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Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Vote, vote, vote
Vote, vote, vote
Unless you are a candied yam
‘Cause candied yams can’t vote.
  –  Charlotte

Since we’re getting close to both Halloween and the real horror of the US presidential election, I figured a horror cartoon about an election would be appropriate; any resemblance between the ending of the cartoon and one possible outcome of the real election is strictly intentional.  The links above it were provided by David Ley, Cop Crisis (x2), Radley Balko, Mark Draughn, Lenore Skenazy, and Jesse Walker, in that order.

From the Archives

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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America’s founding generation…knew their fair share of unwelcome constables.  –  Judge Justin Walker

Elephant in the Parlor (#832)

Remember this scandal?

A California Superior Court judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $44,100 to…Stormy Daniels, to reimburse her attorneys’ fees in the legal battle surrounding her nondisclosure agreement…[the suit ended when] Trump and his legal team agreed outside of court not to sue or otherwise enforce the NDA.  The…claim…[was] ruled moot, as the NDA had been rendered unenforceable…Judge Robert Broadbelt III ruled that [Daniels] was entitled to legal fees, finding her the “prevailing party” under California law…

License to Rape (#940)

Let’s hope this means it’s going to get harder for cops to molest kids under the pretext of a “search”:

Holly Curry sued [a] cop and [a busybody bureaucrat who threatened their way into her home without a warrant and molested her children under the pretext of] investigat[ing her] for child abuse…[she argued] their behavior was so egregious, they had to take responsibility for it.  The judge agreed…and…[denied] them…[qualified] immunity.[because]… it was clear the government used an improper threat to enter the home, lacked any evidence that might have justified a strip search, and violated the children’s rights to bodily integrity…The investigator in the case testified that they “automatically strip search every child when they go into a home”…

I Spy (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

Amazon…received more than 3,000 requests for smart speaker user data from police…this year…[and] complied with…more than 2,000 occasions, forking over recordings and data that [let pigs eavesdrop on private conversations]…This number marks a 72% increase in these types of requests from the same period in 2016…Google’s Nest unit has also seen a similar spike in police demands for data from its [microphones]…Voice clips are…only the beginning…Police can also [ob]tain time-stamped logs of user activity…

Torture Chamber (#987)

This isn’t nearly enough, unless it’s drawn from the screws’ pension fund:

The [citizens] of Florida will [be forced by the state to] pay…$4.65 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by Cheryl Weimar, a…prison[er] who was paralyzed from the neck down after a brutal beating by [screws] last September…the payout…[is slightly] large[r]…[than] the…$4.5 million [given] to the family of Darren Rainey…who[m sadistic screws intentionally and maliciously] boiled to death in a rigged shower [in 2012]…Keith Turner, one of the [screws who maimed her]…was later arrested [for] molesting two minors and fired from the FDOC…[his accomplice Ryan Dionne was arrested in 2013 for domestic battery, yet] remains employed at the department…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Trumpists and anti-Trumpists continue to fight for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

A new report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence offers a damning portrait of the people Donald Trump chose as his partners for potential projects in Russia.  They include…Tevfik Arif…[whom] the…committee…accus[ed of being…“involved in Russian…human trafficking…[because] he…brought ‘thousands’ of women into the United States, primarily from Ukraine”…and…Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov and his pop-singer son, Emin…who…“have been closely affiliated with individuals involved in…prostitution…and other significant criminal enterprises”…

The Implosion Begins

This is getting sweeter by the day:

Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory…marched in downtown Miami on [August 22nd] as part of a series of rallies stretching across Florida…some demonstrators held vague signs asking to “save our children,” [and] others hinted [th]at…the…underground human trafficking ring [of the myths so beloved by yellow journalists and anti-sex profiteers is actually] run by the country’s elite class…

The Implosion Begins (#1067)

Moral panics never end until they start harming those who weren’t their intended targets:

A Waco, Texas, woman [named Cecilia Fulbright]…motivated by the QAnon [branch of the popular “sex trafficking” delusion]…got behind the wheel of her car just after 9 a.m.​ [on August 19th] with the intent to “[save] a child” from “pedophiles”.  Fulbright…chased two strangers’ vehicles in an apparent attempt to ​hit them…the first vehicle was a catering truck driven by a woman with her ​minor daughter in the passenger’s seat.  They successfully evaded Fulbright…[who] then ​targeted a second unrelated ​vehicle, a Dodge Caravan ​driven by a 19-year-old college student​.  Fulbright chased ​the student into a parking lot​ where she cornered​ and repeatedly rammed ​the..van​…[cops] found Fulbright “crying hysterically” and yelling that the driver of the vehicle she attacked “was a pedophile and had kidnapped a girl for human trafficking”…her blood alcohol content was recorded as 0.21​ percent…

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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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Fundamental[ly]…policing [is]…a state institution that’s predicated on the use of violence to fix problems.  –  Alex Vitale

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

Sex workers aren’t always a part of [amateurs’] conversation about police brutality, but they should be.  Police regularly target, harass, and assault sex workers or people they think are sex workers…[and] usually get away with the abuse because sex workers fear being arrested if they report. If we lived in a world that didn’t criminalize sex work, sex workers could better protect themselves and seek justice when they are harmed.  Protecting sex workers from police violence is just one of the reasons we need to decriminalize sex work…

To Molest and Rape

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…one of three white officers accused in the death of Breonna Taylor…[also molested at least] two women [in the past.  Brett Hankinson]…is…a dirty cop [who has also carried out] vendetta[s by] arrest[ing people he dislikes on trumped-up charges]…the more recent sexual assault…[was] against…a woman [named]…Margo Borders w[ho reported that Hankinson] …”drove me home [from a bar] in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious”…In the second instance…Emily Terry…”began walking home from a bar intoxicated.  A [cop] pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home…He began making sexual advances towards me…As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#903) 

Amazon wants to have its cake and eat it too:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology.  We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to [persecute sex workers] and [pass the information on to the cops]…

In other words, Amazon is adopting a cosmetic ban in order to take advantage of the anti-cop zeitgeist while simultaneously profiting from helping notorious fascist anti-sex organizations to persecute sex workers and pass the information along to their pig buddies.

Silver Lining

Another sign that the moral panic may be dying:

For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases…has dropped after almost two decades of increases…Overall, federal p[er]secutions of [people using the excuse of] human traffick[ing] have dropped by about a third since 2017…The decrease came entirely from a drop in prosecutions of sex trafficking…which has consistently made up the majority of federal human trafficking prosecutions since the TVPA was enacted.  The number of labor trafficking cases has remained roughly the same, [because unike “sex trafficking” they are based in reality]…The number of new sex trafficking cases, meanwhile, dropped from 207 in 2017 to just 136 filed in 2019…

Working From Home (#1045)

Moloch (#1047) 

Contrast with Oregon and other states which are finally moving to protect students from police violence:

…thousands of small children who are led out of schools in handcuffs every year around the country.  Juvenile arrests in Florida have been steadily declining over the last decade, as they have been more generally across the U.S., but…the state embarked on an aggressive plan to “harden” its…[treatment of students], including putting at least one [armed, dangerous thug] in every K-12 school in the state…[the result is that] students, especially minorities and those with disabilities, are now bearing the brunt of new zero tolerance policies and heavy-handed discipline…In Minneapolis…the school board recently voted in favor of…ending a $1 million [cash cow for]…city police.  Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, announced…that he would disband the city’s school [pig herd]…Other states and cities appear to be considering similar measures.  [But] in Florida [police violence against students] increased…20%…[and] there’s been a spike in the use of involuntary psychiatric commitments against kids…thanks to an existing Florida…that gives police authority to temporarily lock up both children and adults against their will…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

Alex Vitale on what abolishing police would actually look like:

Five years ago, in the wake of the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, we were told, “Don’t worry, we’re going to fix it. We’re going to give the police implicit bias training.  We’re going to hold some community police encounter sessions.  We’re gonna buy some body cameras”…what we often refer to as “procedural reforms”…[were] going to magically fix the problem.  But…the problem of overpolicing remains…Procedural justice folks…want to restore the public’s trust in the police…But this ignores the question of what they are policing, and whether they should be policing it.  We have [millions of] low-level arrests in the United States every year and most of them are completely pointless.  It is just a huge level of harassment meted out almost exclusively on the poorest and most marginal communities in our society…[true police reform must] go…hand in hand with decriminalizing sex work, drugs, homelessness, mental illness.  We don’t really need a vice unit, we need a system of legalized sex work that’s regulated just like any other business.  We don’t need school police, we need counselors and restorative justice programs.  We don’t need police homeless outreach units, we need supportive housing, community based drop-in centers, social workers…

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing.  –  Odessa Riley

Rube Goldberg machines are even more awesome when constructed in an ordinary yard, as in this video contributed by Phoenix Calida; the links above it were provided by Cathy Reisenwitz, Kevin Wilson, Missy Mariposa (x2), Mark Bennett, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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Rarely have entitled scolds been so empowered to tattle on people doing stuff of which they disapprove.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Rooted in Racism (#928)

Sex workers are always among the first targeted for deportation:

The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down strip clubs around the country, leaving workers without employment.  Many strippers have migrated to online sex work, but this type of visibility puts undocumented and migrant sex workers at a higher risk of being deported, getting their green card application denied, or being refused entry into the United States.  Without documentation…sex work is often the highest paid job available, and some clubs allow dancers to work without it.  Stripping has provided Ruby…with a comfortable lifestyle in South Florida, something she would not have been able to accomplish working the other jobs, such as dishwashing, available to undocumented people…Since her club shuttered as a result of the pandemic, Ruby said she considered camming but is afraid that online sex work could hurt her chances of obtaining a green card…

Working From Home

Another example of sex worker ingenuity:

unionised strippers in the UK…host[ed] a first-of-its-kind virtual strip club on Saturday, April 11th called CYBERTEASE…as a workers’ co-op, in response to the closure of strip clubs due to Covid-19…Dancers will be performing on Zoom, where the event will be DJed by Queer House Party

Meanwhile, on Instagram:

…Justin LaBoy, 28, a former professional basketball player and a social media personality…ha[s] been hosting virtual pop-up strip clubs on Instagram Live…Many bars and strip clubs were forced to close nearly overnight around much of the world.  Thousands of bartenders, bottle service girls and dancers have been left with no income…strip clubs have…sought to recreate the experience digitally…But Mr. LaBoy’s events have attracted a unique and fervent fandom.  Music artists…top N.F.L. and N.B.A. players and [other celebrities]…have…joined the stream as special guests…LaBoy…pin[s] the dancer’s Cash App user names to the top of the feed, so that followers could send them money…[and] the “Respectfully Justin Show” was born.  Several hours before the show, Mr. LaBoy begins hyping up the event on social media using the hashtag #respectfully.  Because Instagram prohibits explicit content, Mr. LaBoy creates a new Instagram handle for each event.  He announces this page’s name through Twitter, along with the date and time of the show…LaBoy brings in [P. Diddy’s son Justin Dior] Combs, then kicks back and begins streaming a glass of red wine, which has become a meme of its own…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever (#1027)

Do I really have to add, “Not because you saw your neighbors outdoors”?

In the time of the pandemic the world’s snitches are in their glory, pointing fingers at “non-essential” businesses struggling to keep the lights on and at neighbors brazenly standing too closely together…Lockdown commandments hand them the opportunity not just to publicly shame violators…but to inform to the authorities, with all that entails…snitching seems to be competing with the virus itself in its spread…As always, informers are encouraged in their excess by many government officials.  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promised that “snitches get rewards,” and his sentiments are shared by [authoritarians] elsewhere.  A certain segment of the public has eagerly embraced the role of social-distancing Stasi, recording perceived violations of safe practices and not just reprimanding the supposed violators for exercising independent judgment, but handing their details off to the [pigs]…

Like Houses (#1027)

Abrogating freedom of religion and freedom of assembly at once:

As Maryville Baptist Church moved forward with its in-person Easter service Sunday morning, Kentucky State [pigs] were recording the license plates and placing notices on the roughly 50 cars parked outside…[after] Gov. Andy Beshear [issued a diktat] as part of ongoing efforts to keep Kentuckians [locked up and isolated.  A spokespig oinked that]…most of the state’s [cop shops]…have responded to between two and five complaints about church services…but…found no violations of CDC guidelines…with Maryville apparently the exception.  Most calls have been in reference to [drive-in] services…[which] “were specifically mentioned by the governor as being allowed”…

Like Houses (#1029)

And guess who gets to declare that an “emergency” exists?

…New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio…really does want to [use state violence to] drag doctors and nurses from their jobs elsewhere to assigned positions in New York City [without their consent]…de Blasio isn’t alone as a government official who sees in the crisis an opportunity to go full commissar.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is stealing ventilators from upstate hospitals to give to facilities downstate.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is similarly snatching medical supplies from private firms and facilities to use as he sees fit.  And President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to force medical equipment manufacturers to abandon customers beyond the borders — and even to sell to only the federal government.  In context, de Blasio’s insistence that medical providers are playing pieces to be pushed around a game board at his whim is the next logical step down the path the political class has already chosen…

Working From Home (#1030)

Cam work isn’t just a stopgap measure; it’s a specialization:

Many people who find themselves suddenly unemployed need cash quickly, and some might be considering a side gig in online sex work…However…even for experienced, full-time sex workers, “just making an OnlyFans” doesn’t always pay the bills.  Online sex work requires an entirely different skill set than in-person work like escorting and stripping, and it can pose greater risks to privacy and anonymity…top-earning performers ha[ve] one thing in common: production value.  If I wanted to earn anything close to sustainable income, I would at least need a webcam ($70 for a basic model, $250 for ultra HD), professional studio lights (at least $50), and a faster Wi-Fi connection (high-speed routers start around $150).  If I was really serious, I would need more dildos, bigger dildos (body-safe silicone sex toys can range from $20 to almost $200), better lingerie ($100), and a teledildonic sex toy that allowed viewers to interact with me via Bluetooth ($125).  Just being a sex worker costs much more than many people realize…it was months before I actually broke even…building a loyal, reliable one can take years.  It was a full year before I started making a somewhat steady income, and despite working full-time hours some weeks, the money I make is only supplemental to my freelance writing work…

Social Distancing (#1031)

Sex work businesses are ineligible for loans; individuals still get the check.  But Stormy’s points are still right on in a larger sense:

…the Fourteenth Amendment…states that all citizens…have equal protection and rights…no…part…states “unless you work in the adult entertainment industry” and yet that is precisely what is happening right now….disaster relief loan…[applications] specifically list…adult entertainment businesses…as a disqualification in receiving economic assistance…[sex workers a]re still required to pay taxes, thus contributing to the resources we are banned from receiving…The language in the application…lumps strippers in the same category as criminals and deadbeat parents.  Ironically, without that assistance, a lot of [sex] workers…could become exactly that by being unable to support their families…

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Governmental mechanisms to frame policy based on lies are not uncommon.  –  Laura Agustín

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín on “sex trafficking” snake oil:

Swindle, chicanery, skullduggery, con.  There’s no one perfect word to describe how trafficking came to be hailed as one of the great problems of our time.  Excess in rhetoric has known no bounds, with campaigners saying theirs is the new civil-rights movement and claiming there are more people in slavery today than at any time in human history, amongst other hyperbole.  And there was me thinking it was about folks wanting to leave home to see if things might be better elsewhere…I was asking reasonable questions about a social phenomenon and refused to be fobbed off with explanations that made no sense.  My trajectory as a thinker happened to coincide with a piece of governmental legerdemain that switched the topic of conversation from human mobility and migration to organized crime, like peas in a shell game…

Shame, Shame (#649)

Gee, who could’ve anticipated draconian “revenge porn” laws would be used this way (except all the free speech activists who have opposed them for years)?

Bethany Austin did nothing society would reasonably call wrong.  She received, without asking, sexually explicit images that her fiancé’s paramour sent to a shared cloud account.  She quietly called off the engagement…[and] her former fiancé [responded by] spread[ing] a hurtful and untrue rumor that he had ended the relationship because Ms. Austin was crazy and refused to cook and clean for him.  To clear her good name, Ms. Austin wrote a letter to her friends and family explaining what really happened.  She attached some of the images as proof.  Now the ex‐​fiancé and his paramour are using Illinois’s “revenge porn” law to punish her for speaking, and the state is happily obliging…The trial court found the law unconstitutional, but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed.  Cato, joined by DKT Liberty Project, has filed an amicus brief supporting Ms. Austin’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court…

I Spy (#1001)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Google will use its mammoth collection of mobile location data to [spy on] people across the globe [to see whether they are obeying] government [orders] to remain at home [until politicians deign to let them out again]…or are venturing out to [live their lives]…Google will provide county-level percentages that are updated every few days, but summarized in a way that the company [claims] will not reveal any individual’s travels [until politicians demand such information…

A Moral Cancer (#1002)

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

With the economy tanking and families locked together because of stay-at-home orders…domestic violence rates appear to be soaring.  This requires an urgent response:  States should immediately order the closures of liquor stores.  They can reopen when [politicians declare that] home isolation is no longer needed…

Like Houses (#1025)

And guess who gets to declare that an “emergency” exists?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that [the] right [to self-defense]…is…”nonessential”…a…decision…which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition…Villanueva…[was forced to] rescind…his ban…[in the face of a lawsuit and]…new federal guidelines.  New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy…[and] Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf [made similar defeated attempts]…their reluctance to respect [Constitutional rights does]…not bode well for civil liberties at a time when many people seem to think that fighting the pandemic trumps all other concerns…Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argued…Congress should suspend the writ of habeas corpus…[so] people [can be indefinitely] detained by the government…[and a recent poll showed] sizable majorities of [useful idiots]…favored confining people to their homes, [caging] sick people…government takeovers of businesses, [enslavement] of health care workers…and even criminalizing [speech that the government disapproves of]…

Like Houses (#1027)

Oh Maggie, you’re paranoid; this is about keeping people SAFE!

Under a motion passed by the city council in Laredo, Texas…residents…face a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth [until politicians declare] the coronavirus outbreak [over]…all residents over the age of 5 are required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas…residents will also be required to adhere to a daily curfew or possibly face a fine or jail time…the curfew…lasts from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m…and may only leave for…work…[if they have a permission slip] from their employer…

It’s not about expanding the police state at all!

…New York [cops] arrested three people in Brooklyn…after they allegedly “failed to maintain social distancing”…despite [politicians] promising that those disregarding the lockdown would face fines at most…the individuals [were]…charged with obstructing governmental administration, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct…one…woman…[was mobbed by pigs] wearing no masks…[who] pepper-sprayed [her and her boyfriend]…she…was…then [locked in a filthy cage]…with two dozen other women for the next 36 hours.  Only women who already had masks when they were arrested were allowed to keep them…The woman was…[fired] because [her employer]…fears she was exposed to the virus while in [the disgusting, unsanitary cage]…

Government officials can be trusted not to take it too far!

Louisville residents [accused of]…contact with coronavirus patients [whom cops also accuse of] refus[ing] to isolate themselves are being [forced] to wear ankle [monitor] bracelets…there are [four] known cases so far…

Social Distancing (#1028)

American anti-sex work attitudes have slowly caught on in Japan:

Advocates for bar hostesses and [other] sex workers have urged the government to reconsider its exclusion of them from compensation for parents unable to work because of school closures, noting they are among the most vulnerable members of society.  A support group for such workers submitted…a letter asking the government not to discriminate by occupation and to protect the lives of all families as the coronavirus takes its toll on the Japanese economy…

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[Cops] can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, “See you later. Deal with it.”  –  Leo Lech

Regular readers know that I love unusual song covers; Matt Welch recently pointed me to this surprisingly powerful acoustic German-language cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint in Black” by the late Czech star Karel Gott.  I also recently discovered a Twitter account named Cop Crisis, which provided three of the links above the video (“sirree”, “oinks” and “understand”); the others were contributed by Tim Cushing (“says”), Mark Draughn (“safer”), and Jacob Sullum (“smell”).

From the Archives

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