Asset forfeiture laws imperil people’s rights to property and due process.  –  Elizabeth Patton

Droit du Seigneur

What the people who enforce “sex trafficking” laws are really like:

[Typical and representative Honolulu cop] Mason Jordan [i]s a “hands-on sexual offender of multiple children” who allegedly bullied victims to send him their nude pictures and…[then tried to force them into] prostitution…[with him as] pimp…he…also [liked to fantasy role-play]…as a teenage girl [online] to…stalk…[threaten, and attempt to blackmail] a woman…

A Broker in Pillage

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

…Kansas [cop shops] raked in $21 million through civil asset forfeiture over the past two years, according to a report…by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation…less than one-quarter of the owners have been convicted of a crime…half of all [that stolen loot]…had a value of $3,100 or less, meaning it would be impractical in those cases, if not a net loss, to hire an attorney to try and recover one’s property…the numbers…omit [the federal governent’s cut of the spoils, amounting to] more than $5 million…

Magic Formulae

Remember this next time somebody tells you that “cop checks” actually work:

[At least nine cops in British Columbia] engag[ed] in “disgusting, appalling” behaviour as they went to “extreme lengths” to prove they were not cops…[they] penetrated a colleague using a vegetable, [shat] on [each]…other and exposed their genitalia…[so-called] experts [who somehow didn’t know cops did stuff like this]…are now calling for an immediate overhaul of undercover tactics…[law professor] Kent Roach…expressed concerns over the liberal use of deceptive and even violent tactics which Canadian police are allowed to use in undercover operations…

Property of the State

Most tyranny starts with governments claiming they want to “protect” people:

Poland has officially started recording pregnancies in a digital database when [women] seek medical care…The country…has a near-total abortion ban with narrow exceptions…[which means that] every pregnancy that doesn’t end in a live birth is a potential crime scene [in the authoritarian mind]…the Polish government…[claims] it’s simply trying to protect [women] from X-rays and medicines that could harm the…[fetus and pretends that]…only medical professionals will have access to the data…[but even if true, that hardly seems likely to withstand cop demands]…

If Men Were Angels

“Youth leaders” = “youth pastors” = predatory perverts:

A…youth leader at two South Carolina churches…has been charged with sex crimes involving children…William Pinckney Carpenter III…[molested] victims as young as 7 [between 2016 and 2021]…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops never stop until they’re caged or dead:

A…[typical and representative Georgia cop] pleaded guilty to raping a woman [in]…2019…David Wilborn…[used the pretext of a traffic] stop [to]…block…a car with his p[igmobile].  After…[humiliating the driver], he [raped the passenger at gunpoint.  After]…Wilborn [left]…the victim immediately called police…Wilborn was sentenced to a term of life in prison to serve 25 years without parole, with the balance on probation.  He must also register as a sex offender.  Wilborn was previously a…[cop in] Atlanta…but resigned after…[sexually assaulting a woman in] 2007…

Served Cold (#1156) 

As OUR collapses, expect it to engage in increasingly-petty interference with sex workers’ lives:

The abrupt cancellation…of the Latin American adult industry conference, LALExpo, has been linked to a single press release from controversial, Mormon-led U.S. organization Operation Underground Railroad…As the local religious and conservative campaign attempted to sway local officials into denying LALExpo…permits, OUR issued a press release on June 3…seemingly attempting…to insinuate that the trade show’s sponsors were somehow responsible for “human trafficking”…

Diary #624

Every so often I like to remind my readers and patrons how important your support is to me.  In these uncertain times, it’s really reassuring to know that my writing is important enough to many of you that you choose to do more than simply throw a compliment my way now and again.  For some of you, support takes the form of a subscription, money you send every month to help me pay my bills; in lean times (such as right after tax season) those small amounts add up and keep me in the black.  Others prefer to send me nice things from my Amazon wishlist; I try to keep it populated with lots of things I really want, rather than just expensive trinkets and designer gewgaws.  Take this book a reader (who prefers to remain anonymous) sent me a couple of months ago; it’s a collection of early comic strips from one of the creators of the genre.  It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, but since it’s out of print I couldn’t justify the rather steep price, but since one of my admirers sent it as a present I could enjoy it without guilt (as I’m currently enjoying the second volume, received from a different reader just last week – you know who you are, and thank you!)  So whether you prefer to send me practical help to put food on the table, or to send “hyacinths to feed my soul”, please know that “appreciation” is far too mild a word to describe my feelings of gratitude to all of y’all.

As I wrote almost two years ago,

The ACLU of old is, alas, no more.  Gone is the organization so passionately devoted to civil liberties that it paid for a team of Jewish lawyers to defend literal Nazis’ right to free speech; in its place is an organ of the Democratic party whose main concern is keeping its cash flow as high as possible by parroting its primary donors’ beliefs (often in childish tweets repeating some a priori statement in all caps, over and over, without a word of justification), and never ever ever challenging those beliefs, no matter how anti-civil-rights and factually wrong they may be

Unsurprisingly, free speech is the area in which ACLU’s position has degenerated most shamefully, because it’s no longer popular with their “progressive” authoritarian base.  But fortunately, there’s a younger civil rights organization which is now expanding its remit to take up the ball ACLU has not merely dropped, but actively cast aside…and it’s doing so to the plaudits of former ACLU heavweights:

…The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere…the group’s president, Greg Lukianoff, said…FIRE has raised $28.5 million for a planned three-year, $75 million litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values…FIRE’s new expansion is…a challenge of sorts to the ACLU, which has faced criticism in recent years for drifting from its unapologetically pro-free-speech roots and taking a more direct…partisan [role]…Many of FIRE’s founders and backers are former leaders of the ACLU who have grown disillusioned with the group under its current executive director, Anthony Romero, who left the Ford Foundation to take over the storied civil liberties organization in 2001.  In 2020, FIRE released Mighty Ira, a laudatory documentary film about Romero’s predecessor, Ira Glasser, focusing on the ACLU’s work from the 1970s through the 1990s.  Glasser, who serves on a FIRE advisory board, said in an interview that he “strongly encouraged” FIRE to broaden its free-speech work in part because the ACLU seems to be abdicating that role…
I’ve long admired FIRE’s steadfast viewpoint-neutral defense of free speech on campuses, and I suspect they’ll be just as dynamite in their new, larger mission.  Let’s hope their new drive brings in enough new money and talent to mount a successful war against the censor-morons dedicated to lobotomizing our society.

Links #623

I can’t breathe.  –  John Elliott Neville

Raymond Scott’s 1937 composition, “Powerhouse”, is best remembered for its extensive use in classic Warner Brothers cartoons, but few know its name or have ever heard it in its entirety, so Maggie is here to fix that for you.  You’re welcome.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, Radley Balko, Fiona Harrigan, Mike Siegel, Popehat, and Marc Randazza, in that order.

From the Archives

Reliance on [police] to enforce Covid-19 restrictions has created…human rights violations.  –  Amnesty International

If Men Were Angels

Like father, like son:

A father and son pair of former church pastors were charged…with multiple counts of sexual assault of a child.  Scott Huse, 64…and…Travis Huse, 42…[were] involved with the Apostolic Worship Center and former Evergreen Christian Academy in Elton [Wisconsin]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1065)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

Michigan…[politicians have] open[ed] a dangerous loophole by authorizing [cops to rob]…travelers at Michigan airports [by pointing at them and oinking out the magic word “drugs”]…That change represents a substantial reversal of reforms that Michigan enacted in response to complaints…[bill sponsor Graham] Filler [paused from fellating cops to belch out a host of idiocies such as]…”ill-gotten gains”…”secure”…and…”reform”…

The Course of a Disease (#1093)

The Spanish case of the Swedish rot is especially virulent:

Spanish…politicians [are]…aiming to outlaw all forms of…sex work…including…audiovisual productions, magazines or internet content deemed “pornographic”…politicians within [socialist ruling party] PSOE, which took power in 2019…have taken up the abolition of sex work as their personal cause…the party’s General Vice-Secretary Adriana Lastra…last month took to the press to promote a change in the Spanish penal code to mandate up to three years of jail time for anyone paying for sex…

The Last Shall Be First (#1115)

Another perverse genital inspection law:

…the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” bans schools and colleges in Ohio from permitting “individuals of the male sex” from participating in women’s sports…The bill does not explain what the “male sex” or “female sex” is.  It does not say “trans” or “transgender” anywhere in the bill.  It doesn’t talk about birth or biological sex.  What it does instead is give people the power to dispute the sex of an individual athlete.  Then it falls upon that athlete to prove their sex by going to a physician and getting a signed statement confirming the athlete’s sex based on only…”The participant’s internal and external reproductive anatomy…normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone…[or] analysis of the participant’s genetic makeup.”  The bill…[also] authorize[s] individuals or schools…to sue the school, school district, or conference who allowed the trans woman to play and be awarded damages…The bill’s wording is similar to one passed in Idaho in 2020 that is currently being challenged in federal court

In the authoritarian mind,  for students to voluntarily allow other people to examine their genitalia for the purpose of pleasure is a “crime”, but for the same students to be forced by law to allow strangers to examine their genitalia for the purpose of bigotry is “protection”.

Social Distancing (#1197)

Oh look, it’s what I was saying TWO FUCKING YEARS AGO:

“Widespread reliance on punitive approaches to enforcing public health” harms marginalized groups, says Amnesty International.  A new report…suggests quarantine rules and other COVID-19 restrictions were especially damaging for groups already more likely to face discrimination, police harassment, and unjust criminalization.  Amnesty International calls on governments to reject using criminal sanctions to implement public health goals and “refrain from implementing repressive policies” in the name of protecting pubic health…”Contrary to the often-voiced claim by governments that ‘we were all in this together’, the truth is that their responses to Covid-19 have been experienced unequally…[especially by] people who are homeless, engage in sex work, or use drugs, as well as people “targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression”…

To Molest and Rape (#1225)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A [typical and representative] Philadelphia [cop who raped and]…sexually assault[ed men]…over the course of more than a decade was found guilty…of multiple crimes, including rape…Philip Nordo…often targeted [men] who were already handcuffed or shackled…

Thought Control (#1240)

There is nothing as contagious as a bad idea:

CatholicVote, which calls itself “America’s top Catholic advocacy organization,” has launched a “parent-led movement” called Hide the Pride to “empty libraries of LGBTQ content aimed at kids.”  It encourages members of the public to first collect signatures protesting library Pride displays containing children’s books, then to check out all of the books on display…After the titles are checked out, they then advise to “place the Pride books on a shelf out of reach of children” and email or mail the signatures to the library…a…school board candidate in Maryland did the same thing, though she didn’t stop at kids’ books.  Heather Fletcher checked out all the LGBTQ books on the library Pride display in the Brunswick Public Library…she [bloviat]ed, “This has…to do with the preservation of innocence”…

Bathhouse 69

And here it is at last: all the coarse roof work is done, and I’ve moved on to the finish work.  If you look closely at the northwest leaf (running from center to center left in this picture), you can see that I had to put in several extra braces and supports to get the design to work without letting any rainwater through.  But the work paid off, because the next time it rained the only places that got wet were the areas between the sections, and once the ridgecaps were in place (which I accomplished in two days last week), there was an immediate and dramatic reduction in leaking.  I spent last Friday caulking the spots where water was still getting through, and at last it’s possible to walk around the entire area without getting wet unless the wind blows it in from the sides.  As I said last week, that work really doesn’t show up well in pictures, but I’m going to try to get a good shot showing the ridgecaps for next Friday’s column, by which point I should be finished installing the gutters if the weather cooperates.

I understand that big companies believe that they can save money by deflecting as many customer service questions as possible to the FAQs and moron-bots; I also recognize that there are fewer supervisors than regular phone drones, and since they probably get paid more it behooves a company to instruct its employees to try not to pass a problem up the chain of command unless it’s pretty clear they really can’t do anything for the caller.  But once that has become obvious, why in the world do these employees continue to obfuscate, misdirect, pretend it’s the customer’s responsibility to solve a problem on the company’s end, and even lie, rather than just connect the caller to a supervisor?  As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not exactly stupid; by the time I call customer service, I’ve already tried everything obvious that would be listed in the FAQs, and the few times I got tricked into trying the bots I quickly discovered that they’re basically a slower, more time-wasting version of those same FAQs.  So I get pretty annoyed pretty quickly when it become clear that a human operator is reading from that same damned list.  And when they claim they’re unable to do something I need done, I immediately ask for the supervisor (whom decades of experience has demonstrated time and again will nearly always be able to do that which the front-line operator claimed was impossible).  But you’d be amazed how tenaciously they resist granting that simple request, even when I start growing increasingly angry at their insistence that the hundred-dollar billing error was somehow my fault, and even when I point out that they aren’t being paid enough to deal with a demanding, infuriated crazy lady.  I mean, do they get demerits for calling in a supervisor?  Does the company actually want to pay an extra hour’s wages to the operator to not solve the issue, on top of whatever they pay the supervisor for the five or ten minutes it takes to actually solve my problem once I finally get the first operator to grasp that I’m not going to go away and eat the extra charge, accept the wrong item instead of the one I ordered, or otherwise let myself be screwed over?  Why must I always be put in a position where yelling at some poor working stiff who absolutely isn’t being paid enough to deal with me is the only way to actually get my problem solved?  Of all the asinine shit modern companies do, I think this is probably the most incomprehensible and least forgiveable; unfortunately, it also seems to be almost universally unavoidable.

Prison officials like to censor anything…to do with minority anything.  –  Paul Wright

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A…youth pastor who [claimed] he began sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl [because] he mistook her for his wife, [yet] continued abusing her for more than two years, was sentenced…to…more than four years in prison.  David Walker…gasped as…Judge Ashley Kilbane announced the sentence.  Walker also must register as a sex offender…Walker was also a math teacher, baseball and basketball coach at Cleveland Christian Academy at the time…Investigators spoke to several women who were teenagers in the church around the same time as the abuse, and four of them said that David Walker also committed sexually inappropriate behavior with them…

I view shocked reactions in these cases as evidence of severe sociopathy; they really can’t believe they’re actually suffering consequences for their actions.

Damned If You Don’t (#442)

But picket-fence gays say cops aren’t our enemies:

The [cop shop] that [harasses people in] New York City’s main bus terminal has agreed to stop sending [disguised cops]…to [lurk in] its public bathrooms to [frame] people [for supposedly] propositioning strangers for sex, a [creepy] type of sting…aimed at gay men.  Under a legal settlement…the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will…only reinstate the so-called public lewdness patrols…if approved at the highest levels…the charges were [nearly always]…brought by [cops] who targeted men…they perceived…as gay, largely to inflate their arrest statistics.  The two named plaintiffs, Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, [were both victimized by cops] at the bus terminal in 2014…Both [were]…arrested…[for] public…masturbati[on because they were holding their penises in order to urinate]…

As a NY Times reporter phrased it at the time, “the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law [seems] to criminalize the use of public urinals“.

To Molest and Rape

I guess cops are never too old to rape:

An 81-year-old Walker County [Georgia cop named Jerry Glover]…has been arrested and charged with rap[ing a woman while wearing his magical clown suit]…

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

[Prison] officials in…Michigan…ha[ve] banned dictionaries in Spanish and Swahili under claims that books’ contents are a threat to the state’s [cage stacks].  “If certain prisoners all decided to learn a very obscure language, they would be able to then speak freely in front of s[crews]”…said Chris Gautz, the spokes[mor]on for the Michigan Department of [Torturing]…prisoners …If staff is unable to find a translation [of any] book…[it] is placed under the list of banned books – even when these are in Spanish…A 1989 Supreme Court ruling allows prisons to ban any book – as long as [the censors belch out the magic word “]safety[” first]…

Gautz’s moronic definition of “obscure” includes languages spoken by roughly 592 million and 90 million people, respectively.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1022)

I don’t think petitions like this do any good, but they don’t hurt:

We, the Tech Equity Coalition, including members of the former Port of Seattle Biometrics External Advisory Group…write to urge you to post clear and accessible signage in both visual and auditory forms in the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) regarding the collection of biometric data from travelers and the rights available to travelers.  Such signage should be present and discernible prior to an individual’s biometric data being collected.  Since Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not posted such signage themselves, then the Port of Seattle must step up to do so…the…lack of clear and accurate signage violates all seven of the Port of Seattle’s Principles for Public-Facing Biometric Technology, which were adopted in Motion 2019-13.[2]  The Port of Seattle can and should post signage making it clear that CBP intends to collect biometric data from travelers and that U.S. citizens have the right to opt out…

Tissue of Lies (#1231)

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “human trafficking operation”:

ICE…[crowed]…that 70 missing children were recovered following a three-week long operation in Texas.  [In reality, the lugubriously-named] “Operation Lost Souls” [was largely a review of records which dis]covered 70 [legal minors who had been reported] missing…[most of whom had already returned home.  The others were] victims of…physical…and sexual abuse…[whom police captured and returned to their abusers, under the direction of] Homeland Security…El Paso…

Winding Down (#1236)

British Columbia is better on prohibition issues than its neighbor to the south:

British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in North America to decriminalize possession of “hard” drugs such as…heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.  Effective Jan. 31, 2023, British Columbians 18 and older will be able to carry up to a cumulative total of 2.5 grams of these [state-stigmatized] substances without the risk of arrest or criminal charges.  Police are not to [steal] the drugs, and there is no requirement that people found to be in possession seek treatment.  The production, [sale] and exportation of these drugs will remain illegal…The change comes six years after B.C. declared a public health emergency in response to skyrocketing overdose deaths [due directly to the drug war]…Close to 10,000 people have died since 2016 in B.C. alone, and advocates have put pressure on governments to re-examine drug laws [politicians pretend] were intended to minimize harms but have [always] had the opposite effect…

Judging by the number of dysphemisms I needed to edit, the Globe and Mail does not approve.

Diary #623

I’ve had tankless water heaters for over a decade now, and I’ll never go back.  Since all this hair takes a long time to wash, my showers tend to run about 30 minutes; that means I deplete all but the largest tanks by the time I’m done, and there are very few things I hate more than having to rush a shower to avoid getting hit by cold water while I’m trying to rinse the conditioner out.  I’m not generally fussy about most things, but I view long, hot, high-volume showers as a basic necessity, not an indulgence; this also means any new shower head must be modified to remove the government’s mandated “improvements” before it can be installed, because I’m not gonna try to wet my hair under a fucking trickle because too many Americans choose to live in deserts while I prefer to live in places where the issue is too much water rather than too little, and politicians think I should suffer in solidarity or something.  Anyhow, we recently started having weird little problems with the heater: strange noises, temperature fluctuations, that sort of thing.  Since it was installed in the autumn of ’17 I figured it needed some kind of maintenance, so I asked Dr. Quest if he knew what the problem was since A) I know he also has a tankless heater; and B) he’s good at figuring out such things.  He told me that the flow sensor (that tells the unit when to turn the heat on and off) was dirty and needed cleaning, so Grace did some research and bought this kit (endorsed by the heater’s manufacturer) to add a couple of valve assemblies into the inflow and outflow lines.  Once the valves are in place, all one need do is close the water valves, turn off the breakers to the unit, and attach the hoses visible in this picture to a pump immersed in two gallons of plain white vinegar, then let it run for 90 minutes (if you’ve ever had to clean a coffee maker you already know about vinegar dissolving sediment deposits).  After that, one detaches the pump, switches the valves back to let water through, and flushes the system with clean water by opening a hot water tap for about ten minutes (and don’t forget to turn the breakers back on when done).  The noises are gone, and the temperature seems much steadier; I figure we’ll probably set up a schedule to clean it annually so it doesn’t build up as much.  And given that there was nothing about this in the heater’s manual, I figured those with tankless heaters (which I highly recommend if you’re replacing your old heater) might want to get one of these kits, especially if you have your own well or the pipes carrying your city water are old.

As I’ve mentioned before, Star Trek was my first love.  It was the first TV show I appreciated on a level beyond merely watching, the first one that really made me think about things, the first one I cared about enough to actually learn about.  It was also the first one I “collected”; what that meant to me in those pre-home video days was, I asked for a copy of Bjo Trimble’s Star Trek Concordance (yes, the picture is of my copy, which I of course still own) and read it cover to cover, noting which episodes I’d seen and which I hadn’t.  I also collected James Blish’s episode adaptations, and came to know some of the stories in print years before I ever got to see them on the tube.  I knew the show backwards and forwards, and by the time I bought the DVD collections in the Oughts I had probably already seen every episode over a dozen times (and that doesn’t even count the ones I listened to on my TV band radio).  So as you might expect, I tend to recognize actors who were on Star Trek when they appear in other 1960s and ’70s TV shows.  In fact, it’s part of what I enjoy about watching those shows.  I don’t just mean the regular cast, though of course it’s always fun to catch a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits with a pre-Trek Shatner, Nimoy, or Doohan.  No, I mean that when we recently re-watched The Wild, Wild West, at least half of the episodes had an actor or actress who prompted me to say to Grace, “Hey, that’s the girl who played __________ in [episode X].”  And now that we’ve moved on to Mission: Impossible (Trek‘s sister show, produced by Desilu on the next soundstage over), it’s even more so; there are few episodes that don’t have a guest star who appeared on Trek (and I’m not even counting Nimoy’s appearance as a regular in later seasons).  Sometimes it’s more than one, and we recently watched one in which there were no fewer than five.  I don’t really understand why it pleases me so to recognize the faces (or voices); I reckon it’s just the pleasure of familiarity, like going back to one’s home town.  But just in case there was any doubt in your mind about my level of nerdiness, I hope this post has rectified that.