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The nuisance comes from drinking and drunkenness, but no one is saying close the bars.  –  Brenda, Dutch sex worker

The Notorious Badge 

I wonder when Hollywood will catch up?

The brothels look brighter, the alleyways are cleaner, and a stirring soundtrack accompanies the protagonists, but a new Bollywood film set in Mumbai’s red-light district has struck a chord with India’s roughly one million sex workers.  Gangubai Kathiawadi is a biopic telling the story of a sex worker of the same name who went from being a [coerced underage sexworker] to fight[ing] for the rights of women working in the trade in the 1950s, a battle still being fought today…Many sex workers in Kamathipura…and across India say the film starring celebrated actress Alia Bhatt shows rare understanding of their everyday struggles…“There have been so many films on women like us, but none that raised these issues,” said Kiran Deshmukh, president of National Network of Sex Workers.  “People believe what they see in Bollywood films. And this film has shown that sex work is work…that…helps us live our lives and feed and raise our children”…

Guinea Pigs (#757) 

And it can find you just as easily:

Cher Scarlett, a software engineer…uploaded some images of her[self]…to PimEyes, a facial-recognition website meant to be used to find pictures of yourself from around the web — ostensibly to help stamp out issues such as revenge porn and identity theft…the results [included]…porn…[she was coerced into making as a 19-year-old] addict…in New York in 2005…She has since tried and failed to get all of the explicit photos removed from PimEyes’ search results, despite the site saying it would scrub images of Scarlett from results…Giorgi Gobronidze…the current owner and director of PimEyes…[deflected blame by saying] “The problem isn’t that there is a search engine that can find these photos; the problem is…people who actually uploaded [the photos] on purpose”…Scarlett’s saga starkly shows how easily facial-recognition technology, which is now available to anyone with internet access, can lead to unexpected harms that may be impossible to undo…

The Prudish Giant (#1104) 

Instagram and TikTok users, take note:

Digital studies and sexuality researcher Dr. Carolina Are is asking sex workers, adult performers and others who have experienced discrimination to participate in a study investigating Instagram and TikTok’s approach to malicious flagging or reporting of “gray area” content, including nudity.  Are is seeking participants over 18 years of age who have received negative comments and simultaneously had their accounts and/or content removed…Are plans to circulate an anonymous survey and then interview specific case studies.  Those wishing to share their experience with social media discrimination can fill out the survey here

Dutch Threat (#1136)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

In November 2020, Mayor Femke Halsema announced plans to [forcibly] relocate sex workers to a purpose built “Erotic Center” on the city’s outskirts in hopes of luring bands of drunk men and general carnality away from residents to make space for new cafés, art galleries, and designer boutiques…according to the mayor’s office…“We want less dominance of cheap nightlife”…if built, it will be the most extreme measure taken to “clean up” De Wallen, which has, in recent years, already been subject to a raft of new regulations and s[urveillance]…Amsterdam’s sex workers are ambivalent about the city’s plans to relocate them.  Brenda, a sex worker…[who] met me at the Prostitution Information Center…said sex workers were soft targets in the city’s gentrification push…Iris, a coordinator at the center, said the “so-called nuisance and antisocial behavior” was just another excuse to get rid of sex workers and free up lucrative real estate in the sought-after inner city

Winding Down (#1148)

Over half of Americans now live in states with legal cannabis:

Rhode Island…became the 19th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use…[the] bill…immediately allows adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis in public and grow up to three plants at home.  State-licensed recreational sales are supposed to start on December 1, beginning with the state’s three existing medical marijuana dispensaries.  The law also requires automatic expungement of marijuana possession convictions…public consumption…will be legal in any place where cigarette smoking is allowed…The law caps the number of retailers at 33, which amounts to about one store per 32,000 people…Rhode Islanders may find it easier to buy pot from black-market dealers or from stores in Massachusetts or Connecticut, both of which have legalized recreational use.  Like California, Rhode Island will allow local governments to ban pot shops, but only through referendums and not in the three cities (Providence, Warwick, and Portsmouth) where medical marijuana is already being sold…

Opting Out (#1199)

French law provides some defense vs religious activism:

A Paris court of appeals rejected…the attempt by local War on Porn groups, led by an extremist Catholic organization, to use France’s media authority and the courts to block the most popular adult tube sites in the country…following months of…threats pressuring tube sites to implement vaguely defined age verification schemes, French media regulator ARCOM went to court…to demand that French ISPs block Pornhub…and [a number of similar sites, but]…the Council of State…issued a ruling rendering null all the activities taken up by…ARCOM in connection with the…block…the Council…specifically pointed out the role played by extremist Catholic organization Civitas in orchestrating the campaign…

Civitas is associated with the Society of Saint Pius X, the reactionary organization founded by Archbishop Lefebvre to fight modernization efforts such as performing the Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin.

The Mob Rules (#1231)

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

Shortly after the nation’s latest mass shooting…at an elementary school in Texas, the California Senate passed a bill…to allow private citizens to file suit for at least $10,000 — a bounty-hunter provision modeled on a Texas abortion law — against makers or sellers of [3-D printed firearms] or [rifles banned under California law]…

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Extortion, there’s no other way to explain it.  –  Marc Deldin

To Molest and Rape

Distorting a rapist pig’s image is almost as bad as hiding it:

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation arrested a [typical and representative] Canadian County [cop]…who…rap[ed a woman] he [had locked in a cage-truck]…David Wayne Loman [raped her]…three times at three different locations…at [least once anally]…

A Broker in Pillage (#918)

Wayne County, Michigan has openly extorted money for years with similar tactics:

…in December of 2020…the mayor…and…police chief [of Highland Park, Michigan] dropped by a 13,000-square-foot building owned by Justyna and Matt Kozbial [using the pretext of] an impromptu fire code inspection…[in reality, the politicians needed pretext to pretendto “find” a [state-licensed] marijuana grow operation…[in order to steal] the building…and h[o]ld on to it for 17 months without charging them with a crime…police never alleged there was any major criminal activity…[and] In…response to an interrogatory filed in the Kozbials’ subsequent lawsuit against Highland Park…they received a settlement offer from the town:  Stop growing marijuana and buy two [brand-new pigmobiles] for the [cop shop, for]…a…total…pcost of] about $70,000…after WXYZ Detroit reported on the fiasco, Highland Park informed the Kozbials that it would be giving them back their building.  Their lawsuit is still ongoing…

Quiet Genocide (#1157)

How much longer will the Western Establishment ignore this?

Thousands of photographs from the heart of China’s highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape, are among a huge cache of data hacked from police computer servers in the region.  The Xinjiang Police Files, as they’re being called, were passed to the BBC earlier this year…and…reveal…in unprecedented detail, China’s use of “re-education” camps and formal prisons…for Uyghurs – and…[makes it harder for Western politicians to pretend to believe its ridiculous] public narrative about…[the concentration camps being] “schools”…The documents provide some of the strongest evidence to date for a policy targeting almost any expression of Uyghur identity, culture or Islamic faith – and of a chain of command running all the way up to the Chinese [dictator], Xi Jinping…

Thought Control (#1210)

There is nothing as contagious as a bad idea:

[After the] Virginia Beach (VA) school…[board ordered the] remov[al of the book] Gender Queer from [school libraries]…a Virginia [ambulance-chaser seized upon the opportunity to]…fil[e]…suit[s] against [a] school [which stocked the book] and against the Barnes & Noble store in Virginia Beach…[because the book, and another one named] A Court of Mist and Fury are [available]…to minors…[shyster Tim Anderson,who is also (unsurprisingly) a politician, openly admitted his suit is intended as a nuisance and encouraged other wannabe censors to file] “suits like this…all over Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools”…Neither book fits the [legal] definition of obscene and neither book is pornography…

The Mob Rules (#1215)

This batshittery is virulent, and will only get worse:

The Oklahoma Legislature gave final approval…to a bill that prohibits nearly all abortions starting at fertilization, which would make it the nation’s strictest abortion law.  The bill subjects abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion to civil suits from private individuals…The measure is modeled on a law that took effect in Texas in September, which has relied on civil…instead of criminal enforcement to [circumvent] court challenges”…The bill makes exceptions for cases of rape and incest, but only if [the victims invite cops to gawk at them, ask disgusting questions, and pry into every corner of their lives]…

Oklahoma ladies: please allow me to aid and abet you in having a medication abortion at home.

Guinea Pigs (#1234)

Cops have been doing this for years, and platforms do nothing to stop it:

…a little-known [gang in the Chicago cop shop]…called the Social Media Exploitation…team…had been set up to [conspire with] the FBI [to] find [weak people who could be suborned] and [spy on citizens] using information gleaned from social sites.  The Intercept and Chicago-based transparency groups obtained more than 800 pages of emails and other documents about the [gang] through public records requests.  These show that the [gang members] were given broad leeway to [spy on] people across platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, using fake social media accounts furnished by the FBI, in violation of some platforms’ policies…

Stalkers in Blue (#1238)

This cop just keeps demonstrating what he is:

Matthew Dominguez…[the infamous Wanking Pig of] San Jose…[has] sexually harassed and assaulted…other…wom[en]n [in the past]…Dominguez…touched [one woman’s] breasts and thigh and kept trying to touch her even after she rebuffed his advances…she and her boyfriend…reported the…sexual assault…but [of course nothing was done]…Another woman…[w]as…[groped by] Dominguez…[while] arresting [her in December.  Conveniently]…the body camera footage [for the arrest is] missing…

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It was just heartbreaking to me…to see what we had become.
–  Morgan Davis

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

…Conner “Jesse” Penny…was arrested April 5…for…sexual assault of a child…[for repeatedly molesting] a girl…between 2015 and 2018.  Police did not say how old the girl was at the time or now…Since his arrest…more victims have come forward [about being]…abuse[d] by Penny between 2013 and 2021…Penny was…a youth pastor at Inspiration Church…in Mesquite, [Texas, but he has a long history of following his bliss]…as a teacher’s aide and a [youth] counselor…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1103)

Liz Brown takes a very detailed look at the current US pro-censorship cult:

…it’s a financially precarious, and perhaps even dangerous, time to be in the business of online porn…a constellation of activist groups, rooted in deeply conservative opposition to virtually any depiction of sexuality…have put considerable pressure on the middlemen who keep online porn in business.  In some cases, that pressure has led to the creation of onerous new laws; in others, it has been aided by support from powerful figures in business and government.  These groups have repeatedly sought to conflate…commercial sex…with…sexual exploitation, often with lurid statistics about exploited minors that don’t stand up to scrutiny.  Although these groups [pretend] their aim is merely to rid the web of abuse, it’s clear that their true goal is to eliminate the vast majority of adult sexual content…through a combination of legal pressure tactics, lobbying for new laws, and political intimidation…Rather than help vulnerable women, these efforts threaten to make life worse for the very people they claim to want to help—while simultaneously stifling internet expression more broadly…

The Widening Gyre (#1136)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

…In a two-part Instagram video…[Katie] Sorensen spun a [hysterical] tale about a “[not] clean-cut” man and woman who nearly succeeded in kidnapping her two young children…In reality, her frantic [fantasy] succeeded only in shining a spotlight on herself.  Sorensen’s video gained her a flood of new Instagram followers, an interview with the local news, and an outpouring of online support from terrified moms.  But police said an investigation into the incident produced no evidence that a crime had taken place.  Now Sorensen herself is scheduled to be on trial in May.  Instead of nearly being one of the extremely rare stranger abductions in the U.S. every year, the truth…[is] something less surprising: a white woman painting herself as the victim, when she is actually the aggressor…

Sorensen’s intended victims, Sadie Vega-Martinez and her husband Eddie, wisely went public as soon as they realized Sorenson was defaming them online, exposing her lies as the attention-seeking nonsense they were.  And Elle‘s article quoted above is yet another sign that the implosion of the moral panic which spawned this attempt to destroy an innocent family’s lives is well underway.

Policing for Profit (#1207)

Does anyone still believe that this is about anything other than profit?

The federal government has agreed to return more than $1 million that California sheriff’s deputies stole from an armored-car company that serves state-licensed marijuana businesses…Empyreal Logistics…[was robbed by] Sheriff Shannon Dicus’ [henchmen]…three times in November, December, and January, making off with about $700,000 the first time and about $350,000 the second time.  During the third stop, they came away empty-handed because the van was carrying rolls of coins that had nothing to do with the cannabis industry.  Since…marijuana businesses…are legal in California, Dicus handed the loot over to the FBI, hoping to ultimately keep up to 80 percent of the money through…the Justice Department’s “equitable sharing” program.  That “adoption” fell through after Empyreal sued the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration…As part of the settlement, Empyreal dropped the federal defendants from its lawsuit.  It is still suing Dicus, and the settlement does not address a separate [robbery] of $165,000 by Kansas sheriff’s deputies, who targeted an Empyreal van carrying money from state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Kansas City, Missouri, last May…

The Last Shall Be First (#1216) 

It’s good to see a few government employees with both spines and principles:

While the [Texas] attorney general’s office has gone to great lengths to defend the governor’s [jihad against trans youth] in court, the agency responsible for carrying out the investigations has been roiled by resistance and resignations…More than half a dozen child abuse investigators told [reporters]…that they either have resigned or are actively job hunting as a result of the directive…The employees, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity…said they [were]…unwilling to undertake…discriminatory investigations…but haunted by what a mass exodus of experienced child abuse investigators would mean for the state’s most vulnerable children…

Disaster (#1220)

They’ve chased the ambulance back to Texas again:

Three Texas judges for the state’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals denied…Facebook’s appeal to dismiss a lawsuit in which [ambulance-chasers representing professional “survivors”] argued the platform “facilitated the sex trafficking of minors” and is not protected from liability by Section 230.  Facebook had asked the [court]…to decide if Texas had jurisdiction over the case…The Texas Supreme Court…ruled [last] June…that Facebook was protected from several of the claims by Section 230…but also decided that some of the [fantastical] claims…could proceed [because pro-censorship fanatics like Morality in Media claim to believe them]…

To Molest and Rape (#1222)

So many rapist cops, so many underage victims:

A Los Angeles Co[p named]…Sean Jerome Essex…was arrested for [molesting a girl]…under 14-years-old, and for[cing her to blow him]…

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That post you put on Facebook…any more…like that…and it’ll be far worse than a ticket.  –  unnamed Brookside, Alabama cop

Don Wilson of the Ventures was probably the most influential rhythm guitarist of all time, putting his stamp on the surf sound of the early ’60s in a string of hits, of which this week’s video was the first.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Dave Krueger, Cop Crisis (x2), Radley Balko, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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Until somebody figures out a good way to rein-in government snoopiness, it might be better to avoid taking selfies at protests.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Thou Shalt Not (#35)

Prohibitionism is a dangerous mental illness:

Some packets of biscuits will be banned from [certain areas of] supermarkets from 2023…the new law bans [stores] from selling [foods labeled] HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt) [by government-employed puritans from displays in] checkout areas, ends of aisles and store entrances…government…[nannies justified the new law by barfing out the phrase]…childhood obesity [while maintaining laws that keep children from healthy outdoor exercise]…a [government] study [declared that most Britons are far too stupid and weak-willed to make their own food choices, so those choices must therefore be made for them]…

Torture Chamber

If there’s one thing the US needs, it’s more sadistic rapists in the military:

…Brandon Scott Price, a [typical and representative Kentucky] prison guard, was convicted of [a misdemeanor assault charge for anally raping a chained woman]…his…judge…sentenced [him]…to [a mere] 12 months in jail…but said Price could avoid jail time if he [re-]enlisted in the military within 30 days…enlistments are subject to military regulations that would require Price to seek a waiver for his sexual-assault conviction from military officials.  The military has spent more than a decade struggling to limit sexual assault among troops…[on the way back from the hospital after she had suffered] a medical emergency…Price pulled the van…over and [anally raped] the woman…then [claimed she wanted it]…

Choke Point (#611) 

PayPal needs to be buried in similar lawsuits before this will stop:

Three PayPal users who’ve…had their accounts frozen and funds [stol]en by the company without explanation have filed a federal lawsuit against the online payment service.  The plaintiffs…are…proposing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all other users who’ve had their accounts [similarly violated] and are seeking restitution, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.  Lena Evans…[ha]d been a PayPal user for 22 years…[when] the website s[tole] $26,984 from her account six months after…fr[eezing it] without ever telling her why…Roni Shemtov sa[w] PayPal s[teal] over $42,000 of her money and never got an acceptable [or consistent] reason for why her account was terminated…Shbadan Akylbekov…[explained that] PayPal s[tole] over $172,000 of his money without…explanation…[except] a letter that says she “violated PayPal’s User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy”…PayPal has long angered many a user for limiting accounts and freezing their funds for six months or more.  One high-profile case was American poker player Chris Moneymaker’s who had $12,000 [stol]en from his account after six months of being limited.  Moneymaker was already in the process of asking people to join him in a class action lawsuit before his funds were “mysteriously returned”…

Blunt Instrument (#1012)

Oh look, Texas cops are staging pogroms against migrant-owned businesses; what a surprise.  The only thing even remotely unusual about this farrago of loathsome oinking, agency denial, pious bullshit and revolting bootlicking is that the violent racist psychopaths vomit out the word “trafficking” only 5 times in a 21-paragraph copaganda screed.  By contrast, the word “illicit” (a word which characterizes prohibitionist propaganda more than any other) appears 9 times.  But given that this was published (to use the most charitable word possible for this human-centipede excretion) by the Dallas Morning News, a rag so filled with prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies that it’s an embarrassment to the entire state of Texas, that actually counts as a twisted kind of progress.

I Spy (#1086) 

In mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

…[Since] social media an easy and low-cost means of gathering intelligence…cops and their private-sector contractors snoop on us…while fishing for anything of interest…instead of curbing such abuses, many politicians want more.  “Social media has become a significant source of information for U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law noted in a report released last week…Customs and Border Protection…routinely runs the names of people of interest, including journalists and activists, through databases…For years, the FBI used Dataminr, “a third-party service that [surveills]…social media posts”…in 2019 [it switched] to ZeroFox, which offers a similar service.  Some FBI agents blamed their inability to anticipate the January 6 riot at the Capitol on the changeover…and…over the past year, law enforcement has come under pressure to engage in even more monitoring of social media because of its failure to anticipate the…riot…

Stalkers in Blue (#1180)

This disgusting article is loaded with copsucking and emotional manipulation:

A [typical and representative] NYPD [cop], who survived [a 2015 “dismissal probation” after drug paraphernalia and needles were found in his locker], was fired…after he repeatedly [sexually harassed] vulnerable women [he was] arrest[ing]…[including] wom[e]n he believed to be domestic abuse victim[s] and…sex [workers, but who]…were actually [other rolepaying cops]…investigati[ng him due to complaints]…He also used an NYPD computer to [stalk other women] …and [lied]…to [other cops]…about [his predatory behavior]…

Right from the headline on, IB Times attempts to manipulate the reader’s sympathies; the cop who repeatedly tried to get into the pants of women he arrested or “investigated” is described as a “veteran” and a “hero”.  His attempted manipulation and rape is described as “romantic”, his victims’ criminal histories are emphasized, and his other shenanigans are not mentioned until far down in the story.  It’s vile even by the standards of cop stenography.

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1204)

Cops think they can just make up their own pharmacology and demand reality conform to it:

Fentanyl that is about 50 times more potent than “what has regularly been found and tested” in the region has been recovered in Hartford, police [lie]d…[after] find[ing] nearly 40 bags of fentanyl…[near where] a seventh-grader [overdosed.  Though the boy appears to have eaten]…the drug…a…spokesp[ig preferred to oink a bunch of weird cop fantasies about how]…“this product can be deadly to anyone coming in contact with it, including absorption through the skin…fentanyl is a poison”…

Fentanyl is a life-saving synthetic drug, no more a “poison” than any other medicine.  It cannot be absorbed through the skin, and no batch is “50 times more potent” than any other; of course, this confused oinking might be attempting to convey the claim that most heroin cut with fentanyl in Hartford is only about 2% fentanyl, whereas this was nearly pure.  But it’s difficult to tell in proximity to so many exaggerations, cop fantasies and outright lies.

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The federal government is literally paying state and local police to circumvent state law.  –  Justin Pearson

To Molest and Rape

If only there were a concise word for “coerced into having sex”:

An Elk Grove [California cop], along with [his cop shop] and city of Elk Grove, are being sued by a woman who…was [raped by]…the [cop, whose identity the state is hiding so he can continue to prey on other vulnerable women]…in April, the woman called 911 to report the theft of her vehicle’s catalytic converter…When the [rapist, who was among the responding cops, discovered]…she was single, he took her number and [claimed] it would be used for the investigation…[but in actuality] he [used it to harass]…her…th[reatening] her son…if she did not [submit]…she complied [due to reasonable]…fear of retaliation…[but] called [a different cop shop]…to…report…the…rape [afterward]…

Thou Shalt Not (#642)

New Zealand cops apparently lack sufficient reasons to brutalize people:

New Zealand is [criminaliz]ing young people [who]…buy cigarettes in a rolling program that aims to make [every]…smoke[r in the country a criminal] by 2025…Each year the age limit will be increased until…[all Kiwis who smoke are criminalized]…As part of the strategy, cigarette prices have [been artificially] increased by 10 per cent every year for the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, but…the price hike has…creat[ed] a black market for cigarettes…

But just in case you thought politicians were capable of logic:

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to permanently legalise drug checking services, which will allow individuals to test the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations without the fear of legal repercussions…

So will services checking the safety of black market cigarettes be legal?

Policing for Profit (#924)

Until there are criminal penalties for this behavior, cops have no incentive to stop:

In [2016], Florida passed a law [intended to] reform…the state’s civil asset forfeiture process…But despite t[his]…Florida remains one of the most prolific practitioners of [legalized robbery, because]…local and state police can evade the new restrictions by [simply] working with the federal government [to divvy up the take]…In 2012, the Justice Department demanded that the police department in Bal Harbour, Florida—population 2,500—return $4 million in forfeited assets after audits showed the department had been misusing funds for lavish expenses, vehicles, payouts to snitches, and first-class travel…Bal Harbour police had been running a [so-called] task force…[which actually] laundered $56 million for drug cartels through undercover police bank accounts…police in the suburb of Sunrise, Florida…raked in millions by using well-paid snitches to lure cocaine buyers into town from around the country…and s[teal]ing their cash…a dozen members of the…vice squad had each made hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay through the stings…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1102) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, now with the financial backing of Morality in Media:

[A professional fantasist] and two…unnamed…[collaborators, backed by anti-sex extremists Morality in Media, have re-]filed a [previously-dismissed] lawsuit…against Nevada’s Governor [and others, seeking]…to put an end to legalized…prostitution in the state [because of their fantasies about it]…The lawsuit [bizarrely claims]…that…legalized prostitution…[is] “violating the thirteenth amendment’s ban on slavery”…Guinasso [also] argues that…prostitution [should be further criminalized because]…it…[allows women to] make a good living…

The Mob Rules

A district court judge has to do SCOTUS’ job because it won’t:

S.B. 8, the Texas law that bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, relies on a novel enforcement mechanism…It authorizes lawsuits by “any person” against “any person” who performs or facilitates a prohibited abortion and promises plaintiffs at least $10,000 in “statutory damages,” plus reimbursement of their legal expenses, if they win.  That “unique and unprecedented” arrangement …violates the state constitution’s standing requirements for civil actions, the separation of powers, and the right to due process…[ruled] Travis County District Court Judge David Peeples…His 48-page order emphasizes how the law’s “completely new” enforcement mechanism favors plaintiffs over defendants and warns that the same strategy could be deployed against all sorts of politically disfavored constitutional rights…”It is one thing to authorize taxpayers or citizens to file suits against government officials to make them obey a law, and…quite another thing to incentivize citizens or persons to file suits against other private citizens to extract money from them, with no pretense of compensating the claimant for anything”…

Since IANAL, I can’t judge whether SCOTUS arguments supporting its continued refusal to take action are specious or not.  But they’re certainly convenient.

Torture Chamber (#1189)

Arizona screws think they can cure mental illness by torture:

Day after day…Rahim Muhammad slammed his head into the prison cell door…[because he] heard voices that told him to harm himself.  But instead of providing counseling…Arizona prison staff repeatedly gassed Muhammad with pepper spray…more than 40 times over eight months [in the past year]…In one two-week period, Muhammad was pepper sprayed 15 times.  Sometimes [screws] gassed him twice a day…[or] shot him at close range with a pepper ball gun…The treatment…was recently highlighted in the [class action suit over medical neglect in Arizona prisons.  Screws]…have no psychiatric training, but nevertheless told Muhammad that his frequent self-harming behavior is a choice…and…”We’ll gas you, we’ll shoot you, and we’ll tase you until you stop”…Muhammad has spent the majority of the past seven years in…[solitary confinement]…causing [even more] harm…

Creepy Coppers

Setting an example for his underlings:

The [typical and representative] East Helena [Montana] chief of police…admitted…that he distributed child pornography in 2019 using [Facebook]…William Daly Harrington…faces a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison…[and] a $250,000 fine…[he was caught] in September 2020…[after] Facebook Messenger [told cops]…that the Facebook Messenger account…belong[ing] to Harrington….sent…child pornography…[to another] account…

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The amount of child porn [on US government computers] is just unbelievable.  –  Daniel Payne

The End of the Beginning (#1015) 

The key to breaking these evil laws is recognizing that they are punishment, not mere “registration”:

A federal judge…had harsh words for Tennessee [bureaucrats and pigs] who continue to enforce retroactive punishments against [people illegally condemned to the “]sex offender[” registry]…some of whom [were] co[nvicted]…decades before the state’s sex offender law took effect…In April, a different federal judge, also in the Middle District of Tennessee, ordered two men be removed from the…registry, finding that it was unconstitutional to [retroactively] subject them to…laws that were written after they [were] co[nvicted.  Judge Aleta]…Trauger cited the April ruling and other similar recent rulings…[including a] 2016 rul[ing] against the retroactive enforcement of a Michigan sex offender law

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Biden is trying to wrest control of the “sex trafficking” narrative back from the Trumpists:

The Biden administration…released an updated National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking…based on four pillars, prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships.  Prevention i[s actually a euphemism for “propaganda”], protection involves in[fantilizing sex workers] and [migrants], prosecution involves [more money to cops and other carceral mechanisms,] and partnerships involves strengthening [fascist collaborations with the rescue industry]…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Lockdowns just have one consequence…and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer“:

…with COVID-19 cases rising in Europe, several countries are implementing lockdowns all over again, often with clearly punitive motivations…Austria’s government announced that police would enforce a lockdown exclusively against unvaccinated citizens…in Germany…a new lockdown was announced…for unvaccinated people, barring them from almost all public places except for pharmacies and supermarkets…Though statewide lockdowns have eased in Australia, the country is constructing internment camps for those who test positive for Covid, along with their Covid-negative “close contacts”…Initially marketed to the public as a means to “flatten the curve” and “slow the spread,” lockdowns now represent one of the most draconian aspects of the perverse New Normal that has metastasized amid an atmosphere of seemingly endless emergency…an array of scientific studies and data demonstrat[e]…that they likely caused more deaths than they prevented.  The lethal impact of lockdowns was particularly pernicious in the Global South, where hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people were driven into a cascading humanitarian crisis. As the World Food Program warned in 2020, “135 million people on earth are marching towards the brink of starvation” as a result of their economies shutting down to supposedly inhibit the spread of COVID-19…

Above the Law (#1187) 

This subtitle is no exaggeration:

Over the past 14 years, the Central Intelligence Agency has secretly a[llowed]…at least 10 of its employees and contractors [to get away with] committ[ing] sexual crimes involving children…only one of the individuals was ever charged with a crime…few faced any consequences beyond the possible loss of their jobs and security clearances…CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets…One [spook molested] a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old.  He was fired.  A second employee purchased [child porn]…he resigned.  A third employee…[habitually viewed] child…[porn] while on agency assignments…the CIA took [no action] against him.  A contractor who [interacted] with an…FBI agent [fantasy role-play]ing as a [teen] had his contract revoked.  [The] only one…[who] was charged with a crime…was also [already] under investigation for mishandling classified material…The CIA [refers to allowing spooks to get away with sex crimes as]… “tak[ing]…allegations of possible criminal misconduct…seriously”…

But hey, at least the CIA doesn’t run its own child porn sites as the FBI does.

I Spy (#1188)

Why end-to-end encryption is only the beginning of security:

It is common to hear marketing language about “end-to-end encryption” and “private messaging” for basically every communications app out there…[but] not every “encrypted messaging service” is made equally…your message app may leak metadata, contacts, and even message contents.  A recently uncovered FBI document obtained by a group called Property of the People…illustrates just how important your choice of private messenger can be…Nine popular messaging applications are included in the document: Apple’s iMessage; Line, a Japanese message app; Signal, an open source encrypted chat platform popularized by Edward Snowden; Telegram, which originated in Russia and is now based in Dubai; Threema, a paid encryption chat…with servers based in Switzerland; Viber, which was developed in Cyprus and then bought by the Japanese conglomerate Rakuten; the Chinese Swiss army knife app WeChat; Meta’s WhatsApp; and Wickr [Me], which is a chat service that Amazon Web Services apparently owns…of the[se]…iMessage and WhatsApp are particularly susceptible to FBI snooping. Telegram and Signal score far better…Line and Viber are also relatively bad picks…

The article goes into detail about what information specifically the feds can get from each app.

Thought Control (Censorship Roundup)

Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars wasted to cater to a politician’s showboating:

A Texas school district pre-emptively pulled more than 400 books from its libraries for review following…[political grandstanding by censorious politician] Matt Krause…The school district said in a statement Tuesday that it was reviewing the books “out of an abundance of [fear]” to “ensure [none of our librarians can be prosecuted by violent lunatics with delusions of grandeur]…For us, this is not about politics or censorship, but rather about [protect]ing [our staff and covering our butts]”…

The Cop Myth (#1191)

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

A [cop] in Kenya [murder]ed his wife and five others in a rampage before taking his own life…Benson Imbasi…who was described as…”[typical and representative]”…first shot his wife in the neck with his AK-47 rifle before walking out of their home and “shooting at innocent members of the public”…Two other people who were wounded remain in critical condition…

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The people having the greatest sexual fulfilment were [those] who…discarded the entire package of paint-by-numbers ideas about sexuality.  –  Peggy Kleinplatz

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false rape accusations:

Alice Sebold’s bestselling 1999 memoir Lucky tells the story of a young woman raped by a stranger…Sebold went on to write the bestseller The Lovely Bones, a fictional account of a teenage girl raped and killed.  But last week Anthony Broadwater, the man who served 16 years in prison for raping Sebold, was exonerated.  Timothy Mucciante, a producer working on a film adaptation of Lucky, was fired after raising questions about inconsistencies in Sebold’s story…[and] discrepancies between the memoir and the facts of the case, to the point where he…ended up hiring a private investigator [who]…broke the case.  Broadwater’s conviction…rested on shaky evidence: Sebold had…initially picked a different man out of a lineup—and the only forensic evidence was a form of hair analysis that [even] the government now [admits is] junk science…Broadwater was [condemned to] the New York Sex Offender Registry after his 1999 release, and…remained on it until a few days ago.  His case starkly highlights the needless cruelty of sex offense registries

Between the Ears (#322)

Professionals have been telling y’all this for decades:

…truly magnificent sex has very little to do with daring feats of seduction or screaming orgasms…erotic intimacy is more a state of mind than a physical act.  In a recent study, Magnificent Sex, psychologist and sex therapist Dr Peggy J Kleinplatz and her colleagues at Ottawa University…recruited people from around the world across the age, gender and sexuality spectrum – who self-reported having had, at some point in their lives, truly mindblowing sex.  Through a series of interviews, researchers began to build up a picture of what “the best sex ever” looks, feels and sounds like…Despite the different ways each participant actually had sex, at the very peaks of the experience, everyone was feeling the same kinds of things: total absorption in the moment, deep connection with their partner, and openness and a willingness to take a few emotional risks…

The rest has the same kind of advice sex educators have been giving people for as long as there’s been such a thing (see the subtitle of this item?) but it won’t do any good, because most people just want a magic pill.

Checklist (#685)

Thought you could avoid the “sex trafficking” Gestapo by taking a bus rather than a plane?  Think again:

Denver [cops swarmed]…a Greyhound bus [on November 29th]…[they delayed the bus for hours, interrogat]ing…passengers and [root]ing [through people’s] luggage [without their consent, using the excuse of “]a possible human trafficking situation[” reported by a busybody indoctrinated by government “signs of trafficking” propaganda]…an adult female was [on the bus] and…The Denver Police Human Trafficking Unit is investigating [why she was traveling without a male]…no one has been arrested at this time…

Monsters (#863) 

All internet “porn” censorship schemes have similar endgames:

A powerful Russian [politician]…unveiled…a bill proposal that would classify all depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships in the same banned or restricted categories as pornography…[while] another [politician announced]…he had prepared a catalog of “toxic content,” using a system that labels content from “completely banned” to “simply undesirable”…Vitaly Milonov…[said] “the state…[should] not allow the broadcast of films with LGBTQ+ content”…and…Igor Ashmanov… “would flag topics such as radical feminism [and] ‘child-free’ lifestyles, as well as the promotion of homosexuality and bestiality”…Last month, an[other politician blathered toxic nonsense about]…“the rights of law enforcers [to inflict violence upon individuals for their thoughts]”…

Winding Down (#1114)

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

South Dakota voters made history last November by simultaneously approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana…Amendment A…prevailed by an eight-point margin in a state that is…largely conservative.  But thanks to…legal [obstructionism]…by [prohibitionist] Gov. Kristi Noem, Amendment A was almost immediately tied up in litigation, and…[now] the South Dakota Supreme Court [has] definitively overturned it…[on a technicality the amendment’s backers called “a far-fetched legal theory”, an assessment the dissenting judge agreed with]…unless the state legislature independently implements the policy embodied in Amendment A, the ruling means supporters…will have to try again next year with an initiative that addresses the court’s legal objections…

The Crumbling Dam (#1153)

Will the feds interfere with this as they did in Philadelphia?

In an attempt to curb a surge in overdose deaths caused by [street drugs made] increasingly potent [by the iron law of prohibition], New York City will authorize two supervised injection sites in Manhattan…New York…will become the first U.S. city to open officially authorized injection sites…other cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle have taken steps toward supervised injection but have [been blocked by prohibitionists both in and out of government]…Mayor Bill de Blasio…sent a letter to the providers promising “not to take enforcement action” against their operations and…four of the city’s five district attorneys — [in]cluding [crypto-prohibitionist]…Cyrus R. Vance Jr

I Spy (#1173)

I’ll believe Facebook is actually going to do this when it actually does it:

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s parent company…doesn’t plan to roll out end-to-end encryption…by default on Messenger and Instagram until 2023…Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, attributes the delay to concerns about user safety…[which does not]…mean…[actual safety, but is in actuality an Orwellian euphemism for copsucking]…UK…[politicians are trying to criminalize encryption in their fiefdom] and…the US…Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan…all [subscribe to mathematically-illiterate lawhead beliefs that it’s possible]…to give [pigs and spooks a “backdoor” to root around in people’s private affairs while magically preventing thugs and busybodies who don’t work for the State from exploiting the same intentional gap in security]…

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For far too long Internet users have suffered personal data abuses at the whims of Facebook and other platforms.  –  Alan Butler

Surplus Women

Deranged men may respond violently when sex workers refuse to cater to their fantasies:

…Stanley Szeliga…has been charged with [the] murder…of [a dancer named Abigail] Saldaña…in…Fort Worth [Texas]…Rick’s Cabaret [manager told cops]…Saldaña had recently been harassed by a customer he knew as “Stan.”  The manager showed the detective an Oct. 14 Instagram post in which Saldaña said she found a tracker under her car…“Stan” was irritated [that] Saldaña [would not indulge his fantasy of being her boyfriend] and had threatened to tell police she was engaged in prostitution…

Schadenfreude

Yet another rescue industry fraud has been unmasked:

[A rescue industry scam named] Saved in America has in the last four years collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from g[ullible] San Diegans and other donors at big-ticket galas…its [ringleader], private [dick] Joseph Travers, describes [the] group…[as composed of] former [pigs, spooks and jarheads] that help…families locate missing and exploited children.  Since its formation in 2017, SIA has re[leas]ed extensive publicity extolling its [own supposed] work.  Now, though, former supporters and local [politicians] are distancing themselves from the organization’s [bullshit] claims.  Multiple groups [and politicians] listed as supporters on the organization’s website…[have] ask[ed] Saved in America to remove their names.  A [politician] scheduled to receive the group’s major award at the Thursday gala said he is not attending…

Pretext

The “cops bearing gifts” PR scam is not limited to the US:

Since August 11 this year, [cops have harassed]…sex work[ers and clients] in Ganga Jamuna [the red light district of Nagpur, India, thus endangering] the livelihood of the 2,000- 3,000 sex workers there…[yet those same cops] organized a “Diwali milan” programme to distribute sarees, ration and other gifts to the women and their children…sex workers [replied by] demanding [that the] cops…[stop harassing them instead.  One] sex worker said the cops cannot justify…keeping us away from livelihood for the last three months and then offering us festive gifts…the cops…[of course] denied any strong opposition [to their scam, claiming…the majority [or sex workers were] in our favour [of starving to death while cops play generous for reporters]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1082) 

I wonder if the Illinois lawsuit had anything to do with this?

Facebook…announced…it is shutting down its facial recognition system, which automatically identifies users in photos and videos…[civil rights advocates point out that] facial recognition technology – which is popular among retailers, hospitals and other businesses for s[urveillance] purposes…compromise[s] privacy, target[s] marginalized groups and normalize[s] intrusive surveillance.  IBM has permanently ended facial recognition product sales, and Microsoft…and Amazon…have suspended sales to police [temporari]ly…

Checklist (#1158)

Airlines:  do you really want to keep accepting liability for employees racially profiling passengers due to the government propaganda you feed them?

A mother and her 10-year-old daughter were [harassed] by [cops and a bureaucrat] at Denver International Airport in October, after an air…[hostess included them in her]…human-trafficking [fantasies without their consent]…Mary MacCarthy said the suspicion was based on a “racist assumption” as she is white and her daughter is biracial…The pair were travelling to attend [a] funeral…[but] upon arriving in Denver, [they] were surrounded by two armed [thugs] and a…Southwest [agent] on the jet bridge, and were [interrogated after the crying child was]…separate[d from her mother]…the [air hostess fantasized that] it was suspicious that Ms MacCarthy and her daughter Moira were [in] the last…[airline-assigned] board[ing group] and [that a mother wanted]…to…sit together [with her 10-year-old]…daughter…[even after they were finally allowed to leave, the cops]…called [MacCarthy] 10 days later to [harass her some more]…Southwest Airlines responded [by vomiting out a lot of platitudes and the magic buzzwords]…Human Trafficking…

I Spy (#1173)

Why end-to-end encryption is an absolute necessity:

Signal has released the details of a search warrant it received from police in Santa Clara, California, unveiling the [lengths to which cops]…will [go] to force online platforms into disclosing the personal information of their users…[the cops] sought to get the name, street address, telephone number, and email address of a specific Signal user.  It also wanted billing records, the dates of when the account was opened and registered, inbound and outbound call detail records, voicemails, video calls, emails, text messages, IP addresses along with dates and times for each login, and even all dates and times the user connected to Signal…[the only information] Signal [could] provide…[was] timestamps show[ing] the dates that the account last connected to Signal…[because] “It’s impossible to turn over data that we never had access to in the first place. Signal doesn’t have access to your messages; your chat list; your groups; your contacts…or [anything else]”…[the cops] then issued a non-disclosure order that required Signal to not publicly disclose that it received the search warrant.  Th[at] was then extended four times, which resulted in Signal’s request to unseal the search warrant being repeatedly pushed back.  In total, it took Signal almost a full year before the company was able to legally publicly disclose [what had happened]…

Winding Down (#1179)

Is it too much to ask politicians to actually ban these arrests instead of merely “urging” cops not to violate people’s rights?

Detroit voters…overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative aimed at protecting people who consume “entheogenic plants” from arrest and prosecution.  Proposal E, which was supported by 61 percent of voters, makes “personal possession and therapeutic use” of natural psychedelics by adults “the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority”…Just a month ago, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a [similar] resolution…Although the Detroit ballot initiative claims to “decriminalize” natural psychedelics “to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law,” it does not affect state penalties for possessing such drugs, which…[can include] up to four years in prison and a $25,000 fine…[though a pending bill] would [truly] decriminalize the [substances if passed]…

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Cops are basically the same everywhere, because the kind of mind which thinks it’s OK to threaten or inflict violence in order to terrify people into obeying the whims of “rulers” is a very primitive, narrow one.  Of course, some governments are somewhat better at controlling their cops than others, and some are better at hiding the misdeeds of their cops.  But once the dam starts to crack, a flood of reports are wont to appear, revealing the putrid underbelly police invariably inhabit.  Since the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by typical and representative UK cop Wayne Couzens, using the pretext of COVID diktats to obtain her compliance, many other reports of rapist cops have come out despite the efforts of police officials to present Couzens as an isolated menace; one spokespig even oinked that if a woman is afraid of a cop who is trying to arrest her she should just run away (because they totally won’t call that “resisting arrest”), or call the cops to summon more cops to cover up for the one she’s afraid of, just as a gang of cops conspired to intimidate women at a vigil for Everard.  But those cops are hardly atypical, because cops’ sense of sexual entitlement is well known to sex workers:

A [London cop] secretly filmed dozens of women while posing as an airline pilot…Neil Corbel…set up fake photoshoots with models and [sessions with] escorts while…us[ing] cameras disguised as everyday items, such as a phone charger, clock, pair of glasses, air freshener and tissue box to film the women from intimate angles and while changing…He was caught after one of his victims…“became suspicious of a digital clock which had been placed on top of Corbel’s laptop computer…he had been maneuvering her into positions where her genitals would be in view of the clock.”  The woman noticed a logo on the clock and went to the bathroom to research it on the internet.  She discovered that it was being sold online as a “high-end spyware video recording device” that could be controlled by smartphones…Police discovered recordings of at least 51 women…19 agreed to make statements…Of those, 16 were models booked by Corbel for photoshoots and the other three were escorts, who consented to sexual activity but not being filmed…

Over the last four years in Scotland, 245 counts of sexual misconduct were filed against 166 cops, yet every one of these dangerous sexual predators is still loose to attack more women.  In one recent case, Scottish cop Paul Bucknall tried to arrange sex with a ten-year-old girl online, only to find out that the bad mother he thought he was talking to was a fantasy role-playing English cop; he got a slap on the wrist because he “admitted his guilt” and had “suffered for his actions” because his wife left him.

Then there’s this dude, trying a variation on the venerable “she wanted it” defense:

[Cop James Geoghegan] raped a woman after a night out despite repeatedly being told to stop…[claiming that he thought she was] “playing hard to get”…he…had been out for drinks with the woman and other friends when they ended up back at hers…the[n he]…entered her bedroom uninvited and…”pushed” [her] down on to the bed…[and] rape[d her depite her protests]…

Of course, cops aren’t the only violent profession whose leaders often cover up their atrocities:

…a group of [British soldiers training in Nanyuki, Kenya were] led to the[ir] hotel’s septic tank…[by] one of their number[, who] had just murdered [a sex worker]…The body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru would lie undiscovered…in that septic tank for two months, while her family searched for her.  By the time it was found by a hotel worker, all the soldiers who had been at the hotel had returned to the UK.  The name of the soldier widely suspected of being responsible for killing Wanjiru…on the night of March 31, 2012, was an open secret by this time…Yet the British Army has held no inquiry, and…what happened has been the subject of a cover-up by senior officers…

And just like the cops, those who participted in the cover-up think murder is funny and sex workers subhuman:

A member of the…Regiment…posted two pictures from outside the venue where 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru was last seen alive…accompanied by the caption “if you know, you know” and the soldier “tagged” a number of other squaddies to notify them…One posted a picture of a ghost emoji, to which another added the words “septic tank”.  In response, Soldier X — widely alleged in the regiment to have been responsible for the murder — got involved, posting an emoji of an angel, often used to assert innocence.  This prompted other soldiers to post “crying with laughter” emojis, followed by a cartoon image of a baby crying at a funeral, from the television show Family Guy

But go on, keep giving armed thugs power over women; I’m sure that will eventually produce different results if they’re simply given the right “training”.

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