Bannon charged

Sep 8th, 2022 11:21 am | By

Steve Bannon indicted.

Top former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has been charged in New York with money laundering, conspiracy and scheme to defraud in connection with his role in a fundraising effort to privately underwrite the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, according to the indictment unsealed on Thursday.

Bannon is facing charges that he siphoned off more than $1m from the “We Build the Wall” fundraising effort that promised to send all proceeds towards underwriting the completion of the US-Mexico border wall to enrich himself and his associates, the 22-page indictment said.

Bannon never went to trial after he received a presidential pardon from Donald Trump that expunged the federal charges. But pardons do not apply to state-level prosecutions and the New York state charges mark significant legal peril for the architect of Trump’s 2016 election win.

I sincerely hope so.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office started examining whether to pursue a case against Bannon almost immediately after he received the pardon, one source with knowledge of the matter said, and several close Bannon allies recently received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury.

That office opened its case armed with the knowledge that two others – Kolfage and Badolato – had pleaded guilty to the August 2020 federal case, and that Kolfage had admitted to the judge that he had conspired to illegally receive money from donations made to the project.

Also isn’t accepting a pardon seen as admission of guilt? Don’t some people turn them down for that reason?

“Defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Audrey Strauss, the US attorney in Manhattan, said at the time.

Spent on construction of a spiteful racist wall. I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the donors, I gotta say.


Sep 8th, 2022 11:02 am | By

California is burning again.

Firefighters in California struggled on Thursday to gain control of major wildfires that have grown explosively and forced extensive evacuations amid a searing heatwave.

The deadly and destructive Fairview fire in southern California expanded in two directions, covering more than 30 sq miles (78 sq km) of Riverside county. It was just 5% contained.

In the Sierra Nevada, the Mosquito fire had scorched nearly 9 sq miles (23 sq km), forcing evacuations in Placer and El Dorado counties.

California’s a big state, bigger than many countries, but still, multiple huge fires=problem.

There’s another one in the San Bernardino mountains east of LA.

Guest post: How the Mysteries are dealt with

Sep 8th, 2022 10:45 am | By

Originally a comment by Mike Haubrich on You’re never too young.

“With this gender fluid identity, within a day, you can easily experience three, four, or five different gender expressions … and that can end with people using different names or pronouns,” Laurence says.

Bonsai responds by claiming that “my gender changes from time to time,” and claims that her “identity had been very mixed up in high school.”

“I came out at first [and] thought I was a lesbian. Then, I went to [bisexual] … and then I started to question my identity. Who am I? I can’t explain it … and I’ve totally accepted it at this point,” Bonsai says.

She can’t explain it, but she’s totally accepted it at this point. And that’s precisely how the Mysteries of Catholic teaching are dealt with, too. I think that the biggest favor I gave my oldest daughter was to put her in a Catholic school at a critical age, when she still questioned what she was being taught. When she encountered the Mysteries such as transsubstantiation, the trinity, the virgin birth and all the concepts Catholics are supposed to accept without explanation, she realized how much of religion is based on acceptance without the demand for explanation let alone evidence.

I would love for one of the genderfluid to describe what it actually is to go through three or four gender changes per day, and this one with separate names and pronouns to go along with them. How do they keep track, let alone how do they expect those around them to know which pronoun or name they are going by momentarily? It’s a Mystery (and the word Mystery is always pronounced with a capital M.)

We’re expected to believe that gender identity is a property of our selves that we are born with and is so important that if it doesn’t match our sex, then the poor soul must be accommodated with the mutilation and disfiguration of their body so that they look like the sex that matches their gender ID, while at the same time, some of the blessed are experiencing multiple gender ID’s per DAY.

No one’s really thinking this through, are they?

And, if this is so natural and fantastic, why must teachers hide it from the parents? You would think they would be overjoyed!

Sermons in schools

Sep 8th, 2022 10:25 am | By

They’re all wrong. Everybody here is wrong. Disband and start over.

A chaplain was deemed a risk to children by his Church of England diocese for defending the right to question school LGBT policies, it has emerged.

The Rev Dr Bernard Randall, 49, is suing the Bishop of Derby and Trent College over alleged religious discrimination after he was sacked by the fee-paying school and reported to terrorism watchdogs.

But why was a school employing “a chaplain” in the first place?

The Rev Dr Randall was appointed in 2015 to provide pastoral care, share the Christian faith and lead services in Trent School’s chapel.

There’s part of your problem. Schools shouldn’t have “chaplains.” Religious schools shouldn’t exist, because religion and education don’t mix. Education is a secular activity, and needs to be a secular activity.

In a sermon, delivered in June 2019 after students at the school in Derbyshire questioned the school’s new policy on sexual orientation diversity, The Rev Dr Randall outlined the Church’s view of marriage as being between a man and a woman. He was subsequently sacked in August 2019.

There shouldn’t be sermons in schools. That would solve this particular problem without further ado.

Trump bewails the perverts and lowlifes

Sep 8th, 2022 9:12 am | By
Trump bewails the perverts and lowlifes

Oh no, now Trump has fallen out with…Fox News.

The Lincoln Project is amused.

Probe widens, net tightens

Sep 8th, 2022 8:55 am | By

Interesting. There’s a grand jury investigating what lead to the January 6 insurrection, and it has now “expanded its probe to include seeking information about Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America.”

It’s kind of as if you can’t investigate anything about Trump without uncovering new dirt that leads to more new dirt repeat ad infinitum.

The interest in the fundraising arm came to light as part of grand jury subpoenas seeking documents, records and testimony from potential witnesses, the sources said.

The subpoenas, sent to several individuals in recent weeks, are specifically seeking to understand the timeline of Save America’s formation, the organization’s fundraising activities, and how money is both received and spent by the Trump-aligned PAC.

Fraudulently, that’s how.

Trump and his allies have consistently pushed supporters to donate to the PAC, often using false claims about the 2020 election and soliciting donations to rebuke the multiple investigations into the former president, his business dealings, and his actions on Jan. 6.

“I am a criminal so send me all your money so that I can wriggle out of any consequences!!!”

After the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last month, Save America PAC sent out a fundraising email in which Trump urged supporters to “rush in a donation IMMEDIATELY to publicly stand with me against this NEVERENDING WITCH HUNT.”

Blah blah blah SEND ME MONEY blah blah blah.


Sep 8th, 2022 8:14 am | By

Hottest summer on record in Europe:

A series of extreme heatwaves and a long running drought saw June, July and August shatter the previous high mark for temperature.

“An intense series of heatwaves across Europe paired with unusually dry conditions, have led to a summer of extremes with records in terms of temperature, drought and fire activity in many parts of Europe, affecting society and nature in various ways,” said Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist with the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

It’s the new normal, and the newer normal will be even worse.

You’re never too young

Sep 7th, 2022 6:19 pm | By

Genevieve Gluck at Reduxx:

A video of a young trans-identified teenager is sparking controversy on social media for depicting a 13-year-old dressed in provocative, sexualized clothing as part of an official promotional video for the gender clinic at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The child, identified as ‘Jupiter,’ uses they/them pronouns and can be seen speaking with a clinician named Natalia, who asks how adults, and parents in particular, can be more accepting of “gender diversity” and develop an “inclusive environment” for trans children.

“I think that one thing that should be explained to a lot of people is that you’re never too young to know about this kind of stuff,” Jupiter says, referring to gender identity.

“I feel like it’s something that people should be taught especially at a young age because it’s easier to learn that way, and that way it’s something you’ve always known.”

Why yes, that is how that works. It’s good to teach children to read early, and to expose them to a second language early, because then it’s something they’ve always known.

On the other hand when it’s a matter of pure unadulterated bullshit, it’s not such a good idea to start them early so that it becomes something they’ve always known. It’s not true, so it’s not something you want them to absorb that way. Always knowing something that isn’t true is not desirable.

Also why is that child dressed like a juvenile “sex worker”?

Read the whole thing. It’s a horror show.


Sep 7th, 2022 12:13 pm | By

Since we’ve been talking about Critical Race Theory, let’s talk about Parchman Farm.

After the Civil War, the South’s economy, government, and infrastructure were left in compete shambles. Desperate to restore the previous economic and social order and to control the freedom of newly emancipated African Americans, Southern states adopted criminal statutes, collectively known as “Black Codes,” that sought to reproduce the conditions of slavery. These laws are also commonly known as Jim Crow laws.

“The plantation owners, as best they could, wanted Blacks to return to the same place as they had been as slaves,” according to historian David Oshinsky, author of Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice.

In addition to denying Black people the right to vote, serve on juries, and testify against white people, [the Jim Crow laws meant that] African Americans could be arrested en masse for minor “offenses” such as vagrancy, mischief, loitering, breaking curfew, insulting gestures, cruel treatment to animals, keeping firearms, cohabiting with white people, and not carrying proof of employment — actions which were not considered criminal when done by white people.

And some of which could simply be made up, i.e. fictional, i.e. lies. White people could just claim a black person “loitered” or committed “mischief” or broke “curfew” [and why tf were they subject to curfew anyway?], and no evidence or other confirmation would be required. It was a fabulous way to get some free labor.

While the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, it carved out a loophole that allowed for the exploitation of incarcerated people, who were then and now, disproportionately Black.

And that wasn’t just how things played out because racism; it was a deliberate, calculated way to get around the 13th Amendment.

The amendment abolished slavery and involuntary [servitude], “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Prisoners — men, women, and hundreds of children as young as 6 or 7 — were then leased to private farmers and business owners who’d previously depended on cheap labor supplied by slaves. By 1880 “at least 1 convict in 4 was an adolescent or a child — a percentage that did not diminish over time,” according to Oshinsky.

All white people had to do was “duly convict” black people of something or other and hey presto there was your slave, but this time with no large capital investment required. It was a recipe for genocide. If your convict died of overwork you just summoned a new one.

The system was synonymous with violence and brutality, a murderous industry considered “slavery by another name.” In 1882, for instance, nearly 1 in 6 Black prisoners died because, unlike under chattel slavery, lessees had little incentive to safeguard the lives of prisoners. “Different from chattel slavery, ‘It is to be supposed that sub-lessees [take] convicts for the purpose of making money out of them,’ wrote a prison doctor, ‘so naturally, the less food and clothing used and the more labor derived from their bodies, the more money in the pockets of the sub-lessee’,” Oshinsky wrote.

Working prisoners to literal death was so commonplace that “not a single leased convict ever lived long enough to serve a sentence of ten years or more,” he wrote.

Due to shifts in the political and economic landscapes, prisoner leasing faded in the early 20th century, but in its place rose Parchman Farm in Mississippi, Angola prison in Louisiana, and hundreds of other county camps — prisons that used racial oppression to create a supply of forced labor.

In Worse Than Slavery, Oshinsky chronicles the history of Parchman Farm, which he describes as “the quintessential penal farm, the closest thing to slavery that survived the civil war.” People incarcerated there labored sunup to sundown, sometimes 15 hours a day in 100 degrees Fahrenheit, on Parchman’s 20,000-acre plantation, planting, picking cotton, and plowing fields under the control of armed guards.

“Convicts dropped from exhaustion, pneumonia, malaria, frostbite, consumption, sunstroke, dysentery, gunshot wounds, and ‘shackle poisoning’ (the constant rubbing of chains and leg irons against bare flesh),” Oshinsky wrote.

For the state of Mississippi, Parchman was “a giant money machine: profitable, self-sufficient and secure,” Oshinsky observed. By the end of its second year of operation, Parchman earned $185,000 for the state of Mississippi, the modern-day equivalent of roughly $5 million. For those imprisoned at Parchman — 90% of whom were Black, it was legalized torture. Inmates were whipped into submission by a “leather strap, three-feet-long and six-inches-wide, known as ‘Black Annie,’ which hung from the driver’s belt.”

Is all this common knowledge? Is it taught in all the schools? I don’t think so.

Guest post: There are facts, and there are perspectives

Sep 7th, 2022 11:43 am | By

Originally a comment by Mike Haubrich on Ask the consultants.

I stlll have the opinion that schools should be teaching students how to analyze competing claims critically rather than shoveling facts at them. Yes, they need to have a grounding of relatively solidly established facts. But they also need to have a Zinn/Loewen style understanding of how to find perspective in the way that history is taught, so that the Charge up San Juan Hill is understood in context, or why the Phillipines were denied their independence by the United States due to realpolitik concerns and their strategic location.

Students should be encouraged to understand why there were riots following George Floyd’s murder, and what is the relationship between the governments of St. Paul and Minneapolis to African-Americans or to the way that metropolitans areas in general have moved school districts, redlined, built freeways through certain neighborhoods, in order to favor one race or another. If all they learn is about the Shining City on the Hill they are going to end up posting “Those people are just destroying their own neighborhoods” when they unfriend me on Facebook.

There are facts, and there are perspectives, and the perspectives do mean that people can look at the same set of facts and still logically come to different conclusions about the meaning of those facts. That’s not post-modernism, that is observable truth. When it comes to teaching civics, our pupils need to learn what other perspectives are so that they don’t perpetuate misunderstandings.

99 bottles of piss on the wall

Sep 7th, 2022 11:21 am | By

It’s only gender conservative dullards who don’t consider it art to pour urine around in public spaces.

Speaking of what kind of people don’t get what, I think maybe Alex Sharpe isn’t all that attuned to the labor of cleaning up urine. I think maybe Alex Sharpe has never had to mop any up.

Changing the game

Sep 7th, 2022 10:14 am | By

The Guardian says today’s news about the nuclear secrets is a game-changer.

The reported discovery of information about a foreign nation’s nuclear secrets in materials found at Donald Trump’s private residence is horrifying intelligence experts.

Shawn Turner, former director of communications for US national intelligence, was searing in his criticism during an interview Wednesday on CNN’s New Day:

The fact we now know there were highly classified, restricted access documents about another country’s nuclear defense capabilities stored at Mar-a-Lago is a gamechanger with regard to the risk it poses to our national security.

The bottom line is others are going to look at this information and determine what we know and don’t know, and they’re going to make decisions about their nuclear programs based on that information. And that is an extremely dangerous thing.

But her emails.

So closely guarded

Sep 7th, 2022 10:04 am | By

Among the classified documents Trump stole:

A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property.

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.

Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence. Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location.

Not lying around in the “office” of a golf resort.

Investigators grew alarmed, according to one person familiar with the search, as they began to review documents retrieved from the club’s storage closet, Trump’s residence and his office in August. The team soon came upon records that are extremely restricted, so much so that even some of the senior-most national security officials in the Biden administration weren’t authorized to review them. One government filing alluded to this information when it noted that counterintelligence FBI agents and prosecutors investigating the Mar-a-Lago documents were not authorized at first to review some of the material seized.

So. Lots of people with hair on fire today.


Sep 7th, 2022 9:50 am | By

California is cooking.

Western states are struggling through one of the hottest and longest September heatwaves on record. Temperatures began soaring last week and the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that dangerous heat could continue through Friday.

California’s state capital of Sacramento on Tuesday hit an all-time high of 116F (46.7C), breaking a 97-year-old record. Six places in the San Francisco Bay Area and central coast set all-time record maximum temperatures, including Santa Rosa, with 115F (46C).

Scary hot. Lethally hot.

[T]he high temperatures fueled wildfires in both northern and southern California. Four deaths were reported over the Labor Day weekend as some 4,400 firefighters battled 14 large fires around the state, with 45 new blazes on Sunday alone, said Anale Burlew, a deputy chief with the California department of forestry and fire protection (Cal Fire).

The new normal.

Torching your own market

Sep 7th, 2022 9:11 am | By

Just Daily Mail gossip, except there’s a point here.

Struggles does he? I wonder why.

Take a gander at the woman next to him in the first photo. Is it just me or does she look significantly younger then he does?

Now take a gander at him in the second photo. What is the demographic group he expects to want to do romance with him? Younger women as in the first photo? But why would most younger women want to do romance with him? The straight ones will be wanting a man and the gay ones will be wanting a lesbian. Who exactly is going to see him sticking his leg out and think “That’s for me!”?

Guest post: Until the next idiotic thing comes along

Sep 6th, 2022 5:22 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on Ask the consultants.

From my experience, most of what they teach us in teacher training is just someone getting a bee in their bonnet and producing idiotic materials that schools eat up…for awhile, until the next idiotic thing comes along and they move to that. I have been “trained” in what color I am (not in the terms of white/black, but in terms of what color of personality – they said I am a green), what sort of shoe I am, what my Myers-Briggs is, and something I can’t remember the name of that was peddled as being “actually scientific”…and it wasn’t.

Then there is the yearly training on Title IX, most of which is now taken up by LGBTQ – with an emphasis on the T. Antiracism training that perpetuates stereotypes. Anti-sexism training which focuses not on sexism at all, but sexual assault. Important, yes, but it misses the underlying problem that causes it! Now, of course, we have to recognize that men are assaulted, too, so they manage to alternate stories about young women being assaulted with stories about young men who are being propositioned by their instructors Yes, it happens. But it isn’t the more common situation, and they have minimized the real problem for the problem the MRAs want then to focus on. Now we also have training on diversity, which can be anything, but seems to again be focused on the T.

It’s all a grand scam; companies have found ways to make money “training” teachers, and schools have thrown the money at them, money that could be used much more effectively by actually promoting real professional development instead of noisy quackery.

Transexclusionary policy on single sex spaces

Sep 6th, 2022 5:19 pm | By

Ah yes, protesting. That’s what that is.

Why would women want single-sex spaces? Why would we not want men like that in the toilet stall next to us?

Ask the consultants

Sep 6th, 2022 2:49 pm | By

Wall Street Journal headline:

How Teachers Are Secretly Taught Critical Race Theory

I bet they’re not. I bet what they’re taught is a mishmash of trendy stuff from people like Robin DiAngelo, some of which is useful and some of which is bullshit. It may be some sort of bastard child of Critical Race Theory but I strongly doubt it’s Critical Race Theory itself, since that’s taught in law school, not third grade.

The Journal’s reporting is not very careful.

Randi Weingarten left no room for doubt. “Critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools,” the American Federation of Teachers president said in a speech last year. Even if that’s true, a Pennsylvania father’s battle with a school district demonstrates that public-school teachers are being trained in the deeply divisive racial ideology—and defensive administrators are playing semantic games to allay parental concerns.

But it doesn’t, at least not according to this story. Robin DiAngelo and similar hucksters aren’t Critical Race Theory. They’re human resources professionals and “consultants” and the like, not lawyers or legal scholars or academics of any kind. CRT is academic; consultancy jargon is another beast, even though there’s some overlap. To put it as briskly as possible DiAngelo is a cheap knockoff, not the thing itself.

In 2018 the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District near Philadelphia signed a contract with Pacific Educational Group, a California-based consulting firm. According to the school district’s website, the partnership’s purpose was “to enhance the policies and practices around racial equity.”

Signed a contract. What is this about? Money. It’s not Critical Race Theory, it’s just trend-peddling for money.

The district assured parents in an online update last summer that no “course, curriculum or program” in the district “teaches Critical Race Theory.”

Benjamin Auslander didn’t buy it. The parent of a high schooler in the district, he wanted to see the materials used to train teachers. Mr. Auslander, 54, made a formal document request but was denied. Officials told him the materials couldn’t be shared because they were protected by Pacific Educational Group’s copyright. His only option was to inspect them in person—no copies or photos allowed.

There’s your problem right there – not the dreaded CRT but a sinister profiteering “educational group” declaring a copyright on school content. That’s absurd, and should not be allowed. If parents want to read their kids’ school books more power to them. teacher training materials I’m not sure what I think.

Our examination of those materials indicates that Tredyffrin-Easttown staff are being trained in critical race theory.

Being trained in it? Or having random snippets of it dangled at them for no clear reason? More the second, is what it sounds like.

Documents emailed from 2019 to 2021 by Pacific Educational Group to district administrators in advance of various training seminars cite critical race theory explicitly. A rubric dated Feb. 4, 2020, encourages participants to “Deconstruct the Presence and role of Whiteness” in their lives.

But Whiteness Studies isn’t the same thing as CRT. Furthermore it’s not an inherently or obviously bad thing to point out, even in a classroom, that being white has some definite advantages. It does, after all, so why not mention the fact?

A March 17, 2020, presentation lists “aspects and assumptions of white culture” in the U.S. Some are negative, such as “win at all costs,” “wealth = worth,” “don’t show emotion,” and in reference to food, “bland is best.” Others are seemingly universal principles such as “cause-and-effect relationships,” “objective, rational, linear thinking,” and “plan for future.”

There we go – that’s that stupid list that showed up at the The National Museum of African American History and Culture via DiAngelo a few months back, and created a big stink. The list is stupid and bad, and it’s not Critical Race Theory.

School staff’s ability to use “critical race theory . . . to inform racial equity leadership and analysis of school policies, practices and procedures” is considered a sign of the successful “internalization and application” of Pacific Educational Group’s framework.

Why are schools asking for-profit “consultancies” for the content of their teaching? Why aren’t they asking scholars instead? Including scholars of Critical Race Theory?


Sep 6th, 2022 11:29 am | By

Yuh huh.

33 million

Sep 6th, 2022 11:16 am | By

Lake Manchar has punched through.

The retaining wall of Pakistan’s largest lake burst on Tuesday after months of heavy rains, threatening hundreds more villages downstream and forcing thousands more from their homes.

The Pakistani government engineered two intentional breaches of Lake Manchar’s retaining wall over the weekend in an effort to ease the pressure on the structure, but an irrigation official told The Washington Post that the wall began to crack Tuesday as water levels continued to rise.

The Pakistani government is already struggling to respond to what has been described as a “catastrophic” crisis, and the Lake Manchar breach is likely to further impede access to those in need. Anger is growing among displaced Pakistanis, hundreds of villages remain underwater, and the people who have made it to dry land are desperately seeking shelter and relief.

Meanwhile, over here, the massive cruise ships ply to and fro.

Find My Ship and Terminal | Port of Seattle

I got a view similar to this just yesterday, on a bus that goes past the terminal that ship is backing out of (or fronting into). They really are that enormous; they really do dwarf the city skyline a mile or two away. Luxury recreation here, death by flood there.

Water from the lake could be seen coursing over highways and overflowing drainage canals just north of Sehvan, threatening to cut off a key supply route to some of the country’s hardest-hit villages in Dadu and beyond. Roads leading south were lined with farmers moving their livestock to safety.

Momentary safety. Where can they go, and what can they do when they get there? Pakistan is not a rich country.

The unprecedented flooding in Pakistan has killed more than 1,300 people and affected some 33 million since it began in June. Government relief efforts are overwhelmed, although international supplies are starting to enter the country.

The flooding also has come as the country’s vast agricultural regions were preparing for the harvest season. Cash crops of rice, cotton and vegetables have been swept away, and the losses will cause untold hardship for the farmers who rely on those crops for income.

Never mind. Just turn up the air conditioning until you can’t hear the screams any more.