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Daily Tech News 21 August 2023 | Main | Mid-Morning Art Thread
August 21, 2023

The Morning Report — 8/21/23


Good morning, kids. Despite being downgraded to a tropical storm, Hillary nevertheless has slammed into the southern California region bringing flooding and mudslides. On top of that, a 5.5 quake hit northwest of L.A. with an epicenter near the beautiful town of Ojai. Prayers for all affected. It used to be when natural disasters hit, one would expect officials to be prepared and display a level of competence that would mitigate the pain and suffering of the citizenry.

Of course "used to be" predates the complete clusterfuck in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When competence runs a distant second, or perhaps lower than that, to malfeasance, corruption, greed and racialism as was amply demonstrated in the personages of Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin and Kathleen Blanco, the result was what would've been merely a very bad storm turned into an abject catastrophe. Naturally, the ensuing death, misery and destruction were used by the Left and their media propagandists to bash Dubya and white people in general. The most horrific example was the blood libel that Bush intentionally dynamited the levies so as to depopulate New Orleans of its black people. The decades-long goniffing of funds from the Army Corps of Engineers to bolster said levies was conveniently left out of the narrative.

In any case, what happened down in the Big Sleazy was merely a foretaste of what was to come in places like East Palestine, OH and now in Maui, HI.

Kaleo Manuel, the now-"redeployed" Hawaiian state water commissioner who delayed the release of water for five hours to Lahaina's firefighters as the town burned, is no ordinary bureaucrat.

He's got "supporters" . . .

. . . What kind of bureaucrat has "supporters"? Politicians have supporters, but bureaucrats?  And why are they stepping up to the plate now, particularly with news coming out that he delayed the release of water to save Lahaina. Are they happy he apparently stuck it to Lahaina? This doesn't seem to be the time to applaud this guy, let alone shower him with leis and dance the hula in his honor. But they are.

And that suggests that reforming the system in Hawaii that created the conditions for the incineration of Lahaina, is going to very tough job to uproot. Politics is at work here.

After all, here's what he did to get himself "redeployed" as deputy director of his agency, the Hawaiian Commission on Water Resources Management, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, which broke the story:

 With wildfires ravaging West Maui on Aug. 8, a state water official delayed the release of water that landowners wanted to help protect their property from fires. The water standoff played out over much of the day and the water didn’t come until too late.

The dispute involved the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ water resource management division and West Maui Land Co., which manages agricultural and residential subdivisions in West Maui as well as Launiupoko Irrigation Co., Launiupoko Water Co., Olowalu Water Co. and Ha’iku Town Water Association. 

DLNR delayed releasing water requested by West Maui Land Co. to help prevent the spread of fire, sources familiar with the situation said.

Specifically, according to accounts of four people with knowledge of the situation, M. Kaleo Manuel, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner and DLNR’s deputy director for water resource management, initially balked at West Maui Land Co.’s requests for additional water to help prevent the fire from spreading to properties managed by the company.

According to the sources, Manuel wanted West Maui Land to get permission from a taro, or kalo, farm located downstream from the company’s property. Manuel eventually released water but not until after the fire had spread. It was not clear on Monday how much damage the fire did in the interim or whether homes were damaged.

Seems the taro farmer (or farm collective) he had to get permission from first needed five hours to make up his mind about whether to save Lahaina.

And based on what's known about Manuel, given his youthful age of 39, his involvement with Native Hawaiian "collectives," as well as his statements about water "equity," he seems to have thought he only represented Native Hawaiian activist groups in his state job, and not the county of Maui or the entire state of Hawaii. . . Manuel's background seems to be distinctly political.

First, he's an Obama Leader, and not just any Obama leader, but one of two leaders who were designated the leaders of the leaders in 2019. His bio reads:

Kaleo is passionate about elevating native and indigenous ways of knowing in all spheres of discourse and dialogue.

His mentor, who promoted him to water commissioner, was one Suzanne Case, head of the powerful Department of Land and Natural Resources, who went to Punahou school, same as Obama, and only a few years apart.

His connection to Vicki Holt, the hula master who danced for him, seems obvious enough -- she runs the Pa'i Foundation and has Manuel on the board of directors.

His qualification for job seemed to be his activist background. After all, the education portion of his resume reads that he's got a major in Native Hawaiian culture, another in Urban and Regionall Planning, plus a certificate in Native Hawaiian historical preservation, which is quite a credential for the guy who let Lahaina burn.

A water commissioner who knows nothing about water except perhaps that it's wet. Sort of like a transportation secretary who know nothing about transportation except that he travels first class and where the nearest luxury chest-feeding lounge is located. And on and on and on. If you think Kaleo Manuel and Mayor Buttplug are bad, here's a foretaste of who's going to be in the on-deck circle in the coming years.

Portland Public Schools is workshopping new "equitable grading practices" that bar teachers from assigning "zeros" to students who cheat or fail to turn in assignments.

The district's initiative aims to address "racial disparities" and "inequities" in grading and instruction, a "journey" that the district began "during the pandemic," a handout reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon says. "Grading for equity," the handout states, includes eliminating "zeros" as a grade—even when a student cheats or fails to turn in a test or assignment. It also calls for no penalties for late work and no grades for both homework and "non-academic factors," such as "participation, attendance, effort, attitude, [and] behavior."

The new grading practices, which are expected to be implemented districtwide by 2025 after some classrooms adopted them last year, reflect left-wing efforts across the country to achieve "equitable outcomes" among all students. In California, for example, new equity-focused math curriculum guidelines aim to narrow the gap between gifted and non-gifted learners by abandoning "student tracking" practices that help accelerated learners access more advanced instruction. . .

. . . The district's new "bias-resistant" grading initiative argues that teachers should assign grades "based on valid evidence of a student's content knowledge, not on evidence that … is likely to be influenced by a teacher's implicit bias or reflect a student's environment." Teachers who offer extra credit, give zeros for cheating, penalize late work, and dock students for poor attendance or classroom behavior may be guilty of such bias.

The initiative also calls to only "base grades on summative assessments, instead of classwork, homework, formative assessments, etc." Should a student cheat or fail to submit an assignment on time, teachers should provide a grade of at least 50 percent, the district handout outlining the initiative says. The initiative also calls to replace the typical "0-100" grading scale with a "0-4" scale.

This is how you get a water commissioner who "is passionate about elevating native and indigenous ways of knowing in all spheres of discourse and dialogue."

Wait until these degreed dolts are not just working as governmental apparatchiks, but as doctors and engineers and scientists. Not to mention . . . the military:

On Thursday, The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey reported that Col. Benjamin Jonsson, who is “currently awaiting promotion to brigadier general,” penned an article in the Air Force Times weeks after George Floyd’s death lamenting his fellow white airmen don’t go along with leftist talking points about so-called “racial injustice” in the U.S. armed forces.

“As white colonels, you and I are the biggest barriers to change if we do not personally address racial injustice in our Air Force. Defensiveness is a predictable response by white people to any discussion of racial injustice. White colonels are no exception,” Jonsson wrote. “We are largely blind to institutional racism, and we take offense to any suggestion that our system advantaged us at the expense of others.”

Jonsson went on claim he “drew attention” to the notion that “racial tension remains an important issue to address” while speaking with two white colonels. According to Jonsson, his “introduction of race into the conversation created social discomfort,” allegedly causing both service members to “ameliorate” the situation “with humor.” He furthermore admonished a fellow white colonel who purportedly expressed the meritocratic sentiment that “when anyone joins the Air Force, they need to adopt the culture of the Air Force [and] that [the branch] should not make cultural accommodations.”

. . . Jonsson wasn’t quite finished demanding his fellow service members view the world through a racial lens. At the end of his article, the Air Force colonel recommended airmen develop a “game plan” to break so-called “invisible barriers” in the military by reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, a book that promotes divisive ideologies such as critical race theory (CRT).

“Dear white colonel, it is time to give a damn. Aim High,” he added.

The Air Force Times article is hardly the only incident in which Jonsson has pushed the military to adopt ideas saturated in so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), a poisonous left-wing framework that dismisses merit and instead discriminates based on characteristics such as skin color and sex.

In a December 2020 video commemorating the service of a Tuskegee Airman, Jonsson said the celebration gives the Air Force a chance to “acknowledge that there’s still progress that we need to make as a service.”

“There’s still barriers, more invisible barriers, that some of our airmen from underrepresented groups … still feel in their service,” Jonsson claimed. “We’re aggressively knocking down those barriers.”

Jonsson’s apparent infatuation with CRT and DEI ideologies further highlights the importance of Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s ongoing bid to force individual votes on Biden’s military appointees. Using his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tuberville has been slowing down military personnel moves that require Senate confirmation to protest the Pentagon’s use of taxpayer money to cover service members’ travel expenses to get abortions.

To be clear, Tuberville is not blocking votes, but is forcing the Armed Services Committee to vote on each nomination individually rather than voting “en masse on large numbers of nominations.” The Alabama senator has since faced numerous attacks from Democrats and establishment Republicans, many of whom have baselessly claimed his protest is harming “military readiness.”

Yay! Bipartisanship! People talk about "draining the swamp." This isn't a swamp. It's an ocean the size of Jupiter and it's infecting not just government but every level of our society. Even unrigged elections for the next 100 years won't begin to make a dent in this. This cancer demands radical surgery. Now.

* * * * *

A couple of things noted at press time. First, Donald Trump has decided to skip the debates because in his words:

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

Well, this is either a brilliant move or he's shooting himself in the foot. In any case, considering my contention that the 2024 election outcome is already predetermined, what does it matter anyway?

Second, perhaps I was too quick in handing out the moniker "Red Meat" to Vivek Ramaswamy. After what was a really impressive interview with Tucker Carlson on his "X" Twitter feed, he steps on his dick:

The 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur and self-proclaimed political "outsider," has raised eyebrows for his shifting positions on U.S. military aid to Israel, which he now says he wants to cut off in 2028.

While anti-Israel activists have long lobbied for ending U.S. military funding to the Jewish state, Ramaswamy said he supports Israel’s continued security.

The candidate’s stance on the military aid—$3 billion a year, which Israel is largely required to spend on U.S.-manufactured equipment—has changed several times over the past few months. This week, he told the Washington Free Beacon that he supports ending the military funding once the current package passed by Congress expires in 2028, arguing that the aid will be unnecessary after he successfully negotiates new peace treaties between Israel and its Arab neighbors during the first year of his presidency.

"If we’re successful, the true mark of success for the U.S., and for Israel, will be to get to a 2028 where Israel is so strongly standing on its own two feet, integrated into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, that it will not require and be dependent on that same level of historical aid or commitment from the U.S.," Ramaswamy told the Free Beacon on Saturday. . .

. . . Conservative pundit Mark Levin questioned Ramaswamy’s position in a message to the candidate on Twitter.

"We need Israel as a counterweight to Iran, Syria, terrorist organizations, etc. You seem oblivious to America’s need to have strong and reliable allies throughout the world to help our own security needs," wrote Levin. "I’m all for outsiders. But, respectfully, you need to bone up a bit on this subject."

Ramaswamy has acknowledged that he is a newcomer to some of these foreign policy debates. He noted that he "didn’t know much of this six months ago," in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt about Taiwan this month, adding that the "only difference between me and the other candidates is I’m the only one actually willing to admit that."

This could also explain his shifting positions as he attempts to grapple with these issues on the national stage.

Ramaswamy's latest stance on Israeli military funding comes two months after the candidate told the Free Beacon that he supported continuing aid to Israel. The Free Beacon asked Ramaswamy to clarify his position in June after he was videotaped telling a small campaign gathering that he would consider ending military financial support to the Jewish state.

"That's not what I said," Ramaswamy told the Free Beacon, when asked if he supported cutting aid to Israel at the time. "When someone asked about aid to Israel, I said we can’t narrowly criticize our financial aid to Israel in isolation when our other policies of engagement in the Middle East have indirectly contributed to the threats that Israel faces."

"Bone up" indeed. Look, I get the anger about sending dollars abroad especially to shit-hole kleptocracies, China to fund bio weapons, Iran to fund nukes, Ukraine to fund the Bidens, Haiti the Clintons and on and on and on. That said, about the only place on the planet where foreign aid IS a real investment in our national security and economy is the State of Israel.

If Trump's Abraham Accords do indeed foster a new era where our aid is no longer needed, entirely or to a significant extent, then maybe Ramaswamy has a point. If Israel is taken down from within by globalist Leftists and traitors, then the point will be moot.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the links may or may not reflect my own. I include them because of their relevance to the discussion of a particular issue.

ALSO: The Morning Report is cross-posted at if you want to continue the conversation all day.

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