Amy and Esther Juárez were edgy with excitement as they boarded the bus full of seasonal workers heading for a farm at the other end of Mexico from their home in the poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas.
Although their brother Alberto,18, had made the same journey the previous year, it was the first time Amy, 24, and Esther, 15, had left the tiny indigenous community where they had grown up.
But about half-way there, immigration agents boarded the bus, and after checking all the passengers’ papers, ordered the three siblings to get off.
The officials accused them of carrying false documents and lying about their nationality. Then they told the youngsters that they would be deported to Guatemala, a country none would have been able to place on a map.
The baffled youngsters – who speak the Mayan language Tzeltal but very little Spanish – were transferred to an immigration holding centre in Queretero CITY.
Alberto, 18, was taken into a separate room by four agents who told him that unless he signed documents admitting he was Guatemalan, would die there.
“One pushed me, another was kicking my leg, and a third who was very fat gave me an electric shock here, on the back of my right hand,” Alberto told the Guardian through a translator.
“I really thought I was going to die, so I signed lots of sheets of paper – but I can’t read or write so I didn’t know what I was signing.”
The three siblings were held for eight days before a lawyer from an activist group filed a legal complaint and eventually secured their release.
A growing number of indigenous Mexicans are being detained and threatened with expulsion by immigration agents looking for undocumented Central American migrants.
The trend comes amid a crackdown on migrants driven in part by political pressure and financial aid from the US. Deportations have already risen exponentially since summer 2014 when Barack Obama declared the surge in Central American child migrants a humanitarian crisis. Campaigners say that Mexico migration officials are running a secret quota system to increase the number of expulsions.
Activists say that Mexico’s National Immigration Institute is increasingly operating like an unchecked police force – and say that that like the country’s security forces, it appears to be systematically using torture against detainees.
“The order appears to be to detain Central Americans at any cost, even if that means violating the constitution, picking up people based on racist criteria and detaining and deporting Mexican indigenous youth along the way,” said Gretchen Kuhener, director of the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), which launched legal action to secure the siblings’ release. The Mexican constitution states that citizens can move freely within the country, and do not need to carry ID.
Kuhener added: “This case demonstrates the power and impunity of the National Migration Institute. They can get away with it because it impacts highly vulnerable populations who may not speak Spanish, don’t know their rights, and are unlikely to complain.”
The Juárez family live amid the picturesque rolling hills in eastern Chiapas, where all seven children – aged six to 24 – help their parents eke out a living from a few plots of land.
Food is plentiful, but money is scarce, and to top up their incomes, thousands of people, many of them indigenous, travel by bus from Chiapas and other southern states to work on farms in northern Mexico.
In Chiapas, casual farmhands earn 60 to 80 pesos (£2.40 to £3.20) a day cutting coffee, whereas last season Alberto earned 200 pesos (£8) a day harvesting squash, watermelons and tomatoes in the northern state of Sonora.
Gently swinging in a hammock, Alberto said his first time away from home was thrilling.
“We worked hard, but went out every evening. I tried hamburgers for the first time, and there was electricity where we lived. When I came home after seven months, I bought a horse with the money I’d saved. This year I wanted to buy motorbike.”
Encouraged by Alberto’s stories, his sisters and Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, 27, also signed up when the contractors returned looking for workers. All four asked not to be identified by their real names, for fear of reprisals from the Mexican authorities.
“I just wanted to have my own money so I could buy my own clothes at the market, maybe some earrings,” said Amy, 24. “But even as we got on the bus, I had a bad feeling.”
The privately contracted bus left on 2 September 2015 at 2pm from the local petrol station. The following afternoon, at a tollbooth just south of the border with Queretaro state, immigration agents boarded the bus.
Mobile immigration teams were introduced as part of the crackdown – known as the Southern Border Plan – launched amid US pressure to stop Central American migrants reaching its border.
Although immigration officials do not carry weapons, they often work closely with armed private security officers, police officers and soldiers. The joint units have been aggressive in their attempts to stop northward migration, raiding bus stations, motels and buses, and stopping migrants from boarding the freight train known as the Beast, which was once a major route through southern Mexico.
The scale of US financial support for Mexican immigration control is opaque. At least $100m has been spent or pledged for training, new equipment and canine teams, according to Congressional Research Service. There are no human rights conditions attached to this aid. Department of Defence aid is separate and unknown. The INM said it has “never received a peso” from the US.
After being held at the roadside for several hours, the Juárez siblings were driven to the immigration centre. Officials confiscated their belongings, including a cellphone and documents (birth certificates, social security numbers, electoral registration) which the officials insisted were fake.
Months later, the siblings are still shaken by the experience, and asked to be identified with pseudonyms for fear of retribution from migration officials
Esther, 15, said the experience was terrifying. “They kept saying we were Guatemalan, and we kept telling them no, we’re from Chiapas but they wouldn’t believe us and became angrier and angrier.”
On Friday 4 September, after being kicked, pushed and given an electric shock, Alberto signed documents he couldn’t read admitting he was Guatemalan.
Agents told them they would be deported to San Marcos, a poverty-stricken city in western Guatemala. Incredibly, a Guatemalan consul issued certificates “confirming” their nationality.
“Alberto couldn’t stop shaking, we were all crying. How would we return home to Chiapas when we don’t even know where Guatemala is?” added Esther.
Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, who was accused of being a people smuggler but not detained, managed to find help. The IMUMI lawyer arrived on 6 September, and filed a legal complaint, and after eight days, the trio were released.
Their ID documents were not returned because they could not pay the £8 (200 pesos) bribe demanded by officials.
A specialist psychologist and doctor from the Mexico City Human Rights Commission concluded – in a report seen by the Guardian – that Alberto had suffered serious physical pain and post-traumatic psychological symptoms as a result of being tortured.
Carolina Jiménez, deputy director of research for the Americas at Amnesty International, said: “We have documented a truly disturbing pattern of very serious human rights violations against migrants travelling through Mexico. But seeing immigration officials involved in torture against Mexican nationals to make them ‘confess’ they are migrants takes this disturbing situation to a whole more sinister level.”
Concern over the conduct of immigration agents is rising. Advocacy groups were dismayed when Ardelio Vargas, a highly controversial police figure, was named head of INM in January 2013. Vargas was in charge of federal forces when peasant protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco were violently repressed by police in 2006.
Alejandro Martínez, former head of Central American migrants’ issues at the INM, said Vargas runs the institute like a police force.
“The biggest mistake was to mix police and immigration. [The case of the Juárez siblings] makes me even more certain that illegal quotas within the institute are driving the exponential rise in detentions. It doesn’t matter how agents do it, as long as they meet the quotas.”
INM categorically denied the use of quotas. But the huge surge in detentions and deportations is undeniable. In 2015, 190,000 people were detained by INM agents – 120% more than in 2013.
It also appears Mexican nationals with a particular profile are being caught up in the swell.
The National Commission for Human Rights (known in Spanish as the CNDH) recently investigated 15 similar cases – including at least eight other victims from Chiapas – and found 22 immigration agents violated multiple rights.
The victims were detained on buses or on the street solely based on their “physical features, clothes and appearance”. Some were detained for several weeks before convincing officials they were Mexican.
The INM said agents are legally permitted to request identification from anyone.
According to the INM spokeswoman, the Juárez siblings were detained because Fernando said they were Guatemalan, and the sisters’ ID papers raised concerns they could be human trafficking victims. Their detention was prolonged by IMUMI’s legal challenge, she said.
She added: “It’s impossible that anyone could be tortured at an immigration station because they are permanently monitored by the CNDH, international organisations like the Red Cross and NGOs. If he [Alberto] was tortured, why not report it at the time, why wait till later?
“As in all cases of possible abuse there will be an investigation and if we find any evidence of excessive force, those responsible will be reported to the competent authorities.”
A lawsuit over the case is still ongoing, but whatever its outcome, the episode has shattered the dreams of the Járez sibling. Amy and Esther say they will never leave their community again because it is simply too dangerous.
Alberto muses over the future while watching his elegant white mare grazing with her chestnut foal. He had big dreams of building his own house with electricity and internet, and he still wants that motorbike.
“I want to go north again to work, but I keep thinking about what they did to me. It’s best that I stay here.”
A student was almost kicked out of a meeting after she violated a ‘safe space’ by raising her arm at Edinburgh University.
Imogen Wilson wanted to make a point at Thursday’s student council session when she was told off by officials.
The vice-president for academic affairs at the university’s Student Association was accused of failing disabled students by not responding to an open letter.
She immediately raised her arm to disagree but was made the subject of a ‘ludicrous’ complaint and told not to make the gesture again.
Imogen was also warned for shaking her head during the meeting as it again breached the ‘safe space’ which is part of the university’s Student Association rules.
She told The Huffington Post: ‘…I raised my arms in disagreement, as we had contacted the writers of the letter and tried hard to organise a meeting. It was for that reason that a safe space complaint was made.’
Student Association policy says that council members should be respectful and considerate.
Section 6c of the safe space policy is defined as: ‘Refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made. Disagreements should only be evident through the normal course of debate.’
A vote took place to decide whether Imogen should be removed from the meeting after she was accused of breaking the rules.
The vote was in her favour: with 18 people for removal and 33 supporting her staying.
Imogen added: ‘I completely understand the importance of our safe space policy, and will defend it to the ground, but I did not think that was fair, and had it gone further I would have either left or argued against it.’
One student, a fourth-year, who wished to remain anonymous, said the complaint was ‘ludicrous’ and was an ‘abuse of the entire intent of safe space’.
‘We were having one of the most emotionally tense councils of the year, with the vote on the BDS [The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and people speaking who live in Palestine or are Israeli on both sides of the issue.
‘There was ample risk of there being an actual safe space issue taking place – an anti-semitic or Islamophobic comment for instance – but the whole debate was actually remarkably civil despite how emotional it was.’
First-year Edinburgh student Charlie Peters tweeted against the safe space policy and set up a petition against it. By yesterday afternoon it had 1,000 signatures.
‘Safe spaces now censor “inappropriate hand gestures” – my university is becoming pathetic,’ he told his Twitter followers.
The EUSA have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
Media Bias: The Washington Post led its Monday paper with a story titled “How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root.” What it revealed was that, left to the mainstream press, the story might never have hit the ground.
No one reading the Post’s 5,000-word account can come away thinking that the Clinton email scandal is unimportant.
The FBI now has 147 agents chasing down leads. A key person involved in the scandal has been granted immunity. Hillary Clinton – who has already been caught in several lies – might be questioned by federal agents. There are fairly obvious violations of the law, even if it’s just those governing record-keeping. And there were, and continue to be, concerns that national security secrets were compromised, or at least casually disregarded.
The story details, for example, the many high-level security concerns that officials had about her use of a private BlackBerry to do her emailing, to say nothing of her homebrew email server.
Clinton got a warning from a State Department security official in March 2009 that “any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails, and exploiting calendars.”
Clinton responded that she “gets it,” but as the Post reports, she “kept using her private BlackBerry – and the basement server.”
The Post deserves credit for devoting so much space to summing the entire saga up. And for exposing something the reporter and his editors probably never intended: The media’s negligence as the scandal unfolded.
While the New York Times was the first national media outlet to write about Clinton’s use of a private email account last March, the Post summation makes clear that the mainstream press had almost nothing to do with uncovering the truth or advancing the story.
* The Post notes that it was a nonprofit group called CREW that first cracked the story open, when the State Department responded to its FOIA request for Clinton’s State Department email addresses by saying “no records responsive to your request.”
* The much-ballyhooed House Select Committee on Benghazi discovered her use of a private email account after demanding copies of her email traffic around the time of the attack on the embassy.
* Private cybersecurity firm Venafi discovered how Clinton’s email server had been unencrypted for months. The company “took it upon itself,” the Post notes, to publish its findings on its own website.
* The public release of all Clinton’s State Department emails resulted not from pressure from NBC News, CNN or the New York Times, but from a FOIA request by a startup online news site called Vice News.
* Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, has been more aggressive than any media outlet in going after Clinton’s records, and as a result uncovered several damning emails, including a chain of emails showing how her staff was “taking steps that would help her circumvent” Clinton’s own promise of openness and transparency.
* And where has the “telling truth to power” press been during all this time? Sure, they’ve been passively sharing information when it came out – although often grudgingly and dismissively. But there are few elements of it that reporters themselves were responsible for breaking.
Normally, with a scandal this juicy and involving a would-be president, reporters would be falling over themselves to “advance the story.” But “normal” never seems to apply when a scandal involves a Democrat.
The FBI has 147 investigators focused on the Clinton email case. One wonders how many investigative reporters the New York Times, the Post, and all the other big media outlets have.
When Cooper Union student activists forcibly removed the gender identifiers on restrooms around the small campus last fall in the name of transgender solidarity, its acting president did nothing.
Now he’s rewarding their vandalism by making it policy.
Inside Higher Ed reports that the New York college has made all its restrooms gender-neutral and replaced the gendered signs with layout descriptions: “Restroom With Urinals and Stalls,” “Restroom With Only Stalls” or “Restroom Single Occupancy.”
Acting President Bill Mea is also warning students not to practice “gender policing” – that is, having the common reaction of surprise and discomfort when seeing someone of the opposite sex in a multi-user restroom.
He wrote to the community:
We have always been ahead of our time and we must continue being leaders on issues of social justice.
We, who are in positions of power, have the obligation to not only stand with those without power, but to stand in front of them, clearing a path for them to walk. I cannot change the outside world and how it treats transgender and gender non-conforming people, but I can change the Cooper Union environment to help everyone feel safe when they are inside our buildings. Please know that my decision comes from a personal sense of obligation to others, which is a reflection of my beliefs and, I believe, an extension of the beliefs held by our founder.
He said he didn’t put the names back on the restrooms after they were vandalized by activists “in order to see how we all reacted,” which was mostly no reaction. (Lesson to activists: If your rulebreaking is popular, you’ll get away with it.)
Mea hints that students could face disciplinary action if they make those of the opposite sex or transgender students feel uncomfortable in the newly “degendered” multi-user restrooms:
I also ask that none of us practice gender policing, where we attempt to restrict someone from using the same restroom we are using or make them feel uncomfortable for doing so. If you feel uncomfortable sharing a restroom, then the single-occupancy restrooms will now be available to you.
The policy doesn’t extend to locker rooms because Cooper Union doesn’t have any, Inside Higher Ed says.
Campus Pride, the LGBT college activist group, said Cooper Union was the first college it knew of that had made “every campus restroom in academic buildings gender inclusive.”
Cooper Union’s move stands in contrast to the George Washington University law school’s decision to convert a multi-user men’s room to “all gender” but add a lock and encourage students to use it one at a time – a change that brought its own vandalism.
Was his instruction do everything you possible can at every junction to embarrass the United States? Check David Cameron giving him the stink eye.
HT: Daily Mail
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.
According to the official White House transcript of Hollande’s remarks, Hollande refers to “Islamist terrorism.” The audio of the bold text in brackets is missing from the video – the only point in the video were the audio is absent:
“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination.
“But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, [Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.] And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to launch with the coalition.”
Watch the video of Hollande’s censored comment:
Pres. Obama has come under fire from Republicans for his refusal to say “radical Islam” when discussing terrorism and, again yesterday, he declined to do so.
Obama made three vague mentions of terrorism, citing the “hands of terrorism,” the “scourge of terrorism,” and “counterterrorism” in Thursday’s press event.
The animus between Cruzites and the Trumpians is so strong these days that anyone in either camp who tries to point out that one side isn’t always right and the other side isn’t always wrong results in knee-jerk, moonbat-like hostility the likes of which I’ve not seen among the Republican electorate in my lifetime.
For instance, I read a brief post the other day on some social media network by an ardent Trump fan wherein he(?) mentioned that Cruz gets a bum rap for being a part of the “RINO-Bush” 2000 campaign. The Trumpian in question merely pointed out that, at the time, Bush was the most conservative guy in the race who had any chance of beating Al Gore, and that Ted was simply supporting his party’s nominee. He opined that Cruz wasn’t necessarily some establishment assclown just because he’d backed George Dubya for president, and he was exactly right in that assessment, but that didn’t stop other Trump backers from treating him like he was the worst traitor since Benedict Arnold.
Similarly, I was attacked by faceless, #NeverTrump SM-warriors just the other day for defending The Donald over accusations by Ted Cruz that he had planted the National Enquirer sex-scandal story. All I did was share information which confirmed that it was allies of Marco Rubio who had been shopping that story around for months prior to it becoming public. Afterward I mentioned that I thought it was hypocritical of Cruz to be doing exactly what he’d accused Trump of doing only days before, which was holding someone to account for acts that no one could prove they’d actually committed. Based upon the reactions I got from my fellow Cruzites, one would have thought that I’d tortured a puppy on live video. I was branded a Trumpaloompa, a TrumpRump and other such monikers, even though I’d made it clear from the start that I’ve always backed Ted Cruz for president and still do. Not only did none of the people who responded to me exhibit the intellectual honesty to admit that I’d made a valid, fact-based point, but they seemed to assume I was a part of some pro-Trump, lunatic-fringe spy network or something.
In both of the above cases, the various respondents behaved with irrational contempt toward well-intentioned and well-reasoned people, and nobody else piped up at any time to illuminate these folks as to how completely leftist they all sounded. Yes, I said LEFTIST!
Look, I don’t give a damn who you support for president or why, that’s your business. However, what I DO care about is the manner in which you choose to do it, and if your idea of righteous campaigning is to defame and denigrate anyone who has the temerity to expose the inconsistencies and outright falsehoods perpetrated by whatever candidate you happen to embrace, then you’re no better than a filthy neo-socialist parasite!
And that goes doubly for people who support Ted cruz for president. Why? Because the number one criticism I hear leveled at Trump from my fellow Cruzites is that he will say or do anything to get elected. And while that may be true, when you turn a blind eye to the fact that Ted Cruz does not appear to be above dirty tricks and hypocrisy himself, you’ve just ceded any moral or ethical high ground you may have had to the opposition. Indeed, I hold Cruz supporters to a higher standard than I do the followers of other candidates in this race, and if you’re to have any real integrity as a Cruzite, you will too.
Moreover, I’m sick to death of seeing people whom I’ve always considered to be genuine, well-principled conservatives take sides against Donald Trump absolutely every time some left-wing media asshat invents a “scandal” out of thin air. Sure, you have every right to criticize The Donald for the myriad dumbass things he’s said over the years, but jumping on the let’s-bash-Trump bandwagon every time the opportunity presents itself is just plain pathetic. It’s beneath men and women of good faith to act in such a way, and what pisses me off the most about this state of affairs is that I am often forced to defend a man I don’t even like very much in the name of fairness and basic decency against others of my own ideological bent.
It angers me, and for that reason I now beseech my fellow Crusites to GROW THE FUCK UP and start behaving like the sort of people you profess to want running our country, instead of the unprincipled swine who’ve done nothing but steer it straight into the crapper since the day after President Ronald Reagan gave his farewell address from the Oval Office.
Edward L. Daley
Former Secretary Hillary Clinton and her State Department colleagues have given “constantly shifting” stories about her secret email account, a federal judge said Tuesday, finding there’s evidence the Obama administration showed “bad faith” in how it followed open-records laws.
Judge Royce C. Lamberth said it remains to be seen whether the government did try to obfuscate matters, but said there’s at least enough smoke that Judicial Watch, the conservative interest group suing to get a look at all of Mrs. Clinton’s records, should be allowed to press for more details about how the State Department made its decisions.
“Plaintiff is relying on constantly shifting admissions by the government and the former government officials,” Judge Lamberth said.
Mrs. Clinton declined to use a State.gov email account during her term as secretary, instead using an email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York.
All of her messages that concerned official business were supposed to be archived by the State Department, but she kept them, only returning them in December 2014, nearly two years after leaving office and only at the prompting of the House committee probing the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
That meant that during her four years in office and nearly two years afterward, the State Department was not searching those documents in response to open-records requests from Congress or the public.
Last month, the State Department finally finished processing more than 30,000 pages of Mrs. Clinton’s emails and made them public on the department’s Freedom of Information Act web page – a mammoth undertaking that has put a treasure trove of information in the public’s eye.
Judicial Watch and others argue that some 30,000 other messages Mrs. Clinton sent from her secret address during her time in office, but which she has deemed private business, should also be reviewed by the government.
The State Department told Judge Lamberth it never misled the public because it never said it was searching Mrs. Clinton’s emails in the first place. The department said that meant it wasn’t acting in bad faith when it responded to open-records requests.
Judge Lamberth, though, said more evidence is needed before those conclusions can be reached.
“The government argues that this does not show a lack of good faith, but that is what remains to be seen, and the factual record must be developed appropriately in order for this court to make that determination,” he said in a brief ruling.
The Justice Department declined to comment on Judge Lamberth’s ruling, which marks the third legal black eye for the Obama administration in recent weeks.
Last week, a federal appeals court said the Justice Department was turning the law on its head to protect the IRS from taxpayers, rather than to protect taxpayers from the IRS.
And another judge issued a “show cause” order demanding to know why the government appeared to conceal documents in an open-records case brought against a top Obama climate adviser. Judge Amit Mehta, who serves on the district court in Washington, D.C., along with Judge Lamberth, raised the possibility of punishing the administration for its actions.
Judge Lamberth’s decision Tuesday joins that of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, also in the district court in Washington, who earlier this year granted discovery in another case brought by Judicial Watch against the State Department.
Judge Sullivan even said he was inclined to order the State Department to demand all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails – including the 30,000 or so messages she said were private business, not public records, that she sent from her secret account during her time in office.
Judge Lamberth said he’ll wait to see what Judge Sullivan decides before moving ahead with discovery in his own case.
In its latest crackdown on school corruption here, the federal government Tuesday dropped a legal bomb on 12 current and former principals, one administrator and a vendor – all charged with running a nearly $1 million bribery and kickback scheme involving school supplies that rarely were delivered.
Among those charged: Ronald Alexander, principal at Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School that’s scheduled to receive more than $500,000 in donations from TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Alexander’s charge, unrelated to DeGeneres’ announcement in February, is bribery for allegedly pocketing $23,000 money from Norman Shy in exchange for using the owner of Allstate Sales as a school-supply vendor, according to federal court records.
Shy, 74, of Franklin, Mich., is at the heart of the accusations. For 13 years, he is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least a dozen Detroit Public Schools principals, scamming schools to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of those principals, prosecutors allege. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
The announcement came nearly two months after ex-principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, once hailed as a rising education star and turnaround specialist in city schools, pleaded guilty to bribery. Snapp admitted she pocketed a $58,050 bribe from a vendor and spent it on herself while working for the embattled Education Achievement Authority, a state-formed agency that was supposed to help Detroit’s most troubled schools.
News of the larger corruption case comes at a critical time as the state grapples with fixing the finances of the struggling Detroit district, the largest school system in Michigan. The schools have been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2009 and have accumulated an operating deficit of at least $515 million.
Last week, Michigan lawmakers passed $48.7 million in emergency financing to ensure that the school system doesn’t run out of cash early next month. They also put the district under the authority of a financial review commission.
“This is exactly why House Republicans were so adamant that strong fiscal oversight be a prerequisite to any additional state funding for Detroit’s corrupt and broken school administration,” state Rep. Kevin Cotter, a Republican from Mount Pleasant and speaker of the state House, said in a news release Tuesday. “And it is why we will continue to insist that strong financial and academic reforms be a part of any long-term solution to decades of DPS failures.”
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced the sweeping charges at a news conference, calling the case “a punch in the gut.”
She stressed that the charges have nothing to do with the schools’ existing financial troubles or the political debate surrounding whether the state should help the city’s struggling school system.
“Public corruption never comes at a good time,” McQuade said. “This case is not about DPS. It is not about emergency managers. It is about these 14 individuals who breached their trust.”
The charges stem from a 2-year-old audit of the Education Achievement Authority, she said. That audit raised red flags, including one that led to Snapp’s eventual indictment.
Snapp, who is set to be sentenced June 1, faces up to 46 months in prison for bribery. Another women, Paulette Horton, an independent contractor who was involved in a deal to provide tutoring services at two high schools, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit program bribery. The 60-year-old consultant admitted that she was the middleman who handed over bribes to Snapp.
Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.
McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.
Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.
McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.
Among those charged Tuesday was Detroit resident Clara Flowers, 61, an assistant superintendent in the schools’ Office of Specialized Student Services. She is charged with pocketing $324,785 in kickbacks from Shy for using him as a school-supply vendor.
The kickbacks came in the form of cash, gift cards and payments to contractors who put a new roof on Flowers’ house, painted it and did gutter work.
Flowers first used Shy sometime before 2009, when as principal of Henderson Academy she chose his company as that school’s school-supply vendor. She would continue to use Shy as a vendor when she became an assistant superintendent.
Shy maintained a ledger to keep track of how much money he owed Flowers in kickbacks, according to court documents. The two regularly met to discuss how much Flowers was owed for her favors, and Shy was careful not to get caught, disguising his payments to Flowers in a variety of methods.
The Free Press attempted to contact lawyers for all 14 defendants. Only one offered to comment.
Most were unavailable. Two declined comment, saying it was too premature to discuss the case.
“Let’s not rush to judgment. These are merely allegations,” said Doraid Elder, who is representing Stanley Johnson, 62. The former principal of Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School is charged with accepting $84,170 in kickbacks.
“I don’t want people to forget that he’s put over two decades of his heart and soul into giving kids the best education possible,” Elder said of Johnson.
Johnson ordered school supplies from Shy then submitted false invoices to DPS, which in turn paid for goods that were rarely delivered, according to court documents. Shy would secretly funnel money back to Johnson by issuing payments to sham companies that Johnson created to conceal the kickbacks, prosecutors allege.
Johnson is “obviously devastated by the charges,” Elder said.
“At times, he’s reached in his own pocket and paid for things to help get the kids certain resources that they normally would not be able to get,” Elder said. “He’s had decades of a stellar record. I’m sure this is not easy for the students, the parents nor the individuals charged.”
City school officials and the defendants are cooperating, McQuade said. They all were charged in a document known as an “information,” which is similar to an indictment but does not involve a grand jury.
Prosecutors often bring charges by way of an information in cases where the government believes a plea deal will be reached. McQuade would not comment on any prospective plea deals in this case.
The charges angered retired federal Judge Steven Rhodes, who is serving as the transition manager for Detroit Public Schools.
“I cannot overstate the outrage that I feel,” he said. The school system has suspended business with Shy and all of his companies.
School officials also have put new policies in place related to purchases, such as suspending all purchases by individual schools and requiring all school-based purchases to have central office approval.
“We want do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening again,” Rhodes said.
The six principals who are current employees have been placed on unpaid administrative and replaced with new interim leaders, he said. The other principals already have left the district.
New York’s Democratic governor banned state travel to North Carolina this week, citing its residents’ supposed lack of equal protection under the law, weeks after he announced efforts to facilitate travel from New York to Cuba, which is ruled by a repressive communist dictatorship that routinely imprisons political dissenters.
“In New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in announcing a ban on “non-essential” state travel to North Carolina.
The move came in response to a new North Carolina law that restricts gendered restrooms to people of their respective biological sexes.
New York will no longer sponsor official travel to North Carolina, but Cuomo himself has recently undertaken official travel to Cuba, and teamed up with JetBlue airlines to encourage travel to the island nation, where the government has imprisoned and tortured transgender people.
Attitudes towards gay and transgender individuals on the island have liberalized in recent years, but many say they are still “harassed and detained by police,” according to a January report from Public Radio International. “They also say they can’t get jobs.”
One transgender individual described her attitude:
And even with US and Cuba relations normalizing now, she still can’t bring herself to ever go back home.
“I suffered too much trauma in Cuba. It would cause me too much panic to return there. I wouldn’t go back, even for a short visit.”
Her resolve hardens when she looks down at her arm. The self-inflicted scars left from her life in Cuba’s prisons are a permanent reminder of a time when she could not be free — could no [sic] be herself.
A video allegedly showing a woman at San Francisco State University verbally badgering a student for “cultural appropriation” has gone viral after being posted on YouTube Monday evening.
The woman can be heard telling the student, a white male, he can’t wear dreadlocks because “it’s [her] culture” and threatens to cut them off with scissors. The woman is identified in the YouTube as a “campus employee.”
After the student attempts to extricate himself from the woman’s grasp – “you have no right to tell me what I can wear on my head… stop touching me” – she pulls him back and says, “if you put your hands on me, you’re gonna learn.”
At the end of the video, she asks the cameraman “why are you filming this?” and shoves the lens after he responds, “for everyone’s safety.”
A Fulton nurse convicted of taking a photo of an unconscious patient’s penis with her iPhone last year surrendered her license, according to the New York State Education Department.
Kristen Johnson was forced to give up her license as part of a plea deal where she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disseminating of unlawful surveillance photos.
Her conviction came after a nine-month investigation by the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office into complaints from her Upstate University Hospital co-workers that she sent pictures of two patients via text message.
She was originally charged with two counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count of second-degree disseminating unlawful surveillance.
The felony charge against her was reduced as part of her plea, which also requires Johnson to spend three years on probation.
According to the state, Johnson surrendered her license and did not contest the charge of moral unfitness in the practice.
Recent news reports indicate that the FBI is investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for granting favors to her family’s foundation donors and for its systematic accounting fraud. In January, the Sunday Times of London cited former Judge Andrew Napolitano, a conservative libertarian and frequent Fox News guest, as saying that the FBI was taking evidence “seriously” and that Hillary “could hear about that soon from the Department of Justice.”
It’s hard to believe that the Obama administration and its hideously politicized Justice Department would ever indict Ms. Clinton, given that President Barack Obama picked her for secretary of state and its clear favoritism toward her in the presidential race. But there is massive evidence that shows financial abuses – including money laundering – at the Clinton Foundation and overwhelming evidence that donors were helped by Ms. Clinton.
To take one of so many examples, there’s the case of Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio – who is now housed at a federal prison serving 12 years for fraud – who in 2010, with Ms. Clinton’s (and Bill Clinton’s) help, won a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
The loan was granted to an Osorio firm called InnoVida, which was supposed to build houses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Instead, Osorio pocketed the money and used it to underwrite his lavish lifestyle and to pay off politicians. For political muscle, Osorio – who also had close ties to Jeb Bush, who sat on the board of a bank he owned – paid a lobbyist and major Hillary fundraiser named Jonathan Mantz.
And that leads me to another Clinton Foundation donor Ms. Clinton helped out who happened to use Mr. Mantz (who now runs Ms. Clinton’s presidential campaign Super PAC) and apparently with the same great effect: Gonzalo Tirado, a crooked Venezuelan financier.
Mr. Tirado was president of and ran Venezuelan operations for the famously corrupt Stanford Bank, which was headquartered in Antigua and was named for its American founder, Allen Stanford. He and Mr. Stanford came to be extremely close and “were like father and son,” one well-placed source told me.
Mr. Stanford’s name may ring a bell as he was sentenced to prison for 110 years for committing an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. In 2006, the Hugo Chavez government was asked to investigate Mr. Tirado by scandal-plagued, pro-Wall Street New York Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and a major recipient of cash and perks from jailbird Allen Stanford. Mr. Tirado was charged with tax evasion and theft, The Hill newspaper reported.
As I’ll detail below – and I uncovered this story with help from the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group – Tirado soon fled for Miami to avoid prosecution and petitioned the State Department, through Mr. Mantz, for political asylum. It’s not clear if he won asylum – and he doesn’t seem to merit it as he had no record of political opposition to the Chavez government – but it is clear that he was allowed to remain in the U.S. and live a life of luxury.
(Mr. Tirado, who did not reply to a request for comment, has kept a low profile as of late. His last reported sighting came in 2014, when he unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide, or at least claimed he intended to kill himself.)
Incredibly, the Obama administration not only failed to help the Chavez government investigate Mr. Tirado, but it also indicted a legendary former DEA agent named Tom Raffanello, a one-time head of the DEA’s Miami office and the agency’s chief of congressional affairs during Bill Clinton’s first term as president.
Mr. Raffanello’s subsequent prosecution, which ended in abysmal failure, almost surely was prompted and abetted by Mr. Tirado, a secret FBI informant. Unsurprisingly, the vindicated Mr. Raffanello had few kind words for Mr. Tirado or Ms. Clinton during a recent interview.
“Tirado believed in buying influence,” Mr. Raffanello said of the crooked financier. “He wouldn’t give away 10 cents that he didn’t think he’d get back a dollar on. That was his entire philosophy.”
As for Ms. Clinton, he said that during her years in the Obama administration the “prevailing wisdom in Miami at the time, among people in high profile civil and criminal defense circles, was that giving money to the Clinton Foundation was very helpful. She was secretary of state and a potential future president. I’m sure that’s the same thinking now.”
(Ms. Clinton’s presidential campaign did not reply to a request for comment.)
Up until 2006, life was cushy for pampered, wealthy, jet-setting Gonzalo Tirado, who was running the Stanford Bank’s Venezuela operations. Events took a turn for the worse when an internal Stanford Bank audit discovered that he had fleeced about $5 million from the company.
Mr. Tirado’s actions did not sit well with Stanford, and the Venezuelan beat a hasty exit from his job. He soon opened a bank of his own and lured in a few local investors. His new enterprise went down the tubes, and the defrauded locals, who were very close to the Chavez government, looked to it for help, leading to an investigation of Mr. Tirado.
At the same time, the Chavez government was investigating Mr. Tirado at the behest of Stanford, through his hand-picked emissary, Congressman Meeks. (See this Wikileaked cable for more on the topic and on Mr. Tirado’s feud with the Venezuelan government.) That led to the filing of criminal charges against Mr. Tirado, as noted above. (The Venezuelan embassy in Washington did not reply to a request for comment.)
Mr. Tirado, apparently a conscienceless paranoid who felt no remorse for his actions, became convinced that Stanford Bank was monitoring his activities and tapping his phone and was the source of all of his troubles. Perhaps sensing he was in deep trouble, he fled Venezuela for Miami.
Mr. Tirado began spending money like a drunken sailor. He purchased at least two luxury estates in the Miami area. He also became a major investor in several companies, including a security firm called Command Consulting Group for which he recruited as a front man W. Ralph Basham, a former senior official with the Department of Homeland Security under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Command Consulting Group, “an international security and intelligence consulting firm that provides advisory services to governments, corporations, and high net worth individuals,” according to its website, and whose top officials include a number of other former senior government terror and security veterans, is currently run out of an office in Washington. (Mr. Basham did not reply to a request for comment.)
As 2009 dawned, life could hardly have been better for the pampered Mr. Tirado. There was just one small problem: He needed to stay in the U.S. to avoid being sent back back to Venezuela, where he was sure to face trial and imprisonment. To stay in the U.S., Mr. Tirado needed the continued indulgence of the U.S. State Department.
Fortunately for Mr. Tirado, the U.S. government had been hostile to Venezuela ever since the South American nation of 31 million moved to the left in 2002, when Chavez was elected to the first of his three terms.
(Note and disclosure: Chavez died in 2013, and the country is now led by his former vice president, Nicolás Maduro. Despite its flaws, the country’s socialist government has made remarkable strides in bettering the lives of Venezuela’s poor majority. In 2004, I met Chavez as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and I consider him to be the greatest force for democratic change in modern Latin American history with the possible exception of Che Guevera.)
The George W. Bush administration had regularly conspired with the rancid political opposition, which Chavez displaced from power, and had sought to destabilize and overthrow the Chavez government with the help of local Venezuelan surrogates. Incoming President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, were rabid opponents of Chavez’s as well, but Mr. Tirado didn’t want to count on that alone.
Knowing how the corrupt U.S. political system works, he hired an American lobbyist, Jonathan Mantz, to game the asylum process for him while he took it easy and spent his loot in America.
Mantz then worked at BGR, the firm of Republican Haley Barbour, the famously overweight former Mississippi governor and one of the most prominent of all GOP lobby shops. He had previously worked as finance director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and for the laughably corrupt New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
Mr. Mantz, who had no real qualifications to be a lobbyist other than his ability to raise money – and who did not reply to a request for comment – had drummed up cash for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Currently Mr. Mantz chairs Hillary’s 2016 Super PAC, Priorities USA Action. Mr. Tirado paid BGR $350,000.
Now sufficiently motivated, Mantz went to work lobbying Hillary’s State Department to let Tirado stay in Miami. Meanwhile, the crooked Mr. Tirado donated between $5,000 and $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to its website. As is its custom, the foundation does not state when the donation was made and declined to answer questions about the money it took from Mr. Tirado.
Coincidentally or not, Mr. Tirado was one four of Mr. Mantz’ clients who donated to the Clinton Foundation during his brief 16-month career as a lobbyist.
Now let’s discuss the story of former DEA agent Thomas Raffanello, at which point this story becomes even more outrageous.
Mr. Raffanello worked for the DEA for more than three decades. He left in 2004 and went to work as the head of security for the Stanford Bank. “We set up cameras to prevent bank robberies and generally provided security at bank offices and functions,” Mr. Raffanello told me last weekend during the course of several lengthy phone interviews. “I was based in Miami but had offices in Caracas, Quito, Antigua and a few other places.”
Mr. Raffanello said Allen Stanford “couldn’t balance a checkbook” and described him as “a spoiled billionaire.” When I asked him why he went to work for Stanford in the first place he said, “I did due diligence. I called several associates, including the former head of DEA in Miami before me and several former assistant U.S. attorneys who worked for him. No one ever gave me a bad word; they said he was eccentric but a straight shooter. Madeleine Albright worked for him, and the former president of Switzerland was one of his board members.”
Stanford Bank collapsed and was put into receivership in 2010, at which point Mr. Raffanello left the company. But well before then Mr. Tirado – who, a source told me, had become an FBI informant – had become convinced that Mr. Raffanello was the source for all of his problems with the Chavez government and its investigation into him. Hence, he began a smear campaign against Mr. Raffanello in Venezuela and the United States.
As I mentioned above, it was Congressman Meeks – who currently supports Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and who took in more money from Stanford than any single member of Congress other than Charles Rangel and Pete Sessions of Texas – who prompted the Chavez government to look into Mr. Tirado.
But the paranoid Mr. Tirado, certain Mr. Raffanello was to blame, paid Venezuelan writers to place stories saying Mr. Raffanello worked for the CIA, Mr. Raffanello told me. That led to the Chavez government questioning Mr. Raffanello for alleged corruption involving the Stanford bank, though it determined the allegations were groundless and never charged him.
“Venezuela is like Casablanca,” Mr. Raffanello said. “If you tell a story twice it becomes the truth. It became impossible for me to go to Venezuela because I feared I’d get picked up by law enforcement.”
“I thought I was going to get Shanghaied, but you can’t make something out of nothing.” – Thomas Raffanello.
Meanwhile, Mr. Raffanello said, Mr. Tirado told the FBI and the Justice Department that he was trying to arrange Mr. Tirado’s kidnapping and was spying on him. “The guy knows how to play the game, and he played it at a high level because he had plenty of money,” Mr. Raffanello said.
About a year after Mr. Raffanello left Stanford Bank, he was indicted by the Obama Justice Department for allegedly shredding Stanford Bank documents. The case went to trial in Miami in 2010. On February 10 of that year, as the jury was deliberating, Judge Richard Goldberg interrupted its deliberations and unilaterally acquitted Raffanello (and another defendant), saying the evidence against him was “substantially lacking.”
It is highly unusual for a person to escape conviction after being indicted by a federal grand jury, let alone for the government to be humiliated in court as it was in the Raffanello case. Stunned federal prosecutors begged the judge to at least allow the jury to render a verdict because the acquittal would prevent them from appealing a verdict.
The judge dismissed their plea, and Mr. Raffanello’s ordeal was over. “I thought I was going to get Shanghaied, but you can’t make something out of nothing,” he said.
To sum up here, a corrupt Venezuelan banker hired a lobbyist close to Hillary Clinton, made a donation to her family’s foundation and has been allowed to live in the United States without fear of prosecution in his homeland. At a time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the Obama Administration staged what can only be described as a political prosecution of an honest man and long-time government employee.
Mr. Raffanello has concluded this about Hillary Clinton’s campaign: “I learned a lot about her and her family when I was in the government, and how they are put together,” he said. “She is a person who will say and do anything in order to get elected president. I don’t think she’s going to win, but there’s nothing she won’t do while trying.”
Barack Obama told an audience of Argentinian youth that the differences between socialism and capitalism make interesting conversation but just pick whatever works. The ideological-left U.S. president suddenly doesn’t have an affinity for ideology.
He said in the past there was a sharp division between communists, socialists and capitalists but that is merely an intellectual argument and it’s not so today.
The Marxist in the White House is erasing the lines between two dangerous ideologies and the one that made the U.S. great, just as he erased our borders. This is a man who would be at home in communist China.
“So often in the past there has been a division between left and right, between capitalists and communists or socialists, and especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate,” Obama said at the Buenos Aires town hall.
“Those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it really fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory. You should just decide what works.”
For Obama, high taxation, wild spending, government agency domination over the people and heavy regulations work which tells you what he is.
Obama made his comments in response to a question about establishing nonprofit community organizations and said it’s important to get government and private sector investment, which for him is a sketchy relationship between Wall Street and DC.
“To president Castro, I said you’ve made great progress in educating young people [Cuban dictators indoctrinate its youth]. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education. Medical care, the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States despite it being a very poor country because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement,” he said about the repressive regime. “They should be congratulated. But you drive around Havana and you see the economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s.”
The US president likes socialism but also likes the capitalism, both of which he has subscribed to for the last seven years.
Then he told them not to rigidly adhere to labels as if the systems of socialism and capitalism are mere labels.
“You have to be practical in asking yourself, How do you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services and innovation and it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative, depending on the social issues you are trying to address, what works? What you’ll find is the most successful societies and economies are the ones that are rooted in a market-based system but also realize a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis.”
His love of wealth redistribution and social [unfair] justice trumps all.
During his trip, he told the Cuban dictator that his revolution was like ours – it was a liberation movement – and he told Argentinians earlier in the week that he is frustrated with the separation of powers.
FLASHBACK 2012: Socialist Or Fascist – Thomas Sowell
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.
What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.
Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous – something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.
Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.
The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.
One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.
Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely – and correctly – regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.
Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.
It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot – and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.
What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people – like themselves – need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.
The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We the People…”
That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of “a living Constitution” that will take decisions out of the hands of “We the People,” and transfer those decisions to our betters.
The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.
Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.
After coming under fire from atheist groups for the distribution of free Bibles, the Delta County School District (DCSD) has approved the circulation of atheistic, secular and Satanic literature to middle and high school students.
Several atheist organizations, including The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) and the Satanic Temple, applied to distribute their literature as a challenge to the school district’s “open forum” policy that allows any group to distribute non-curricular literature to students, as long as it conforms to policy guidelines.
Kurt Clay, the Assistant Superintendent of the Delta School District, said if they are going to make literature for things such as Boy Scouts, 4H or other organizations available, they have to allow all types of information to be available to students.
“This is the other side of that,” explained Kurt Clay, the Assistant Superintendent. “The policy says we cannot discriminate what is handed out, we just have to follow the process.”
Certain exceptions exist, and the materials can’t advocate criminal behavior, violence or drug use, advertise commercial products, or be pornographic. The School District has appealed to this policy as a justification for distributing Gideon Bibles to students on school grounds during class hours.
In December, 2015, a Delta Middle School student complained about the offering of Gideon Bibles to students and the Western Colorado Atheist and Freethinkers said that the distribution of those bibles prompted their desire to distribute atheist material as well.
The distribution of the atheistic materials will take place on April 1, 2016. The proponents of the new materials say that they are offering Delta students an alternative way of thinking.
Some of the brochures to be offered to students include “Top 10 Public School State-Church Violations and How to Stop Them,” “What’s Wrong with the Ten Commandments?” and “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.”
Ann Landman with the Western Colorado Atheist and Freethinkers says the issue in play here is freedom of speech.
“Students are not only getting a lesson about the federal laws and our constitution, but also a different point of view that you can find around the world,” Landman contended.
But Western Colorado Atheist and Freethinkers have said that what they are really after is a change of policy, to separate religion and schools, and believe that by handing out provocative literature they will achieve this end.
The Delta School District has already stated that they are looking into revising their policy to continue providing materials that benefit students, but do not include material on religion or beliefs.
You’re gonna think this came from The Onion, but I assure you it didn’t. This really happened here in America. This is the level we are at.
People are always talking about how they are afraid of terrorism. Or economic collapse. You know what I’m afraid of?
The younger generations of college students who have apparently been socially engineered to be complete and utter pansies who run crying to authorities any time someone disagrees with them and who beg to have everyone stripped of their First Amendment right to free speech because they apparently have the backbones of garden slugs.
These are the young adults of America’s “future”??
Look at this picture from the Emory Wheel, Emory University’s student-run newspaper:
You would think just by glancing at this that someone died.
Nope. This is a student response to someone chalking campus with “fear-inducing” pro-Donald Trump messages like… wait for it… “Trump 2016” on the campus of Emory University.
Check out this harrowing tale… if you dare!
The chalkings that generated such controversy appeared overnight throughout Emory’s campus. College junior Harpreet Singh said that, initially, he did not find the chalkings significant. “I saw one big one, ‘Trump 2016,’ so I thought it was an isolated incident and I didn’t think much of it,” he said. “I thought, ‘Okay, it’s just a guy who wants to write whatever he wants to believe in for his political campaign.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I’m fine with that, to a certain extent.’”
Singh reported having seen multiple chalkings that read “Trump 2016” between Cox Hall Bridge and the Dobbs University Center (DUC). “What I also saw on the steps near Cox [Hall] Bridge was ‘Accept the Inevitable: Trump 2016,’” he said. “That was a bit alarming. What exactly is the inevitable? Why does it have to be accepted?”
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well… I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school,” she added.
And also this:
“How can you not [disavow Trump] when Trump’s platform and his values undermine Emory’s values that I believe are diversity and inclusivity when they are obviously not [something that Trump supports]” one student said tearfully.
This story, in all actuality, has nothing to do with Trump. Or even politics.
These are adult-aged manchildren and womenchildren who apparently cannot handle it when people have opinions that differ from their own, opinions which fall outside of the sphere of allotted politically correct opinions they have been propagandized and programmed with since their tiny tot days in the brainwashing centers that pass for American public schools these days.
Back to reality, we’re talking about CHALK.
Chalk writing on university sidewalks.
Chalk that disappears with the first hint of rain or eventually just wears off on its own.
Instead of getting their own chalk and writing their own message, or just simply ignoring someone who they disagree with politically, these college students began a protest and ran crying to the university president in fear trying to shut down free speech – a common scene on college campuses these days.
The students demanded that the university to publicly, officially disavow Trump (meaning, they wanted a university to openly take a political stance) and everything Trump stands for. The university would not because universities are not supposed to endorse political ideologies.
Here’s a picture of the meeting about it in the president’s office:
Look at how serious they are, as if sidewalk chalk is a real issue.
The university did respond by changing the campus chalking policy, however. Now if a student wants to write something on the sidewalk at Emory in chalk, they have to reserve the right through an online platform so it can be pre-approved.Way to uphold the First Amendment there, Emory.
In addition, the university is reviewing security footage to attempt to find the dastardly devil who dared to chalk “Trump 2016” on the sidewalk and terrorize these precious little snowflakes.
One wonders what happens to these “adults” once they leave the hallowed safe space that is their campus and they have to deal with the real world where no one cares if they are scared of chalk. A world where someone might – GASP! – put a “Trump 2016” sign in their own front yard, for example? A world where the news media might show pro-Trump rallies in the 2016 election coverage.
Do they fall down on the sidewalk and ball into a fetal position and weep? Drive their cars into a tree?? Do their heads explode like in the movie Scanners???
On a side note, these students are okay with seeing the words “Trump 2016” physically together without bursting into tears and cowering in fear so long as the word “stop” is with them.
Then that’s okay, apparently.
Notice the word “gently” in this paragraph… Better wrap up the meeting gently. Better not hurt these poor darlings by wrapping up the meeting like adults…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sensationally claimed that one of the Brussels bombers was arrested for terror offences and deported back to Belgium last June.
Erdogan claimed that Turkish authorities informed Belgium that the arrested man – believed to Ibrahim El-Bakraoui – was “a foreign fighter” but investigators allowed him to walk free because they couldn’t establish terror links.
The news raises yet more questions about the embattled Belgian security forces’ ability to prevent acts of terror being plotted and carried out in jihadi hotbeds in the country.
Speaking this afternoon, Erdogan said that Belgian authorities released the suspect despite Turkish warnings that he was “a foreign fighter” who had been captured on the border with Syria.
Erdogan did not identify the individual but NTV television named him as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two men who blew themselves up at Brussels airport.
He added that Belgian authorities had failed to confirm the suspect’s links to terrorism “despite our warnings” following his deportation.
Erdogan went on to say Belgian consular authorities were formally notified of his deportation on July 14, 2015. He added that he was then released by the Belgian authorities.
“Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, the Belgian authorities could not identify a link to terrorism,” he said at a news conference alongside visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Erdogan said that the Netherlands were also implicated in the issue as the man had initially been deported to the Netherlands at his own request and the Dutch authorities informed.
He did not specify how he had been transferred from the Netherlands to Belgium where 31 people died in bomb attacks on Tuesday.
“I believe that we can work this out (the fight against terror) if world leaders form an alliance against terror. For that, we need to redefine global terror and terrorists,” Erdogan added.
Turkey has previously complained that Western countries did not heed warnings of the dangers posed by jihadists it had expelled back to Europe after arresting them on the Syrian border.
European officials have also urged Turkey to improve intelligence sharing and praised an increase in cooperation in recent months.
31 people were killed and 270 injured after a series of blasts in Zaventem airport, and an hour later a Metro station in Maalbeek.
One of the airport suicide bombers was named as Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, while his brother Khalid El-Brakraoui has been confirmed as the Metro attacker.
Both brothers were well known to police before the attacks, with Khalid even being hunted by Interpol.
But despite the international manhunt for the pair due to their links with last November’s Paris attacks, the pair appear to have been freely moving around Brussels.
There are also serious concerns over the ease with which Belgium-based jihadis have been able to escape despite huge manhunts.
Paris attacker Salah Abdesalem vanished during one police raid last before being captured.
And there appears to have been no trace of Najim Laachraoui since his suitcase nail failed to explode at Brussels airport yesterday morning.
The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”
But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation – the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam – did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.
Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks – this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers. The fear is that the man, whose identity Belgian officials say is not known, will follow Abdeslam’s path.
After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighborhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian officials.
“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organize another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organized just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,'” said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.
Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.
“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.
More than four sources with access to tallies of fighters tasked with Europe attacks independently corroborated the numbers of fighters who trained for specific attacks in Europe, including some who have spoken to fighters directly. Others have cross checked information regarding fighters leaving or returning.
Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, Belgian-born brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were known to authorities as common criminals, not anti-Western radicals until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF. Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden – but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the Nov. 13 plot.
In claiming responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose. The shadowy cells were confirmed by the EU police agency, Europol, which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”
French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group, and they include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.
Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.
“The difference is that in 2014, some of these IS fighters were only being given a couple weeks of training,” he said. “Now the strategy has changed. Special units have been set up. The training is longer. And the objective appears to no longer be killing as many people as possible but rather to have as many terror operations as possible, so the enemy is forced to spend more money or more in manpower.”
Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators – not necessarily to be beholden to orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.
Several security officials have said there is growing evidence to suggest the bulk of the training is taking place in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.
In the case of Tuesday’s attacks, Abdeslam’s arrest may have been a trigger for a plot that was already far along.
“To pull off an attack of this sophistication, you need training, planning, materials and a landscape,” said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College in London, which has one of the largest databases of fighters and their networks.
“Even if they worked flat out, the attackers in Brussels would have needed at least four days,” said Maher, who has conducted extensive interviews with foreign fighters.
The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.
On Wednesday, Turkish authorities said one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was caught last June near the Syrian border and deported to the Netherlands, with Ankara warning Dutch and Belgian officials that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.” But he was released from Dutch custody due to lack of evidence of involvement in extremism.
Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said Wednesday that authorities had no reason to detain El Bakraoui because he was “not known for terrorist acts but as a common law criminal who was on conditional release.”
The latest new name to surface this week, Najim Laachraoui, turned out to be the bombmaker who made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to French and Belgian officials. Attackers used an explosive known as Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, made from common household chemicals. DNA evidence indicates he died on Tuesday in the suicide attack on the airport, two officials briefed on the investigation told AP.
Fifteen kilos of TATP were found in an apartment linked to the Brussels attackers, along with other explosive material.
The unidentified man seen on security footage wearing a white jacket and black hat at the Brussels airport on Tuesday remains at large, a fugitive link in a chain still being forged.
The Brussels terrorists were preparing an attack on a nuclear power plant and had recorded 12 hours of reconnaissance footage, it has been reported.
The ISIS cell were spying on the Belgian’s nuclear power chief, possibly as part of a kidnap plan to force him to let them into an atomic facility, according to newspaper Derniere Heure.
Hours of film of the home of the Research and Development Director of the Belgian Nuclear Programme were discovered in an apartment in Brussels raided by anti-terrorist police following the attack in Paris.
The footage confounded investigators at first – as it showed the entrance to the director’s home in Flanders, an area outside the capital.
But detectives made the chilling deduction that the group was attempting to gain entry to an atomic facility after watching all 12 hours of footage, which included images of a local bus.
Armed troops were sent to defend French and Belgian nuclear facilities following the discovery and both countries nuclear programmes were put on the highest state of alert.
Reports of the plan first emerged as early as February and was at that time linked back to the cell responsible for the Paris attacks.
The footage was discovered ‘as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks,’ a Belgian prosecutor said, refusing to divulge the individual’s identity ‘for obvious security reasons’.
At the time, Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control stressed the importance of not revealing the name of the person involved so as ‘not to endanger the enquiry or nuclear security’ or indeed the person involved and their family.
The images were captured by a camera hidden in nearby bushes and recovered by two suspects who left the area in a vehicle with the lights off, Derniere Heure reported.
However, reports in February did not publicly name Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui – the brothers we now know are responsible for the Brussels bombings – as the creators of the footage.
The claims give further credence to the links now established, at least publicly, between the Paris and Brussels bombings.
The bombings in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed 31 people are now believed to have been carried out because the authorities were closing in on the fugitive members of the terror cell.
Leading lawmakers identified Belgium as a hotspot for terrorism months ago and are warning that many of the radicalized individuals living there are still able to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa and undergoing thorough security checks.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday afternoon that current flaws in the U.S. visa waiver program – which facilities travel to the United States from partner nations including Belgium – have created a loophole that could permit radicalized individuals to legally enter the United States with minimal background checks.
DeSantis is warning of these flaws on the heels of deadly mass terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday that has killed at least 30 and wounded hundreds more.
“The visa waiver reform, this is something we have been perusing and the [Obama] administration has brushed us off at every turn,” DeSantis said, explaining that current policy does not mandate more strenuous checks on individuals identified as coming from terrorist hotspots, such as the small Belgian town of Molenbeek, which has emerged as a principal training site for jihadists.
“It’s the case that if those folks are citizens of Belgium they qualify for the visa waiver program and can hop on a plane and get here,” he added. “Clearly, that is not adequate given what happened.”
The Obama administration “even takes the position it’s safer to allow someone to come in on a visa waiver than make them get one, it’s kind of crazy,” DeSantis said. You’re not going to be able to have intelligence on everyone there because there are so many potential recruits. It’s a clear vulnerability.”
What is worse, DeSantis said, is that the Obama administration has been lax about deporting individuals who overstay their visas, meaning that a radicalized person could disappear in America as they plan a potential attack.
“There’s no enforcement once they get here,” DeSantis said. “Hundreds of thousands of people come over and then overstay” their visas. “You are not going to be removed under current policy under this administration.”
DeSantis and other lawmakers first labeled Belgium as a hotspot for ISIS terrorists in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks in Paris. At least five of the Paris attackers were French nationals, two of whom had been living in Belgium. Another one of the terrorists was a Belgian national.
Citizens from both countries are still able to freely travel to the United States under the visa waiver program, which facilitates travel between the American and a host of foreign countries.
“At least six of the Paris attackers could have attempted to enter the country under this program,” DeSantis said in December, during a congressional hearing on the visa waiver program’s flaws.
Molenbeek in particular “is a hellhole that is filled with Belgian national Islamic radicals who qualify to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the visa waiver program,” DeSantis warned during the hearing.
DeSantis said on Tuesday that following the attack in Paris, he realized that the United States is vulnerable from threats in Europe, in addition to those from Syria and other terror strongholds.
“The problem was not just people coming from Syria,” he explained. “There was a major vulnerability from places in Europe and this Molenbeeck neighborhood was one of the most egregious that I had seen.”
The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged on Tuesday that Belgium is still a part of the visa waiver program, and that policy has not shifted in the wake of the attack.
“Though we do not require Belgian citizens to have a visa to travel here for business or tourism purposes, both the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel here from Belgium by individuals of suspicion,” Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary, said in in a statement on Tuesday.
“All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization,” Johnson said. “We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today’s attacks.”
Asked about these screening methods, DeSantis cast doubt on the United States’ ability to thoroughly vet these individuals, explaining that gaps in U.S. intelligence cannot account for the large number of radicalized Europeans.
A student at Columbia University has authored an editorial saying Belgians deserve to be blamed for Tuesday’s Islamic terrorist attack in Brussels because their society is a front of “Islamophobia.”
“Columbia’s vigils and memorial services allow us to mourn victims and condemn terrorism,” writes student Brian Min in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Moving forward, however, they should condemn not only terrorism, but also the specific Islamophobic attitudes and policies that facilitated the recent attacks.”
Min, a freshman planning to study French as well as women, gender, and sexuality studies, argues that the Brussels attack and other terrorist attacks, are “usually not arbitrary events without any justification – they often are responses to institutionalized hate and oppression.”
“Belgium remains the only other country in the world besides France to have a national ban of full-face veils,” Min says. “Employers too often get away with discriminating against Muslim employees. It comes as no surprise that the municipality Molenbeek – the site of one of the explosions – has an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent where the majority of Muslim youths are denied equal access to the labor and housing market.”
Despite his remarks, Min claims he is not condoning terrorism, because “hate should never be used to fight against hate.”
Min then argues in favor of repurposing vigils and other mourning events for political purposes, saying they should be used to denounce specific policies he disagrees with.
“[I]t is not enough for vigils and memorial services to broadly condemn Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that helped breed terrorist attacks,” he says. “They should also verbally denounce the specific forms of Islamophobia and hatred in relation to targeted nations and their policies of institutionalized discrimination, such as Belgium’s ban on full-face veils. In order to fight against Islamophobia and hate crimes that dramatically increase after major tragedies like the Brussels attacks, we must localize the specific Islamophobic policies and attitudes that helped to facilitate such attacks.”
Despite Min’s argument, there’s ample reason to believe Belgium is not a strong center of Islamophobia. For instance, in 2013 a Belgian man was sent to jail for hate speech for tearing up a Quran near some Muslims, and the country’s hate speech legislation has been interpreted as generally restricting any rhetoric that is overly hurtful towards Muslims.
Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.
Since the world learned of the dozens dead, hundreds injured, and hundreds of thousands affected by Monday’s attack on the NATO and European Union capital, we have seen an outpouring of what is commonly known as “solidarity”.
This word – most commonly associated with hard-left politics, trades union activism, socialism, and poseur indie rock bands – has come to mean very little in reality. In effect, “standing in solidarity” with someone now means that you have observed the situation, changed your Facebook profile picture accordingly, and patted yourself on the back.
And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.
Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.
Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested (or more?) in rounding up Twitter “hate speech” offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.
But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or “out of touch with reality”. As if the data doesn’t exist, or the demographics aren’t shifting quickly enough to notice.
As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven’t become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.
As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren’t used as recruiting grounds for radicals.
As if the blood of our countrymen hasn’t even been spilled at all.
Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can “reach out” to these populations. How we can “co-exist” and “be tolerant” of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.
It is as if we model our countries on the practice of bending over and “taking one for the team”, chastising those who fail to “tolerate” the most barbaric traditions of alien cultures. It is everything this cartoon – obviously branded “racist” – suggests.
“But come on, Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or rapists… you’re not!”
Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown) knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?
Not that I need protection, or defence, but some people aren’t as hard headed or resolved as I am.
Thusly, the albeit minority evil amongst British Muslims is thriving because good Muslims are doing nothing. At some point, we have to question why. I’m not sure most people are ready for the answers to that one.
So continue to sit there with your head in your hands. Mourning only to make yourself feel better. Missing people you never knew. Exclaiming, as the most immature of minds does: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Expressing sympathy is no bad thing. But to be truly sympathetic towards someone under attack, one must be chivalrous, gallant, and unafraid.
Watching someone getting raped, and tweeting your solidarity with them is not enough. Human nature and goodness calls upon us to intervene. To assist. To free someone from their torture, and to save them from their demise.
It is not enough to scrawl “no fear” on a post it note, and stick it onto some £3 flowers.
We must be fearless in electing leaders who we feel will best keep us safe. It is one of the few areas of our lives in which we should be able to feel comfortable. We pay our taxes, you keep us safe.
If not, then we must arm ourselves. If our governments refuse to protect us, or even begin to use the tools with which we empower them against us: surveillance, counter-terror laws, detention, then we will need to take the law back into our own hands. We cannot be afraid of doing so. It is where our societies all sprung from.
The defence of ourselves as individuals. The defence of our families, our properties, our means of production, our communities, and our neighbours.
It is why arms sales to individuals has shot up since the migrant crisis in Europe. Many Germans are losing their faith in their elected leaders to protect them. The same applies in Sweden, and in Austria. Some people refuse to take being wiped out laying down. How quaint.
It is also time to start to make serious, wide-reaching demands of our politicians on the subject of immigration and Islamism.
When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said what he said about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, the tolerance lobby went into overdrive: full condemnations across the board from politicians – including presidents and prime ministers, across the media sphere, and you will recall the House of Commons debating a petition to ban the man from the country.
Now even the most politically correct of Hollywood luvvies is asking: is he really that wrong on this?
Because Mr. Trump has thought in a cycle longer than his potential presidency: what does the Western world look like in 20, 30, 50 years? What kind of societies do we leave to our children?
Do we leave cities with soldiers on patrol. With “peace” signs scrawled onto bomb-struck buildings? Or do we leave them safe places, with real promise for the future. Like our parents, or at least our parents’ parents, left us.
In order to confront this question, we have to get to the root cause of the problem. There is too much immigration, or at least, not enough hand-picked immigration, into the Western world today.
People of my age had no choice that our post-war leaders felt the heavy hand of post-colonial guilt on their shoulders, and decided to open up our countries, and flood us with “diversity”.
But we do have a choice to not make the same mistakes again. And we have a duty to correct the ones that were made.
And yes, that does mean exactly what you think it means. It means ending mass migration. It means smashing apart ghettos and no go zones. It means repealing laws that allow for Sharia councils. It means asserting what it means to be British, or European, or American, without fearing a backlash from the political left, or the media classes who scarcely see a face my colour let alone darker.
Let them riot. Let them cry.
I would far rather be subjected to ceaseless “direct action” by the scourges of my own society than import others.
At least if my fellow countrymen are deplorable, I won’t get called a racist for pointing it out.
So put down the teddy bears, burst the balloons, and let’s start demanding again that our countries are safe and civilised. And if we can’t find people who’ll make that happen for us… let’s do it ourselves.