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Senior U.S. Intelligence Official Died by Suicide in June

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 10:47am in

One of the nation’s highest-ranking intelligence officials died by suicide at his home in the Washington, D.C., area in June, but the U.S. intelligence community has remained publicly silent about the incident even as the CIA has conducted a secret investigation of his death.

Anthony Schinella, 52, the national intelligence officer for military issues, shot himself on June 14 in the front yard of his Arlington home. A Virginia medical examiner’s report lists Schinella’s cause of death as suicide from a gunshot wound to the head. His wife, who had just married him weeks earlier, told The Intercept that she was in her car in the driveway, trying to get away from Schinella when she witnessed his suicide. At the time of his suicide, Schinella was weeks away from retirement.

Soon after his death, an FBI liaison to the CIA entered Schinella’s house and removed his passports, his secure phone, and searched through his belongings, according to his wife, Sara Corcoran, a Washington journalist. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

As NIO for military issues, Schinella was the highest-ranking military affairs analyst in the U.S. intelligence community, and was also a member of the powerful National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for producing the intelligence community’s most important analytical reports that go to the president and other top policymakers.

The National Intelligence Council is now under the control of the Director of National Intelligence, and has recently gained greater public prominence as its analytical work has been caught up in political controversies surrounding the Trump administration, including this summer’s public firestorm over intelligence reports about Russian bounties to kill American troops.

On June 26,  the New York Times reported that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, and President Donald Trump quickly faced criticism for having failed to do anything in response to protect American troops. Within days, the National Intelligence Council produced a memo that claimed that the intelligence about the bounties wasn’t conclusive. While the memo was not made public, it was quickly picked up in the press and seemed designed to placate Trump by raising doubts about the original news story about the Russian bounties. The NIC memo appears to have been generated at the urging of John Ratcliffe, the former Republican Texas congressman and Trump supporter who became director of national intelligence in May.

But at the time that the memo became public through press reports, there was no mention of the fact that the national intelligence officer for military issues — the one member of the NIC who should have had the most input into the analysis concerning military operations in Afghanistan — had killed himself just days earlier. In fact, Schinella was considered an expert on the Taliban and its military capabilities. Though he was an analyst, Schinella had deployed to four different war zones during his career, his wife said.

A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a graduate degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Schinella had spent much of his career in the CIA before joining the National Intelligence Council. In 2019, the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, published a book by Schinella entitled “Bombs Without Boots,” a study of the limits of the uses of air power in modern war.

Tim Kilbourn, a friend and former colleague of Schinella, described him in an interview as an “American patriot,” and said that his end was a “tragedy,” but declined to comment further. The Arlington County, Virginia, police report on the incident was not immediately available.

Ashley Savage, a spokesperson for the Arlington County Police Department, said the department’s investigation of the Schinella case remains open. She said the Arlington police notified the CIA about Schinella’s death, and that the Arlington police provided assistance to the CIA. “We will defer any questions related to the CIA investigation to their agency,” she added.

After his death, Schinella’s wife discovered a large collection of bondage and S&M gear that had been hidden in his house, along with 24 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. His wife said that one of Schinella’s CIA colleagues contacted her recently and said the CIA has completed an investigation into Schinella’s death, but didn’t provide her with any details.

Schinella had two children from a previous marriage.

The post Senior U.S. Intelligence Official Died by Suicide in June appeared first on The Intercept.

Identity Politics in Pictures.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 8:36am in


Have a good, detailed look at that picture. It represents capitalist society as a pyramid. Think critically about what you see. Take your time.

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Ready?

I won’t try to guess your reaction. Instead, I’ll tell you what I see and think, so that you can compare.

I think that picture, old as it is (1912), makes it very easy to imagine what identity politics, especially as seen by the Liberal/Leftish, relatively affluent, upwardly mobile, professional strata midway between the working class and bourgeoisie (for short: “middle class”), is all about.

An example. In that pyramid women are on the “ground level” and the “first floor”. No women above. It’s like an invisible barrier stopped women from rising above first floor: the “glass ceiling”. Modern feminists reading this, whatever they originally thought of that picture, shall have little difficulty appreciating that.

There’s more. One can explain other modern terms using that picture. Take for instance “under-” and “over-representation”. Women are 30% of the characters shown (count them), but no woman is among the three occupants of, say, the fifth floor: women are under-represented among heads of State or Government; men, consequently, are over-represented -- sounds familiar?

When middle class, Liberal/Leftish feminists speak of “equality” this is more or less what they have in mind: if the society that picture illustrates were just -- if equality prevailed -- one would expect that about 30% of fifth floor tenants were women: at least one woman -- occasionally two -- would be there. The same principle applies to the other floors. It’s a  “level-by-level” kind of equality (the word “equality” has different meanings, depending on who utters it).

(In a more realistic example, where women are about 50% of the population, equality would mean that approximately half the billionaires, CEOs, heads of State/Government, judges, STEM professionals … and -- presumably -- garbage collectors, waiters/waitresses, kitchenhands, the unemployed and homeless, prison inmates, were women.)

Corollary 1 is that women must be over-represented in the lower levels (in the picture 30% of the population are women, but they are 44% of those on ground level). Corollary 2 is that men are under-represented in lower levels (70% of the population, but only 56% of those on ground level).

(Men and women being on average equally capable, men’s consistent, “systemic” over-representation on top positions comes from something outside acting on the allocation of roles and rewards: male “privilege” – another popular term).

Middle class, Liberal/Leftish feminists aim to abolish male privilege, such that women occupying lower floors (realistically, seldom women from ground level) can move “upstairs” and reap the rewards reserved to those positions.

(To avoid misunderstandings: that’s not the only item in feminists’ agenda. Other causes they advance include female reproductive rights and an end to domestic violence, for instance. And that is only considering rich nations’ feminism. However, given how prominently professional equalisation figures in rich nations’ middle class, Liberal/Leftish discourse, it’s not entirely misleading to leave those other causes out of the picture. Let me call this kind of feminism, upmarket feminism.)

At this stage, a question pops up: wouldn’t upmarket equalisation mean that some upper-floor men must move downstairs (lose their privileges and the rewards associated with them)?

I think that’s undeniable – negatives notwithstanding. Still, although a man myself, I don’t worry overly about that (somehow I suspect my manly financial and professional privileges aren’t the cause of middle class, Liberal/Leftish ladies’ distress).

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It’s time to consider the effects of that kind of equalisation over a capitalist society (represented in that picture as well), which of necessity is highly stratified.

Many men – currently high-placed – would lose, probably a lot, just as a comparable number of women currently in middling places would gain the most. By itself it’s unclear that would entail a substantial net increase in aggregate social well-being.

(source)
Observe the chart above. Imagine you rotate that picture 90° counterclockwise. The similarity between the resulting image and the pyramid opening goes beyond the shape: both are graphical representations of capitalism. Capitalism is based on inequality. That’s what those two pictures illustrate.

(Not too bad for such an old picture, uh? The guys who drew the original that inspired that picture fell into oblivion. Chances are, they had little education. And yet, over a century after its creation, the image they created endures, not as an antique, but for its usefulness. Not bad at all.)

Imagine now you select two households, one from the $200K to $250K bracket and the other from the $170 to $175 bracket and make them swap incomes. One household wins, the other loses. The chart does not change. By itself that had no effect whatsoever on aggregate income or income inequality.

In terms of the older picture: that floor swap did not change the pyramid or how many floors it has; only the list of tenants (and their gender) at each floor changed … a tiny bit. Where John used to be, Jane is now. That’s a far cry from unimaginable change.

So, if upmarket feminist equalisation only affects those directly involved, why should the rest of us care?

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Well, maybe because its benefits could extend to others beyond those directly concerned.  Annabel Crabb, for instance, believes business, too, would win: female CEOs, she says, make for more profits. And perhaps that’s so because, as Julia Baird argues, female professionals, although less confident, are more talented than their male counterparts, masters however of reckless self-promotion. (Curiously, although men and women were created equal, now it seems that men are much less equal than women).

Let’s say upmarket equalisation is good for capitalists. Why should that be good for workers? Well, maybe because one could tell shareholders, “But Grandmother! What talented CEOs you have”. But, would you like to hear them saying to you what the wolf said to Little Red Ridding Hood?

(I didn’t think you would :-)).

That’s no bedtime tale. It happened to Pacific Brands’ workers when Sue Morphet broke the glass ceiling and off-shored manufacturing to Asia. She did exactly what thousands of male managers all over the world have done. Gender made no difference (with all due respect, it is I, not the middle class Liberal/Leftish feminist -- male or female -- who believes consistently in gender equality). Male and female CEOs acted as they did because that’s what they were being paid for: their job was and is to maximize shareholders’ profit, not to look after their workers.

The problem with this kind of argument is that it’s relevant to capitalists, not to workers. Still middle class Liberal/Leftish feminists apparently expect it to appeal to workers, because they need workers’ vote come election time.

(Morphet’s current job is to advance the cause of upmarket feminist equalisation. Can you think of a better reason to be skeptic about that kind of identity politics?).

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Let’s try another rationale. The advancement of some already affluent professional women may inspire worse off women. Maybe I, as a man -- albeit one down the pecking order -- I’m being insensitive to the pride the latter may feel when the former make it big.

Allow me a digression. I’ve seen Brazilians, Argentines or Uruguayans, often extremely poor, feeling enormous pride and joy whenever their national soccer teams happen to do well in the World Cup. As far as it goes, that’s fine. However, once the euphoria passes, they still must face their reality: a life in slums, without running water or sanitation or electricity or health or education or security. What’s left of all that exhilaration?

I think that isn’t different from the idea that working class women will feel pride in seeing their affluent sisters going places. Pacific Brands was a textile/apparel manufacturer, so most of the workers sacked were women. They will never follow in Morphet’s footsteps, even if that were a desirable example, even if they wanted to.

They had every right to feel unhappy.

I myself would be very unhappy if a Leftish party reduced its political platform to promote upmarket feminism. Even within the rich countries’ feminist paradigm, there are much worthier causes.

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So, am I denying upwardly mobile, affluent, professional women access to leadership positions? No, I am not denying anybody anything.

It is legitimate for women to aspire to advancement, isn’t it? Of course it is legitimate. We live in capitalist societies, where individuals strive to climb up the social ladder (it’s not for nothing Scotty from Marketing loves aspirational Australians). Although obvious, let me state this explicitly: women don’t need my blessings. I can’t stop them and I wouldn’t try if I could. So, go for it, ladies.

I won’t stand in your way. But let’s be clear: middle class, Liberal/Leftish feminists want to break the glass ceiling because it will be good for themselves, not because it will be good for society.

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If you ask me, I’d rather have that pyramid simplified, flattened: less levels, such that whoever is at the top has less to gain from being there and men and women at the bottom have less weight to carry. That’s a different, alternative way of thinking about equality.

I think it’s a better way, but it’s up to you to decide.

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Incidentally and to close, these comments, with a few suitable changes, would apply to any other identity movement – whether based on gender, race, ethnicity, place of birth or age. Just imagine a politically correct graphical depiction, if at all possible, of individuals in those categories replacing men and women in that pyramid.

Australians Ecstatic For Abbott To Head Overseas As Long As It’s On A One-Way Ticket

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 7:34am in

abbott_LW-20130814182907410566-620x349

With news breaking that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been granted leave to travel to Britain to take on his new role as the UK’s trade ambassador, the majority of Australians have reported that they’re non-fussed by the move, as long as he is travelling on a one-way ticket.

”Ah, look it does seem a bit of one rule for some and another rule for the rest but in the grand scheme of things if it gets rid of him for good then I can live with that,” said Northern Beaches Tradie Johnno. ”Heck, maybe we can see if he’ll take Kevin Rudd or Sam Dastyari with him.”

The news of Mr Abbott’s move overseas is seen as a stroke of genius from current Australian Prime Minister Scotty from marketing.

”The last decade of Australian politics has been rife with sniping, back stabbing and in-fighting,” said Parliamentary Observer Peter Poll. ”If the current Prime Minister can rid the country of the main protagonists like Mr Abbott, then who knows how long he will reign.”

”It does seem that he has also managed to rid the country of the Opposition leader as well, has anyone heard from him lately?”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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GOP Lawmakers Asked Trump for Low-Wage, Migrant Worker Visas

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 5:34am in

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Sen. David Perdue has long argued that “strained working-class Americans” face an uneven playing field as they are forced to compete with “a steady supply of cheap, unskilled” immigrant labor.

But the Georgia Republican has sung a different tune in private messages to the Trump administration. The lawmaker contacted the Department of Homeland Security and Labor Department in February, urging officials to increase the flow of visas offered to temporary migrant workers to be employed in low wage, nonagricultural jobs.

“I am writing to request that you exercise authority delegated to you,” wrote Perdue, citing the statute that governs foreign work visas, “to increase the numerical limitation on H-2B visas in order to provide relief to American businesses.”

Despite increasing campaign rhetoric by leading Republicans about the downward impact on wages posed by some forms of immigration, many lawmakers are quietly helping business interests lobby for greater access to a pool of low-wage foreign workers.

The Intercept, through a records request, obtained a number of recent requests by GOP lawmakers to the Trump administration. The legislative letters echo business demands that the government raise the number of available H-2B visas for employers to bring in migrant workers.

North Carolina Republican Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, along with the GOP House delegation from North Carolina, requested that the administration “expeditiously release all 64,716 H-2B visas. House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., wrote “on behalf of business” that her state needed emergency “H-2B cap relief.” Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, and Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., wrote similar letters earlier this year. None of the lawmakers’ offices responded to a request for comment.

The letters came a time of increasing political pressure to bring cheap labor into the country. The Wall Street Journal reported on a broad bipartisan effort in January to increase the number of H-2B visas available for employers. Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., signed onto the push.

After these letters were sent and following a coalition lobbying effort by employers in the seafood, landscaping, construction, and food services industries, the Trump administration approved 35,000 additional seasonal work visas in March, bringing the total available this year to 101,000. Business interests also won expedited approval of H-2B visas. The State Department declared that the program is “essential to the economy” and waived in-person interviews for applicants. But the administration soon changed course, freezing the the flow of new visas as the economy deteriorated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The H-2B program has come under fire from organized labor and migrant worker civil rights organizations for rampant human rights violations. Across numerous workplaces, guest workers have reported sexual violence, imprisonment, physical abuse, starvation, wage theft, and conditions akin to slavery. Though the visa program is required to pay prevailing wages, employers routinely pay wages lower than those offered to Americans working the same jobs.

Not long ago, Perdue openly and sharply criticized migrant worker visas as an exploitative trap that harmed both American wages and foreign migrant workers. In 2017, Perdue cosigned a letter with Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., decrying rampant abuses in the H-2B program.

The lawmakers noted in the letter that “a large body of evidence suggests that our increasing reliance on the H-2B program cuts wages, pushes American workers out of jobs, and may, in some cases, discourage them from ever applying again. Indiscriminate increases in the number of H-2B workers will only exacerbate these problems.”

The letter noted that some employers “take advantage of H-2B workers’ unique vulnerabilities, which can result in human trafficking and labor abuse.” One labor investigator the Perdue letter cited found that “the way H-2 visas shackle workers to a single employer leaves them almost no leverage to demand better treatment.”

The H-2B program is designed to only be available when businesses cannot find Americans willing to take on jobs. But a growing body of research shows the application process can be gamed and that many employers in fact use H-2B to drag down wages for American workers.

Michael Cunningham, a former official with the Texas State Building and Construction Trades Council, has documented a number of abuses in the H-2B program.

“I have seen the misuse of construction and production occupations that adversely affects wages paid to guest workers,” wrote Cunningham in an email to The Intercept. “This is the way the employers get the cheapest wage possible that really was created to deter American workers from applying for these jobs.”

Cunningham described systemic problems that allow multibillion-dollar businesses to easily game the system for H-2B visas for work that could be offered to Americans. “Also concerning is the lack of enforcement by the Department of Labor,” wrote Cunningham. “They don’t have enough boots on the ground to monitor and enforce each employer to make sure they are in compliance.”

The migrant visa program has only grown in recent years. The Obama administration sharply lowered the number of H-2B visas provided to U.S. employers, below record highs in 2007 and 2008 during the previous administration. But the Trump administration has reversed that trend, increasingly expanding the number of visas over the last four years.

Advocates for business interests in Congress have agitated to raise the statutory cap on H-2B visas, coming close in 2018 to expanding the program from 66,000 to 114,000 visas. The administration has dutifully offered employers waivers to increase the number of H-2B beyond the annual cap.

But the growing economic crisis has forced a shift in the administration’s response. In June, President Donald Trump suspended a range of work visas programs. The decision was touted as a major intervention into the economy to save American jobs at risk during the global coronavirus pandemic. The executive order, in a deference to large employers, however, did not impact H-2B workers already in the country for the 2020 season.

The post GOP Lawmakers Asked Trump for Low-Wage, Migrant Worker Visas appeared first on The Intercept.

The Rise of Women Leaders

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 3:13am in

The ascent of Kamala Harris to the Democratic presidential ticket augurs well for the future.

Summer Rerun: Journey into a Libertarian Future: Part III – Regulation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 7:16pm in

Another dive, in both senses of the word, into the implications of libertarian ideology.

What makes up the national debt? It’s a good question, precisely because there is no obvious answer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 4:43pm in

I have been looking at the thorny issue of what makes up the public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, that was announced last week to amount to £2,004 billion (£2.004 trillion). To do so I have used the mass of spreadsheet data published by the Office for National Statistics with that release, all of which spreadsheets are deeply frustrating because they have all the formulas removed from them before publication, which makes no sense at all.

Having undertaken this exercise I believe that the figure for debt is officially made up as follows:

To the point where debt is £1,809 billion, this makes sense, or at least I can guess the origin of most of it, albeit that it would be good to know what 'other sterling debt and foreign currency debt' really was, and what the liquid assets were would also be good to know. But there is a number I am truly baffled by, and that is the Bank of England c0ntribution to this debt.

The ONS said that in February 2020, when the Bank of England last issued accounts, that the Bank of England contribution to Public Sector Net Debt was subject to three issues that they noted:

The figure that they suggested the sum came to in February this year was not insignificant, at £174.1 billion. So I have tried to track the number down as at that moment because the ONS says it is based on the Bank of England accounts, which are available for that date,  and the ONS's own estimates.

The Bank of England balance sheet reads like this in February 2020:

As will be noted, assets and liabilities are remarkable evenly matched: there are net assets of £5.8 billion. So to find liabilities of £174.1 billion looks to be hard work.

Thankfully, some is easily found. That's because, bizarrely, the Band of England does not publish one set of accounts for its activities, but three. Those for the Prudential Regulatory Authority can, however, be ignored: they are utterly immaterial to this issue. But those of the currency-issuing department are not. This is their balance sheet on that same date:

I think that locates £74.4 billion of liability: it is currency in issue. There is just £99.7 billion to find then. And since we are looking for liabilities only notes 11 and 12 should hide such a sum. These are the notes in question:

The deposits held on demand are clearly not what is being looked for: because of the relative size of them and the number being looked for it seems very unlikely that they are what makes up this figure.

I think we can also ignore the £66,552 owing by the issues department: it is an intra-group balance that should be cancelled on consolidation. That is confirmed by Note 4 to the Issues Department accounts.

So, we are left with a hotchpotch. The effective impact of the Asset Purchase Facility is in the loan to it, amounting at this date to £445 billion. But this is an asset. Of course, that asset helped create the central bank reserves of £479.4 billion. But why are they offset, if they are? Is it now acknowledged that the objective of QE failed and it just produced cash and not new investment? That is what the offset, if it is made, would imply.  And yet, it seems that they must be, because otherwise those reserves are not reflected in debt and yet it is said by the ONS that the Asset Purchase Facility that is related to both does have an impact.  In that case, then, does note 8 also come into play? This says:

However, I stress, once more, that this is an asset. So what this has to do with debt is hard to tell, and that would also seem to leave the ONS note as deeply confusing, at best.

I have then some simple questions to ask in that case:

  1. What makes up other sterling debt and foreign currency debt?
  2. What are the government's liquid assets and where are they held and how does this sum interact with the Bank of England?
  3. How is the Bank of England contribution calculated and how does it relate to the Bank's published accounts?

I genuinely have no clue as to the answers to these questions and the ONS data on the national debt does not answer them, and nor does my attempt to link the data to published source documentation do so. I have made Freedom of Inf0ormation requests to try to find out.

I have already made the point, time and again, that the above logic, which ignores debt subject to quantitative easing is wrong. It is not credible to ignore QE simply because it is deemed that the Bank of England subsidiary company that owns this debt is considered to be outside the government sector by the Office for National Statistics when that company is wholly owned and controlled by HM Treasury, for whom  it acts as an agent, making a mockery of what the ONS assert, but I now have another concern.

In my opinion, if the Office for National Statistics is going to issue data that it knows will grab headlines - and it clearly and knowingly did that last week - then it has a duty to also put out an unambiguous explanation as to where its data comes from, and to show how it can be reconciled to it, if appropriate.

Try as I might I cannot explain the national debt based on the figures they published, and I am a fairly informed reader of accounts and statistics. There is, then, a problem. And given the significance of this issue this needs to be resolved. Too much hangs on this number for it to be made of data of unknown origin and credibility.

Robot Generals: Will They Make Better Decisions Than Humans – Or Worse?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 3:09pm in

The odd idea of replacing generals with AI is getting a hearing.

Aaron Coleman's Ex-Girlfriend Says He Slapped and Choked Her in the Past Year

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 12:10pm in

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When Taylor Passow first met Aaron Coleman last November, she was impressed by his drive and his passion for a better world. “I had never been with somebody who seemed so focused on a career, and how he wanted to change the country. He seemed so much more mature than anybody I’d ever been with,” Passow, who is 21 years old, told The Intercept.

Early in their relationship, he told her about his troubled childhood, confessing to her that he had blackmailed a girl in middle school over nude photos. Passow, a host at a restaurant in Topeka, Kansas, said she believed that he had grown and changed, that the behavior was behind him — that he deserved a second chance.

Coleman’s story touched off a national debate after his recent upset victory in a Democratic primary in a Kansas state House district and a story by the New York Times, which reported that the 19-year-old winner, when he was 12, had blackmailed a classmate. After obtaining a nude photo of her, he demanded more and said that he would widely share the one he had if she didn’t comply with his demand. She refused, and he circulated the photo. Coleman admitted to the offense, adding that he had been cruel to other girls over the next two years. He told The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald that he hoped by acknowledging what he had done, and condemning it, he might be able to positively influence other angry boys. The girls that he had hurt, he said, would have to live with that the rest of their lives, and he’d have to live with the knowledge of what he’d done.

Passow’s relationship with Coleman ran into trouble quickly, even as she remained impressed by the drive of the young political candidate, and the two spoke of starting a life together. According to Passow, one particular incident irreparably broke their relationship. In a hot tub at an Airbnb in Kansas City, she said, the two were discussing Coleman’s interest in a threesome on December 27, 2019. Passow said it wasn’t her thing, but maybe as a birthday present she’d break up with him for just one day and he could have one. Coleman didn’t like the joke, she recalled. “He sat there for a few seconds, then he jumped on top of me, put his hands around my throat and started squeezing, and slapped me three times, and said, ‘I don’t know where the fuck you think you’re going,’” Passow recalled and said she pushed him off her.

Next, Passow said, Coleman demanded that she apologize for threatening to break up with him, stormed out of the hot tub, and went to the car. She didn’t want to lose him, she said, and texted him an apology. He said he was only warming up the car. “I’m sorry baby I failed your shit test,” he texted back. The texts, reviewed by The Intercept, were sent to a number associated with Coleman’s campaign finance registration.

image-1

Photo: Obtained by The Intercept

Four days later, in text messages with Passow, Coleman disputed her recollection. “You have a funny memory,” he said. “You dumped me and I smacked you and you smacked me and I immediately got up and stormed out of the hot tub.”

image-2

Photo: Obtained by The Intercept

Passow said she told her childhood friend about the incident a few days later. The friend agreed to speak as long as she could remain anonymous and relayed many of the same stories to The Intercept without being prompted, including that Passow told her on New Year’s Eve about being slapped and choked by Coleman in Kansas City.

That night, the two were fighting again, and Coleman told Passow over text that she should kill herself. “Air out the clip into your head,” he told her on December 31. “Mag dump yourself. Do that midnight tonight. If I never hear from you again then I’ll know what happened.”

image-3

Photo: Obtained by The Intercept

In January, Passow told The Intercept, she sent Coleman a long letter breaking up with him, unable to move past the assault. “I just didn’t feel the same about him anymore,” she said.

Multiple attempts to reach Coleman through a variety of channels were unsuccessful. After initially announcing that he was withdrawing from the race, Coleman on Tuesday morning reversed course, saying that he would remain on the ballot for the general election, campaign door to door, and leave the question to voters.

When the New York Times story ran last week, some believed that if Coleman had changed and grown, he deserved his equal place in society. Others argued that his crime, regardless of his age, was so heinous that he ought to be barred from public life, at least until he made meaningful amends. Still others argued that what he did in middle school should be factored in to an understanding of who he is today given his relative youth — still just 19 years old — but that what mattered was how he has comported himself as an adult. Ultimately, a strong contingent of progressive commentators determined that anything less than a swift condemnation of Coleman was rooted in misogyny.

Passow said that on Sunday night, Coleman had called her to say he was staying in the race, asking what he could do to make amends. She refused to engage, telling him she would speak publicly, and he followed up by text. “I deeply apologize for any mistakes I might have made. I know I wasn’t a perfect boyfriend,” he wrote. “But I’m not dropping out of the race. I’ve been honest with the public about everything that I’ve done, if you want to accuse me of something, you’re welcome to do that, and I’ll be honest then as well. No one is perfect. I’m not gonna try to stop you if you want to tell your story to the papers or whoever, but I’m gonna make sure that story is told truthfully.”

When Coleman had first told her about his troubled and impoverished childhood and the harm he’d caused, Passow hoped it was behind him. “At the time, I did think he wasn’t that person anymore,” she said. “He’s not changed; this isn’t in his past. I just want people to know he’s not the person he says he is, and if you still want to vote for somebody who’s like that, I guess that’s your prerogative.”

The post Aaron Coleman’s Ex-Girlfriend Says He Slapped and Choked Her in the Past Year appeared first on The Intercept.

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