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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

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

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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In the name of protecting women, [Kamala] Harris has pushed sex workers back onto dangerous street corners.  –  Cherie DeVille

The Puritan Recrudescence

A deep dive on the history of the current US pro-censorship cabal:

Adult content [i]s now routinely described…by both sensationalistic tabloids and supposedly liberal establishment papers as “a scourge”…“a danger,” “harmful,” “exploitation,” and “infestation.”  Newspapers and TV news segments f[eed] this rhetoric to politicians around the world…who happily regurgitate…exaggerations, deliberate obfuscations and outright cant such as “porn is a form of human trafficking,” “no person can consent to be a sex worker,” [and] “all sex workers are victims”…Porn, they declare…is not free expression protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. and by long-standing traditions of freedom of speech in other lands.  It is “a public health crisis,” “a drug” and “slavery.”  This language and these notions are, of course, not new.  They have been brewing for years — in some cases decades — in well-funded, religiously-motivated think tanks and lobbies.  These groups literally have an agenda: to shut down, by whatever means necessary, online porn…

To Molest and Rape (#843)

It took four years for a serial rapist to actually be tried. Guess his profession:

Roger Golubski…w[as a Kansas City cop for]…35 years…before retiring in 2010.  But it was[n’t until] 2017, when Lamonte McIntyre was freed from prison after serving 23 years for two murders he did not commit, that [“authorities”] began to…[final]ly [pay attention to stacks of complaints] about the [typical and representative]  cop who…had [used threats and sexual violence to] cultivate…a vast network of informants…Golubski, whose [lies] led McIntyre to prison…used his police badge to [threaten] vulnerable Black women [into submitting to rape] and coerced some of them into fabricating testimony to c[age innocent human being]s he [targe]ted.  In at least one instance, he…repeatedly rap[ed] a woman whose children he’d promised to help get out of legal trouble…[in a hearing for] the civil lawsuit filed by McIntyre and his mother, Rose McIntyre, who[m] the [typical and representative cop brutally raped]…Golubski [took the Fifth]…555 times…the McIntyres’ law[yers demonstrated that]…Golubski’s superiors in the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department [well] kn[e]w…[that he was a serial rapist of women stigmatized as] prostitutes [by the state]…and either look[ed] the other way or tacitly endors[ed the rapes.  Reports of]…Golubski[‘s behavior] date back 25 years…[but] “The Department never accepted] any formal complaints regarding misconduct” [said a spokesow]…the suit names [as accomplices]…Wyandotte County/Kansas City, detectives W.K. Smith, Clyde Blood, James Brown, Dennis Ware and the estates of…[cops] Dennis Barber, Steve Culp and James Krstolich…

Everything Old is New Again (#863)

This absurd language and association of sex work with pizza is not limited to Christian prohibitionists:

It is hard to believe the testimonies of Israeli tourists returning from the UAE, in which they describe Dubai as the Las Vegas of the Middle East…8,000 Israelis travelled to Dubai to celebrate the New Year.  They apparently took hashish and marijuana with them…the…dark reality…[is] gangs of Israeli men who set out for the new holiday destination with prostitution in mind…any Israeli tourist in Dubai can…pay $1,000 and jump into the pool of iniquity…The[y] can sit and eat next to a swimming pool while watching frenzied scenes of sexual activity…”Everything is open, like a menu with pizza toppings”…it is…an extension of the Israeli sex industry, with prostitution apps advertising women…The fruit of normalisation is that Israelis are now heavily involved in the whole shameful business…

The “swimming pool of iniquity” may be my favorite Middle-Eastern ludicrosity since “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”.

I Spy (#1001)

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

In recent years, [cops] have realized that automobiles — particularly newer models — can be treasure troves of [surveillance data].  Their onboard computers generate and store data that can be used to reconstruct where a vehicle has been and what its passengers were doing.  They reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories…Privacy4Cars…makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships…[Pigs mostly root] in…two main information sources: the telematics system — which is like the “black box” — and the infotainment system.  The telematics system stores a vehicle’s turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information…when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed.  The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds.  It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device…

The Widening Gyre (#1019)

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter.  I find them both funny and sad;  funny because Chicken Licken here doen’t realize that there has never been a single case of an adult woman abducted by so-called “sex traffickers” from any public place (much less a crowded retail store), and sad because the hysteria feeds weak-minded panic over ordinary social interactions such as conversation and nodding “hello” to strangers (which I do almost every time I pass someone in public).  Add to that the uncritical acceptance of utterly absurd “King of the Hill” propaganda (“[Atlanta is] the human trafficking capital of the world“) and we have a nearly perfect cross-section of late-stage moral panic; all that’s missing is an actual violent attack on the people to whom she’s attached this waking nightmare.

I Spy (#1035)

I’ve been saying this would happen since politicians started belching about “contact tracing”:

Singapore has admitted data from its Covid contact tracing programme can also be accessed by police…Officials had previously [lied in order to trick as many people as possible into “voluntarily” downloading a surveillance]…programme, which is used to [track people’s movements and] also monitors who [the patsy has] been in contact with…To encourage people to enrol, Singaporean authorities [lied that] the data would never be used for any other purpose…But Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan told parliament [last week] that it can in fact also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”…

Top Cop (#1065)

Sex workers cannot let people who claim to be allies forget about this psychopath, now only an old man’s heartbeat from the power she so desperately craves:

Kamala…Harris’s hatred [of sex workers] goes back to her days as San Francisco District Attorney.  In 2008, Harris opposed a San Francisco ballot initiative to legalize prostitution.  “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris told The New York Times.  She proclaimed the law would roll “a welcome mat out for pimps” and…“compromise…the quality of life in a community.”  In other words, sex work looks terrible.  As a district attorney, senator, and presidential candidate, Harris has trafficked in outdated sex-worker cliches.  Out reports that California Attorney General Harris fought in court in 2015 to ensure the state continued criminalizing sex work…[claiming that] sex…[workers are] disease…[vectors]…

Working From Home (#1079)

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the great sex boom of 2020…has been…widely publicized.  Outlets that usually skirted such tawdry subjects published how-tos for aspiring online sex workers.  Masturbation made The New York Times headlines, and reports of sex toy sales enjoying a 200 percent increase (tripling in New Zealand) were heard around the world…Then…no matter your age, race, gender or even perceived good looks, for the financially upended by Covid-19, OnlyFans became The Promised Land…and porn began to feel like yesterday’s news…especially once the celebrities caught on.  Bella Thorne elicited immediate backlash from online sex workers after [scamming] a record-breaking $1 million dollars in her first day on the platform…prompting OnlyFans to cap tips and pay-per-view charges.  While the move may have infuriated existing cam girls, it brought the platform widespread attention…

To Molest and Rape (#1098)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Chatham County [Georgia cop]…Christopher Crick was [arrested for raping]…a minor…he was booked on three felony charges: aggravated child molestation, sodomy and statutory rape.  The victim is apparently someone previously known to Crick…

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[Bans on outdoor dining are] not grounded in science, evidence, or logic.  –  Judge James C. Chalfant

Lack of Evidence (#574)

Another example of barking up the wrong tree:

…Brittney Smith and Anita Yanes…tried to visit Rachel’s [Gentlemen’s Club in] Orlando in 2018 and were denied entry because they didn’t have any men with them.  They argue that this policy violates Orange County’s…law…ban[ning] discrimination in public places “on the basis of…[factors including] sexual orientation”…the Orlando Sentinel…is pushing the case as a boon for LGBTQ rights…But Rachel’s wasn’t denying Smith and Yanes entry because of the women’s sexual orientation but because of their sex…how can it be discriminating against gay people by applying its policy evenly to heterosexual and homosexual women?…

As I’ve explained before, these policies have nothing to do with LGBT rights; they’re anti-whore measures intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.

Signs (#911) 

Texas won’t be satisfied until every police-state functionary is spying on women:

Texas is opening a new front in the war on [women]…The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has started [indoctrinat]ing its agents and vendors to s[urveill] and [harass] w[omen] in the bars, clubs and restaurants it licenses [via bogus “signs”] like…women [be]ing on the premises…In one example, a sports bar just outside San Antonio, [a busybody]…complain…ed…that [brown women were there]…so…[pigs could raid them.  Even when there’s nothing even cops were willing to accept as “evidence”] TABC…canceled liquor licenses on 100 businesses…

The Widening Gyre (#928)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

A [bourgeois white woman]…claimed on Instagram…that her children were nearly kidnapped at a [Michael’s] craft store has received [insufficient criticism for her attempt to inflict police violence on innocent strangers]…after her videos went viral…her local police department in…Petaluma [California says]…the story Katie Sorensen told her Instagram followers i[s different from the version she gave them]…Sorensen [claimed]…that she wanted to share her experience because she wanted [white] parents to feel empowered to [call the cops on innocent people existing in public]…“I posted it simply to raise awareness,” she [belched].  Sorensen has since made the two videos and her account private, but KTVU reporter Henry K. Lee shared a part of one on Twitter…Sorensen [falsely claimed to cops that]…she was “followed inside the store” by a man and woman who had “made comments concerning the appearance of [her] children”…she [then hypocritically made comments on the appearance of her intended victims]…

Sorenson’s intended victim, Sadie Martinez, has since approached me on Twitter and asked me to help share her story; I suspect she may be considering a lawsuit against the woman who tried to get her arrested for daring to be in the same retail outlet as Sorenson’s brats at the busiest shopping time of the year.

Legislators Gone Wild (#987) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, as I predicted:

…[Self-proclaimed “]sex trafficking survivor[” and professional fantasist]…Rebekah Charleston…[is once again] target[ing] Nevada [with a nuisance lawsuit after]…her previous [attempt was]…dismissed by an appeals court [for having absolutely zero basis in law or fact]…Charleston…served 13 months in a federal prison after a conviction for tax evasion, [but] was among 26 individuals granted clemency this month by President Donald Trump [because she blamed her crime on bogeyman “pimps” whose names she]…claimed t[o have conveniently forgotten, just as she has apparently forgotten the name of the brothel she claims to have been “enslaved” in]…Charleston and her lawyer, Jason Guinasso, are seeking an injunction to stop Nevada from allowing sex work, [yet cannot explain how she managed to pass the police background checks required to work in the state’s legalized] sex industry…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

The number of women held in America’s jails has risen more than 20% over the past decade, to an average of more than 115,000 inmates a day.  And more and more are arriving in need of medical attention or with debilitating health conditions that strain the capacity of lockups typically designed for men.  Thousands arrive pregnant each year. Most suffer from mental illness – at far higher rates than their male counterparts – and…as more women land in America’s local jails, more are dying there, too…[at least] 914 [women died] in [US cages] from 2008 to 2019…at least 24% of the[m]…were Black…at least 639 [of them] were awaiting trial…and presumed innocent of the charges they faced.  The death toll [also] doesn’t include a category of collateral fatalities: their infant children…

Not mentioned in this article: the chief architect of the laws that resulted in this huge explosion in the number of female prisoners is about to be crowned as the next president of the US.

Nonessential

Courts are losing patience with arbitrary authoritarian “lockdowns”:

A California judge…blocked enforcement of state and local orders prohibiting dining in San Diego County restaurants, finding no evidence that such bans help curtail the COVID-19 epidemic…The case involves two strip clubs with restaurant service, Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International, which initially challenged local cease-and-desist orders.  Gov. Gavin Newsom subsequently issued an order that imposes many restrictions, including a ban on both indoor and outdoor restaurant dining, on regions where the available ICU capacity has fallen below 15 percent.  That order currently applies to all of Southern California…[Judge Joel] Wohlfeil noted that the plaintiffs had implemented various COVID-19 precautions, including physical distancing, masks for employees, and sanitization.  They are following “all provisions of the State of California Industry Guidance for restaurants, wineries and bars.”  Dancers perform in roped-off areas at least 15 feet from tables, and patrons are not allowed to approach them.  No COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced to either business…

We’ve seen that governments are pretending that “sin” causes disease to justify extra restrictions on strip clubs, but that does not appear to be the case here.

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Prosecutors pretend there really is some compelling state interest in keeping illegal videos of people having consensual sex:

A Florida prosecutor asked a judge to preserve [revenge porn] video…[of] Robert Kraft [having consensual adult]…sex…A misdemeanor [adult consensual sex-having] charge against Kraft was dropped in September after an appeals court ruled…that [the] video [was illegal, nonconsensual and obtained by a fraudulent warrant application]…But Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg argues th[at he should be allowed to keep]…the videos [so they] could [potentially] be used [if he thinks up a new way to destroy someone’s life for having consensual sex with another adult]…

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

While some Western media timidly explore criticizing an atrocity, the Wall Street Journal licks Xi’s arse:

…Xi Jinping wants to meld [China]’s dozens of ethnic groups into a sing[le] national identity.  The program of…“ethnic fusion,” as it’s called in government documents and speeches—has gone to extremes in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to the largest mass detention of a minority group since World War II…the…campaign relies on security infrastructure…[which] the…government has said…is necessary for security in the area.  Those methods have now spread eastward to sedate regions like southwestern China’s Guangxi, home to the country’s largest minority group, the Zhuang, who…have little recent history of ethnic conflict.  In Tibet, where controls are already strict, local authorities launched a new program of “military-style” vocational training for rural Tibetans and passed new regulations to promote ethnic unity and patriotism in the region…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell…derailed…any attempts to reach agreement on a one-time, $2,000 COVID-relief check for most Americans [by demanding] the bill also included the repeal…of Section 230, the so-called “First Amendment of the internet”…McConnell [intentionally sank the stimulus check bill by]…listing a number of unrelated policy measures (in Congress parlance, “pork”) that he insisted be attached…

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Think of the ramifications…if everyone who searched something…was subject to interviews by federal agents.  –  Todd Spodek

To Molest and Rape

Given that the badge is a weapon, most rape by cops is “on duty”:

Purcell [Oklahoma cop]…Jason Baca [raped a] woman…in [August and was rewarded with a]…paid [vacation until] an arrest warrant was [finally] issued [on October 7th] and he turned himself in at the [jail]…

Served Cold (#797) 

This megalomaniac’s antics have grown so bizarre even prohibitionists can no longer ignore it:

A Utah prosecutor is investigating Operation Underground Railroad – one of the best-known organizations [profiting from hysteria over] human trafficking.  Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings…[declined to] specif[y] why O.U.R…is under investigation.  However, in recent posts to his Instagram account, Rawlings implied a local nonprofit was conducting illegal fundraising efforts by taking credit for arrests made by [cops]…Rawlings suggested some witnesses have been hindered by nondisclosure agreements…“Just because someone claims they are called of God when asking for your money does not necessarily mean they actually are.”  Rawlings ended that post with the hashtags: “#fraud #scam #crime.”  In a later post, Rawlings included copies of Utah’s statutes against communications fraud and witness tampering…

I Spy (#930)

Curiosity offends the state, comrade:

…Google has provided police information on users based on keyword searches….[pigs demanded] the company…disclose the IP addresses of everyone who had looked up words relevant to their [snooping, rooting and prying]…The troubling practice came to light when police in Florida investigated an incident where a woman who had accused singer R. Kelly of sexual assault had her car vandalized outside her home…police “sent a search warrant to Google that requested information on users who had searched the address of the residence close in time to the arson”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Illinois readers can get $400 from the copZucker:

Facebook users in Illinois can now apply to collect from a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit…filed over Facebook’s collection and storing of biometric data…without…consent.  As part of the $650 million settlement, claimants may be eligible for payments of between $200-$400, depending on the number of valid claims filed…by…users…for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011…Claimants must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 183 days (six months) to be eligible.  Claims must be filed by November 23, 2020…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

U.S. [politicians]—who have been tossing whatever claims of bad deeds they can at Big Tech for a good while—are now angling for antitrust law changes that they say are necessary to [control] Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google…the House…antitrust committee put out a 450-page report on the subject…result[ing from] a 16-month-long investigation [during which]…representatives barraged the CEOs of all four companies with inane and irrelevant questions in a public hearing…There’s scant evidence of elements…necessary for an antitrust violation…[so] the…report calls for “for sweeping changes to federal laws so that government regulators can [control] Silicon Valley”…The whole thing has followed the bipartisan playbook previously in use with Backpage and Craigslist…That is: Pick the biggest examples of a tech company or phenomenon that the government wants to curb or stop, subpoena a bazillion internal documents under some trumped-up pretense of criminal activity, and go fishing for something that can be spun into a call for congressional action…changing the underpinnings of internet and business and speech law in a way more friendly to federal control

The Widening Gyre (#1078)

The hysteria over Cuties keeps growing:

Netflix is now facing felony charges for Cuties, as [hysteria over]…the…film [spins out of control]…A Tyler County, Texas, grand jury indicted the streaming giant…for promoting…material that “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child…younger than 18 years of age” for the “prurient interest in sex.”  The document also [pretends] that the film held no serious “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”…[meanwhile, Utah politician] Mike Lee…said…he was “unsatisfied” with Netflix’s response to his letter [demanding censorship]…of the film [on his say-so]…

Social Distancing (#1081)

Are physicians finally standing up to authoritarian ideas about public health?

The World Health Organisation [i]s…calling for world [politicians] to stop locking down their countries and economies.  Dr. David Nabarro from the WHO…[told politicians] to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method…Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer…The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it…It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year.  We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition”…

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[COVID-19 schemes] are throwing the working class under the bus.  –  Dr. Martin Kulldorff

Don’t Take My Word For It (#592)

The Australian site Mama Mia, like the US site Jezebel, seems unable to make up its collective mind about sex work.  It has often published anti-sex work propaganda, like its notorious “Faces of Prostitution” article from March 2015 (which featured pictures of bruised, emaciated, drug-ravaged women accompanied with propaganda text from the notorious Christian anti-sex group “Exodus Cry”), or the October 2013 article in which it opined that for sex workers to have Amazon wishlists was “creepy” and “bizarre” (Jezebel wrote on the same topic the same week).  On the other hand, it also published several good articles by the late Grace Bellavue, and now this new one interviewing a male escort who caters to women, and one of his clients.  And of course Jezebel now features the pro-sex work writer Tracy Clark-Flory, so maybe there’s hope for both sites yet.

Unchristian Nation (#907)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Border Patrol [thugs abducted] 19 people [from] a No More Deaths camp near Arivaca, Ariz., on [October 4th]…12 were in the country without [document]ation…[and] the remaining seven…were No More Deaths volunteers…No More Deaths representatives described the incident as a “military-style” raid with a “massive show of armed force”…[including] “dozens” of trucks…and a [tank]…This was the second raid against the humanitarian camp south of Tucson, near the U.S.-Mexico border, this year, and along with the escalated actions, Border Patrol officials also amped up their rhetoric against the group, [referr]ing t[o] the organization[‘s]…saving lives…as “harboring” people…

Between the Ears (#923)

Yet another ill-conceived, internet-connected dick gadget:

…the Qiui Cellmate internet-connected chastity lock…works by allowing a trusted partner to remotely lock and unlock the chamber over Bluetooth using a mobile app.  That app communicates with the lock using an API.  But that API was left open and without a password, allowing anyone to take complete control of any user’s device.  Because the chamber was designed to lock with a metal ring underneath the user’s penis…it may require the intervention of a heavy-duty bolt cutter or an angle grinder to free the user…There is no emergency override function either…Qiui, based in China…missed the three self-imposed deadlines to fix the vulnerable API…Several user reviews of the app complained that the app [also] had bugs that would cause the device to stay locked…Qiui joins a long list of sex toys with security problems that inherently don’t exist in non-internet-connected devices…Practice safe sex; don’t use a smart device.

Counterfeit Comfort (#984)

Halloween has become a focal point for challenging “sex offender” awfulness:

Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities….[the fantasy] that…children might be molested while trick-or-treating…ha[s] no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all.  That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence…This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out…the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety”…

Working From Home (#1032)

Another example of sex worker ingenuity:

…In early May, one [of the] dancer[s from the East Hollywood hipster strip club Jumbo’s Clown Room] named Gabrielle reached out to a few of her coworkers to create a virtual strip show…within 24 hours they launched Cyber Clown Girls, which has now become a twice-weekly three-hour show featuring current dancers and alumni from Jumbo’s, and other performers from exotic dance communities…the show has given the strippers a new sense of agency and empowerment in an industry that is notorious for taking advantage of women…The co-founders take turns hosting and performing in the virtual show.  Each follows a theme — “Star Wars,” disco and funk, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — and features a different lineup of dancers who perform two short pieces in their homes.  Some dancers use portable poles, and others make creative use of bathtubs, windowsills, cars or apartment corners transformed by a makeshift set.  Like an in-person strip club, viewers (about 100 for each show) are encouraged throughout the night to tip the dancers using payment platforms like Venmo or Cash App.  The tips are eventually pooled and split evenly among all the performers…

The Widening Gyre (#1046)

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

Mysterious white dots have been popping up on windshields of cars…in Chester County [South Carolina]…Most of the reports and calls say they are finding white dots on their windshields after going into the Walmart…A rumor started on social media saying it was linked to sex traffickers trying to mark your car [sic]…Deputies say there is no evidence linking any type of human trafficking…[people have spread similar silly rumors about] car windshields…in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

…the aim of China’s actions in Xinjiang is clear:  to homogenize Uighurs into the country’s Han Chinese majority, even if that means erasing their cultural and religious identity for good.  What is taking place is a cultural genocide.  The repercussions bear heavily even on Uighurs living outside of the country.  Their burden is more than just raising awareness about what is taking place in their homeland—a task many have taken up at great cost to themselves and their families.  It’s also about preserving and promoting their identity in countries where few people might know who the Uighurs are, let alone what the world stands to lose should their language, food, art, and traditions be eradicated…

Tissue of Lies

A few journalists are beginning to see the danger of “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Trevontae Shareef…didn’t know that his girlfriend of seven months was a runaway from state foster care…until…a dozen [heavily-armed pigs and spooks barged into]…his mother’s house…and…searched [it without permission] until they found the 17-year-old girl hiding under furniture in the garage…They allowed a TV news crew to tag along for the raid and record footage…as [the thugs dragged] Shareef and his mother’s fiancé, Kirk Waters, outside and handcuffed them…Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media [hysteria] about…a [fantasized] child sex trafficking ring in Georgia…The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined the criminal charges…and found that, by combining a variety of cases, [pigs intentionally and maliciously] fostered a false perception that confused the public and…harmed [innocent] people…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m glad prominent physicians are starting to weigh in on this, at long last:

Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues…[that] lockdowns result in too much collateral damage…and impose unreasonable costs on the working class and the young in particular …”For older people this is much worse than the annual flu.  For children the risks are much less than the annual flu…We don’t close schools because of the annual flu.  We don’t ban people from driving cars because there are people who die in car accidents.  We let people live normal lives with standard precautions…As a scientist I have worked with infectious disease outbreaks for a couple of decades.  Then suddenly in the spring, I was hearing that we should “follow the science” by doing something that I think is contrary to science. That was absolutely stunning to me…among…infectious disease epidemiologists, the majority are in favour of an age-targeted strategy.  A minority are in favour of lockdowns and contact tracing”…

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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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There is no provision under [Indian] law which makes prostitution per se a criminal offence.  –  Justice Prithviraj Chavan

Elephant in the Parlor

Americans keep pretending “politician hires whores” is something other than a yawn:

Hunter Biden allegedly sent “thousands of dollars” to people who appear to be involved in the sex industry, according to…a…report released by Senate Republicans.  The report claims unspecified records show that Biden “has [paid] non-resident alien women in the United States who are citizens of Russia and Ukraine…some of these transactions are linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring’”…Last year…[it was] revealed that a woman who was suing Biden for paternity in Arkansas was a former stripper at a Washington, DC, club that he frequented…

The attempt to make this VEWWY IMPOWTINT by alluding to “sex trafficking” and RUSSIA!!!! just come across as pathetic.  As for the phrase “prostitution or human trafficking ring”, that “or” is doing some mighty heavy lifting; the phrase “Biden is either a human being or a tentacled monster from Tau Ceti” would be equally accurate.

Panopticon (#1001)

The “security” system that isn’t:

…the Ring Always Home Cam, set to be available sometime next year…is…a drone that flies autonomously throughout your home, to provide [anyone with access to your Ring account] the view [they] want of whatever room [they] want, without having to have video cameras installed in multiple locations throughout your house.  The Always Home Cam…can be scheduled to fly preset paths…and it begins recording only once its in flight (the camera lens is actually physically blocked while it’s docked) — both features the company [pretends] will help ensure it operates strictly with privacy in mind.  Always Home Cam is also designed intentionally to produce an audible hum while in use, to alert anyone present that it’s actually moving around and recording [unless it’s used when no human is home]…

Sure, give hackers and cops access to a device that can be activated when you aren’t home to fly around and snoop into your private business.  What could possibly go wrong?

Social Distancing (#1031)

Can you imagine this happening in the puritanical US?

A woman running a[n escort service]…sued the Japanese government [for]…its blanket exclusion of the sex industry from a cash handout programme to support small companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic[, which constitutes] discrimination banned under the country’s constitution…the woman…demanded the payment of the benefits as well as consolation money for having been discriminated against “without reasonable grounds”…When she and other sex business operators met with an official at the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency in June to ask for their companies to be included in the handout programme, the official rejected their request, saying such businesses “have previously been excluded from public support, such as ones following natural disasters”, and that the agency merely “followed the past responses” made by the state…

Against Their Will (#1056) 

The Indian high court’s ruling in action:

Observing that prostitution is no offence under the law, the Bombay high court…set free three sex workers, who were detained [against their will] at a [so-called] hostel in Uttar Pradesh.  The court said an adult woman has the right to choose her vocation and cannot be detained without her consent, and set young women, aged 20, 22 and 23 free.  Justice Prithviraj Chavan said the purpose and the object of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (PITA), 1956 is not to abolish prostitution…

The Last Shall Be First (#1059)

Politicians’ potty obsession has gone federal:

[Politician] Kelly Loeffler [has] introduced a bill…threatening federal funding to schools that support transgender students…The bill…explicitly state[s] that allowing transgender girls…to compete with [cis]gender [girls] in school sports violates Title IX’s ban on discrimination on the basis of sex in schools…Loeffler’s bill, which says nothing about transgender boys competing in boys’…sports, says that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth”…Similar legislation passed in Idaho earlier this year, and it was criticized because it allowed anyone to challenge a student athlete’s gender, which would force [her] to undergo DNA tests and “genital exams”…With the bill’s wording vague and federal funding on the line, schools could opt to require genital exams for all female athletes to prove they aren’t transgender…

The Widening Gyre (#1074)

It’s good to see psychologists finally telling the truth about hysteria over “pedophilia”:

Around two years ago…Twitter amended its terms of service to make an explicit allowance for the discussion of sexual attractions towards children, provided that such discussion does not…encourage people to commit sexual offenses against children…I was a signatory of a letter, initiated by the child protection organization Prostasia Foundation, alongside other experts on the prevention of child sexual abuse…who called for such a change…as the current best thinking in the field is that having a place online to connect to other MAPs reduces…social isolation, and therefore reduces the temptation to use the internet to act out on such sexual attractions…The phrase “minor-attracted person” (or “MAP”)…[is intended to cover the full] range of attraction targets…[rather than labeling everything] “pedophilia” [a term which actually only refers to attraction to prepubescent children]…

The Widening Gyre (#1075)

Here’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown on the Blocked and Reported podcast, discussing “the online outrage surrounding the French film Cuties…[and] the broader American sex-trafficking panic that seems to partly explain the reaction…

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

License to Rape

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

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

Torture Chamber (#997) 

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

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

The Cop Myth (#1004)

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

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

Dutch Threat (#1005)

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

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

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

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

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

The Implosion Begins

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#1074)

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

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

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

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

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

The Widening Gyre (#563) 

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

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

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

Elephant in the Parlor (#957)

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

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

The Course of a Disease (#1057)

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

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

A Broker in Pillage (#1065)

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1066)

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

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

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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