those seeking to recall him.

Click here to read the full article at Breitbart

Violent LA Crime Wave, Jacqueline Avant Killing Result of Liberal Justice Reforms: Critics

A day after a career criminal was arrested in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant at the lavish Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband Clarence, a 90-year-old music producer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, her family issued a statement that read in part, “Now, let justice be served.”

But in Los Angeles, where left-wing lawmakers and activists have pushed a litany of progressive reforms that help violent criminals spend less-time behind bars, justice is not only fleeting — it’s twisted, critics say.

“It’s a s–t show over here,” said LAPD Det. Jamie McBride, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a police union. “Bad guys are released quicker than we can finish the paper work, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Avants — whose daughter Nicole is a former ambassador to the Bahamas and married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, had been living a comfortable life in their sprawling 4,000 square foot , $7 million home in the ritzy Trousdale Estates neighborhood for decades, friends said.

But the elderly couple’s quiet lives were upended at around 2:23 a.m. Wednesday when cops say career criminal Aariel Maynor broke into their home and fatally shot Jacqueline Avant, 81. Clarence Avant was home but not hurt.

The couple also employed a security guard, who was shot at by the suspect but not hit or injured in any way, according to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

The Avants hired the guard to protect them from a different type of L.A intruder — fans of the recent Netflix documentary about Avant called the “Black Godfather” who were dropping by the house uninvited, he said.

Avant’s alleged killer was arrested Thursday in Jacqueline Avant’s murder after being caught in another botched robbery in nearby Hollywood in which he shot himself in the foot.

Maynor, who is currently hospitalized under armed guard, was in violation of parole at the time of his arrest and “it didn’t sound as if he was reporting to his parole agent at all,” Stainbrook said. Police say he will be charged Monday.

Click here to read the full article at NYPost

Public Records Request Exposes CA Redistricting Commission Secret Meetings

Citizens Redistricting Commission lawyers disclosed that they and spouses contributed more than $2000 each to Democratic candidates only

A recent California Public Records Act request by Attorneys Harmeet Dhillon, Michael Columbo and Mark Meuser (on behalf of California Globe editor Katy Grimes), produced evidence that members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) have been holding secret meetings. The public records request was based on concerns raised in a letter from Charles T. Munger to the California Redistricting Commission dated May 7, 2021, as well as an op-ed authored by two former CRC commissioners, Cynthia Dai and Jodie P. Filkins, dated July 14, 2021.

Attorney Columbo told the Globe the CPRA request yielded significant information not made public by the California Redistricting Commission – pages of handwritten notes and discussions, which were not part of regular, noticed redistricting commission meetings.

The redistricting commission provided the documents to the attorneys starting on October 22 and continuing through November 22, producing numerous pages of hand-written redistricting commissioners’ notes regarding redistricting meetings and communications with outside parties that were held in secret, and not during the noticed public CRC meetings documented on the CRC’s website.

Approximately one year ago, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission had a committee meeting on the Voting Rights Act (VRA) compliance. But some were concerned that the committee was keeping statistical analyses on voting patterns by race confidential to use in decisions on district voting lines.

According to the John Locke Foundation, “The Voting Rights Act is not a scheme for racial proportional representation.” They explain:

  • The Voting Rights Act prohibits redistricting in a way that limits citizens’ ability to “elect representatives of their choice” on account of their race;
  • Using racial data in redistricting would make legislators vulnerable to charges that race played a predominant role in drawing districts, something that has caused courts to overturn districts in the past;
  • Redistricting criteria such as compactness will result in Voting Rights Act–compliant districts without using racial data.

Based on the notes and CPRA documents, this shows a deliberate strategy of keeping that analysis from the public.

The Dhillon Law Firm filed an Emergency Petition with the California Supreme Court Tuesday.

They are petitioning the court to:

  1. Order the commission to stop having non-public meetings, and to disclose all meetings and discussions;
  2. Disclose any and all analyses and information not shared with the public;
  3. and they are asking the court to order the commission hire a new unbiased law firm. The current law firm represents the Legislature, politicians and candidates, but only Democrats.

The California Public Records Act request

Attorney Columbo shared details of some of the handwritten CRC notes (document below):

  • Undated notes, seemingly from 2020, refer to a meeting with an association of elected and appointed Latino officials.
  • Undated notes indicate “G/D” (Gibson Dunn, a law firm that served as counsel to the 2010 CRC) “recommended Matt (Barretto),” a consultant to the 2010 CRC, perform the RPV analysis for the 2020 CRC, along with a recommendation to “treat confidential” the RPV analysis.
  • Notes dated November 10, 2020, reflect the following points of discussion with Justin Levitt, a Loyola law school professor who became a Biden administration Senior Policy Advisor on Voting rights in April 2021:

“Present VA as example – leg drew distr with 50% afr am w/o checking RPV Was a way to covertly pack afr ams under cover of VRA”

“Matt B[arretto] 2010 RPV analysis kept confidential to deprive opposition of targets to criticize.  It remains confidential as long as we want it to be.  Work product vs. Bagley-Keene FOIA.”

  • Notes from a November 12, 2020, meeting (“RPV Session”) record determinations that some regional level data should be public to suggest that the “CRC considered such facts” but then candidly admits that the CRC should “keep private” the “scenario analysis for specific districts (hot spots) Keep public things that others can easily replicate.”
  • Notes reflect a secret December 4, 2020, meeting discussing the costs of an RPV analysis and how it would be performed.
  • An undated memorandum from the VRA subcommittee summarized their work, including meeting and conversing with “VRA experts to help inform our process.”  The memo included recommendations on contracting for outside counsel, hiring an Racially Polarized Voting (RPV) statistician and VRA analyst, noting that local RPV analysis from the 2010 CRC remains confidential, and developing a larger Legal Subcommittee that would meet publicly.
  • Notes of a January 21, 2021 meeting with the Black Census and Redistricting Hub, a project of a self-described progressive organization called California Calls, in which commissioner notes record: “probably not any areas to have dense enough pop to build a majority black district;” “look for small isolated black community”; “Dist 37 – on tract . . . try not to isolate in a dissimilar district”; “Happy to present any of BH findings to CRC”; “Data at hand getting analyzed by early April.”
  • A March 3, 2021, meeting with two representatives of the Public Policy Institute of California for which the notes refer to “maps” and changes in the overall population as compared to the voting age population, a reference to “decline” and specific geographic areas, a reference to Asian Americans, and that “non-hispanic” is “declining overall.”
  • An April 29, 2021, email between several commissioners and Karin MacDonald, the Director of Statewide Database, an organization that maintains information for redistricting within the University of California’s Institute of Government studies, advises how line drawing may work, suggesting a voting age population analysis to identify where minority voters may constitute a majority and then suggests the CRC direct a racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis at those areas. Although the CRC produced Ms. MacDonald’s email, it redacted the email from Commissioner Sadhwani to which Ms. McDonald’s email was responding.  The documents included another email from Ms. Macdonald to Commissioner Yee on the same date that discussed the use of voter age data for redistricting, but Commissioner Yee’s questions, to which this email responds, are not included.
  • Notes of a July 8, 2021, CRC VRA Committee meeting discusses Voting Rights Act compliance and a racially polarized voting analysis. For example, it notes that racially polarized voting increases “downballot” with the exception of an election in 1984.  It states: “can use crossover vote to shave down and not pack a district.”
  • Notes of a CRC VRA Committee “pre-meeting” on August 30, 2021, reflect another discussion of conducting a forthcoming racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis, and that “SW” (Strumwasser and Woocher, the 2020 CRC outside counsel) “advice is to keep RPV confidential.”
  • Notes of an October 17 meeting refer to an RPV analysis and Matt Baretto, a political scientist who provided the RPV analysis to the 2010 CRC, suggesting that the law firm retained by the 2010 CRC had treated him as an expert witness and, therefore, claimed privilege over his work.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

California Crime Crackdown Inevitable in 2022

Commentary

crime wave is stalking California. Some of the latest in a long line of incidents:

  • The Seasons 52 restaurant at South Coast Plaza was held up.
  • Thieves attacked Louis Vuitton and Sacks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, smashing windows but unable to get inside.
  • In Walnut Creek, a flash mob of 80 thieves robbed a Nordstrom store and assaulted two employees.
  • Thieves hit the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square, robbing and “ransacking” it, according to one account.

We’ve seen this before, during the “permissiveness” of the 1960s. The liberal Warren Court put a lot more limitations on police and prosecutors. It was named after Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former California attorney general and governor.

That crime wave was part of the reason Ronald Reagan was elected governor in 1966 to replace liberal Gov. Pat Brown. Amid violent protests on California university campuses, much like today’s Antifa riots, Reagan took action. During riots in 1969 at UC Berkeley, he ordered in the California National Guard and threatened, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

Voters later elected to the attorney general position such tough-on-crime candidates as Evelle Younger in 1970 and George Deukmejian in 1978, both Republicans. The latter became California’s governor in 1982, narrowly defeating Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Tom Brown. Deukmejian was a major proponent of the death penalty, a contrast to his anti-death penalty predecessor, Jerry Brown.

Click here to read the rest of the article at the Epoch Times