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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

What is it with government agencies & the media teaming up to Streisand some dumb thing…almost no one has ever…heard about…into a thing…everyone knows about?  –  Mike Masnick

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It’s too bad most arrests aren’t of other cops:

Deputies in South Dakota have arrested a Louisiana state [cop], accusing him of hiring a prostitute while in town for a…conference…Kirk Thibodeaux…has been [rewarded with a paid vacation]…pending the criminal and administrative investigations…

So What Else Is New? (#504)

I’ve never understood why some men are so attached to this notion:

…a[t] orgasm…a “milky fluid” is excreted from the urethra…[but] about 5 percent of women release a clear liquid…studies have determined the milky fluid comes from the Skene glands…[and] scientists in Japan have just published research that [demonstrates] the [clear] fluid comes from the bladder, stating only the “milky fluid”…can be classed as the female ejaculation…Miyabi Inoue…and her colleagues injected blue dye mixed with water into the bladders of five female volunteers w[ith a history of “squirting”]…after a subject was stimulated to the point of climax, a researcher collected the ejected liquid in a sterile cup, and in all five women it was blue…[true] female ejaculation…contains prostate-specific antigen…[and the squirted] liquid from four of the women…was found to contain PSA, suggesting they produced female ejaculate around the same time as they squirted urine, and the two fluids mixed together in the urethra.  Despite the fact previous studies have [produced similar findings]…the[y were] met with skepticism from hordes of men online…Women were quick to mock some of the shocked men and their responses, explaining it was something “women knew all along…Men need scientific study to admit they are being peed on and not actually gods in bed,” one scoffed…

Gullible’s Travels (#977)

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teenagers:

…the number of videos…of teens calling people idiots for even daring to think of putting a Tide pod in their mouth far, far outnumbered the extraordinarily few videos of people actually putting a Tide pod in their mouth.  As some people have noted, it’s way more dangerous to talk about teenagers as if they’re all too stupid to know not to put a Tide pod in their mouth.  But the media absolutely can’t resist.  Last…week…the FDA (for whatever reason) released a consumer alert saying that people shouldn’t cook their chicken in NyQuil, calling it “a recent social media challenge”…of course, like all the earlier examples, this…turned out to be a whole lot of…adults freaking out over things that kids weren’t actually doing…the whole thing started as a shitpost on 4chan where someone made a joke about cooking chicken in NyQuil…and some people [making videos] reacting to the joke.  And, then, of course, the FDA Streisanded the whole idea into becoming a thing.  According to…TikTok…there were only five searches for NyQuil chicken…on Sept. 14, one day before the FDA posted its statement.  By Sept. 21, searches on the topic had increased by more than 1,400 times

A Broker in Pillage (#985)

The South Carolina Supreme Court declares itself illegitimate:

In a major blow against government accountability, the South Carolina Supreme Court…upheld the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which let police [openly steal] cash, cars, and even ho[us]es, without ever filing criminal charges.  By overturning a lower court ruling that declared civil forfeiture unconstitutional, the decision jeopardizes property rights for [every citizen]…in…nearly 40% of all forfeiture cases…the owner was never convicted of a crime.  And under state law, if an owner doesn’t formally file a claim for their seized property, [cops] win a “default judgment” and keep [the stolen property]…Worse, state law provides a powerfully perverse incentive to police for profit.  [When any] property [is stolen by cops], the [robbers’ gang] keeps the first $1,000 and then 75% of the remainder.  Prosecutors receive 20%, while a mere 5% is sent to the general fund. Since 2009, [cops have robbed citizens of]…nearly $97 million

Disaster (#1234)

An amicus curiae brief was recently filed in the FOSTA challenge by a group of organizations including Decriminalize Sex Work, The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, Freedom Network, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Erotic Laborers Alliance of New England, Old Pros, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, New York Transgender Advocacy Group, Free Speech Coalition,  SWOP Brooklyn, GLITS, and the St. James Infirmary.  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has an in-depth look at the arguments in the suit and brief, and you can see a PDF of the brief here.  In related news, the Woodhull Foundation (one of the parties to the FOSTA challenge) has recently launched a petition seeking to block the so-called EARN IT Act; I’m not sure if petitions have any effect in such cases, but I suppose they can’t hurt.

Dangerous Speech (#1270)

The government’s evil clown show has been renewed for another season:

The prosecution of Backpage founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin…can continue to drag on, per a new ruling from the…9th Circuit.  The court [is pretending] that trying them again after a mistrial…would not count as double jeopardy.  “No one is the least surprised”…Lacey tells Reason…”We have always believed we must rely upon jurors, not judges, for a fair shake. And so to trial.”  Lacey, Larkin, and the other defendants are likely to face trial again in 2023, though no date has been set.  That would mean a sixth calendar year in which their lives are upended by this…seemingly eternal attempt to put people in prison for running a website where sex workers advertised.

Permanent Record (#1274)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A [teacher] who set up an OnlyFans account to supplement her income was fired from her…job…after her employer found out about the account…[thanks to a self-appointed morality cop who also] posted photos from the OnlyFans account without her consent…Sarah Juree worked full-time as a teacher in South Bend, Indiana…but…was unable to support her family on the modest salary of $55,000 per year…her rent alone cost nearly half of her income and her employer didn’t offer health insurance…Around the time Juree set up her OnlyFans account, she…had a casual conversation with a colleague and their boss about side gigs that fall under the sex work umbrella, including OnlyFans pages.  “My boss got really excited and said, ‘Yeah, you can start a page.  You can make a lot of money’…I was like, ‘Great, I’m not going to have any issues with work because my boss literally told me to sell my panties on OnlyFans”…

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You don’t address issues in a broken criminal legal system by layering technology on them.  –  Jumana Musa

Permanent Record

Surely you didn’t think this would only be used to punish sex workers?

Erick Adame says that he has been fired from his position as the morning meteorologist on Spectrum News NY1 for a leaked appearance on an adult cam site.  Adame [said he was]…aiming to “share [his] truth rather than let others control the narrative of [his] life”…[and] not[ed] that his psychiatrist has called his actions “compulsive behavior” and that he is “not in a position to disagree”…Adame made a point to highlight that while he regrets his appearance on the website, he rejects any criticism that may come about his sexuality…He also filed a lawsuit against Unit 4 Media Ltd. to seek the identity of the anonymous user who leaked the content of him on the adult site…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#754) 

Just another study showing the same results as every other one:

A recent study published in the academic journal Crime & Delinquency suggests that sexual offenders rarely replicate what they see in pornography as a driver of sexual aggression…the research suggests that “sexual scripts learned through pornography use are not present in patterns of sexual offending behavior,” reports Craig Harper in his recurring column “Articles of Heterodoxy” for the Psychology Today directory website…Other research has arrived at similar conclusions.  The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Stetson University in Florida, in a paper published in the summer of 2020 for the academic journal Trauma, Violence, & Abuse found that pornography does not cause violent sex crimes.  Harper referenced this study in his Psychology Today column, as well.  The researchers, Chris Ferguson…and Richard Hartley…found that there are scores of poorly designed studies that “tended to be more likely to support a link between pornography and sexually assaultive behavior…Our evidence suggests that policymakers should examine other causes of sexual aggression and that beliefs about pornography may be driven more by methodological mistakes than sound science”…

Welcome to the Future (#944)

Fascists are trying to destroy young people’s lives before they even get started:

For a few thousand dollars a year, Social Sentinel offer[s] schools across the country sophisticated technology to s[py on] social media posts from students…[thus] allowing campus police to surveil student protests…as more students have embraced social media as a digital town square to express opinions and organize demonstrations, many college police departments have been using taxpayer dollars to pay for Social Sentinel’s services to monitor what they say.  At least 37 colleges…collectively educating hundreds of thousands of students, have used Social Sentinel since 2015.  The true number…could be far higher…and…the company has been moving in a new and [even] more [dangerously] invasive direction — allowing schools to monitor student emails on university accounts…a…private Ohio-based company…acquired Social Sentinel in 2020…and…changed the name…to Navigate360 Detect earlier this year…

Choke Point (#993) 

In a fascist system, politicians’ inability to pass a law doesn’t stop them from getting what they want:

Government officials continue deputizing private businesses to implement restrictive policies that can’t win traction through the political process or are forbidden by the Constitution.  The latest…development comes in the form of a specific merchant category code for retailers of firearms and ammunition, breaking them out from the broader category of specialty retailers in which they were previously included.  The code makes credit card purchases from such businesses much easier to track and potentially exposes buyers and sellers to harassment…That has industry insiders worried that politicians are again weaponizing the financial system to target activities they don’t like but haven’t been able to ban through law…such as abortion…

To Molest and Rape (#1103)

It took 35 years of evil for the government to notice a serial rapist:

A [typical and representative] Kansas [cop] who had long…rap[ed] and terroriz[ed] Black women as he p[row]led the streets of Kansas City has been indicted on federal charges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted two women over several years while on duty…Roger Golubski, 69…face[s] a maximum possible sentence of life in prison…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1229)

Clearview is once again trying to rehabilitate its reputation among useful idiots:

…Andrew Grantt Conlyn…[was] the passenger…[when] his [drunk] friend drove [wrecked the car at] approximately 100 miles per hour…When he came to, his friend was gone, the car was on fire and his seatbelt buckle was jammed.  Luckily, a good Samaritan intervened, prying open the driver’s side door and pulling Mr. Conlyn out of the burning vehicle…that Wednesday night in March 2017…[after] the police…found the body of his friend, Colton Hassut, in the bushes near the crash…[they decided to try to railroad] Conlyn…[because they believe no tragedy should go unexploited as an excuse to destroy someone]’s life.  If Clearview AI…hadn’t granted his lawyer special access to [its] facial recognition database…Conlyn might have spent up to 15 years in prison because the police [didn’t care whom they crucified]…Clearview…now plans to offer access to public defenders.  Hoan Ton-That, the chief executive, said this would help “balance the scales of justice,” but…“I think it’s a rare situation in which most defense attorneys would want to use it,” said Jerome Greco, who oversees a forensics technology lab at the Legal Aid Society, in New York City.  “This is mostly being done as a P.R. stunt to try to push back against the negative publicity that Clearview has about its tool and how it’s being used by law enforcement”…

Thought Control (#1268)

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

The Greenville County [South Carolina] Republican Party wants [politicians] to investigate who ordered and displayed a number of LGBTQ children’s books at public libraries earlier this year.  It also wants the county to ban books that mention LGBTQ topics from the children and juvenile sections of the county’s libraries…The resolution names a handful of children’s book titles…[including] Twas the Night Before Pride, My Shadow is PurpleThe Rainbow Parade, I’m Not a Girl, and My Own Way: Celebrating Gender…Jeff Davis, GCGOP chairman, said party members have checked the books out of the library and plan to [steal them so as]…to prevent them from being displayed for children to see…“They’re downstairs here at the (GCGOP) headquarters,” Davis said…

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen would-be censors advocating the actual theft of books from libraries, and I suspect it won’t be the last.

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We cannot set the house on fire to roast the pig.
–  Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, after Frankfurter

Imaginary Victims 

The state’s pretended sympathy for “sex trafficking victims” applies only to imaginary “perfect” ones; real ones are treated as hardened criminals:

A teenage [runaway] who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her…rapist to death was sentenced…in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.  Pieper Lewis, 17…pleaded last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of…Zachary Brooks of Des Moines.  Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison…judge David M. Porter…deferred those prison sentences, meaning that if Lewis violates [even the most arbitrary or trivial condition] of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve that 20-year term.  As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “this court is presented with no other option,” Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law…Lewis was [a] 15 [year old]…runaway who was seeking to escape an abusive life with her adopted mother…when a 28-year-old man took her in [and started] forcibly [pimp]ing her…Brooks…had [paid her pimp to] rape…her multiple times in the weeks before his death…after Brooks had raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed [him] in a fit of rage.  Police and prosecutors…took issue with Lewis [correctly] calling herself a victim…and [were eager to make it look like she was at fault for being coerced and raped]…

Maggie in the Media

Cathy Reisenwitz interviews me on her podcast:

The Day of the Dead (#44) 

In Taiwan, strippers are a traditional part of funerals and autumn festivals.  This is no more “raunchy” than having performers in Halloween costumes would be in the West, and any pretense to the contrary is due to the influence of more puritanical cultures such as China and the US:

The Taoyuan Veterans Home, a state-run facility for retired army personnel in Taiwan, paid [a stripper to perform for] for a…celebrat[ion of the] Mid-Autumn Festival — an important holiday in [several Asian] culture[s]…the…performance…[was branded “raunchy” by bluenosed busybodies who were not present, but saw a video] filmed by an attendee…[which] went viral…nursing home residents clapped along enthusiastically…relish[ing] the…show.  But [people uncomfortable with the idea that the elderly are stil sexual beings attacked the]…facility…[whic] subsequently released a statement saying: “The intention of the event was to entertain residents and make them happy.  We are very sorry for the offense that was caused”…

If Men Were Angels

It’s getting harder to tell the preachers from the cops:

Five woman are suing an international megachurch and its leader, convicted felon Naasón Joaquín García, in California state court over decades of…child sexual abuse…earlier this year…[Garcia] was…sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison…[but] his church, which claims more than 5 million members worldwide, has stood b[ehind him the whole time]…Now, in a 49-page complaint, the church, García, and several affiliated businesses and individuals are being sued for various damages to a class that is expected to include well over 500 alleged victims as plaintiffs.  The introductory lines of the complaint do not mince words and stake out shocking allegations that criticize the church…as an enterprise that intentionally existed for the purpose of finding and providing children to be raped by the leader…The five principal plaintiffs are Jane Doe women [now] aged 20-28…who were originally cited in the criminal complaint…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1089) 

India protects rights the West now seems determined to destroy:

The Supreme Court of India has rejected a petition seeking to codify a…[pretend]ed link between viewing internet pornography and committing crimes such as rape and child sexual abuse…the…court…stated that “child sex abuse is a crime by itself” and [said]…“What you are advocating may be surveillance and collection of data”…The court expressed concern about where the type of Internet surveillance being proposed might lead…

Permanent Record (#1099)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

An OnlyFans content creator…was [fired] from her nursing position because other nurses were watching her adult videos on the clock…Jaelyn says she was called into the office of a woman she’s never met, who told her she knew about the OnlyFans.  The woman allegedly claimed that the nurses at this particular nursing home have been looking at her socials and OnlyFans while [she] is with patients…Jaelyn adds that her co-workers would have to be paying for her OnlyFans in order to be watching her videos on the clock…This isn’t the first time someone found out their co-worker was watching their OnlyFans videos, as one creator claimed their manager subscribed to their account.  Similarly, another Only Fans creator…was forced out of her nursing job due to her adult content in August…

The Implosion Begins (#1265)

The hysteria is imploding so hard, it’s falling all the way back to its roots:

…in…a spate of recent examples…individuals have been targeted with accusations of Satanism or so-called ritualistic abuse, marking…a [recrudescence] of the moral panic of the 1980s, when hysteria and hypervigilance over protecting children led to [wildly-]false allegations, wrongful imprisonments, decimated communities and wasted resources…While the current obsession with Satan was boosted in part by the QAnon community, partisan media and…politicians have been instrumental in spreading newfound fears over the so-called ritualistic abuse of children that the devil supposedly inspires, sometimes weaving the allegations together with other culture war issues such as LGBTQ rights…which are amplified on social media and by [yellow journalism], and can mobilize mobs to seek vigilante justice…Online accusers can bypass police, therapists and the traditional media and out their alleged accusers straight to audiences of millions…

It’s rather funny to see the expression “partisan media” used pejoratively by NBC News, considering the stark partisanism of its offspring MSNBC.

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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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They knew exactly what these consequences were going to be because we told them.  –  Tani Malhotra

Change a Few Words

All prohibitionism is the same:

They were warned…[politicians]…were warned time and again that their…ban was cruel and…they didn’t care…What is one to make of people who can hear such testimony…and ignore it?  The stridency of ignorance?  The unearned confidence of religious zealotry?  The casual disregard of humanity and human empathy in favor of extremist ideology removed from reality?  The ignoble placating and pleasing of political special interests over compassionate human interests?  All of that?  Yes.  All of that…the world is complex, and human situations are nuanced and complicated.  This sledgehammer of extremist law inflicts grave injustice unbefitting of such sensitive issues…They were warned, and they did it anyway.  If this cruelty and suffering is what they wanted, they’ve certainly created a lot of it.

The only good prohibition ever creates is pushing more people into the proper skepticism about government they should’ve had in the first place.

I Saw My Brain (#999)

Judd loves giving his entrapment schemes sophomoric titles that reference adjacent events:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office…arrested 160 people in a seven-day [pogrom] focused on [adult consensual sex]…the [only] arrests from “Fall Haul 2” [which are newsworthy]…were…[those of] a deputy police chief from Georgia, Jason DiPrima…[a screw named] Keith Nieves…[spokepigs also oinked out misogynistic fantasies about “sex trafficking”]…

This will continue until the majority of those arrested fight back with lawsuits, or the voters of Polk County get tired of paying the many lawsuits that are already filed against this cretin every year.

You Were Warned (#1122)

A lawsuit like this would never have reached first base had it been filed against mainsream film studios:

All claims made by a Jane Doe plaintiff against several adult studios, in a lawsuit sponsored by…Morality in Media…were dismissed…on Aug. 19…[after] the…plaintiff and defendants Diabolic Video Productions Inc., Black Ice LTD, Zero Tolerance Entertainment Inc. and Third Degree Films filed a joint motion to dismiss all of the claims “with prejudice,” meaning they cannot be refiled.  Typically, these types of joint motions are the result of a deal or settlement having been reached out of court…in March 2021, in an unusual decision, [judge Michael] Anello ruled that, although the contracts signed by a former performer were valid, the arbitration agreements that were part of them should be disregarded and the lawsuit could move forward…

The Next Target (#1219)

These are the countries authoritarians want the US to ape:

…courts in France and Germany moved forward…with proposed mandates to block adult sites over compliance with controversial age verification mandates.  A Paris court will rule next month on whether French media regulator Arcom “has the right to block access to…sites [including Twitter] in France unless…they can prevent minors…from accessing them”…in…Germany, the Higher Administrative Court has dismissed complaints from Cyprus-based platforms, including xHamster, seeking the reversal of a recent ban by the Düsseldorf Administrative Court.  Both developments — along with a recent reversal of policy by the Conservative government in the U.K., which has now vowed to “crack down” on adult sites like Pornhub and xHamster — are being celebrated by [pro-censorship]…crusaders as stepping stones in a strategy that would culminate in the total banning of adult content by open platforms like Twitter and Reddit…

The Vultures Descend (#1249)

Prohibitionists will use any sleazy trick to inflict bans on the people they supposedly represent:

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled…that a petition over whether to add a constitutional amendment expanding abortion rights must be on the ballot this fall…the…court directed an election board to certify a proposed amendment from the group Reproductive Freedom for All, which had submitted more than 750,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot…the…board deadlocked [along schoolyard-team lines] on whether to certify the ballot, throwing the issue into limbo…a coalition of anti-abortion groups…[claimed] to the board of canvassers that the ballot measure had spacing and formatting problems that rendered some of the proposed language unreadable…

This is the second attempt by prohibitionists in as many weeks to use technicalities to block civil rights advocates from enabling people to vote whether to stop politicians’ schemes to control their personal lives.

I Spy (#1268)

Funny how politicians were never interested in protecting people’s privacy until they could make political coin from it:

…the California legislature [has] passed a bill designed to prevent companies in the state from disclosing communications content and metadata in response to out-of-state legal demands for information in abortion-related investigations…Section 9 of the bill would bar companies that provide electronic communications services and are either (i) California corporations, or (ii) corporations whose principal executive offices are located in California, from providing “records, information, facilities or assistance” in California in response to legal process issued in another state that “relates to” an investigation into a violation of a law that prohibits “… providing, facilitating, or obtaining an abortion that is lawful under California law.”  Disclosures in investigations into attempts to provide, facilitate, or obtain such abortions are also blocked.  The legislation also empowers the California Attorney General to [sue]…to compel these companies to comply with this prohibition…The bill also blocks judges and law enforcement from aiding abortion investigations…

To Molest and Rape (#1269)

Since he’s not being charged, there’s nothing to stop this predator from just going to another cop shop:

…New Port Richey [Florida cop]…Bobby Lubrido…is not facing any criminal charges…from [molesting a teenager, even though he was fired]…The girl…[was labeled] a runaway…[and] Lubrido [was assigned to take her to a cage and lock her in]…Lubrido…placed her cellphone on his charger in the front seat at her request…[then] asked for the password…he started looking at her photo gallery and watching videos of her “twerking”…while driving…making sexually explicit comments as he drove…he…was so distracted…that he hit a deer…then…[later] let her eat half of his sandwich…and…when she was done…told her, “That sandwich wasn’t free,” and groped her bottom…and…breasts…[after which he] pulled up her mother’s photo on his [pigmobile] computer and asked if she would be interested in having a “threesome,” to which the girl said no…he [then threatened to] come to her house later to “check up on her”…

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It doesn’t sound as though the case was going very well for the government so far.  –  Judge William Fletcher

If Men Were Angels 

It’s getting harder to tell the preachers from the cops:

A former [pastor and] teacher at a [Pennsylvania] evangelical school was convicted [on August 31st] of sexually assaulting a first grader there in 2007.  Randy Lee Boston…denied the allegations, [claim]ing…that he had barely any interaction with the alleged victim while he was enrolled at the school.  But in an interview with police, a recording of which was played in court, Boston admitted to having sexual desires “connected to young boys” and being attracted to their bodies…

Choke Point (#593) 

Wells Fargo has repeatedly shown itself to be among the worst perpetrators of this abuse:

Sex workers…are reporting that the bank Wells Fargo has sent them notices terminating their accounts effective immediately, in what they see as an extension of the crackdown measures banks and other large institutions have been implementing over the past few years.  In the letters, which are dated August 25…Wells Fargo offers zero explanation for the decision…Alana Evans, the president of the Adult Performance Artists’ Guild (APAG), says that she has been a client with Wells Fargo in good standing for nearly 30 years…Spike Irons and Sofie Marie, who run…a porn production company…primarily use[d] the[ir now-closed] account to pay out independent contractors…They have since applied to two other banks and been rejected…Former adult performer Raylene has been out of the industry for a decade, and says she’s had her Wells Fargo account for 22 years.  She, too, received the same notice…despite the only adult industry-related payment on her account being residuals from a lifetime contract with Streammate…In 2014, JP Morgan Chase closed down many adult performers’ accounts without providing any explanation…

See No Evil (#1167)

Legalese for “get out of my courtroom, you opportunist”:

A federal judge…dismissed a lawsuit filed by a man who, as a baby, had graced the cover of Nirvana’s seminal album, Nevermind, and argued 30 years later that the iconic photo of him drifting naked in a pool had been a form of sexual exploitation…Spencer Elden…[even] accused Nirvana…of engaging in child pornography…The judge, Fernando M. Olguin, wrote in his eight-page ruling that because Mr. Elden had learned about the album cover more than 10 years ago, he had waited too long to file his lawsuit, making his claims untimely…

Dangerous Speech (#1186)

The government’s evil clown show continues in a new ring:

Oral arguments in the Lacey/Larkin appeal took place Sept. 2 before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, where the defense presented a forceful case that the government didn’t deserve a retrial…[one] issue was the testimony of California cop Brian Fichtner during last year’s…mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct…the government…repeatedly mentioned or elicited testimony related to sex trafficking or child sex trafficking, though Lacey, Larkin, et al. are not charged with such…[prosecution witness] Fichtner, who investigated Backpage previously for then-Cali AG Kamala Harris’ failed 2016 prosecution of Lacey and Larkin, was…eviscerated on cross-examination by the defense and forced to admit that the content of the ads on Backpage was legal and on its own did not give law enforcement probable cause to arrest anyone for prostitution…this point…is important because the appellate court must find that the government had a reason to sabotage its own case for the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on double jeopardy to kick in…the prosecution faced certain defeat, and so chose to throw the case, and retool its strategy for a retrial…

A Woman’s Point of View (#1201) 

Another Vermont city achieves de facto decriminalization:

Montpelier has become the second city in Vermont to repeal its antiquated prostitution ordinance in the past year…most municipalities in Vermont do not have ordinances banning prostitution [so]…repealing the language…bring[s] Montpelier in line with the rest of the state.  Though bills proposing to decriminalize prostitution were introduced during the past two legislative sessions, they did not advance and prostitution remains criminalized at the state level…

The Cop Myth (#1232)

How long will America ignore the costs of its sick worship of state-sanctioned violence?

California…[cops murder]ed nearly 1,000 people in six years…[despite] recent legislative attempts to curtail police violence by toughening the rules of engagement for officers, requiring deescalation training and bringing in outside investigators when unarmed civilians are killed [but not actually holding the murderers responsible as ifthey were non-cops]…For the sixth straight year, Los Angeles County was the setting for the largest number (172) and highest rate (27.4 incidents per 100,000 residents) of [police violence too serious to ignore] in the state last year…

I Spy (#1233)

Modern fascism has spun a terrifyingly-extensive surveillance net:

[Cop shop]s from suburban Southern California to rural North Carolina have been using an obscure cellphone tracking tool, [usually] without search warrants, that gives them the power to follow people’s movements months back in time…[cops] have used “Fog Reveal” to search hundreds of billions of records from 250 million mobile devices, and harnessed the data to create location analyses known among [pigs] as “patterns of life”…The tool is rarely, if ever, mentioned in court records, something that defense attorneys say makes it harder for them to properly defend their clients in cases in which the technology was used.  The company was developed by two former high-ranking Department of Homeland Security officials under former President George W. Bush.  It relies on advertising identification numbers…culled from popular cellphone apps such as Waze, Starbucks and hundreds of others that target ads based on a person’s movements and interests…that information is then sold to companies like Fog…

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Senator Klobuchar…is deliberately seeking to destroy [the internet].  –  Mike Masnick

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from predatory cops:

A Prairie Village [Kansas cop] was allowed to stay on the job for 19 months after department officials were alerted that he had [pressur]ed a woman for sex after arresting her…Attorney Brandan Davies said he reported to Prairie Village police in March 2020 that…Rolando Swaby had arrested his client in a DUI case and later sent text messages asking her to meet him at a hotel for drinks and sex ahead of a court hearing in her case…Davies…thought the [cop] would be fired…[but he] was allowed to remain on the force for more than a year and a half until he was investigated in an unrelated domestic violence case in October 2021.  He later resigned and lost his Kansas police license…

You Were Warned (#1116)

Monkey see, monkey do:

…a law…[pushed by] Senator Amy Klobuchar and Rep. David Cicilline…[is another] link tax bill, similar to the one written in Australia to appease (and enrich) Rupert Murdoch.  It basically says that publishers can band together, with an antitrust exemption, to demand fees from bigger, more successful internet companies…Klobuchar…is [known for]…pushing bills that fundamentally break the internet…[and her] new version of the JCPA…[does so doubly by] only appl[ying] to smaller news orgs — those with under 1,500 employees …We’re at a time when hedge funds — most notably Alden Capital — have been buying up newspapers and laying off tons of people while trying to squeeze cash out of the remaining husks.  And, this bill basically says “buy up large newspapers and cut them to under 1,500 employees”…here’s Amy Klobuchar saying…“you get free money just as long as you fire enough people first“…But, the much bigger problem is that the bill is trying to break the internet…[by] allow[ing] news orgs to…force internet companies…to pay the journalism organizations for…sending them traffic…This is ludicrous.  News orgs beg these sites for traffic.  They hire SEO people to try to get more traffic.  Now they’re also getting to FORCE the internet companies to PAY them for that traffic too?…

Torture Chamber (#1207)

Give brutal, sexually-aggressive men total power over women, then act surprised when the eminently predictable happens:

A North Carolina [screw]…was fired and arrested for [rap]ing [female prisoners]…Khalim Jovan Battle…[raped at least] two [women powerless to defend themselves from him].  He…anally [raped]…one [and]…oral[ly raped both]…

Opting Out (#1214) 

Authoritarians believe that the people they want to impose their evil upon are either very stupid or very gullible:

…California’s AB 2273, the “Age Appropriate Design Code” bill that the California legislature seems eager to pass…seemed to be getting very little attention, but after a few [Techdirt] posts started to go viral, the backers of the bill ramped up their smear campaigns and lies…and…the “Age Verification Providers Association” decided to show up in the comments to defend themselves and insist that their members can do age verification in a privacy-protective manner.  You just have to let them scan your face with facial recognition technology… they insist it’s not “facial recognition” software because it’s not matching you up to a database of your identity…it’s just using “AI” to guess estimate your age.  What could possibly go wrong?  But, more to the point, they’re basically saying “don’t worry, you’ll just need to scan your face or ID for every website your visit.”  Normalizing facial scans…seems pretty dystopian, frankly…

Thought Control (#1252)

Of course, the politicians have already got what they wanted: positive attention from censorious asshats:

The [obscenity] trial in Virginia Beach, Virginia…of…two books has ended in dismissal.  Neither Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe nor A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas meet the legal definition of obscenity…Two lawsuits…sought to get both books not only removed from schools and libraries, but removed from private sale through bookstores across the state…Th[is] outcome…will help in setting a standard…that books like these…do not meet the legal definition of obscenity [regardless of what pro-censorship fanatics may claim]…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1262)

Fentanyl is being inserted into every popular scare myth:

The…DEA…[is fantasizing about] an “alarming” trend of brightly-colored fentanyl made to look like candy that is being used to attract children…The agency [claims collaborator pigs, in other words the same people who fantasize that casual contact with fentanyl produces instant overdose that exactly mimics the symptoms of a panic attack,] began s[teal]ing brightly colored “rainbow fentanyl” [from its owners last] month…in 18 states so far…“Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst [people who cannot pay for the product, because they’re EEEEEEEEEEVUL!]” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram [bloviated]…

This is, of course, the same old nonsense cops vomit out in the approach to Halloween every year, only with “fentanyl” inserted in place of “marijuana” or other drugs, Mad Libs style.  Given that we’ve also recently seen fentanyl being inserted in place of magic “sex trafficking” drugs in social media scary tales, I’d say it’s safe to declare that fentanyl is now the subject of its own moral panic.

To Molest and Rape (#1268)

“Having inappropriate contact with a minor” is such a nice way of saying “molesting a kid”:

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Denham Springs [cop who molested]…a minor…Joseph Reid Copeland…is believed [to have fled]…the…area…

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Every member of a sexual minority with half a brain already knows that people tend to lie about their beliefs and opinions in order to go along with the crowd; it’s why so many politicians publicly persecute sexual behavior (including paying sex workers, having sex with other men, and watching porn) that they themselves indulge in.  The behavior is so typical, in fact, that I’ve formulated what I call McNeill’s Law: “The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.”  This is why polls and surveys of sexual behavior and attitudes, including the much-vaunted General Social Survey, are so notoriously unreliable:

…as I’ve written on multiple occasions, the GSS is conducted face to face and is a terrible source for any sexual data (such as “have you ever paid for sex?“) because people simply lie about sexual questions.  These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color…

So this recent article in Reason didn’t surprise me in the slightest:

…”Social pressure to have the ‘right’ opinion is pervasive in America today,” notes Populace, a social-research organization, in a report published this summer.  “In recent years, polls have consistently found that most Americans, across all demographics, feel they cannot share their honest opinions in public for fear of offending others or incurring retribution…One important, but underappreciated, consequence of a culture of censorship is that it can lead individuals not only to self-silence, but also publicly misrepresent their own private views (what scholars call preference falsification)”…

A few examples from the article:

…Whereas 59 percent of Americans publicly agree that wearing a mask was an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, only 47 percent privately hold that view…

…74 percent…privately think parents should have more influence over public school curriculums, but only 48 percent are willing to say so publicly…while in public a majority (60 percent) say discussing gender identity in public schools is inappropriate for young children (K-3), in private this is not the majority view (only 40 percent privately agree)…

…44 percent of Democrats publicly insist corporate CEOs should take stands on controversial issues, but only 11 percent believe that in private…

…In public, 39 percent of Asian-Americans say the U.S. should completely phase out use of fossil fuels, but only 13 percent privately agree…

…A 64 percent majority of Republicans publicly favored overturning Roe v. Wade, but only 51 percent agree in private…

…A 61 percent majority of political independents publicly say that whether someone is a man or woman is determined by their sex at birth, but 45 percent really believe that…

…42 percent of those 18-29 years old privately believe racism is built into the economy, government, and educational system, although 65 percent say that in public…

In sometimes contradictory ways, Americans are misrepresenting what they actually believe to endorse views they don’t really hold…

I don’t really have a concluding statement on this, because it simply provides supporting evidence for something I’ve always assumed.  Except maybe, “Most people are moral cowards; proceed accordingly.”

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If you don’t [sell people’s data to cops], someone else probably will.  –  anonymous data broker

To Molest and Rape

The media are becoming slightly more willing to call cops’ criminal behavior what it is:

A [typical and representative] Kenosha [Wisconsin cop named…Joshua Sylvester…was fired for…sexually assault[ing]…a…woman [who wrecked into] a tree…[while] driving [drunk]…Sylvester sexually assaulted her…while [lurking]…in [her] hospital [room for over two hours.  He]…also went through her phone, found nude photos of her and sent them to himself…

I Spy (The Vultures Descend)

As was predicted when news of abortion recriminalization first broke:

A Gizmodo investigation into some of the nation’s biggest data brokers found more than two dozen promoting access to datasets containing digital information on millions of pregnant and potentially pregnant [women]…at least one of those companies also offered a large catalogue of…[women] using the same sorts of birth control that’s being targeted by more restrictive states right now…Also on the market: data on 478 million customer profiles labeled “interested in pregnancy” or “intending to become pregnant.”  You can see the full list of companies for yourself

Opting Out (#1241)

This will keep getting worse until policians stop giving fanatics a heckler’s veto:

French [pro-censorship] groups claiming to represent “the children”…formally request[ed]…that online government regulator Arcom suspend Twitter in France unless the platform finds, within two weeks, a way to block minors from what the groups [declare] “pornographic” content…The coalition calling for censorship of the international platform is a patchwork of obscure organizations pursuing a self-appointed mission of “child protection” and sex work abolitionism.  Among them…[is] noted…[prohib]itionist lobby Fondation Scelles

Vulture Watching

The fact that SCOTUS didn’t foresee this is a clear indicator that their overturn of Roe was not based in legal reasoning:

…The Department of Justice…sued to stop [the abortion] ban in Idaho, wh[ich]…goes against provisions of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act…requir[ing] hospitals receiving Medicare funds (i.e., most U.S. hospitals) to provide stabilizing treatment…”Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said…DHS…Secretary Xavier Becerra.  “Women should not have to be near death to get care”…No existing abortion ban lacks an exception for a mother’s life, but some do omit exceptions for women’s health.  And…many pregnancy complications could become life-threatening while not being necessarily or immediately so.  The HHS guidance…stat[es] that regardless of what a state law says, physicians must provide an abortion if one is necessary to address an emergency medical condition…Texas sued over th[is]…and…the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas…granted a preliminary injunction against enforcing the mandate against Texas…A court in Idaho came to [the opposite conclusion]…The discordant rulings could force the issue back before the Supreme Court, if appeals courts in each district concur with the lower courts…

Thought Control (#1264)

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

A new Missouri law [criminalizes stocking] books with [what politicians define as] sexually explicit images from school libraries…it [is now] a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a $2,000 fine for librarians…to [allow] students access to such material.  The law does not apply to written descriptions of sex or sexual acts; only photos, drawings, videos, and other visual depictions…“showing human masturbation, deviate [sic] sexual intercourse,…physical stimulation of genitals, sadomasochistic abuse,” or showing human genitals.  There are exceptions for anatomy, biology, sex education, art [politicians decide to tolerate], and other images [declared] educational [by censorious politicians].  Melissa Corey…of the Missouri Association of School Librarians, [believes] the law likely will only [be enforced against art politicians dislike]…Corey said the association advised librarians to work with local school boards to best follow the law, particularly the [incredibly vague and arbitrary] exceptions for art and biology…

Winding Down (#1265)

Alas, the drug war isn’t ending; the government is simply shifting it to nicotine:

For the first time in Gallup polling, more Americans (16%) said they smoke marijuana than had smoked a tobacco cigarette (11%) in the past week…Marjiuana and tobacco usage trends have been going in opposite directions for a few decades now.  By 1985, nearly as many Americans said they had tried marijuana (33%) as had smoked a cigarette in the past week (35%).  Cigarette smoking has been declining ever since. By 2013, just 19% of Americans were smoking cigarettes at least once a week…while…38%…told Gallup they had tried marijuana…

To Molest and Rape (#1267)

Those who consort with cops are often just as awful:

…a [typical and representative] Delcambre [Louisiana cop named]…Christopher Moorehart…[has been arrested for] rap[ing his girlfriend’s five-year-old daughter on multiple occasions]…The mother…Kimberly Healy…was arrested and [charged for letting him do it and]…never report[ing him even]…after [they] broke up…Moorehart [then started fucking an Iberia Parish screw named Shelly Lynn] Friou…[who also kept the child rapes] secret…[until] the two broke up [after which she reported him to their fellow pigs as an act of vengeance]…

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The more eggs you have in one basket, the more likely the basket is to break.  –  “Mark”

If Men Were Angels 

Oh look, it’s another “youth pastor”:

A [Pennsylvania]…youth pastor has been indicted…[for] sexually exploit[ing] underage boys…Sean Higgins…has been in custody since he was arrested in October 2020.  He is accused of victimizing 13 boys ages 12 to 17…in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Tennessee…[by] pretend[ing] to be a teenage girl on Instagram and Snapchat and deceiv[ing] boys into trading images with him.  Higgins…would then…blackmail the victim to [masturbate] while he watched and recorded remotely.  The investigation began when [some of the victims]…reported [him]…to Snapchat…

To Molest and Rape

Yet another cop specifically targeting a vulnerable woman:

[A typical and representative] Ottawa [cop] who r[aped]…a [drunk, mentally ill] 19-year-old…plea…[bargained] to breach of trust…[to escape] sexual assault [charges]…He also tendered his resignation from the Ottawa Police Service…[Sundeep] Singh was one of four [cops] dispatched…after [the victim] left a party intoxicated and walked home in early February 2021, not suitably dressed for the cold weather…The[y]…took her to…Hospital…but [after treatment she was behaving irrationally and]…left…[the] hospital [on foot again]…Singh [pursued]…her home, [then took advantage of her intoxication and confused mental state to force himself on her]…

I Spy (#1184)

Your “leaders” want this to happen much more often:

Mark noticed…his toddler…son’s penis looked swollen and was hurting him…in February 2021.  His wife called an advice nurse at their health care provider to schedule an emergency consultation…by video because…pandemic…the nurse [foolishly] said to send photos so the doctor could review them in advance.  Mark’s wife [foolishly] grabbed her husband’s phone and [foolishly] texted a few high-quality close-ups of their son’s groin area to her iPhone so she could upload them to the health care provider’s messaging system…the doctor diagnosed the issue and prescribed antibiotics, which quickly cleared it up.  But the episode left Mark with a…target [painted on his face.  Our fascist system]…pressure[s corporations to do what governments are Constitutionally prohibited from doing, namely rooting through people’s private property without warrant]…Two days after taking the photos of his son, Mark’s…[Google] account [was]…disabled because of “harmful content”…Not only did he lose emails, contact information for friends and former colleagues, and documentation of his son’s first years of life, his Google Fi account shut down, meaning he had to get a new phone number with another carrier.  Without access to his old phone number and email address, he couldn’t get the security codes he needed to sign in to other internet accounts, locking him out of much of his digital life…Mark filed [an] appeal, [but because these corporations allow mindless algorithms control over human beings] Google…would not reinstate the account…[instead it snitched on him to] the San Francisco Police Department…Google [claims] the company scans only when an “affirmative action” is taken by a user…[but doesn’t bother to tell users] that includes when the user’s phone backs up photos to the company’s cloud…

Yet people often ask why I refuse to copy my data to the so-called “cloud”.

Torture Chamber (#1259)

I guarantee you that the number is a lot higher than 70, probably by at least one order of magnitude:

At least 70 girls [concent]rated in Los Angeles County…camps and [cage stacks] were sexually assaulted by [screws over]…more than three decades…a similar lawsuit [was] filed in March [by] 20 women [who]…were sexually assaulted over the course of a dozen years at Camp Joseph Scott, Los Angeles County’s all-girls juvenile detention facility.  Two new lawsuits…replace that case and expand on its accusations.  The [serial] abuse occurred from 1985 to 2019 a[s]…the same [screws assaulted]…different girls [condemned to] the facilities over the years…

The Crumbling Dam (#1262)

The feds don’t need to stop harm reduction programs when an ambitious politician will do it for them:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill legalizing “safe consumption sites” in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland…Where safe consumption sites are legal, they have proved tremendously effective…However, Newsom seems [afraid] that safe consumption sites will help the state’s drug users [at political cost to him personally]…Newsom’s veto of the bill has little to do with the efficacy of safe injection sites and instead is the result of his preparation for a possible presidential run in 2024…Newsom could be eager to present a more anti-drug, even “tough on crime” image…

To Molest and Rape (#1264)

Most rapist cops have multiple underage victims:

A “[typical and representative]” [London cop] has been jailed for 24 years after being found guilty of 13 counts of rape and sexual assault…against three girls between 1993 and 1997…[Anthony] Smith…[was sacked] in 2004 after he was convicted of gross indecency with a child in an unrelated case.  His abuse of the girls [in the current case] emerged in 2020 when one of his victims came forward, [followed by the]…other two…

Thought Control (#1265)

Texas just won’t stop plunging that ice pick into its frontal lobes:

A [cop paid to harass and spy on students in] Katy [Texas censored]…a book [in] a high school library last month…after a woman filed a criminal complaint alleging the district was providing “harmful” material to minors.  The book, Flamer, by Mike Curato, had been formally reviewed by a committee and deemed appropriate for high school students…in March…the woman…was not satisfied with th[at and so took it upon herself to censor it and enlisted the help]…of the [power-drunk cop]…

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