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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

If your fantasies offend the police…you can be destroyed.  –  Marty Klein

Tales from the Dark Side

In a world where prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict such discussions to fully-anonymized online accounts“:

…You are NOT free to fantasize about sex that is illegal.  If you do, and you’re caught, you will have to prove you do not actually want to do those things.  This is almost impossible…if two people email or text about [ageplay]…and the digital trail falls into the hands of the police, the person playing the adult role in the fantasy could be in big trouble…There are police departments in every state with units devoted to finding people who fantasize online about adult-child sex.  They have huge budgets and almost unlimited power.  These [cops] are going undercover in ADULT chatrooms…looking for people to arrest…they invite the hobbyist—whom they [pretend]is a predatory criminal—to meet for…legal sex….[with] an adult…[and when] he does…he is arrested for allegedly intending to have sex with a child

The Maze of Consent

An excellent essay on the deeply misogynistic basis of modern “consent” dogma:

…the notion that sexual contact is degrading to women has become wrapped up in the contemporary progressive language of trauma and consent…For all its protestations about how hot consent can be, the progressive discourse surrounding sex is markedly unsexy.  Amid the obsession with power, oppression and the ever present threat of harm, the notion of desire (or, heaven forbid, fun) all but disappears…This laser-focus on consent effectively recasts sex itself as a dangerous act, to be undertaken with extreme caution and only if absolutely necessary…men are increasingly seen as predators almost by default, while women are cast as helpless, even infantile.  (Witness the rise of the word “grooming,” previously reserved for sexual predation of children, as something done to women in their twenties)…young people are now being taught to expect absolute emotional safety in sex, love and courtship at all times—and that if they feel hurt, disappointed or betrayed, it means they’ve been violated…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831)

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Toronto will no longer force workers at body rub parlours to keep their doors unlocked—a win for sex worker safety…Toronto bylaws prohibited…parlours…from keeping their doors locked, so that inspectors could [barge in at will and without warning]…the rules [predictably] led to thefts, abuse, and even death..By locking doors, workers are now able to screen people entering their businesses…In February, Ashley Arzaga…was [murdered] by a 17-year-old man who entered her North York spa with a machete…60 avoidable robberies targeted body rub parlours [in the past year]…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#991)

Laws are for the peasantry, not the rulers:

The preferential treatment afforded to [Randal] Woolery wasn’t mentioned in the de[ferential coverage by bootlicking media like the Seattle Times]…But [it was sharply criticized in The Honest Courtesan] and…[now that the] public…[is clamoring for greater] police accountability…the [mainstream media are finally getting around to talking about it almost a year later]…Unlike the four other men arrested in the sting that night, Woolery avoided having…an “embarrassing situation” fully videotaped…The p[ig] also wasn’t taken in handcuffs to a [filthy sty] to await booking…[and] didn’t spend any time behind bars that [or any other] night…Woolery…has been [on paid vacation ever since, with]…his case [conveniently] postponed [using the excuse of] the coronavirus pandemic…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1016) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning surveillance technology are feel-good bullshit:

The Los Angeles Police Department has used facial-recognition software nearly 30,000 times since 2009, with hundreds of [pigs rooting through]…a massive database of mugshots [in search of people to pin “crimes” on]…the LAPD has consistently denied having records related to facial recognition, and at times denied using the technology at all.  The truth is that, while it does not have its own facial-recognition platform, LAPD personnel have access to facial-recognition software through a regional database maintained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  And [were that database banned, they could simply fall back on secret resources such as FITlist]…

Dangerous Speech (#1031)

A judge reverses one iota of the government’s persecution of two journalists:

The FBI [was] recently [forced to] return…scores of personal possessions belonging to veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin as the result of a judge’s finding that the bureau violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure when it…raided the men’s homes at gunpoint two years ago…Judge Susan Brnovich found that certain categories of items listed in the FBI’s 2018 warrant applications were “impermissibly vague”…the FBI’s warrant affidavit sought “evidence of wealth” from January 1, 2010 to the date of the search.  “Nothing suggests that Lacey and Larkin’s homes were filled solely with items obtained solely from illegal proceeds or to suggest that Backpage.com was being run out of their homes,” Brnovich writes. “Both individuals were successful and wealthy before 2010.”  And yet, prosecutors have contended that Lacey and Larkin’s affluence was wholly derived from the alleged crimes of conspiracy, money laundering and the facilitation of prostitution through the online listings giant Backpage.com, which the two men sold in 2015…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

Oh look, someone in Hollywood appears to have grown a spine:

Judd Apatow is refusing to let Hollywood off the hook for allowing itself to be censored in…China in order to reap financial rewards…the…director said studios would shoot him down if he ever pitched a movie about a man who escapes Chinese concentration camps…Disney has recently come under fire for filming part of its live-action Mulan film in Xinjiang and using the film’s end credits to thank [the Communist propaganda ministry for]…the region…In addition to censoring content, Hollywood studios have also included China-friendly content in certain films in order to guarantee a theatrical release in the country…When filmmakers take a stand against China (see Quentin Tarantino refusing to edit out the Bruce Lee scene in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), their films are blocked from the country and risk losing a significant percentage of their box office…

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Our job as educators is not to create a surveillance environment that teaches students how to better lie, but to foster critical thinking and civic responsibility.  – Zeynep Tufekci

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Christopher McCormack is one of the New York Police Department’s highest-ranking officers…his ascension started three decades earlier…and [all]…along the way, police leaders were privy to an ever-growing list of complaints against McCormack…[most] of [which] were hidden from public view…What stands out…is how often Black and Latino men accused him of [molesting them under he pretext of] invasive, humiliating searches…he pulled down their pants in public, exposing their genitals…[and] used his fingers to [rape] their anal cavities [under the pretext of “searching for drugs”]…McCormack is just one of dozens of high-ranking NYPD officers who have risen [thank to egregious] misconduct in their records.  Eighty-six of the roughly 420 [cops]…who currently hold a rank above captain…have tallied at least one misconduct allegation that was substantiated by the [cops themselves], meaning that [the behavior was too blatant to hide as per standard procedure]…the…substantiated complaints are dwarfed by a far larger list of those that are “unsubstantiated,” meaning [cops were able to pretend they didn’t]…happen…

Scapegoats (#438)

I reckon someone else noticed Arpaio’s obsession with this topic:

…For $30.99, users of Cameo — an app where singers, actors and other public figures record custom video messages for a fee — can request a personalized clip of [disgraced politician Joe Arpaio] saying whatever they want…Most of Arpaio’s Cameo videos appear to be standard fare, such as birthday greetings, thank-you messages, congratulatory comments.  But one…[last week] raised eyebrows. “Hey, good luck organizing the Arizona Furry convention,” Arpaio begins, though he pronounces it “Fury,” suggesting he’s not totally certain…he’s been asked to talk about…Arizona Fur Con, an annual event [for] members of the furry community…the…person who ordered the video [goes by]…Sir Yiffs A Lot.  “Yiff” refers to furry-related sexual content or activity, which made Arpaio’s sign-off all the more cringeworthy…”I’m kind of partial to dogs,” he says after a pause, as if responding to a question included in the video request. “But I love all animals. Thanks”…

Devil’s Advocate (#944) 

Florida politicians are obsessed with child-shaped toasters:

[A pervert politician from Florida] filed legislation in Congress to ban [small] sex dolls [fashioned to resemble children] nationwide…[per-Vern Buchanan] said he will reintroduce the [moronically-named] CREEPER Act…which died in the Senate [in 2018]…Buchanan said he felt the [urge] to reintroduce the legislation after [some creep had a masturbatory fantasy] that a…sex doll was being sold on the Internet…was [somehow] modeled off of a girl in Miami [even though the same model has been sold for years before the girl reached the size and age depicted by the doll]…Florida passed a similar…ban in 2019…[making it] one of only three states, along with Kentucky and Tennessee that has specifically banned [plastic toys made to resemble children]…

Welcome to the Future (#1010)

What “predictive policing” actually looks like on the ground:

Pasco County [Florida] Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a…plan…to create a…system to continuously monitor and harass…residents…the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it c[laims are] likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, un[founded allegations] and arbitrary decisions by [cops]…Then it sends deputies to find and [harass] anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.  They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors.  They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines.  They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.  One former deputy described the directive like this: “Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”  In just five years, Nocco’s signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people…

I Spy (#1010)

The pandemic has been a very useful excuse for expanding the police state:

[Using the excuse of] the pandemic, many universities and colleges around the country are forcing students to download location-tracking apps, sometimes as a condition of enrollment…When students enter a classroom, their phone informs a sensor that’s been installed in the room, or the app checks the Wi-Fi networks nearby to determine the phone’s location.  As a university professor, I’ve seen surveillance like this before.  Many of these apps replicate the tracking system sometimes installed on the phones of student athletes, for whom it is often mandatory.  That system tells us a lot about what we can expect with these apps…Knowing that they are being tracked, some students will no doubt let their phone “sleep” peacefully in their bed while they party elsewhere.  If a few get sick, they may hide it, for fear of having their tech trickery found out…Excessive surveillance often backfires in this way…And broad surveillance can engender a chilling effect among the whole populace…

You Were Warned (#1045)

Exactly the same thing the Democrats want, but please tell me more about the “wings”:

A group of…Republican…[politician]s introduced a new bill…aimed at chipping away some of the protections provided to social media companies through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  The [misnamed] Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act…would strip away the liability protection provided by Section 230 if a platform restricted access to content without providing specific rules that it violated…[after] Trump[‘s]…executive order [doing much the same thing was shown to be impotent, bootlicking politicians] started introducing their own legislation to amend the law…

Finding What Isn’t There (#1070)

This time they didn’t even try to wedge their scam into the “sex trafficking” narrative:

Eight [legal minors] were [taken into custody] in a five-day r[aid series] in the Indianapolis area and one person was arrested on charges including parental kidnapping…The U.S. Marshals [are] now [calling all of the apprehensions in three states “]rescue[” even though few if any of the subjects were in any danger; they are also calling all of the 72 subjects “]missing children[” even though most were not actually children and few were actually “missing” in the usual sense of the term]…The [subjects] are between 6 to 17 years old…and [some may have been arrested by the cops under guise of “rescue”, since the pigrelease claims they were all]…turned over to the Indiana Department of Child Services…and…no further details about the [subjects] or the circumstances were released…the U.S. Marshals Service [also pretended] it found 39 missing children in Georgia…[and] 25…in Ohio…[though no factual details were available in that case, either]…

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[Kamala] Harris is basically a QAnon cheerleader for people who fancy themselves too sophisticated for that crap.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

A Moral Cancer (#790)

Crypto-moralists always pretend their lust to ban things is about “health” or “safety”:

Critics are lining up to blast a report, issued by [the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory] Committee earlier this summer, that urges the government to make steep cuts to the definition of moderate alcohol consumption…DGAC…policies include everything from recommending how many servings of vegetables people should consume in a day to determining what foods to serve to troops, schoolchildren, and prisoners…The report seeks to halve the DGAC’s longstanding definition of moderate drinking for men—no more than two drinks per day—to no more than one drink per day.  (The recommendation for women, set for years at no more than one drink per day, remains unchanged)…five Harvard Medical School faculty doctors—including three who served on one or more prior iterations of the DGAC…argue the…slash…is a “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic treatment of alcohol consumption” that is based on “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic evidence”…the DGAC appears to have “ignored” three decades of research…in…[order] to support claims made by members of the DGAC prior to appointment…In other words…anti-alcohol DGAC members focused only on research that supports arguments those members wanted to make all along…

Comfort Zone (#839)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A spike in migrants moving north through Panama has [cops fantsizing] the country will become an international center for human trafficking.  Last year, nearly 22,000 migrants from Haiti, Cuba and a number of African and Asian countries were [arrested] after crossing the perilous Darién jungle along the Panama-Colombia border…The journey of a migrant…isn’t cheap or easy.  Migrants usually learn of the method from friends or family members who made the trip before them, or find instructions posted online…Often, migrants pay for smuggling through what analysts call “sponsors,” usually family members or friends already in the United States…

Down Under (#890)

Swedish model regimes would’ve instead targeted the victim for surveillance:

Michael Donald Grout attempted to blackmail…a…sex [worker], then followed through on his threat and [out]ed her [to her parents]…he…was sentenced in…Palmerston North [New Zealand]…to four months’ home detention…The victim was 18 at the time, more than 40 years Grout’s junior…Grout [claimed in court that he] became fearful for his own health after reading…an…advertisement that said the woman provided unprotected sex.  This was confirmed through an interaction with another of her clients…[but rather than distancing himself from her to protect his supposedly-compromised immune system] he obtained nude photographs of the woman and…[demanded she submit to rape or] he would send the photos to her parents…she…then…blocked the [anonymous] account [from which he was sending the threats, and he retaliated by sending]…a courier package [which] arrived at the home of [her] parents [on December 19]…her mother opened it and found several naked photos of her daughter.  Attached was a note wishing the couple a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.  “You must be proud of her,” Grout wrote…

Disaster (#1009)

The FOSTA challenge is proceeding again:

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is suing (again) to get FOSTA ruled unconstitutional…[on the grounds that it] violates the First and Fifth Amendments…Woodhull’s motion for summary judgment…also takes aim at the law’s retroactive scope—FOSTA says you can be punished for violating it even before the law went into effect [even though such laws are prohibited in Article I of the Constitution]…

The Course of a Disease (#1020)

Maltese prohibitionists are strikingly loony, even for prohibitionists:

Malta’s Prostitution Reform Technical Committee excludes [prohibitionists] who [persecute and infantilize] sex workers, [prohibitionists] w[hi]ned….“Nordic model” [fanatics are upset that]…the state [is instead considering]…decriminalisation…[the prohibitionists vomited idiocy about “]sex hub tourism[” (whatever that is supposed to mean)] and “European Thailand”…[and also] called for [persecution of] strip clubs,  a…police [rape gang, and forcible “conversion therapy”]…for…victims of [the police]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1040)

I only hope this turns out to be true:

Ongoing tests of facial recognition technology continue to show that the technology is baffled when people wear masks of the sort that have become widespread (and even mandatory) in some places during the current pandemic. Forty-one newly tested algorithms—some of which were designed to compensate for face coverings—show the same dramatically elevated error rates as those examined earlier.  The tests have important implications for privacy at a time…of political instability and growing concern over law enforcement excesses, when people may have a strong interest in making identification of opponents and protesters difficult for the powers-that-be…

A Broker in Pillage (#1068)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

What happens when innocent people stand up to government bullies who use civil forfeiture laws to steal their property?  In many cases, the bullies, unaccustomed to such resistance, fold like a cheap suit…the government returned Kevin McBride’s Jeep, which…the Pima County Attorney’s Office was demanding a $1,900 ransom for the safe return of…But the day after the Goldwater Institute threatened to sue on McBride’s behalf…prosecutors changed their tune…

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Exodus Cry[‘s]…history of hateful rhetoric toward women and…those who don’t abide by their vision of purity…is extremely disturbing.  –  Pornhub

Follow Your Bliss

A typical and representative “law enforcement hero”:

Christopher Bryant…of Ruidoso, New Mexico [was arrested]…on charges of transportation of child pornography…[because] he…[searched for] child pornography on the internet and took screenshots of three [porn] images of children…[then] sent the images to himself by email.  Bryant was recognized in 2019 as a “Law Enforcement Hero of Child Protection” by a state agency…

Cops and Robbers (#910) 

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Over the past few years, Marisol Nichols has been juggling the demands of being an [television] act[ress]…with a side gig as a…[scam artist making money from hysteria over] sex trafficking.  The latter is now being turned into a television series after Sony Pictures Television optioned rights to her story…She has been [lying to people targeted by] the FBI, [sociopathic fascists] Operation Underground Railroad and [common pigs] to serve as the “bait” for sting operations domestically and internationally…Nichols…has participated in numerous [examples of cop glorification propaganda]…such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order: SVU, more than once playing a cop…she began to work in the [rescue industry] after her career slowed down around 2012…

She’s not really a pig, but she played one on TV.  And in life-destroying scams.

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#972)

Unsurprising for entities in the disinformation business:

Fentanyl…has taken on mythical properties [among cops.  Many]…have claimed to have nearly died from accidental exposure, based on the scientifically inaccurate idea that a deadly amount of fentanyl can pass through human skin or even poison the air around it.  That myth has spread through…fusion centers…[which] have circulated fentanyl myths, causing [cops] to panic [like little girls]…Out of 121 fentanyl-related bulletins in the BlueLeaks trove reviewed by Reason, at least 36 claimed that fentanyl could be absorbed through the skin and at least 41 discussed the alleged danger of airborne fentanyl…

It’s nice to see them harming each others’ mental health for a change.

You Were Warned (#976)

So far, the vultures are being shot down, but they’ll continue to harass businesses until FOSTA is overturned:

[An ambulance-chaser] sued [the messaging app] Kik [in hopes of getting a lot of loot courtesy of]…FOSTA…[which] Congress enacted…to [encourage exactly this kind of nuisance] lawsuit…against Internet services.  The question is exactly what FOSTA did–a difficult question to answer because of FOSTA’s terrible drafting.  Court opinions trying to navigate the FOSTA/Section 230 interplay are extremely complex and technical in nature, and thus hard to understand…The plaintiff trie[d] to show that Kik violated [the law by]…“participat[ing] in a venture” with [imaginary] sex traffickers…The court grant[ed] Kik’s motion to dismiss…[because] the facts don’t seem to indicate any actual or attempted sex trafficking…Perhaps the court might have approached the opinion differently if the[re had actually been any behavior remotely resembling] sex trafficking…

Panopticon (#993)

Is it just me, or does this sound like an attempt at reverse psychology?

[FBI] documents warned that owners of Amazon’s Ring and similar video doorbells can use the systems…to watch police..leak[ed documents]…describe…numerous ways police and the FBI could use Ring surveillance footage, but it also cites “new challenges” involving sensor- and camera-equipped smart home devices….[which] can offer an early warning when [pigs] are approaching a house to [root around, destroy it, or brutalize and murder]…the owner…[In actuality,] this isn’t [an]y more information than a security camera would capture…and…Ring…[collaborates] with hundreds of [cop shops]…to hand over footage [without the owners’ permission]…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1023) 

Anti-sex profiteers never tell their marks that the 1st amendment isn’t subject to veto by busybodies clicking on an internet petition:

Laila Mickelwait’s…”TraffickingHub” campaign to [censor] Pornhub…has nearly two million signatures…There are many legitimate reasons for revenge porn victims and adult content owners to be critical of Pornhub…But what people who sign the TraffickingHub petition might not understand is that the campaign…comes from the world of anti sex [work] activism—and specifically, from a large Christian organization, Exodus Cry, which…[promotes police violence against] sex work[ers] and wants to abolish porn altogether…it…[also] has a history of homophobia and bigotry, and…peddl[es] a victim narrative to “save” sex workers while harming them with pushes for [pro-rape] legislation…

Losing Their Shit

The reek from the dying rescue industry is now wafting over from Europe:

…the European Freedom Network (EFN) [is a conspiracy between] 250 [evangelical] groups that [harass and persecute sex workers]…Leanne Rhodes…who lives in Portugal, is the Executive Director of the EFN…[and provides exampls of how “sex trafficking” propaganda] has changed substantially after the Covid-19 crisis…“organisations could no longer [harass sex workers in person, so] they lost [track of easy targets]…a lot of our partners have [invented new masturbbatory fantasies about]pimps…dump[ing “victims”]…mafias have moved from street prostitution to online prostitution. There is a massive increase in video sex, chat rooms…pornography and so on, all over the place and very early on as lockdowns started…you can sell people over the internet over and over…

Except for the new “pimps dumping slaves” trope, this is the same filth they’ve been peddling for over a decade.  Did they think nobody would notice?

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Zoiks!  –  Norville Rogers

One of this week’s deaths was Joe Ruby, who with his partner Ken Spears created Scooby Doo, Where Are You? during their time at Hanna-Barbera.  Years later, they started their own studion, which produced this cartoon I was very fond of (though I did often make fun of the fact that, due to broadcast standards & practices in 1980, Thundarr never killed anything with his “fabulous Sun Sword”).  The links above the video were provided by Grace, Mike Siegel, Yasmin Nair, Jesse Walker, Elizabeth N. Brown, and Anarras Ansible, in that order.

From the Archives

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What seems obvious to citizens is far too often deliberately unclear to government agencies.  –  Tim Cushing

Negative Secondary Effects

Busybodies are trying to ban dancing by cribbing language from the federal “obscenity” test:

The city council of Drain, Oregon passed new regulations…with the specific purpose of outlawing a…[strip club by] introducing business licenses to the city’s Code of Ordinances…[and adding a] new pro-censorship ordinance [featuring nonsense about]…”public morals, public safety, public health and public convenience”…and…“public nudity…appeals to the prurient interest…and…lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…Ray Hacke, an attorney with the…religious [pro-censorship] group Pacific Justice Institute [bloviated that]…“an adult entertainment business has no business…next to a church…[or] any place where children congregate…These places do [magically] attract sexual predators”…

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

Last month Kiwibank rolled out a “responsible banking policy” stating that it would no longer deal with any companies involved in [fossil fuels] and blacklisting the adult entertainment industry, casinos, military grade weapons, synthetic drugs, palm oil, tobacco and predatory lending.  But after representations from the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Kiwibank agreed to work with strip clubs and brothels that could demonstrate good practice.  The NZPC argued that banning brothel owners would have a flow-on effect to the people who worked for them.  Since then, [prohibitionist group] Wahine Toa Rising has written to Kiwibank applauding its initial commitment to [misogyny and discrimination]…and asking them to reconsider.  Kiwibank is still considering its response…

Even in New Zealand, the yellow press colludes with prohibitionists.  From the headline claiming that bigotry and dicrimination are “principled”, to the mischaracterization of a rescue-industry organization employing paid “survivor” shills as a legitimate sex worker group, to the prohibitionist propaganda which makes up the bulk of the article, to the Swedish criminalization snake oil, to the ugly prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies such as “the majority of sex workers…[were] sexually abused as…child[ren]”, this garbage would be more at home in a US tabloid than a New Zealand website purporting to be a news magazine.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#938)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

BammRose…is…the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry. In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against…racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to…hire Black dancers…and give them profitable shifts…At the root of the strippers’ strike is a demand for better, safer working conditions, fair wages, and protection from sexual assault…

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

[The Michigan supreme] court…[ruled in favor of] two plaintiffs suing…Oakland County…[over its] forfeiture policy…a…tax lien…[was] put on [Uri Rafaeli’s] property when…he…[underpaid his property taxes by] “$8.41 in…2011, which grew to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees. Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew Meisner…foreclosed on Rafaeli’s property…sold [it] at public auction for $24,500, and retained all the sale proceeds”…the county turned less than $300 in delinquencies into a $24,200 profit…Another property owner, Andre Ohanessian, saw $6000 in taxes, fines, and fees turn into a $76,000 net gain for the county when it auctioned his property for $82,000 and kept everything…

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

I can’t tell you how satisfied I am that Trumpaloons are taking over “sex trafficking” hysteria:

a [Facebook] post shared over 1,000 times reads…“Did you KNOW that a child in AMERICA is over 66,000 x more likely to be human trafficked than to get COVID-19?”  Similar [Facebook] posts contend that upwards of 800,000 children go missing every year, and that mask-wearing makes a child more likely to be trafficked.  These posts also criticize government officials and businesses for promoting mask use, [fantasiz]ing they are endangering children.  “We have now COMPLETELY taken away identifying our children’s faces.  We’ve made it much easier on these child abductors and human traffickers!” a post shared almost 8,000 times reads…“A child is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19,” another post shared 2,000 times reads. “In addition, your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone”…

Best part: the article then goes on to attempt to debunk these hysterical fantasies while simultaneously wallowing in other claims nearly as wacko as “masks cause sex trafficking!”

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

A would-be class action lawsuit alleges that the Macy’s department store chain violates Illinois law when it identifies customers recorded on its surveillance cameras by using facial recognition software…the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…bars some private companies from obtaining scans of facial geometry without written consent.  Macy’s uses software provided by Clearview AI Inc., which scrapes data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other internet platforms…Clearview…provides facial recognition services to more than 200 corporate clients, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart.  Some of the companies used the software on a trial basis, but Macy’s is a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000 searches…

Top Cop (#1062)

This psychopath is only two steps from the power she so desperately craves:

Joe Biden announced [last week] that he had picked [Kamala] Harris to be his running mate as he seeks to become the next president of the United States.  The good news is that it keeps Harris—who has a long and authoritarian history on criminal justice issues—far from the [post of] attorney general…[where she] would have the potential to do much more damage than as vice president.  The bad news is that it puts Harris next in line for the presidency should anything happen to [the man who would be the oldest ever elected to that office] and sets her up nicely for a future presidential run.  In Harris, we would get a leader with President Donald Trump’s penchant for unchecked executive power and modern Democrats’ tendency to consider no issue outside the reach of government.  The pick is somewhat surprising…[considering] Harris’ backhanded busing stunt during the Democratic candidate debates last summer, and…[her] troubling history…[on] law-and-order issues [for which she] is despised…by many young left-of-center voters…That’s a particular liability as Americans streets are still erupting with protests over police violence and calls for criminal justice reform…

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Domestic violence prosecutions have little benefit to women and in fact can harm them.  –  Aya Gruber

Where Are the Protests? 

When people are really enslaved, the situation isn’t at all ambiguous:

…13 [Samoan] victims…were [enslav]ed…their passports were taken from them.  They were kept on a property surrounded by a high wire fence and could only leave or communicate with their family with permission.  If they broke the rules, they were assaulted, sometimes so badly that it resulted in scars.  When one teenage victim escaped, she was brought back in a car with her hands and wrists tied…Most worked long hours picking fruits from orchards, but they didn’t receive the money they had earned.  Instead, it was given to the man who had…lured them to New Zealand: a Samoan chief named Joseph Auga Matamata…[who h]as [been] sentenced to 11 years in jail for…human trafficking and…dealing in slaves…He was also ordered to pay 183,000 New Zealand dollars ($122,000) in reparations to his 13 victims to partly compensate them for the estimated 300,000 New Zealand dollars ($200,000) his family gained from his criminal acts…

Despite the clear descriptions of these people’s treatment in the article, CNN linked it to a video calling ordinary sex work “human trafficking in the US”.

Greeks Bearing Gifts

Amateurs are finally noticing that feminists have been in bed with the pigs for decades:

The notion that victims have a responsibility to [the state to conspire with] prosecut[ors against] their abusers is deeply entrenched in the legal system’s approach to domestic violence…feminists and [other] tough-on-crime types…[support] the arrest and jailing of domestic violence survivors…if they are deemed an obstacle to prosecution…increasingly, [reasonable people] are [pointing out] that police and prosecutors…don’t help in domestic violence situations and, instead, often hurt…studies…show survivors of domestic violence are less likely to report abuse when they think that will lead to an arrest and…police themselves are often the perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, rendering them [useless] as a source of help…But [thanks to the “Violence Against Women Act” and similar laws]…arrest is…often mandatory…Aya Gruber…author of a recent book about the intersection of policing and feminism, says these policies ignore the fact that victims may be making a rational choice when they decline to testify against their abusers…By the 21st century, an increasing number of domestic violence arrests were of women, many of whom were victims themselves…around the same time, prosecutors and judges began to use [violence]…to force victims to testify against their will.  At least one [authoritarian] even suggested using guardianship laws to force women to comply with criminal prosecutions because such women lacked “independent judgment,” adding “a battered woman is so controlled that she has lost her autonomy”…

Traffic Circle

Debunkings of “sex trafficking” mythology are now becoming common:

All Shapes and Sizes (#834)

Why illustrate this at all if you’re just going to pixellate the images?

A British man whose penis fell off due to a severe blood infection had a new one built…on his arm…Malcolm MacDonald…suffered a horrific infection in his perineum that turned his fingers, toes and [penis] black…but his testicles remained intact…Professor David Ralph of London’s University College Hospital…said he could perform a…graft procedure…using a skin flap on the left arm of the right-handed man.  They created a urethra and installed two tubes inflated with a hand pump, allowing him to achieve an erection.  The shaft was then removed from his forearm, leaving the base, allowing it to form naturally as skin and tissue.  He is now waiting for it to be finally transferred to its proper location…

A Broker in Pillage (#1007)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

…[government] agents s[tole] more than $2 billion in cash from travelers in U.S. airports between 2000 and 2016, according to a new report by the Institute for Justicein…[one] case…Rustem Kazazi, a U.S. citizen who tried in 2018 to get on a plane to return to his native Albania…[was robbed of] $58,000 in cash…he was taking to repair a house he owned and possibly to buy another…by CBP agents…Then there’s the case of Anthonia Nwaorie, a Houston woman who had $41,000 in cash…earmarked for a children’s hospital in Nigeria [stolen from her]…there were no arrests made in more than two-thirds of all the cases…CBP isn’t the only agency seizing cash at airports.  Earlier this year, the…DEA…[was forced to] return…more than $82,000…it [had stolen] from an elderly Pittsburgh man and his daughter after a federal class-action lawsuit was filed on their behalf by the Institute for Justice…A 2017 report…found that the DEA [had stolen] more than $4 billion in cash…over the previous decade, but $3.2 billion…w[as] never connected to any criminal charges.  The majority of seizures occurred in airports, train stations, and bus terminals…

Top Cop (#1026)

This psychopath is still far too close to power for comfort:

Kamala Harris…is a schemer on the order of Lady Macbeth and Frank Underwood combined.  The only thought more horrific than Harris being one blood clot away from the Oval Office is of her replacing Bill Barr as U.S. Attorney General…Harris’ record as a prosecutor, both as San Francisco’s District Attorney and as California’s Attorney General, was marked by the misuse of her authority for political ends, and a sweeping contempt for the accused, for the U.S. Constitution and for the cause of justice.  A full exploration of Harris’ prosecutorial misdeeds would require a volume, if not volumes.  They run the gamut, from her sham investigation of widespread law enforcement misconduct in Orange County, to the family separations that resulted from her crackdown on the parents of truant kids, to her defense of the death penalty and laughter at the idea of marijuana legalization, to her decision not to go after Steve Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank for alleged misconduct regarding foreclosures, to a sweet plea deal for a fellow Democratic pol accused of assaulting women…Not only is Kamala a “cop”…she’s a bad cop, one who should not be granted the kind of national power to which she aspires…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1061)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A porn-addicted probation officer in Florida is facing charges after he was caught using his cellphone to record video beneath a woman’s dress at Walmart…Darius Brantley…was caught on surveillance camera…approaching a woman twice while using his phone to take video footage beneath her dress…The woman then called police after Brantley left the Walmart and a[n employee]…jotted down his license [plate number]…Brantley…admitted to recording the woman [but blamed an imaginary]…pornography addiction…

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She’s an adult as much as any fictional slime insect bug monster can be.  –  Slugbox

The Prudish Giant (#853)

Once Patreon started following in the footsteps of Facebook, this was inevitable:

Whether by choice or force, Patreon’s NSFW creators are increasingly ditching the site over its 18+ rules.  The latest casualties include a gay hypnosis erotica site and an adult anime artist [over whom] Patreon tried to “exercise a scary amount of financial and public control.”  On July 15, Gay Spiral Stories owner Martin announced that the site would no longer be available for funding on Patreon…when…Patreon [demanded he]…remove…fictional, fantastical stories around mind control…Patreon was attempting to control what content Gay Spiral Stories could host off-site, regardless of Gay Spiral Stories’ Patreon presence…Patreon is [also] increasingly forcing adult artists to surrender their portfolios to the site’s control.  In June, adult anime artist Slugbox…decided to leave Patreon for good…[because] under the site’s contemporary terms of service…“‘Slugbox’ becomes a ‘project’ that belongs to Patreon…[which can] dictate where Slugbox can operate, where Slugbox can make money, and how [Slugbox can] make money, and then hold my success here as a hostage”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#855)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A former west Kentucky teacher and track coach, Mark Boggess was sentenced to ten years in prison…for setting up a video recording device in the bathroom of the nurse’s station in the high school…[so he c]ould…watch people change in and out of clothes…The defense claimed Boggess has a porn addiction…

Lack of Evidence (#945) 

Alas, these lawsuits usually end in “settlements” that simply force cops to find a different excuse for harassing women:

A woman is suing San Jose police in federal court…[after] she was targeted, arrested, and jailed because [cops claimed]…transgender [women are all]…sex worker[s]…She is being represented by Bruce Nickerson, a prominent LGBTQ-rights attorney who is pursuing class-action status for the suit…Nickerson successfully sued San Jose police over undercover decoy stings…that…unlawfully targeted gay men…San Jose police declined to comment on the lawsuit…But [claimed stalking and harassing people for supposed bad thoughts was really FOR THE CHILDREN™!!!]…and [that]…street prostitution [magically attracts unspecified but scary]…harmful activity…from…other cities

Pyrrhic Victory (#985) 

Another (very) slight setback for universal facial recognition in the US:

Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States…in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods…after Reuters sent…findings [from its investigation] to the retailer, Rite Aid [claimed] it had quit using its facial recognition software….[and] all the cameras had been turned off…Rite Aid [also claimed]…that customers had been apprised of the technology through “signage”…[but] reporters found no notice of the surveillance in more than a third of the stores…with the facial recognition cameras…and [further claimed]…the rollout was…based on stores’ theft histories, local and national crime data and site infrastructure…Among the systems used…was one from DeepCam LLC, which…[is lin]ked with a firm in China whose largest…investor is [the] Chinese government…The Home Depot Inc said it had been testing facial recognition to reduce shoplifting in at least one of its stores but stopped the trial this year…Walmart…has also tried out facial recognition in a handful of stores…

You Were Warned (#1031)

Torture Chamber (#1041)

No human is truly free while governments claim the “right” to lock people in filthy, disease-ridden cages:

…conditions at the Indiana Women’s Prison are being [recognized as] “inhumane” by some [politicians.  Chief screws deny it, but a whistleblower sided with prisoners in telling the truth.  Bureaucrats claim that prisoners]…can go to the restroom every 30 minutes and are allowed to leave their cell every two hours to roam the common areas.  [But in reality the women are locked in cages and told to “stop faking” if they need to use the toilet]…Before the pandemic, the [screws] would keep the cell doors open so [prisoners] could go into the common areas and the air would easily flow through the facility.  However, the[y now use the pandemic as an excuse to keep]…cell doors [locked at all times]…“They are passing out from heat exhaustion as well as experiencing seizures,” said [politician J.D.] Ford…“I have seen vomiting, I have not personally seen seizures, but I frequently see reports of them,” said the…whistleblower…

To Molest and Rape (#1057)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A San Diego [cop was finally] arrested…on criminal charges of child molestation, pandering and luring a child into a sex act, among other offenses…Jaylen Devon Fleer…is being held without bail…[after being on paid vacation since] May…[other pigs from the same cop shop who have been] charged with sexual misconduct…in recent years [include molester] Richard Fischer…[molester] Timothy Wilson…[rapist] Juan Andrade…[and sexual harasser] Assistant Sheriff Rich Miller…

If you can stomach it, read down to the part where the reporter tries to build up sympathy for a molester by telling us how good he was at playing kids’ games in high school.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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Do you have any idea why some people’s Twitter follower count either stays the same or slowly drops?  Mine used to climb pretty steadily, but lately I’m losing followers even though I’m not doing anything different.

Most internet companies are more subtle than censorship-happy Facebook, which openly and proudly censors posts and bans users using a set of “community standards” so bluenosed they’d make a Puritan swoon.  Google is only slightly less censorious, using secret algorithms to monkey with search results in order to boost its advertisers and “de-weight” any site containing “adult content” (which is why my traffic to this blog from Google is only about 1/6 what it was seven years ago); it also “demonetizes” videos on YouTube (ie, makes them ineligible for moneymaking ads) using similar esoteric criteria.  Twitter, by contrast, likes to represent itself as the most free-speech-friendly of the social media sites, and to a degree that’s no empty pose; it’s the only one left which still allows (some) nudity, frank sexual discussion, and the open presence of sex workers.  But behind the scenes it still has a number of secret mechanisms, most of which it denies the existence of, that are intended to push nasty, dirty, sex into the shadows to make room for nice, fully-clothed bigots.  One of those is the shadowban, a blanket term for a number of occlusions which can be secretly installed by the corporation on the accounts of (mostly but not only) sex workers so as to make their accounts much harder for new readers to find while allowing them to appear normally to those who already follow them:  Twitter used to deny that there was such a thing as a shadowban, but as of January 1st its TOS states that it “reserves the right to limit distribution or visibility of content”, IOW to shadowban users.  But what you’re describing is different.  According to the shadowban checker I linked above, I’m not shadowbanned; yet my follower count, which used to increase by hundreds every month, has now been static for over two years.  I get at least 10-20 new followers every day, yet my count just bobs gently back and forth like a buoy on a calm sea, as though something were draining away followers at the same rate I gained them.  Then since about April, I’ve been slowly losing followers; it’s very gradual, about 220 followers so far, yet I’m still gaining a dozen to a score new followers evey day.  The only thing I can figure is that this is part of their anti-bot campaign; apparently, the site is methodically checking every account over time, and when an account trips some condition that Twitter has decided makes it “suspicious”, that account is either closed entirely or at least “disqualified” as a follower.  I know I’ve had a number of people tell me that Twitter has “unfollowed” me for them without their permission, such that they wondered if I had left the site until they saw someone else retweet me; I suspect a lot of the lost followers are due to a similar process.  But riddle me this:  if it’s an innocent by-product of that kind of routine site cleaning, why are all the people who have noticed it either “adult” or otherwise “controversial”?

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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