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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

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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This is not a game…This is our…livelihood.  –  Cris Sardina

Counterfeit Comfort 

This steaming turd is even more worthless than is typical of NPR’s bluenosed imitation of “journalism”, starting with the headline:  the “sex offender” registry wasn’t “designed to protect” anyone; it was and is intended to inflict unconstitutional and extrajudicial punishment on an arbitrarily-defined group of people after the end of their sentences.  Even if the registry were limited to the sort of violent criminals the story luridly cherry-picks in order to uphold its false premise, it would still make no sense; there is no registry for murderers, those who permanently maimed their victims, and many other criminals far more dangerous than the majority of those condemned to permanent pariah status for such heinous “crimes” as public urination, taking selfies, or having consensual sex before the Sacred Moment of Shazam.  If, as the story postulates, there is a problem with these people taking back their lives from illegal state control, maybe the solution is to stop condemning so goddamned many people  –  a disproportionate number of whom are poor and black, and 25% of whom were first “registered” when they were under 18  –  to unpersonhood in the first goddamned place, often by evil scams such as those described in the item below.

Bait and Switch (#849)

Cops don’t care how many lives they destroy with their sick fantasies:

Since 2015, nearly 300 men in…Washington State have been arrested [by male cops fantasy-role playing online as young teen girls] in…a…[scam revoltingly labeled] Operation Net Nanny…[as is typical in such scams, many] are 25 or younger [and seeking consensual sex with age-peers, though cops manipulate them so as to be able to argue that they committed] …attempted rape of a child…even though no actual children were involved.  The emails and texts offering sex are written [one-handed] by [pervert cops]…The “girls” in the photos are [clearly] not 13.  They are [adult sows]…At least five of the men [entrapped by this evil sex game] have committed suicide…most of the [victims] have no felony record…and 92 percent have no history of violent crime.  They are nonetheless sentenced, on average, to more than six years in prison with no chance of parole…[then condemned to] the…sex-offender registry for at least 10 years — and often for life…The[se victims] can wind up serving more time than men who are convicted of sexually assaulting and raping actual children…

Make sure you read down to the part about how these ugly scams are enabled in part by “sex trafficking” profiteers “Operation Underground Railroad”, best known for their cowboy raids victimizing brown people in the developing world.

Finding What Isn’t There (#880)

The easiest way to increase “sex trafficking” numbers is to invent imaginary “victims”:

…“Operation Not Forgotten” [is what Georgia cops melodramatically called a scam in which they arrested]…26 [legal minors, mostly teen runaways] and…found [13 kids who were with parents other than those assigned custody by courts.  Spokespigs oinked out fantasies about]…potential victims of sex trafficking…

Nine adults were arrested during the raids, mostly for probation violations, custody order violations, or merely continuing to exist while condemned to the “sex offender” registry.  Despite the claims of “authorities” that this was a “sex trafficking bust”, only one person was charged under Georgia’s incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” law.

The Widening Gyre (#961)

Words cannot express the extent of my delight at seeing the arch-mythmonger Polaris forced to debunk some of the hysteria it has disseminated (and profited handsomely from) for most of this century.  In the past few years, local cop shops have often been forced to deny stupid rumors that they aren’t in control of which are clogging their phone lines, but this is the first time I’ve seen Polaris put in this position, and the schadenfreude is so sweet.  Incidentally, the reason I took a screenshot of this press release rather than linking it is that Polaris counts clicks on their site as “sex trafficking reports”, and they even block the Internet Archive from archiving their pages so as to force those wanting to disseminate the information to cick directly on their site, thus unwittingly giving them ammo for their campaign of lies.

Paint By Numbers (#973)

Have you noticed dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts are now mostly ads for sports?

Renée Brinkerhoff…started Project 356…to…“use [auto rally] racing as a platform to do something about child trafficking worldwide”…[after] she saw a man on an airport bus viewing a…[porn] image of a young child on his phone…Ms. Brinkerhoff…also “participated in [anti-whore stings]”…She once spent two weeks in Southeast Asia working with…Exodus Road, a…profit[able anti-sex work] organization…that [provides opprtunities for weathy white entertainers to play cowboy using brown people in developing countries as unwlling props]

Working From Home (#1045)

So much for the idea that celebrities cosplaying as sex workers would fight stigma:

Bella Thorne…[is a] former Disney star [who] made $1 million…during her first 24 hours on OnlyFans…[by] engaging in fraudulent behavior…[thus] triggering OnlyFans policy changes that harm sex workers…Thorne had charged $200 for nudes that she failed to deliver, and which reportedly led to numerous refund requests…[as a result] OnlyFans introduced…policy change[s] that…add[ed] a 30-day wait period for payouts and restrict[ed] pay-per-view prices to $50.  The company [claim]s the policy change wasn’t based on a single user, but many saw it as a response to the [huge number of] chargebacks…Thorne…[issued a mealy-mouthed “apology” in which she claimed her scam was somehow well-intended]…

The Implosion Begins

Evangelical churches get what they deserve for embracing “sex trafficking” mythology:

Some Christian leaders, including a couple of prominent conservative evangelicals, have denounced…QAnon…and…its…growing support among…evangelical churchgoers and other mostly conservative communities…Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr…compared QAnon…to the early church heresy of Gnosticism …“Christians don’t have secret beliefs we hide from the world”…Tyler Huckabee, senior editor at Relevant Magazine…that QAnon’s claims are “farfetched”…and fueled by “confirmation bias”…Author and pastor Joe Carter denounced QAnon in a column…label[ing] QAnon a “political cult” and “satanic movement…QAnon…often traffics in lies, which Jesus says are associated with Satan”…

For evangelicals to refer to dealing in lies as “Satanic” when they have embraced that strategy in their attacks on science, human sexuality, and sexual minorities for over four decades is pretty fucking rich.  And for evangelicals to call others’ beliefs “farfetched” is laugh-out-loud funny.

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America’s founding generation…knew their fair share of unwelcome constables.  –  Judge Justin Walker

Elephant in the Parlor (#832)

Remember this scandal?

A California Superior Court judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $44,100 to…Stormy Daniels, to reimburse her attorneys’ fees in the legal battle surrounding her nondisclosure agreement…[the suit ended when] Trump and his legal team agreed outside of court not to sue or otherwise enforce the NDA.  The…claim…[was] ruled moot, as the NDA had been rendered unenforceable…Judge Robert Broadbelt III ruled that [Daniels] was entitled to legal fees, finding her the “prevailing party” under California law…

License to Rape (#940)

Let’s hope this means it’s going to get harder for cops to molest kids under the pretext of a “search”:

Holly Curry sued [a] cop and [a busybody bureaucrat who threatened their way into her home without a warrant and molested her children under the pretext of] investigat[ing her] for child abuse…[she argued] their behavior was so egregious, they had to take responsibility for it.  The judge agreed…and…[denied] them…[qualified] immunity.[because]… it was clear the government used an improper threat to enter the home, lacked any evidence that might have justified a strip search, and violated the children’s rights to bodily integrity…The investigator in the case testified that they “automatically strip search every child when they go into a home”…

I Spy (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

Amazon…received more than 3,000 requests for smart speaker user data from police…this year…[and] complied with…more than 2,000 occasions, forking over recordings and data that [let pigs eavesdrop on private conversations]…This number marks a 72% increase in these types of requests from the same period in 2016…Google’s Nest unit has also seen a similar spike in police demands for data from its [microphones]…Voice clips are…only the beginning…Police can also [ob]tain time-stamped logs of user activity…

Torture Chamber (#987)

This isn’t nearly enough, unless it’s drawn from the screws’ pension fund:

The [citizens] of Florida will [be forced by the state to] pay…$4.65 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by Cheryl Weimar, a…prison[er] who was paralyzed from the neck down after a brutal beating by [screws] last September…the payout…[is slightly] large[r]…[than] the…$4.5 million [given] to the family of Darren Rainey…who[m sadistic screws intentionally and maliciously] boiled to death in a rigged shower [in 2012]…Keith Turner, one of the [screws who maimed her]…was later arrested [for] molesting two minors and fired from the FDOC…[his accomplice Ryan Dionne was arrested in 2013 for domestic battery, yet] remains employed at the department…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Trumpists and anti-Trumpists continue to fight for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

A new report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence offers a damning portrait of the people Donald Trump chose as his partners for potential projects in Russia.  They include…Tevfik Arif…[whom] the…committee…accus[ed of being…“involved in Russian…human trafficking…[because] he…brought ‘thousands’ of women into the United States, primarily from Ukraine”…and…Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov and his pop-singer son, Emin…who…“have been closely affiliated with individuals involved in…prostitution…and other significant criminal enterprises”…

The Implosion Begins

This is getting sweeter by the day:

Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory…marched in downtown Miami on [August 22nd] as part of a series of rallies stretching across Florida…some demonstrators held vague signs asking to “save our children,” [and] others hinted [th]at…the…underground human trafficking ring [of the myths so beloved by yellow journalists and anti-sex profiteers is actually] run by the country’s elite class…

The Implosion Begins (#1067)

Moral panics never end until they start harming those who weren’t their intended targets:

A Waco, Texas, woman [named Cecilia Fulbright]…motivated by the QAnon [branch of the popular “sex trafficking” delusion]…got behind the wheel of her car just after 9 a.m.​ [on August 19th] with the intent to “[save] a child” from “pedophiles”.  Fulbright…chased two strangers’ vehicles in an apparent attempt to ​hit them…the first vehicle was a catering truck driven by a woman with her ​minor daughter in the passenger’s seat.  They successfully evaded Fulbright…[who] then ​targeted a second unrelated ​vehicle, a Dodge Caravan ​driven by a 19-year-old college student​.  Fulbright chased ​the student into a parking lot​ where she cornered​ and repeatedly rammed ​the..van​…[cops] found Fulbright “crying hysterically” and yelling that the driver of the vehicle she attacked “was a pedophile and had kidnapped a girl for human trafficking”…her blood alcohol content was recorded as 0.21​ percent…

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

Welcome To Our World

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

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

Give Them an Inch…

European anti-migration policies grow steadily more horrible:

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

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

I love it when they feed on their own:

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

Saving Them From Themselves (#987)

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

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

I Spy (#1014)

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

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

Guinea Pigs (#1018) 

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

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

The Implosion Begins

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

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

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