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In the News (#1205)

Most members of the public have no interest in closely examining falsehoods uttered by governments.  –  Tim Cushing

Policing for Profit

What made it “illegal” was pronouncing the wrong magic words while pointing at his victims in the magic Spell of Forfeiture:

A rural sheriff near the Texas border is under criminal investigation for…having his deputies illegally seize money and a truck from undocumented immigrants during [pretext] stops….Sheriff Nathan Johnson…admitted to regularly s[tealing] money [after having his henchmen barf out the words “illegal alien”, when the]…state [instead wants them to barf out “drug trafficking” and also get permission for the spell from a sacred dog]…Johnson [attempted to defend himself by barfing out the words]…”stand against…traffic in our community”…

Torture Chamber 

Even journalists reporting on these abuses insist on referring to them as “correction”:

Anchorage-based s[crews]…pepper sprayed three [helpless] men inside a van and then closed the doors, leaving them to inhale the chemicals for between seven to 18 minutes…the men were not allowed to shower or change clothes for an extended period of time…one of the men [for] two days…The ombudsman’s investigation…found that…[the] assault…was in…[response to a thoughtcrime supposedly committed by one of the victims]…

Under Duress (#1110) 

I find it mind-boggling that most people are surprised to find out that cops are habitual liars:

Virginia Beach police used forged documents that [claimed to] link…people’s DNA to a crime to get them to confess or cooperate with [pigs], Virginia’s outgoing attorney general announced…The city’s police department has changed its policy [because it got caught]…but c[laimed] the [deception was] legal…The bogus pieces of paper included a seal and letterhead from the state agency…[and] the signature of a fictitious employee from the department…in at least one instance, [cops committed perjury by submitting] a forged report…to a court as evidence…

I Spy (#1155)

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

The UK government has expressed an unhealthy determination to undermine encryption for years now…[using excuses] ranging from “the children” to “the terrorists.”  The underlying intent never changes even if…the bills get renamed, as though a different shade of lipstick would make the UK’s anti-encryption pig any more desirable.  Rebranding from “Online Harms” to “Online Safety” only changed the tablecloths in the Titanic’s dining room…but presumably “safety” sounds better than “harms,” especially when the government affirmatively wants to harm the safety of millions of UK residents.  The Internet Society has taken a look at the revamped and rebranded bill and has delivered a report that explains exactly where on the Internet doll the UK government plans to engage in inappropriate touching.  There’s no mention of backdoors or broken encryption, but complying with the law means…doing both…

To Molest and Rape (#1187)

It would be difficult to bury this lede any further down:

A federal judge has sentenced a…North Dakota…man to life in prison for [rape]…Douglas J. Schneider…[was also ordered] to pay [the paltry sum of] $19,215 in restitution…between 2013 and 2018, Schneider [repeatedly raped the] child…who was between 7 and 10 years old when he started, but it became a federal case when]…Schneider transported the child from North Dakota to Montana [to rape her some more.  And by the way]…Schneider w[as a cop]…

The Cop Myth (#1197)

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

A [typical and representative] Tulsa [cop named]…Shannon Kepler…a[bandoned his] daughter, Lisa…at a homeless shelter shortly after she turned 18 with no money, cell phone, credit cards or clothes other than what she wore…[t]he[n continued to stalk her via]…Facebook…[when] she…changed her status to being “in a relationship” with [a 19-year-old black man named Jeremy] Lake, who…was a volunteer at the shelter…Kepler then [stalked]…Lake [via]…police [databases]…travelled…to Lake’s last known address…carrying a loaded .357 Magnum revolver…[and waited for] his daughter and Lake [to come by. When she understandably]…re[fused]…to speak with…Kepler [he responded by gunning]…Lake [down in the street like a mad dog, then attempted] to…[also murder] his daughter, the victim’s brother, and a third witness…Kepler [later] claimed that…he shot Lake in self-defense [despite] Lake [being unarmed and the contrary testimony of three witnesses]…Kepler was…[tried] fi[ve times in all]…The first three resulted in hung juries, and a fourth resulted in a conviction for manslaughter [rather than what it clearly was, premeditated murder.  After this conviction was overturned on a technicality, he was finally sentenced to 25 years for the 2014 murder]…

You Were Warned (#1203)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

A controversial California bill that would eliminate Section 230 protections in the name of fighting “online trafficking” and “revenge porn,” along the lines established at the federal level by FOSTA-SESTA, has moved forward in the state senate…SB435 threatens platforms with fines of over $100,000 for not immediately removing flagged content, but offers little to protect the system from abuse by bad actors…Anti-porn groups and harassers, [Free Speech Coalition Public Affairs Director Mike] Stabile noted, “already abuse reporting systems to attack sex workers.  SB435 would give them a powerful new tool, with almost no protections for legal content. And since most of the time platforms would rather remove legal content than arbitrate slowly and risk expensive litigation, the end result would be the further banning and removal…at a massive scale”…

Diary #603

What an exhausting week!  After Hereticon ended Thursday morning, I flew to New Orleans to visit some old friends I haven’t seen in a long time, including the cousin who recently got back in touch with me.  And while I had a lovely time, the pace definitely took its toll.  I knew the rapid weather shifts from Seattle to Miami to New Orleans (with a cold front moving in Saturday) and back to Seattle would play hob with my sinuses, and they did; it started as a post-nasal drip which turned into a cough on Friday, then practically as soon as I got back to Seattle turned into heavy congestion.  It didn’t help that I had decided to do the week without cannabis; in retrospect, that was a bad idea because I didn’t sleep nearly as well as usual (even with the help of other drugs), so by Friday I was pretty tired from days of poor sleep.  The flight into New Orleans was on a regional jet, which are far more conducive to giving me vertigo attacks than larger aircraft, and such attacks (while I recover from them more quickly than I used to thanks to my meds) tend to sap my reserves.  By Saturday afternoon I was so debilitated by the one-two punch of lack of sleep and wonky sinuses that I strongly considered asking my cousin if I could stay an extra day, because I was genuinely unsure if it would be safe to drive back into town feeling as I did.  But fortunately, she’s a very early-to-bed-early-to-rise type, so I took a five-hour nap and by 2 AM I felt good enough to get the rental safely back to the airport, board the plane, and promptly fall asleep by lying across three seats.  I don’t actually remember takeoff; the next thing I knew, the pilot was telling the flight attendants to prepare for landing.  The layover in Dallas was mercifully short, and though I didn’t sleep as well on the flight to Seattle it was mostly uneventful.  Once back at my apartment some breakfast and tea allowed me to rally enough for the drive home, and though it was far more tiring than usual, I made it back to Sunset at last.  This was typed about 9 PM Sunday night, so I hope you’ll forgive its brevity; I hear my edibles calling.

The Establishment

Slang terms come and go; sometimes they enter the vernacular on a more permanent basis, but more often the fade away once their season is done, and using them after that time tends to mark someone as not at all “with it”, to use one example from my youth.  But as you might suspect from someone who was invited to a conference of freethinkers, I don’t much care if young people think it’s funny when I use words like “chick”, “square”, and “dig” without a hint of irony (I’ve even been known to occasionally use “groovy”), just like I didn’t much care if adults disliked it when I used them as a kid.  There’s one term from my youth, though, which has pretty thoroughly vanished from popular use despite being as necessary now as it ever was, and perhaps even more so: “The Establishment”.  It was first used in this sense by British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in The Spectator (September 1955) wrote:  “By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised.”  The Establishment, then, includes politicians, cops, bureaucrats, banks, well-connected corporations, institutions, academia, NGOs, the mainstream press…all the interconnected parts of the fascist regimes which act collectively to corral people into easily-managed herds.  Most people nowadays, especially (but not limited to) those in the chattering classes, like to pretend that these institutions either act separately, or can be cleanly divided into “wings”; those who buy into this fantasy think it’s perfectly reasonable to be against “capitalism” without also being against centralized government, or believe that institutions which mouth popular “woke” jargon are truly against the larger institutions which pay their bills, or imagine that a TV news network which airs propaganda for one of the so-called “wings” is different in some substantive way from one which prefers to air propaganda for the other “wing”.  But as I’ve discussed many times, this is nonsense; the machine of authoritarianism is vast, complex, and has many parts which seem separate or even adverserial to shallow thinkers, but in reality all work together (sometimes by design, but more often by necessity) to either reduce all individuals to soulless parts of that machine, or else crush those who refuse to be used thus into pulp.

Links #602

We are done with your silly little games.  –  cop, to man he paralyzed

Sidney Poitier gave a lot of powerful performances in his long career, but this one has always been my personal favorite.  And since it has a song to go with it, here you are.  All the links above the video were provided by Cop Crisis except for the obit itself (from Phoenix Calida) and “billionaires” (from Nun Ya).

From the Archives

In the News (#1204)

People should not be in jail for imaginary crimes.  –  Ryan Marino

Power Play (#701)

I guess 5 years is longer than most Americans’ attention spans:

the New York Daily News [has] published a glowing, error-filled preview of former California prosecutor and failed Sacramento County DA candidate Maggie Krell’s book Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker, which…depicts Krell as a crusading attorney for the California AG’s office who “defeated”…Backpage.com by bringing pimping charges in 2016 against its former owners, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin…But Krell’s charges…were thrown out of court, not once, but twice.  Nor did Backpage go out of business in 2016.  Rather, Backpage went out of business in 2018, when the federal government seized…the site…on multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering and facilitating misdemeanor state prostitution offenses in violation of the U.S. Travel Act…none of the defendants are charged with…sex trafficking…nor could they be…

I Spy (#990)

Everything cops and other “justice” officials tell you is a lie:

The EU’s police agency, Europol, will be forced to delete much of a vast store of personal data that it has…[illegally] amassed…the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) [has ordered the deletion of]…what privacy experts are calling a “big data ark” containing…data…drawn from crime reports, hacked from encrypted phone services and [stolen] from asylum seekers never involved in any crime…Europol’s cache contains at least 4 petabytes – equivalent to…a fifth of the entire contents of the US Library of Congress…the…mass surveillance…is a step…to becoming a European counterpart to the…NSA…The watchdog ordered Europol to erase data held for more than six months and gave it a year to sort out what could be lawfully kept…

Quiet Genocide (#1111)

A very brave woman working to expose a colossal abomination:

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1162)

Cops want their hysteria to trump reality:

Every year, [cops] claim to have suffered near-fatal overdoses after accidentally touching fentanyl, a[nd reporters obediently parrot the hysterical fantasies]…But…It is…impossible to overdose simply by touching or getting too close to fentanyl. Doctors and toxicologists warn that the hype around this perceived threat is harming overdose victims…[and] taxpayers…Accidental overdose by skin exposure “is chemically and physically implausible,” said Dr. Ryan Marino, a medical toxicologist and addiction medicine specialist…at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Andrew Stolbach, an emergency physician and medical toxicologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said, “It’s not possible to overdose on fentanyl by touching it. If it was absorbed well through the skin, people wouldn’t inject it and snort it in order to get high.” Despite this, people who use the drug are facing serious legal repercussions — such as charges of assault or endangerment of officers — for supposedly causing these impossible overdoses…

I Spy (#1188)

It’s best not to upset useful idiots at a time like this:

Signal [i]s considering adding cryptocurrency payments…start[ing] with MobileCoin…“a system [designed to] hide…everything from everyone”…There’s nothing sinister about putting payments into a messaging app, and Signal is not alone in adding crypto payments to messaging…What sets Signal’s effort apart is the combination of end-to-end encryption in messaging and a cryptocurrency with privacy features designed to make any transactions anonymous…Signal employees…[a]re worried…that…anonymous transactions would likely attract…regulatory scrutiny.  Given that end-to-end encryption already faces [political persecution] around the globe…Signal’s addition of anonymous payments…could give more ammunition to [politicians] who want to end encryption…

I’m not sure how trustworthy this writer is, given that he believes the government should be able to spy on anyone as long as some spook belches out the magic words “money laundering” first.

The Next Target (#1192)

It won’t be long now before this spreads out of the porn ecosystem and into the greater internet:

My webcam account was recently suspended for violating the code of conduct.  I was told I had engaged in a fetish category that is cause for immediate account closure…in the past, I cammed from an actual brick and mortar studio for a small website with just a few dozen models.  I had direct contact with management.  If there was a problem, Mastercard contacted the boss to explain the issue.  He would knock on my studio door, tell me what was up, and I could immediately comply…[now] I’m working for a giant site with thousands of performers.  I have no relationship with management.  Most of my emails go unanswered or receive generic responses.  When I was suspended, I got no explanation, no opportunity for correction, no word about what would happen to my outstanding pay…Platforms are moderating their workers with an increasingly heavy hand, so the scope of sexual topics we have to avoid is getting broader.  Platforms have also passed the task of moderation down to us, asking that we flag and report clients who request shows that might violate the rules, or risk being punished for complicity.  Not only does this mean I stand to make less money—I’m also being asked to police my clientele and their desires…

The Cop Myth (#1199)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

A Huntsville [Alabama cop named]…David McCoy…murder[ed his]…girlfriend [by shooting her] in the head inside a parked vehicle, then called in the death claiming the woman shot herself.  The [motive appears to be that the] woman…recently informed McCoy she was pregnant…McCoy has [been rewarded for his violent behavior with a paid vacation]…per [cop shop] policy…

Note that the exonerative-mood headline makes it sound like the victim committed the murder.

Back in the South

Longtime readers may remember that despite appearances, I’m really quite the homebody.  Given my druthers, I’d rather not go very far from home very often, and when I do travel I’d rather return as quickly as possible.  That preference has only become stronger as I’ve aged (which I suppose isn’t all that unusual), and since I moved to Sunset full-time I’ve become even less inclined to wander than I was in my Oklahoma days, plus Grace’s health problems mean she shouldn’t be alone for long either.  Furthermore, there’s the fact that since hygiene theater Pelion was piled atop security theater Ossa, flying has become even more stressful and odious than it already was, so I now suffer low-level anxiety for weeks before having to travel by air.  Fortunately, I was able to find conveniently-scheduled flights; I left Seattle Sunday night and arrived in Miami Monday morning, then flew to New Orleans yesterday to visit dear friends there for the first time since the summer of ’16.  Sunday morning very early I’ll be flying back to Seattle, which given my legendary hatred of doing anything before noon should give you an idea just how much I want to get home.  Next week I’ll need to be back in Seattle again, but after that I hope to leave Sunset as little as possible for the entire month of February; let’s hope I needn’t travel again before spring, at the earliest.

Hereticon

I have never enjoyed a conference as much as I have this one.  When I attend conferences, my main goal is to “network” and hobnob as much as possible, which is really a fancy way of saying, “yakety yak as much as possible with as many cool, interesting people as possible, as is my wont anyway but in a place where the density of such people is much higher than it is elsewhere.”  But this conference, by the direct statement of its organizers, is specifically intended to encourage that sort of thing.  Sure, there are talks and presentations, but they don’t occupy every minute of time in multiple rooms at once, with so much going on that there’s absolutely no way for any person to see even half of it even if they wanted to.  The pace is more lesisurely, and the event schedule and spaces are designed around encouraging the guests and presenters (who are often hard to tell apart) to interact with each other.  Some conferences are almost more like seminars, with an emphasis on presenters dispensing ideas and information to a receptive audience; this one is more like a big salon, with an empasis on intelligent, imaginative people talking back and forth.  Part of that is its smaller size and curated guest list, but another part was in the planning; I even had interesting conversations with the Founders Fund staff, who mingled with the attendees.  And the incredible generosity of the organization hosting the conference was delicious icing on a yummy cake.  I’m definitely hopeful of being invited again in the future, and plan to present myself next time…though as I said above, I doubt that will change my experience very much.  And that is a really good thing.

In the News (#1203)

Whether we like it or not, the 1st Amendment protects both vaccine misinformation and hate speech.  –  Mike Masnick

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

In which the UN throws away what little credibility it had left:

The Chinese government’s violent oppression of the…Uyghur[s]…is no longer a secret…[its] actions…have been…[properly identified as] genocide…[b]y…the human rights community…[yet] the United Nations, the very institution created to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” is assisting China in its violent efforts to wipe out the Uyghurs by helping the CCP cover its tracks…UN human rights officer-turned whistleblower Emma Reilly…[report]s that prior to every UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in recent years, China has requested the names of Uyghur and other Chinese dissidents who were scheduled to speak.  And despite this being explicitly forbidden by the UN’s own rules, the UN…has [betrayed them so]…Chinese authorities…[can] use [the information] to harass the dissidents’ families who are still based in China…Reilly…first discovered the practice in 2013…when [her] superior, Eric Tistounet…advis[ed] staffers t[o obey because he was scared of China]…But while the UN has at times acknowledged this indefensible practice, it has simultaneously provided contradictory statements denying it.  When asked about the allegations in March 2017, Tistounet…[barfed out the magic word] “wing” [as though it constituted an excuse]…

Tissue of Lies (#1109)

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

Five…teenage [runaways were arrested in New Orleans and] their families [alerted.  In an unrelated record review] 30 [people condemned to the “]sex offender[” registry were also arrested] after…U.S. Marshals [accused them] of violating their…registration requirements…One of the [ar]res[t]ed teens was a 16-year-old girl…suspected of stealing a relative’s car and handgun…[three others appear to have been engaging in survival sex work, and the fifth] was…a[ccused of “]felony human trafficking[“]…

These “operations” were innovated in Georgia after the pandemic made actual “stings” much more difficult, and have since become popular with cop shops all over the US.

Lack of Evidence (#1120) 

Only a prohibitionist could claim banning armed thugs from attacking women for merely existing in public is a “thorny issue”.  And the writer of this piece of trash is definitely a prohibitionist; her assumptions are lurid and puritanical, her heavy use of moronic dysphemisms cringeworthy, and her attempts to prejudice the reader so transparent it’s difficult to believe she thought anyone would fail to see what she was doing (“who are just past their teenage years but looked young enough to be on their way to a high school dance” is used to mean “youthful-looking twentysomethings”).  Most nauseating of all is that the LA Times has such a low opinion of its readers’ intelligence that they believe a pretense of objectivity can be maintained while printing straight-up anti-sex propaganda from people who sound as though they’re making furtive movements in their pants while sharing their ugly masturbatory fantasies with this delusional parrot.

The Widening Gyre (#1136)

More innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons:

“Child luring incident!” read the warning that appeared last Friday on several Teaneck, New Jersey, social media pages.  “A man in a car pulled up and tried to get a child in around 11 am on 12/31/21…[in reality, the “child”]…was…the…14-year-old [son of Debra Passner], who wanted to leave [a family gathering] early (as 14-year-olds often do).  He started walking home, with his parents’ blessing.  Later, when they were driving home themselves, they saw him on the street and slowed down to offer him a ride.  “My son, being a wiseass, says, ‘I don’t take rides from strangers,'” Debra Passner recalls. So she leaned over and called out, “Don’t you like candy? We have candy!”  When their son shook his head, his father said, “Okay, then I’ll follow you.”  But moments later, they drove on.  Once the Passners saw this online, they immediately called the police…[who still felt compelled to invade the family’s privacy before they] issued a press release stating…no attempted luring [of a young man] had occurred…

You Were Warned (#1156)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

…both [US ruling parties]…want to control the internet in a manner that helps “their team.”  But both approaches involve unconstitutional desires to interfere with 1st Amendment rights.  For Republicans, it’s often the compelled hosting of speech, and for Democrats, it’s often the compelled deletion of speech.  Both…are unconstitutional.  On the Republican side, we’ve already seen states like Florida and Texas [enact] content moderation bills — and both have been blocked for being wholly unconstitutional…some other Republican-controlled states have shelved plans for similar bills, [but]…it looks like the message has not made its way to Democratic-controlled states.  California has been toying with unconstitutional content moderation bills, and now NY has one as well.  Senator Brad Hoylman…has proudly introduced a hellishly unconstitutional social media bill….[to] “hold tech companies accountable for promoting vaccine misinformation and hate speech”…[but] it is unconstitutional to punish anyone for that speech, and it’s even more ridiculous to punish websites that host that content, but had nothing to do with the creation of it.  Believe it or not, the actual details of the bill are even worse than Hoylman’s description of it…

Panopticon (#1171)

Cops will continue to do this until there are criminal penalties for it:

[Cop shops] throughout San Diego County continue to spend thousands of dollars every year on technology that tracks the location of people’s cars, even though the information collected most often has nothing to do with solving crime or protecting the public…five [of these] have been violating state law by sharing this information with agencies all over the United States…that don’t have a…right to access it…including Border Patrol and [ICE]…

To Molest and Rape (#1202) 

Hey, female cops; how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

A female Pittsburgh [cop was raped by a fellow cop after]…a cookout at the station…she was too drunk to drive home, so [the rapist] drove her to her house…[and] raped her…he later [tried to get her]…not t[o report him, and though]…she [did report him]…no charges were filed…[internal affairs] ultimately recommended the [rapist] be fired…[but] instead [he was given]…a…three day [vacat]ion and [the result was called “public safety”]…

Diary #602

I’m in Miami Beach right now for Hereticon, a new conference that was originally scheduled for May 2020 in New Orleans until it was torpedoed by the COVID shutdowns.  It was eventually rescheduled for October 2021…then that date, too, was sunk, by Hurricane Ida.  And while I’m glad the conference is finally taking place, I wish they’d been able to keep it in New Orleans.  Miami Beach, as the old song says, ain’t my kinda town, but New Orleans is where I was born, and no matter how far from it I live, there will always be a part of me there.  So I decided to fix what was broken by catastrophes, and when the conference ends on Thursday I’ll be hopping over to the Crescent City (only a two-hour flight from Miami) to visit old friends for a few days.  It meant having to pack for three different temperature ranges while yet keeping it to one suitcase (I don’t like having my luggage out of my control, so one roller bag, a large purse, and whatever I can wear is the limit), but I somehow managed. And I’ll try to get some interesting pictures to share with you.

Taking the Bait

A few months ago I shared this story about a federal lawsuit involving cops protecting what appears to be an exploitative escort service in Virginia in exchange for services (for which the escorts appear to have not been compensated).  The original was drawn almost entirely from a government press release, so I did my best to “extract…what appears to be the important information from amongst the dysphemized descriptions, agency denial, and outright fantasies“.  Unfortunately, most sex workers and supporters of our rights who have linked the story made far less effort to separate fact from fantasy, preferring instead to simply parrot the government’s calling the operation a “trafficking ring”.  If you’ve done this yourself and have actual information on the supposed “ring” that does not come from government sources, please share; otherwise you’re just repeating a prohibitionist narrative.  If you don’t understand what I’m saying, remember that cops and prosecutors use the slur “sex trafficking ring” to mean anything from a broken-down pimp to an ordinary escort service to a sex worker ad site.  Until we know what this organization (if it even was an organization; cops and prosecutors often create imaginary “gangs” and “rings” from people who don’t even know each other) was about, it’s a bad idea to parrot government’s claims.  I understand you want to talk about bad cops, but you don’t know these cops weren’t just accepting ordinary bribes from an ordinary escort service.  So please chill on the “sex trafficking ring” cant and stop denying the agency of women you don’t know just to “pwn the cops”.