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Nevilledog's Journal
Nevilledog's Journal
May 30, 2023

Survivors, ex-employees say Kanakuk Christian camp 'ministered' to its sexual predators


The summer of 2016 wasn’t the first time Caroline attended Christian summer camp in Branson, Missouri but it is the one etched most deeply in her memory.

One night, Kanakuk Kamps counselors “packed every single camper, like 300 kids … in a mosh pit type of thing,” said Caroline, who was 13. “They throw all these bubbles on you. It’s a fun event.”

The fun ended when Caroline felt a male camper slide his hands into her athletic shorts.

“‘Excuse you!’ And I said some mean words,” she said. The next morning, Caroline said, three other girls tearfully told her they’d been assaulted by the same camper.

She said they reported it to their counselor, who arranged a meeting with camp director Keith Chancey. Caroline and one other girl gathered the courage to relay what happened.

Camp leaders rebuked the girls, not the boy, she said.


Of course, the owner of the camp is a Josh Hawley donor.

May 26, 2023

Bombshell Louisiana Report Led To Republican Senator Rejecting Youth Trans Ban


The trend of banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth was gaining momentum in conservative-leaning states, leading many to fear that the entirety of the Southeastern United States would follow suit. However, on Wednesday, Louisiana bucked this trend. Louisiana became the only state in the Southeast and one of only four states with Republican trifectas to defeat such a ban in its legislature. This defeat provides transgender individuals, particularly those in neighboring states where such care is banned, with a vital source for their medical needs. Coupled with court blocks on similar bans in other Southeastern states, those who must cross state lines for their care likely feel a sense of relief. Without a doubt, transgender individuals in Louisiana are among those breathing easier.

House Bill 648, which had already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives with a 71-27 vote, faced strong opposition during the committee hearing. Aware that it could be their last opportunity to quash the bill, family members and allies delivered impassioned testimonies. Louisiana Trans Advocates played a crucial role in these efforts, holding private meetings with Senators to provide education on the treatment in question. The deciding moment arrived when Republican Senator Fred Mills broke ranks and voted against the bill. His unexpected decision prevented the bill from reaching the Senate floor for a full vote, surprising advocates across the nation and effectively halting the bill's progression.

When asked why he voted against the bill, he cited a Louisiana Department of Health report commissioned in 2022 and released earlier this year that returned strong findings in support of gender affirming care.

“My decision was really, really based on the numbers. All the testimony I heard by the proponents that children are getting mutilated, I didn’t see it in the statistics,” Mills said in an interview.


May 17, 2023

The truth about Russia, Trump and the 2016 election


No paywall

There have been four major investigations into Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election and the FBI’s handling of the subject — a 2019 report released by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a 2019 Justice Department inspector general report, a bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee issued in 2020 by a GOP-controlled Senate, and now a 2023 report released by special counsel John Durham. All told, the reports add up to about 2,500 pages of dense prose and sometimes contradictory conclusions.

But broad themes can be deduced from a close reading of the evidence gathered in the lengthy documents, as well as indictments and testimony on related criminal cases.

Russia tried to swing the 2016 election to Trump

In early 2017, days before Donald Trump became president, the Obama administration released an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that made the following statement:

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

Trump immediately rejected that conclusion, but both the Mueller report and the Senate investigation affirmed it. Mueller concluded that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from people associated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and then publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks, to sow discord in the United States, hurt Clinton and help Trump.


May 16, 2023

The Worst Part Of The Durham Report Is What's Not In It


Bill Barr’s Trusty Stooge

Special Counsel John Durham got spun so many different ways by Bill Barr that by the time he released his 300-plus-page final report yesterday – after a four-year investigation that stretched longer than the Mueller investigation he was investigating – his reputation, dignity, and sense of proportion had all disappeared.

The problem with trying to hold Durham to account on the facts now is that it requires extensive knowledge of events that are now creeping from current affairs into the historical past: the run-up to the 2016 election, Russia’s meddling in the election, Trump’s many misdeeds in this arena before and after his inauguration, the Mueller investigation, the origins of the Durham probe, the many bogus conspiracy theories that gave rise to the Durham probe and that it unselfconsciously helped to reinforce.

It’s a lot.

I’ve followed it all closely for years, but I can’t keep it all in my head. You probably can’t either. Neither can most journalists or policymakers. And therein lies much of the disadvantage that misinformation thrives on. It was easy for bad-faith, conspiracy-minded MAGA supporters to hold up Durham’s tome yesterday and declare that it showed exactly what they said all along, even though it didn’t.

But let me zero in on what I think is the most glaring example of Durham’s bad faith, Bill Barr’s ratfuckery, and the politicization of the Justice Department under Trump.


May 15, 2023

Some Christian leaders say it's an 'abomination' to use the Bible to cause harm with anti-trans laws


No paywall

Many on the religious right call members of the LGBTQ community an "abomination," using Biblical scriptures to justify their stance against queer and transgender rights and inclusion.

But some within the Christian community have flipped the script, saying the real "abomination" is threatening people's lives with anti-LGBTQ laws and policies.

"As a Christian leader, it's horrifying to me that Christianity and the Bible are being used by the religious right to bludgeon people through these many bills," Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, told The Associated Press.

Jones, the first woman to lead the UTS, was previously the president of the American Academy of Religion, another LGBTQ-inclusive organization.

"To use religious language like that is an abomination," Jones added.


May 10, 2023

Raskin: "Democracy, Gun Violence and the 'Insurrectionist' Theory of the Second Amendment"



The problem of insurrection has been with us a long time. In the very first Federalist Paper, Hamilton warned of political operators who pandered to the violent passions of the mob in order to usurp power and then destroy the freedoms of the people, political cult leaders who begin as “demagogues” and end as “tyrants.”

In his famous Lyceum Address of 1838, delivered after the murder of abolitionist newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois by a racist mob, Abraham Lincoln denounced mob violence and observed that if division and destruction ever came to America, it wouldn’t come from abroad, it would come from within. And when the Confederate rebellion against the Union did come, Lincoln sent a message to Congress on December 3, 1861, in which he described the “insurrection” as “a war upon the first principle of popular government—the rights of the people,” specifically the voting rights of the people and their right to choose their own officials.

Insurrectionism is back today. It exploded in America’s face on January 6, 2021, when a demagogue-tyrant galvanized a violent mob to block the peaceful transfer of power and install the loser in the presidential election over the winner. More than 1,000 people have been charged with crimes in connection with this attack. More than 600 have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a wide range of offenses from assaulting federal officers to seditious conspiracy—meaning conspiracy to overthrow the government or put it down by force—to obstructing Congress in its work.

But insurrectionism is back not just as a practice opposed to American constitutional democracy. It is back as a theory of politics and a justification for unlimited firearm availability and an excuse for 24-7 gun violence in our society.

May 10, 2023

New York law gave jurors three types of battery to consider in the Trump case.


No paywall

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Monday morning walked jurors through a verdict form, explaining what battery meant in the context of a civil lawsuit and that there were gradations of that wrongful act.
He offered three types of battery for which Mr. Trump might be liable under New York law: rape, sexual abuse and forcible touching.

To find that Mr. Trump raped Ms. Carroll, the jurors needed to believe that it was more likely than not that Mr. Trump engaged in sexual intercourse by physical force. The judge explained that “any penetration of the penis into the vaginal opening” constituted intercourse.

To find that Mr. Trump sexually abused Ms. Carroll, the jurors needed to believe that Mr. Trump subjected Ms. Carroll to sexual contact by physical force. Sexual contact is defined as touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person, Judge Kaplan said.

Forcible touching, the judge said, “includes squeezing, grabbing, pinching, rubbing or other bodily contact that involves the application of some level of pressure to the victim’s sexual or intimate parts.”


May 6, 2023

How Pundits' Inflation Myth Crushed The Working Class


One year ago, as price hikes were becoming a major national concern, the world’s third-richest man touted his newspaper columnist asserting that corporate profits were not a driving force behind inflation — blaming temporary COVID-19 pandemic aid instead.

While Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and others were trying to steer the inflation discourse away from a focus on business profiteering, there was already data showing that most of the price increases Americans were experiencing could be attributed to larger corporate profit margins.

Those figures were hardly surprising: Corporations that had been permitted to grow into oligopolies during the era of lax antitrust enforcement were now able to leverage their outsized market power to hike prices — and to do so with less fear of competitors undercutting them. It’s a reality that has since been recognized by a Federal Reserve study, a top economist at UBS, European central bankers, and, most recently, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal.

And yet, corporate media outlets ignored the available data, choosing to publish and platform pundits who scoffed at accusations of what they derisively called “greedflation” and who insisted that the problem is workers being paid higher wages. That decision delivered devastating consequences for America’s working class.


May 6, 2023

Masks Work. Distorting Science to Dispute the Evidence Doesn't


Masks work. Especially respirator-style N95 masks.

Amid an ongoing pandemic and outbreaks of influenza and RSV caused by airborne viruses, arguing over the virus-blocking power of masks remains one of the COVID era’s signature follies. Disconcertingly, despite decades of evidence of their efficacy, some of the disagreement comes from a few in the medical field itself, misusing science and endangering lives.

Most recently a Cochrane review, which systematically assesses multiple randomized controlled trials, provoked headlines after claiming a lack of evidence that masks prevent transmission of many respiratory viruses. Not for the public, health care workers, or anyone. “There is just no evidence that they make any difference,” the lead author said in a media interview. This brought an unusual chastisement from the Cochrane Library’s editor-in-chief, who stated it was “not an accurate representation of what the review found.”

That wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. Late last year, a randomized controlled trial claimed that N95 respirators were no better than medical (or surgical) masks for health care workers. Whereas scientists, engineers and occupational health and safety experts highlighted flaws (see its comments section) in the study, these two episodes point to a bigger fundamental question: whether these types of trials are suitable to test how well physical interventions like masks reduce viral transmission.

Medical assertions of exclusive “ownership” over the science of masks when they are used during a pandemic ignore the fact that they represent a well-understood engineered solution, with decades of widespread and successful use behind them. Demands to reject this evidence reflect a failure to recognize and respect interdisciplinary expertise that has undercut the global pandemic response.

May 5, 2023

Texas is Fabricating Abortion Data


Sue sobbed as she entered her patient’s personal information into the state website: Date of birth, county of residence, last menstrual period. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services even wanted to know whether the woman was married, and how many children she had.

“Reporting every detail of that woman’s information, the fact that I was putting any of it in...it was devastating to me as a physician,” she says.

Sue, a pseudonym, is an emergency medicine physician at a major Texas city hospital. Ever since Roe was overturned and the state’s trigger law went into effect, Sue and other Texas doctors have been required to submit patients’ private medical information into a state-run website without their knowledge or consent—adhering to a mandate that forces them to report women as suffering from abortion complications even when they’re not.

This rarely reported on section of Texas law lists 28 medical issues as abortion complications—conditions that reproductive health experts point out often have nothing to do with abortion. Still, doctors are required to tell the state about any woman who develops one of these issues if she happens to have had an abortion at any point in her life.

Doctors who don’t make these reports can be fined for each ‘violation’; after three violations, they could lose their license. Sue, who got conflicting and often confusing guidance from the large health system that runs her hospital and dozens of others in the state, was terrified not to comply. “For all I knew, I could be one that [Attorney General] Ken Paxton made an example of,” she says.


Tweet text:

Christopher Webb
🚨Texas Republicans are up to no good again.

They know that public opinion is not on their side so they’re pushing false abortion data to make it seem as though abortion-care is unsafe.

*Doctors are being forced to report fake abortion ‘complications’ under threat of losing… Show more

8:49 AM · May 5, 2023

I'm at a loss for words.

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