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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

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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It’s awful to think how disposable [migrant] women are.  –  Linda Corchado

To Molest and Rape (#996)

The state is more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman:

The family of a woman whose [corpse was molested] by an…L.A. [cop]…is suing [both] the [molester] and the city of L.A.  The family of Elizabeth Baggett notes that [necrophile cop] David Rojas already has been charged criminally in the case, and that his own body-camera footage…captured him in the act…the lawsuit…[was filed by celebrity] attorney Gloria Allred…

Torture Chamber (#999)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

[Screws] in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and [raped] inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation…the [screws favored attacking women]…in areas of the [cage stack] not visible to security cameras…[any] complaint…[results in faster] deportation…[three] women [so far]…have come forward with abuse allegations [and]…at least one [more] was deported after [reporting] a [screw had raped] her…the[se]…are [only] the latest…sexual abuse complaints related to [cage stacks] run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year…About 14,700 [of those caged people reported] sexual and physical abuse…between 2010 and 2016…in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman [reported] that she…and two [other] female [captives] were moved to an isolated cell…[where] they [were] raped and beat[en by masked screws, then]…bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault…one…wom[an who escaped the cage]…because of a medical condition…told an attorney that…guards encouraged women to sign up for anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area [where they can rape them]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1017) 

Remember this when cops start bloviating about how they use the technology to catch “dangerous criminals”:

The NYPD [em]ployed facial recognition technology in its [recent st]unt [targeting] a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, whose home was besieged by dozens of [pigs] and…dogs…Derrick Ingram, the 28-year-old co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, was targeted by [thugs] in riot gear during an hours-long NYPD raid on August 7th…[using the excuse that a sow’s dewicate widdle ears got an ouchie from his using a bullhorn] during a June protest against police brutality.  More than 50 [pigs mobbed] his…apartment, shutting down his street and urging him to voluntarily surrender [for beating and caging], as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead…a spokesp[ig oinked]…that facial recognition software was used…to…”compar[e] a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos”…[but] the NYPD’s photo of Ingram appears to be taken from his Instagram page.  It’s unclear how a social media post would constitute either a surveillance video image or an arrest photo…“the tools that are sold to the public as a way to fight terrorism and violent crime [are] being used to silence dissent,” said Albert Fox Cahn…of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “We would never have seen this level of police response for using a bullhorn if the message hadn’t been one opposed to the NYPD”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1019) 

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

…ICE [recently] signed a contract with…Clearview AI…[in order to expand its] use [of] facial recognition technology…the agency, along with the FBI, ha[s long] accessed state drivers’ license databases…without the knowledge or consent of drivers…Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That…[responded to requests for comment by vomiting up wanking fantasies about “sex trafficked”]…children across the country”…Federal records also show Clearview signed a $50,000 contract with the US Air Force in December…Several tech companies have sent cease and desist orders to Clearview requesting it remove any data culled from social media posts. And the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1021) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

On July 31, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)…Campbell…was hired to work at Centerfold [in 2018] as an independent contractor, but weeks later the club management discovered her blog, stripperlaborrights.com, and the cases she’s brought against multiple past clubs where she worked.  Management fired Campbell for violating “no touching” laws—which courts later decided was a discriminatory firing…

Working From Home (#1031)

Indian sex workers, like their US sisters, are going online to survive:

…”floating” sex workers…used to travel regularly from the hinterland to Asia’s biggest red light area–Sonagachi–in north Kolkata…But in the past four months since the Covid-induced lockdown began, these floating sex workers have been reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence.  Trains are yet to resume services and travelling in private vehicles like vans and buses is expensive.  The brothels too are yet to resume business; the 7,000-odd sex workers who live in the red light area are managing somehow by providing “virtual” services online and with rations and other assistance from sympathisers…[but] for the…4,000 or so who commute to the city, their lives have become [more] challenging…The “high-class, A category” sex workers, who used to charge between Rs 25,000-30,000 a night, are now happy to negotiate for Rs 5,000 for it is important for them to stay in the business, pamper the clients.  They have spacious rooms and independent arrangements and can cater to whatever the clients demand…But for the “floating”…getting an independent space to operate is difficult…

Social Distancing (#1044)

New York apes Scotland’s approach to “helping” sex workers:

The [New York] City Council tucked $4.1 million in the 2021 pandemic-influenced budget to “support people involved in the sex trade.”  But sex workers [won’t]…see…any of the funds…none of the groups and agencies [receiving the largesse]…are run by sex workers.  And [in fact most are prohibitionist gangs]…that…don’t [even] recognize sex work as legitimate employment…As COVID-19 disrupted the industry and forced would-be customers to stay home and social distance, sex workers were left without…income and [deemed] ineligible for government unemployment relief…The organizations that got funding, ranging from $85,000 to $650,000…[largely] focus on [working with cops to harass]…sex [workers]…and [target them for arrest and forced brainwashing]…

Social Distancing (#1055)

A “compromise” only bureaucrats and politicians could find reasonable:

Berlin’s brothels were [finally] allowed to reopen…months [after similar businesses such as hairdressers, massage parlours, gyms, tattoo shops, and saunas] – but [intercourse] is [still verboten by diktat]…clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with [hand jobs] until regulations are further relaxed in September…In July…[sex workers] staged a protest outside the Bundesrat upper house of parliament in Berlin, complaining that [discriminatory] restrictions were preventing them from making a living [legally]…

To Molest and Rape (#1060)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

The former head of the Boston police union…sexually abused a girl over five years, beginning when she was 7.  Patrick M. Rose Sr…[repeatedly molested] a [now] 14-year-old girl…from the time she was 7 years old until she was 12…Rose…[tried to] flee…[but was caught when] State Police [used software to access the location data from] his phone…and [caught him at] a Needham [Massachusetts] hotel, where they arrested him [last week]…Judge Kathleen Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered that Rose wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from the alleged victim and other children under 16, and surrender his passport, any guns that he might have and his license to carry a firearm…

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We put incredibly onerous restrictions on them that are…des[igned] to…make them fail.  –  Daniel Lambright

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) 

New York increases “indefinite imprisonment” to “death sentence”:

On March 4, Hector Rodriguez was sent to Rikers Island because he failed to log his address with state’s sex offender registry — even though he had been homeless for years.  Rodriguez died June 21 on his jail bed, while struggling to breathe during a severe asthma attack…he was 60 years old and had contracted COVID-19 in April…Rodriguez was convicted of raping a woman…in 1979, when he was a teenager.  He spent 23 years in prison and has been on the Sex Offender Registry since his release…“He died in a jail where he was put because he didn’t tell someone he was homeless? What kind of society does that?” asked Vincent Schiraldi, who served as probation commissioner during the Giuliani administration…

Sex Rays

Where “bad vibes” is used to mean “sex rays”:

At the posh 75 Main in Southampton [New York], owner Zach Erdem…[publicly] chopped up and torched Table 1 — the favorite of onetime regular Jeffrey Epstein, and occasionally, Harvey Weinstein…“I’m sick of the bad energy of this table,…Every time I see it I think of that sicko.”  The bustling brunch crowd left their tables to gawk at the bonfire in progress, whooping and chanting, “Burn, Epstein, burn!” as Erdem hacked at the cursed table and burned it into oblivion.  Renee Downing, a Miami native who summers in the Hamptons, toasted the roasting. “I think this sends a strong statement”…

Said statement being, “I figured out a way to turn last year’s news into an ad for my overpriced hipster restaurant, because if Gwyneth Paltrow can profit from a bunch of superstitious snobs with far more money than cognitive development, so can I.”

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

The result of “abstinence only sex education”:

Plastic wrap.  Plastic bags.  These are some of the workarounds teens use to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb, a specialist in adolescent medicine…published…in the journal Pediatrics…Grubb said…”I’ve heard so many teens tell me that they don’t need contraception or they don’t need condoms because they don’t plan on being sexually active.  And then a couple weeks later they’re back in the office and we’re running a pregnancy test or we’re testing for sexually transmitted infections.”   Recent rates of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, have been skyrocketing among teens and young adults, at the same time that the number of teen pregnancies and births has declined…Adolescents and young adults account for more than 50% of new STI diagnoses, despite being only about 25% of the sexually active population…they [also] account for 1 in 5 of all new HIV…diagnoses in the United States…

The Last Shall Be First (#768)

Politicians’ potty obsession goes federal:

A copy of the new rule that will allow homeless shelters to refuse transgender people has been leaked to the media, and it contains instructions on how to spot transgender women to target them for discrimination…the Obama-era Equal Access Rule…required homeless shelters that receive HUD funding to house transgender people with the gender they identify as.  The rollback…allows single-gender homeless shelters to decide if they want a housing policy based on sex assigned at birth or gender identity, effectively allowing shelters…to determine who is transgender…the rule [says]…a shelter…may use “factors such as height, the presence…of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics”…if a homeless person appears…transgender…the shelter is allowed to ask them for proof of “biological sex”…[but stops short of allowing] shelters [to] forc[e] suspected transgender people to strip in front of them…

Checklist (#972) 

Airlines:  are you sure you want to keep accepting liability for employees racially profiling passengers due to the government propaganda you keep feeding them?

A Black social worker is suing American Airlines…[after] airline employees [accused] her of kidnapping a white toddler whom she was accompanying during a flight last fall.  Shannon Murphy, a social worker with Riverside County, California…was pulled off a plane in October and airline employees [temporarily abducted] the…toddler [she was bringing] back from a court-mandated two-week visit with his father in Arkansas.  While [she] was waiting for the second leg of a flight [at] Dallas-Fort Worth [a racist passenger]…told a flight attendant that they [fantasized] Murphy [was] holding a kidnap victim…Airline employees [forced] Murphy…[off] the plane…and took the child from her…she had paperwork…including her work ID, the child’s birth certificate, and a signed copy of the court order for the trip…but the…[employees preferred to be melodramatic instead of simply looking at the documents on the damned plane]…after about 40 minutes, during which the flight was delayed at the gate, she was let back on…

Dutch Threat (#1017)

The idea of just letting sex workers see clients in private, away from cops, bureaucrats and tourists, never occurs to the Dutch:

the Netherlands[‘ biased and punitive] lockdown measures…[plunged] legal…sex workers…into deep financial trouble and…emboldened [NIMBY]…residents…to [demand]…the [government throttle]…the…tourism [on which the inner city economy depends]…Sex workers [point out that, as is typical in places steeped in puritanism,] their industry has been unfairly singled out as the root of the problem…Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema [is using]…the pandemic [to push her scheme to confine]…sex workers…[in] a “prostitution hotel”…outside the [direct sight of busybodies]…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#1056) 

This is the second time we’ve seen fetishists trying to shore up their collapsing fantasy by pretending that “sex traffickers” discarded their “slaves” during the pandemic:

Thousands of Nigerian women forced into prostitution were left to starve by sex traffickers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy…[racist Europeans fantasize that] more than 80% of the tens of thousands of Nigerian women who arrived in Italy from Libya in recent years were victims of highly organised sex trafficking gangs.  The [fetishists claim that] women are forced into prostitution to pay off debts of up to €40,000 (£36,000) and controlled through violence and fear of juju” black magic rituals they are made to undergo before their journey to Europe…during the prolonged and strict three-month Covid-19 lockdown introduced by the Italian government, trafficking gangs abandoned women and their children, who were unable to leave their homes or work and were left without food or money to pay the rent.  Given the illegal status of their jobs, they had no recourse to financial assistance or unemployment benefits…

Anyone with at least one foot in reality could comprehend that sex workers are in financial trouble for the same reason as many other people, but that would require admitting that sex work is work.

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I think my family is dead.  –  Harper Hansman

I spotted this video on YouTube last week, and it was so silly I had to share it.  The links above it were provided by Scott Greenfield, Radley Balko, Amy Alkon, Boatfloating, Jesse Walker, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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Criticising China is the new blasphemy.  –  Nick Cohen

Above the Law

Yet another sociopath with a title:

[UK politician] Charlie Elphicke chased a woman around his kitchen and chanted “I’m a naughty Tory” after sexually assaulting her, a court has heard.  Elphicke talked to the woman about bondage then…groped her breast and tried to kiss her…while his wife Natalie Elphicke was away in 2007…Elphicke [also] sexually assaulted a parliamentary worker in her twenties several years later after he became MP for Dover, telling her: “Oh I’m naughty sometimes aren’t I? I can be so badly behaved but I can’t help it.”  Both women rejected his advances, with the [second] describing a “disgusting slobbery mess” when Elphicke tried to kiss her before groping her.  In a separate incident some time later, Elphicke rubbed his hand up her leg towards her groin…

Watershed (#899)

I’m glad Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem lived long enough to see the magazine she founded publishing pro-sex worker rights articles:

The U.S. Supreme Court…upheld a Bush-era law requiring overseas affiliates of U.S. organizations to adopt an organization-wide policy explicitly opposing prostitution in order to receive federal anti-HIV/AIDS funds…Serra Sippel…of the Center for Health and Gender Equity…[said] “The [anti-prostitution loyalty oath] hurts public health outcomes and it has always been bad policy”…“The Supreme Court upheld the U.S. government’s quest to impose its harmful ideological agenda on U.S. organizations and restrict their right to free speech,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations…According to CHANGE…“publicly opposing sex work while also providing social and health services to sex workers…is hypocritical”…

Against Their Will (#955) 

The Indian rescue industry is being undone by its own pretense that it wants to “help” its victims:

Holding up the fundamental rights of an adult, [an Indian] court ordered the release of four sex workers [abducted by cops under the pretense of] rescue…The women had argued for their right to free mobility and expressed desire to get back to their hometowns…advocate…Rajesh Katore…submitted a Bombay High Court…ruling…[in support.  Natur]ally, the cops had opposed the application filed by the women, [claim]ing that they needed to [keep them locked in a cage to]…conduct an investigation…

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

How China tries to keep the genocide quiet:

Once, blasphemy was damning the faithful’s gods and sacred books.  Now, criticism of the world’s largest dictatorship has become sacrilegious.  You shouldn’t be surprised.  As some of us tried to say in the 1990s and 2000s, the gap between the sacred and the profane was never as wide as religious sentimentalists and liberal multiculturalists believed…Authoritarian politics and authoritarian religion are just two sides of the same debased coin…One of the great crimes of the 21st century is being committed in front of our eyes…if a western country were to display one-tenth, one-hundredth or one-thousandth of the brutality that China is inflicting on Muslims, the global left would be burning with outrage…But the main reasons why Muslims suffer in silence is that the Muslim-majority countries that raged against Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo have decided to stay silent.  They use the idea of Muslim solidarity only when it suits them…Iran, Egypt, Syria and dozens of other countries that could not tolerate a magical realist novel can live with the mass sterilisation of Muslim women.  They will give concentration camps a conniving wink of approval, but draw the line at cartoons in a Danish newspaper…China is now a more active and influential voice at the United Nations because so many countries are benefiting from billions of dollars in Chinese investments through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure programme.  As…Australia found…when it asked for an international inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, those who blaspheme against China face cyber-attacks and sanctions.  Better to take the rewards and avoid the punishments…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#1027) 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are absolutely losing their shit because people aren’t listening to their wanking fantasies during the pandemic:

[Public disinterest in] human trafficking [propaganda] is…alarming [the rescue industry.  In San Antonio, Texas, fetishist]…Chuck Paul [fantasized that] the ability for traffickers to sell a person…was diminished following the COVID-19 outbreak and traffickers began ditching people they had trafficked onto the street…[but] once the state’s restrictions were lifted, traffickers started looking to “re-supply their stock of slaves…There’s a huge population of young people right now that are stuck at home, they haven’t been going to school…the traffickers are working hard on social media to target whichever child they can.”  Paul [made furtive movements in his pants while spouting fantasies that being a teenager]…is…a…sign…of trafficking…[another is] if you’re in a hotel or motel and [a] person walks right past the front desk because they are [already] checked in…[or] has…tattoos…

So according to Paul, it’s “suspicious” if a person doesn’t stay in their hotel room the entire time between checkin and checkout.  What drugs is he on?

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Canada pretends to care about privacy, but has plenty of other snooping tools:

Clearview AI has advised Canadian privacy protection authorities that, in response to their joint investigation, it will cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada.  This…includes the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with the RCMP, which was its last remaining client in Canada…The authorities still plan to issue findings in this matter given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.  An ongoing issue…is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected as well as the cessation of Clearview’s collection of Canadians’ personal information…

Social Distancing (#1055)

“Enlightened” Europe has treated sex workers shamefully during the pandemic:

News that clubs and brothels could reopen in the Netherlands from the start of July took everyone by surprise — including sex workers.  Club owners were warned that the industry would remain in lockdown [using the excuse] of the pandemic until September, months after all other sectors had already reopened.  But the reality is that many sex workers felt forced to work privately and illegally just to survive.  Now, as the industry starts to reopen across Europe, they worry about their earnings and whether they can stay safe…most European governments…paid a percentage of [many] workers’ wages while they were furloughed.  But sex workers rarely qualify…In Germany, the sector remains closed under a government ruling [even though]…most German businesses have now reopened, including gyms, bars and hairdressers…In Britain, the industry remains [officially] shut down…and many…women…have not started working again because they are terrified of contracting the virus and passing it on to their families…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Javier Ambler

Sometimes it’s difficult to choose which of a musician’s songs to use as a memorial, but this time it was a no-brainer.  The links above the video were provided by I Am Curious Blue, Mark Draughn, Furrygirl, Popehat and Walter Olson, Kevin Wilson, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing.  –  Odessa Riley

Rube Goldberg machines are even more awesome when constructed in an ordinary yard, as in this video contributed by Phoenix Calida; the links above it were provided by Cathy Reisenwitz, Kevin Wilson, Missy Mariposa (x2), Mark Bennett, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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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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[Therapists’] preconceptions about sex work…do more damage rather than help.  –  Teela Sanders

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans regularly abduct and torture people in ways that would be charged as crimes for anyone else:

…Dallas police [arrested]…Esmeralda Lira…and Jose Balderas…[and] charged [them] with child endangerment after…someone [claimed]…that Lira had three children tied up at the home with no food…[cops] found two children asleep in a bedroom…[and] the third…locked [in a] shed…the 6-year-old boy [was] standing alone inside the pitch-black shed.  His hands were tied behind his back with shoelaces…The child [said] that Lira, his grandmother, tied him him up in the shed [overnight] when he is bad…the boy…[said] Lira bathed [him] outside by spraying him with water…[and gave him] a plastic bag when he needed to relieve himself…

Compare this treatment with that in “Torture Chamber” below, in the same state.

The Real World

Anti-whore stigma even harms sex workers who are therapists:

Some years ago…I sought mental health support.  I noticed that during the initial assessment the therapist increased my risk score when I told him what I did for a living.  I am a trained therapist, so I understood the…form…When I asked him why he had increased my risk factor, he said, “Because you’re an escort.”  I said, “But you haven’t asked me how I work, where I work, with whom I work.  That doesn’t make sense”…He looked at me with a vacant glaze…[and] said, “Okay, well, it’s sex work, so I still have to increase the risk score.”  This is stigma against sex work, or “whorephobia” in action, and it is the opposite of what is needed to support sex workers effectively.  Sex-work stigma…has been identified as the leading cause of mental health problems for sex workers…

Skin To Skin (#958)

Another step forward for disabled Australians:

People with disabilities can use [Australian] disability insurance scheme funds to access specialised sex worker services, the federal court has ruled…unanimously in a favour of a woman who lives with multiple sclerosis and sought to include the services in her NDIS plan.  Despite the agency’s [claim] that it “does not fund participation in sexual activity”, the federal court said the NDIS Act “does not expressly exclude such activities…nor has any exclusion been made under the NDIS rules…there is no implied exclusion of such activities either, and indeed in our opinion the better view is that they are intended to be included”…the NDIS minister, Stuart Robert, [had bloviated that] funding…sexual therapy services was not in line with community expectations…

The Monsters Are Due (#969)

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

A sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is facing criminal charges after…he led a[n]…armed [mob of non-cops] to the wrong home in a search for a missing girl [because only cops are allowed to attack wrong houses with armed mobs]…Jordan Kita[‘s mob trespassed at] the home of Dameon Shepard, a [black high school] senior…the all-white [mob] tried unsuccessfully to force its way into the…home…Kita was looking for Lekayda Kempisty, a 15-year-old girl who[se present whereabouts he didn’t know]…She was [not actually missing but]…Kita…was searching for someone named Josiah who used to live next door…There was believed to be some sort of familial relationship between Kita and…Lekayda…

Though the word isn’t used here, we all know what “missing girl” means, don’t we?

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#998) 

Puritans especially hate people enjoying themselves while their “leaders” have sent them to their rooms:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter US attorney general William Barr on April 30, calling on the Trump administration to “confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry”, especially as use of porn sites has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic

Pyrrhic Victory (#1007) 

Still think this djinni can be stuffed back into its bottle?

…in the coronavirus era, when everyone is advised to wear a mask, exposed faces are increasingly rare.  That’s breaking facial recognition systems everywhere, from iPhones to public surveillance…[but a] company [named] Rank One…[has] released a new form of facial recognition called periocular recognition, which can supposedly identify individuals by just their eyes and eyebrows…and is specifically meant for masked individuals.  Rank One says it will ship the technology to all of its active customers for free.  It’s difficult to pinpoint how many companies and government organizations in the United States use Rank One…[because] its technology is resold by companies with connections to [cop shops] and [spook houses]…like DataWorks Plus and Secure Planet…

Uncharted Seas (#1018)

Too bad politicians can’t recognize that criminalization of consensual acts is always harmful:

…a new [Utah] law decriminalizing polygamy among consenting adults [has] take[n] effect…plural marriages are now considered an infraction…less than some traffic tickets…Deidre Henderson, the bill’s sponsor, has said she hopes it will make victims of abuse and fraud less afraid to come forward in the future…[by] remov[ing] the fear for otherwise law-abiding residents that they could be jailed and their children taken from them because of their religious practices.  And she notes that there are still penalties under the new law for polygamy in conjunction with crimes such as fraud, abuse, domestic violence and human smuggling…

Reawakening

Expect a lot more of these before this is over:

The longer COVID-19 lockdowns last, Texas Supreme Court Justice James Blacklock suggested last week, the more legally vulnerable they may be.  “As more becomes known about the threat and about the less restrictive, more targeted ways to respond to it…continued burdens on constitutional liberties may not survive judicial scrutiny.”  Lockdown resisters are testing that hypothesis in state courts, arguing that the public health emergencies governors cited when they ordered businesses to close and told people to stay at home no longer exist.  An Illinois lawsuit made that case based on a statute that limits the length of a governor’s emergency declarations—an argument that last month persuaded a judge to issue a temporary restraining order.  A New Hampshire lawsuit filed this week claims new circumstances have eliminated the statutory rationale for that state’s lockdown…In Michigan…a…barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s business closure order will get a chance to challenge the state’s claim that he poses “an imminent danger to public health”…[even though] he was taking precautions such as wearing a mask…and sanitizing his tools with ultraviolet light…

Torture Chamber (#1038)

From the same monsters who think it’s reasonable to lock people in cages for not “socially distancing”:

Prison food is notoriously bad, even in the best of times.  This isn’t the best of times, especially in the 40-plus Texas prisons where people are locked in their cells all the time [under the excuse] of coronavirus.  Their food now arrives at odd hours in paper bags, cold, mushy and without a hint of green…except…for…[the] mystery meat…the milk comes in powdered form [not reconstituted] and…even though it doesn’t look like food you or your dog would want to eat, prisoners and their families say they’re not getting enough of it…A [screw mouthpiece]…denied [everything despite photos]…every time [a prisoner] tests positive for coronavirus, the entire prison goes on lockdown for at least two weeks and…[prisoners are] banned from buying food from the commissary because prison brass are treating the lockdowns like a punishment…[since] early May, thousands…[have] only had sporadic access to phones, mail and showers…a former [Texas] prison official [described the so-called]…johnny sacks…[with the statement] “They’re shitty”…

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