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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

Are we also going to ban [picking] peppers and asparagus?
–  Niels van den Berge

License to Rape

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

Denver police are [trying to cover up the rape of]…a man [who] was [an]ally [raped by a cop] while being arrested at a protest.  [Cops charged] Michael Jacobs…with disarming a police officer…[claiming] he violently resisted arrest and tried to disarm [his rapist] of a pepper ball gun…[in actuality the cop] used his…nightstick [to rape him]…Jacobs…otained a rape kit following the arrest…a doctor evaluated him two weeks after the incident, finding “rectal and anal hemorrhage”…

Torture Chamber (#997) 

Serial rape is just one of the fringe benefits afforded to screws in Florida:

…[screws] repeatedly sexually assaulted and [raped] the inmates at the…Coleman [cage stack] in [Florida]…In some cases…the [rapes went on regularly] for years…Six of the [rapists] admitted to [serially raping prisoners] but…were not prosecuted — instead, they were allowed to resign or retire, and some are still receiving benefits…

The Cop Myth (#1004)

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

Jay Allen Rotter, a [cop in] Tarrant County [Texas, murdered]…his girlfriend [and then claimed she] had shot herself…Police [tried to cover it up for several weeks before finally arresting]…Rotter…on September 14…

Dutch Threat (#1005)

A good general overview of political attacks on Dutch sex workers contains this welcome news:

…job satisfaction should not play a role in whether you deserve labor rights…In a striking twist [the Green Left Party, which has previously] voted in favour of [laws to register, surveil and control sex workers]…advocated decriminalisation of sex work…the Secretary of State promised to investigate various forms of sex work policy, including the New Zealand model of decriminalisation…such a study has already been done, with one of the most important conclusions being that sex workers should be listened to…

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

Meanwhile, the “enlightened” West just watches as a genocide progresses:

Turkey has been a safe haven for Uighurs fleeing persecution ever since the Chinese Communist Party took control of Xinjiang in 1949 and hosts one of the largest Uighur diaspora populations in the world.  Then came a sudden, unexpected switch…since early 2019, Turkey has arrested hundreds of Uighurs and sent them to deportation centers…Erdogan’s remarkable U-turn has a simple explanation:  His regime and Turkey’s economy are in crisis.  With few other friends, Ankara is counting on Beijing to patch things up…Once seen as a model of democracy and economic development in the region, Turkey is now an authoritarian country…Western companies and investors, once attracted to Turkey’s fast-growing economy and population, are staying away.  China’s appetite for expansion into Western Asia and Europe offers Erdogan a lifeline…China is now Turkey’s second-largest import partner after Russia.  China has invested $3 billion in Turkey between 2016 and 2019 and intends to double that by the end of next year…

The Implosion Begins

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…Rather than enticing new recruits with the promise to unveil…secrets about the…Clintons and Obamas, #SaveOurChildren captures attention with [approved government] statistics about the prevalence of child sex trafficking [which have been endlessly repeated by media like The Guardian], then draws susceptible readers down the rabbit hole of increasingly implausible falsehoods…QAnon [uses the same]…blatantly false beliefs about [sex workers that] Democrats [have conspired with Republicans (and politicians of all parties in most other Western countries) to spread for two decades, then adds extra fantasies about elites] sexually abusing children in order to extract a life-extending chemical from their blood…The #SaveOurChildren version of QAnon has been particularly popular among a new coalition of anti-public-health activists who have been galvanized by the coronavirus pandemic…Facebook’s recommendation algorithm…helped facilitate cross-pollination between…dedicated to anti-vaccine activism, anti-coronavirus lockdowns and QAnon…[which then] infiltrated many online subcultures, including those formed around evangelical Christianity, New Age spiritualism and alternative medicine or “wellness”…

The Widening Gyre (#1074)

It’s fascinating to watch the media flailing against a hysteria they’ve worked for decades to create:

Cuties, which was a hit when it premiered at Sundance last year, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl…who strays from her strict conservative…Muslim upbringing to join a hip-hop dance troupe.  At its essence, Cuties is a coming-of-age narrative and a commentary on social media’s role in sexualizing children, but…[“sex trafficking” fetishists claim] that Cuties and its accompanying marketing materials were evidence of an underage child sex trafficking cabal in Hollywood.  It [i]s the kind of wild-eyed, hysterical allegation that…[for] years…[has] been promoted on…mainstream [media platforms and by] public figures and [profiteer] organizations…[to further a campaign to increase the power of the police state and censor the internet by] fuel[ing public hysteria about a mythical] child sex-trafficking trade…the discourse surrounding Cuties [is further evidence that control over this fantastical narrative has sh]ifted [to] the fringes [from] the mainstream…

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Anger, rage, and fear over the sexual abuse of children not only hurts our chances of preventing future abuse, but it harms the children themselves.  –  Dr. David Ley

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

[Iowa cop] Jared Daily…[has] be[en] charged with distribution, receipt, and accessing of child pornography.  If convicted, Daily faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5…[to] 60 years’ imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, [and] $102,300 in special assessments…

The Widening Gyre (#563) 

Dr. David Ley dares to tell the truth about hysteria over “pedophilia”:

…to truly protect young people, we must deal with reality, and not fantastical conspiracies…Over 90% of sexual assaults against children, are committed by relatives, siblings, parents, teachers, pastors, [cops], or neighbors…Less than half (around 40%) of sexual assaults against children are committed by pedophiles.  The majority of sexual crimes against children are perpetrated by people who do not have a history of disordered sexual arousal to children.  Instead, issues of drugs, alcohol, anger, isolation, and control motivate these tragic events…Pedophilia…is not, in and of itself alone, a highly significant risk factor for sexual abuse of children…Many people with pedophilic disorder never sexually abuse children…when pedophiles have empathy…and are sober, these people appear to have no clear risk for sexually abusive behavior…

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Getting kids into the police state’s biometric database before they’re old enough to consent:

On Aug. 28, a coalition of 20 state attorneys-general…request[ed federal] funding to provide Child ID Kits for the nearly 30 million kindergarten through sixth-graders across America…Spouting exaggerated statistics and tiresome scare tactics, the AGs’ letter suggested that the Child ID Kits would “empower every parent to protect their child(ren) from”…abduction and human trafficking…[the] kits allow parents to capture their children’s physical characteristics and fingerprints…to give to the police…

Elephant in the Parlor (#957)

People just keep pretending “politician hires hooker” is more than a yawn:

…Florida [politician] Andrew Gillum came out as bisexual in…[his] first interview since…he…was found [blackout drunk]…in a…hotel room in March, along with a male escort who overdosed on crystal meth…he went to Miami to attend a wedding with his wife, but ended up meeting up with escort Travis Dyson…he had been drinking before meeting [with] Dyson and continued drinking…[until he] black[ed] out for three hours…he…w[oke] up…surrounded by police…

The Course of a Disease (#1057)

Just as sex workers said would happen before this terrible law was imposed on them:

Sex workers [are] less safe, more stigmatised and in greater fear of gardaí since a law criminalising the purchase of sex was enacted, a report from Maynooth university warns…The report, which HIV Ireland is submitting to a government review of the legislation, says: “The findings . . . point to the negative impact of current laws on the abilities of sex workers to keep safe and reduce harms to their health and well-being, in line with mounting evidence from other jurisdictions where sex buyer laws are in place”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1065)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

…Under Nebraska state law, counties are allowed to seize properties with delinquent taxes and turn those properties over to private investors—and as [Walter] Barnette learned the hard way in 2013, it can happen without the current property owner even being notified…attorneys from the Pacific Legal Foundation…are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review the practice…Barnette…[only] owed $986 in back taxes…plus a few hundred dollars in fees, interest, and penalties…when Sarpy County offered Barnette’s land to…Pontian Land Holdings…[which] was required to notify Barnette…before it could take possession of his title…the letter was…returned to Pontian three times as unclaimed…and…Pontian was able to obtain a new deed for the property, which was assessed for about $25,000.  Barnette was left with nothing…

Torture Chamber (#1066)

“Detention center” is a euphemism for “prison”, and this is a more extreme form of rape:

…a nurse at a[n] immigration detention center in Georgia came forward about…the center…performing mass hysterectomies on detained people…Dawn Wooten…said that the facility was performing hysterectomies on people who reported having heavy menstrual cycles or other more serious pain, but that “everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad”…ICDC consistently uses one out-of-facility doctor, who is responsible for the hysterectomies in addition to accidentally removing the wrong ovary in one patient…Wooten details other malpractices at the facility, including lack of COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients…she decided to come forward publicly…[after] be[ing] reprimanded and demoted…when she spoke up about the [mal]practice…

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

License to Rape

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

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

Scapegoats (#438)

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

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

Devil’s Advocate (#944) 

Florida politicians are obsessed with child-shaped toasters:

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

Welcome to the Future (#1010)

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

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

I Spy (#1010)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1045)

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

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

Finding What Isn’t There (#1070)

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

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

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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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Every so often a story comes along that demands too long a quote, and covers too many categories, to fit neatly into a news column.  The always-awesome Elizabeth Nolan Brown recently published such an article; though at first glance it belongs in “Top Cop“, it also covers a great deal of material I’d file under “Greeks Bearing Gifts” and “Counterfeit Comfort“, and…oh, to Hell with the introduction; here’s a generous taste:

…Kamala Harris…is currently painting herself as a criminal justice reformer.  Last night, a voiceover introducing Harris even described her as having fought “to end mass incarceration.”  That would be news to the countless Californians she fought to lock up or keep locked up…Harris’s record as a “progressive prosecutor” is one of continually cracking down harder on “quality of life crimes” like drug use, prostitution, and truancy.  Overall, Democrats seem confused about which way they want to go on law and order issues.  The 2020 convention has seen some nods to “racial justice,” policing…and Black Lives Matter, but…even as Democrats make nods to change, Harris, Biden, and other prominent party members speak of new arrest and incarceration regimes they want to put in place—for guns, for speech, for sex, and more.  Out of one side of their mouths, they talk of ending racist and discriminatory policing and our over-reliance on jails and prisons…but out of the other side of their mouths, they push policies that would lead to more surveillance…more ways to extract fines from people and cage them, more reason for contact between law enforcement and those they’re policing, and more opportunities for violence, abuse, and targeted harassment of ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual minorities…

…various voiceovers and speakers mentioned Joe Biden’s role in the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act—widely considered one of the biggest policy disasters in modern U.S. history and a huge driver of our country’s mass incarceration problem.  Of course, they didn’t mention the crime bill by name, just one specific part of it:  The Violence Against Women Act…several aspects of [which] were just as problematic as the rest of the cursed legislation.  Along with the Jacob Wetterling Act, a component of the ’94 crime bill that required the creation of sex offender registries, the VAWA “laid the foundation of the current, overwhelmingly carceral—and increasingly overwrought—response to sexual violence,” write Judith Levine and Erica Meiners in their new book, The Feminist and the Sex Offender…Among VAWA’s “chief provisions were mandatory arrest in domestic violence situations…and ‘no drop’ prosecution, which prohibited the alleged victim from retracting charges…some [prosecutors]…began to subpoena women to testify against their partners or jails them until they comply…child protective services sometimes charge mothers with neglect or ‘failure to supervise’ for allowing the children to witness their mother’s abuse“…(Aya Gruber’s new book, The Feminist War on Crime, is a great place to read more about all this

Americans’ addiction to Manichean thinking, one-size-fits-all pseudo-egalitarianism, and worship of authority figures has created this mess, and no politician has the ability to end it…especially because they’re highly motivated to continue it so as to increase their own wealth, power, and social capital.

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Prohibitions don’t eliminate things. They drive them underground.  –  Jeffrey Miron

Welcome To Our World

You mean laws can’t stop consensual business transactions? Who would have thought?

…underground gyms appear to be popping up everywhere, from LA to New Jersey…Governments can legislate all they want, but prohibiting stuff with eager buyers and sellers is super hard…and…When markets get pushed underground, quality control tends to go down. In the case of drugs, this means potentially finding rat poison in your weed.  When it comes to gyms in the COVID-19 era, it means potentially creating fitness environments that are even more likely to spread the virus than if they were legal and regulated…

Give Them an Inch…

European anti-migration policies grow steadily more horrible:

At least 1,072 migrants were sailed to the edge of Greece’s water territory on inflatable life rafts and abandoned by Greek authorities…[one of the victims reported] that on July 26, she and 22 others including babies were taken by masked Greek officials from a detention centre on…Rhodes while it was dark outside….they were left on a “rudderless, motorless life raft” and were later rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard…abandon[ing] migrants at sea is illegal under international law…François Crépeau, former United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [called the act]…”a human rights and humanitarian disaster”…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#933)

I love it when they feed on their own:

…[Florida cop] Stephen Utter…was arrested this month for trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex…Utter was made immediately aware of the [fictional] girl’s age before he began to sexually groom…a cop [fantasy roleplaying] an actual child…Utter sent explicit messages detailing the sexual acts he wished to perform…Once he’d incriminated himself enough, police moved in to arrest him…

Saving Them From Themselves (#987)

Georgia pigs are especially enthusiastic about destroying young people’s lives for the terrible “crime” of looking at pictures:

On the second day of virtual classes for Henry County schools, the county’s police department [issued a threat to] students…“If you stream pornography in an online class…the…Sheriff’s Office will find you and charge you with life-[destroying] charges…[including] child pornography [and] child molestation [?]…and [you will be condemned] to [the]…sex offender [registry]”…

I Spy (#1014)

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

A newly released document shows the U.S. Secret Service went through a…social media surveillance company to purchase the location information on American’s movements, no warrant necessary.  Babel Street is a shadowy organization that offers a product called Locate X that…gather[s supposedly] anonymized location data from a host of popular apps that users have unwittingly installed on their phones…U.S. Customs and Border Protection ha[s] a contract to use Locate X and…the Secret Service ha[s] used…it…[since at least] September 28, 2017…

Guinea Pigs (#1018) 

Courtesy of Tryst, here’s Maya Morena on the gang of malignant sociopaths called Deliverfund:

DeliverFund is a…private intelligence agency that provides data to [cops]…they combine counterterrorism (War on Terror), anti-drug, anti-immigrant, and anti-poverty tactics to target the sex industry…[and] track sex workers online…[one of their collaborators is] ShadowDragon, which…[scrapes] escort sites [to] collect data [from] sex worker’s advertisements to [give it to cops, usin the excuse that]…”they’re all secretly controlled by traffickers”…To them we aren’t really people who need to work, to pay bills and live, we are examples of human trafficking…

The Implosion Begins

The Democrats won’t admit that they are just as responsible for this as the GOP:

QAnon [follower] Alpalus Slyman pushed his Honda Odyssey past 110 mph while his five children screamed in the back…and [cops]…pursued him…[he prayed to] Donald Trump…on a livestream [and shouted]… “QAnon, help me!”…Slyman appears to have been convinced …that the police were coming to abduct [his children]…after he accused [one daughter] and his wife…of being agents of the [“sex trafficking”] cabal that QAnon believers say controls the world…he…told his children, who ranged from 8 months to 13 years old…that a video of Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin eating childrens’ brains was discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop…the chase only ended when Slyman crashed into a [copmobile]…then drove his minivan into a tree…His five children were unharmed…a group of QAnon believers are now actively encouraging parents estranged from their children to steal those children back from child protective services…

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I hate that you put me in this position.  –  unidentified pig

As many of you can probably guess, I’m not a fan of Platonic thought; I am, however, a fan of weird short films from the ’70s, like this one discovered by Jesse Walker.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Amy Alkon, Thaddeus Russell, Mike Siegel, Cop Crisis, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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More than eight and a half years ago I predicted that when the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria came, it would not simply fade away, but rather violently implode.  A year later I described it this way:

…This doesn’t mean that things will get steadily better…in fact, they may get worse in some ways…In “The Widening Gyre” I referred to the “trafficking” myth as “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates”, and…[in] this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt…Because it’s a useful tool of social control and a versatile excuse for tyranny, governments (especially the US government) will work hard and invest huge sums to continue the panic well beyond the time when it would have died naturally; that, however, can only work for so long, and once the edifice of prohibition starts to collapse the US will no more be able to halt the process than the communists could stop the destruction of the Berlin Wall…

As it turned out, government and private funds were able to extend the lifespan of the panic by about three or four years, and it was their own overconfidence that eventually triggered the death-spiral:

…the hubris of those who yearn for power over others above all else undermined their own plans; in the spring of [2018] power-drunk US politicians tried to use the hysteria to achieve their long-desired goal of control over the internet, and the result of that power grab – the massive internet-censorship bill called FOSTA – badly backfired, galvanizing sex worker activism so powerfully that neither the media nor up-and-coming politicians could ignore it any longer…sex workers who once preferred to remain silent have become extremely vocalacademics in many fields are urging decriminalization…and the broken-down Hollywood celebrities who champion police violence against women are increasingly finding themselves ignored or even publicly mocked for their cluelessness.  “Feminist” anti-sex rhetoric is finally being recognized as the puritanical garbage it always has been, and the hysteria, as I predicted it would long ago, is rapidly approaching the point of implosion

Less than three months after I published that came the plague, and as their funds started to dry up prohibitionists began to lose their shit, desperately attempting to somehow tie the pandemic into their profitable wanking fantasy.  But what not even Cassandra McNeill could predict was that the process of collapse would be accelerated by the most unlikely of unwilling and inadvertent allies, the Trumpaloons.  And the schadenfreude is so sweet, it almost hurts my teeth:

…the…#SaveTheChildren…hashtag [has been] trending…[thanks to] followers of QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory…[combining prohibitionist fantasies about] human trafficking…with…[inconvenient-to-prohibitionists fantasies about] a global conspiracy involving a ring of Satan-worshiping, child-molesting criminals led by…Hillary Clinton…[who] are kidnapping and eating children…in order to harvest a life-extending chemical from their blood…[unlike “]legitimate[” propaganda which claims sex workers and brown people are]…doing the [imaginary] trafficking[, QAnon cultists claim it’s] a cabal of nefarious elites that includes Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francisthe…[recent nonsense] about…Wayfair…trafficking children under the guise of selling expensive cabinets…went viral…in [part thanks to QAnon followers]…and…In recent weeks, Facebook engagement on human-trafficking-related content has surged…Even the Trump campaign has begun sharing more anti-trafficking content to its millions of Facebook and Twitter followers.  The QAnon strategy of pushing some [politically-approved prohibitionist nonsense]…in addition to [inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy theories has [forced the rescue industry and anti-sex media to attempt to draw arbitrary] lines between [so-called] legitimate anti-trafficking activism and…[inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy mongering.  Recently…QAnon believers [are even infiltrating pro-police state “awareness raising” events], toting signs with messages like “Hollywood Eats Babies”…Tim Ballard, the [pro-Trump] founder of the [dangerously deranged, violently racist] group Operation Underground Railroad, see an opportunity to reach a new, hyper-engaged online audience…Other…[rescue industry profiteer]s worry that QAnon will divert valuable resources from [established, well-connected] groups trying to stop [sex work and censor the internet]…After the Wayfair incident, the Polaris Project…issued a news release saying its hotline had been overwhelmed with…reports…it…[couldn’t] spin [for its own profit]…longtime anti-[sex] activists…[a]re alarmed by QAnon’s recent incursion onto their turf.  They ha[ve] worked for years to [invent and disseminate] fa[ntasies] about child trafficking, only to see them [hijacked] by [a rival gang of] partisan opportunists.  And they worr[y] that…QAnon belie[fs are so bizarre they] could undermine the [rescue industry]’s bipartisan credibility…


I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to watch the New York Times forced to debunk the prohibitionist propaganda it has eagerly promoted for almost 17 years.  As in tales of black magic, the “sex trafficking” fetishists, propagandists, and profiteers have lost control of the evil forces they unleashed under the delusion that they could control them, and now those forces are threatening them as well.  If this keeps up – and I fervently hope it does – the media and political opportunists are going to have to choose who they hate more:  sex workers and our clients, or Donald Trump and his horde of idiots.

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

Negative Secondary Effects

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

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

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

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

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

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

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

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

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

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

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

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

Top Cop (#1062)

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

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

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I could have gotten shot in my face.  –  Sincere Goodman

If I’d play music more often while I worked, I probably wouldn’t have as many weird songs pop into my head, but then I couldn’t inflict them on y’all.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker, Amy Alkon, Rick Horowitz, Thaddeus Russell, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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