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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

As I’ve written before many times, nations and empires are as mortal as the humans who build them, if somewhat longer-lived; and despite the childish beliefs of many Americans, the US is not an exception.  It will die as all political entities must, and it has already passed the point at which future historians will draw an imaginary line dividing the “classical” US from the imperialistic police state which succeeded it.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen a succession of events which has dramatically undermined whatever prestige the US enjoyed:  the ascension of a mad emperor who has made himself an international laughingstock, burned nearly every bridge, and weakened the economy with a ridiculous trade war; the exposure before the eyes of the world of the violent, racist, authoritarian rot that permeates the entire fascist sytem; the childish bickering and deranged tyrannies of nearly every member of the US political class, trying to one-up each other instead of fulfilling one of the few legitimate functions of government, disaster management; and said government’s shameless funneling of money into the hands of the well-connected on a scale unseen since the collapse of the Ancien Régime.  But these were just the visible ulcerations of a cancer which existed for decades before (itself developing from the nation’s ugly birth defect, the morally repulsive notion that people do not own themselves, but can be owned by other people, groups or rulers).  As I wrote in 2013,

…the rulers, rather than admitting the systemic problems, prefer to treat government as a colossal game of hot potato, eternally passing the ball forward in the hopes that it will be in someone else’s hands when the music at last stops as it inevitably must.  But as the events of the last few years have amply demonstrated, the piper is growing steadily more exhausted, and will soon demand his due.  Soon we will be forced to change the way we’ve done things for the past century, whether we like it or not, and the actions of the ruling class (especially that of the US and UK) over the past few decades bode ill for that change being a peaceful one.  I think it’s safe to predict that there will be fireworks, and not of the pleasant kind…

The era of US hegemony is over; it looks, may the gods help us, as though the dominant world political power of the twenties is going to be an empire even more outrageously evil and single-mindedly authoritarian than the US ever was.  I suspect it won’t be long before the process of Balkanization which is already underway becomes obvious even to those who are deeply invested in ignoring it, and Washington joins Rome as a relic of crumbling monuments which was once the most powerful city on Earth.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Derrick Scott

A Brave New World radio play narrated by Aldous Huxley himself?  With a Bernard Herrmann score?  Yes please!  The video was contributed by Anarras Ansible, and the links above it by Stephen Lemons, Conner Habib, Popehat, Mark Bennett, Mama Tush, Radley Balko, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth?  As the anti-cop protests go on, cops are responding in their usual unhinged, brutal fashion, thus making things worse and winning more support for the protesters.  And because video cameras are now ubiquitous, most of the attacks by deranged animals in uniform are caught on video.  Criminal defense attorney Greg Doucette started a Twitter thread to collect them; when I wrote this column on Thursday night, there were just over 300, and by the time you read this I wouldn’t be surprised if it had risen to up around 500.  A teacher named Jason Miller has taken on the Herculean task of cataloging each one in a Google document, which might give you some sense of an answer to my initial question, if you’re obsessive enough to count.  In the great majority of these cases, politicians and boss pigs have first responded with denials and/or prevarications, then after examining the videos closely enough to recognize that the violence is undeniable, they shift to excuse-making or pretended horror (followed by rewarding the attacking pig with a paid vacation until such time as the incident can be swept under the rug).  Note that in many if not most of these cases, the cops are fully aware they’re being recorded and carry on anyhow, counting on their riot gear and their covered-up nameplates and badge numbers to protect their anonymity and powerful police unions to protect their jobs.  A very small number of these will be prosecuted or fired; the rest will get away with it because the politicians are afraid of them and bootlickers grovel before them.  These monsters can no more be “reformed” than a rabid dog can; the only way to deal with them is to utterly remove their power by defunding them, disarming them and then dissolving them entirely.  And if that doesn’t happen, expect the next uprising to be far bloodier and far less transitory.

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To tell you the truth, erotic services could have resumed earlier.
–  Alain Berset

Secret Squirrel (#715)

For every weapon, there is a defense:

YouTube has plenty of videos on how to fake your GPS location, and teens are doing it…[spokespig] Grady Thigpen [oinked a lot of ridiculous nonsense about how privacy from intrusive surveillance]…can actually be really dangerous for teens.  [He infantilized]…young adult[s as]…child[ren and pretended that total violation of their privacy and trust is]…about their safety…

Choke Point (#723)

[sex worker] Sophie Ladder noticed that different…platforms had different notions of what they considered “restricted content.”  So [she]…decided to compile the variations in the form of a shareable spreadsheet…“It was interesting to see how different types of sites are, as a whole, more or less restrictive.  The free tube sites overall are the most open, banning few things.  The clip stores are somewhat restrictive.  And the live camming sites are the most strict”…One challenge…was determining exactly what a particular site’s rules actually are….“many of these sites’ rules are vague to avoid the crackdown from their payment processors that would come with explicitly allowing X, Y, Z content, so instead their rules just don’t really mention X, Y, Z”…

Social Distancing (#1037)

Scotland out-Herods Herod, not only refusing relief money to sex workers but giving it to prohibitionists:

A sex worker charity [w]as…excluded from a Scottish Government pledge of £60,000 to support women affected during the Covid-19 pandemic…the government [instead gave the money]…to…nine [prohibitionist] organisations…[activist] Molly Smith…said…”That the Scottish Government sees organisations which campaign to harm us as appropriate vehicles for our ‘support’ during this crisis shows just how screwed up policy-making on sex work is in Scotland”…

Robocops

One of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982.  With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established”…th[is]…is a legal obstacle that’s nearly impossible to overcome.  It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional.  If none exists, the official is immune…in February, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a Texas prison guard who pepper-sprayed an inmate in his locked cell “for no reason” did not violate clearly established law because similar cited cases involved guards who had hit and tased inmates for no reason, rather than pepper-spraying them for no reason…In the last year alone…courts have granted qualified immunity to [cops] who stole $225,000;  a cop who shot a 10 year old while trying to shoot a nonthreatening family dog; prison officials who locked an inmate in a sewage-flooded cell for days; SWAT team members who fired gas grenades into an innocent woman’s empty home; medical board officials who rifled through a doctor’s client files without a warrant; county officials who held a 14 year old in pretrial solitary confinement for over a month; a cop who body-slammed a 5-foot-tall woman for walking away from him; and police who picked up a mentally infirmed man, drove him to the county line, and dropped him off at dusk along the highway, where he was later struck and killed by a motorist…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Compare to the contrived prohibition in Australia & the Netherlands:

Swiss politicians have decided that sex workers can soon get back to business while activities and sports involving close physical contact such as judo, boxing and wrestling will remain prohibited.  Prostitution …can resume from June 6, along with cinemas, nightclubs and public pools…Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset [said]…“To tell you the truth, erotic services could have resumed earlier.”  Switzerland has dramatically slowed its Covid-19 infection rate while avoiding the strict confinement imposed in neighboring countries…It was among the first countries in Europe to reopen shops, restaurants and schools earlier this month…The [good sense of the] Swiss…contrasts with [the official whore stigma of]…the Netherlands…

The Course of a Disease (#1043)

German sex workers answer the ugly lies of prohibitionist politicians:

The coronavirus ban on sex work, including the closure of brothels must be lifted, said Germany’s Federal Association of Sex Services (BSD) in an open letter…to 16 [prohibitionist] members of Germany’s parliament who recently [demanded imposition of the Swedish model]…The sex work industry must also be able “to generate income again and to offer customers a good service that is human and grounding for them,” states the letter [which] presents a “hygiene concept” that outlines how sex work could continue while minimizing infection…German states [have begun] to ease restrictions such as reopening restaurants, swimming pools and non-sexual massage parlours.  Yet the blanket ban on all types of sex work remains in place…

Like Houses (#1043)

It’s just to keep people SAFE!

Despite the mayor’s claim that police have enforced social distancing equally across Chicago…almost all arrests and citations for congregating have been issued on the city’s South and West sides.  All 13 arrests and 11 of 13 citations have been issued in majority-Black and Latino neighborhoods…Between March 20 and May 21, 13 people were arrested for violating the stay at home orders.  Ten were Black, one was white and two were juveniles whose race and arrest reports were withheld…

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I can’t breathe.  –  George Floyd

Last week Jesse Walker tweeted this video and…see for yourself.  The links above it were provided by Mama Tush, Popehat, Zuri Davis, Mike Siegel, Jesse again, and Stephen Lemons, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s unlikely you’ll make the world a better place by twisting people’s arms.  –  J.D. Tuccille

A Broker in Pillage

I’m sure you know the answer to the question posed in this headline:

An Arizona bill requiring police and prosecutors to get a criminal conviction before they could [steal citizens’ property]…died [in the Arizona House]…The bill passed the [state] Senate unanimously in March.  Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and…politic[ians decided]…they don’t want to give up the revenue…Kirsten Engel…[basically] said that…she wants to use civil forfeiture to finance police departments even if it means the disadvantaged get the blunt end of the stick…

The Joy of Juxtaposition

Beneath their “red x” silliness and childish propaganda, “End It” are dangerous copsuckers:

The End It movement is not…apolitical…people are supporting and directly funding institutions that define slavery, trafficking, and freedom by their own criteria while collaborating with the FBI, DHS, and police forces.  Overall, the End It movement serves the state, corporate, and institutional interests of the people who run it.  Every year the End It movement picks a random date in February to…promote Westerners drawing a red “X” on their hand to represent millions of victims who are enslaved…their Twitter page is full of…celebrities, police, corporations and…“law and order” types…

Rough Trade (#915) 

Cops refuse to release the name of a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

A man gardaí believe is a “serious threat to women” is staying in a Dublin hotel after arriving back into the country in recent weeks…The man[‘s name is not being released]…because his only [recent] rape [accusations were] of two prostitutes…who[m]…he…drugged and raped…and beat…during a lengthy attack…

The Course of a Disease (#980)

Proponents of the Swedish rot will use any excuse to push their filth:

Pro[hibitionist] German politicians…called for brothels to be closed indefinitely…[by rehashing the tired old myth of sex workers as vectors of disease]…”[We want people to believe] that prostitutes could become epidemiological ‘super spreaders’ — sexual activities are, as a rule, not compatible with social distancing measures,” the letter reads…The letter calls for Germany to take the opportunity to adopt the “Nordic model”…

The speed with which Swedish criminalization fans have pivoted from “we’re only trying to protect women!” to “whores are dirty and should be condemned to re-education” tells you all you need to know about their sincerity.

Social Distancing

Bills and hunger don’t “socially distance” from people without income:

…“the world’s oldest profession”…doesn’t stop for anything.  Not an economic crisis, not Ramadan, and not a deadly coronavirus outbreak.  [Even] in [Iran,] where “Morality Police” roam the streets, everyone knows exactly where to go to find prostitution…Mona…tells me…“It’s either I die of poverty or die of Corona – I choose the second one.”  Mona says that she gets fewer house calls these days, but the street ones are still coming.  Sex is always in demand, so business hasn’t taken much of a hit from the spread of the virus…

Working From Home (#1032)

Susannah Breslin interviews a stripper activist:

New Orleans…[stripper Chase] Kelly has become a source of support and wisdom for her dancer clients and her over 46,000 followers on Instagram.  So, when the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the U.S. early this year, Kelly become a front line worker at the intersection of the pandemic and strip clubs, providing counseling and support for dancers who, due to the nature of their work, found themselves in dire circumstances.  Here, Kelly talks about how the coronavirus has changed the strip club business, why taking things online isn’t the same thing when you strip for a living, and whether or not the coronavirus will wipe out the strip club industry altogether…

Like Houses (#1038)

Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Violence is safety:

For a brief time, [Americans] seemed to be taking the dangers of official force to heart.  Then the pandemic came along, and…politicians quickly went to their happy place: threatening people with violence for not doing what they’re told…Threats to arrest people for violating stay-at-home [diktats] are especially ironic, given reports of rapid contagion in crowded jails and prisons.  Mass imprisonment…isn’t a great public health tactic…Cops across the country busted people for “social-distancing violations” including hanging out with friendsplaying with their children in public parks, and failing to wear face masks. Police in Brooklyn “cuffed a mother and pinned her to the ground” because her mask was around her neck instead of over her nose and mouth.  Everybody is potentially on the receiving end of such treatment, but cops always lean most heavily on the people they prefer to target…members of minority communities who are less able to push back…

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One of the things plague season has demonstrated to me is just how different my lifestyle is to that of most people.  Certainly, I’m losing money just like most small business owners, but fortunately, I have some generous readers, clients and friends who have been helping to ease that pain, and since I have for the past 17 months already been engaged in the process of shifting my business model to a smaller number of regular clients, the sudden drop in client contacts two months ago didn’t hit me as hard (financially or emotionally) as it did younger, less-established sex workers.  And given that my official residence (which has now become my primary residence) is on 11 acres of land 20 miles from the nearest town, most of the urban restrictions fell pretty lightly on my shoulders and gave me time to do a lot of long-neglected renovation.  Of course, the various restrictions (both real and made-up) are as annoying and frustrating to me as they are to any non-puritan, and I’m very concerned for the many small business owners I know who are being slowly strangled to death by politicians trying to save their own careers.  But for once, a disaster didn’t completely disrupt my life, as so many have in the past.  And I think that’s something I’ll be very thankful for over the next couple of years.

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How dare you!  –  Greta Thunberg

Here’s yet another unusual song cover to prove that “cultural appropriation” is awesome; it was provided by Radley Balko, and the links above it are from Franklin Harris, Rick Pettit, Kevin Wilson, Popehat (x2), The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, and Stephen Lemons, in that order.

From the Archives

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The government has adopted a win-at-all-costs approach and [an attitude] that the ends justify the means.  –  Michael Piccarreta

Elephant in the Parlor

Politician takes bribes, hires whores.  Yawn.

…federal [documents]…suggest…a years-long trail of bribery between City Councilmember Jose Huizar and a Chinese development firm with a megaproject slated for downtown Los Angeles…[real estate broker] George Chiang…started a real estate consulting company in 2014…that directed money, consulting fees, casino chips, flights on private jets, luxury hotel stays, prostitutes and escort services between developers…[politicians] and [bureaucrats]…in exchange for approval of an 80,000-square foot commercial project and other downtown developments…

Dangerous Speech (#958)

The government keeps demonstrating that it doesn’t really care that its war on thought is wholly and incontrovertibly unconstitutional:

fiery motion to dismiss filed in the Lacey/Larkin case on May 1…accuses the U.S. Department of Justice of “outrageous government misconduct,” claiming federal pettifoggers and government agents repeatedly trampled upon the defendants’ attorney-client privileges…despite repeated warnings from defense counsel…and two [court] orders…the government continued to question former Backpage CEO and owner Carl Ferrer concerning confidential legal advice that was subject to joint defense and representation agreements with other defendants…the government grilled Ferrer repeatedly through “seven successive interviews” over the course of 13 months, beginning the day of his plea deal…In doing so…the government engaged in “outrageous” and “unconstitutional” misconduct.  Prosecutors “willfully invaded” Lacey and Larkin’s attorney-client privileges in order to “gain a tactical advantage in the case,” thereby violating the defendants’ Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and their Sixth Amendment right to counsel…Barring outright dismissal, the motion asks for an evidentiary hearing to determine the extent of the harm done to the defendants and possible sanctions against the government, such as the exclusion of Ferrer as a witness, the suppression of other evidence, or the disqualification of the entire prosecution team…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

The human cost of a prohibitionist crusade:

In March 2019 my life was turned upside down…by feminist groups who said I needed saving…Becoming a dancer at Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino was the best thing I’d ever done.  It gave me the confidence I desperately lacked…[but then] Not Buying It sent private [dicks] into our club to buy lap dances and secretly film the women dancing.  They did this to “prove” to Sheffield Council that Spearmint Rhino was in breach of its own code of conduct and should have its licence revoked.  They filmed women naked and without their consent, and this was only the beginning…it traumatised the women …[and] hurt their families, their friends and their children…the ensuing campaign to close our club left me extremely anxious and scared to go to work…I was paranoid that every person who came into the club was another undercover investigator trying to take my job away.  I was always on edge, watching people, checking buttons for cameras, looking in people’s ears to see if they were wearing earpieces.  I was hyper-aware of customers who used their mobile phones and frightened that they were secretly recording me.  It was torture.  Work went from being the place I felt safest to a place I felt judged and under attack…

Business As Usual (#1001)

Every so often one of these sadly-typical stories gets more media attention:

Agents with…DHS…in Arizona have been “fighting” human trafficking by sending federal immigration agents to [rape women they claim to be]…victims…[then] seizing their assets, and telling the press it was these women who were the real predators.  Federal agents [raped] at least 17…”Asian females” working in massage parlors around Mohave County, Arizona, over a five-month period in 2018…the years-long operation yielded three misdemeanor charges…[the] scenario…is far from an isolated incidentnational and mainstream media have been discovering and disapproving of “Operation Asian Touch.”  This is great—so long as nobody mistakes what happened in Mohave County for an atypical investigation.  If you track initial claims about massage parlor-based human trafficking through to their actual conclusions, you’ll almost always find law enforcement simply targeting sex workers, small-business owners, immigrants, and the people who patronize them with harassment, assault, arrest, property seizure, prosecution, detainment, and deportation. And the “victims” they allegedly set out to save frequently wind up facing criminal charges.  There are only two roles women can play in this Homeland Security-led charade: helpless sex slave or conniving human trafficker.  (Both types…are invited to stroke ICE agent penises)…

I Spy (#1006)

But please, tell me more about “wings” and “blue states” and “democracy”:

The U.S. Senate comfortably approved a 2-1/2-year extension of parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)…by 80-16, far more than the 60 votes needed for passage.  The measure must be approved…by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law…

Like Houses (#1031)

All they were waiting for was a strong enough excuse:

In India, the COVID-19 crisis is turning out to be the perfect excuse for the government to consolidate its pre-pandemic surveillance ambitions.  Since May 4, as restrictions began to ease, the government has mandated the installation of its contact-tracing smartphone app for anyone who works…or uses public transport.  Failing to do so is criminal…Unsurprisingly, digital rights and civil society organizations are pushing back on the new di[ktat]…

Reawakening

A high-profile example of the quiet rebellion that’s already started everywhere in the US:

Alameda County [bureaucrats] backed down in their conflict with Elon Musk, reversing their shutdown order and granting provisional approval for Tesla’s Fremont, California plant to reopen.  Musk had already reopened the plant for business in defiance of the lockdown order, tweeting …”If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me“…Musk’s civil disobedience against the COVID lockdown regime is a high-profile instance of a wider trend…

Social Distancing (#1036)

At its core, Australia is still prohibitionist:

…as Australia eases itself out of COVID-19 restrictions…in [a] three-stage framework…strip clubs and brothels were specifically listed “to remain closed” even in stage three…other businesses with…skin-to-skin contact – like waxing, massages, tattoos, bathhouses and saunas – are allowed to open in stage three.  Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim [said]…”We hoped this…outbreak wouldn’t be used as an excuse to turn back…gains made in sex worker legislation, but it’s hard to see this as anything but discrimination, considering similar businesses are allowed”…federal [bureaucrats] recommended brothels and strip club venues should stay shut [indefinitely]…sole operator sex workers…are banned after being classed as “non-essential”

Meanwhile, over in New Zealand:

The national lift to COVID-19 alert level 2 means it’s business as usual for many Kiwis, including sex workers…The New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective (NZPC) released guidelines for sex workers on their website…with a checklist of hygiene practices and safety measures workers, brothels and massage parlours should be implementing…

Torture Chamber (#1038)

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

In the vast majority of the world’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons…physical distancing is simply not an option.  In situations where close confinement, shared facilities and spaces and poor hygiene are commonplace…prison[ers]…are living in constant fear of the ticking COVID-19 time bomb…UNAIDS, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are calling on leaders to make detention a last resort, to close drug rehabilitation detention centres and to decriminalize sex work, same-sex sexual relations and drug use.  They are urging countries to release the people who can be released…The Government of Ethiopia…has released more than 30,000 prisoners and has heightened sanitation measures.  Indonesia is releasing more than 50,000…Iran is releasing 40% of its total prison population, 100,000 people, while Chile is set to release around 50,000 people…

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The most popular current excuse for expanding the police state and destroying civil liberties is “the pandemic”.

Before that it was “sex trafficking”.

Before that it was “terrorism”.

Before that it was “crime”.

Before that it was “drugs”.

Before that it was “communism”.

Before that it was…

How many times will you let them fool you?

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