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Posts Tagged ‘crypto-moralism’

Eradicating harm—[as now] redefined—may only amount to performance art, in which the semblance of action is all that is needed.  –  Eric Smith

Crying Wolf

This tendency has only worsened over the past decade:

The standard definition of harm has undergone concept creep…Where once the potential for harm existed in contact sports, accidents, physical altercations, traumas and so on, one might now find it while reading a question on an examlistening to a recorded debate in a classroom or encountering an opinion on social media…the broadening meaning of harm…can cause activists to spend so much time on relatively innocuous actions that they have none left for the arduous task of dealing with real societal harms like housing and food insecurity, failed educational institutions, violence in inner cities and disproportionate mortality rates…Defining harm as shallowly as many modern activists do leads them to mistake symbolic gestures for concrete strategies for change…the redefinition of harm [also] infantilizes people of color…I don’t think a world in which people of color give their power away so easily is one any self-respecting person of color would want to see…

Checklist (#986)

Your periodic reminder that Uber encourages its drivers to spy on riders and rat sex workers out to the pigs:

Uber…hire[s former pigs and spooks]…to help police catch suspected [sex worker]s…[by turning over their] uploaded information…[and] account identifiers…to…the…[pigs, referring to sex work as] human trafficking [equal to] carjackings…Uber works with the [rescue industry giant] “Polaris”…[to indoctrinate] Uber drivers [with absurd and overbroad “signs of] human trafficking[“]…

A Moral Cancer (#991)

It’s unusual for prohibitionists to admit they’re openly targeting black people:

[Prohibitionist] groups are applying…pressure on the Biden administration to institute a nationwide ban…o[n] menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products…precisely because of [their] popularity with African Americans…[even if] the law [is only] enforced against sellers…entrepreneurs would still have ready access to both cigarettes and menthol flavoring…[and] combin[ing] the two…[is a fairly simple] process…Unless the federal government attempts to turn menthol itself into a controlled substance, there will surely be many small-time sellers of menthol cigarettes meeting the demand of the millions of Americans who smoke them, including at least 77 percent of black smokers, but possibly as high as 88 percent (and around a quarter of white smokers)…Recall that Eric Garner’s [murderer used]…the petty crime of selling loose cigarettes a[s an excuse, and]…Garner’s mother, Gwendolyn Carr, became a vocal opponent of a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes in New York City [as a result]…in Massachusetts, which banned menthol cigarettes in 2020, at least one [black market]  seller is facing prosecution…the brunt of enforcement [will certainly] be borne by [black] people…

This is, unfortunately, par for the course; “progressive” campaigns to “improve” people against their will always ignore the fact that their moralistic crusades always disproportionately harm minorities, especially black people.

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A woman has sued Reddit [because] ex-boyfriend…repeatedly post[ed nude] images of her as a 16-year-old.  The lawsuit applies controversial measures instituted in 2018 under FOSTA-SESTA…The resulting case will test the limits of platforms’ legal shields amid ongoing efforts to [destroy] the law behind them.  The woman…[claims] that “Reddit knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content polices, including for child pornography”…She’s accusing Reddit of distributing child pornography, failing to report child sexual abuse material, and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act…

The Widening Gyre (#1128)

It’s ironic that the newest target of “sex trafficking” scarelore is Target:

A…Reddit…user…who writes under the username Peeky-Lou…[and is so obsessed with] human trafficking…[fantasies that] she…[carries “]several legal self-defense items[” to go shopping at Target predictably imagined that]…three men…[in the store were] follow[ing her]…“It felt as if I was being surrounded like a wild animal —hunted, even,” she wrote…The…[nitwit spent] an hour…wandering around the store, [scaring herself silly with melodramatic fantasies of]…“darkness in his eyes…an eerie smirk [and]…sinister gaze”…[when] a male employee…walk[ed] her to her car…[she] saw [something that]…”solidif[ied] all of my suspicions…A white windowless van was parked in the lot“…

To Molest and Rape (#1129)

Rapist cops are sometimes treated like other rapists if their victims are prepubescent:

A [typical and representative] Louisiana [cop] has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and sexually assaulting three girls, all less than 11 years old…David Monceaux [was sentenced] to…two life terms and a 50-year sentence consecutively…without probation, parole, or suspension of sentence…his youngest victim was 4 years old…

Predictable Consequences (#1130)

Prohibitionism is an inherently violent belief system:

A mansion owned by Feras Antoon, a Pornhub executive, was torched in an apparent arson last [week].  Police…were initially called to [the Montreal] property…at 11:30 P.M when two people were spotted trespassing…when [they] arrived…shortly thereafter they found…a…fire…so massive that more than 80 firefighters were called in and the neighbours were forced to evacuate…

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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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I thought y’all might enjoy this Twitter conversation I recently had, primarily with Matisse and Carol Leigh; it touches on a number of themes that recur frequently in my work.  Twitter conversations tend to branch, but I think I’ve managed to gather the main elements I want to share.

 

 

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How is it that the US mass media can simultaneously fret about the fraction of people who are obese, and proclaim foods or activities that promote a lower body mass to be “healthy”, yet simultaneously claim that, for women at least, obesity is “healthy”?  It’s because the word “healthy” is not, and has not been for decades, a semantically neutral one.  “Healthy” is one of the modern signifiers of moral purity, and “unhealthy” = “sinful” (as openly proclaimed on the packaging of both “decadent” and “guilt-free” desserts).  So even though obesity is objectively sub-optimal for “wellness” by medical standards, using that word in front of the Great Unwashed signifies a moral judgment on the overweight person.  In order to conform to the current rules of “wokeness”, media must proclaim that obesity is “healthy” when what they actually mean is, “Obese people are not lesser humans, and it isn’t your job to shame them for being fat.  It’s their business, not yours”.  In the popular media, “wellness” isn’t an objective word but a declaration of moral fitness, a judgement on a person’s character.  It would certainly be a lot better for society as a whole to stop pretending that illness is due to divine retribution for an “unhealthy” (read: sinful) “lifestyle” (a word long used by crypto-moralists to judge others, especially queers and sex workers).  But given the considerable energy US culture has invested in that myth (cf preachers who blame hurricanes on same-sex marriage, and busybodies who cast shame on, or even call the cops on, people for visiting their friends against politicians’ “orders”), that’s unlikely to happen anytime before the collapse of the Empire.

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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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I make way more money per hour playing a professor in the dungeon than being one in real life.  –  Mistress Snow

Aggressive Ignorance

In Florida, you can now get a “certification” in racist, misogynistic propaganda:

Florida State University has launched a new certification in human trafficking prevention and intervention…to [indoctrin]ate [authoritarians in the approved]…human trafficking [propaganda]…the Tallahassee Police Department [recently] charged over 170 people [with various misdemeanors it pretended were linked together]…into a sex trafficking network…[authoritarians and profiteers] who seek to get the certification can use what they learn and apply it to…[profiting from the] crim[inalization of consensual acts and inventing propaganda]…just like [the cops did with] this one…

Buried Truth

I think we have enough evidence to start calling this “McNeill’s Law”:

An anti-LGBTQ+ Hungarian politician has resigned from the European Parliament after being caught in what’s being described as an orgy involving 25 men.  József Szájer, who has spoken proudly of writing a ban on same-sex marriage into Hungary’s constitution, acknowledged…that he had been at what he called a “house party”…in Brussels…[which was] raided [using the excuse of] violation of Belgium’s COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings of more than four people.  Szájer was caught “shimmying down a drainpipe” in an attempt to escape police…He had no identifying documents with him and had drugs in his backpack…[but] was released with a warning after [cops] escorted him home and he produced his diplomatic passport.  Police, however, “have opened a case against those present for violating lockdown rules, as well as against Szájer for possession of drugs”…

Shame, Shame

The state believes it’s OK for its operatives to dox you, but not vice-versa:

French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party agreed…to completely rewrite a draft plan that would have c[riminaliz]ed the…shar[ing of] images identifying [violent cops], after large protests over the weekend against police violence…More than 133,000 people, including 46,000 in Paris alone, demonstrated against the draft bill and in favour of free speech…The rallies followed the publication of video footage of a Black man being beaten up by three [cops] inside his own music studio…Macron…branded [the evidence] “shameful” for France [and therefore tried to prevent it happening not by controlling the pigs, but by criminalizing the act of revealing it]…Article 24…[would have] made it a crime – punishable by a year in prison and a 45,000 euro ($54,000) fine – to share [pictures of cops] with an “obvious intention to harm” [as determined by authoritarian bureaucrats]…

Imaginary Evils (#737)

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases anywhere in the UK:

[Cops fantasize that] nearly 100…woman were [magically] trafficked into Scotland and forced into prostitution despite the ­lockdown restrictions…Fil Capaldi, head of Police Scotland’s National Human Trafficking Unit said: “[Pimps are magical ninjas who can walk through walls and pull screaming children through computer monitors, so naturally they have no trouble with travel restrictions]…Slavery is not a thing of the past, it’s happening in every local authority throughout ­Scotland…When ­international borders open up again, we will see a spike in trafficking”…he said Covid rules may have helped the traffickers keep their vile trade hidden…

So “sex trafficking” increases under restrictions, and it also increases when there are no restrictions.  It’s easy to make contradictory statements when nobody expects you to provide even the most rudimentary evidence of anything you say.

Feminine Pragmatism (#970) 

It’s good to see that the media are beginning to grasp this:

More than half of all college professors are now “adjuncts”: part-time freelance instructors who…have the same PhDs as their tenured and full-time colleagues, but who get paid low amounts on a per-course basis, with few or no benefits and little job security.  Typically, adjuncts (also known as “contingent faculty”) string together gigs at multiple colleges, which pay an average of $3,984 per course…So, many adjunct professors now find themselves needing to find significant side-work to stay afloat…Last December, Mistress Snow…wrote a personal essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “I Told My Mentor I Was a Dominatrix: She Rescinded Her Letter of Recommendation.”  The summer before the article came out, she found herself without a teaching gig—which is common for adjuncts…[so] she w[ent]…back [to] the sex trade…

Social Distancing (#1055)

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

On September 26, 2020 the Government of Ontario closed down strip clubs without warning or consulting strippers.  At the same time, other similar businesses such as bars continued to be allowed to operate.  Strippers are not demanding we be given exceptional treatment…we only want to be treated fairly.  This means being consulted about the implementation of prevention and other occupational health and safety measures at our workplaces, rather than government officials assuming we are vectors of disease that pose particular risk to public health…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Another example of how “lockdowns” cause far more harm than good:

…In sub-Saharan Africa, 16 countries have an HIV prevalence rate greater than 37 per cent among sex workers.  “To ignore HIV prevention and sex workers during an emergency is self-defeating,” said Innocent Modisaotsile…[of] the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.  “New infections and demands for ARV treatment will burden the health system.”  COVID-19 has brought hardships to sex workers in Africa…in terms of loss of income, police crackdowns, exclusion from social protection schemes, and increased violence…in the past two decades Kenya’s robust HIV prevention and care programme has reduced HIV prevalence among sex workers significantly…[via] drop-in centres (DICs) that provide safe spaces, healthcare and peer support…[but] under the lockdown [police roadblock are preventing sex workers from accessing the centres]…

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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Vanessa Peoples

I thought “I Am Woman” was vapid and silly even when I was very young and it was very popular.  I do like “Angie Baby”, but I already featured that one in Links #373, so I decided to give the video to an intentionally silly song by Mac Davis.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Lenore Skenazy, Elizabeth N. Brown, Matt WelchWalter Olson, Popehat, and Radley again, in that order.

From the Archives

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[Kamala] Harris is basically a QAnon cheerleader for people who fancy themselves too sophisticated for that crap.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

A Moral Cancer (#790)

Crypto-moralists always pretend their lust to ban things is about “health” or “safety”:

Critics are lining up to blast a report, issued by [the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory] Committee earlier this summer, that urges the government to make steep cuts to the definition of moderate alcohol consumption…DGAC…policies include everything from recommending how many servings of vegetables people should consume in a day to determining what foods to serve to troops, schoolchildren, and prisoners…The report seeks to halve the DGAC’s longstanding definition of moderate drinking for men—no more than two drinks per day—to no more than one drink per day.  (The recommendation for women, set for years at no more than one drink per day, remains unchanged)…five Harvard Medical School faculty doctors—including three who served on one or more prior iterations of the DGAC…argue the…slash…is a “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic treatment of alcohol consumption” that is based on “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic evidence”…the DGAC appears to have “ignored” three decades of research…in…[order] to support claims made by members of the DGAC prior to appointment…In other words…anti-alcohol DGAC members focused only on research that supports arguments those members wanted to make all along…

Comfort Zone (#839)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A spike in migrants moving north through Panama has [cops fantsizing] the country will become an international center for human trafficking.  Last year, nearly 22,000 migrants from Haiti, Cuba and a number of African and Asian countries were [arrested] after crossing the perilous Darién jungle along the Panama-Colombia border…The journey of a migrant…isn’t cheap or easy.  Migrants usually learn of the method from friends or family members who made the trip before them, or find instructions posted online…Often, migrants pay for smuggling through what analysts call “sponsors,” usually family members or friends already in the United States…

Down Under (#890)

Swedish model regimes would’ve instead targeted the victim for surveillance:

Michael Donald Grout attempted to blackmail…a…sex [worker], then followed through on his threat and [out]ed her [to her parents]…he…was sentenced in…Palmerston North [New Zealand]…to four months’ home detention…The victim was 18 at the time, more than 40 years Grout’s junior…Grout [claimed in court that he] became fearful for his own health after reading…an…advertisement that said the woman provided unprotected sex.  This was confirmed through an interaction with another of her clients…[but rather than distancing himself from her to protect his supposedly-compromised immune system] he obtained nude photographs of the woman and…[demanded she submit to rape or] he would send the photos to her parents…she…then…blocked the [anonymous] account [from which he was sending the threats, and he retaliated by sending]…a courier package [which] arrived at the home of [her] parents [on December 19]…her mother opened it and found several naked photos of her daughter.  Attached was a note wishing the couple a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.  “You must be proud of her,” Grout wrote…

Disaster (#1009)

The FOSTA challenge is proceeding again:

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is suing (again) to get FOSTA ruled unconstitutional…[on the grounds that it] violates the First and Fifth Amendments…Woodhull’s motion for summary judgment…also takes aim at the law’s retroactive scope—FOSTA says you can be punished for violating it even before the law went into effect [even though such laws are prohibited in Article I of the Constitution]…

The Course of a Disease (#1020)

Maltese prohibitionists are strikingly loony, even for prohibitionists:

Malta’s Prostitution Reform Technical Committee excludes [prohibitionists] who [persecute and infantilize] sex workers, [prohibitionists] w[hi]ned….“Nordic model” [fanatics are upset that]…the state [is instead considering]…decriminalisation…[the prohibitionists vomited idiocy about “]sex hub tourism[” (whatever that is supposed to mean)] and “European Thailand”…[and also] called for [persecution of] strip clubs,  a…police [rape gang, and forcible “conversion therapy”]…for…victims of [the police]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1040)

I only hope this turns out to be true:

Ongoing tests of facial recognition technology continue to show that the technology is baffled when people wear masks of the sort that have become widespread (and even mandatory) in some places during the current pandemic. Forty-one newly tested algorithms—some of which were designed to compensate for face coverings—show the same dramatically elevated error rates as those examined earlier.  The tests have important implications for privacy at a time…of political instability and growing concern over law enforcement excesses, when people may have a strong interest in making identification of opponents and protesters difficult for the powers-that-be…

A Broker in Pillage (#1068)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

What happens when innocent people stand up to government bullies who use civil forfeiture laws to steal their property?  In many cases, the bullies, unaccustomed to such resistance, fold like a cheap suit…the government returned Kevin McBride’s Jeep, which…the Pima County Attorney’s Office was demanding a $1,900 ransom for the safe return of…But the day after the Goldwater Institute threatened to sue on McBride’s behalf…prosecutors changed their tune…

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It’s awful to think how disposable [migrant] women are. – Linda Corchado

To Molest and Rape (#996)

The state is more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman:

The family of a woman whose [corpse was molested] by an…L.A. [cop]…is suing [both] the [molester] and the city of L.A.  The family of Elizabeth Baggett notes that [necrophile cop] David Rojas already has been charged criminally in the case, and that his own body-camera footage…captured him in the act…the lawsuit…[was filed by celebrity] attorney Gloria Allred…

Torture Chamber (#999)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

[Screws] in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and [raped] inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation…the [screws favored attacking women]…in areas of the [cage stack] not visible to security cameras…[any] complaint…[results in faster] deportation…[three] women [so far]…have come forward with abuse allegations [and]…at least one [more] was deported after [reporting] a [screw had raped] her…the[se]…are [only] the latest…sexual abuse complaints related to [cage stacks] run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year…About 14,700 [of those caged people reported] sexual and physical abuse…between 2010 and 2016…in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman [reported] that she…and two [other] female [captives] were moved to an isolated cell…[where] they [were] raped and beat[en by masked screws, then]…bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault…one…wom[an who escaped the cage]…because of a medical condition…told an attorney that…guards encouraged women to sign up for anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area [where they can rape them]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1017) 

Remember this when cops start bloviating about how they use the technology to catch “dangerous criminals”:

The NYPD [em]ployed facial recognition technology in its [recent st]unt [targeting] a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, whose home was besieged by dozens of [pigs] and…dogs…Derrick Ingram, the 28-year-old co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, was targeted by [thugs] in riot gear during an hours-long NYPD raid on August 7th…[using the excuse that a sow’s dewicate widdle ears got an ouchie from his using a bullhorn] during a June protest against police brutality.  More than 50 [pigs mobbed] his…apartment, shutting down his street and urging him to voluntarily surrender [for beating and caging], as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead…a spokesp[ig oinked]…that facial recognition software was used…to…”compar[e] a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos”…[but] the NYPD’s photo of Ingram appears to be taken from his Instagram page.  It’s unclear how a social media post would constitute either a surveillance video image or an arrest photo…“the tools that are sold to the public as a way to fight terrorism and violent crime [are] being used to silence dissent,” said Albert Fox Cahn…of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “We would never have seen this level of police response for using a bullhorn if the message hadn’t been one opposed to the NYPD”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1019) 

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

…ICE [recently] signed a contract with…Clearview AI…[in order to expand its] use [of] facial recognition technology…the agency, along with the FBI, ha[s long] accessed state drivers’ license databases…without the knowledge or consent of drivers…Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That…[responded to requests for comment by vomiting up wanking fantasies about “sex trafficked”]…children across the country”…Federal records also show Clearview signed a $50,000 contract with the US Air Force in December…Several tech companies have sent cease and desist orders to Clearview requesting it remove any data culled from social media posts. And the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1021) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

On July 31, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)…Campbell…was hired to work at Centerfold [in 2018] as an independent contractor, but weeks later the club management discovered her blog, stripperlaborrights.com, and the cases she’s brought against multiple past clubs where she worked.  Management fired Campbell for violating “no touching” laws—which courts later decided was a discriminatory firing…

Working From Home (#1031)

Indian sex workers, like their US sisters, are going online to survive:

…”floating” sex workers…used to travel regularly from the hinterland to Asia’s biggest red light area–Sonagachi–in north Kolkata…But in the past four months since the Covid-induced lockdown began, these floating sex workers have been reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence.  Trains are yet to resume services and travelling in private vehicles like vans and buses is expensive.  The brothels too are yet to resume business; the 7,000-odd sex workers who live in the red light area are managing somehow by providing “virtual” services online and with rations and other assistance from sympathisers…[but] for the…4,000 or so who commute to the city, their lives have become [more] challenging…The “high-class, A category” sex workers, who used to charge between Rs 25,000-30,000 a night, are now happy to negotiate for Rs 5,000 for it is important for them to stay in the business, pamper the clients.  They have spacious rooms and independent arrangements and can cater to whatever the clients demand…But for the “floating”…getting an independent space to operate is difficult…

Social Distancing (#1044)

New York apes Scotland’s approach to “helping” sex workers:

The [New York] City Council tucked $4.1 million in the 2021 pandemic-influenced budget to “support people involved in the sex trade.”  But sex workers [won’t]…see…any of the funds…none of the groups and agencies [receiving the largesse]…are run by sex workers.  And [in fact most are prohibitionist gangs]…that…don’t [even] recognize sex work as legitimate employment…As COVID-19 disrupted the industry and forced would-be customers to stay home and social distance, sex workers were left without…income and [deemed] ineligible for government unemployment relief…The organizations that got funding, ranging from $85,000 to $650,000…[largely] focus on [working with cops to harass]…sex [workers]…and [target them for arrest and forced brainwashing]…

Social Distancing (#1055)

A “compromise” only bureaucrats and politicians could find reasonable:

Berlin’s brothels were [finally] allowed to reopen…months [after similar businesses such as hairdressers, massage parlours, gyms, tattoo shops, and saunas] – but [intercourse] is [still verboten by diktat]…clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with [hand jobs] until regulations are further relaxed in September…In July…[sex workers] staged a protest outside the Bundesrat upper house of parliament in Berlin, complaining that [discriminatory] restrictions were preventing them from making a living [legally]…

To Molest and Rape (#1060)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

The former head of the Boston police union…sexually abused a girl over five years, beginning when she was 7.  Patrick M. Rose Sr…[repeatedly molested] a [now] 14-year-old girl…from the time she was 7 years old until she was 12…Rose…[tried to] flee…[but was caught when] State Police [used software to access the location data from] his phone…and [caught him at] a Needham [Massachusetts] hotel, where they arrested him [last week]…Judge Kathleen Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered that Rose wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from the alleged victim and other children under 16, and surrender his passport, any guns that he might have and his license to carry a firearm…

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