Americans must account for the natives here when they came and the blacks they dragged over here kicking and screaming there will be no peace until this is settled…not because these groups will demand it, but you set the game up with your rules; law, accounting, finance: the energy in place once these rules have been implemented will demand it in order for their credence to have merit and continue or they will cease to exist of their own accord…there are no vacuums
© 2014, agentleman.
A GENTLEMAN’S VIEW CHALLENGE TO PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT: A Platform for 2016 Presidential election;
If we continue to do things the same way, they most certainly won’t change… Safe and secure don’t work for the warrior activist. Standing on the sidelines watching the bully smack another kid, countless men beat, belittle, humiliate women to no end, or just looking out your window from a 5 story walkup and seeing 6 kids trying to stomp a young cat to death for the fun of it just doesn’t work for some people in life. You don’t get an invite to this way of life, you can’t train for it, you see wrong hurt and automatically step up as life calls upon you from somewhere within your soul and the rough ride stays with you until your last breath feeling that with all you gave it still wasn’t enough to stop the pain and wishing for one more moment to step and say; Hey, What The Fuck Are You Doing, Stop That! You can’t do that to…
This is the National Agenda Of The Progressive Party.
- Economic Justice: Prosperity should be accessible to everyone, not merely the few.
- Civil Rights: Every individual’s civil rights must be protected; discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical and developmental ability should be banned.
- Health Care: Every individual should have affordable, quality health care.
- Education: It is essential that we invest in quality public education for all.
- Environment: We must commit to restoring and protecting our environment.
- Reproductive Freedom: Women and men – not politicians – deserve the right to make personal decisions about their reproductive health in accordance with their own personal and moral beliefs.
These are some specifics that address the issues of today’s reality and the stated Progressive agenda:
1. This country pays American taxpaying dollars subsidizing Fortune Five Hundred Companies during the last year to the tune of 63 Billion dollars. My understanding of the whole purpose of being one of elite prestigious companies on this list besides policies that make Wall Street happy is the ability to a) pay all employees a wage good enough to afford one wager earner per family as to allow real child rearing to take place in America and to do this without having United States subsidizing your employees with food stamps, to pay their fair share of corporate taxes if they have enough money to pay obscene bonuses to their CEO’s, to bring jobs home to America instead of utilizing sub standardly supported employees overseas. Meet those requirements and make them the standard then maybe some relief can be considered but during the last ten years of war in which much profit was made, very little was paid to support the patriotic work of our military much less the support the infrastructure updates needed all around this great nation by those companies making ever so much more profit. These savings will be the foundation funding education discussed below in item #8.
2. Immediate shutdown of all corporate subsides for foreign companies and any American Companies or business entities making profit during this support, manufacturing/operating overseas for avoidance of tax responsibilities (i.e. Apple). This should be about being an American citizen first an recognized American Business entity, proudly willing to participate in forwarding the American cause and Ideals. 50% of this savings should directly be put to education in addition to the savings from item #1 and would not be an added tax on any corporation or individuals to fund.This is simple, show profit, pay huge bonuses you don’t need United States government financial tax payer subsidized support for those benefits to the business or individuals. THIS ARGUMENT WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTABLE WITH PROGRESS: ‘Removal of subsidies equals tax increase’.
3. Refinance all outstanding mortgages at 3% and forgive related debt underwater and otherwise to include interest and penalties, give all financial institutions impacted an one time charge off without addition subsides for those outstanding balances. The point here is not to reward those who shouldn’t have taken part in the bad mortgage programs, but give a chance to homeowners who can afford to and not punish them as we did not the bankers. Let us be honest; many people will gain advantage from these saving including some responsible for causing this damage in the first place, so be it.
4. Forgive all student debt to include all interest and penalties, Banks were paid to stay in business while all others suffered, so no charge off for this loss period! The idea is to use avenues of revenue in place today and free up personal household debt. Take the government out of the business of profiting from educating its citizens which America should gladly welcome. See item #8.
5. Mandatory solar on all federal buildings by end of first term (2021). This is a no brainer when it comes to directly setting the tone for Uncle Sam’s responsible and representative behavior and policy about climate. The United States government has a mandate as a national security issue to take any action necessary to reduce this governments carbon footprint production, this and the next item starts us in that direction.
6. Electric government motor pool by 2025 for passenger vehicles, seeking full electronic transportation motor pool by 2040. Again making a statement that Uncle Sugar will take a conscience effort to a much smaller carbon footprint with the government’s motor pool and impact on climate.
7. Single payer modification made to the Affordable Care Act, Complete medical coverage for women’s health that allows for full range and control of choices. This would be the right thing to do to a system stolen from the opposition with the mission of giving to the client (health care patient) as little as possible for their money as put together by the Heritage Foundation in opposition to the Hillary Clinton Health Care plan.
8. Free full academic/vocational college education for all naturalized citizens who desire such education; vocational education and/for advancement can stand in its stead 10 year time limit to completion. See #2 for cost for implementing this educational national push.
9. Minimum wage standard at federal of 22 dollars an hour. $10.10 is not a ‘real living wage’ and an insult that doesn’t address family’s ability to have one parent at home, or childcare costs for single parents. If we claim to be about family we need to invest in the reality of what it takes to have and run a family today.
10. Fully subsidize purchases of electric personal passenger automobiles for 10 years . (Vehicles must meet standard of fully electric operational capability and can not be hybrid) This would be like the homes for vets after world war 2, with the intent of moving as many people as desired to convert to green mobility to be able to do so.
All of this he/she could do by executive order, two for each of Her/His first week in office. These executive orders would directly impact the financial status of the middle and lower strata Americans across a broad spectrum of households in a way that would immediately stimulate economic growth and activity for continued expansion by freeing up money that was being paid to continue to be buried under all this debt. Wall street was taken care of without begging Congress to get off their asses and do what they were elected to do and that is legislate instead of the traitorous behavior this country has witnessed to date. This would adjust the playing field for awhile, there is still much work to achieve a level one. This is where I fail to see the boldness of today’s Progressive Movement…
Pick a point, the economy, make a stand, suggest practical solutions, then put people on the spot, arguing with a fool only proves there are two, we have five years of two parties of fools arguing… Any of my followers who can suggest an even stronger platform, I will post their suggestions, I just thought we should at least attempt to care about and take care of the home front first. These suggestions attempts to address the financial difficulties everyone but the people who cause the catastrophe in the first place are experiencing. If we are not doing anything to give back/restore/build some trust with those who been devastated by the impact of this recession then the rest is straight bullshit! These 10 items address actions that can be taken presently and will positively impact many Americans across the spectrum no matter the party and that would be a good thing for America not just for Wall Streets Billionaires…
A Lesson From Ecuador: “Health is a right guaranteed by the state and whose fulfilment is linked to the exercise of other rights, including the right to water, food, education, sport, work, social security, a healthy environment and everything that promotes well-being. The state shall guarantee this right by implementing economic social, cultural, educational and environmental policies. It shall guarantee permanent, timely and non-exclusive access to programmes, actions and services promoting and providing comprehensive healthcare and reproductive health. The provision of healthcare services shall be governed by the principles of equity, universality, solidarity, interculturalism, quality, efficiency, effectiveness, prevention, and bioethics with a fair gender and generational approach.” President of Ecuador statement about the citizens of his country which we could learn from…A Third World Country like that.
© 2013 – 2014, agentleman.
7 Cities That Are Playgrounds for the Rich and Terrors for the Poor
Where housing booms for ultra rich meet rising homelessness. By Aaron Cantú
Seven years after Wall Street’s near total collapse, housing markets in the world’s major cities are surging once again, driven by megadevelopers and superrich individuals flush with cash. Financial Times reports that investors spent $1.2 trillion on “high-end commercial properties in 2013,” an 80 percent increase from 2010. The seeds of the buying boom was planted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and pumped commercial banks with cash in exchange for toxic assets (known as quantitative easing), relieving affluent buyers of risk in global property markets.
In many of the world’s major metropolitan areas, private capital investment in real estate has become a central component of urban planning, and following market logic, these cities compete with each other for developers’ money. That means that urban planners in a global capitalist hub, like New York, will bend over backwards to accommodate developers and investors so that their money doesn’t go to London instead.
This jousting for capital in real estate is having an increasingly obvious side effect: Diverting attention from the growing ranks of the desperately poor. Ironically, in nearly all global cities where housing markets are booming, there is also a concurrent rise or entrenchment of homelessness.
Using a recent survey from Knight Frank on global property markets, we can glimpse at this grotesque urban duality. If anything, it captures the essence of our gilded age. Here’s a list of just 7 cities in the US and abroad that best illustrate this phenomenon.
1. New York City
There are about 3,357 unsheltered people living on New York’s streets, a 6% rise from 2013 to 2014, continuing a trend that began a few years ago. But the vast majority of New York’s homeless live in shelters across the city, and at 53,615, there are more people living in shelters than ever before.
At the same time, overall property values rose 10.4% across New York, continuing a now familiar, decades-long trend. The luxury condos cropping up in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn show no signs of abating, but their presence has another effect: bringing in more rich people.
Between 2003 and 2013, the number of inhabitants with a net-worth of over 30 million dollars (known in wealthy circles as “ultra high net worth individuals,” or UHNWI) rose higher in New York than any other city in the world besides Singapore and Hong Kong, and their population is expected to grow 31% over the next decade.
2. Los Angeles
Overall homelessness—including sheltered and otherwise—across Los Angeles County rose last year by nearly 8,000 people, bringing the total to 57,737. Concurrently, the price of luxury properties in the city rose 14%, and it’s population of UHNWI is expected to rise by the same percentage point by 2013.
The sharp rise in LA homelessness was due in part to a sequester-related cut of nearly $10 million to programs that provided support for the homeless, including a program that gave rent vouchers to families earning less than $13,000 a year. While the city left the hole unfilled, it has gone to great lengths to attract rich developers to pour capital into the area, sometimes offering tax incentives. For example, after Korea Air proposed building a skyscraper and luxury hotel in Downtown LA, the city offered the developer a reduced tax rate for the billion-dollar project.
3. San Francisco
The overall number of homeless in the tiny urban area was roughly 7,000 in 2013, representing a 3% increase since 2005. Meanwhile, the ranks of UHNWI’s are expected to rise 11% by 2023.
Like New York, the price of luxury property rose 10.4% last year, and is expected to rise. Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is above $3,000 a month. Between April and June, homes and condos sold for over $1 million accounted for one quarter of all property sales in the Bay Area—which may partially explain why evictions are at their highest level in more than a decade. That isn’t to imply that most people evicted end up on the street, but it is a revealing nonetheless.
But this is trend is not strictly American; we can observe it in “globalized” cities across the globe, where, as one newspaper in Dublin put it, “Housing boom[s] fuel [a] surge in homelessness.”
There has been little construction of new homes in Dublin since 2008. Austerity has ravaged public housing programs. As a result, many of the city’s properties are being bought up by private investors from around the globe, igniting a real estate boom even as the number of homeless reaches its highest point since the city began surveying.
According to the Wealth Report, Dublin experienced one of the world’s highest increases in property values in 2013. As with the aforementioned American cities, much of the investment is coming from abroad. The Wealth Report describes this growth in property markets as a “rebound,” but as the Guardian noted, housing prices are rising so quickly in Dublin that there is likely a housing bubble forming in the market. That has happened before: in the 90’s and 2000’s, parts of Dublin constituted some of the most expensive real estate in the world. And like the last bubble, the people who will likely be most hurt following the pop will be the city’s most vulnerable, after the social programs they depend on are eviscerated by austerity.
London is a lot like New York City: a playground for the rich and a terror for the poor.
There were 57,350 Londoners without homes in 2013, an astounding 60% increase since 2011. At the same time, Knight Frank forecasts that 5,000 people worth over 30 million dollars will live in London by 2023.
One reason London has become so attractive for the world’s rich is because tax havens former tax havens, like Swiss bank accounts, are no longer as safe from regulators as they were in the past. Like New York, London is a place for investors to park their money because they know that real estate will remain profitable for them as values continue to rise in the future. Knight Frank notes that London was the most popular city for the elite of China, Russia, and much of Europe to park their assets.
Inequality is more extreme in real estate powerhouses outside of the Western world, where vast swaths of people live in unincorporated slums. The line between housed, slum dweller, and homeless is much more porous in Nairobi, Kenya than it is in most parts of the United States and Europe.
Half of the residents in Nairobi live in slums, and they’re being forcibly removed to make way for construction efforts ignited by a white-hot property market and a corresponding influx of rich residents, tourists and business people. Luxury real estate prices rose higher there than anywhere else in Africa, and swanky hotels and bars are proliferating like mad. Knight Frank expects a 77% increase in the number of UHNWI in Nairobi by 2023.
To clear the way for these developments, the poor are being evicted at an unprecedented rate, with developers even burning decades-old slums to force out residents. Thousands are descending from semi-homelessness literally having nothing but the clothes on their back—all for the sake of property prices.
Real estate prices rose higher in Jakarta than anywhere else in the last two years, and the number of UHNWI will soar over the next decade. At the same time, 40 percent of the country’s 250 million people still live on less than 2 dollars a day.
For over a decade, the state has forcibly evicted slum dwellers out of places with potential for real-estate development. The clearing campaigns are even more salient today, as the gulf between rich and poor is deeper and wider in Indonesia than it has ever been. And with the specter of climate change on the horizon—50,000 Indonesians were rendered homeless by flooding in 2013—it’s likely that social tensions will rupture more deeply in the future.
© 2014, agentleman.
Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?
CHRIS HEDGES, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Hi. I’m Chris Hedges. And we are here in Salem, Oregon, interviewing Dr. Sheldon Wolin, who taught politics for many years at Berkeley and, later, Princeton. He is the author of several seminal works on political philosophy, including Politics and Vision and Democracy Inc.. And we are going to be asking him today about the state of American democracy, political participation, and what he calls inverted totalitarianism. So let’s begin with this concept of inverted totalitarianism, which has antecedents. And in your great work Politics and Vision, you reach back all the way to the Greeks, up through the present age, to talk about the evolution of political philosophy. What do you mean by it?
SHELDON WOLIN, PROF. POLITICS EMERITUS, PRINCETON: Well, I mean by it that in the inverted idea, it’s the idea that democracy has been, in effect, turned upside down. It’s supposed to be a government by the people and for the people and all the rest of the sort of rhetoric we’re used to, but it’s become now so patently an organized form of government dominated by groups which are only vaguely, if at all, responsible or even responsive to popular needs and popular demands. But at the same time, it retains a kind of pattern of democracy, because we still have elections, they’re still relatively free in any conventional sense. We have a relatively free media. But what’s missing from it is a kind of crucial continuous opposition which has a coherent position, and is not just saying, no, no, no but has got an alternative, and above all has got an ongoing critique of what’s wrong and what needs to be remedied.
HEDGES: You juxtapose inverted totalitarianism to classical totalitarianism–fascism, communism–and you say that there are very kind of distinct differences between these two types of totalitarianism. What are those differences?
WOLIN: Well, certainly one is the–in classic totalitarianism the fundamental principle is the leadership principle and the notion that the masses exist not as citizenry but as a means of support which can be rallied and mustered almost at will by the dominant powers. That’s the classical one. And the contemporary one is one in which the rule by the people is enshrined as a sort of popular message about what we are, but which in fact is not really true to the facts of political life in this day and age.
HEDGES: Well, you talk about how in classical totalitarian regimes, politics trumps economics, but in inverted totalitarianism it’s the reverse.
WOLIN: That’s right. Yeah. In classic totalitarianism, thinking here now about the Nazis and the fascists, and also even about the communists, the economy is viewed as a tool which the powers that be manipulate and utilize in accordance with what they conceive to be the political requirements of ruling. And they will take whatever steps are needed in the economy in order to ensure the long-run sustainability of the political order. In other words, the sort of arrows of political power flow from top to bottom. Now, in inverted totalitarianism, the imagery is that of a populace which is enshrined as the leadership group but which in fact doesn’t rule, but which is turned upside down in the sense that the people are enshrined at the top but don’t rule. And minority rule is usually treated as something to be abhorred but is in fact what we have. And it’s the problem has to do, I think, with the historical relationship between political orders and economic orders. And democracy, I think, from the beginning never quite managed to make the kind of case for an economic order that would sustain and help to develop democracy rather than being a kind of constant threat to the egalitarianism and popular rule that democracy stands for.
HEDGES: In your book Politics and Vision, you quote figures like Max Weber who talk about capitalism as in fact being a destructive force to democracy.
WOLIN: Well, I think Weber’s critique of capitalism is even broader. I think he views it as quintessentially destructive not only of democracy, but also, of course, of the sort of feudal aristocratic system which had preceded it. Capitalism is destructive because it has to eliminate the kind of custom /ËˆmÉ”ËreÉªz/, political values, even institutions that present any kind of credible threat to the autonomy of the economy. And it’s that–that’s where the battle lies. Capitalism wants an autonomous economy. They want a political order subservient to the needs of the economy. And their notion of an economy, while it’s broadly based in the sense of a capitalism in which there can be relatively free entrance and property is relatively widely dispersed it’s also a capitalism which, in the last analysis, is [as] elitist as any aristocratic system ever was.
HEDGES: You talk in the book about about how it was essentially the engine of the Cold War, juxtaposing a supposedly socialist Soviet Union, although like many writers, including Chomsky, I think you would argue that Leninism was not a socialist movement. Adam Ulam talks about it as a counterrevolution, Chomsky as a right-wing deviation. But nevertheless, that juxtaposition of the Cold War essentially freed corporate capitalism in the name of the struggle against communism to deform American democracy.Â And also I just want to make it clear that you are very aware, especially in Politics and Vision, of the hesitancy on the part of our founding fathers to actually permit direct democracy. So we’re not in this moment idealizing the system that was put in place. But maybe you could talk a little bit about that.
WOLIN: Well, I think that’s true. I think the system that was consciously and deliberately constructed by the founders who framed the Constitution–that democracy was the enemy. And that was rooted in historical realities. Many of the colonial governments had a very strong popular element that became increasingly prominent as the colonies moved towards rebellion. And rebellion meant not only resisting British rule, but also involved the growth of popular institutions and their hegemony in the colonies, as well as in the nation as a whole, so that the original impulses to the Constitution came in large measure from this democratizing movement. But the framers of the Constitution understood very well that this would mean–would at least–would jeopardize the ruling groups that they thought were absolutely necessary to any kind of a civilized order. And by “ruling groups”, they meant not only those who were better educated, but those who were propertied, because they regarded property as a sign of talent and of ability, so that it wasn’t just wealth as such, but rather a constellation of virtues as well as wealth that entitled capitalists to rule. And they felt that this was in the best interests of the country. And you must remember at this time that the people, so-called, were not well-educated and in many ways were feeling their way towards defining their own role in the political system. And above all, they were preoccupied, as people always have been, with making a living, with surviving. And those were difficult times, as most times are, so that politics for them could only be an occasional activity, and so that there would always be an uneasy relationship between a democracy that was often quiescent and a form of rule which was constantly trying to reduce, as far as possible, Democratic influence in order to permit those who were qualified to govern the country in the best interests of the country.
HEDGES: And, of course, when we talk about property, we must include slaveholders.
WOLIN: Indeed. Indeed. Although, of course, there was, in the beginning, a tension between the northern colonies and the southern colonies.
HEDGES: This fear of direct democracy is kind of epitomized by Thomas Paine,–
WOLIN: Yeah. Yeah.
HEDGES: –who was very useful in fomenting revolutionary consciousness, but essentially turned into a pariah once the Revolution was over and the native aristocracy sought to limit the power of participatory democracy.
WOLIN: Yeah, I think that’s true. I think it’s too bad Paine didn’t have at his disposal Lenin’s phrase “permanent revolution”, because I think that’s what he felt, not in the sense of violence, violence, violence, but in the sense of a kind of conscious participatory element that was very strong, that would have to be continuous, and that it couldn’t just be episodic, so that there was always a tension between what he thought to be democratic vitality and the sort of ordered, structured, election-related, term-related kind of political system that the framers had in mind.
HEDGES: So let’s look at the Cold War, because in Politics and Vision, as in Democracy Inc., you talk about the framing of what Dwight Macdonald will call the psychosis of permanent war, this constant battle against communism, as giving capital the tools by which they could destroy those democratic institutions, traditions, and values that were in place. How did that happen? What was the process?
WOLIN: Well, I think it happened because of the way that the Cold War was framed. That is, it was framed as not only a war between communism and capitalism, but also a war of which the subtext was that communism was, after all, an ideology that favored ordinary people. Now, it got perverted, there’s no question about that, by Lenin and by Stalin and into something very, very different.Â But in the Cold War, I think what was lost in the struggle was the ability to see that there was some kind of justification and historical reality for the appearance of communism, that it wasn’t just a freak and it wasn’t just a kind of mindless dictatorship, but that the plight of ordinary people under the forms of economic organization that had become prominent, the plight of the common people had become desperate. There was no Social Security. There were no wage guarantees. There was no union organization.
HEDGES: So it’s just like today.
WOLIN: Yeah. They were powerless. And the ruling groups, the capitalist groups, were very conscious of what they had and what was needed to keep it going. And that’s why figures like Alexander Hamilton are so important, because they understood this, they understood it from the beginning, that what capitalism required in the way not only of so-called free enterprise–but remember, Hamilton believed very, very strongly in the kind of camaraderie between capitalism and strong central government, that strong central government was not the enemy of capitalism, but rather its tool, and that what had to be constantly kind of revitalized was that kind of relationship, because it was always being threatened by populist democracy, which wanted to break that link and cause government to be returned to some kind of responsive relationship to the people.
HEDGES: And the Cold War. So the Cold War arises. And this becomes the kind of moment by which capital, and especially corporate capital, can dismantle the New Deal and free itself from any kind of regulation and constraint to deform and destroy American democracy. Can you talk about that process, what happened during that period?
WOLIN: Well, I think the first thing to be said about it is the success with which the governing groups manage to create a Cold War that was really so total in its spread that it was hard to mount a critical opposition or to take a more detached view of our relationship to the Soviet Union and just what kind of problem it created. And it also had the effect, of course, of skewing the way we looked at domestic discontents, domestic inequalities, and so on, because it was always easy to tar them with the brush of communism, so that the communism was just more than a regime. It was also a kind of total depiction of what was the threat to–and complete opposite to our own form of society, our old form of economy and government.
HEDGES: And in Politics and Vision, you talk about because of that ideological clash, therefore any restriction of capitalism which was defined in opposition to communism as a kind of democratic good, if you want to use that word, was lifted in the name of the battle against communism, that it became capitalism that was juxtaposed to communism rather than democracy, and therefore this empowered capital, in a very pernicious way, to dismantle democratic institutions in the name of the war on communism.
WOLIN: Oh, I think there’s no question about that, the notion that you first had to, so to speak, unleash the great potential capitalism had for improving everybody’s economical lot and the kind of constraints that had been developed not only by the New Deal, but by progressive movements throughout the 19th century and early 20th century in the United States, where it had been increasingly understood that while American economic institutions were a good thing, so to speak, and needed to be nurtured and developed, they also posed a threat. They posed a threat because they tended to result in concentrations of power, concentrations of economic power that quickly translated themselves into political influence because of the inevitably porous nature of democratic representation and elections and rule, so that the difficulty’s been there for a long time, been recognized for a long time, but we go through these periods of sleepwalking where we have to relearn lessons that have been known almost since the birth of the republic, or at least since the birth of Jeffersonian democracy, that capitalism has its virtues, but it has to be carefully, carefully watched, observed, and often controlled.
HEDGES: Thank you. Please join us for part two later on with our interview with Professor Sheldon Wolin.
© 2014, agentleman.
Movement Conservatism, White Racial Paranoia, and the Killing of Michael Brown
The civet cat lives in the jungles of Indonesia. It enjoys eating coffee berries. However, the civet cat’s stomach is incapable of digesting them. The beans are subsequently excreted in the feces of the animal. Treated and “flavored” by the civet cat’s anal glands, the beans are highly prized by coffee aficionados, selling for 600 dollars a pound.
Picking through the political feces that are the comments sections on Right-wing propaganda websites such as The Blaze is not as lucrative. But, the process is very important for what it reveals about the worldview and ideology of movement conservatism.
Research in sociology, political science, and psychology has revealed that those with“conservative” political personality types see the world in binary and simplistic terms, are intolerant of ambiguity, more afraid of social change, highly deferent to authority, and have brains that are more highly attuned to feelings of fear and threat.
Conservative authoritarians are also much more likely to be racist, prejudiced, and xenophobic.
The Right-wing media machine is typified by “epistemic closure”. The self-reinforcing (and fictitious) narratives of the Right-wing media, when combined with selective information processing and cognitive bias by conservatives, has created an alternate world—one that is immune from the standards and facts that govern empirical reality.
Faith is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means; the Right-wing media is the temple at which movement conservatives fanatically pray and worship. The media elites and politicians of the American right speak in tongues to their congregation. To outsiders, this speech is gibberish and madness. For the Right-wing faithful, such acts are divine and prophetic.
Conservatives’ political personality traits, media, and a predisposition towards both implicit and explicit bias animus towards non-whites is crystallized in their response to the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed black people such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Jordan Davis.
The American Right-wing’s defense of those who kill black people ranges from a barbaric and instinctive impulse towards homicidal ideation (as seen by those who defend Darren Wilson and have donated money to him as a form of bounty or prize for the new age lynching of Michael Brown) to a more mundane and quotidian belief that black people are a race of criminals, and it is best for “public safety” that the police and other representatives of the state treat African-Americans in a prejudicial and unfair way.
This continuum of behavior is an example of white racist paranoiac thinking.
White racist paranoiac thinking is dangerous and noxious because it devalues the lives of black and brown people, legitimates violence and cruelty by whites against non-whites, and twists the ethics, reasoning, thought processes, and morality of white folks in order to support unconscionable deeds.
The Right-wing (and mainstream) media have provided many notable examples of white racist paranoiac thinking (and of course acknowledging how the race-crime frame dominates the American news media writ large on a day-to-day basis).
Several decades ago, the videotaped beating of Rodney King was twisted and distorted by the White Gaze so that the victim was somehow a threat to the many police officers who savaged him.
When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, white racist paranoiacs and their allies spun a story where Martin was somehow “armed” with iced tea and the sidewalk: this was a provocation for the hunter Zimmerman to stalk and kill his prey Trayvon.
The thug cop Darren Wilson is made into a victim by white racial paranoia as the “giant” Michael Brown was “armed” with his “big, black, scary self” and despite multiple witness accounts that he had surrendered, and was not a threat after being repeatedly shot, somehow Wilson was “in fear for his life” and within his rights to shoot Brown in the head and face as a type of street vigilante by cop coup de grace.
These are examples of an aggregate process in American society. It is rare that one news item or editorial offers a self-contained example of white racist paranoiac thinking as a process of motivated reasoning and subsequent distorting of the facts.
In that regard, The Blaze’s recent piece “New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish”, is an ideal typical case.
The beginning of The Blaze’s story presents some of the recent facts and “revelations” from a “black witness” to the encounter between Wilson and Brown (as likely leaked by the Ferguson prosecutor’s office):
An Ohio resident has reportedly revealed new details to the grand jury currently weighing a case against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The unidentified witness claims to have seen the Brown shooting from start to finish.
In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the eyewitness recalled four key details
• After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
• Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
• Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
• The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.
The man’s account differs some with other Ferguson residents who have claimed that Brown’s hands were up in the air when he was shot and that he was running away from the officer the entire time.
Here, the framing is highly sympathetic–as is expected from a Right-wing muckraking site such as The Blaze–towards Darren Wilson.
The Blaze’s story concludes with the conclusion by the “new” witness that:
After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye… What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.
The comments on “New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish” are very revealing: they show how white racial paranoiac thinking, as well as the cognitive and political personality traits of conservatives, combine to selectively filter information…a process amplified by the interplay of race, crime, and racial animus in the case of the Ferguson incident.
Here, the witness’s conclusion that Wilson murdered Darren Wilson is utterly discounted and ignored, while the leading “facts” are unequivocally embraced to fit a prior belief.
1. What transpired was Officer Wilson stopping a threat that was an obvious danger to him. The public needs to know of Force Science and the dynamics of a violent, rapid encounter such as this. Everything factual stated by this “black” witness completely exonerates Officer Wilson. Brown physically fought Wilson & a shot was fired inside the police car. Brown ran. Wilson ordered Brown to stop. Brown physically came at Wilson a second time. Wilson discharged his firearm to stop Brown’s threat. Brown, despite an apparent gunshot wound, continued his threatening actions towards Wilson. Wilson fired again to stop Brown’s threat until, in fact Brown was stopped.
After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. … What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.
IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU EMOTIONALLY FEEL ABOUT THE INCIDENT MR. BLACK WITNESS!!!! WHAT YOU DESCRIBED WAS NECESSARY FORCE TO STOP A THREAT!!! THIS CASE IS CLOSED!!!!
2. I agree with your assessment 100%, however, after reading many responses, I believe some clarification is in order.
Body language is critical in this case. As Brown had already proven that he was quite capable of overpowering Officer Wilson, near instantaneous assessment of his every movement is a matter of life or death. any have interpreted hands out as being the same as hands up. There is a huge difference in the expressed body language when all factors are taken into consideration. Arms out to the side with the palms forward is anything but a submissive posture. Couple that posture with approaching, and refusing to comply when told to stop should be considered as extremely aggressive.
Doubters can deny it if they want, but look at Hollywood… Film is edited down to the slightest facial tick as the tiniest misplaced gesture at a crucial moment changes the entire storyline of the movie.
Simply, if you submit, you stand still with your hands up. To approach with hands to the side and out is a classical aggressive approach of someone that intends to overpower… It is the fighting posture of a wrestler.
Officer Wilson, commanding the perpetrator to stop was right to stop the approach of Michael Brown… especially when there was a second possible threat withe the presence of his friend.
3. exactly. First off, the store incident was enough and it brings the fact the Brown was being defiant from the onset leaving the store. Then defiant more in the police car. Otherwise, why and how did a shot go off inside of the police car. I do not see any police officer shooting up the inside of his car for no reason. Then Brown turning around walking towards Wilson with that “whatchya gonna do” gesture after Wilson told him to stop Everyone knows what that gesture is with a pimp stride in it. That showed further defiance. I do not see how it can be called “murder” from the sounds of what this witness side.
4. By the way, shooting a fleeing felon is also allowed, and is not murder. Even if he was shot in the back of the head while he was running away, still justified.
5. Not just the dynamics of the first violent encounter, but the officer had his eye socket shattered, his bell was probably rang pretty badly from the impact, and his weapon had discharged during the struggle. He was most likely trying to recover from all this during the ensuing encounter. I wonder if anyone has addressed how this might have affected his eyesight or perception. If there were any adverse affects they were the responsibility of the deceased. We can only work with the tools we have. Any benefit of the doubt I will give to the officer.
6. Trying to follow this article is confusing to a rational person. As I read the “witness” account, it sure sounds like a case of self-defense to me. Then the article ends with the witness saying it was clearly murder to him. If it went from zero to 100 for the witness, think how fast it was going for officer Wilson. Also, if Wilson fired the first shot (or was it a shot fired in a struggle for the gun in the car?), why would he holster his weapon and then unholster it when the Gentle Giant turned to him and would not follow repeated commands to stop? Only because the officer felt his life was in danger from an out-of-control thug who refused to stop his attack / aggression towards the officer. But to the Black Klan (BK), what matters is it was a white officer and a black thug. If there was a video and audio making it perfectly clear Wilson was a victim of Big Mike, there would be denial from the BK.
These comments, selected from several hundred that are similar in tone and reasoning, exemplify the power of disinformation and propaganda, authoritarianism, white victimology, homicidal ideation, an embrace of the culture of cruelty, as well overt and covert racism that are common to movement conservatism in the Age of Obama.
As such, they are not a surprise.
What is important is that the deranged thinking of movement conservatives is not isolated to excuse-making and racial paranoia as a means of legitimating the killing of unarmed black and brown people by police and other white identified authorities. Rather, it envelops other matters of public concern that include the environment, economy, health care, tax policy, civil liberties, reproductive rights, international affairs, and other issues.
Extreme partisanship, polarization, and the alternate reality that has been created by the Right-wing media machine are on full display in how the White Right has responded to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Unfortunately, the bundle of attitudes, beliefs, and values that are central to white racist paranoiac thinking are also a threat to the common good more generally.
As with Michael Brown, the killing of a black person at least every 28 hours in the United States by police (and other white identified authorities) is an issue of race, crime, class, and justice. It is also a basic and fundamental human rights issue.
The culture and forces of cruelty, white victimology, and racism that defend and celebrate such acts of civic evil are the same elements which have broken America’s systems of government, and thus created a crisis of legitimacy in the country’s civic culture.
I have written extensively about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; I will continue to do so in the future. Why?
In truth-telling about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, we are exposing the reality of a society in which our civil liberties, freedoms, and basic rights to life, liberty, safety, and security are under threat.
Michael Brown’s body lay in the street as an act of racial terrorism by the Ferguson police against the African-American community.
His body was also a living, and now dead, symbol of a civic culture that is under threat by white supremacy, the culture of cruelty, and a strain of movement conservatism which wants to kill “the useless eaters” by using white racial animus and paranoiac thinking to destroy any hope that there will be a just and equitable society on both sides of the color line, as well as across divides of class and wealth.
The inevitable exoneration of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown is intended to send a message that “all hope is lost”. The question becomes, how will a “we the people” democracy respond to such callous indifference towards the lives of its black and brown citizens?
© 2014, agentleman.
9 Events Which Created the Environment for America’s Emerging Police State
Authoritarianism creeps in slowly.
The August 19 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests that followed have focused attention on the militarization of police in the United States. Police overreach, especially in African-American neighborhoods, is nothing new: it was Marquette Frye’s confrontation with California Highway Patrol officers on Aug. 11, 1965, that sparked the Watts Riots in Los Angeles almost half a century ago. But much has changed since the 1960s and 1970s: American police are a lot more militarized than they were back then, and many of the checks and balances that made the U.S. a democratic republic have been eroded by both courts and politicians. Here are 10 events of recent decades that have encouraged the growth of a police state in the U.S. and promoted the type of toxic environment in which unarmed Brown was shot six times.
1. Ronald Reagan Escalates the War on Drugs
Although the war on drugs started under President Richard Nixon and continued under the administrations of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, it was expanded considerably during Ronald Reagan’s two terms as president. Reagan proved to be much more draconian than Nixon, aggressively promoting militarized no-knock drug raids, asset forfeiture laws and mandatory minimum sentences, especially for crack cocaine. The drug war has greatly increased the prison population and placed a heavy burden on taxpayers, as well as imperiled many innocent Americans. Since the 1980s, there have been countless examples of narcotics officers targeting the wrong house or apartment for a no-knock SWAT raid, brandishing assault weapons and killing or injuring innocent people who had nothing to do with drugs. And when that happens, the officers hardly ever face incarceration or even civil charges.
2. Rodney King Beating of 1991
History repeats itself, and in 1992, 27 years after the Watts Riots, the acquittal of four white police officers who had viciously beaten Rodney King (an African-American motorist who led them on a high-speed chase) was followed by rioting that brought more deaths than the 1965 riots. King, by his own admission, was no saint, but a video of the March 3, 1991 beating clearly demonstrated that the officers crossed the line from legitimately subduing him (which they had every right to do) to being downright sadistic and acting in a spirit of revenge. Said then LA mayor Tom Bradley (a former LAPD lieutenant), “The men who beat Rodney King do not deserve to wear the uniform of the LAPD.” Bradley’s comments were hardly anti-law enforcement; he was proud of the years he had spent on the force. Rather, Bradley’s point was that instead of letting King have his day in court, the officers acted as judge and jury. And their acquittal encouraged a climate of authoritarianism in the United States.
3. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
With the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda was hoping to destabilize the U.S. and weaken its standing in the world. And the George W. Bush administration played right into al-Qaeda’s hands, promoting a climate of fear and intimidation with the blessing of a Republican-dominated Congress. The Bush years brought a variety of authoritarian, anti-Fourth Amendment measures, from the Patriot Act of 2001 to no-fly lists to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of defying al-Qaeda by celebrating the U.S.’ long tradition of constitutional law, the Bush administration made the war on terror a war on American democracy.
4. Waterboarding and Torture at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base
After 9/11, the U.S. crossed a dangerous line when the CIA, with the blessing of the George W. Bush administration, openly supported the use of waterboarding on detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. During the Cold War, the U.S. allied itself with a long list of fascist regimes that practiced torture. But it wasn’t until the post-9/11 era that an American vice president, Dick Cheney, came right out and flaunted the use of torture by the U.S. government itself.
5. Growth and Expansion of Asset Forfeiture Laws
During the Ronald Reagan years, asset forfeiture laws were aggressively promoted as part of the war on drugs. But abuses in the name of asset forfeiture have become much more widespread since the 1980s, and there have been countless examples of police seizing property under the pretense that some type of crime might have been committed. If a motorist pulled over by police for having a broken taillight is carrying $600 in cash, the officer can confiscate that cash and claim there was reason to believe the money was being used in connection with a crime. Even if there is no arrest or evidence of wrongdoing and no charges are filed, the person still has to hire a lawyer to try getting the money back. The property is guilty until proven innocent. Civil forfeiture laws are an assault on the Fourth Amendment and in effect, turn American police departments into common thieves.
6. National Defense Authorization Act and Erosion of Habeas Corpus
Historically, one of the many positive things about the U.S. was its recognition of habeas corpus, the right to be spared indefinite detention without a trial. But the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 31, 2011, gives the U.S. military the right to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without trial. If a U.S. citizen is declared an enemy combatant, indefinite detention without trial is possible. Journalists Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky have both been part of an anti-NDAA lawsuit, arguing that the NDAA is an attack on Americans’ right to habeas corpus.
7. Department of Homeland Security Promoting Militarization of Local Police Departments
The militarization of American police departments escalated after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security launched a program that provides military surplus equipment to American police departments (including the type of weapons used by the U.S. soldiers in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Police departments in Des Moines, Iowa or Fargo, North Dakota now have the type of military weapons they didn’t have access to in the past. This disturbing trend has continued in the Barack Obama era; in 2011, the Department of Homeland Security gave $2 billion in grants for local police departments to obtain military weapons.
8. Growth of the Prison/Industrial Complex
Anti-drug laws and prosecutions became much more draconian in the 1980s and ’90s, turning imprisonment into a huge industry. From manufacturers of prison uniforms to companies that sell food to prisons, the prison-industrial complex has an interest in locking up as many people as possible. The U.S. incarcerates, per capita, more adults than any another country in the world (716 per 100,000 people in 2012 compared to only 79 per 100,000 in Germany or 82 per 100,000 in the Netherlands, according to the Center for Prison Studies in London). Especially disturbing are the growth of privately owned prisons, which the American Civil Liberties Union has vehemently opposed. In 2010, the ACLU sued the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America (the U.S.’ largest private prison company) because of extremely violent conditions in one of its prisons, the Idaho Correctional Center. That year, ACLU senior attorney Stephen Pevar was quoted as saying that in his 39 years of suing prisons and jails, he had “never confronted a more disgraceful, revolting and inexcusable case of mass abuse and federal rights violations than this one.” In 2013, a federal judge held the CCA in contempt of court for understaffing the Idaho Correctional Center.
9. NYPD Assault On Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street was (and still is) a peaceful movement that used nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to protest against the bailouts of large banks and the financial sector’s assault on the American middle class. But the response of the New York Police Department to the Occupy protests of 2011 and 2012 was far from nonviolent, and the NYPD’s heavy-handed treatment of the protestors sent out a message that challenging corporate power can be dangerous. Gerald Celente spoke the truth when he said that the NYPD had become, in effect, “enforcers for the crime bosses” (the crime bosses being the banksters and Wall Street). And the banksters enjoyed a major victory when Occupy activist Cecily McMillan was, in effect, incarcerated for challenging corporate power. McMillan was arrested on March 17, 2012 during a demonstration at New York City’s Zuccotti Park, where she said that NYPD plainclothes officer Grantley Bovel forcefully grabbed her right breast from behind, and McMillan, not knowing he was a cop, responded by elbowing him in the face. McMillan was charged with assaulting a police officer, convicted and sentenced to three months at Rikers Island. The message was clear: protest Wall Street’s criminality, and the consequences will be severe.
By Alex Henderson
© 2014, agentleman.
We Humans Are Our Brothers Keepers!
Safe and secure don’t work for the warrior activist. Standing on the sidelines watching the bully smack another kid, countless men beat, belittle, humiliate women to no end, or just looking out your window from a 5 story walkup and seeing 6 kids trying to stomp a young cat to death for the fun of it just doesn’t work for some people in life. You don’t get an invite to this way of life, you can’t train for it, you see wrong hurt and automatically step up as life calls upon you from somewhere within your soul and the rough ride stays with you until your last breath feeling that with all you gave it still wasn’t enough to stop the pain and wishing for one more moment to step and say; Hey, What The Fuck Are You Doing, Stop That! You can’t do that to…
© 2014, agentleman.
Jakarta International School: Teachers and staff at top international school accused of raping students as young as five
A respected Indonesian college where rich UK expatriates send their children is embroiled in a major scandal involving claims of sexual abuse by staff of pupils as young as five. Marie Dhumieres in Jakarta reports
Cleaners gang-raping children in school toilets; teachers sexually abusing students while the kindergarten principal videotapes; secret rooms; dodgy office renovations; school cover-ups. This, some parents allege, is what has been taking place at one of Asia’s most renowned schools, the Jakarta International School (JIS), in the past year.
The row started in March, when the parents of a then five year-old boy asked for an emergency meeting with the head of school. Their son had been raped by several cleaning employees in one of the school bathrooms, they claimed.
Thomas and Ria (their names have been changed) say they first suspected something was wrong with their son when he started having nightmares in which he screamed “Please don’t hurt me, please let me go.” He was also aggressive, he wet himself at school, “because he was scared to go to the toilets.” His mother says she discovered bruises on her son’s stomach and anus. He eventually told them what had happened.
Their son underwent medical examination – the forensics report, which was shown to The Independent by the school shows he had contracted proctitis, an infection of the rectum. An anoscopy also revealed pus and lesions.
The school says they had agreed with the parents to keep the case confidential to protect the child, and were surprised when Thomas and Ria shared the details with other parents, and then organised a press conference, to reveal what had happened. Thomas and Ria say they weren’t satisfied with the response of school officials, who they say had advised them against reporting the assault to the police.
Following the claims, six Indonesian cleaners, five men and a woman, were arrested. One of them died while in custody; the police say he committed suicide. The four other men all admitted to the crime, but have since retracted their statements, saying they were obtained under torture. Their lawyers also argue the medical examinations of the boy do not show evidence of rape. Their trial began early September.
A few weeks after the first claim, a second family came forward. “They were concerned their child had been physically, not sexually, abused,” the head of school Tim Carr says.
The second mother later claimed her son was regularly raped during morning breaks over a seven month period of time. “They were anal rapes, plus physical abuse and hurting until he can’t scream any more, then raping him,” she told Australia’s Fairfax Media. She believed he had been raped at least 20 times, sometimes by six people in a row. She also said he was threatened with death if he told anyone. Aside from the cleaners, she alleged teachers were also involved in the abuse.
British-Canadian school coordinator Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teacher-assistant Ferdinant Tjiong had raped her son, as well as other children, she claimed. She believed the primary school principal Elsa Donohue, an American, was also involved in the abuse. Each of the allegations are vigorously denied by all three accused.
The second mother sent emails and pictures of Mr Bantleman, Ms Donohue and Mr Tjiong (who are suing her for defamation) to several parents, asking them to show them to their children, as her son had identified them as other victims.
Thomas and Ria say they then discovered their son too had allegedly been assaulted by the teachers, after the mother of the second victim suggested to her he had seen Ria’s son being raped by “the boss.” After talking to her son, Ria believed this was true, and reported it to police.
Ria claims her son had mentioned “the boss” – Mr Bantleman – and “Miss Evil” – Ms Donohue – to the police “even before the cleaners were arrested,” without knowing who it referred to.
A third family made similar claims, which the school confirmed to this newspaper. In July, Mr Bantleman and Mr Tjiong were arrested. They have not been charged and no specific allegations have been made against them, but their detention was again renewed for 30 days in mid-October. Under Indonesian law, suspects can be detained for up to 120 days. Ms Donohue has been questioned by the police on several occasions – as a witness rather than a suspect – but hasn’t been arrested.
In a statement the school acknowledged a “horrific crime” had taken placed when the first case emerged.
When the further allegations against the teachers later surfaced, Mr Carr says, the school had no doubt they made “no sense”. “We have conducted our own internal investigations and through the entire process have updated the police almost every day.”
“They’re not physically possible and we do not believe them to have an ounce of truth to them,” he says.
The parents claim their children were sometimes assaulted in Mr Bantleman’s or Ms Donohue’s offices, although these are located in a building the school calls an “aquarium.” The walls are made of floor to ceiling glass windows, and it seems hardly probable that assaults could have taken place there without anyone noticing.
But the parents say the offices have been renovated, however the school says the renovation happened in the summer of 2013, before the alleged assaults took place. Parents also claim their children were assaulted in “secret rooms,” that have since been “hidden.” The school denies this allegation.
Transcripts of the children’s statements to the police, leaked to the Wall Street Journal, show that one boy claimed Ms Donohue drugged the children with a blue-coloured drink and videotaped the assaults.
The transcripts also mention a “magic stone” that “the boss” is said to have made appear in his hand and used to anesthetise one boy before raping him. Mr Carr calls the claims “so outlandish, so crazy.”
But to Thomas, this is just the way children talk. “He’s just six year-old. If the boss tells him it’s a magic stone, he’ll believe it.”
Thomas says his son once mentioned one of the cleaners’ “bird” becoming a “pink giraffe.”
Thomas and Ria have no doubt their son was assaulted. They claim he’s mimicked sexual positions when asked by the police to show how he had been “punished” at school.
“He knows all kind of sexual positions, I’d be the craziest mum if I didn’t believe him,” Ria says.
School officials question whether the children were ever assaulted at the school. The school believes the medical examination of the first alleged victim show no evidence of rape. The evidences in the case appear to be mainly based on the children’s claims, and the school believes they might have been a result of repeated and suggestive questioning.
“The story has changed many, many times,” says Mr Carr. When the first case emerged, he says, “we told the community that a tragedy had occurred. And now we wonder whether that’s true.”
In May, Thomas and Ria, who had filed a civil suit against the school, raised their claim from $12m to $125m, which the school says “calls into question the motive of the suit.”
Mr Bantleman’s wife Tracy, who’s also a teacher at the school and taught the three boys, says the past months have been “frustrating” and “so disheartening.”
“There is no evidence,” she says. “Our husbands have not been asked any questions about any evidence. They’ve only been asked very basic questions, such as ‘have you sodomised that boy’.”
Sisca, Mr Tjiong’s wife, says her husband told her he was “ashamed” of the Indonesian justice system. “It’s been very hard, very difficult for me, my husband and my children,” she also says.
JIS, of which the British Embassy is a founding member, educates more than 2,000 children of well-off expats and Indonesians. “Our community has been very supportive,” says Mr Carr.
Every Friday, a candlelight vigil is organised at the school. When The Independent visited, it was attended by some 150 parents, faculty and students, many wearing “Free Neil and Ferdi” T-shirts. An online petition asking for their release has also collected over 10,000 signatures.
Ana whose daughter was in one of the alleged victims’ class, says she believes, like many others at the school according to her, that the “whole story is a set-up” and that no children were ever abused. “I can’t believe children were raped by several people, in places people go in and out of all the time, without anyone noticing. It’s not possible.”
Like many others, she has signed one of the several huge “Free Ferdi Free Neil” banners hung at the campus’ entrance and inside the school.
Sophie, whose child was also in the same class as one of the alleged victims, decided to move him to another school. “He was happy there, but everyone was constantly talking about this case, it was just too heavy for me,” she says.
At the vigil, Mr Carr’s position is straightforward. “We stand with these two fine men,” he tells his “community”. “We’ll walk with them every step of the way, no matter how long it takes to clear their names.”
© 2014, agentleman.