His bedside manner left much to be desired

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and the cannibal castrators lop off testicles in their backwoods chop shops…would you believe this cute couple belong in a horror movie?

Two men were accused Wednesday in a criminal charge of performing an illegal gender reassignment surgery on a volunteer at their cabin in the woods and then keeping the body parts in a freezer, possibly to eat later.

Bob Lee Allen, 53, and Thomas Evans Gates, 42, were arrested Oct. 15 after going to the hospital in McAlester to try to visit the victim, Le Flore County Sheriff Rodney Derryberry said Tuesday.

That’s not “gender reassignment surgery”: it’s crudely chopping off body parts while lying about what they’re doing. It’s just castration, carried out by a couple of yokels. They’ve been getting away with it for years!

The victim reported Allen claimed to have 15 years of experience and that he “videos the procedures for personal use,” according to the affidavit. The victim also reported “Allen told him that the surgery wouldn’t cost him anything.”

The victim told investigators that Allen performed the removal Oct. 12 on a covered makeshift table at the residence and that Gates helped by handing over the surgical equipment, according to the affidavit. The victim said he was awake for the two-hour surgery after being injected “in the needed areas.”

The victim “stated that after the surgery was over that Allen said that he was going to consume the parts and laughed and said that he was a cannibal,” according to the affidavit. The victim also said that Allen then talked about “the time he worked on someone that he described to be crazy and that he left the male opened up to die overnight.”

I wonder how many people they actually maimed in their 15 years of butchery?

Kenosha

I despair. There is no hope. The United States is too deeply broken, burdened with flawed ideas of justice, too hateful of equality. Even the most obvious, easy ethical principles are discarded by the people in power. Kenosha is just the latest example. There will be others tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Kenosha exposes the inexcusable nature of policing in this country. You would think that it would be apparent to anyone that a gun is not a universal solution to every problem, and that you don’t use deadly force in response to offenses that do not threaten others. Not to the cops! They responded to a “domestic incident”, witnessed an unarmed man, Jacob Blake, walking away, and shot him in the back. It ought to be a strongly enforced rule in the police that you do not react to a non-death penalty offense, one in which no one is under threat of harm, with an extrajudicial execution. If someone is rampaging with a long gun and murdering people, you can make a case for stopping them with a firearm; if someone is walking away from a disturbance, even if they were responsible for it, and doing nothing but getting into a car with their kids, you do not have cause to shoot them. It’s really that simple. Go ahead, let them drive away. You’ve got their license plate number, you’ve seen and can ID the individual, you have body cam photos of the guy. It’s OK. Getting into a car, even getting into a car while black, is not a crime, and is not a threat.

But our cops are trigger-happy, and think that disrespecting them by disobeying a shouted command is grounds for immediate execution. That has to stop. It is unconscionable. The entire squad of police who committed this atrocity need to be immediately fired and charged with a violent crime. Instead, the police are defending this attempted murder. As usual, they’re raking through Jacob Blake’s history to find anything that makes him less than a divine angel, smearing him to justify their actions.

More than defunding the police, we need to disarm the police, simply to short-circuit their knee-jerk tendency to solve every difficulty with a bullet. No more guns. Have a small force trained to use guns that are only deployed when the circumstances warrant…and 99% of the circumstances police deal with do not warrant firearms.

Kenosha adds another twist. I said that maybe the police could justify using firearms if someone is rampaging with a long gun and murdering people? They had exactly that situation. Two people are dead and another is maimed because a punk kid saw the protests as an excuse to gun down people in the street. The police aided him. They praised him for showing up at protest with a long gun, which is already insane — this is a situation that desperately requires de-escalation, and they encourage random civilians to intrude with a display of weaponry?

The cops are guilty, guilty, guilty of enabling and provoking the violence in Kenosha.

But further, the actual murderer is a product of a culture that rewards obsession with guns. That’s not changing. Right now I’m seeing people treating the murderer as a hero, while Jacob Blake deserved it. The rot is threaded throughout the core of American society. As usual in this country, it’s also an infection erupting around skin color.

The murderer has been arrested driving away from Kenosha — I don’t know how that happened, shouldn’t he have been shot in his car? — and has been charged with first-degree murder. Anyone want to take any bets on whether that charge sticks? I’m going to guess he’ll pull a George Zimmerman.

The protests are still going on in Minneapolis, by the way. This is a fire that is spreading, and it’s not going out as long as police- and gun-culture are not torn down.

The inevitable news about Steve Bannon

He’s been arrested for fraud. Is anyone surprised?

Federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors using an online crowdfunding campaign that was advertised as raising money to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

In a news release, prosecutors said Bannon and another organizer of the campaign, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, claimed that they would not take any compensation as part of the campaign, called “We Build The Wall,” but that was a lie. Bannon, prosecutors alleged, received more than $1 million through a non-profit he controlled, and Kolfage received more than $350,000.

I think the president and his cronies face the same prospects after the election. The whole kit and kaboodle ought to be arrested now for a lifetime of grift, but somehow, it’s not happening.

Sex workers are humans, too

This guy, Eustachio Gallese, is a piece of work. He’s a convicted spousal abuser and violent murderer. Fortunately, he was taken off the streets; unfortunately, that was after Chantal Deschênes was killed.

In 1997, Gallese was convicted for conjugal violence. Seven years later, Gallese murdered his 32-year-old partner, Chantal Deschênes, beating her first with a hammer and then repeatedly stabbing her.

He was sentenced in 2006 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years, and deemed at high risk of committing violence against a partner a year later.

But, at some point, that risk evaluation was revised to moderate and in 2016 — five years before he was due for parole — Gallese was allowed supervised outings.

This is the point where the story gets worse, if you can imagine that. The parole board decided he had “needs” that needed to be met.

He had sexual needs, his caseworker told the board. But because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution to satisfying his “sexual needs.”

It’s a solution that blatantly disregards the fact that buying sexual services is a criminal offence, as is operating a brothel.

But, more tragically, the order was approved with cruel disregard for the unsuspecting women on whom Gallese was set loose.

Hey, pay attention to the telling line, “because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution”. Because I guess sex workers don’t count as women? If I were on that board, I would have authorized buying him a fleshlight (NSFW!), a bucket of lube, and a pile of magazines, but I would not have decided that a man who wasn’t ready to deal with women, and who had brutally murdered a woman, should have access to a sex worker, unless, maybe, it was a robot sex worker. But that’s what they approved: they turned him loose on a woman who was a sex worker and the results were horrendous.

On Jan. 23 this year, Gallese turned himself in to Quebec City police and pointed them to the hotel room where they found the body of 22-year-old Marylène Lévesque. He’s since been charged with murder.

Lévesque had defensive wounds and had been stabbed, according to Le Journal de Quebec. The newspaper also reported that Lévesque had worked in a massage parlour and that Gallese was a regular customer, and had bought her gifts including a television for Christmas.

But both the Montreal Gazette and Le Soleil reported that Gallese had been banned from the brothel because he had been violent with several others who worked there.

Not only did he have a history of prior convictions, but he had a more recent history of violence at a local brothel, none of which affected the board’s decision to let him visit a sex worker. Who was incidentally a woman. Because they unconsciously dehumanized sex workers.

Sex work should be decriminalized if for no other reason than that these people are people who deserve all the protections and rights granted to other citizens.

Also, the people who authorized this release need to be fired, at the very least. Christ. Dead at 22 because a bureaucrat thought she was disposable, and had fewer rights than a convicted murderer.

Homero Gómez is dead

Gómez was a hero who fought to educate people and protect the Monarch butterfly in his native Mexico, and now his body has been found thrown down a well.

This is a tragic loss. It’s still under investigation, but he was probably murdered by local gangs.

Rights groups had earlier said they feared that Gómez might have been targeted because of his fight against illegal logging, one of the activities that criminal gangs in the area are involved in.

Gómez was last seen in person attending a meeting in the village of El Soldado on the afternoon of 13 January, and his family reported him missing the next day. Relatives told local media the conservationist had received threats from an organised crime gang.

Fighting to preserve natural habitat is a dangerous cause.

It sure is good to be a white dude

This is David Surman. He’s the 32 year old owner of a chemical company who, with his girlfriend, drove around Bucks County in Pennsylvania throwing small bombs out of his car window, creating loud explosions and small craters. The two of them were finally caught, arrested, and convicted.

Surman pleaded guilty Monday to possession and manufacturing of a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to possessing and manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction. He also pleaded guilty to criminal use of a communication facility and unlawful use of a computer for a large cache of child pornography detectives found on an external hard drive while investigating the bombs.

Wow. Yikes. You might wonder what a fitting sentence for such a pair might be.

4½ years probation for the girlfriend, Surman got 1-2 years in county prison. He argued that he merely “acted with immaturity”.

Woohoo! White justice!

Brings back old memories

There was a shooting in Seattle yesterday, at 3rd & Pine, and I said to myself, “I know that place — that’s where I was shot at!” This was around 1978, and I was often catching a late night bus at 3rd & Pike. This one evening, there was an altercation on Pine; a sex worker (I was there so often I recognized many of the ladies working those corners) was screaming angrily at someone in a car, and I could hear it a block away. Then she pulled out a handgun and started firing away.

She didn’t hit the guy, she didn’t even hit the car. The bullets were coming my way — I’d see a flash and hear a little “tch” sound as they struck the sidewalk near me, followed by a faint “pop” from the gun. I scrambled to hide behind a lamp post, thinking this would be a really stupid way to die, as an unintentional target of an angry woman who couldn’t hit a car ten feet away from her. Honestly, though, it was some small caliber pistol, shots were all over the place — one did make a little “pok” sound when it punched through a store window — even if one hit me by chance, it was unlikely to be lethal. I don’t think her target was hit at all, and he just drove away.

So just like the shooting yesterday, in the same place at least. Except this time the shooter was a bit more heavily armed and went on a far more determined shooting spree: one dead, seven injured, including a 9 year old boy.

We can’t change human nature easily — there will always be angry incidents and violent responses, just as there were in 1978 and 2020. What we could control, if we had the will, was the availability of lethal technology. The shooting yesterday was a product of human nature amplified by deadly weapons that had no place on a civilized city street.

Now I’m physically incapable of seeing Richard Jewell, because of all the projectile vomiting

Never forget.

Richard Jewell was a security guard at the 1996 Summer Olympics, who discovered pipe bombs that had been planted on the grounds. They were disarmed, he was hailed as a hero, and then people became suspicious and wondered if he had put them there, to win attention. He was later cleared of the accusation.

He is now the subject of a Clint Eastwood movie, with the tagline, “A hero’s life is shattered by one massive, misplaced rush to judgement when the man who thwarted the 1996 Atlanta bombing was wrongly accused as the main suspect.” It’s a pretty good summary. I have no interest in seeing the movie, however, given Eastwood’s political bias.

Do you have a bucket nearby? You might want to be prepared.

American Patriot has put up a review of the movie. Given AmPat’s reputation, you might expect it to be jingoistic and stupid, and you’d be right.

Don’t rush to click on the link, though. There’s one more detail that you need to brace yourself for.

The review is written by…George Zimmerman. You know, the guy who murdered Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black kid who went to the store to buy candy and was then tracked and shot by vigilante Zimmerman.

You will not be surprised to learn that Zimmerman loved Richard Jewell, because he identifies with Jewell.

This movie hit home. I absolutely identified. Richard and I were both cop wannabes — or so the media told us. We were both gullible. We both believed law enforcement had our best interests at heart. We both believed reporters wanted the truth. We both believed everyone was basically good and then we both realized what fools we had been to believe all that.

As I sat there in the dark, my stomach in knots, I found myself wishing Richard was still alive so I could reach out and hug him and tell him, “Yes, Richard, you are a hero.”

Aww, poor George. He identifies with a guy who was falsely accused, because he thinks he was falsely accused. Unfortunately, the facts are that Jewell didn’t kill anyone, and in fact saved lives, while Zimmerman literally and accurately shot a young black boy (this is not in dispute) for being in his neighborhood; he was acquitted, thanks to Florida’s unjust “stand your ground” law. He has since sued the Martin family for $100 million, been arrested multiple times for domestic violence and disorderly conduct, and has tried to raise money by auctioning off the murder weapon.

He is no Richard Jewell.

I’d say shame on American Patriot for publishing that self-serving drivel, but AmPat has no shame.

Bioethics has teeth

I told you that He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who had been carrying out gene editing on human subjects, was doing bad science and violating lots of ethical restrictions. I was right, obviously, because he was immediately repudiated and arrested by the Chinese government. You might be wondering what happens if you break the rules of bioethics — isn’t it all just an agreement between peers not to meddle in experiments that might cause trouble for each other? Well, now we know: He Jiankui has been tried and sentenced. He’s being fined over $400,000, and is going to prison for three years. Two of his colleagues are also going to jail. They’re also going to get a lifelong ban on doing scientific research with human subjects.

This isn’t just Chinese totalitarianism at work, either. It’s the same in most places.

Robin Lovell-Badge at the Francis Crick Institute in London told the UK Science Media Centre that a prison sentence and fine would also have been the likely penalties if someone had conducted similar work in the UK.

Maybe not everywhere, though. The people who carried out the Tuskegee syphilis study were not punished; the doctors who were paid to tell the public that smoking was safe were not punished; Andrew Wakefield is still roaming free, and is even making movies to spread disinformation; you can lie all you want about climate change. Jiankui seems to have picked the wrong victims, or lacked the corporate backing, to make his violations of human rights ignorable.

P.S. I think a hefty fine and a few years in prison would be the minimal punishment for Wakefield, who is responsible for the deaths of who knows how many children.

Where is Patrick Kessler, and how much was he paid?

Didn’t the NY Times find it suspicious that this is the only photo of Kessler they’ve got?

This guy calling himself Patrick Kessler sure had a brilliant scam. He talked to rich people and institutions and told them that he used to work for Jeffrey Epstein, and had been hired to set up encrypted servers that stored the thousands of hours of secret video recordings Epstein had made of rich, famous people raping young girls at his house, and that he now had the keys to the server and was willing to make them available to lawyers and the media. As proof, he’d show them grainy, porny still photos on his phone and say, “That’s Prince Andrew” or “That’s Alan Dershowitz”, and the gullible lawyers would fall for it. He kept the scam going for months, constantly evading any attempt to get any concrete evidence out of him.

He played off multiple marks. First he’s negotiating with David Boies and John Pottinger, two lawyers who were supposedly representing Epstein’s victims, and then he’d sneak off to the NY Times and tell them he didn’t trust the lawyers and wanted to deal with them. He invented convoluted schemes for transferring files, and would then at the last minute announce, “Oh no, the servers are on fire!” Everyone was dancing to his tune.

Then, the best part is unstated. The NY Times finally reports on this story, and I notice something is missing. Read it yourself, you’ll notice that the con artist, Patrick Kessler, just quietly drops out of the picture as his marks start turning on each other and pointing fingers. Has he been arrested? Has he fled the country? We don’t know. Apparently the reporters don’t care, either, since they just stop mentioning him. I might also ask if Kessler had been paid anything — he strung them along for months, are you saying he kept the con going just to sponge off the lawyer’s expense accounts for dinners and alcohol?

I’m actually impressed. He scammed a couple of high-priced New York lawyers, and he scammed the NY Times, and now he has disappeared and none of his targets will admit that they were stupid and got taken. If this were a crime novel, it would be a page turner. I want Carl Hiaasen to write it, because I think only he could adequately skewer Boies, Pottinger, and the NY Times while laying out the story.

And this is just legal corruption.

Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers.

The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein.

Who is the real con artist here, Kessler or Boies/Pottinger? It seems to me that the lawyers were drooling at the prospect of getting blackmail material they could use as leverage to get rich people to cough up large sums of cash in return for suppressing the evidence, and they got to skim 40% off the top, while the rest would go to the clients they represented, or to charities, to make it look “ethical”. Further, they could get paid by billionaires who aren’t even in the recordings, like the contemptible Sheldon Adelson (at least, I don’t think Epstein would have had an Adelson sex tape, but who knows…). Adelson wanted to influence elections in Israel by buying incriminating videos of politicians he didn’t like.

Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images.

“Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning.

I guess this isn’t illegal? Or it is, but we’re going to quietly sweep it under a filthy rug somewhere?

It’s also weird how, throughout this story, they get all sensational about what men were possibly engaging in sex with underage girls in these photos. “Could that bearded man be…?” or “Is that actually Famous Man having sex…?” and the women are all invisible. No one seems to stop to consider that juicy compromising photo of some guy is also a photo of a victim — a victim who ought to have some rights, rather than being nothing but a pawn in photographic evidence of a crime.

But mainly, I read the entire NY Times story and wondered how bad journalism can get, when they don’t even ask, let alone try to answer, the major questions.

Where is Patrick Kessler, and how much was he paid?