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Links #620

How did we go from a routine traffic stop to narcotics-sniffing dogs?  –  Pamella Jenkins

The big news this week was the passing of Vangelis, the Greek composer most famous for his soundtrack work, whose albums from the late ’70s and early ’80s in particular formed a large portion of the soundtrack of my life.  I’ve featured many of his compositions over the years, but never the one that first made me a fan, fittingly entitled “Alpha”.  The links above it were provided by Franklin Harris, Cop Crisis (x2), Radley Balko, Popehat, and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

Here I stand, I can do no other.  –  Rikki de la Vega

A Broker in Pillage

Unlike other government departments, the IRS doesn’t even bother to accuse people of actual crimes before robbing them blind:

…Institute for Justice client Lyndon McLellan saw the…IRS…reach…into his bank account [to steal] his life savings without warning or cause in 2014.  McLellan [owned] a small convenience store…in Fairmont, North Carolina…he…worked long hours and rarely took vacations…Yet federal agents accused him of violating so-called structuring laws because his business frequently made bank deposits in amounts under $10,000…the[y stole] more than $107,000…”It took me 13 years to save that much money,” he says.  “And it took fewer than 13 seconds for the government to take it away”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

The Manitoba government is tabling a bill…[which] would require hotels and people operating on online accommodation platforms, such as Airbnb, to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses…and…to hand over that information to police…on…demand…without a warrant…[politician Rochelle Squires tried to justify this incredible violation of civil rights by vomiting out the words] “human trafficking”…and “children”…

Feminists and Other Puritans

It’s nice to see someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill writing about this:

…the worst form of prudery and repression is that which comes from those who also claim to be feminists…Women’s rights activists have been divided about sex from the beginning.  In the nineteenth century, the “free love” movement, which promoted birth control and sought to replace traditional male-dominated marriage with consensual unions of equal partners, butted heads with the “social purity” movement obsessed with controlling men’s lust as a way of eradicating such “evils” of prostitution and venereal disease…Those leaning towards the equality pole welcomed and worked with men who agreed with their goals, like Frederick Douglass and John Stuart Mill.  Those on the protectionist side, however, viewed men with skepticism, and demanded that they prove their worth by swearing to be chaste and “chivalrous” towards women…Not far off from contemporary pledges to not use porn or “end demand for sex trafficking”!  If the women who worked for social purity back then sounded like religious zealots, it’s because they were…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Politicians are increasingly convinced that they’re allowed to redefine legal concepts as they wish:

A strange new bill introduced by Oklahoma [politician] Rob Standridge would make it illegal to knowingly give “obscene material” to a “vulnerable person,” explicitly including unhoused people…SB 1522 [also includes] an unconstitutional redefinition of…“obscene material” as “any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse”…Such supposedly obscene materials would include “book, magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, poster, print, picture, figure, image, description, motion picture film, record, recording tape, CD-ROM disk, magnetic disk memory [sic], magnetic tape memory, videotape, computer software, video game,” and other unspecified media to be determined by the authorities.  Despite his seeming concern for the moral hygiene of the unhoused, Standridge recently opposed a new homeless shelter, making statements conflating Oklahoma’s unhoused population with “sex offenders” and calling them “a public safety risk”…

Stalkers in Blue (#987)

Another cop demonstrates what he is:

A Bay Area [cop] has been charged with masturbating in front of a family that called police during a fraught domestic violence call…Matthew Dominguez…“milled around the home…keep[ing] the daughter in view of his Body Worn Camera”…Dominguez [later]…unzipped his pants and began rubbing his crotch…[in full view of the mother and] daughter…Dominguez [kept] follow[ing the daughter]…around…The mother and daughter then went to find…the father…who…[also] “saw…Dominguez…with his erect penis in his left hand”…

Blunt Instrument (#1012)

This would be a much better article if it didn’t pretend that prohibitionism is a solely a phenomenon of the “right wing”:

For the past year, low-income Asian women in Newmarket [Ontario] have been engaged in a fierce battle with [politicians]…working to close down their massage businesses by claiming that the workers are both disreputable criminals and sex trafficking victims…in January…the town council imposed a set of regulations requiring massage businesses to get a new type of licence…[under] threat…[of] fines of $4,000 to $5,000 per day…the town…[is] using a fake anti-trafficking campaign…with zealous support from [the usual suspects]…thanks to centuries of racism and employment segregation in North America, body rubs are associated with crime, sex work, and people of colour…Newmarket town council declared their intention to create new rules that would drive out the businesses that they defined as “appeal[ing] to sexual appetites,” and the “brothels” that town councillors claimed were “hosts for human trafficking.”  Their…plan was to get rid of suspected sex work by tightening the rules so that only businesses whose workers have formal educational certifications from Canada could get the newly [inven]ted Personal Wellness Establishment Licence…[such] certifications can take years…and tuition can cost thousands of dollars…

Repeatedly claiming that prohibition in Canada is “right wing” when Trudeau and his party eagerly promote it is tantamount to pissing on the readers’ legs and telling them it’s raining.

Torture Chamber (#1182)

The government needs to be buried in lawsuits before this will stop:

[Young men] at a South Carolina…[prison are locked in cages] with feces on the floor, mold on the walls, and cockroaches in their food, according to a new lawsuit…the kids — who range in age from 13 to 19 – are [also] subjected to routine violence by [screws and] other [prisoners]…[screws also] use solitary confinement — in cells with no natural light — as a way to “protect” them from violence…some[times for]…months [at a stretch], and there [are] no meaningful educational or mental health services for the[m]…the…[prisoners] are disproportionately Black and from families that live below the federal poverty line…

Once again: it does not help young victims of governmental brutality to infantilize them as “children”.

Bathhouse 66

As you can see, the majority of the purlins are now in place.  Actually, by the time you read this, all this will have been covered with roof panels, but I wanted to show the detail before that happens.  Another thing not visible in this picture: a steel post in the middle of the northeast side, lending extra support to that tall triangular section because ten feet is twice as much unsupported span as we feel is safe.  You’ll be able to see it in future pictures, and it will become part of the northeast wall between the cottages.  Those with sharp eyes and engineering-type minds may have noticed that the purlins in that triangular section are all the same length, and project increasingly far beyond the rafters as they approach the apex; that’s because that whole leaf will be rectangular, leaving only two narrow wedges which will have panels perpendicular to the flat section, so as to dump rainwater onto the flat area (which will later end in a gutter).  If you can’t picture it, don’t worry; you’ll see more next week.  Oh, and if you’re wondering what that clutter is on the ramp, it’s just a temporary blockage to keep Cicero from coming up onto the deck until we install the door at the top.

The bourgeois bootlickers who think it would be a wonderful idea for everyone to be forced to use their “real names” (i.e. their government names) on social media are at it again.  They claim it would make the internet a nicer place, because as everybody knows Facebook is a perfect exemplar of how every social media site should look and operate.  This tweet was in response to a blue-checked cretin named David Klion opining that every Twitter user with over 10,000 followers should be forcibly outed, based on that perennial mating-cry of the smug, sheltered, and stupid, “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.  He also belched up some sort of inanity about “democracy“, but not long after I quote-tweeted him he deleted his tweet (which is why what you see above is no longer a quote tweet).  Well, let me tell you a little story about what happens when one speaks out publicly, not even under her government name but under a very well-known nom de guerre.  I’ve never told this publicly before, but since I’m semi-retired and the damage is long done, I think it’s time.

In 2015 I made the decision to work and write under the same name.  After a momentary surge in business, I slowly lost clients who were either offended by my being something more than a pleasant, pretty façade, or were afraid they’d be arrested for consorting with a high-profile rabble-rouser.  In 2016, there was even a rumor going around Seattle that I was under direct police surveillance; even some of the clients I didn’t lose switched to paying me electronically so if they were intercepted by cops, there was no cash they could steal as “evidence” of patronizing a prostitute.  Obviously that never happened, but the damage was already done.  I don’t regret being who I am, or saying what had to be said, and I’ve never been any good at maintaining multiple personae anyhow.  So though I probably wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it again, it would be a lie to pretend that standing up for what I fervently believe in, under the name by which I’m known to the world, wasn’t a pearl of great price.  And while I’m hardheaded and uppity enough to have made that choice, and philosophical enough to accept the enormous financial costs, many others might not be so willing to speak truth to power if they knew it might damage their ability to make a living.  But sure, go ahead and forcibly dox everyone with over 10,000 followers; I’m sure that’ll be great for “democracy”.

In its attempts to target an ever-growing number of people for detention and deportation, ICE has reached into the private homes and lives of almost every person in America.  –  Nina Wang

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Allowing Clearview to continue arming those who claim the “right” to spy on you, violently assault you, and destroy your life, is nothing like a “big win”:

Under a legal settlement filed in court today, Clearview AI…has agreed to a new set of restrictions that ensure the company is in alignment with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…Clearview will be permanently banned from granting paid or free access to its gargantuan face recognition database to private entities [but not to governmental entities, including ICE, CBP, the FBI and local cop shops]…except…in Illinois [and even that restriction is only]…for a [mere] five years…Clearview will maintain an opt-out request form on its website, allowing Illinois residents to [give this unscrupulous business yet another] photo [in exchange for a politician’s promise that]…their faceprints will be blocked from appearing in Clearview’s search results…

Quiet Genocide (#1105)

Here’s another firsthand account of the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people by the Chinese communist regime, told in comic strip form.  Since finally escaping after years of brutalization, Zumrat Dawut has bravely told her story despite attempts by the Chinese government to terrorize her even though she now resides in the US.  Please read her story, edited by Anthony Del Col and illustrated by Fahmida Azim; it is imperative Westerners stop looking away and pretending these atrocities are not happening.

I Spy (#1155)

Nothing infuriates violent, self-important busybodies more than private affairs that are none of their business:

…the European Commission [is] seeking to end encrypted communications…[using the popular excuse] of child sexual abuse imagery…messaging services and web hosts would be required to search for, and report, child abuse material – even in the case of encrypted messaging services…that cannot be scanned in such a way…[politician] Ylva Johansson…[bloviated a lot of self-contradictory nonsense about] “strong safeguards guaranteeing privacy of all”…[while constantly harping on the word] “children”…But the plans [are in reality]…an attack on privacy…Joe Mullin of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)…[pointed out that because what the politicians demand is literally impossible in encrypted messaging…“This would be a massive new surveillance system…[which] would require the infrastructure for detailed analysis of user messages”…It is a similar approach to that proposed…by Apple…Patrick​ ​Breyer, German MEP for the​ ​Pirate​ ​party, called the proposals “fundamental​ ​rights​ ​terrorism​ ​against​ ​trust,​ ​self-determination​ ​and​ ​security​ ​on​ ​the​ internet”…

To Molest and Rape (#1178)

Not even a rapist cop’s own daughters are safe:

A 10-year-old girl called police in March [to report that] her father, a Chicago [cop, had]…sexually abus[ed] her…but when he was [arrested and] charged…it was only for domestic battery, a misdemeanor…

I Spy (#1200)

All federal cop shops and spook houses are part of the police-state blob:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement…has built a vast digital surveillance system that gives it access to the personal details of almost every person in America, a two-year investigation by Georgetown University law center…conclud[ed] that the…organisation has strayed well beyond its [official] duties as an immigration body to become…a domestic surveillance agency…[with] capabilities that allows its agents to “pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time”…includ[ing]…driver’s license data…utility records…[license plate reader data and] facial recognition [data on roughly 75% of US adults]…and…weaponised through the use of powerful algorithmic tools for searching and analysing data…all…[secretly and] in the absence of warrants…

The Implosion Begins (#1211)

The New York Times uses terms like “far-right conspiracy theory” to describe the moral panic they’ve aggressively promoted for 18 years:

Jason Frank…and his [QAnon] group…have been camping out near Sasabe, Ariz., as a self-appointed border force [in an elaborate fantasy roleplay]…of protecting the thousands of migrant children who have been arriving from the evils of sex trafficking — a favorite QAnon theme…wh[ich developed] over the years [from fantasies about]…pedophilia rings [heavily promoted by cops, fanatics, politicians, and journalists – especially the New York Times – since the early Oughts despite mountains of evidence that organized]…sex-trafficking schemes [of the sort featured in these fantasies are highly] unusual…migrant children [and adults are]…overwhelmingly people who paid to be smuggled…

Policing for Profit (#1230)

I reckon Empyreal felt letting this crime boss save face was a cheap way to get their property back:

Empyreal Logistics…has reached a settlement with the San Bernardino County, California, Sheriff’s Department, which had [robbed] more than $1 million from Empyreal’s armored cars.  The Justice Department, which was holding the money pending federal forfeiture, agreed to return all of it last month…Empyreal a[lso agreed to endorse a statement] the sheriff’s department issued on Friday, [absurdly claiming that the sheriff and his henchmen were]…”acting in good faith when the[y conducted pretextual traffic] stops w[ith the specific intent of robbing a corporation conducting business that was 100% legal under California law]”…

Diary #620

I just did not stop last week!  After working on my bathhouse roof all afternoon Monday, in the evening I drove into Seattle and spent a few hours at my incall before heading to the airport for an overnight visit with Dr. Quest.  I chose the earliest Tuesday flight possible because I’ve discovered that redeyes minimize my chances of airsickness; the planes tend to be much less crowded so it’s easier to get a window seat (I need it to lean against the fuselage with my travel pillow, since airplane seats no longer recline), and I just take my diazepam and sleep as best I can all the way.  How good the sleep is varies dramatically with the type of plane and my position in it; on my flight to Miami in January I slept extremely well, whereas this time wasn’t so good.  But I actually slept better on the second leg, and I felt fine all through our visit (it helps a lot that I really enjoy my visits with Dr. Quest).  The next morning I flew out very early again, but while the first leg was great, the Dallas-to-Seattle run was terrible: I was seated at the last minute in a really bad seat on an overfull plane too late for my drugs to kick in before takeoff, and the pilot was only barely competent (with predictable results on both takeoff and landing and poor sleep in between).  Since I arrived so early I decided to just drive back to Sunset, and I’m glad I did because I was very tired and dropped off before midnight.  The next day I had to take Grace to a doctor appointment, then I dodged annoyingly-intermittent rain Friday and Saturday to almost finish the section of roof between the two cottages (you’ll see pictures over the next few weeks).  Working like that is very tiring because, while I’m not afraid of heights, I give them the respect they deserve; that means my body is under a lot of tension all day, in a way that cries out for a double piña colada with dinner and a long soak in the hot tub afterward.  Having to deal with sporadic drizzle makes it even worse, but I really want to get this done so I can move on to the more relaxed, safer, floor-level part of the project, under a roof that will not only protect me from rain, but eliminate the need for sunscreen in the summer months.  Still, as I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, I can’t say I’m disappointed that it rained too heavily all afternoon for me to even consider doing any work outside.

If there is one succinct statement which sums up my political philosophy, it’s “Every adult individual owns themselves and absolutely nobody has the right to overrule that.”  There is no such thing as “legitimate” authority over an individual except that conferred personally by that individual for themelves and no one else, and even that can be revoked by the granter.  And I’ve stated many times that my definition of “evil” is “The attempt to impose control over an individual which that individual neither desires or requires”.  I will oppose to the death any attempt to impose such undesired control over any individual, and have done so my entire adult life; my advocacy for sex work is really only the most visible manifestation of that philosophical core.  So obviously, I’m going to provide any assistance I can to any person threatened by violent busybodies who claim the “right” to control their bodies and lives, no matter what reasons the authoritarians may claim.  With that in mind, here are just a few resources for women living in states trying to assert control over their bodies:

Medication Abortions Are Increasing: What They Are and Where Women Get Them” (NY Times)

Aid Accesssupports people with an unwanted pregnancy to access an abortion or miscarriage treatment if you are health and less than 10 weeks pregnant“.

Hey Jane provides “Modern abortion care for $249 — no clinic visit needed.  Get fast, safe and affordable abortion pills shipped to your home. Consult with a medical provider within 24 hours. Medications are shipped daily.

Plan Cprovides up-to-date information on how people in the U.S. are accessing at-home abortion pill options online.”

Las Libres provides support to “Women who wish to terminate undesirable pregnancies, offering them access to medical abortion and moral support

Reproaction offers this instructional video:

And if, Aphrodite forbid, you should get in some kind of legal trouble due to busybodies claiming control over your own body, the Repro Legal Defense Fund may be able to help.

Please link this page far and wide, and add any more resources you know of in the comments below.  Some states are attempting to criminalize those who “aid and abet” a person to get an abortion, so please feel free to pass the links on to those who may need them (anonymously, if neccesary); I’m used to being an outlaw so I don’t honestly care if Missouri or Texas or Louisiana decides to add one more to my mountanous heap of “crimes” of denying the state control over individual lives.  And if you have other sources you think I should know about directly, send them to me via this link.

Links #619

That was…unjust and…un-fucking-called-for.  –  one cop to another

I wasn’t particularly a fan of the Judds, but I doubt Naomi Judd ever did anything nasty enough to deserve prohibitionist nincompoop Ashley as a daughter; fortunately her singing partner was her older daughter, Wynonna.  I don’t recall who shared the first item above the video, but the others were provided by Dan Savage, Billy Binion, Popehat, and Cop Crisis (x3), in that order.

From the Archives

The pursuit of sex buyers…functions…[by] targeting people in the sex trade and result[s] in forced evictions, deportations and police harassment.  –  Niina Vuolajärvi

Maggie in the Media

Bound By the Cloak is a new-ish podcast whose tagline is, “Candid conversations about the unspoken”.  Episode 6 is entitled “Grande Horizontale”, so you can probably guess who is interviewed in it.  Give it a listen; I think you’ll enjoy it even if you’ve heard me talk about these topics before.

Sales Pitch

If the Swedish model is so successful, why are they threatening to increase the penalties?

The European Sex Worker Alliance (ESWA) is circulating a petition in solidarity with Swedish sex worker activists fighting a politically motivated attempt to require mandatory jail time for their clients…the…threat…has been Trojan-Horsed into…a series of legal reforms [driven]…by various sex panics fostered by the press…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

On April 8, a [man] and his teenage daughter were at a Dallas Mavericks basketball game…in Dallas.  Just before halftime, the daughter left her seat to use the restroom.  After she didn’t return, the father went to look for her and notified arena security, staff, and Dallas police of her being missing…lawyer Zeke Fortenberry…[claims] the family repeatedly called Dallas police to help find their daughter…[but] Dallas police…didn’t make any efforts to locate the girl…[so] the family reached out to a [rescueindustry group called] the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative…[which claims it] found [her pictures] on a[n escort] website…in Oklahoma City…and…Oklahoma City police…[found her] at an Extended Stay America…on April 18 and several people were arrested…Fortenberry [was quick to point fingers at]…the Dallas Mavericks…the [stadium, and the hotel, using the required “]failed to protect the victim[” language indicating he plans to sue them and]…Dallas police [using the novel legal construction of vicarious liability which has become popular among ambulance-chasers]…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

A pastor [named]…John William Lovelace…in Ayden, North Carolina, was charged…with [various crimes of rape and sexual assault, and]…is also facing two counts of statutory [rape of] a child under the age of 15…

Winding Down (#1179)

It’s too bad Washington only supports self-ownership where drugs are concerned, not sex:

Drug-reform advocates, doctors, and politicians have initiated a ballot measure, Initiative 1922, to remove the penalties for possessing drugs of any kind in the state of Washington, including cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Led by a coalition group called Commit to Change WA, the proposed [measure would also]…dedicat[e] $141 million…each year to substance use treatment and prevention…the funds…would come from cannabis taxes the state is already receiving…Sponsors of the initiative have until July 8 to collect almost 325,000 valid signatures of registered Washington voters to qualify for a spot on the statewide ballot in November…

Creepy Coppers

Your “leaders” apparently also want you to refer to spreading child porn as “correction”:

Tennessee [screw]…Michael Vernon White, has been charged with possession of “hundreds of items” of child porn…[discovered] after an Internet service provider detected and reported multiple uploads of sexual images and videos depicting young girls.  The number associated with the uploads was linked back to White…

The Cop Myth (#1205)

Why are people shocked when men paid and encouraged to behave violently, behave violently?

An…NYPD [cop named]…Kevin Marcial…was suspended…following…his [attempt to shoot his] girlfriend’s husband [after he saw the latter behind him in traffic]…Marcial turned around and fired a shot at the [husband, but missed]…The outraged husband showed up later at a nearby police station and reported the [attack], as well as Marcial and the love triangle.  Cops at first [refused to] believe him, but the husband gave [them] the…license plate number, which they traced back to Marcial.  A shell casing was also found at the scene…police reached out to Marcial, who, with his lawyer, [later] surrendered…An NYPD spokeswoman s[pun this as] Marcial “self-report[ing]” the shooting…

Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence last August, which contained quotes and links for every occurence of this particular day and date combination.  And if you value all the work I’ve done fighting for sex workers over the past 13 years, a concrete sign of that would be very much appreciated.