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Posts Tagged ‘Overdue’

Speaking for myself and my…Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from [Kamala’s] travesty.  –  Donald Harris

Rough Trade 

Cops wait a year to arrest a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

…a 31-year-old [Dublin] tradesman…imprisoned, stripped, beat…and [raped a sex worker], who escaped out a window and ran naked onto a main road, where she flagged down a taxi…he al[so] pulled clumps of hair out of a second prostitute’s head and raped her, as well as robbing both women.  Judge Bryan Smyth [gave him]…bail [anyhow.  The first attack took place]…in June, 2016…and…the second…in [sic] February 4, 2018…

Amsterdam

Note that this positive article appeared on CNN, one of the major pushers of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam…isn’t as liberal for sex workers as many believe.  Sex work has been legal in some form in the Netherlands since 1830, but it was recognized as a legal profession in 1988.  In 2000, a law made the job subject to municipal regulation, requiring a license to operate and following certain rules set by a municipality…so each can differ.  For example, they can decide how many licenses to give out…The only places that have decriminalized sex work are New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia.  In both places, sex work is not penalized through punitive laws, and regulation are premised on worker health and safety, as with any other profession…The reform in New Zealand…reduced violence against sex workers, increased their comfort in reporting abuse to the police and improved police attitudes toward sex workers, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.  Research also showed that decriminalization in New Zealand resulted in sex workers being better able to refuse clients and insist on condom use. One study showed that decriminalization has the potential to reduce discrimination as well as denials of justice…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s rare and surprising to see the acts of a rapist cop actually called “rape”:

A…Wilmington [Delaware cop]…was charged with second-degree rape at the conclusion of a four-month [attempt at a cover-up]…Thomas R. Oliver Jr…on October 16, 2018…pulled up alongside a woman and told her to get into the front seat of the vehicle.  Oliver exposed himself to the woman, and told her she had active warrants for her arrest, but he would allow her to leave if she [sucked his disgusting pig dick]…Oliver grabbed the victim by the head and [orally raped her]…

The End of the Beginning (#772) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA)…The lead plaintiff…pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin.  He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994.  But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment.  Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters…Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment…Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used”…”An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library…Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting”…the demand for information about online activity applied to…the…plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

All cops or prosecutors will need to do to get around this law is say the magic words “sex trafficking”:

San Francisco’s [largely-cosmetic] policy protecting sex workers is now being pitched on the state level.  California Sen. Scott Wiener…introduce[d] legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes [unless they decide to charge the sex workers with “trafficking” instead].  The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent [cops] from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker…Wiener said…“We want to [fool]…sex workers [in]to feel[ing] safe in reporting crimes”…

San Francisco, which as the article states first enacted this “policy”, took only two months to get around it by declaring a “sex trafficking” exception and forming a vice squad specifically intended to “abate” sex workers.  You know, like a disease.

Overdue

Another example of our culture’s obsession with form over substance:

They used chopped-up chalk as fake crack cocaine and cloaked their white skin in blackface makeup.  Then the two [pigs] hit the streets of Baton Rouge, hoping to fool interested drug buyers in the predominantly black neighborhood into believing they were dealers.  “Not only do they not know we’re cops — they don’t even know we’re white!” then-Detective Frankie Caruso told the Advocate newspaper in 1993, the year the undercover blackface operation took place.  Now, 26 years later, the Baton Rouge Police Department is apologizing for the tactics after a police yearbook photo of the two disguised cops surfaced, marking the latest blackface scandal to ensnare authority figures and the first this year involving undercover police…

They’re not apologizing for intentionally destroying lives, or for specifically targeting black people for something that shouldn’t even be illegal; nope, they’re just apologizing because they did so inappropriately.

Safe Position

Though these legislative “studies” are useless, perhaps they’ll normalize the topic:

Bella Robinson…and her organization, COYOTE – RI, are working with Brown University and advocating for a new bill…sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams [which] proposes a commission to study the health and safety impact of sex work laws.  “Crackdowns against sex workers…[are because] we prioritize [religious] morals over the safety of people involved in the sex industry,” said Meghan Peterson, a Brown University researcher…one prominent opponent…is Donna Hughes, [architect of the]…[re-]criminalization [of sex work] in 2009…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least they’re not calling this an “escort service”:

…the advertising for Doll Next Door brings a host of questions about how this latest trend in sexual services will be regulated in Edmonton, if at all…the service offers customers the choice of a two-hour booking or overnight rental with one of five doll models…the doll is then sent in discreet packaging to the customer’s home or a specified hotel…Kelly Jenny, a sex therapist at Insight Psychological, said she can see the benefits associated with sex dolls, but says they can also be used [as magical transformation devices] to objectify women

Pyrrhic Victory (#894) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

…Amazon…Ring products come with access to a social app called Neighbors that allows customers to not just to keep tabs on their own property, but also to share [accusations]…with the rest of the block…Forming decentralized 19th-century vigilance committees with 21st-century technology has been a toxic move, as shown by apps like…Nextdoor, which tends to foster lively discussions about nonwhite people strolling through various suburbs.  But Ring stands alone as…an avowed attempt to merge 24/7 video, ubiquitous computer sensors, and facial recognition, and deliver it to local police on a platter.  It’s no surprise then that police departments from Bradenton, Florida, to Los Angeles have leapt to “partner” with Ring…

Just a reminder that the word for such authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”.

The Prudish Giant (#895)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

For years, King Cake Snob…has used visitor feedback to choose the best king cakes in various categories in the lead up to Mardi Gras.  So…the site decided to build some interest with a sponsored Facebook post…featuring ten tiny plastic king cake babies — all of which were, as usual, in the buff.  However, though the image remains up, Facebook decided to flag it as ineligible for a paid “sponsored” post…“This ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity…This kind of material is sensitive in nature”…

Top Cop

Copmala tried to sell her dad’s heritage for political coin, and he’s not happy:

United States (US) presidential hopeful Kamala Harris faced scathing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her…heritage.  “Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Kamala Harris responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview…Donald Harris has “categorically” disassociated himself and his family from “this travesty” and slammed his daughter for stereo-typing her heritage for political gain.  “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected…with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker…in the pursuit of identity politics”…Harris [said]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

This story just keeps getting uglier and filthier:

Former Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil was the largest campaign contributor to the End Trafficking and Prostitution political action committee before the 2018 election, campaign finance records show.  McNeil made contributions totaling $1,499.  Each of McNeil’s two contributions were under $1,000, which avoided mandatory reporting before the election under state campaign finance law…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Condemning consenting adults to the “sex offender” registry is the latest “monkey see, monkey do” fad:

Pennsylvania…[politician] Kim Ward wants…a change to state law that would require those convicted of [any sex work related “crime”]…to the…sex offender…[registry]…

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Is this going to school or going to prison?  –  anonymous Chinese citizen

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop:

Lawsuits alleging improper classification of workers and a recent California Supreme Court labor law ruling are impacting…adult dancers in San Francisco, many of whom once relied on daily cash payouts to survive…dancers, previously considered independent contractors, now are walking out of club doors with biweekly employee paychecks and not with cash in hands after their shifts end.  The move to convert adult dancers to employee status is causing an exodus…[from] those establishments…BSC Management…operates the majority of adult clubs in San Francisco…According to Axel Sang, BSC’s marketing director…“The BSC-managed clubs now have matching payroll taxes, unemployment compensation, workman’s compensation, Healthy San Francisco costs, Affordable Care Insurance costs and San Francisco sick leave pay for several hundred new employee entertainers in addition to the hourly wage”…Sang estimated that 200 dancers have quit their jobs since the policy change to paychecks…

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

…the New Port Richey [Florida] City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban bathhouses in the city…[in an attempt to strangle] massage parlors…The ordinance would ban any establishment that’s not a medical facility from [letting water touch] clients.  Anyone who violates the law would be fined up to $500 for each violation and possibly imprisoned for up to 60 days…

Subtle Pimping (#802) 

Yet another scumbag profits from the criminalization of sex work by basing a game on lies about us:

Billy Cain…started searching for a way to use virtual reality technology — or VR — to [profit from] people…[by promoting hysteria] about sex trafficking…Texas has been a hub for…human trafficking [hysteria] for [a] decade…[one typically disgusting masturbatory fantasy claims] 79,000 children are being sex trafficked in Texas at any given moment…[in] his sex trafficking [sex fantasy] simulation…people put on a special pair of goggles to [roleplay an imaginary] 13-year-old girl who fell victim to trafficking.  In “Trapped: VR Detective Story”, players see where the girl is being held and interact with objects to [flesh out the fantasy prior to masturbation]…players will learn…who is most vulnerable to being trafficked — anyone.  Anywhere.  From any background…

TRAFFICKERS ARE EVERYWHERE!  THEY’RE WAITING TO GET YOU!  EVERYBODY PANIC, THEN BUY MY GAME!

Overdue

Collapsing empires are obsessed with form over substance:

“We’ve made a conscious effort in TSA … to use floppy ear dogs,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told the Washington Examiner…”We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better…Doesn’t scare children”…in the last year, 80 percent of dogs purchased by TSA…were…breeds…[with] droopy ears…which are deemed less intimidating…

Yes, the people who literally grope children’s genitals claim they’re worried that dogs will frighten them.

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…a death metal/black metal record label has shut down in the wake of PayPal pulling out support for processing purchases, along with the creditors at Visa and MasterCard because the company was labeled as “high risk”, “promoting hatred”, “promoting violence”, and “promoting hate speech”…Elegy Records, a label that hosted all sorts of death metal music since 1996…[has closed due to] the inability to sign with a normal credit processor due to being…classified as “high risk” by the banks and credit processors, which meant that he was effectively blacklisted from the banking industry…the only way to accept payments from customers was…via cash or money orders.  For online businesses it’s not possible to operate without some sort of banking institution, or credit card processing since all purchases are made electronically…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Where US schools are soon headed:

In China’s latest quest to build an all-seeing surveillance state, schools…in…one of China’s poorest provinces…are now required to wear…uniforms…embedded with electronic chips that track their movements…[they] keep track of the exact times that students leave or enter the school…an[d]…facial-recognition equipment stationed at the school entrance can match a student’s face with the chip embedded in the uniform…The chips…can activate an alarm when the sensor detects that a student has fallen asleep in class…

Pyrrhic Victory (#884) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

The FBI is piloting…Amazon Rekognition…as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects…While Amazon is now a significant supplier of technology to the government…[and] includes the CIA and Defense Department as customers—it is less clear how its facial recognition software is being used in the [police state]…the company pitched the software to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last summer, a move that has…Amazon employees asking questions.  The company does not list any federal clients on its customer page, and currently only identifies as a customer one local law enforcement agency, the Washington County Sheriff Office…[yet]…the city of Orlando recently began a second pilot of…[the] software…

Imaginary Victims (#896) 

The Cyntoia Brown case has attracted attention to the cases of other underage sex workers who killed abusive clients:

…Chrystul Kizer, 18, is charged with first-degree homicide, arson and auto theft for the June 5 shooting death of Randall Volar III.  She was 17 when Volar was killed…he had been shot twice, and that the fire to the house appeared to have been set…Investigators said…Volar had paid for an Uber driver to bring Kizer from Milwaukee to his home…she initially denied knowing Volar, but later told police that “he (Volar) helped her with money and places to stay”…she reportedly confessed, saying “she got upset and was tired of Volar touching her” and that she had shot him…before his death Volar was under investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls.  In a motion to compel discovery…[her lawyer stated] “The defense believes that the discovery in this case suggests that Ms. Kizer acted in self-defense”…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900) 

It’s rare that judges side with sex workers against the government:

Imagine a symphony orchestra barred by the state from performing again because a musician was [accused of selling] marijuana to a colleague backstage…In Providence, Rhode Island…it happened to a strip club called the Foxy Lady.  On Dec. 19, the Providence Board of Licenses voted to permanently shut down the…[club] after police arrested three employees [and accused them of prostitution]…By doing so, the board threw more than 200 people out of work less than a week before Christmas.  Within days, the state Department of Business Regulation quickly restored the club’s liquor license, but the Foxy Lady’s owners were required by law to petition the state Supreme Court to regain its entertainment license…the state Supreme Court agreed to issue a stay, allowing the club to reopen for now, but the threat of future closure remains…

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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When I was an undergrad, I came up with a model for how cultures develop over time.  It was divided into four stages:

Barbarism:  All substance, little form.  Barbaric cultures have youth, vigor, drive and often a lot of good ideas; they just haven’t learned to apply them to best effect yet.  Barbaric cultures often borrow or steal ideas from older cultures, as the young Romans borrowed Greek mythology and the young US borrowed from England and Rome.

Civilization:  Form and substance in balance.  Civilized cultures are mature, but still strong, and have developed institutions, systems and mores that reflect their values and ideas.  History often speaks of this period as the “Golden Age” of a culture, the period of its greatest accomplishments.

Decadence:  All form, waning substance.  Decadent cultures have outlived their youth and vigor, and are obsessed with their own past greatness.  They look down on other cultures and are often xenophobic, focusing on elaborate rituals and worship-words which no longer have any meaning.

Decay:  Corrupt form, no substance.  Decaying cultures are those which have completely lost their way; they mistake their institutions and procedures for the ideals they were created to further, which a decaying culture no longer remembers.  These cultures may collapse or be conquered, but sometimes go on decaying for many centuries before that happens.

At the time, I wasn’t sure if the US was at the very end of the second stage or somewhere in the third.  I hadn’t even thought about that for many years, until recent events made it very clear to me that it’s the latter.  Remember when I criticized the way US media were more concerned with the fact that Trump had said the word “pussy” than that he was admitting to sexual assault?

…someone at CNN actually seems to believe, and undoubtedly many people agree, that the most salient point of the controversy was Trump’s language, that he had uttered taboo words which would presumably ritually pollute the dainty hearing of anyone viewing the video.  The fact that he used these common words about women is presented as though that somehow makes it worse than if he had used similar words in talking about men, children, mixed groups of people or Shetland ponies; the assumption seems to be that women are delicate china dolls who are magically harmed when men emit certain sounds from their vocal apparatus, even if the woman in question did not even hear them.  If he had joked about violating the physical boundaries of women without using those words, perhaps saying “I attempted to get her in bed” and “grab their crotches” instead, would that have made it all better in the minds of this unknown CNN editor and others like her?  Because that’s certainly the implication…

Now this week, we’re faced with a one-two punch from the New York Times which leaves little doubt that we live in a culture obsessed with forms and uninterested in substance.  First, the Times lavishly praised and obsequiously fawned on the sister of a murderous dictator, a monstrously evil woman with an important role in her brother’s totalitarian regime, a person who has herself ordered and directed literal mass enslavement and actual “human trafficking”…because she gave a dirty look to a US politician Times editors don’t like.  So now we know the secret, ladies.  Do honest work making people feel good? The Times will say you’re a “victim” and a “slave”.  Literally enslave and “traffic” people?  The Times will admire you and call you a “diplomat”.  And how would the Times (not to mention actual human rights organization “officials”) react to another murderous dictator ordering that women be sexually maimed?  Why, by complaining that he didn’t give those orders in nicer language, naturally:

President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine strongman who has earned a reputation for dirty tactics and language, was criticized…for having boasted that he had ordered soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals…the president said in a speech…“We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina”…the criticism of his choice of words has been fierce.  It “is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” said Carlos H. Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch…This is not the first time Mr. Duterte had been criticized for crude remarks about women…
Presumably, if Duterte had ordered rebels be maimed in a genteel way, and he gave some Republican a dirty look while doing so, the Times and all its allied talking heads (not to mention the legions of marching morons who take their cues from such pompous ninnies) would be perfectly OK with that.  A society more concerned with words and pictures, which talks about “porn as a health crisis” while its cops are actually shooting people down in the street and torturing them to death in cages, and worries more about politicians’ language and manners than the fact that they are murdering their own people by the thousands, is long overdue for collapse.

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Watching brouhahas unfold is always very revealing; even if different people agree that whatever it was that whoever it was said or did or thought was cause for concern, they may disagree about what particularly made it so.  The most recent major gaffe committed by the eternally-boorish Donald Trump is a perfect example.  For those blissfully unaware of the train wreck we call a presidential election, I’ll recap:  someone recently discovered a recording from 2005 in which Trump made comments to the effect that women let famous men get away with gross consent violations, such as kissing or groping them without asking.  Here’s the video if you’re interested:

Getting a clean copy of this wasn’t easy; most of the versions on YouTube were either censored or edited.  I’m rather glad that happened, however, because it actually reinforces my point.  In CNN’s version, for example, the very first thing a viewer sees is a “warning” that the video contains “graphic language” (as though anyone watching would actually have never heard the words “fuck” and “pussy” before).  Next, a description: “Footage from 2005 has surfaced featuring Donald Trump using vulgar language about women”, followed by a video in which a loud “bleep” has been inserted over the words (which rather makes one wonder what the point of the warning was).  Look at the emphasis there:  someone at CNN actually seems to believe, and undoubtedly many people agree, that the most salient point of the controversy was Trump’s language, that he had uttered taboo words which would presumably ritually pollute the dainty hearing of anyone viewing the video.  The fact that he used these common words about women is presented as though that somehow makes it worse than if he had used similar words in talking about men, children, mixed groups of people or Shetland ponies; the assumption seems to be that women are delicate china dolls who are magically harmed when men emit certain sounds from their vocal apparatus, even if the woman in question did not even hear them.  If he had joked about violating the physical boundaries of women without using those words, perhaps saying “I attempted to get her in bed” and “grab their crotches” instead, would that have made it all better in the minds of this unknown CNN editor and others like her?  Because that’s certainly the implication.

But if this social conservative spin on the incident is questionable, the “feminist” spin on it is even worse.  Yesterday morning I became aware of “Grab Her By The Brain“, a site whose founders apparently feel that the problem lies in the fact that Trump’s churlish comments were sexual in nature.  The implication seems to be that while grabbing a woman by her sexual anatomy is a horrible thing, grabbing her by some part that stupid, shallow people imagine to be non-sexual is perfectly OK.  As in the CNN video, the first words one sees upon landing on the site reinforce this: “Take part in the movement that refuses to accept the objectification of women – at work, on the sidewalk, at school, in the media, empower every woman by acknowledging her unique and immeasurable contribution to society.”  That’s followed immediately below by “Value her for who she is,” which is a direct contradiction of the pusillanimous and patronizing platitudes in the line above, which urge the reader to value a woman not for who she is but for her “contribution to society”, which is quite a different thing altogether.  For right now, let’s ignore the sexism inherent in the absurd notion that only women can be “objectified”, the infantilizing concept of “empowerment” as something granted to women from without as a gardener waters vegetables, the obsequious assertion that every single woman makes a “unique and immeasurable” contribution to society (a concept that’s ludicrous even on its face), and the tired neofeminist pretense that it’s somehow “better” or “more respectful”radio-assembly-line-1925 for women to be valued for the characteristics of one organ than for the characteristics of a different one; we are still left with the dangerously anti-sex mindset which imagines that so-called “objectification” can only be sexual while blatantly objectifying women as only valuable for our “contributions to society”.  This pretense derives from exactly the same mindset as that of the Republicans whose disavowal of Trump after the comments were made public was expressed in phrases like “our wives, our daughters, our mothers”; it’s the vile and loathsome collectivist obscenity that women’s rights derive not from the fact that we’re individuals, but from our relationships to men and “society”.

Human beings, no matter what their gender, are individuals and don’t need outside collectives to “empower” them. Their rights as individuals, including their right not to be molested by either individuals or the operatives of the state, are inalienable and don’t depend on whether anyone else thinks they’re of “value” (whether for their intellect, for their sex appeal or for any other reason) to the state, “society” or any individual.  So, please, stop pretending that “grab her by the brain” is superior to “grab her by the pussy”; you have no right to grab her, him or anybody by the brain, pussy or any other part without their consent.  Human beings don’t exist to serve you, to be “empowered” by you or to be defined in relation to you.  And only they have the right to determine what they wish to give to you, the state or “society”, and the conditions under which they will give it.

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