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Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

In the late Oughts, while we were building our house in Oklahoma, I received a phone call from a scientist who worked in wildlife conservation for the state.  He explained that a gas pipeline was going through our neighbors’ land; I already knew this because I had previously rejected the company’s offer to put it through mine, because the amount of compensation was inadequate to make up for having a 12-meter-wide path of destruction cut through my property.  The size of the right-of-way was the reason for the call; it seems our part of the state was one of the most important habitats for an endangered species of giant burying beetle, and this scientists’ job was to put out bait to draw the beetles out of the construction zone.  What he wanted was permission to come onto my land to throw out chicken leg quarters so as to attract the beetles, which bury small carrion (such as dead birds and squirrels) to lay their eggs in so the larvae have a food source.  I readily agreed, not merely because it was interesting, but also because I figured the more endangered species on my property, the more protection I’d have against gas companies trying to force their way in.  He didn’t have much luck with the bait, but mere hours after his final visit I happened to look down into the hollow where our water cutoff valve lay and saw a dozen of the critters, apparently unable to crawl or fly out of the piece of PVC pipe that kept the sides of the hole from collapsing.  So I dutifully called him to report them; I told him I wasn’t afraid to touch them, and could take them out one by one if he wanted.  He explained that since they were endangered, it was illegal for me to even touch them, and he asked me to put in a small slat of wood so they could crawl out (which they quickly did, each spreading its wings and flying off when it reached the top of the stick).

I thought about this last week because I saw a conversation on Twitter about the Fermi Paradox, with the participants expressing their opinions for why we’ve never seen any evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations.  One not-unusual suggestion is that some authority (a galactic empire or whatever) has declared us off-limits to contact, but that generally raises the objection that it’s egotistical for us to believe we’re worthy of that kind of protection.  But if intelligent aliens are at all like us, that might not matter.  Now, I’m not talking about a Star Trek-type situation in which most civilizations look like humans in makeup and everybody is of roughly the same general level of technology; I’m not even proposing a species like the one in my story “Millennium“, whose attitude toward less-advanced races is…let’s just say far too human-like for comfort.  All I’m suggesting is that if intelligence is rare, advanced spacefaring civilizations might consider all of it valuable, and could conceivably think of any intelligent species confined to a single habitat as “endangered”.  Most Oklahomans have probably never even noticed burying beetles, and few of those who know about them probably give a damn whether they go extinct or not; however, our governments have established laws to protect all endangered species, no matter how insignificant or unpopular to the general public.  They are, in fact, willing to expend considerable effort and resources to protecting such species, regardless of whether those species are relatively interesting or important in any way.  In other words, it might not be at all egotistical to imagine humans as a “protected species” to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization; they may not care about us specifically, but rather their own principles.  In other words, they may treat all young civilizations that way, even those they perceive as creepy little carrion-eating insects.

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Why are you in my home?  –  Kawaski Trawick, last words

Though there are rarely any decent holiday videos on YouTube any more (and when there are, they appear only a few days in advance), Christmas has long been a time for celebrating via mind-altering substances.  I therefore present this video, provided by Jesse Walker, who also supplied “corpse” and both obits.  The other links above the video are from Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Mistress Matisse, Phoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Bathhouse 26

At long last, we’ve finally got the last of our roofing materials.  The process has been far more difficult than it should have been; in Oklahoma, we had a choice of several local vendors and were able to quickly find and purchase what we wanted.  But here in Washington, the process was slow, confusing, and far more expensive than it had to be, and we eventually had to deal with three different vendors.  For this particular product (PBR panels, for those who understand the subject) we had to contract with a company in Tennessee to pick up the product in the Seattle area; my card was charged on October 29th, and when I had heard nothing about where or when to pick up our materials by November 30th, I called to inquire.  An email the next day told me that our order was ready and provided a tracking number, but still no address or phone number of the facility.  Yet another phone call was required to obtain those, but when I called the place they wanted a PO number rather than the tracking number I was given, and the clerk couldn’t find my order in the computer by name because the salesman misspelled it (despite my spelling it for him phonetically, more than once).  Finally they managed to locate it, and Chekhov took the trailer to pick it up.  And once we finally had it in hand, I could start the process of tracking down my promised refund of the shipping charge, which somehow mysteriously vanished between the order and my credit card.  As of this writing, I still don’t know what’s up with that, but even after I find it there’s no way I’m going to recommend this particular company to anyone else, even if I do think it’s due to the salesman being the owner’s son-in-law, ne’er-do-well nephew, or some other person unlikely to be fired merely because he’s startlingly incompetent.

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Criminalizing fiction is thoughtcrime.  –  Prostasia

Thought Control 

Imagine your home being fired upon and a heavily armed SWAT team busting through your front door, all so that the government can stop people from reading fiction.  It sounds like a scenario from a dystopian novel, but this really happened on November 7, 2019, when FBI agents raided the home of Thomas Arthur, the administrator of an erotic fiction archive, charging him with obscenity-related crimes.  His trial will be an important test case, which will determine whether the government is entitled to do this.  Prostasia Foundation is assisting in the defense, by arranging for an art censorship expert to testify as a witness. But we need your help to cover their costs…The prosecution of Mr Arthur for hosting text-only stories is outrageous, and it cannot be allowed to succeed…

Under Every Bed 

This regurgitation of debunked nonsense is pathetic even by cop standards:

A girl sitting…in a car…might be a sign of human trafficking…[cops & prosecutors stroking themselves]…100,000 and 300,000 children in the United States are victims of…sex trafficking each year…[the Shahada]…[more cops & prosecutors stroking themselves]…proactive …underage girls or boys prostituted in the illegal commercial sex industry…The handlers of these [inanimate] victims move them around a lot…brainwashed, emotionally controlled…conditioned to protect that pimp…”they don’t know they need rescued [sic]”…the victim runs away from that safe place…Children…18 or older…One in six runaways are sex trafficking victims…the average age of death is 34…”we’re on I-65″…100 percent genuine victims…

Guinea Pigs

To flush civil rights, just apply a label like “prostitute” or “gang member”:

…Salt Lake City…District Attorney Sim Gill [pre]tends that, because…he [chose to charge] protesters…[as] a group…their…charges are subject to a “gang” enhancement.  One of those protesters, Madalena McNeil, is accused of buying red paint that was splashed on the outside of Gill’s office building…police…subpoenaed McNeil’s Venmo account and filed an affidavit targeting state [politician] Derek Kitchen—who did not attend the protest in question—over a $10 Venmo payment with the caption “paint” the previous month…experts suggest…this…saga [h]as [become] a caricature of law-enforcement overkill…

The original story was included in Links #528.

Rooted in Racism (#966)

The racism of European “anti-trafficking” schemes is getting harder to disguise:

…[In the first weeks of November] more than 100 people [died] at sea in four separate shipwrecks within less than 72 hours [while]…six NGO rescue ships remain blocked in port by…European authorities…Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, [Medecins Sans Frontieres’] Humanitarian Affairs Advisor [said]…“For European governments…to say they are saddened by this horrendous loss of life is hypocritical at best,…They need to stop with the double-speak and admit their responsibility:  shipwrecks like this are the direct outcome of their approach to migration.”  Nearly 700 people have died in their attempt to escape Libya across the central Mediterranean during 2020, and…rather than meeting their international and maritime obligations to assist those in distress at sea, European states have chosen to further decimate search and rescue capacity…European states must stop blaming this loss of life…on [so-called] traffickers.  They must instead accept that the mass loss of life in these incidents are the human collateral of their own calculated and political decision-making…

A Broker in Pillage (#1062)

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

The…DEA…will return more than $43,000 it seized from a Tampa woman at an airport after she joined a class-action lawsuit challenging the agency’s practice of [robbing people] using civil asset forfeiture…The DEA seized $43,167 from Stacy Jones last May as she was trying to fly home to Tampa, Florida, from Wilmington, North Carolina…the cash was from the sale of a used car, as well as money she and her husband intended to take to a casino.  Jones is now a named plaintiff in a class-action civil rights lawsuit filed in January by the Institute for Justice…Although it is legal to fly domestically with large amounts of undeclared cash, the…DEA and…TSA…have a practice or policy of s[teal]ing currency from travelers at U.S. airports without probable cause simply if the dollar amount is greater than $5,000…

The Implosion Begins (#1069)

The moral panic continues to spin wildly out of control:

An Oklahoma man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 10-month-old infant has repeatedly made Facebook posts in support of the…QAnon [variant of “sex trafficking” hysteria]…Joshua Jennings…was arrested…on charges of first-degree murder…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

Cops all over the US are trying to shore up the dying “sex trafficking” mythology by combining arrests of sex workers and clients and pretending they’re related:

Tallahassee police wrapped…two-year[s worth of small]-scale…prostitution a[rrests together and called it a]…human trafficking…investigation…[cops claim they] saw images of a child posted on a [sex work ad] website…[and yet only adults were] arrest[ed]…106 were charged with felonies [such as “pimping”] and 72…were charged with misdemeanors…

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Think of the ramifications…if everyone who searched something…was subject to interviews by federal agents.  –  Todd Spodek

To Molest and Rape

Given that the badge is a weapon, most rape by cops is “on duty”:

Purcell [Oklahoma cop]…Jason Baca [raped a] woman…in [August and was rewarded with a]…paid [vacation until] an arrest warrant was [finally] issued [on October 7th] and he turned himself in at the [jail]…

Served Cold (#797) 

This megalomaniac’s antics have grown so bizarre even prohibitionists can no longer ignore it:

A Utah prosecutor is investigating Operation Underground Railroad – one of the best-known organizations [profiting from hysteria over] human trafficking.  Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings…[declined to] specif[y] why O.U.R…is under investigation.  However, in recent posts to his Instagram account, Rawlings implied a local nonprofit was conducting illegal fundraising efforts by taking credit for arrests made by [cops]…Rawlings suggested some witnesses have been hindered by nondisclosure agreements…“Just because someone claims they are called of God when asking for your money does not necessarily mean they actually are.”  Rawlings ended that post with the hashtags: “#fraud #scam #crime.”  In a later post, Rawlings included copies of Utah’s statutes against communications fraud and witness tampering…

I Spy (#930)

Curiosity offends the state, comrade:

…Google has provided police information on users based on keyword searches….[pigs demanded] the company…disclose the IP addresses of everyone who had looked up words relevant to their [snooping, rooting and prying]…The troubling practice came to light when police in Florida investigated an incident where a woman who had accused singer R. Kelly of sexual assault had her car vandalized outside her home…police “sent a search warrant to Google that requested information on users who had searched the address of the residence close in time to the arson”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Illinois readers can get $400 from the copZucker:

Facebook users in Illinois can now apply to collect from a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit…filed over Facebook’s collection and storing of biometric data…without…consent.  As part of the $650 million settlement, claimants may be eligible for payments of between $200-$400, depending on the number of valid claims filed…by…users…for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011…Claimants must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 183 days (six months) to be eligible.  Claims must be filed by November 23, 2020…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

U.S. [politicians]—who have been tossing whatever claims of bad deeds they can at Big Tech for a good while—are now angling for antitrust law changes that they say are necessary to [control] Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google…the House…antitrust committee put out a 450-page report on the subject…result[ing from] a 16-month-long investigation [during which]…representatives barraged the CEOs of all four companies with inane and irrelevant questions in a public hearing…There’s scant evidence of elements…necessary for an antitrust violation…[so] the…report calls for “for sweeping changes to federal laws so that government regulators can [control] Silicon Valley”…The whole thing has followed the bipartisan playbook previously in use with Backpage and Craigslist…That is: Pick the biggest examples of a tech company or phenomenon that the government wants to curb or stop, subpoena a bazillion internal documents under some trumped-up pretense of criminal activity, and go fishing for something that can be spun into a call for congressional action…changing the underpinnings of internet and business and speech law in a way more friendly to federal control

The Widening Gyre (#1078)

The hysteria over Cuties keeps growing:

Netflix is now facing felony charges for Cuties, as [hysteria over]…the…film [spins out of control]…A Tyler County, Texas, grand jury indicted the streaming giant…for promoting…material that “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child…younger than 18 years of age” for the “prurient interest in sex.”  The document also [pretends] that the film held no serious “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”…[meanwhile, Utah politician] Mike Lee…said…he was “unsatisfied” with Netflix’s response to his letter [demanding censorship]…of the film [on his say-so]…

Social Distancing (#1081)

Are physicians finally standing up to authoritarian ideas about public health?

The World Health Organisation [i]s…calling for world [politicians] to stop locking down their countries and economies.  Dr. David Nabarro from the WHO…[told politicians] to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method…Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer…The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it…It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year.  We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition”…

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American cops seem to have become dissatisfied with merely brutalizing their victims; now, it seems, they feel they have to humiliate them as well.  A few years ago, Reason‘s Elizabeth N. Brown noticed that when cops hunt street workers, they often offer fast food so they can then make fun of these desperately-poor women by telling reporters (who obediently regurgitate whatever the pigs vomit into their mouths) that they requested to be paid in nachos or chicken McNuggets or whatever.  Or, they invent some ridiculous request so they can mock the sex worker trying to cater to it.  They also give their “stings” idiotic names so as to invite ridicule of those entrapped by them, and now they’re incorporating humiliation directly into their jailhouse torture:

Two [typical and representative screws] and their supervisor were charged…after an investigation found inmates at the Oklahoma County jail were [subjected] to the popular children’s song, “Baby Shark,” on a loop at loud volumes for extended periods of time.  At least four [prisoners] were subjected to the “inhuman” [torture] in an attorney visitation room of the jail last November and December…[while] forced to stand [for hours], hands cuffed behind them and secured to the wall…[the screws] were Gregory Cornell Butler Jr….[and] Christian Charles Miles…and [their supervisor was] Christopher Raymond Hendershott…District Attorney David Prater charged them with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy…Miles confirmed that he and Butler…”used the…attorney booth as a means to…’teach [prisoners] a lesson’…the music was said to be a joke between Miles and Butler”…[but] put “undue emotional stress on the [prisoners] who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors”…Hendershott learned of the mistreatment on Nov. 23 but “took no immediate action to either aid the inmate victim or discipline the [screws]”…

Ha, ha, ha, so funny.  It has long been known that loud, repetitive noise is a kind of psychological torture; the US armed forces have used it in siege situations since the ’80s.  The fact that the weapon was in this case a ridiculous children’s song doesn’t change that fact that their victims were forced to endure the racket while restrained in a position that could cause serious physical damage, nor the reduction of human beings to playthings for the sadistic amusement of thugs whose moral development is on a similar level to their chosen song’s intended audience.  This year, Americans are finally beginning to notice the wanton savagery police inflict upon people unlucky enough to fall into their clutches; it won’t surprise me if the increased attention also reveals many, many more cases of brutal clowns trying to rob their victims of even the slightest shred of dignity.

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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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Diary #532

It’s been years since I made jam; I believe the last time was in 2013, because the year after that I was on tour all summer, then in 2015 I moved to Seattle.  But we had a bumper crop of plums and blackberries, and the apples are almost ripe as well; Jae picked a big basket of plums last week, and even after making two huge plum cobblers I had plenty left.  So on Thursday I made plum jam, then on Friday blackberry, and both came out perfectly!  I have to admit I was a bit daunted; I like making jam, but it’s a lot of work, and, as I said, it has been a while.  But it was a lot easier this time than it was in Oklahoma, for several reasons.  First, Jae picked and pitted the plums for me, and she and a visiting friend picked the blackberries.  Second, I have an electronic cooking thermometer now, which makes monitoring the jam mixture’s temperature much less of a hassle.  And speaking of heat, the Washington coast in September is dramatically cooler than southeast Oklahoma in June, so I wasn’t stuck in a sweltering kitchen while working.  Today I’m going back to Seattle and I’m going to visit the gent I call Dr. Quest this weekend.  But on Monday I’ll be back at Sunset, and soon I’ll be using our apples to make apple cider, apple jelly, apple butter, mince meat, and other lovely treats.

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Problem would be if I take you in the woods.  –  “Officer” James Lloyd

Here’s another of those unusual song covers I like so much.  The links above it were provided by Furrygirl, Cop Crisis, Mistress Matisse, Tim Cushing, Marc Randazza, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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Generous Gents

Nearly every established sex worker I know has had generous clients buy big-ticket items for her, and I don’t mean frivolities like designer handbags and 500 pairs of shoes; I mean substantial items, like a central air conditioning system, furniture, a car, that sort of thing.  In my case, the most outstanding example is my farm at Sunset.  I was able to buy it outright thanks in part to a generous parting allowance from my wasband Matt, and another of my gentlemen bought me the truck Grace and Chekhov used to haul everything we own from Oklahoma to Washington.  Once it was no longer needed, I used the truck itself as barter to pay a hired man who has done a great deal of work for me, from setting up the jacks to level my floor, to digging drainage ditches, to helping me rebuild my chicken yard, to helping Chekhov and I build the guest cottage.  And of course Chekhov himself has been incredibly generous; not only did he buy both guest cottages and all the lumber for the bathhouse project and the bookshelves, he’s also bought me a number of new appliances and tools.  And of course he’s not the only one who’s bought me tools; many of my readers have purchased them for me from my wishlist, and this one in particular has seen very heavy use!  Another of my gents tips me with a Home Depot gift card every time I see him, and those have purchased many more tools and supplies.  These kinds of gifts may not be the stuff of male fantasy like fancy lingerie and expensive jewelry, but they mean far more to me: they are allowing me to create the comfortable home I plan to spend the rest of my life in.  And every time I look at my bookshelves or use my hot tub or just walk on the deck built with gifts from my gents, I cannot help but be reminded of their generosity.

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