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Posts Tagged ‘agency denial’

Institutions writers could once count on to defend them…now race to see who can kowtow most obsequiously to the censor-morons.
–  “Censorship Ascendant

Until a few years ago, traditional top-down censorship was largely a thing of the past, something I wrote about annually at the beginning of Banned Books Week to remind people that it could happen again.  As recently as 2016, I used the occasion to write,

…top-down state censorship…is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have

Of course, none of that is true any longer.  Top-down censorship has returned with a vengeance, mostly implemented by fascist corporations acting on behalf of governments.  But in the US, politicians in many states have implemented traditional censorship in school libraries, even to the point of threatening librarians with criminal charges.  The “Thought Control” tag, which formerly appeared only once in a while, has had several entries a month since this new book-burning fad took off last November.  Meanwhile, the “cancel culture” censorship which has been growing for years has grown so pervasive that even the somewhat pro-censorship New York Times can no longer endorse it.  I’m honestly unsure where this will end; we’re well into uncharted territory my librarian self would’ve found unbelievable.  So if you haven’t been paying attention, I suggest you peruse the aforementioned “Thought Control” tag, and revisit the columns I’ve quoted from below.  Because there’s only one thing about this situation which is certain: like all authoritarianism, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.  –  “The Convergence of Censors

Every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream.  –  “Suppression

[Many young adults] not only display an ovine passivity in the face of censorship, but actively run to the nanny-state to hide in her skirts lest they see or hear some idea or word, or see some image, that will cause some ripple in the placid lakes of their privileged lives and perhaps actually require them to think rather than merely consuming and regurgitating the dogma they’ve been spoon-fed.  –  “Unwise Monkeys

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  –  “The Censor-Moron

It doesn’t matter whether the excuse is “sin” or “feelings”, or the injured party is conceived of as an individual or collective, or the suppression comes from above or below, or the method is violence or economics; the suppression of thought and speech is evil, tyrannical and socially self-lobotomizing.  –  “Moral Climate

Thinking people must not let themselves be intimidated by…self-appointed guardians of the public morality; we must speak out against all forms of censorship and speech suppression, whether advanced by guns, threats, intimidation or appeals to nebulous “harm”.  –  “Censor Chic

The belief that the state or collective has the right to [censor] is an abomination; it is nothing less than the dogma that the state owns every individual, body and soul, and has the right to torture or maim those individuals as it pleases.  –  “Crippling Thought

The important thing to remember when listening to any demand for censorship is that no matter what excuse the censor presents to attain his goal, he is ultimately lying.  It’s not really about “public safety”, or the “children”, or “community standards”, or whatever else he may claim; it’s about the fact that his leaky mind is unable to keep unwelcome thoughts out, so he demands that society do it for him.  –  “Thought Control

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Give people a load of propaganda about…sex trafficking and voila—awareness has been raised!  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Above the Law

Why does nobody ever recognize the likely outcome of giving guys in hyper-masculine professions power over teenage girls?

…a New York Times investigation…has found that the [Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] program has repeatedly become a place where retired military officers prey on their teenage students.  In the past five years…at least 33 JROTC instructors have been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving students, far higher than the rate of civilian high school teachers…Victims have reported sexual assaults in classrooms and supply closets, during field trips or on late-night rides home, sometimes committed after instructors plied students with alcohol or drugs.  One [victim] said her instructor told her that sexual submission was expected of women in the military.  A[nother]…said her JROTC instructor warned that he had the skills to kill her without a trace if she told anyone about their sexual encounters…[Another] said she was forced to kneel at her instructor’s bedside, blindfolded, with a gun to her head…

To Molest and Rape

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A federal appeals court in Texas has sent a case back down to a lower court after deciding that a…sheriff’s deputy who…forced a woman to expose her genitals to him while he masturbated isn’t entitled to a qualified immunity defense…On Sept. 18, 2018, [Melissa] Tyson’s husband [foolishly] called the Sheriff’s Department of Sabine County, Texas, to request a welfare check on his wife…while [he] was out of town.  [David] Boyd called Melissa Tyson that night…telling her…that he handled welfare checks because he was a preacher, although…[his] “ministerial credentials had actually been revoked eleven years prior because”…[he] had…been sued by church members for [repeat]ed sexual misconduct…

The Mote and the Beam (#900)

I suppose it could have been much worse:

…Overall, the 2022 version of the human trafficking bill is shorter than many earlier iterations and lower on the sort of carceral solutions and surveillance initiatives that defined them…at least isn’t simply throwing more money at cops for prostitution stings.  And a section pressuring hotels to [indoctrinate] staff on spotting human trafficking (an endeavor without a great track record) was removed…But there are…repeated references to “trafficking transmitted through technology”…[censorious asshats and their] lawyers have been trying to broaden the scope of sex trafficking laws to cover not just underage or forced prostitution but also the transmission of certain pornographic images by commercial tech platforms…it will…likely mean going after tech platforms in a way that jeopardizes a wide variety of free speech related to sex…

Guinea Pigs (#1153) 

Stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn picks apart claims that computers can detect “sex trafficking” in ordinary escort ads:

…I’ve obtained a copy of [a]…research paper…[in which researchers] “used machine learning and custom web crawlers to collect and analyze a data set of online ads for escort and sex work services”…you need sex trafficking ads to train an ML system to recognize sex trafficking ads.  I suppose it’s possible in theory: They could have searched police human trafficking case files to find instances where the victims were the subject of online sex ads and then used those ads for training and testing the ML model against ads tied to actual sex trafficking.  The problem…is that actual sex trafficking cases are…too rare to build up a large enough corpus of online ads to train an ML classifier.  So where did the researchers find those ads?  How did they know the ads were for human trafficking victims?  The short answer is that they didn’t.  Instead, they used a manual classification system to deem some of the ads as possibly related to sex trafficking…[using] a list of trafficking indicators from [typical prohibitionist propaganda]…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1255)

Cops want their hysteria to trump reality:

[Flint, Michigan cop] Forrest Bradley…was one of two deputies who [had panic attacks]…after previously [subduing] a…[prisoner] who had overdosed from fentanyl-laced heroin…[the other hysteric was named] Justin Hall…[neither described any of] the [known] effects of a fentanyl overdose [but that didn’t stop local media from gullibly lapping up every word drooled by “authorities” about it]…

A Moral Cancer (#1256)

The claims of crypto-moralists are growing increasingly absurd:

People who consume more than 17 units of alcohol in a week – equal to about five large glasses of wine or eight pints of beer – were found to have “older” DNA…The study…[claims] that consuming alcohol in excess can wreak havoc on DNA by causing damage to telomeres — like protective caps at the ends of a chromosome — which could eventually lead to age-related diseases and the formation of cancer…

Cancer is probably inevitable for anyone who doesn’t die of something else first, but don’t tell that to puritans, who want people to believe they could live forever by simply eliminating every single pleasurable activity from their lives.  Of course, then there’d be little point to an extended lifespan, but one can’t have everything.

Micromanagement (#1258)

Any information you give to the State can and will be used against you:

New Jersey police…use…blood samples taken from babies to in[criminate their parents]…the practice came to light after a case in which [cops]…subpoenaed a…lab for a blood sample drawn from a child.  Police then performed DNA analysis on the…sample that [suppos]edly linked the child’s father to a crime committed more than 25 years ago…a…lawsuit…filed jointly by the [Office of the Public Defender] and the New Jersey Monitor, now seeks to compel the state…to disclose…the full extent of the practice.  All babies born in the state of New Jersey are required to have a blood sample drawn within 48 hours as part of a mandatory [disease] testing program…if police are able to…obtain the samples through subpoena, then…the…screening…is entering all babies…into a DNA database with no ability to opt out…

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After the government does something especially awful, there is usually an avalanche of horror stories illustrating exactly what reasonable people warned would happen after the awful government act.  The overturn of Roe v Wade is no exception; if I had included these stories in my normal news columns, they would’ve completely dominated most of the late July installments.  So instead, I opted to collect them all together here; future updates to these stories will appear in regular news columns under the appropriate tags.

One of the strongest reasons to oppose authoritarian laws of any kind is that they inevitably harm people the politicians insist they weren’t trying to target:

A sexual assault survivor chooses sterilization so that if she is ever attacked again, she won’t be forced to give birth to a rapist’s baby.  An obstetrician delays inducing a miscarriage until a woman with severe pregnancy complications seems “sick enough.”  A lupus patient must stop taking medication that controls her illness because it can also cause miscarriages.  Abortion restrictions in a number of states and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade are having profound repercussions in reproductive medicine as well as in other areas of medical care…Even in medical emergencies, doctors are sometimes declining immediate treatment. In the past week, an Ohio abortion clinic received calls from two women with ectopic pregnancies…who[se] doctors wouldn’t treat them…

More about the aforementioned lupus drug many women are now being denied:

Methotrexate is a cheap, common drug prescribed to millions of Americans…[for] rheumatic illnesses…inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or cancer…[but because] it is used off-label to end ectopic pregnancies…it could be restricted by doctors or pharmacists even in states…that do not ban abortion…in low doses, it has proved to be one of the safest, least expensive and most effective treatments for roughly a dozen autoimmune conditions, from juvenile idiopathic arthritis to Crohn’s disease…“I have gotten some reports where children have been denied methotrexate for their juvenile arthritis until they’ve proven they’re not pregnant,” said Dr. Cuoghi Edens…a rheumatology expert…“The majority of rheumatic diseases affect females at substantially higher rates than males…The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in women to men is 3 to 1.  For lupus it’s 10 to 1.  And so rheumatology is a very female-predominant patient population”…some doctors have already stopped prescribing methotrexate rather than risk [persecution]…Many pharmacists have likewise refused to fill methotrexate prescriptions, or have demanded additional proof before dispensing the medication to patients they believe could get pregnant…

And it’s not just a few fundamentalist asshat pharmacists, either:

…the largest pharmacy chain in the country sent explicit instructions to its pharmacists informing them that new checks would be implemented to confirm the reason a doctor prescribes a drug before filling routine medications for patients…CVS headquarters sent a memo to pharmacies in [Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas]…review[ing] diagnosis codes that are deemed acceptable for dispensation, which include miscarriage…If they find abortion is the intended use, they “must refuse to fill the prescription”…

Some of the tyrannies forced-birth fetishists are trying to impose are blatantly unconstitutional:

South Carolina [politician]s introduced legislation that would make it illegal to “aid, abet or conspire with someone” to obtain an abortion…Provisions would outlaw providing information over the internet or phone about how to obtain an abortion.  It would also make it illegal to host a website or “[provide] an internet service” with information that is “reasonably likely to be used for an abortion”…the proposal is…modeled off a blueprint created by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), an antiabortion group, and designed to be replicated by [politician]s across the country…

Other FOSTA-inspired laws which encourage nuisance lawsuits have unfortunately not yet been declared unconstitutional:

Nearly four years after a woman ended an unwanted pregnancy with abortion pills obtained at a Phoenix clinic, she finds herself mired in an ongoing lawsuit [after]…A judge allowed the woman’s ex-husband to establish an estate for the embryo, which had been aborted in its seventh week of development.  The ex-husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic and its doctors in 2020, alleging that…[he has the right to make decisions for his ex-wife]…

Naturally, this new extension of the police state will be enabled by the same fascist surveillance tactics as the War on Whores:

Many of the states rushing to ban abortion are also the biggest users of a surveillance tool that [cops] could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from people’s phones…states across the country are already using this kind of data for other [surveillance and harassment].  And a POLITICO analysis found that many of the states that have criminalized abortion have relied increasingly on location data in recent years…Figures from Google…show that the company received 5,764 “geofence” warrants between 2018 and 2020 from police in the 10 states that have banned abortion as of July 5…

Of course, sex workers know all about most of these oppressions, because they’re tested on us first before being extended to amateurs:

Madolline Gourley, a Brisbane resident…was treated like a criminal during her transit through Los Angeles on 30 June, where she was detained at the border due to suspicions about her intention to house- and cat-sit in exchange for accommodation while holidaying in Canada.  Gourley was held in a detention room, interrogated twice, patted down, fingerprinted and photographed…At one point a US b[ureaucrat] asked Gourley, who was wearing a loose-fitting dress, whether she was pregnant.  The same question was repeated as she was moved between rooms.  When she again [replied that]…she was not pregnant, Gourley was asked whether she had had an abortion…

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It won’t only be sex workers who lose in the end.  –  Heather Berg

Confined and Controlled

“Progressives” want everyone forced into collectives so they can be “managed”:

…the [currently-popular progressive] narrative [is] that…gig workers…should be done away with rather than understood as a vanguard.  This narrative [pretend]s that gig work is new and newly exploitative.  Its primary goal is to bring gig workers back into full-time employee status…[including in its] relationships to the state…But…sex workers’ stories belie the idea that gig workers are dumbly lured by false promises of flexibility.  Many sex workers seek out sex work precisely because it does not follow the rules of full-time jobs.  People…whose lives can’t accommodate schedules bosses set might pursue sex work because it means better conditions or because they find it impossible to get and keep straight jobs…freedom from a boss dictating the conditions of your work can make the workday materially better…Sex work prohibitions…attempt to reign [sic] in th[ose]…who use sex work to achieve this kind of freedom…

Though the article is heavily larded with academic jargon, it still makes some good points.

If Men Were Angels

Parents should keep their kids far away from both cops and “youth pastors”:

An Arlington [Washington] youth pastor has been charged with…child rape for…[molesting a 15-year-old] girl…Kendal Kippen…worked at Jake’s House Church in 2017 and 2018…[under] his father…the lead pastor…In September 2020…[someone] report[ed both Kippen and]…church [leaders]…includ[ing] the [elder Kippen, because they] were attempting to h[ide] the situation…the victim…[has] filed a civil lawsuit against Kippen and Jake’s House…

To Molest and Rape (#926)

When the victim is a small child, rapist cops sometimes get their comeuppance:

A [typical and representative] police chief in Pennsylvania may spend more than three decades behind bars for repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a child relative of his friend…Brent Getz [will] serve a sentence of 16 to 32 years in jail…three years of state probation…and [permanent condemnation to the] sex offender…registr[y]…his co-defendant…Gregory Wagner…is…the victim[‘s uncle].  The assaults took place in his home from 2007, when the victim was 4, and continued until 2012…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

A [typical and representative] Florida [cop]…appeared in court…to face a child pornography charge…Christopher James Chappell [appears to have bought pictures or video]…in…a…[tangible,] shipped [format rather than the now-typical]…inter[net form]…

Micromanagement (#1213)

Any information you give to cops can and will be used against you:

A 76-year-old California man accused of two decades-old murders was arrested after his DNA was collected from a breathalyzer during an unrelated traffic stop…James Gary…was charged with murder…in the 1996 killing of Winifred Douglas…who…was…strangled and [beaten]…Additional charges are expected in the 1980 killing of Latrelle Lindsay…[who] was [raped, beaten]…and [strangled.  Cops]…determined in 2012 that the DNA profile from the [Douglas] case matched a piece of evidence in the [Lindsay] case, [but] no suspect…was identified [at the time]…

For every actual malefactor this kind of tactic catches, there are dozens of ordinary people harassed for minor “crimes” or framed for major ones.

The Mob Rules (#1241)

The number of laws empowering busybodies to harass victims with nuisance lawsuits will only keep growing until they’re ruled unconstitutional:

California…Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a co[pycat]…law patterned after a Texas anti-abortion law [but for]…gun control…the…law allow[s anyone] to sue anyone who distributes [guns California has defined as] illegal…parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50-caliber rifles…[since they rely on the same mechanism, encouraging nuisance lawsuits from opportunists]…California’s law will automatically be invalidated if the Texas law is eventually ruled unconstitutional…An unusual combination of gun owner advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized Newsom for creating what they said amounts to a bounty system to encourage such lawsuits.  The ACLU called California’s law “an attack on the constitution” for deliberately trying to sidestep judicial review…and for undermining due process rights…

Thought Control (#1253)

I never would’ve thought my first profession would become as much a target for authoritarians as my second:

Library workers across Oklahoma’s Metropolitan Library System (MLS) were shocked…after receiving instructions to avoid using the word “abortion” and not to help patrons locate abortion-related information on either library computers or their own devices.  Workers were [threatened with]…penalties under the state’s abortion laws…The message also [warn]s library workers to be wary of people who try to trick staff into giving them information on how to obtain an abortion so they can report them to [cop]s…The notes also say that librarians can direct patrons toward medical databases, to a computer to run their own search, or to state statutes if patrons have questions about laws pertaining to the topic.  The…[new policy directly] contradict[s] the American Library Association’s Principles of Intellectual Freedom

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None of us should be here.  –  Nicole Gililland

Counterfeit Comfort (#958) 

US sex laws are nothing but PR campaigns for cops:

Since 2006, the federal government has funneled millions into sometimes-massive operations to verify the addresses of those [condemned to] sex-offender registries…studies show they…do nothing to improve public safety…[and] programs with proven track records in preventing sexual violence…get little federal help…These mobilizations…funnel federal dollars to local police…but the…flood of money doesn’t appear to produce much…most [of the arrests during such sweeps are] for failure to report a change of address or vehicle…Sweep announcements often convey danger…[which] might explain why so many [are staged] on or around Halloween…Cops also use the raids to promote the m[yth] that police are all that stands between families and mayhem…And federal officials use the operations to denounce criticism of cops…

Imaginary Victims (#1000) 

The state’s pretended sympathy for “sex trafficking victims” applies only to imaginary “perfect” ones; real young women must fight for their lives:

…the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled…that a teenager who killed her sexual abuser may have the chance to be acquitted of all charges…Chrystul Kizer, now 22…has spent years fighting for the opportunity to show evidence…that her crimes were the “direct result” of the [exploitation]…she experienced at the hands of the man she killed: Randall Volar Jr.  She hoped to employ a never-before-used Wisconsin law that [claims]…to offer legal protection to [people classified as “]victims of trafficking[“, but prosecutors…[ha]ve argued…[that] her charge should only be lessened from first-degree homicide to second-degree — meaning she would still face up to 60 years in prison.  The court…[finally allowed] Kizer’s case, which has been stalled for years, [to] continue.  If [yet another] judge agrees there is “some evidence” her crimes were a “direct result” of trafficking, she will be able to present the same argument to a jury.  If the jury sides with her, she could be acquitted of some or all the charges against her…

Business As Usual (#1041)

Passive voice and obfuscation are used to divert blame for sexual assaults:

Two Flagstaff [cops lied] to [women in] massage parlors, took their pants off, and allowed themselves to be fondled eight different times….[which is] illegal according to state law [despite being approved] by [a gang composed of spooks, pigs, and]…prosecutors…Police a[bducted] 13 people…after…the [sexual assaults]…state law clearly outlines that what the [rapist pigs] detailed in their reports is illegal…[they also] repeatedly [claimed] they were looking into “sex trafficking” and then proceeded to pay for sex acts from [women they infantilized as “]victims[“]…

Panopticon (#1150)

A federal appeals court already ruled this kind of surveillance a 4th amendment violation, but I guess that doesn’t apply to the feds themselves:

[On June 30th], residents of Nogales, Arizona—a border-hugging town of about 20,000 people—awoke to find a large white blimp stationed in the sky.  Even [local politicians] had no idea the blimp was coming….[to] conduct…round-the-clock surveillance [for] U.S. Customs and Border Patrol…With the ability to provide surveillance both night and day, and a maximum [altitude] of 3,000 feet…the blimp is certainly capable of snooping on many people…There are now 17 blimps stationed over the U.S.-Mexico border.  The Nogales blimp is the first in eastern Arizona, though the CBP tentatively plans to launch another in that sector later this year…

It’d be a shame if locals started using this for target practice.

Permanent Record (#1200)

An important victory in the fight for sex worker rights:

An Oregon jury has awarded more than $1.7 million to Nicole Gililland, a former nursing student who sued her school for discriminating against her because of her adult performer past.  Although the jury declined to hold Southwestern Oregon Community College liable for Title IX violations, it did find SWOCC in breach of contract for derailing Gililland’s career and life after the school administration and instructors found out in 2017-2018 about her brief stint as an adult performer…for around 20 months between 2007 and 2009.  The jury…award[ed] Gililland $735,417 in compensation for the economic damage…plus $1 million in punitive damages…

The Cop Myth (#1223)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives; some don’t stop with mere beating:

…a [typical and representative cop] in Virginia…[nam]ed…Richard Colon Crowder…[murdered] both his wife Diane…and stepdaughter Carrie Szaksz…[and also] fired…at [his fellow cops] in an approximately nine-hour standoff before surrendering…Diane was moving out of the home…to get [away from her husband’s] abus[e]…The movers were just taking care of the final two pieces when [Crowder started shooting, so they fled]…and called [the other cops]…

Still a Child (#1226) 

Japanese politicians decided to infantilize all adults rather than just young women:

Japanese p[orn]…performer…Sakura Tsukishima has revealed…that she was forced to give up her apartment due to unreasonable changes [politicians] forc[ed] on the local adult industry…the sudden precipitous decline in her projected income…[was] caused by the virtual shutdown of production while companies try to figure out how they can continue shooting now that the Japanese government has rendered adult industry contracts unenforceable…the new law empowers any performer of any age or gender to withdraw…their consent for companies to distribute adult material in which they appear [and were already paid for]…at any time before the film’s public release without conditions, as well as up to a year afterward…video vendors [would be] obliged to [somehow] recover the products and delete the footage, and cannot claim [to be repaid for the] compensation [paid to the cold-footed] performers…

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A government powerful enough to bully tech companies into obscuring information about anti-abortion centers is also one powerful enough to bully tech companies into hiding info about how to obtain an abortion.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

If Men Were Angels

“Pastor” + “assistant principal” = “youth pastor”:

A [pastor and] assistant principal at Union Grove Christian School [in North Carolina]…has been sentenced to five consecutive 10-12 month sentences…for a series of sex crimes that he committed…from 2008 to 2009…with a high school student…

Quiet Genocide (#1130)

Meanwhile, the West obsesses about porn:

Under Xi, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has steadily beaten the population into ideological conformity.  For ethnic and religious minorities, that has meant erasing their identities and remaking them as Han Chinese.  Most far‐​reaching has been the campaign against the Muslim Uyghurs…the…vi[ctims of a]…far‐​reaching campaign of…Orwell[ian]…surveillance…and…[repress]ion …more than a million Uyghurs [are caged] in reeducation camps…[whose] purpose is also Orwellian—to produce CCP‐​controlled automatons.  Even after release, many Uyghurs are not free…[they are] forced…[to] work…in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well‐​known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen…Even when [Uyghurs]…find…safe haven outside China…Beijing is also determined to control [them]…A new report by Bradley Jardine, a fellow with both the Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute, explores how China is exporting repression abroad, including into the United States…

Censor Chic (#1138)

Corporations have become the favored tool of censors worldwide:

…some politicians…think Google should be serving up only government-approved information.  In the latest iteration of this phenomenon, 21 senators have sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai complaining that people who search for information about abortions may be led to websites for crisis pregnancy centers…The[se] often draw people in by purporting to be neutral sources of information and support for people facing unexpected pregnancies, but their goal is to convince people to continue those pregnancies…But while some have been found to misrepresent themselves in ways that amount to fraud, most operate within legal limits and have every right to exist, to advertise, and to try to persuade people…standing in contrast to the much more drastic tactics of trying to…criminalize abortion [entirely]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1166) 

Frog, meet scorpion:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by pr[etend]ing that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located.  But according to leaked audio from…internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users…Despite a TikTok executive’s…[perjur]y in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing.  US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

New Mexico [cop]…Robert Jesse Strand…was…charged with c[hild porn]…possession…[he was caught in] June 2021 but…once [the investigators] learned Strand was [a member of their gang, they tried to bury]…the case…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1238)

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

…sex workers could be subject to unwanted visits from police — and more profiling from strangers — if the Manitoba government passes new legislation i[ntended to infantilize sexworkers and make it easier to persecute them and their clients, whom the bill’s sponsors label]…”exploiters”…Winnipeg police [are promoting the usual idiotic “]signs of exploitation[” on their website, and the]…new legislation…would compel hotels and temporary accommodations…to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses, and turn it over to police on [demand] without…a warrant…Families Minister Rochelle Squires [lied that the bill]…won’t go after people involved in consensual sex work.  The province wants to [call all sex work “]human trafficking[” so the government can pretend the bill]…is not intended to push sex work further underground…

Served Cold (#1245) 

OUR’s increasingly-bizarre antics have made it a pariah even among “trafficking” fetishists:

Operation Underground Railroad has a pattern of exaggeration and misrepresentation…its founder, Tim Ballard…claimed…in a video posted on…Instagram, in a Tweet, and in a Facebook post…to be doing a “collaboration” with American Airlines this month, with the airline showing a video about its work…a spokesperson for American flatly said there was no such collaboration…“We do not have any partnership or affiliation with them, and the content is not available on our in-flight entertainment”…Turns out…[that in actuality,] the organization bought an ad with a third-party service provider, Clearwind Media, which…never actually ran on [American’s] in-flight entertainment…this is qualitatively different from a “collaboration” with American…

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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”…

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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.

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Prostitution is a profession and sex workers are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law.  –  The Supreme Court of India

Follow Your Bliss

The naive believe that “child predators” are creepy dudes who hang out at playgrounds; in reality, they are largely people in positions of authority over their preferred targets:

A [Missouri] man [named Scott F. Burow]…who spent more than 30 years working as a deputy juvenile officer in Missouri state court has been indicted in United States District Court on a felony charge of sex trafficking of a minor…[for paying a] 15 year…old…ward of the state of Illinois…[for sex] and…secretly videotaping her…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

A [gang] of [cops] conducted illegal searches and arrests in New Jersey as a pretext to rob residents out of cash…On May 26, a federal jury convicted Michael Cheff on…conspiracy…and…falsification of a police report…Cheff supervised a [gang] of [thugs who] worked together…between 2016 and 2018, [the gang regularly]…conducted illegal stops and searches of individuals in their vehicles, on the streets or in their homes and [robbed] them…Cheff…[got] a cut [in exchange for]…approving false reports…that…lied about…the…[armed robber]ies…

If Men Were Angels

The problem isn’t Catholicism, Christianity or even religion; it’s blind submission to authority:

A community rabbi from Jerusalem w[as]…indicted…for repeated sexual crimes against newly religious women.  Rabbi Moshe Yazdi…rap[ed], sexually assault[ed] and sodomiz[ed]…women while fraudulently obtaining their “consent” by telling them these were religious acts and therefore they had to submit to his demands.  He is also suspected of exploiting them financially.  So far, 10 women…have filed complaints against him…[revealing that] he presented himself to them as one of the 36 righteous people who, according to Jewish tradition, ensure the world’s continued existence at any given moment…Some of the crimes were committed against brides on their wedding day…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#568)

Looks like the judge didn’t buy his “porn addiction” excuse:

Josh Duggar, former director of the lobbying arm of the…anti-porn Family Research Council, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for downloading child sexual abuse material…Duggar was known as a reality TV figure for his role on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, a show highlighting his extended family…[which] TLC canceled…in 2015 after it was revealed that Duggar had molested members of his family and a babysitter…The Arkansas trial also exposed the failure of…”porn filter” Covenant Eyes, a business highly ballyhooed by anti-porn crusaders…federal investigators found that Covenant Eyes had been installed on Duggar’s computer so that it could monitor and report his internet use to his wife, Anna…however, an investigator reported that “Covenant Eyes was unable to detect Duggar’s internet usage after a password-protected network was installed on his computer”…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

Indian sex workers have awaited this ruling for years:

The Supreme Court…told police that they should refrain from interfering and taking criminal action against…sex workers…[who] should not be arrested, penalised, harassed, or victimised through raids on brothels because…sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful.  A sex worker’s child should not be deprived of her mother’s care “on the ground that she is in the sex trade”…The court also instructed cops not to discriminate against sex workers who lodge a complaint, if the offence against them is of sexual nature…The bench observed that use of condoms “should not be construed by the police as evidence of offence by sex workers”…[but unfortunately will still allow cops to abduct] sex workers [under the pretext of “]rescue[“] and [lock them in cages] “for not less than two-three years”…The apex court also ad[monished media to take] “utmost care not to reveal the identities of sex workers, during arrest, raid and rescue operations, whether as victims or accused and not to publish or telecast any photos that would result in disclosure of such identities”…[pointing out that] voyeurism is a criminal offence…

The Last Shall Be First (#1151) 

Laws like this have already been declared unconstitutional by the 4th Circuit:

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt…signed into law a bill that requires students at public schools…[including] charter schools to use restrooms and locker rooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates…Transgender students who decline to use the restroom required under the measure would have to use “a single-occupancy restroom or changing room” provided by the school.  The measure, which cleared the state Legislature last week, will take effect immediately because it was passed with an emergency clause.  School districts that [refuse] to comply…could be sued by school parents

The Next Target (#1151)

Prohibitionists’ real goal is to completely ban online sex work:

[Tobias Schmid, ] the local official behind the crusade for Germany to require age verification for viewing sexual content…is now seeking to expand to all of Europe the use of his new [surveillance] tool, KIVI, which automatically scans all online content to determine which images are not compliant with the law…KIVI was developed by Berlin-based Condat under…Schmid’s supervision and is now reportedly being used by all 14 state media authorities in Germany…to detect [images in] categories like “extremism, hate speech, swastikas or the glorification of drugs,” Schmid also included “pornography” as a target for the new surveillance engine

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The viewpoints…individuals and businesses hold are real, even if they differ from the views of…government officials.  –  Judge Aleta A. Trauger

Surplus Women

The BBC feeds stigma just as much as the Russian media this story criticizes:

On the day she was murdered, 20 July 2020, Olga had a profile on an online escort site where she went by the name Margo.  A 53-year-old former convict, Oleg Tochilkin – who had been released on parole after serving part of a 20-year prison sentence for crimes including murder…b[eat] and strangled Olga…then [dump]ed her naked body…at the entrance to [his apartment] building…One headline read, “Do you feel sorry for this kind of victim of violence?”  Another was, “The bloody details of how a prostitute from Bryansk was killed”.  And there was the one that called Olga a “whore” and referred to her killer as “grandpa”…

Instant Criminal

This guy is lucky his evil wife wasn’t smarter:

…on April 18…Angel Moore [told cops in]…Wynnewood [Oklahoma that]…she’d [somehow] seen a man using his phone to download child [porn.  She claimed]…the man’s wife, Lacey Hucks, managed to get the phone away from her husband and gave it to Moore so she could alert police.  The man was swiftly arrested, and…over 800 child sex abuse images [were found] on that phone…[but] deputies noticed that the phone that the husband had on him at the time of his arrest didn’t have any content similar to what was on the phone Moore had given them.  They only kept the husband in jail overnight, and got a warrant for Hucks’ phone—which showed that she and Moore had been discussing plans to make the police report before April 18…Moore quickly folded under questioning…an[d]…told a deputy that Hucks had…coached her…to deliver the false report against her husband…in hopes of winning a child custody battle…Hucks and Moore…were arrested on charges of conspiracy and knowingly reporting a false crime.  Hucks faces an additional charge of aggravated possession of child sex abuse material; if convicted on that charge, she faces up to life in prison…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#770)

I’m not sure who Bindel thinks she’s convincing with this tedious claptrap, but I’ve got to hand it to Liz Brown for being far more patient with her than I could possibly manage.

I Spy (#1015)

Are there really sane adults gullible enough to swallow this?

The NSA — which has undermined encryption standards in the past — says it won’t undermine the next strain of encryption, one being built to withstand the inevitable arrival of quantum computing…“There are no backdoors,” said Rob Joyce, the NSA’s director of cybersecurity…Pardon my cynicism, but that’s exactly the sort of thing someone planning to backdoor encryption would say…While it’s true the NSA has spent less time agitating (at least publicly) for encryption backdoors than, say, the FBI, its troubling past strongly suggests it should not be taken at its word this time around…Quantum computing has the capacity to be the pipe wrench that makes security efforts mostly irrelevant.  The sooner a new standard can be put in place, the better.  If the NSA can help achieve this more quickly, it should.  But it should never be assumed the NSA’s intentions are pure…

The Last Shall Be First (#1140)

One small victory against a rising tide of bigotry:

A federal judge struck down a Tennessee law…that would have [forced] businesses in the state to post warning notices on their public restrooms if they have policies allowing transgender patrons to use the facilities that match their gender identities…Judge Aleta A. Trauger…wrote…that the law violates the First Amendment of the Constitution because it compels speech that is controversial and with which the plaintiffs disagree.  “It would do a disservice to the First Amendment to judge the Act for anything other than what it is: a brazen attempt to single out trans-inclusive establishments and force them to parrot a message that they reasonably believe would sow fear and misunderstanding about the very transgender Tennesseans whom those establishments are trying to provide with some semblance of a safe and welcoming environment,” Trauger wrote…

Out of Control (#1173)

The next level beyond spooge-based sexual assault:

An Arby’s manager…urinated in the milkshake mix…for his own “sexual gratification” on at least two occasions…Stephen Sharp, who was being investigated for child pornography, admitted to police that he enjoyed relieving himself in the restaurant’s milkshake mix while working as a night manager at a Vancouver, Washington, location…[cops found] dozens of [child porn] photos and videos…as well as the urine video on his digital devices…Investigators are looking for any unlucky customers who bought and drank the urine-contaminated shakes…

To Molest and Rape (#1230)

So many rapist cops, so many underage victims:

A Dallas [cop who was] arrested last summer [for] sexual assault of a child is now facing a second charge after more victims came forward…Tyrone William Jr….[h]as [been on paid vacation since…June [of last year]…

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