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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

The name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  –  “The Censor-Moron

As I’ve written several times over the past few years, top-down censorship had become very rare in the US; alas, in just the past year since the last Banned Books Week, it has returned with a vengeance.  The passage of FOSTA, a law which both authorizes direct federal censorship of the internet (by creating a new category of banned speech) and exerts a powerful chilling effect (by an unconstitutionally vague description of what might be included in that category), is the worst example, but it is by no means the only one.  Congress has also conducted an inquisition of Facebook and Twitter over paranoid fantasies and the idiotically-named non-category “fake news”, with several of the inquisitors hinting at the possibility of direct censorship (or as they prefer to call it. “regulation”); the EU has also threatened to censor the social media giants using the excuse of “hate speech”.  In the UK, a member of Parliament actually wants to ban any online discussion that the police cannot eavesdrop on, and in the US cops are demanding the power both to prosecute those who criticize them and to suppress books about police violence; in some prisons, the one area of society completely under police control, “drugs” are being used as an excuse to ban books entirely in favor of expensive e-book readers (that the state gets a cut of, natch) with a very limited library:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is planning to ban free book donations to inmates by mail, claiming that this is a “primary avenue for drugs” to enter prisons.  But the move coincides with a renewed push to get prisoners buying into a pricey prison eBook system…the Prisoners Lit Project and others…said that Pennsylvania prisons’ libraries are underfunded and often inaccessible and [vowed to] challenge…the new policy…The tablet devices hawked by the DOC are bulky and low-end, with tiny low-definition color displays not intended for reading at length, rudimentary hardware and translucent materials to prevent them being used to hide contraband.  They cost $147 plus tax, about three times the price of the only extant consumer device, the $50 Amazon Fire, with similar specifications.  There is no repair service: any problems with the device and you have to buy a new one.  Then prisoners must pay a minimum of $3 each per eBook from the same state-contracted vendor, which offers a list of only 8,500 titles…other states are embarking on similar plans, and they’re likely to meet stiff court challenges…

If this all wasn’t bad enough, consider the UK, which wants to subject people to police violence for the “crime” of wrongthink:

…The latest Orwellian invitation to rat out offensive speakers was issued by the South Yorkshire Police…[who]…took to Twitter to remind people…”In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents…like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing.”  It is chilling that cops, whose only business should be fighting crime, now want to hear about non-crime.  Anyone who has even a sliver of respect for the ideal of liberty, for the right of people to go about their lives without being watched or narked on, should be seriously concerned that cops would want to hear about non-criminal behavior, otherwise known as everyday behavior…This is Stasi territory.  Coppers asking citizens to file reports on things they have read or overheard really should have disappeared from Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Yet here it still is, this GDR-style instruction to eavesdrop and squeal, though now it’s happening on the other side of the old Iron Curtain…

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream, and how eagerly jackbooted thugs have seized upon it as yet another way to control the thoughts of the entire population via threats of violence.

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This is why there aren’t any grocery stores in the Black community.  –  Kevin Brown

When I said I love Rube Goldberg machines, naturally somebody (namely Nattie Roman) had to send me a video of a pretty damned elaborate one!  The links above it were provided by Scott GreenfieldElection BabeMike RiggsCathy ReisenwitzMike Chase, Scott Greenfield again, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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There’s real people being hurt.  But [cops are too] busy playing these goddamn games.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Droit du Seigneur

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

Seven members of the NYPD were arrested [last] Wednesday in connection with a prostitution and gambling case as part of an investigation dating back to 2015…retired NYPD detective Ludwig Paz…and his wife, a former prostitute, ran brothels located in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, Long Island, along with numerous gambling rooms set up in beauty salons and other businesses.  [Cops] who knew the retired detective then became involved…providing security or information…the suspects have been identified as…Carlos Cruz…Louis Failla…Cliff Nieves…Steven Nieves…Giancarlo Raspanti…Gionanny Rojas-Acosta…[and] Rene Samaniego…

End Demand

But they’re “going after the johns”!

A coalition with the stated mission of disrupting human trafficking in the Sacramento region touted the results of a crackdown on the men who pay for sexual favors.  But the press release…omitted one crucial detail:  Considerably more women are arrested for prostitution-related offenses—contradicting the message that authorities are zeroing in on the men who purportedly fund sexual exploitation…

Bait and Switch

Cops will keep pulling these shenanigans as long as courts let them:

A…man received a stay of imposition Sept. 7…Paul R. Lund was…charged last August with felony prostitution…[after cops] rented a Springfield residence and [fantasy role-played] as 16-year-old females willing to trade sex…for money or narcotics.  Lund’s defense attorney, Jacob Birkholz of Mankato, accused the State of trying to burden shift, using photos of someone age 18 or older, originally claiming the female was 18, then 16…

To Molest and Rape 

A rare example of an appropriate sentence for a rapist cop:

A [typical and representative Ohio] cop convicted of raping four women…was sentenced to 43 years in prison.  The first 33 years of Justin Sanderson’s sentencing are mandatory…and he will not be eligible for early release until the last 10 years.  Sanderson will have to register as a sex offender if he is ever released from prison…

Elephant in the Parlor (#831) 

As long as transactional sex is criminalized and stigmatized, it will be used as a weapon against women:

…the Russian spy who shagged NRA members is yet another sexual fiction created by the feds.  Russian national Maria Butina still stands accused of having failing to file proper paperwork while working as a foreign agent and conspiracy.  But U.S. prosecutors have now admitted that they have no evidence she traded sex for secrets or otherwise acted as a “honeypot“.  The Butina text messages used to make that claim were just jokes, prosecutors now [admit]…Butina’s lawyers “are arguing that the prosecutors’ error is emblematic of a flawed federal case that has wrongly landed their client in pretrial custody”…The alleged error is…incredibly typical for the feds…[who often] tell sordid or scandalous sexual tall tales about suspects, especially when any appearance of transactional sex is concerned.  Butina is lucky that prosecutors have at least acknowledged their mistake publicly…All too often, those who the feds falsely accuse of sexual intrigue and crime do not get that chance

The Punitive Mindset (#838) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

For the last seven years, inmates have stocked the libraries of their personal MP3 players with $2 downloads.  Come January, they’ll be forced to hand it all over because the Florida Department of Corrections signed a new deal with a competing company…the Florida Department of Corrections struck a deal with JPay…to sell profit-driven multimedia tablets to incarcerated people…inmates will have to return the players [they purchased from another company], and they can’t transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices…The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, has collected $1.4 million in commissions on each song downloaded and other related sales since July 2011…JPay already operates banking accounts and facilitates phone calls at the state-run prisons, charging inmates and their loved ones steep fees for the services…

Perquisites (#848)

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

A tour bus company was slammed after footage emerged of young lads being entertained – by COYOTE dancers.  The young men hired the coach…for a trip from Bangkok, Thailand, into neighbouring provinces.  But video taken during the journey onboard the…Bus…with blacked out windows shows passengers cavorting with young women in hot pants and skimpy tops…Video…sparked outrage from [busybodies] who said [other people’s private behavior] was [somehow] inappropriate…

Uncommon Sense (#855)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

…the Zurich Women’s Centre…launched its campaign for a ban on prostitution based on the Swedish model…Other NGOs started a counter-campaign called “Sex Work Is Work”, in which they take a stand against a ban and for the rights of sex workers.  Even state-run gender-equality agencies and advisory offices have spoken out against the demands of the Zurich Women’s Centre…A majority of the Swiss media is also sceptical about the Zurich Women’s Centre’s proposal.  A ban on prostitution would be expensive, the Tages-Anzeiger commented:  If the sex trade is made illegal, then it would be necessary to help the women concerned to find new work, or to fund their retraining.  “Anything else would be hypocritical and unfair”…

The Widening Gyre (#869) 

Another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter:

A [New Jersey] teen took to Twitter to formally apologize for initiating a widespread panic with her tweet that [fantasized a shopping mall]…in Toms River was a hot-spot for human trafficking.  The original tweet, posted by Sarah Gascho, stated: “the parking lot on route 37 where ShopRite, staples, Panera, etc. are located is apparently becoming a spot for human traffickers to kidnap victims!!!!!”  The tweet has since been deleted; however, it garnered hundreds of shares and comments on social media prior to being removed…“We have not received any official reports alerting us to any criminal activity of this nature,” stated Toms River Police.  “Please be aware that posting un[approv]ed rumors can rise to causing false public alarm which is a chargeable offense.  If you have been witness to something or feel in danger, call the police, do not post about it”…

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We didn’t think it was good idea to have [rapey cop] conduct aired publicly in a prosecution.  –  Scott Perrilloux

To Protect and Serve

Strip club raids exist only for pigs to get their jollies:

Prosecutors have scuttled a multi-agency investigation into a…strip club in St. Helena Parish [because a disguised pig]…committed a crime – by digitally penetrating a woman during two private dances.  The month-long sting operation included another [cop] asking a dancer at The Mansion to lactate on him “because he was curious”…The [sexual assault] of the dancer was described in a lengthy affidavit…by Scott Jarreau, a Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s…deputy who recounted the…actions in graphic detail [because he idiotically thought it would]…support…a civil asset forfeiture case against the club’s owner that was ultimately dismissed.  The [pigs’ disgusting] conduct was among the reasons prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against 13 people arrested in the raid, including the club’s proprietor…It’s not clear why Shreveport, which is more than four hours away, lent officers to the effort…

It’s “not clear” to people whose heads are so far up their own arseholes they don’t know what pervert cops look like.

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

A…Newark [cop] was charged…with…soliciting and accepting cash payments from brothel owners in exchange for protecting the brothels from police action and…failing to report those cash payments on his…income tax returns…Julio Rivera…[extort]ed more than $100,000 in cash payments from three brothel owners [?] in Newark…

I’m guessing that by “brothels” these prosecutors actually mean massage parlors.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical 

Hysteria over “dangerous teen fads” is much funnier when cops are its primary vectors:

…“Momo”…is the face of a viral Internet game, [fantasized] to be spreading via…WhatsApp and sparking worldwide warnings…by [authoritarians] about its potential to harm young people who may be lured into playing…references to “Momo” also have circulated on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  The…“Momo Challenge”…requires players to complete escalating tasks that are [supposedly] dangerous…But…it’s simply another one of the many hoaxes that breed on the Internet.  Officials in multiple countries [fantasize] Momo’s final challenge is suicide and the game is rumored to be linked to at least three recent cases of minors who killed themselves in Argentina, Colombia and India…None of these circumstantial reports tying the game to suicides have been proved…[people who aren’t cops or hysterics] are calling it an Internet hoax designed to generate paranoia among adults…

Finding What Isn’t There

Trying to manufacture data to “prove” a problem exists when existing data says it doesn’t is not science:

…David Cohen…of Stanford’s…Center for Human Rights…has created a set of resources to help NGOs and government agencies working in the anti-trafficking field gather data [for] policymakers…about the nature and scope of the problem they face.  “Sectors in the anti-trafficking field [do] not always cooperat[e] in a way that…allow[s] us to understand that data”…said senior program manager Jessie Brunner…“After decades of work…there is still no [politically popular] answer to “what is the problem and why is it happening”…That scares me, that after all these efforts and money spent we still aren’t able to figure that out.  And we need a solid answer to that question so that we can actually stop the problem”…Brunner…that the data that exist are often limited…of low quality or outdated…

When an article about the lack of good data about a phenomenon refers to that phenomenon as a “problem” and a “scourge” while admitting that the hysterics don’t even know that there is a problem, it’s a safe bet that any forthcoming data from the announced project will be worthless.

Chauvinism (#335)

Instead of purging sex workers with police violence, Argentina negotiated with them as citizens:

…For two months, transgender sex workers will move from the red light zone in Plaza Florencio Sánchez…in…Palermo…to another space, a few blocks away…The move [was agreed upon in meetings between]…the Argentina LGBT Federation and the Association of Women of Argentina (AMMAR)…sex workers in the area, the Undersecretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Buenos Aires Government and the Ombudsman of the City…The reason is that Florencio Sanchez square is being converted to volleyball courts, while the neighboring Lago de Regatas is being conditioned for the Olympic Triathlon swimming competition…[for] the Youth Olympic Games, which will run from October 6 to 18…until October 31, the trans girls will leave their usual area…to…offer their services in…a temporary red light zone…the City Government also agreed to make improvements in working conditions that they had committed to when the red light zone…was created in 2008…

Allied for Change

This announcement is definitely flawed, but I applaud any client who comes out:

Lily Allen has revealed that she slept with female escorts because she felt “lost and lonely” during the tour for her third album Sheezus in 2014…explaining her decision was made after learning that some details of her upcoming book My Thoughts Exactly had been leaked to the Daily Mail.  “I slept with female escorts when I was on tour, cause I was lost and lonely and looking for something.  I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed…I don’t do it anymore”…

Follow Your Bliss (#698) 

Yet the government still won’t admit that the TSA attracts pedophiles:

A…Transportation Security Administration supervisor has been sentenced for having child pornography at his home.  Devin David Jutilla…resigned from his job at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after his arrest April 25 [and]…pleaded guilty last month to second-degree child pornography possession as part of [a plea bargain] with Pierce County prosecutors…Judge Bryan Chushcoff sentenced Jutilla to six months in jail…

The Widening Gyre (#825) 

Cops are trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic by using their favored tool, violence:

An Ohio mom’s Facebook video about the attempted abduction of her child in a Walmart parking lot was [like] all [sex trafficking scare tales] made up…Chelsie Hendel was arrested…after…Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey…[reviewed] security footage [that]…showed no such incident happened.  Bailey also said Hendel never reported a crime to police.  When police questioned Hendel…she admitted to making the story up and was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.  Her video…has been taken down from Facebook…

Banishment (#848) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

…civil commitment allows a prosecutor to subject those convicted of sexual offenses (and sometimes, those with no conviction at all) to an indefinite period of civil punishment at the end of their criminal sentence.  Civil commitment can mean years of additional detention under the guise of psychiatric treatment meant to reduce a person’s risk of committing another crime, with an often-illusory promise of freedom.  Statutes that [supposedly] constrain the power of authorities to civilly commit people…are  broad and ambiguous…and…rates of reoffending are far lower than would be believed—potentially imperiling the justification for civil commitment itself…In California, there [are] 345 people trapped in…“pretrial” detention for more than three years.  More than a quarter of those have been held without trial since 2006 or earlier.  In Florida…89 of the 489 detainees at their civil commitment center are pretrial.  Fourteen have been held for more than a decade; five for nearly 20 years.  In Washington State, Jesse McReynolds spent nine years civilly detained on McNeil Island without trial before a judge ordered his release…McReynolds’s case was…not an anomaly, and…multiple [Washingtonians] have been civilly detained pending trial, sometimes for decades…

Soap Opera (#853)

They’re “certified” in making up absurd stories and spreading moral panic:

…in Deschutes County, a local response team comprised of 16 experts in their various fields follows up on all human trafficking leads.  The Deschutes County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Response Team then coordinates a continuum of care, helping victims become survivors…

In Bend, Oregon, home of this “team”, this “continuum of care” includes posting magic “sex trafficker” detecting stickers (subtitle link), turning people in to the pigs for being injured, and claiming that eclipses cause “sex trafficking” by magic passes involving poker chips.

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It’s time to stop letting zealots…not only destroy the lives of innocent people but hijack police and media focus for their weird authoritarian ends.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Lack of Evidence 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted what they believe to be a suspected brothel in Moseley…[they] discovered dozens of condoms and…around £200 in cash in…[a woman’s] purse…Sparkbrook Police tweeted… “SparkbrookWMP have raided a suspected brothel in Moseley today.  Two females have been safeguarded…often you find organised Sex Trafficking behind them”…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.  Plus condoms and pocket change as “evidence” of “sex trafficking”.  What a pathetic, misogynistic wanking fantasy.

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

Rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have climbed for the fourth consecutive year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced…Last year, nearly 2.3 million US cases of these sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed…That’s the highest number ever reported nationwide, breaking the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases…

Change a Few Words

A good example of why “legalized” sex work is a bad idea:

In November 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  But nearly two years later, there are still no stores licensed to sell pot to the public.  One business owner now she faces criminal charges for trying to find a way around the roadblock…Humble Bumble, a since-closed health and wellness store, would overcharge for regular items.  In return, customers were “‘gifted’ specific amounts of a green, leafy substance consistent with marijuana”…Humble Bumble…wasn’t technically selling marijuana to customers, and it seems like the store did its best to comply with local regulations…Under Massachusetts law, it’s not illegal to give away weed for free.  The transfer simply can’t be “advertised or promoted to the public.”  Other companies in the state have been taking advantage of this loophole as well.  But…only Kattar has been prosecuted…

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

Another inmate has died in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, making 12 deaths this month.  Troy Pittman…died at Promise Hospital…The manner and cause of death are pending autopsy but [Coroner David] Ruth [claimed] Pittman likely died of “natural causes”.  Pittman was an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, making him the fifth inmate death at the facility this month…The ages of the 11 other deceased inmates in August  range from 24 to 78.  Three were housed at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, four were at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, three were at Parchman and one was housed at the privately run Wikinson County Correctional Facility…

Dirty Laundry (#438)

More on child abuse by nuns at US orphanages:

…for all the…[recent] revelations [about abusive Catholic clergy] — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history…remains all but unknown.  It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children.  Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms:  People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item.  They were forced to eat their own vomit.  They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes.  Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten.  They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings.  They were sexually abused. They were mutilated…[some] entered orphanages but did not leave them alive…these deaths…were not natural or even accidents, but were instead the inevitable consequence of the nuns’ brutality…

To Molest and Rape 

Another prosecutor claims he let a serial rapist cop off to “protect” his underage victim:

…Georgia [cop Richard Gooddine]…accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl…has been fired…and is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation…Gooddine detained the girl [on August 19th] for violating curfew…he…drove [her] around for hours and sexually assaulted her at an apartment complex before driving her home…GBI previously investigated Gooddine over a 2011 sexual assault [of]…a minor.  The case wasn’t prosecuted.  Fulton County D.A. [pig mouthpiece claimed]…the office was concerned about traumatizing the victim in that case…

Victimless “crimes” such as curfew violations exist for the sole purpose of giving cops excuses to harass and victimize peaceful people who are harming nobody.

Vendetta (#664)

Liz Brown on this year’s Swanee Hunt psychodrama pogroms:

Last week concluded the latest “National Johns Suppression Initiative”, an appropriately draconian name for a coordinated cross-country targeting of sex workers and their customers…The [ChicagoTribune headline describes it a “national sex trafficking crackdown”.  But let’s do the math from the figures it gives us:  473 people arrested for attempting to pay for sexual activity…6 people arrested for pimping…0 people arrested for sex trafficking…This “national sex trafficking operation” has a zero percent success rate if the goal is, you know, actually catching sex traffickers.  Even counting the six alleged pimps, these arrests make up less than 1.3 percent of the total arrests reported (and that’s without including sex workers arrested in the course of these stings)…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

…Aura Dolls is launching what it claims is the first sex doll brothel in North America on Sept. 8…Names, photos and descriptions of the dolls can be found on the company’s website along with rates which range from $80 for one doll for 30 minutes to $960 for two dolls for four hours…the customers will only interact with the dolls when they visit the business, which will have a private entrance at the back and a buzzer system to exit.  “They put their payment down on the counter and they go straight to their room,” [marketing director Claire] Lee said…“We don’t have staff there, just a camera”…The company also encourages the use of lube and condoms and said the dolls will be cleaned after each customer using a three-step routine to get them as clean as possible…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a 30-year-friend touched your butt”?

…”Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years under President Obama, was arrested…and charged with groping a woman in his apartment in October 2017″…Before the vicious attack occurred, the “survivor” was deeply involved in the #metoo movement as an artist creating #metoo art…In April, she wrote an article in an online publication describing her transition from activist to victim, and related the events of that night without naming her abuser.  What was this horrifying act of depravity that cause her to go to the police ten months later to seek criminal charges against this person she’s known for more than 30 years?  He touched her butt…She said Dr. Frieden groped her while their spouses were not looking, and apologized later…It was certainly prescient of Judge Yavinsky to order the surrender of his passport to avoid him fleeing to a tropical island to avoid prosecution, and issue a no contact order, since there was a grave chance that Frieden might stalk her to touch her behind one more time…

What kind of mind files criminal charges against a lifelong friend who got a little handsy?  Especially a YEAR after the incident?  Wouldn’t it have been enough to say, “Whoa, hands off!” and ask for an apology?  Or at most to tell his wife?  What justice is served by feeding non-criminal people into the police state sausage grinder?

Legislators Gone Wild (#862) 

Judge slaps down two out-of-control politicians:

A federal judge ordered Nye County to restore and reinstate Dennis Hof’s brothel and liquor licenses for his Love Ranch South brothel…Judge Richard Boulware ordered a preliminary injunction based on perceived First Amendment retaliation by Nye County Commissioners Dan Schinhofen and Andrew “Butch” Borasky.  Hof has lawsuits against both commissioners for comments and actions they’ve made about him…Boulware banned the pair of commissioners from voting on any action regarding Hof and his brothel licenses while pending litigation goes forward…

Hof is a complete douchebag, but these little power games hurt the sex workers and other employees of the brothel.

Business As Usual (#866)

More on the rapist cop who murdered a sex worker in Columbus, Ohio:

…Andrew Mitchell…has already made 80 prostitution-related arrests in 2018, overwhelmingly of women…he is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, opened before the shooting, and multiple previous complaints…Though [cops gave the victim’s married name, Castleberry, to the media]…she went by Donna Dalton…a…CPD spokesman…[referred to the victim as] a nuisance to the neighborhood…[and her murderer] as a 30-year veteran.  It declined to discuss the dozens of arrests he made for prostitution-related offenses like “soliciting” and “loitering soliciting”…Mitchell faced at least eight complaints since 2006…in two he was found be “outside of policy”…In 2018, there have been 17 incidents involving [Columbus cops] shooting people…Seven of those people died.  Between 2013 and 2017, CPD officers fatally shot 28 people.  Columbus officers are also almost always cleared of wrongdoing…In fact, since Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien was elected in 1996, he has never indicted any [cops] for fatal on-duty shootings…

The article also points out that it was the Columbus police who arrested Stormy Daniels on bogus charges in July.

Full of Themselves (#867)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

…Massage Envy is facing a rash of lawsuits by women who say…they were sexually assaulted while getting massages in at least five Florida locations.  The Arizona-based company, which has some 1,200 franchises across the country, was the subject of an investigation by BuzzFeed last November that revealed more than 180 customers said they had been sexually assaulted at the spas…attorneys for the…women claim the company knew of these allegations and took steps to make sure they were never brought to law enforcement…and/or state massage therapy boards…The Palm Beach suit comes on the heels of a lawsuit by five plaintiffs in San Mateo County, California, who accused Massage Envy of negligence, sexual battery, gender violence, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, after they they were allegedly harassed or sexually assaulted at franchises…Buzzfeed’s original investigation found…[that] women…were groped, digitally penetrated, and raped [by masseurs] all across the country and that the company either ignored or mishandled the complaints…

The Widening Gyre (#867) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; as you can see they’re getting stupider and more dangerous all the time.  This one is an attempt to replace wariness of the very real phenomenon of “phishing” (clicking on the link could download spyware or other malware into your device) with panic over an imaginary peril.  105,000 retweets for this idiotic garbage; is it any wonder the US has turned entirely into a police state, with the enthusiastic support of the Great Unwashed?

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You can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free.  –  William Ramirez

Rough Trade 

Reporter helps cops add insult to injury by infantilizing a rape victim:

Bellevue police have arrested two men in connection with the rape and robbery of a Chinese woman — believed to be a victim of human trafficking…on July 19…Police say the suspects know these types of incidents aren’t usually reported due to the victim’s fear of being arrested or deported.  These suspects are believed to have committed several similar robberies in the greater Seattle area and Bellevue…

The cops claim they won’t arrest victims who report, but it would be foolish for a sex worker to take the risk.  And even if they don’t arrest her, they’ll deny her agency and use her to advance their anti-whore narrative by calling her a “sex trafficking victim”.

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers and lack of rights for women in general are part of the same ugly scheme:

A friend of mine lived alone in downtown Cairo…One day in 2012, her neighbors saw her heading to the apartment with her boyfriend and two friends, a man and a woman.  Once they were inside, the neighbors started banging on the door, calling her a prostitute and threatening to call the police to arrest them for prostitution…My friend told them that she and her partner were married, through an urfi or unregistered marriage, and the guests were just friends.  Things settled down only after she promised that she would move out of the apartment within days.  Many women have been raised in familial contexts where their mobility and sexuality are restricted…These restrictions have driven many of us to move out of our family homes out of a desire to experience life for ourselves, and enter the expanding ranks of the mustaqellat, or independent women, those who live neither in the home of their families nor husbands.  If we thought that by leaving our family homes we could escape respectability politics, we learn very quickly that this is not the case.  When women live alone, they are perceived as…abnormal subjects, because we are not living with our families, the source of a woman’s identification and social value…a woman trying to live beyond the traditional frameworks of social relationships…is constantly surveilled, and the primary authority over her body moves from the family and its neighborhood to the larger community…

Above the Law  

They always make these cases sound like the bureaucrat was doing his victims a favor:

A…Pennsylvania district attorney who tipped off female drug dealers and gave them lenient treatment in exchange for sex was sentenced to eight years of probation…Bill Higgins…pleaded guilty in May in a deal with prosecutors that guaranteed him no jail time and no additional felony counts.  He was officially disbarred earlier this month…Judge Thomas Ling ordered him to perform over 1,100 hours of community service and pay fines of nearly $10,000…Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged Higgins in April, calling his behavior a betrayal of the community…

Yeah, “The Community” was the victim and not the women he coerced sex from because they were engaged in peaceful, consensual transactions.  It’s enough to make one vomit.

First They Came for the Hookers…

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A British Airways flight attendant has been suspended after putting a video of herself sniffing her tights and unbuttoning her shirt online…While it is unknown whether the flight attendant sold the tights or shoes, there is a growing trend for cabin crew selling their used garments online…

Monsters 

Another trans sex worker murdered, this time in Paris:

On the night of August 16-17, we received several messages and calls…reporting the murder of Vanessa Campos…[by] 7 to 8 men…This…would probably be a gang of men who regularly assault sex workers and their clients to rob them.  This band phenomenon targeting sex workers is currently developing throughout the Ile de France region.  Those who try to organize for self-defense…are then attacked separately…The murders of trans women sex workers are not rare…we regularly try to alert public opinion and the authorities to this violence.  Unfortunately as always, we find ourselves alone…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

…about 100 people…poured into an Ocala meeting hall…to…Talk about brutal abuse, corruption and inhumane treatment behind the walls of one of Florida’s most notorious prisons, Lowell Correctional Institution for women.  For the first time, former inmates and their families were given a voice, and many of them had a lot to say to investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice about how rape [and] assault…by [screws] has become routine…The community meeting was set up by DOJ investigators who wanted to [see if there’s a way to cover up]…civil rights abuses and other unlawful conduct at the prison [which]…the…Florida Department of Corrections has ignored, covered up or dismissed…Laura Cowall, an attorney with the Justice Department, emphasized that the inquiry is not a criminal investigation but rather one that may result in a [useless] report…That prompted one family member to question whether the investigation will produce any substantive changes since it will not hold officers and staff responsible for inmates who have been beaten, raped or died…“They are scared to talk. How can you guarantee their safety?”…shouted one family member.  Cowall [vomited up bullshit] that retaliation would not be tolerated by the Department of Justice [because obviously they’ll be there 24 hours a day and can read the minds of screws with their magic federal powers]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

The shock of last year’s category five hurricane was just a precursor to the radical overhaul of Puerto Rico’s overburdened prison system…Nestled away in [a] 200-page [austerity plan] was a policy to offshore around a third of Puerto Rico’s prison population – 3,200 inmates – to private facilities thousands of miles away within the US…The government insists it will be voluntary…“This is government sponsored human trafficking”…said William Ramirez, executive director of the Puerto Rico American Civil Liberties Union.  “Even if you say it’s consensual, the reality is that you can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free”…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

Citing more than two years of secret bathroom recordings of juvenile victims, federal prosecutors argue that a former Medford [Oregon] youth pastor should be sentenced as a “repeat and dangerous sex offender”.  Prosecutors are seeking…more than 15 years…for Donald Courtney Biggs…who’s been held in the Jackson County Jail since early 2015…Biggs…groomed victims by giving them gifts…and singled out victims for activities outside of church…Investigators have recovered 166 illicit videos recorded without victims’ knowledge, about 80 more than previously reported.  They had been recorded in secret during overnight youth trips that included summer camps and spring break outings, as well as taken at Biggs’ home and at the church…

Business As Usual

Cop murders sex worker for resisting his attempt to rape her:

[Andrew Mitchell, an Ohio cop with 30 years of complaints and reprimands for excessive force, murdered] 23-year-old [sex worker] Donna Castleberry [by shooting her 8] times [at point-blank range after she]…stabbed [him in the hand.  The plainclothes cop, who had parked his unmarked car so close to the wall that the passenger door could not be opened, had apparently forced the un-handcuffed Castleberry into the front seat of his car]…[Though Mitchell claims he] was investigating complaints related to prostitution in the neighborhood [he was probably specifically looking for Castleberry since a warrant had been issued on her the day before for failing to appear in court on a soliciting charge]…

Thanks to Donna’s mother and best friend for the details pointing to the cop’s motives, which of course the cops di not release to the bootlicking local media.  What actually happened is clear: Mitchell, a cop with a long history of brutality, sought Donna out on purpose to rape her, knowing she had a warrant.  He forced her into the front seat of his car without handcuffing her, and when she tried to stop him from raping her, he emptied nearly the whole clip into her 100-pound body at point-blank range.

If Men Were Angels (#586)

The victim can’t get damages in civil court because her rapist worked for the beneficent government:

A…Houston doctor convicted of sexually assaulting a patient while she was tethered to machines…won’t serve any prison time and will instead serve 10 years’ probation…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…acknowledged at trial that he had sexual contact with the woman during the night shift at Ben Taub hospital in 2013 but [like most rapists pretended] it was consensual…[even though] the woman was weak, sore and medicated following several acute asthma episodes.  The victim…tried to summon a nurse with the call button, but witnesses testified it had been unplugged…Sheikh has lost his medical license and must register as a sex offender…

The Widening Gyre (#698)

Hysteria like this is a predictable outgrowth of the “sex trafficking” hysteria politicians, cops & media have aggressively promoted for the past 14 years:

Voodoo Doughnut found itself mired in an online conspiracy theory alleging the famous Portland doughnut franchise is involved in child sex trafficking.  It started when a man identified as Michael Whalen appeared on a YouTube show on Aug. 4, claiming he saw signs of child trafficking [like those “authorities” are always telling people to watch for] during a party he attended at Voodoo owner Tres Shannon’s…house…[like those “authorities”] Whalen offered no…evidence to support his claims, but told the show’s host, Nathan Stolpman, that he had spoken to authorities…Portland police…say no such reports exist…While the original interview appears to have been removed from YouTube, Stolpman has since posted several other videos…that appear to add actor Macaulay Culkin and nearby rock club Dante’s to the list of alleged conspirators…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844)

It may already be far too late to put this evil djinni back in its bottle:

Should the government be able to track your every move when you walk down the street, join a protest, or enter your psychiatrist’s building?  Facial recognition technology may make that a reality for Australians.  Parliament should refuse to expand its use until the government can demonstrate it won’t be used to violate human rights or turn us all into criminal suspects.  [A new] bill would create a nationwide database of people’s physical characteristics and identities, linking facial images and data from states and territories and integrating them with a facial recognition system….[which] would initially enable centralised access to passport, visa, citizenship, and driver license images…government agencies and some private companies would then be allowed to submit images to verify someone’s identity….[or] identify an unknown person…the proposal is too broad, enables using facial recognition for purposes far beyond fighting serious crime, and leaves significant details to departmental discretion or future interpretation.  The lack of safeguards combined with the centralisation of a massive amount of information raises the potential for abuse and ever-expanding mission creep…

Damned Lies

Glenn Kessler located the bogus numbers behind this painfully-dumb claim:

In a self-congratulatory video posted on July 20 by the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Wagner, the key sponsor of FOSTA, made a claim that caught our attention: “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads”…When asked for evidence, Wagner’s office sent a chart that tracked all sex-related advertising, saying that it showed weekly global ad volume dropped 87 percent from January to April.  The chart was generated through a [government surveillance] system called Memex…The biggest drop in ads came after the shutdown of Backpage…a[nother] drop…took place after the laws achieved final passage in Congress on March 21, prompting sex-oriented websites such as CityVibe and the Erotic Review to begin to shut down in the United States…Okay, but what happened after April?  Wagner’s staff refused to share the data, so we asked…[Memex’s managers] Uncharted Software…it turns out that after that initial drop, advertising for the sex trade appears to have rebounded, such as on new websites that mimic Backpage with names like “Bedpage”.  Worldwide ads had a daily average of about 105,000 when FOSTA-SESTA passed on March 21 and had dropped 28 percent by the time Backpage was closed on April 5.  It then plunged another 75 percent and reached a low of 19,456 on April 17, for a total decline of about 82 percent.  But on the day the Judiciary Committee posted the video, sex-trade ads were back at about 50 percent of the daily volume before the law had passed; as of Aug. 11, they were at almost 75 percent…Wagner…celebrated a decline of “sex-trafficking business and ads” but as we noted, the metric she is using is advertising for all sex work.  The actual impact on “sex trafficking” is unknown…

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If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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