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Posts Tagged ‘asset seizure’

All moral panics blend real societal problems with the cartoon version.  –  Michael Hobbes

The Widening Gyre (#792) 

Trying to prop up the “Facebook pimps” myth with bogus “studies”:

…re[scue industry profiteers pompously branding themselves]…the Human Trafficking Institute [claimed] “The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and…Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims”…[a bogus government] report showed that 30 percent of all victims identified in federal sex trafficking cases in the past two decades – since 2000 – were recruited online…and 65 percent of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook…

Blunt Instrument (#998)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a civil lawsuit against an [Asian] massage business…in St. Louis County.  The lawsuit [is based in the “evidence” that] Royal Day Spa…has its front windows covered and that it’s open late…[cops made pretextual] traffic stops…[of] three [men, threatening them with nuisance charges to get them to parrot] Schmitt’s [racist claims]…about the…Spa.  Schmitt [masturbated furiously while vomiting out moronic phrases such as]…dark underworld…modern-day slavery…and…human trafficking in illicit massage businesses…[he also shared his shockingly-racist sex fantasies about how all Asian women are stupid and ignorant and need white men to “rescue” and deport them]…

The End of the Beginning (#1015) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

The S.C. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled the state’s lifetime sex offender registration requirement is unconstitutional and people who demonstrate a low risk of reoffending should be able to petition a judge to have their names purged…[until now] South Carolina [has] provide[d victims ofthe law]…no recourse to seek relief from a judge…Brooke Burris…a…Human Trafficking [fetishist, vomited out a lot of ugly nonsense about the so-called]…victims [of public urination or consensual teen sex]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1038)

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

In February…almost eight years after the state of Indiana s[tole] Tyson Timbs’ brand-new Land Rover over a drug crime, prosecutors argued that…the government should…be free to take everything you’re worth.  [Last week], the state’s highest court categorically rejected that…Chief Justice Loretta Rush likened the government’s chutzpah to “Captain Ahab’s chase of the white whale Moby Dick”…[But] Indiana p[oliticians haven’t yet learned their lesson]…also in February…the Indiana Senate passed a bill to [rob] people [cops accuse] of [attending] “unlawful”…protests…

The Implosion Begins (#1075)

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…the women who share…pastel, mom-washed #savethechildren posts [don’t c]are that they [a]re spreading Q propaganda…The statistics [they] share…have been repeatedly and publicly debunked by NGOs…[and] researchers…But [they think that]…doesn’t matter…They [also follow]…Tim Ballard…of the Utah…rescue [industry] group Operation Underground Railroad…[who] has [prom]oted…the child sex trafficking panic [even in its most unhinged aspects].  As the Wayfair h[ysteria] took off [last] July, he released a video…claiming that “children are sold that way” and that “law enforcement will get to the bottom of it.”  Since then, the organization has publicly [distanced itself from] QAnon…But, at the time, Ballard [continues to claim] child sex trafficking is a growing global crisis…

See also “Served Cold” below.

The Cop Myth (#1118)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

A Garda…sexual assault[ed his girlfriend], threaten[ed] to kill [her] and [exercised] coercive control…in a “grand scheme” to control her life…He was charged with 35 offences…includ[ing] four counts of assault…two [of] sexual assault…10 [of] criminal damage…a threat to kill, endangerment of life, four thefts, coercion…[and] harassment…the woman…was punched in the face, grabbed by the neck, held against the floor and…choke[d]…he pulled her hair out by the roots and kicked her on the ground…the…harassment…[included] 65,000 phone messages…a number of [which included] a threat to kill…her…

Served Cold (#1138) 

The schadenfreude is so very sweet:

[Prohibitionist actor] Jim Caviezel appeared [at a conference] in Oklahoma…to promote his newest role, in which he plays Tim Ballard, the founder…of the [rescue industry] group Operation Underground Railroad, [with “sex trafficking” fetishist Mira Sorvino as his wife]…there…he…[also] promoted…the…QAnon [branch]…of [“sex trafficking” hysteria, which]…was awkward at best for OUR, which has spent the better part of a year insisting that it…is not affiliated with…QAnon…[despite] Ballard…[himself endorsing the belief last summer]…After years of success…OUR[‘s]…carefully-crafted image is coming undone…several people have been interviewed about their dealings with OUR not just by [a Utah prosecutor], but by the FBI…IRS and Homeland Security…among the matters being looked into are whether OUR operators have [raped people they branded] human trafficking victims…and whether OUR has committed human trafficking itself…

QAnon weirdness is not especially extreme from an organization which gets “tips” from psychics and has claimed that “pimps” use magic padlocks to trap doll-like girls in cages.

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It was not just that their perspective was discarded. Their perspective wasn’t even heard.  –  Ro Khanna

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

…in…March 2014…19-year-old Nimali Henry was booked [into the St. Bernard parish jail] on charges of simple battery, disturbing the peace and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling…she was living with a rare…blood disorder and…in desperate need of her medication…[but] did not have [it] with her [when arrested and screws made no effort to obtain it for her]…Two days later, other [prisoners tried] to…talk…to the guards on duty about her.  In a…video from March 31, 2014, Nimali [can be] seen stumbling and…barely [able to] walk as…guards [shout “stop faking!” at her].  Later that same day, another video shows her lying on a prison bunk with no mattress covered with what appears to be nothing more than a blanket…[she] died hours later…[as the direct result of] jail…[staff refusing to obtain] her medication and [intentionally leaving her] in excruciating pain for 10 days.  The[y]…never [even] called an ambulance….St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann [called the willful murder a “]shortfall[” and]…declined….to look at the video [because “he does not want to see anyone…die in jail”]…Four jail workers pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges…Andre Dominick…Timothy Williams…Lisa Vacrella and Debra Becnel…

What the story doesn’t tell you:  St. Bernard dramatically expanded its jail around 1990 so it could make money warehousing human beings for other parishes who lacked the room to cram any more people into their own cage stacks.

Don’t Take My Word For It (#541)

When a “study” makes silly claims like this, look for the reasons:

…Some researchers…seem obsessed with the idea of proving that sex work isn’t gendered and that women pay for sexual services in increasing numbers…from men…This…claim [is]…based on the number of profiles on [adult service websites, but]…most of these male-owned accounts have no feedback which suggests that they’re not escorts, but fantasists who set up a profile pretending to be an escort as part of their fantasy.  They’re attracted to the idea of anonymous sex as well as the misguided belief that someone would be interested in pursuing them sexually and even paying for the privilege.  Men who typically pay for sex are turned on by the idea that someone might want them enough to offer them money for it.  The male-owned profiles which do have feedback often have it because they pay for sex, get feedback from sex workers, then switch their profile around so it looks like women have paid for their services….client posing is commonly known amongst sex workers; if sex workers had been consulted on the research, that claim would have been contested…

This is an excellent article which explains a number of other silly “study” claims as well.

Full of Themselves (#831)

Racist persecution of massage parlors is a popular pastime for California “authorities”:

…the [victim of California] officials[‘ crusade against mundane businesses they ludicrously defamed as] “an organized crime sex trafficking ring operating across California” has been sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in state prison…Jing Chiang Huang was also ordered to pay $557,391 in [back taxes] to the California Franchise Tax Board [thus revealing the true motive behind the joint pogrom]…by federal, state and local [cop shops]…More than a dozen [employes] were [arrested and deported] in the process, according to a press release [calling the violence “rescue”]…

Uncommon Sense (#898) 

The Spanish high court says the government has no power to suppress a sex worker union:

Spanish sex workers have the right to form their own union, the Supreme Court ruled…overturning an earlier court decision ordering [its] dissolution…OTRAS…was discretely set up in August 2018 but was [attacked] three months later by…[prohibition]ist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez….and [his Swedish-criminalization cultist followers even though the law clearly states] that sex workers “have the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to form a union”…

Imaginary Victims (#902) 

A celebrity accomplished what do-nothing “safe harbor” laws couldn’t:

…in…April of 2020…Ohio’s governor…grant[ed] the release of a 22-year-old…Alexis Martin…[from prison] after Kim Kardashian visited [her there]…after six years, five months and 13 days…she…wi[ll]…be…track[ed by ankle monitor]…every second…[and] on parole, being [spi]ed on and drug tested until at least 2034.  Her record w[ill] always show a murder conviction, [with] all the limitations [that] bring[s]…

The article has some good information, but you’ll need to pick around the wads of ugly prohibitionist propaganda and chunks of infantilizing, agency-denying language as you would pick around slimy green things in a casserole that’s otherwise edible.

Rough Trade (#923)

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested:

Jessie Campos was found guilty of raping a sex worker in a [New Zealand] brothel in late 2018, and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison…he was made aware on several occasions a condom was legally required and he agreed to use one…but…the[n]…removed [it]…The woman indicated he had acted inappropriately and made him put the condom back on.  Without her knowledge, Campos again removed the condom and ejaculated inside her.  The woman ran to her manager’s office and the police were called…Judge Stephen Harrop…rejected the defence claim that the stealthing was not premeditated and that cultural factors [Campos emigrated from the Philippines] were relevant to the sentencing…

Yes, this is rape.  No, I don’t want to “discuss” it.

Safe Position (#991)

Even journalists are beginning to recognize what a huge backfire FOSTA was:

Sex workers have gained the backing of a small group of Democratic [politicians] after…being [entirely] shut out of the policymaking process [for decades].  The turning point was…FOSTA…also referred to as SESTA…which was [intended] to punish online platforms facilitating [sex work]…Despite the best efforts of sex workers to dissuade [politicians], the bill passed through both chambers easily…in 2018…“until very recently [no politician] wanted to be seen as facilitating…or encouraging sex work,” said Mike Stabile…of…the Free Speech Coalition…[anti-FOSTA politician Ro] Khanna [said]…his colleagues “didn’t even want to take meetings because of the possible images or pictures” with sex workers that could have been taken.  Stigma also hurts [civol rights] organizations’ funding because consumers of pornopgraphy are “embarrassed” to publically back them, says sex worker and writer Cathy Reisenwitz…

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The…[cops] didn’t count on us not believing their bullshit.
–  Norma Rodriguez

R.I.P. Smarajit Jana

A leader of the rights movement for sex workers in India and a[n epidemiologist] known for his contribution to the prevention of HIV in the country, Smarajit Jana, passed away due to COVID-19 related complications in Kolkata on [May 8th]…He was 68 years old. Dr. Jana founded and spearheaded the first rights-based HIV intervention programmes in India by collectivising the sex workers of Sonagachi and setting up the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) in Kolkata in 1995…Jana was instrumental in setting up a cooperative bank for sex workers…He was a member of a Supreme Court-appointed panel in Budhadev Karmaskar vs State of West Bengal, which in its report in 2016 recommended legal recognition for sex workers through the issuing of ration and voter identification cards, and decriminalising of sex work…

The Lion and the Ox

FACT: Young woman in illegal casino. CONCLUSION: “sex trafficking”!

[San Antonio cops oink] they believe they have found the largest gambling operation in the [universe], while possibly also finding human trafficking evidence…“[We] found a bit of narcotics, we’ve also discovered a 16-year-old young lady that at this point we don’t know if she was a victim of any sort of trafficking, but we do suspect it,” [Sheriff Javier] Salazar said…

Torture Chamber 

For a change, this story doesn’t refer to torture as “correction”:

The Collin County [Texas] medical examiner ruled Marvin Scott III’s death a homicide…more than a month after he [was murdered by screws] at the Collin County jail…Sheriff Jim Skinner fired seven jailers and another resigned after [the murder]…One of the jailers was reinstated last week through the civil service process, a decision Skinner has said he disagreed with…The sheriff has refused to release the names of the [murderers]…But The Dallas Morning News obtained…the names…Blaise Mikulewicz…Austin Wong…Justin Patrick…Rafael Paradez…James Schoelen…Alec Difatta…Andres Cardenas…and…Christopher Windsor…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops are often rewarded with paid vacations, but this is extreme even by cop standards:

RCMP…Co[p] Justin Harris…paid [for] sex…[with an indigenous woman known as CC, but then raped] her…four [times]…Less than one month [after she reported him], on April 1, 2007, CC died from natural causes.  In a matter of weeks, the RCMP dropped their case, lifting Harris’ suspension…instead…Harris segued from a paid suspension to paid sick leave for psychological issues he [blames on]…the force’s [trying to prosecute him for his behavior]…His lawsuit against the force, filed in 2008, has stalled while the RCMP attempts to medically discharge him—a lengthy process now in its seventh year.  In total, he has been paid—but not working—for close to 17 years…

Like Houses (#1044)

Lockdowns are to keep people SAFE!

A [cop] in Honduras was arrested and charged…for the murder of a young woman…in February inside a jail cell…police…[had until now] claimed that Keyla Martínez, a 26-year-old nursing student, had committed suicide within hours of being [abduct]ed [by cops] for a pandemic curfew violation…

A Broker in Pillage (#1068)

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

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey…signed a package of civil forfeiture reforms that will make it substantially harder for [cops] to [steal] people’s stuff by [pretend]ing that it is connected to criminal activity…property can still be seized [if a cop claims]…it was used to commit a crime or represents the proceeds of illegal activity.  But now the government can complete the forfeiture only after convicting the owner…Arizona is the 16th state to require a criminal conviction for some or all forfeitures…[and] the 14th…to require that the government prove an owner is not innocent rather than making the owner prove that he is…

To Molest and Rape (#1134)

It’s not unusual for fired cops, even child rapists, to simply move elsewhere:

An Alabama state trooper arrested [in April because] he raped an 11-year-old girl had been kicked out of the FBI amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations but was hired by the state agency with the apparent help of a fake bureau letter that scrubbed his record clean…Christopher Bauer was suspended without pay and stripped of his security clearance in the FBI’s New Orleans office in late 2018…[after] he raped…[a co-work]er at knifepoint.  But Alabama…state police…[somehow managed to overlook aggravated rape in its] “full and thorough” investigation into Bauer’s background when he applied to be a trooper in 2019…

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What is it going to take to get all of this to go away?
–  “officer” Josh Barlow’s swineherd, to his victim

It isn’t often that I see a good short film nowadays, much less a good sci-fi short, but this one is a masterclass in what one can do with a small budget and some excellent writing.  It was provided by Mike Siegel, and the links above it by President Dawg, Jesse Walker, Dave Krueger, Franklin Harris, and Cop Crisis (x3), in that order.

From the Archives

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A lot of…urban legends [are] old wine in new bottles. – Benjamin Radford

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

Go on, keep giving governments more excuses and powers to literally rob people.  I’m sure you’ll never regret it:

South Korean prosecutors have sold bitcoin…[stolen from people they branded] criminals…turn[ing] a profit of around 12.3 billion won (around US$10.9 million)…the [excuse used for the robbery was that the victim was]…”the operator of [an] illegal pornography site”…While the U.S. government has been auctioning [stolen] bitcoin since 2014, Korean prosecutors have held on to the [stolen] bitcoin for the past four years…[until] March 25, the exact day when the country’s [politicians]…classifie[d] crypto as “virtual assets”…

The Notorious Badge (#976)

Twitter’s connection to movies exploiting sex workers isn’t usually so direct:

After receiving rave reviews at last year’s Sundance festival, the full trailer for Janicza Bravo’s Twitter-storm dramedy Zola is finally here…the film follows Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress who strikes up a friendship with a customer named Stefani (Riley Keough). Together, they head to Florida to earn some money stripping at a club where Stefani has heard dancer tips are excellent.  As the trip progresses, Stefani puts Zola and herself in more insane and dangerous situations, including run-ins with a nameless pimp and some Tampa gangsters…Zola is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King…detail[ing] a weekend of debauchery that quickly descends into a hellish whirlwind of sex, murder, and near-suicide…

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

Since their “bathroom bills” kept getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by controlling doctors:

Arkansas [politician]s passed a bill…that would flatly prohibit medical professionals from providing any sort of gender transition treatments to minors…the…act…forbids the prescribing of puberty blockers to suppress hormones, bans genital reassignment surgeries, and bars any medical treatment that would “alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics or features for the individual’s biological sex” or “instill or create physiological or anatomical characteristics that resemble a sex different from the individual’s biological sex”…[it] further forbids medical professionals from referring minors to any doctor who could provide the forbidden treatments…says that public funds may not be granted to any entity that provides trans treatments to minors, declares that medical transition treatment procedures are not tax-deductible forms of health care coverage (regardless of age), and prohibits the state’s Medicaid program from providing coverage for these treatments for minors.  Medical professionals who defy the law could lose their licenses to practice in the state…

It’s impossible to miss the resemblance of this strategy to that of imposing arbitrary restrictions on abortion providers.

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

…a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a defense petition that the court order federal Judge Susan Brnovich’s recusal from the Lacey/Larkin case…due to an “appearance of partiality” created by prejudicial statements made by the judge’s husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, concerning…Backpage…The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 23

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” scarelore invaded TikTok:

“OK, so I saw this TikTok that Target is the new sex trafficking hub”…Makenzie Jade says in her video.  She then tells a story about being followed by a man…in…her local Target, then being circled by two additional men with nothing in their shopping carts…Over the past week…there have been dozens of [similar] videos, some with millions of views, in which young women from all over the country describe being followed by strange men or women in Target in what they [fantasize is] an attempted trafficking operation…what[ever] that…means…experts are highly skeptical of these reports.  “I have never heard a case of anyone being abducted from Target in my 20 years in this field,” says Jean Bruggeman…of Freedom Network USA, [the largest coalition of groups actually concerned with exploitation rather than simply using it as a cover for persecution of sex workers]…the TikTok rumors…adhere to a familiar pattern of…urban legends intended to spread hysteria…Dubious rumors purporting to raise awareness about the “realities” of sex trafficking are nothing new…

In a sign that the hysteria is dying, note that even the perennially-clueless Rolling Stone bluntly calls this what it is (“hoax”) rather than deferentially referring to it as a “mistake” or the like.

Predictable Consequences

Oh look, somebody at Washington Post realized how tone-deaf their initial coverage was:

[When cops raided] three massage businesses…they [branded with the moralistic epithet “]illicit[“, they vomited out a lot of filth about]…“human trafficking and child exploitation” [to]…cover [up the fact that the disguised cops raped sex]…workers, then arrested them…local media outlets…[then abetted the outrage by outing the cops’ victims, complete with names and] photos of their mug shots on the evening news…[barfing up the magic word “]illicit[” has for decades given disguised, lying thugs a court-approved pretext for raping]…spa workers…[none of whom were inter]viewed by The Post…[but after decades of these repeated atrocities, a few politicians] are [finally] beginning to propose new limits on [rape] by police, which [any person with a functional moral compass should understand] serves to dehumanize — and [deepl]ly traumatize — the very women the raids are [claimed by psychopaths] to help.  The…[rapists in] law enforcement, experts said, [nearly always] go unpunished…

As you can see, the article is still replete with copsucking, but some editor appears to have at least some inkling that maybe they’re on the wrong side.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

Still think this djinni can be crammed back into its bottle?

A…facial recognition tool designed [to give government even more power over individual lives] has been quietly deployed across the [US] with little to no public oversight…more than 7,000 individuals from nearly 2,000 [government] agencies nationwide have used Clearview AI to search through millions of Americans’ faces, looking for p[otential victims]…BuzzFeed News has developed a searchable table of 1,803 publicly funded agencies whose employees…used…the [surveillance] tool before February 2020.  These include local and state police, [ICE], the Air Force, state healthcare [bureaucracies], [politicians’] offices…and even public schools.  In many cases, [bureaucrats] at these agencies [claimed to be] unaware that employees were using the tool; five [lied]…in response to questions about it…210 organizations denied any use…1,161 [others ignored] questions about whether they had used it…Hoan Ton-That, the company’s cofounder and CEO, [expressed glee that his invention has done so much to undermine privacy and empower cop shops]…

What makes it worse is, cops just keep blatantly lying about it:

Despite statements from the NYPD in early 2020 stating that it had no relationship with…Clearview AI, documents…reveal that the company was an acknowledged vendor to the department from as early as 2018, and that it continue[s] to enjoy a congenial relationship…that [has] included in-person meetings and customer support from Ton-That [himself]…

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The Swedish model…is driven by Puritanical fantasy rather than reality.  –  Molly Simmons

To Molest and Rape

Cops lie so frequently, they can’t tell which lies are believable:

A [cop] charged with [nothing more serious than] misconduct for [rap]ing a…[drunk] woman [is trying to blame]…her…Lee Cocking…picked [up] the woman…on Christmas Eve, 2017…and…had [sex with her even though she was far too drunk to consent]…he…[claimed] the woman climbed on top of him…[and] he was left feeling violated…

Safe Position (#966)

A group of over 250 social scientists, including Ron Weitzer and Barb Brents, have sent an open letter to the new president and vice-president, calling for them to walk their talk and actually support “science-driven policy” with regard to sex work.  This will, of course, have no more effect than the similar letter sent by Ann Jordan and a dozen other researchers to the Obama Administration in 2011; Biden was one of the chief architects of mass incarceration, and the Swedish-model-supporting Harris’ long history of awfulness has been well-documented in this blog.  However, it’s another pebble in the growing pile which has made supporting sex worker rights a safe position for politicians, and that is a fine and welcome development.

The Cop Myth (#994)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

On February 25, Boyce Ballinger was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to felony “strangulation” and misdemeanor “domestic battery”.  The court even promised to allow him to expunge his criminal record if he complies with probation.  On October 17 of last year, Ballinger and his wife went to a neighbor’s party…When they came home, his wife asked him about his alcohol consumption.  He responded by attacking her [in a drunken rage]…chok[ing] her…and [slamming] her into a wall.  She ran to a bedroom.  Ballinger followed and banged violently on the door…[after] arrest…[he was] immediately released…without bail…and…ordered not to contact his wife, who filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  He violated this order in December by stalking…her…he was [then] sent to jail to await trial…[at which he was] offered…a plea bargain…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

On March 4, 2015, police in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, stole Malinda Harris’ 2011 Infiniti G37 because [they decided to accuse] her son, Trevice…of selling drugs…the cops never alleged that he used [the car] for drug dealing or that she knew about her son’s illegal activity.  Harris heard nothing more about her purloined property until October 2020…when she was [finally] served with a civil forfeiture complaint that had been prepared the previous January…the unconscionable delay in giving her a chance to recover her car was a due process violation that by itself justifies its immediate return.  Massachusetts invites such abuse…because its civil forfeiture law “does not provide any deadline [by] which the Commonwealth is required to initiate forfeiture proceedings.”  The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, which represents Harris, cites several other constitutionally questionable aspects of the state’s law, which…is…”the worst…in the country”…In this case, the government[‘s]…evidence [consists entirely of] the title to the Infiniti…”occupancy papers,” two parking tickets, and a “Jiffy Lube receipt”…

Winding Down

Will Washington politicians accept progress, or demonstrate their hypocrisy?

The Washington Supreme Court effectively decriminalized simple drug possession in that state…by overturning a law that made possession a felony without any evidence of intent or knowledge…Washington was the only state that criminalized innocent, unknowing possession of illegal drugs.  The Washington Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute…[is] a strict liability crime…[which] the court ha[s at long last recognized]…violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions…The state legislature can—and probably will—recriminalize simple possession by amending the statute to include a mens rea element.  A bill [already] introduced…would [do that, but a competing]…bill…would eliminate criminal penalties for possessing “personal use amounts” of drugs…

Social Distancing (#1094)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

Baltimore strip venue The Penthouse Club announced…that it has reached a settlement with the city which would allow it to reopen, only days after the club sued…over COVID regulations that…discriminated against adult entertainment…other indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys and skating rinks were able to reopen…except…strip clubs…

The Course of a Disease (#1109)

One can never have too many anti-Swedish criminalization articles:

…carceral feminists operate under the misguided ideas that all sex work is inherently exploitative; that any sex in exchange for money or goods is rape; and that sex workers are safer in prison than on the streets.  The…legislation…backed by [New York politician] Liz Krueger …is a US adaptation of…Swedish…criminalization…Decades of research have shown that, by targeting and driving underground…participants in the industry, such models increase stigma…discrimination…violence and coercion…They lead to harsher working conditions, higher rates of financial instability and less agency and freedom in our daily lives.  When such a model was enacted in Northern Ireland, 56 percent of sex workers said their work had become more dangerous…[this form of]…criminalization…fails in the same way abstinence-only sex education fails: It centers ​“morality” over material needs…sex worker[s are]…not interested in debate about whether or not the sex industry is a ​“good” thing or whether it ​“should” exist or not…and…the moralizing in [such] legislation…infantilizes sex workers in a deeply patriarchal way…

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Brisbane [cop was found guilty]…of sending “sexual and suggestive” messages to a teenage girl he met…[via his] work…in the Inala Child Protection and Investigation Unit…[Matthew Paul Hockley] interviewed the 15-year-old girl in 2019 in relation to a…[sexting] incident…the[n badgered her for weeks with]…a series of [Snapchat] messages that escalated from inoffensive to sexual and inappropriate, which made the girl “increasingly uncomfortable”…[because] the application…automatically delete[s] conversations…the teenager [had to record some of the harassment] with another device…to…show…the court…[Hockley’s] defence lawyer argued h[e] had no sexual interest in the girl, but was in[stead trying to get in] her mother[‘s pants, presumably via a reverse Lolita scheme]…

Child protection unit“.

Quiet Genocide (#1111)

Disgusting men never get tired of blaming women for their own rapes:

China, under growing global pressure over its [atrocities against]…Uighurs in…Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign [of propaganda], including explicit attacks on women who [reported being raped by guards and Communist Party officials]…a growing number of Western [politicians are finally admitting that]…China [is conducting a] genocide…[so] Beijing is focusing on…accus[ing] some of [its female victims of] having affairs and…sexually transmitted disease…as evidence of bad character…the…meticulous and wide-reaching campaign…hints at China’s fears that it is losing control of the Xinjiang narrative…in…[which it refers to mass surveillance, torture, rape, and brainwashing as] “liv[ing] and work[ing] in peace and contentment”…

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Give this man his money.  –  Judge Christine Underwood

Profit from Panic 

A pandemic can’t stop opportunists from wringing every penny they can from this hysteria before it implodes completely:

The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation…hosted its 6th annual Awareness Gala, themed “Rising from the Ashes.” The event centered on raising…funds for [the organizers by exploiting the moral panic around]…sex trafficking…Because of pandemic health guidelines, guests were invited to host in-home parties with only their close circles, family or solo.  SHERO Founder Kimberly Miles hosted the online event from the Stirling Club, with special appearances from Terry Fator, Clint Holmes, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and more…

Disaster (#949)

Australia is joining the US in trying to destroy the internet:

If Australia genuinely wants to minimise online harm, we need to have more nuanced narratives than “won’t somebody please think of the children”.  The federal government’s Online Safety Bill…[will] impede upon our digital rights, harm vulnerable groups, and c[onstrict] the way the majority of Australians experience the internet…part [of the scheme] gives the eSafety Commissioner expanded “take-down powers”…[to] order the removal of…any sexual content…or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”…Sex workers, pornography creators…sex-positive educators and activists are just some who will struggle to work online due to the scheme.  As experience of the controversial SESTA/FOSTA laws in the US…has shown, crackdowns such as these incentivise online platforms to remove or censor sexual content altogether to avoid penalty…this forces sex workers offline and often into unsafe working environments…

A Moral Cancer (#1013)

Crypto-moralists won’t hesitate to add nationalism to “health” rhetoric to advance their anti-pleasure agenda:

British stores could be flooded with “dangerous” bacon and ham from the US, marketed under misleading labels, as the result of a transatlantic trade deal, says the author of a new book based on [statistical illiteracy and militant veganism]…The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it [marginally] increases the [very small] risk of bowel cancer.  But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”…

Robocops

Court declares that cops are too stupid and evil to understand that intentionally burning an innocent person alive is wrong:

…On July 10, 2017, [Gabriel Eduardo] Olivas’ son called 911 to report that his father was threatening to kill himself…[responding cops] found Olivas “leaning against a wall and holding a red gas can”…[one cop] shouted…”If we tase him, he is going to light on fire!”…Olivas [had] poured gasoline over himself…[but pig Jeremias] Guadarrama “fired his taser at the gasoline-soaked man, causing him to burst into flames…The fire spread from Olivas to the walls of the bedroom, and the house eventually burned to the ground”…Olivas…died…the [family]…sued…and…the…court [ruled]…it…”reasonable”…[to set off high-voltage electrical] sparks that could easily ignite gasoline…after a[nother cop] had [already] emphasized it…the 5th Circuit has forthrightly declared that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police from firing Tasers at a suicidal, gasoline-drenched man…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Anti-trans hysteria has shifted from toilets to high-school sports:

A proposed bill introduced in…Georgia…called for banning transgender girls from participating in [organized] sports…a similarly-written law in Idaho…is currently blocked by injunction from a federal court.  So another proposal was introduced…that went even further.  House Bill 372 would redefine gender as “a person’s biological sex at birth” in state law, require state-funded schools and associations to ban participants they deem not “biologically” male or female from sports, and calls for a panel to examine information about the genitalia or chromosomes of any [prospective] participant who petitions otherwise…

I must point out that contrary to some online statements about this buffoonery, it does not call for the panel to inspect students’ genitalia, only “information about” them (presumably derived from a medical exam).  But it’s still akin to the creepy pretense that 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”.

The Next Target (#1099)

One day, “professional ‘survivor'” will no longer be a lucrative job:

…[Morality in Media] filed a…[law]suit in Birmingham, Alabama against Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, [exploiting the claims] of two women who alleged illegal videos of themselves were uploaded to the platform by third-party users…The lawsuit alleges that MindGeek “conspired, facilitated and financially benefited, from sex trafficking ventures between [themselves] and others”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

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

A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they s[tole from] a man’s rental car…Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in…November when he left his room and found police [ransack]ing his car.  Police [claimed] they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash.  They s[tole] both…[and] sent the cash to…CBP [in order to circumvent state restrictions on such robbery].  When Sanders lawyered up…Mooresville [bureaucrats] responded that [they were] no longer in possession of the cash…[Judge Christine] Underwood…found the city in contempt of her order [to refund the money] and…[gave] them seven business days to comply.  She told the city’s attorney…that she was not afraid to jail town commissioners, the police chief, or anybody else responsible for keeping Sanders from getting his money back…

Yet most courts still refuse to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

Civil asset forfeiture…allows police to s[teal] property they [pretend] is connected to crime without arresting…the owner…the practice demolishes due process and undermines property rights, giving cops a license to steal from innocent people who often lack the resources to resist…[pushers] of [the scheme pretend] it deters and incapacitates drug traffickers…[but] in a new study published by the Institute for Justice, Seattle University economist Brian Kelly…analyzed data from five states that use forfeiture extensively:  Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.  He reports no statistically significant relationship between increased forfeiture revenue and lower drug use rates or higher crime clearance rates.  To the contrary, Kelly found that clearance rates for violent crimes tend to fall as forfeiture revenue rises…[because] the lure of…money diverts law enforcement resources from predatory crimes to drug offenses…

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When will we begin viewing women as human beings capable of making decisions for themselves?  –  Neha Choudhary

All-Purpose Excuse

In the West, “trafficking” rhetoric is used to block immigration. But in the East

…the government [of Nepal] has introduced a new rule, [requiring] women under 40…to produce consent from the family and permission from the ward office to travel abroad…Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, [said]…“Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection”…Nepalis on social media were quick to slam the move, calling it a regressive rule that deprives women of their agency and curtails their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

In the US, this is now illegal thanks to FOSTA:

Thanks to a $1-million…donation from the Law Foundation of BC and an anonymous donor…sex workers and provincial organisations are building a province-wide “bad date” reporting system….[so] sex workers will be able to report their experiences…in an online database in order to warn others…Going to the police…isn’t an option, given the ongoing stigma and criminalisation of sex workers in Canada…sex workers across British Columbia have typically relied on more localised methods of reporting bad dates.  In Victoria, PEERS…relies on…re[ports]…to staff, who then…share the information with other sex workers in the area.  At SWAN Vancouver…warnings are passed along via text.  But, these methods have their limitations…which is why the launch of the database is so crucial…

A Woman’s Point of View

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one may eventually stick:

Mariah Grant…[of] the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center…[is] hoping Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize sex work statewide…state Rep. Rob Nosse…filed a bill at the request of the Sex Workers Project…[which] would invalidate the state’s prostitution statutes, decriminalizing those engaged in selling sex, their customers, and third parties…Similar bills have been filed in New York and a handful of other Northeastern states in the past few years.  None has passed…[but] the legal sex industry already operates more freely in Oregon that anywhere else, thanks to the state’s…relative lack of an organized religious…lobby…HB 3088 would implement what advocates call “full decriminalization”…not…legalization…or…the “Nordic model”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

[Information] about a [pogrom] against a small chain of massage parlors in [Alabama] has [been suppressed by the police]…The owners, Yuping Tang and her daughter Jiao Liu, had their assets frozen and their string of businesses shut down in April 2019.  But the Alabama Supreme Court [has] ruled…the state failed to carry its burden of proof on [any] part…of its case…the testimony gathered from witnesses and [cops’] victims…conflicted with…the claims [made]…by [cops]…who went into the parlors [to rape the staff.  Woman infantilized by cops and prosecutors as]…human trafficking victims actually testified on behalf of the owners saying they were not kept against their will, and they always had access to their money, passports, and freedom of movement…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Remember when Clearview claimed it would no longer sell to entities that do not claim the “right” to a monopoly on violence?

Clearview AI…has proposed applying its technology to everything from policing to retail to dating, according to a[n August] 2020 patent application…[which] describes ways to apply…facial recognition…to…identify [homeless] people…drug…[users or] “a sex offender”…CEO Hoan Ton-That…has [a habit of publicly sharing his fantasies]…of child sex trafficking…

Devil’s Advocate (#1073) 

The absurdity becomes more obvious when we substitute “toaster” for “sex doll”:

South Dakota [politicians]…are considering criminalizing the selling, making or owning of a [toaster shaped] like a child…[by] a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison…[the psychologically illiterate] bill [declares such toasters]…a “gateway” into [eating] real children…The bill’s proponent, Sen. Jessica Castleberry…said the [toasters] create a market and demand for [cannibalism].  The [devices], which have [a plastic shell and a spring to pop up toast when ready]…make [burning people alive] easier…”It normalizes and desensitizes [cannibalism],” she said…[prohibitionist] Carrie Sanderson…said the [toasters] that look like children allow for inappropriate [cooking and eating] behaviors to fester…Justin Bell, lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said…the bill’s language was too broad and doesn’t have a victim…

Winding Down

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll also veto attempts by [legislators] to give voters what they’ve demanded.  Noem said…at a news conference that she would “not be inclined” to sign a bill legalizing marijuana…just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.  So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers…nor the actual citizens of South Dakota…she’s even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down.  Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she’s trying to…delay it until next year…

Quiet Genocide (#1100)

Fascist corporations are happy to assist in a genocide:

Amazon…faces questions from [politicians] over a reported contract with Dahua, a Chinese security camera company…[whose] facial recognition software [alerts the cops when it] identifies members of the Uighur ethnic group…Dahua product support documents [state]…that suggest the company’s technology can sort passersby by race…[to] track “Uighurs with hidden terrorist inclinations”…Dahua is among the Chinese companies included on the Commerce Department‘s entity list for its ties to “human rights violations and abuses”…The U.S. doesn’t restrict American companies such as Amazon from buying from businesses on the entity list, though it urges caution…Dahua sold 1,500 thermal imaging cameras to Amazon in a deal estimated to be worth close to $10 million…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill has already failed in over a dozen states:

The Iowa House of Representatives’ Commerce subcommittee declined to advance a bill that proposed blocking adult content on electronic devices by default, as well as creating a special $5 tax on adult entertainment to fund initiatives against “human trafficking”…The bill is a version of one recently re-introduced in Utah, part of a “Project Blitz”  campaign by evangelicals to pass “copycat legislation” restricting adult content on a state-by-state basis….representatives of ATT, T-Mobile and CenturyLink pointed out that several content-blocking apps are already available and “the use of those apps is at the discretion of parents…rather than the internet provider”…

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When I agreed to be a representative, I don’t recall signing off on any moralistic fitness test.  –  Diego Rodriguez

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Eight [cops] are under investigation [for] a…[sexual] assault on a [young] black [woman using the pretext of a]…strip-search…Footage surfaced on social media showing the [cops brutally kneeling on her back while]…she was…[gasp]ing “I can’t breathe”…she was in her friend’s car when [cops] pulled over the vehicle and dragged her into the street…she told BBC Newsnight…“They…picked me up with my…braids which they eventually tore out of my scalp”…The [cops abducted]…her…to…Lewisham Police station[, where they] charged her with obstructing [her own sexual assault]…but this was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service…[at the station] she was s[exually] assaulted again [under the pretext of a second “search”]…

Gullible’s Travels

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teens:

Skittle parties are…happening in places like people’s homes, backyards, parks, abandoned buildings, hotel rooms and who knows where else…kids raid medicine cabinets at home for prescription medications.  They bring whatever they can find to the party and all pills are dumped into a bowl…Anyone can take whatever pills they want and however many they want in order to get high…Jack Schafer…wrote several columns for Slate from…2006 to…2010 [explain]ing that these parties are just a myth that has been perpetuated by the media.  And…[there is no] actual evidence of them existing…[but] regardless of whether Skittle parties are a real thing or not, [the yellow journalists at Yahoo feel justified in declaring that they are]…very real…

Elephant in the Parlor (#341)

A new level of public support for sex workers from a politician:

…[Arizona politician] Diego Rodriguez…has a history of liking or replying to posts of nude women on [Twitter]…using a separate account from one he operates as a state [representative]..[and] has no plans to remove or hide the posts from the public.  “I think that goes back to a difference in attitudes,” he said. “Are you…sex positive or sex negative?”…Rodriguez pointed out past tweets in support of sex workers’ rights.  Sweeping his past under the rug would only further stigmatize an industry he says is unfairly maligned and mistreated…

Torture Chamber (#866) 

Oh look, the State has finally “found” what thousands have been telling them for decades:

The largest women’s prison in the country subjects incarcerated women to pervasive and frequent [rapes and other] sexual assaults, violating their Eighth Amendment rights, the Justice Department concluded in a scathing and graphic report…[after] a two-year investigation…into…Lowell [Rape Camp in]…Florida…[besides oral, anal and vaginal rape] and groping…”staff demanded that prisoners undress in front of them, sometimes in exchange for basic necessities, such as toilet paper.”  Furthermore…investigators found that the prison had [criminally] inadequate measures to prevent sexual abuse…staff exploited blind spots in surveillance camera coverage to abuse women; the prison deterred women from reporting abuse via threats of retaliation and…solitary confinement “for days or weeks at a time;” and the…[so-called] Investigator General [arbitraily] closed, suspended, or indefinitely delayed investigations…In [one typical and representative attack in] March 2018, a Lowell s[crew]…anally raped a…prisoner in a storage area…then…wiped himself off on [her underwear]…[the victim suffered] extensive…in[juries but]…no DNA evidence was collected…[and] the…rap[ist was allowed to quiet]ly resign [without consequences]…

Dirty Laundry (#868)

Horrifyingly-abusive nuns are not restricted to Ireland:

Catholic nuns running a children’s home in Germany pimped out boys to priests, politicians and businessmen who would rape the children at sex parties, according to a victim who has won a compensation battle…the man, now 63…said he was raped around 1,000 times…in the 1960s and 70s, alongside [at least]…three [o]ther victims [who] have since come forward…If they disobeyed they would be beaten with sticks or have their heads smashed against the wall…The children’s home was shut in 2000…The Catholic Church paid the man 15,000 euros in compensation and 10,000 euros for therapy costs alongside a victim’s pension…

Guinea Pigs (#970)

Facebook policies prohibit the creation of predatory accounts by law enforcement, but pigs make them anyway and Facebook does nothing:

For the past two years, Do Nguyen Mai Khoi…the Vietnamese singer and pro-democracy activist, known best simply as Mai Khoi, has tried tirelessly to warn [Facebook] of a thousands-strong pro-government…group of police, military, and other Communist party loyalists who collaborate to get online dissidents booted and offline dissidents jailed.  Her evidence of the group’s activity is ample, her arguments are clear, and…Facebook doesn’t seem interested at all…social media allows [Vietnamese] citizens to squeeze past the state’s censorship stranglehold on traditional media, [but Facebook] has…become just another means of strangulation.  Private groups filled with government partisans coordinate takedown campaigns — or worse — against any views deemed “reactionary” by the Vietnamese state, while Facebook continues to do little but pay lip service to ideals of free expression…

A Broker in Pillage (#1043)

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

…Since 2014…35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted civil forfeiture reforms, including two—New Mexico and Nebraska—that have abolished the practice…The manifest injustice of [legalized robbery of innocent people]…led to modest federal reforms in 2000, then not much else.  But…interest in the issue has exploded in recent years…as…politicians became newly aware of [the] problem…and why they decided to do something about it, despite the dogged resistance of police and prosecutors keen to keep the money train rolling.  The story varies from one state to another, but it generally involves a combination of outrageous injustices, corruption scandals, and rising disgust at the unseemly greed that leads cops to steal TV sets and snatch money from children’s birthday cards…

Social Distancing (#1082)

A study trashes one of the justifications for ruinous authoritarian “lockdowns”:

…The initial round of lockdowns was not about suppressing the virus but slowing it for one reason: to preserve hospital capacity…Gradually…curve flattening became an end in itself, apart from hospital capacity…Sometime in summer, the idea of asymptomatic spread started to trend…we were being asked to think of our fellow citizens not as human beings with dignity and rights but pathogen-carrying disease vectors…because we are secretly filthy and unclean…even with a mask we must stay 6 feet away….But…a gigantic study conducted in Wuhan, China, of 10 million people…published November 20…revealed something that hardly ever happens in these kinds of studies.  There was not one documented case.  Forget rare…Replace…that with: never.  At least not in this study for 10,000,000…We keep hearing about how we should follow the science…[but] the lockdown lobby ignores whatever contradicts their narrative, preferring unverified anecdotes over an actual scientific study of 10 million residents in what was the world’s first major hotspot for the disease we are trying to manage…

Winding Down

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

On December 15, Mexic[an] lawmakers passed a law reining in the asymmetrical, imperialist influence of the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration within the country.  Supporters hailed the move as a reclamation of national sovereignty…the new law…[defines DEA thugs as] “foreign agents”, which…limits their activities in the country to information-gathering, eliminates their legal immunity and assigns them reporting obligations.  Agents will no longer be able to unilaterally execute arrests and raids, and will have to seek authorization from the Mexican federal government for their weapons.  Permission from a newly formed security panel is also now required of any Mexican state or municipal official meeting with them…Drug warriors invested in the global dominance of the DEA have denounced the legislation…

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[NOPD] argues the word “employ” means something else when it’s misleading the public.  –  Tim Cushing

The Puritan Recrudescence

No, Parler doesn’t have a “porn problem”; it has a spam problem:

Anyone following the #sexytrumpgirl hashtag on Parler…got an eyeful one recent Thursday evening as images of topless women and links to hardcore pornography websites appeared at a rapid-fire rate, often more than one per minute…The site’s lax moderation policies…have helped it become a magnet for pornographers, escort services and online sex merchants using hashtags…such as #keepamericasexy and #milfsfortrump2020.  The pornography…has the potential to complicate hopes the site may have to expand advertising…[because uptight] major companies typically avoid having their sales pitches appear alongside [sexu]al imagery…Parler once banned all pornography but in recent months revised its terms of service to permit essentially anything that’s legal, making its policy close to Twitter’s…[but] Twitter…has automated systems that prevent excessively rapid posting, as well as other spammy behavior…

I think most normal people would be just as annoyed by rapid-fire tweets hawking car warranties, miracle cures, get-rich-quick schemes, or political theater, but of course that wouldn’t be as lurid as focusing on porn.

Morality Lessons (#921)

Australian cops are envious of the FBI, and want permission to run their own kiddie porn sites:

[Australian pigs and spooks] will be [allowed] to take over the online accounts of [people they accuse of being]…paedophile[s], terrorists and drug-traffickers…under new laws to be introduced in Federal Parliament.  The [pigs and spooks] will also be a[llowed] to hack into people’s computer networks [to watch, steal and trade]…child [porn]…The new capabilities will give [pigs and spooks] unprecedented powers to [spy on people and justify it with all kinds of doubletalk about how “]criminals operating on the dark web…can more easily evade traditional law enforcement or investigation methods[“]…Under a new “account takeover power”, [pigs and spooks] will be able to take control of a person’s online account for the purposes of [creating false] evidence about criminal activity…

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning facial recognition are feel-good bullshit:

…”The New Orleans Police Department has confirmed that it is utilizing facial recognition…despite years of assurances” t[o] the…contrary…this report by The Tenth Amendment Center makes the NOPD’s relationship with the tech more explicit…“the NOPD has…relied on technology operated by the Louisiana State Police…[via] the state fusion center”…the NOPD…”does not employ facial recognition software”…in the sense that the PD does not own the tech…It clearly does use it.  It just outsources that work to other agencies — including federal law enforcement — that do own the tech…The city is considering a facial recognition ban.  But this admission the PD outsources its facial recognition work means it won’t be enough to simply forbid the PD from buying and utilizing its own tech.  The proposal would need to be rewritten to prevent the PD from sending its photos to state or federal agencies for proxy searching.  The vote on the proposed ban has been delayed as city council members process the NOPD’s lies about its facial recognition use and decide what to do with this new information…now the city knows it can’t trust its own police department to be honest with it…

Take it from someone intimately acquainted with how things are done in New Orleans:  the city council already knew.  The vote has simply been delayed so they can think up good butt-covering lies.

A Moral Cancer (#1017) 

When government loses one excuse for violently intruding on private lives, it will invent another one:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has banned people from smoking in their own apartments…the board voted 10–1 in favor of a bill…to prohibit smoking tobacco inside private dwellings in buildings with three or more units.  Violators…could receive fines of up to $1,000…The…bill…at [first]…also applied to smoking legal cannabis…[but] an amendment…exempts marijuana…be[cause] cannabis [is politically correct but tobacco is not]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1062)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to s[teal] property…without ever charging the owner, are fundamentally rigged in favor of the [cop shops] that get a cut of the proceeds.  Even when an owner manages to challenge a forfeiture…he has the burden of proving his innocence, and the process often costs more than the property is worth.  Adding insult to injury, the government can drag out the process for so long that even innocent owners feel compelled to surrender.  The Institute for Justice (I.J.) challenges that aspect of civil forfeiture in an appeal it filed this week, asking the Supreme Court to rule that due process requires a prompt post-seizure hearing…The…case involves Gerardo Serrano, a U.S. citizen and Kentucky resident whose pickup truck was s[tolen] by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in September 2015, while he was on his way to visit relatives in Mexico.  The official, patently absurd justification: The truck was suspected of involvement in international arms smuggling, because Serrano had forgotten about a handgun magazine and five rounds he had left in the center console.  He waited two years without a hearing until CBP suddenly decided to return the truck in 2017, a month after I.J. filed a lawsuit on his behalf.  The circumstances…strongly suggest that Serrano was punished for asserting his constitutional rights…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

…Legislation to limit or abolish Section 230 has become popular in Congress…but with the exception of the 2018 sex-ad law FOSTA, most of these have gone nowhere.  Now, some [politicians] are taking a different tack.  Instead of pushing a standalone attack on Section 230, Sen. Roger Wicker…will allegedly introduce an anti-Section 230 bit into the latest defense spending bill…

And guess who’s actually behind it?

Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defense policy bill unless it [allows]…internet companies t[o be sued or prosecuted]…for material posted by their users…Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against [him]…the…veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defense policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers…

Winding Down

A big step toward ending the disastrous War on Drugs:

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs…[has] accepted a World Health Organization…recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  The historic vote in Vienna could have far-reaching implications for the global medical cannabis industry, ranging from regulatory oversight to scientific research into the plant and its use as a medicine…it could help boost medical cannabis legalization efforts around the globe now that the CND tacitly acknowledges the medical utility of the drug…

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