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Posts Tagged ‘universal criminality’

“To Protect and Serve” has got to be one of the most effective propaganda campaigns of all time.  The police as an institution are not, and never have been, intended to “protect” the citizenry, and they certainly don’t “serve” it; the only things they “protect” are the status quo and entrenched interests, and the only people they “serve” besides themselves are politicians.  Note that the generalized term for police isn’t “citizen defense”, “crime prevention” or anything like that; it’s “law enforcement”.  The purpose of the police is to “enforce” laws, no matter how evil, unjust and destructive those laws might be; to “enforce” a law is to coerce people into obeying it via the threat of violence, and to make an example of some citizens by inflicting violence on them before they’ve been proven guilty of anything.  Expressed another way, the police are terrorists; their job is to inspire terror of violating the whims of politicians by inflicting violence on people who are legally innocent of any wrongdoing.  This is clear not only from their demonstrable behavior (including the fact that they are rarely held accountable to the laws themselves), but also (in the United States) from multiple court rulings that the police have no duty to protect citizens.  I’ve argued this many times, so I’m not going to repeat myself; instead, I’m going to quote this essay by Alex Vitale I read yesterday:

…TV shows exaggerate the amount of serious crime and the nature of what most police officers actually do all day.  Crime control is a small part of policing, and it always has been.  Arrests for serious crimes are a rarity for uniformed officers, with most making no more than one a year.  When a patrol officer actually apprehends a violent criminal in the act, it is a major moment in their career.  The bulk of police…take reports, engage in random patrol, address parking and driving violations and noise complaints, issue tickets, and make arrests for drinking in public, possession of small amounts of drugs, or the vague “disorderly conduct”…Even detectives (who make up only about 15 percent of police forces) spend most of their time taking reports of crimes that they will never solve—and in many cases will never even investigate…It is largely a liberal fantasy that the police exist to protect us from the bad guys.  As the veteran police scholar David Bayley argues:  “The police do not prevent crime…Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it.  Yet the police pretend that they are society’s best defence against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime.  This is a myth“…Bayley goes on to point out that there is no correlation between the number of police and crime rates…The reality is that the police exist primarily as a system for managing and even producing inequality by suppressing social movements and tightly managing the behaviors of poor and non-white people: those on the losing end of economic and political arrangements…This can be seen in the earliest origins of policing, which were tied to three basic social arrangements of inequality in the eighteenth century: slavery, colonialism, and the control of a new industrial working class.  This created what Allan Silver calls a “policed society”, in which state power was significantly expanded in the face of social upheavals and demands for justice.  As Kristian Williams points out, “The police represent the point of contact between the coercive apparatus of the state and the lives of its citizens”…

As Vitale points out, none of this is obscure or even controversial among historians, criminologists and other scholars; the only reason it seems so is that the Great Unwashed, indoctrinated to obedience in state-run schools, lack both the desire to question authority in the first place and the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze the issue even if they did.  Authoritarian societies rely on the great majority being controlled by fear, pandered to by lies and kept docile with bread and circuses, while the egos of the brighter and better-educated minority are stroked by telling them they’re part of an elite who must have power over the masses for their own good.  

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But who will fix the roads?  –  statists

I’ve been watching my collection of Pink Panther cartoons lately, usually one right before bedtime, and I saw this one last week when I was quite high (which, naturally, made it even more amusing).  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Scott Greenfield, Jesse Walker again, TejasInspirelandFranklin Harris, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Says he’s got a thing about burnin’ witches
Ooh, some of these were mighty fine bitches.
– Carl Douglas

Some of you may remember the catchy 1974 hit “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas, who was apparently a movie fan because he also wrote & recorded “Witchfinder General”, inspired by the Vincent Price film about Matthew Hopkins.  The video was called to my attention by Jesse Walker, who also provided “cities”; the other links above the video are from Scott GreenfieldTim Cushing (x2),  ClarissaSkye, and Dave Krueger, in that order.

From the Archives

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Because drug traffickers have been seen breathing, then breathing is an indicia of drug trafficking.  –  Justices Quinn, Campbell & Pirtle

There’s nothing “banned” about this Betty Boop Halloween cartoon from 1933; presumably, the label refers to the fact that once the Hays Code started being enforced the next year, Betty was given much less sexy clothes.  The links above it were contributed by Scott Greenfield (“more”), Brooke Magnanti (“Lovecraft”), Tim Cushing (“idiots” and “posters”), Nun Ya (“attention”), Inspireland  (“Because”), and Grace (“whatsoever”).

From the Archives

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Sex workers are getting paid for what we do – you ain’t.  –  Miranda Kane

Aversions

The older I get, the more deeply weird (and frankly, kind of disgusting) the idea of giving strangers sex for free seems to me.  So I’m fascinated by the looking-glass prohibitionist notion that being paid for sex is somehow degrading, especially when I read stuff like this about what amateur dating (which I’ve never really engaged in per se) is like:

…It is not, in fact, sex-work that puts me off men.  It’s dating them.  When I was a sex worker, when a client came to see me, he knew I was a luxury item.  My Dos and Do Nots were clear from the start, and if he asked me to do something I didn’t want to, I said no and that’s as far as it went…sex workers see the best part of men – they’re polite, friendly…On a date I’m just one click away from rejection…The sex workers of Twitter created the hashtag of #banfreebies, an ironic take on what people expect of us as obviously being so “oppressed and exploited”.  Remember that, won’t you, the next time he rolls over and starts snoring and you have to bring out the Rampant Rabbit…

And since I’m bisexual, I feel it needs to be noted that women aren’t really much better.

Check Your Premises

It’s pretty bad when they can’t even maintain their own paradigm for more than a sentence:

Nine people were arrested in Suisun City [California] in a human trafficking operation…Detectives posed online as would-be ‘johns’ to contact prostitutes [that they pretended to believe to be] underage…Once the…sex workers arrived, they were [arrested] and [cops tried to pressure them into claiming to be]…victims of sex trafficking…Seven women…between the ages of 18 and 28 were arrested…

Uncommon Sense natalie-hot

Is there any other kind of work that is so consistently treated as a subject for abstract “debate” by outsiders?

German porn star Natalie Hot will appear in court…to defend her right to work as a “webcam girl”…from her detached house in Ampfing, Bavaria.  The town is home to 6,000 residents, several of whom have lodged legal complaints over their neighbour’s chosen profession.  Hot is challenging a decision by local authorities that prevented her from undressing on camera, threatening a penalty of €2,000 if she doesn’t adhere to the ban.  Their reasoning is that her house is in a specific land-use area, which does not allow for commercial use…A judge will now rule whether the room Hot uses for her work could be considered a “home office”, a label which would allow her to continue her work…

Finding What Isn’t There

You know how freshwater crabs wave their claws around and foam at the mouth when one throws them in salt water to purge them?  Picture that:

There are no statistics to back up her claims, but the country’s Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark believes the sex trafficking problem in Antigua & Barbuda is more prevalent than perceived…Mark [fantasizes that] nightclubs and strip clubs…are to be blamed for the [nonexistent epidemic]…She said…“what is unfortunate is that the women who come seem to be willing participants, so it’s difficult to [force them to pretend] that they are victims of trafficking”.  According to Mark, while women [use sex work]…as a means of income, it is part of a slave trade…

Pyrrhic Victory

Not a police state, no sirree:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious plan to [equip]…10 bridges and tunnels leading into the city…with facial recognition and license plate reading technology, giving police a comprehensive record of every car making the crossing…

I Saw My Brain

More terrifying insanity from the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

If you happen to be heading over to Polk County Florida, be sure to check to see if you have anything on or about your person that may have someone’s business name on it…That’s what Tim Troller found out when an ever vigilant deputy saw a Sunshine State Dairy Farms milk crate strapped to his BMX bike.  Polk County takes broken windows policing to the extreme, a milk crate strapped to your bike is a major indicator that you are a career criminal, or as the Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokes-prevaricator Debbie Horstman put it, undoubtedly with a straight face… “Deputies are…looking for people who are doing even the smallest crime, because, what we’ve learned is, those who will go out and steal a milk crate, for example, are the same people who are probably breaking into cars, breaking into your house”…

Frequently Told Lies

Caty Simon on the “sex work leads to drug use” myth:

You’ve heard the story:  A troubled woman prostitutes herself.  To numb the pain of belonging to this sordid underground world, she begins to use drugs…and her life continues to spiral out of control…“Multiple studies repeatedly and consistently … refute this narrative,” [says] Melbourne-based sex worker Fae Adams…In a study conducted in Sydney in the 1990s, for example, a sample group of 120 sex workers were found to be lighter drinkers than a sample group of women health care workers.  They were only 15 percent less likely to abstain from illegal drugs than the control groups of students and health workers.  And a 2002 British study correlated “problematic” drug use among sex workers with teenage drug use pre-dating entry into the industry, as well as homelessness and convictions…Yet the trope about using drugs to make sex work tolerable persists—and many drug-using sex workers find it infuriating because of how it reduces and flattens their lives and strips them of their choices…

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Stupid assumptions about sex work often result in incredibly stupid concepts like the idea that working independently is somehow noteworthy, or that making a law against one aspect of the work is the same as criminalization:

Italy has yet to exit from…the worst [recession] in its postwar history — and the protracted crisis has seen the number of Italian sex workers surge more than 26 percent from 2007 to 2015…The extended downturn also has fueled a proliferation of “good” women generating badly needed income by engaging in prostitution on the side as “house practitioners”…35 percent of the 20,000 prostitutes in Italy, or some 7,000 women, are house practitioners…Michel Venturelli, a criminologist who has researched the issue…[says] “It’s do-it-yourself domestic sex work”…The Italian parliament banned prostitution in 1958, shuttering brothels.  Since then it’s been chaotic in the sex-for-sale industry…

No, the parliament didn’t “ban prostitution”, as the article itself mentions later; it banned brothels, but even while those were legal many if not most sex workers worked outside of them.  The only “chaos” is in the minds of cops, prohibitionists and reporters who listen to them.

Traffic Jam (#619)

Remember what happened the last time Minnesota “authorities” claimed they had busted a “sex trafficking gang”?

About a dozen people were arrested in cities across the U.S…for running what authorities [pretend is] a sophisticated sex trafficking operation in which hundreds of women were brought from Thailand to America under fraudulent visas and forced to work as prostitutes to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in bondage debts.  The women – including one who was forced to have sex with strangers for 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week- were not allowed to move about freely and were “effectively modern day sex slaves”…The arrests, along with the recent arrest of the organization’s boss in Belgium, will effectively dismantle the operation, said Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Minneapolis…


You may also recall that “sophisticated operations” is the excuse pigs use to rape sex workers.  And if you haven’t yet read Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis of very similar claims made against Seattle-area Korean sex workers and clients, now would be the time.  See more of Liz’s work below.

To Molest and Rape 

The ever-vigilant Liz Brown looks at several cases of rape & sexual abuse by cops, several of which I haven’t yet covered:

…Allen Large…of the Horry County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Office…was recently indicted by a grand jury on five counts of…[raping] multiple victims…Large…is also the subject of multiple civil lawsuits accusing him of activity such as sexual assaulting a woman who came to him to report a sexual assault, sexual harassment, and threatening to interfere with a woman’s child-visitation rights if she wouldn’t participate in nude “catfight” videos…Horry County [cop] Luke Green was indicted for [raping a sex worker]…during a prostitution arrest and the same with a confidential police informant…On September 21, New Jersey [cop] Ed Leopardi [committed]…suicide…[because he] was under investigation for [anally raping] a sex worker at a Trenton police K-9 training facility…”then allegedly wiped his penis on the headquarters’ curtains”…

The Prudish Giant (#641) 

It’s impossible to express how much this delights me:

On [October 4th]  Facebook introduced Marketplace, a new section on its mobile app that allowed its users to buy and sell things with their friends and strangers.  By the evening, the social giant was apologizing for an issue with the section, which featured some posts that would not have been out of place on the…Silk Road…Illegal drugs.  Dogs.  Guns.  Sexual services.  Baby hedgehogs…Mary Ku, a director for product management…who had cheerfully introduced the Marketplace app in a blog post earlier in the day, issued a statement saying that a technical issue had prevented Facebook’s reviewing system from identifying posts that violated its commerce policies and community standards…

Now They Notice (#666)

Note that we aren’t hearing a peep out of Gay, Inc about this any more:

The chief executive officer of a once-popular male escort website pleaded guilty…to promoting prostitution in a federal case that prompted accusations of anti-gay bias…Under a plea deal, Hurant agreed not to appeal a sentence of two years or less in prison.  His company also cannot appeal a penalty of $10 million or less…

Send In the Clowns

Watching how the clown panic develops is an example of a moral panic in miniature.  For example, note how the skateboard carried by this hoaxer myseteriously transformed itself into an “ax” for a more imaginative witness.   Everybody wants to get into the act; sales of clown masks have soared by 300% from this month last year, and the website Atlas Obscura has produced this interactive map of sightings which they say will be regularly updated.  They’ll need to expand it, though; the hysteria has spread to Canada and also the UK:

A masked man carrying a knife left a group of children aged 11 and 12 “upset and distressed” when he jumped out on their way to [school in]…County Durham…in Suffolk, a boy “younger than a teenager” was chased by “several people dressed as clowns”…Tom Jackson…a first year student at Leeds Beckett University [said]…he was “very scared” when he saw a man dressed as a clown near an underpass…Northumbria Police issued an appeal and warning after a series of incidents in Newcastle involving people dressed as clowns jumping out and scaring schoolchildren.  A 13-year-old boy was arrested…following [the] reports…In Essex, two…schoolgirls were approached by two people dressed as clowns who asked them if they wanted to attend a birthday party…People on social media have also reported clown sightings in Cheshire, North Wales, Dundee, Norwich, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.  A man dressed as a clown “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho” was captured on camera in…Greater Manchester…

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I don’t want to believe it’s a setup.  –  Monica Cedillo

Oh, sweetheart, surely you can’t be that naive after the way your daughter was exploited by cops from multiple departments; of course it’s a fucking setup:Celeste Guap

The young woman at the center of a sprawling sexual-exploitation scandal — encompassing dozens of police officers from agencies around the Bay Area — is in a Florida jail facing aggravated battery charges.  Guap, 19, flew to Florida [on August 26th] to begin a drug-rehabilitation program at the Treasure Coast Recovery Center…[and] was arrested [on August 29th]  after a [so-called] incident at the center by Martin County sheriff deputies.  She is being held on $300,000 bail…Because Guap is now in custody and facing a felony charge, she will probably not be allowed to leave Florida until her case is resolved.  This could be a potential setback to any plans by district attorneys in California, if they intend to file charges against officers in the Guap case.  Guap’s mother, Monica Cedillo, said…her daughter telephoned home on both Sunday and Monday, asking to be let out of the facility.  “She called me early on Monday afternoon.  She was very upset, and telling me ‘I’m gonna leave here, I have to get out, you’ll never see me again’,” Cedillo said…she questioned why a drug treatment center would call the police on someone going through [heroin] withdrawal…“Why did they let that happen, so they could call the police on her?”  Cedillo said.  “I don’t want to believe it’s a setup.”  However, [Celeste] was unnerved by remarks made to her by [jailers]…“She said they were calling her a ‘piece of shit’,” Cedillo said, adding that her daughter feared the deputies knew who she was from national media coverage… David Lustgarten, an assistant state’s attorney from the 19th Judicial Circuit, [pretended] he…had no previous knowledge of Guap…Pamela Price, an Oakland attorney…called into question why Guap was sent across the country to Florida for rehab, instead of to a California facility…Guap and her mother…told [reporters] the funding is coming through the Richmond Police Department….[at least three of whose] cops are under investigation…for [exploiting] Guap…“From a legal perspective, it looks like witness tampering,” [Price] said…

This is how police states work:  when the cops want to destroy someone, universal criminality allows them to easily find some sort of trumped-up charge to hold her on (after a cooperative judge sets a ridiculously-high bail like $300,000), and once she’s in their hands she can be abused, raped (under the guise of “searching for contraband” which can then be “found” to produce a further charge), or meet with a fatal “accident” as they prefer.  Even if they’re being watched too closely to simply murder her as they do so many others in police “custody”, accusations are now viewed as “evidence” that the victim is “no angel” and thus not a credible witness against all those fine, upstanding cops who could potentially lose their jobs or even freedom if she’s allowed to testify.  I think you get the picture, and I certainly hope the ACLU does.  And if you don’t, you need to read this blog more regularly and carefully.

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Long dormant claims have more of cruelty than justice in them.  –  Halsbury’s Laws of England

Principal SkinnerAs children, we were told that serious infractions might go on our “permanent record”, which certainly sounds ominous to a misbehaving ten-year-old.  But despite being the subject of jokes by generations of comedians, there really was no such thing until some alliance of sociopaths decided it was a good idea to put armed thugs in grammar schools to arrest children too young to spell the word “arrest” for offenses that when I was a lass might’ve been punished by writing lines, staying after school or (at worst) having one’s parents called by the principal.  Oh, there might be a formal disciplinary record in the principal’s office of that school, and in more recent times it might even be shared with other schools in the same district or diocese.  But all that was required to escape its baneful shadow was a move to a different town, and in any case its effects would have no influence after graduation.

Until recently, the adult world was rather like that as well; cops and other lawmen were constrained both by borders and by time, and one might escape their clutches either by crossing into another country or by staying out of trouble long enough to exceed the statute of limitations.  The latter is one of the most noble, sane ideas ever conceived by rulers, ranking not far behind presumption of innocence; such statutes are intended to encourage those with just complaints to report them in a timely manner, while evidence might still be found and witnesses might still have strong memories of the events in question.  In the English common law tradition, the only crime which usually has no statute of limitations is murder, because A) the effects are both severe and permanent; and B) because “murder victims can’t report the crime committed against them, and hence have no control over when it is discovered.”  Another good argument for such statutes is the same one I’ve used to argue that it’s better a thousand criminals go free than one innocent person be wrongfully imprisoned:  if a true criminal is unrepentant, he will provide the state with numerous opportunities to catch him again, and if he regrets his crime and lives an exemplary life afterward, what would be the point of punishing him when one of the supposed purposes of the “corrections system” (its Orwellian name in many countries) is reform?  If a person who is truly guilty of a crime spends the entire period of a statute of limitations living an exemplary life, society is far better served than it would’ve been by bearing the considerable social and economic expense of trial and lengthy incarceration, resulting in an unemployable outcast who often has little choice but to commit other crimes to support himself (and, if he has children, inflicting damage on them as well).

And yet in recent years, we’ve seen the schoolchild’s “permanent record” nightmare become a reality.  Computerized records can be shared internationally, making it far more difficult to escape the clutches of vengeful “authorities” whether the charges they allege are just or not.  Even after sentences are served, those upon whom they were inflicted are burdened with lifelong consequences as impossible to escape as a brand on the forehead; they may be forever denied jobs and excluded from social institutions, and if their crimes were supposedly “sexual” (a loose distinction indeed in the US, considering that even public urination can fall under its umbra) they may be consigned to pariah status forever, unable even to live among their fellow humans.  Anti-sex hysteria has become so severe that California is now trying to do away with the statute of limitations for rape; given the difficulty of proving even recent rape accusations, this will help absolutely nobody.Nate Parker  All it will do is allow a stain to be thrown on people’s reputations long after any evidence is gone.  And lest you think this isn’t that big a deal, consider the case of Nate Parker, who was tried and exonerated 17 years ago, and yet is being called a “rapist” in the national media because some “feminists” can’t stand the fact that a woman’s unproven accusation wasn’t enough to completely destroy his life forever, and now he’s become an acclaimed filmmaker.

Do you really want to live in a world where everyone must suffer the consequences of every mistake, act of desperation, bad decision, foolish choice and even false accusation forever, without any hope of escape no matter how blameless his life is after that?  Because I don’t.  I’ve been raped, several times, and you know what?  I DON’T FUCKING THINK THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON RAPE SHOULD BE REPEALED.  Nor do I think every man accused of the crime should instantly be presumed guilty, nor that the shadow of one accusation should follow him forever no matter what he does (multiple accusations spanning years or decades are a different matter, to be discussed another day).  Not only is this vile and unjust; not only does it increase the power of the carceral state; it also sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  Men aren’t the only ones who can be accused of rape, and rape isn’t the only “sex crime”; what if some sociopathic politician decides to out-California California by removing the statute of limitations on all sex crimes (which, as we have seen, can include prostitution, “sexting”, teen sex and pissing by a dumpster)?  Once a precedent is established there is no stopping power-mad lunatics from taking that and running with it.  The dismantling of laws that protect individuals from tyranny needs to be stopped at the beginning if it’s going to be stopped at all, and when it’s you being arrested for something somebody claims you did sometime during the Reagan administration, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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