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Posts Tagged ‘fascism’

Unless you’ve been incommunicado for the past week, I’m sure you’ve heard the news about the draft SCOTUS opinion which would overturn Roe v Wade, written by the court’s arch-authoritarian, Samuel Alito.  I’m not going to attempt to analyze the opinion myself, because others who are far better at such things than I am have already done so.  I will, however, point out that, given that the government has been undermining civil rights for decades and has repeatedly refused to recognize women’s right to self-ownership in any matter related to sex or reproduction; and given that so-called “feminists” have been fighting against women’s sexual autonomy in every way but abortion since the 1980s; and given the increasingly-barbaric manifestations of Americans’ collective descent into child-cultism; and given the unrelenting efforts to use women’s biology as a means of subjugation; that this is hardly surprising, platitudes about “settled law” notwithstanding.

Predictably, the leak has already spawned a wave of opportunistic authoritarianism, some examples of which didn’t even wait for the annoucement:

The Oklahoma House approved a…bill…that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.  The law would take effect immediately, cutting off access for patients from Texas who have flooded into Oklahoma since a similar law passed there last fall.  Coming ahead of a highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion…the Oklahoma measure shows that states are not waiting for the high court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision enshrining abortion rights before acting to restrict the procedure within their own borders…

Naturally, my native state couldn’t allow anyone else to outdo it in totally bat-shit-crazy violent authoritarianism:

…the Louisiana House advanced a bill…that would classify abortion as homicide and [encourage] prosecutors to criminally charge patients…the bill could also restrict in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception because it would grant constitutional rights to a [zygote] “from the moment of fertilization.”  Discussing the legislation less than 48 hours after the leaked Supreme Court draft proposing to overturn the 1973 ruling that has protected abortion rights, [politicians and other authoritarians] who spoke in support of the bill appeared energized by the prospect of a long-sought imminent victory [against women’s bodily autonomy]…

And of course, “sex trafficking” fetishists are attempting to hitch their collapsing fantasy to this dramatic expansion of the police state by reviving a long-moribund myth that never gained much traction:

A Florida [politician fantasized aloud] at a town hall meeting that a ban on abortion can help victims of human trafficking escape their captors…Ileana Garcia…[wa]s seen [making furtive movements in her crotch while] answering a question on why she didn’t support an exception to the state’s new 15-week abortion ban for women who are victims of rape, incest or human trafficking…“When the girl or the woman gets pregnant, and they can’t make her get an abortion or she doesn’t want to get an abortion or they can’t get her to a place to get an abortion, they…release her from the human trafficking ring,” Garcia [pant]ed…

And how could any expansion of the police state succeed without a corresponding expansion of fascist surveillance?

A location data firm is selling information related to visits to [abortion] clinics…including Planned Parenthood facilities, showing where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they then went afterwards…customers could include [the cops, governments of oppressive states, opportunists looking for people to target with Texas-style lawsuits, and] anti-abortion vigilantes as well…The company selling the data is [called] SafeGraph…[it] obtains location data from [spyware secretly included in ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones…[among its existing customers is] the CDC, [who] bought $420,000 worth of SafeGraph data for a laundry list of COVID-[excused surveillance schemes]…Google banned SafeGraph from the Google Play Store in June

Obviously, this is just the beginning; expect a lot more stories under this heading in the next few months.

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Following a person’s movements 24 hours a day, day after day, will tell you where they live, where they work, who they spend time with, and who they are.  –  Nate Wessler

Bullies With Badges

Big heroes prove their manhood by terrorizing women:

[British cops] have been…ignoring the law in order to…bully, harass and intimidate…sex workers…[they have] raid[ed] sex workers’ premises [without warrants] and [refused] to identify themselves…In one [case, the cops]…shouted that “prostitution was illegal in the UK, told [their victim] that she was mentally ill, [ransack]ed the flat and [stole] her phones…a personal book containing her email address, passwords and phone numbers”…and [her] towels…claiming they needed to check them for semen…“After this aggressive and unreasonable behaviour officers then bizarrely asked Ms B if she was trafficked,” [Niki] Adams [of ECP] wrote…A spokesp[ig claimed the cops]…did not need a warrant as they were carrying out a routine welfare check…They [lied that their victim voluntarily] invited [them] inside…[the spokespig also oinked out the word “]safeguarding[“, which is a UK cop euphemism for arrest]…

To Molest and Rape

In which “child” is used to mean “teen” and “gang-like group” is used to mean “gang”:

[Cops] in an exclusive Santa Ana Police [gang]…who share…skull tattoos have [repeatedly brutalized and molested citizens]…both [while wearing their magical clown costumes] and [not, and unsurprisingly] faced no [consequences of any kind]…Five of…[them] were [observed by numerous witnesses] verbally harassing [and molesting] two teenage girls…at a…restaurant [in 2020].  In a 2021 incident, [a politician named] Johnathan Hernandez reported seeing…[two of them] holding a struggling woman [down] in a parking lot…[while] groping…and [verbally abusing]…her…

While I sympathize with the desire to make these thugs look as bad as possible, infantilizing victims of sexual assault does not help them.

Stalkers in Blue

Even seemingly-consensual sex with a cop may be something else:

A…Belchertown [Massachusetts cop named]…Michael Beaupre…pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of unlawful wiretapping and 10 charges of photographing an unsuspecting nude person…Beaupre’s [girlfriend]…discovered a thumb drive at his home, which contained a folder of images of her naked, including performing sexual acts.  Those videos were taken without her knowledge…[and] permission [and directly against her] consent…Beaupre had previously asked her if he could film their sexual activities and that she “emphatically stated no”…[cops also] discovered…”approximately 60 folders with women’s names,” and that those folders contained hundreds of videos…13 [of the] folders…[contained] surreptitious recordings…[and] they were able to identify seven of those women…filmed from several devices in Beaupre’s bedroom and downstairs in his living room…between 2017 and 2021…

I Spy (#1064)

Modern fascism has spun a terrifyingly-extensive surveillance net:

According to Brendon Clark of Anomaly Six…the combination of its cellphone location-tracking technology with the social media surveillance provided by Zignal Labs would permit the U.S. government to effortlessly spy on Russian forces…or…track Chinese nuclear submarines.  To prove that the technology worked, Clark pointed A6’s powers inward, spying on the National Security Agency and CIA, using their own cellphones against them…there’s a good chance that A6 knows an immense amount about you.  The company is one of many that purchases vast reams of location data, tracking hundreds of millions of people around the world…without [thei]r knowledge or informed consent, relying on disclosures buried in the legalese of the sprawling terms of service that the companies involved count on you never reading…

To Molest and Rape (#1189)

Remember when the UK claimed it could protect women from predatory cops by paying other predatory cops to lurk in clubs?

A [Scottish cop] is to go on trial facing charges of sexual assault in Aberdeen and Dundee.  Ross Campbell…a[ssaulted seven women]…at various nightclubs…in 2019 and 2020…He [claims they either all wanted it or are lying]…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1202)

At least some reporters are finally getting skeptical of this popular excuse for bad behavior:

Daniel Andrew Karas…confessed to [talking dirty online to a cop fantasy role-playing online as a 13-year-old girl, but blamed it on an imaginary “]crippling adult porn addiction[“.  In court, he self-indulgently went on at great length about his religious beliefs]…and…bizarre[ly claimed that]… “pornography can even be a source of domestic violence, because if they don’t get what they see on porn from their partner then they could get violent”…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1208)

Politicians are always happy to indulge cops’ violent fantasies:

…Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost is [attempt]ing [to panic citizens about]…Nitazenes, [moronically labeled] “Frankenstein Opioids” [by prohibitionists.  The drugs are supposedly]…more than 40-times [as potent as]…fentanyl…Nitazines are not approved for medical use anywhere in the world but are currently being made in secret labs [due to the Iron Law of Prohibition.  But rather than telling the truth, that the War on Drugs is to blame, Yost preferred to repeat childish campfire tales about how cops] who just touched a little fentanyl immediately fell out, overdosed and were rushed to the hospital…[even though fentanyl cannot be absorbed through the skin]…

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The decision of whether or not to install surveillance cameras at a business should be up to the owner.  –  Erica Smith Ewing

To Molest and Rape

Protecting and serving rapists:

A…Vicksburg, Mississippi…[cop named]…Derrick Dotson…resigned about a week after being [given a paid vacation for raping a woman.  Another cop named Jessie Harris]…who was already on probation from an earlier incident, was fired for [trying to cover up his buddy’s crime].  The [assault came to light when]…the…victim[, Ejeane Lewis, reported]…in a now-deleted Facebook post that she was sexually assaulted in the back of a p[igmobile]…behind an “abandoned hospital” by the [rapist cop], who “turned his cameras and radio off”…

Panopticon (#914)

Houston isn’t satisfied with waiting for useful idiots to grant them access:

…the Institute for Justice (IJ) calls on Houston officials to repeal an Orwellian ordinance that requires various businesses to install surveillance cameras at their own cost and turn footage over to the police without a warrant…Any business that does not comply…would be subject to fines of $500 per day.  The law requires “bars, nightclubs, convenience stores, sexually oriented businesses, and game rooms” to install surveillance cameras with sufficient lighting at all places where customers are permitted, keep the cameras running 24/7 and store all footage for at least 30 days.  Upon [demand] from police, businesses will be forced to turn their footage over within three days…some local bar owners raised concerns that it was arbitrarily targeting their businesses, and that many could not afford to comply if it becomes law…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

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

Police in the US have [murdered] nearly 600 people during traffic stops since 2017…including…a…disproportionate…[percentage of] people of color, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence…About 10% of the roughly 1,100 people [murder]ed by police each year involve traffic violations, the group found…There has been renewed scrutiny of traffic stops since the 4 April killing of [Patrick] Lyoya…[who] was shot in the back of the head…for having a mismatched license plate…Daunte Wright…was [murdered]…for…a hanging air freshener; Sandra Bland…was [murdered] for failing to signal; and…Philando Castile [was murdered because a racist cop claimed he couldn’t tell black people apart]…Some of the deadly traffic cases tracked this year include a Miami man [murder]ed for an expired tag, a Milwaukee man [murdered for] failing to signal and an Oregon man…[murdered for pulling out of] a parking lot…

Creepy Coppers

Seems like a significant fraction of child porn is spread by cops:

A Daytona Beach [cop named]…Brandon Fox…is facing seven counts of possession of child pornography…[after he was caught] sharing…images and videos of sexual acts involving children under 10…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1214)

There won’t be any shortcut to stopping Clearview:

…Scraping publicly accessible data is legal, according to a…ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals…in a long-running legal battle brought by LinkedIn aimed at stopping a rival company from web scraping personal information from users’ public profiles. The…Court…found that scraping data that is publicly accessible on the internet is not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act…which governs what constitutes computer hacking under U.S. law.  The…decision is a major win for archivists, academics, researchers and journalists…But there have been egregious cases of web scraping that have sparked privacy and security concerns.  Facial recognition startup Clearview AI claims to have scraped billions of social media profile photos, prompting several tech giants to file lawsuits

Torture Chamber (#1229) 

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

…For incarcerated persons, few experiences are as degrading as the strip search…a…humiliating…reminder of your total inability to control access to the most intimate parts of your body.  Even worse is what people in prisons call the “credit card swipe,” the practice of sliding a gloved hand between a person’s buttocks.  [It] is…indistinguishable from sexual assault…especially…[because] guards use this practice…as a form of punishment…a means of control…and provoking a reaction that might lead to pretext for a beating or other punishment…these degrading searches almost certainly undermine institutional security, to say nothing of rehabilitative goals.  Ultimately, rather than cowing the defiant, unnecessary strip searches are likely to inflame opposition and defiance of authority – exactly the opposite effect intended…

The Last Shall Be First (#1229) 

At least Florida’s anti-trans crusade isn’t as psychopathic as Texas’:

…the Florida Department of Health [has] released guidelines that advise no treatment of gender dysphoria for children and teenagers outside of counseling…[it advises] against…prescription of hormone therapy or puberty blockers…[and even] things like using a different name, pronouns or style of dress…It…[is un]clear what effect the state’s guidance could have on physicians treating children and teens with gender dysphoria…research shows that gender-affirming care like social transitions and hormone therapy can improve the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents…

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[Your data is] pretty much all available to the government in one form or another.  –  Jennifer Lynch

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…the state of New Hampshire [is still trying to hide]…the disciplinary records of a [rapist cop who was] fired for misconduct…Haden Wilber…[pretend]ed [that]…a Maine woman…had drugs hidden inside her body [as a pretext for repeatedly sexually assaulting] her[, filing false criminal charges against her, abducting her and keeping her locked in a cage for] 13 days…The charges were ultimately dropped…Last year, the state paid the [victim] $212,500 to settle a lawsuit [over] Wilber[‘s gross] violat[ion of] her [person and] rights…A State Police internal investigation found Wilber had also illegally searched the woman’s phone without a warrant and [lied to cover his crimes]…

A Woman’s Point of View

In Rhode Island’s case, this would be re-decriminalization:

Rhode Island is the latest locale to mull decriminalizing prostitution, with two different bills…getting hearings in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee…S2713, drafted by…COYOTE RI…[and sponsored by politicians] Cynthia Mendes…and Jeanine Calkin…would [actually] decriminalize selling sex, paying for sex, and a number of other [related] consensual activities…[meanwhile,] S2716…would [actually create somehing closer to legalization.  Buying and selling sex would be]…civil violation[s] punishable by…fine…and [forced subjection to]…”examin[ation]…for venereal disease”…

To Molest and Rape (#1138)

High union rank is another thing rapist cops often have in common:

The vice chairman of the D.C. Police Union is currently under investigation [for sexual assault] and has been stripped of his police powers…Medgar Webster…committed the crimes twice at a Southeast, D.C. Whole Foods…one of those a[ssaults]…took place on April 2…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#1185)

I’m sure THE CHILDREN!!!™ are safer now:

Former boxing champion Mike Tyson has been capitalizing off his notorious 1997 ear-biting incident, in which he chomped down on opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear, by selling THC-infused edibles shaped like ears with a bite chomped out of them.  His company, Tyson 2.0…plans to expand these “Mike Bites” to more states this year. But that won’t include Colorado [because] a 2016 state law prohibits marijuana edibles from being shaped like humans, animals, fruit or other objects that could attract children…

Because everybody knows that every person under 18 is so irresistibly drawn to any exposed body part, they will instantly run up and attempt to eat that part, and the only way to prevent it is for everyone over 18 to wear burqa-like garments that expose absolutely no flesh whatsoever.

Creepy Coppers

This one really was a “former” cop:

Andrew Vernon…a retired [cop], paid a 14 year old girl to pose in sexually explicit positions and uploaded these to a pornographic website…[other cops] found images on his laptop of teenage girls…[and] an adult woman who[m] he secretly recorded taking a shower…Vernon has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment…he…claim…to [the girl that he had] erased them all, when in reality, he had…uploaded some to an amateur porn…website…police recovered a total of 441 images from his laptop, USB and SD cards…

I Spy (#1206) 

In mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

It was revealed last week that hackers obtained the information of some Apple and [Facebook] users by forging an emergency legal request, one of several mechanisms by which [cop shops] can…demand that tech companies hand over data such as location and subscriber information…privacy advocates [explain]ed [that] the forgery was a warning sign that the system is in need of reform…An emergency legal request, like the one the hackers forged…doesn’t require a subpoena or warrant, [and judges tend to rubber-stamp the ones that do]…Here are some of the main ways [cops] can get hold of your data [without your consent]…

You Were Warned (#1224)

These attempts to destroy the internet are just going to keep getting worse:

…the Kids Online Safety Act of 2022 (KOSA)…would [invent]…a new legal duty for platforms to [censor]…a wide collection of content [and establish] that platforms can be sued…if young people encounter it…[the law would create] an elaborate age-verification system, likely run by a third-party provider…[and demands platforms create] parental controls, turned on and set to their highest settings [by default]…The parental controls would…require a vast number of online platforms to create systems for parents to spy on—and control—the conversations young people are able to have online, and…likely result in further tracking of all users…in order to avoid liability…nearly every online platform would [be forced to] hide or remove huge swaths of content…KOSA would apply to anyone under sixteen—an age group that child rights organizations agree have a greater need for privacy and independence than younger teens and kids…KOSA’s incredibly broad definition of a covered platform would include…everything from Apple’s iMessage and Signal to web browsers, email applications and VPN software, as well as platforms like Facebook and TikTok…

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Is there anything they wouldn’t sell this mass surveillance for?
–  Jack Poulson

A Broker in Pillage

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

Carl Nelson and Amy Sterner Nelson…[w]ere…[forced to sell] their house and their car, liquidate…their retirement funds, and move…their family of six from a comfortable West Seattle home to Amy’s sister’s basement after the FBI s[tole] almost $1 million from them in May 2020…The[y looted]…nearly every corner of the Nelsons’ world, including…the savings Amy racked up from her decade as a practicing attorney…[even though] the[y]…never even suspected Amy of committing any crime.  It was…Carl—a former real estate transaction manager for Amazon—w[hom]…they accused…of showing favor to certain developers and securing them deals in exchange for illegal kickbacks…the…years-long investigation into Carl’s alleged fraud has not yielded an indictment.  Yet no such thing was necessary for the federal government to wreck the Nelsons’ lives…Last week, the government agreed to a settlement:  Of the original approximately $892,000 it seized, it will return $525,000…and…[keep] about $109,000. (The remaining sum has been depleted by court fees)…Carl is still a defendant in a massive federal lawsuit against Amazon, and they accepted the deal so that they’d have money for attorneys’ fees…

To Molest and Rape (#989)

I won’t be surprised if his sentence is shorter than this:

Cynthia Perkins…faces 41 years in prison after taking a plea deal…in exchange for testifying against her [child rapist cop] ex-husband, Dennis…[who] manipulated…her…[in]to commit[ing]…horr[ible] crimes [ranging from rape to child porn to mixing his semen into cupcakes which she fed to her students]…Cynthia…could have faced 72 years in prison.  However, 68 of the remaining charges against her were dropped…she has no possibility of parole…and…waived any right to appeal…

What was the advantage to her in agreeing to what amounts to a life sentence without parole?  Does she honestly think she’ll have any kind of life after getting out of prison at 77, assuming she lives that long once the other prisoners figure out who she is and what she did?

Something Rotten in Sweden (#1112)

California’s annual anti-whore pogrom did a lot more damage this year, thanks to federal collaboration:

More than 200 sex workers were arrested as part of an [annual pogrom] that police [sell to the ignorant] as an attempt to save people from human trafficking.  The arrests—part of a Super Bowl-adjacent collaboration between Los Angeles law enforcement and the feds—represent an all too common theme in U.S. law enforcement, where people claim to be helping sex workers while actually subjecting them to harm.  The…[pogrom is] christened with the creepy name “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild”…now in its seventh year…[Pigs merrily oinking about all the lives they ruined were] joined by representatives of…Morality in Media…214 people were arrested for allegedly selling sex and 201 people were arrested for allegedly trying to pay for sex…only 53 people were arrested for pimping, pandering, or supervising prostitution. And it’s unclear if any of these individuals were engaged in anything that we might think of as abusive or non-consensual behavior…most of the arrests—445—were for misdemeanors…

To Molest and Rape (#1142)

Imagine how many others like this are still out there, raping and murdering:

The suspect in a 1983 cold case murder is…a [cop] who worked in several counties…in Central Florida.  St. Lucie County…cold case squad found evidence that [dead] deputy James Harrison raped and murdered an 11-year-old girl…[and] could be responsible for more unsolved cases.  He died of cancer in 2008…11-year-old Lora Ann Huizar disappeared while walking home from a gas station.  She was found in a nearby drainage ditch.  Detectives… believe [Harrison] kidnapped, raped and killed her…witness[es] report[ed that]…Harrison [was] watching the girl…[Sheriff Ken] Mascara…[claims] he was concerned at the time that Harrison showed a pattern of inappropriate behavior with young girls…his complaint w[as dismissed by a]…supervisor [who opined] that, since Harrison was also a preacher, he was “spiritually mentoring children at risk”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1182)

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

The facial recognition company Clearview AI is telling investors it is on track to have 100 billion facial photos in its database within a year, enough to ensure “almost everyone in the world will be identifiable”…Those images — equivalent to 14 photos for each of the 7 billion people on Earth — would help power a surveillance system that has been used [to abduct] and [terrorize many] thousands of [people by cops, spooks,] and [other] government [operatives] around the world.  And the company wants to expand beyond…[fascist operations to purely corporate ones], saying in the presentation that it could monitor “gig economy” workers and is researching a number of new technologies that could identify someone based on how they walk, detect their location from a photo or scan their fingerprints from afar…With $50 million from investors, the company said, it could bulk up its data collection powers to 100 billion photos, build new products, expand its international sales team and pay more toward [buy]ing…poli[ticians so as] to “develop favorable regulation”…

Creepy Coppers

The only thing cops seem to love as much as raping kids is collecting kiddie porn:

In less than two weeks, two Sioux Falls [South Dakota cops]…have been arrested for child pornography…On Wednesday, February 16, Matthew Alan Jock was…charged with five counts…and…on February 8…Luke Schauer, a[nother typical and representative cop], was…[charged with] “attempted production”…[spokespigs fell all over themselves to distance themselves from the pair and oink about “bad apples”]…

Meanwhile, a few states to the southeast:

Ohio…[cop] Kevin A. Kovacs…pleaded guilty…to transporting and possessing child pornography…between April 2015 and July 2017, Kovacs uploaded more than 300 images and 2,200 videos depicting child pornography to his Dropbox account.  Videos featured the sexual abuse of children as young as toddler aged.  One video depicted a toddler…whose arms and legs were bound by black tape…In total…Kovacs possessed more than 780 images and 5,100 videos of child pornography…[his] plea…includes an agreed upon sentencing range of 60 to 240 months in prison…

The Mob Rules (#1209)

Until SCOTUS acts, this will only get worse:

A Texas-style abortion law is advancing in Idaho…SB 1309…would authorize the father, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or sibling of a fetus aborted after [fetal cardiac activity can be detected] to file a civil lawsuit against the doctor at any time up to four years after the abortion, and get $20,000 minimum damages plus attorney fees…”It’s unconstitutional on its face,” state Sen. Grant Burgoyne…said. “I think that the state of Idaho is in for another rough ride on…abortion litigation, and an expensive ride, and an unconstitutional ride”…

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The online safety bill presents a clear attempt to age-gate the internet.  –  Mark Johnson

To Molest and Rape

It’s pretty rare for reporters to actually use the word “rape” when the rapist is a cop:

Atlanta [cop]…Lionel Joseph Dely…rap[ed] a woman in her…apartment…Jan. 31 shortly after…Dely…[tricked her into admitting him by belching out the magic word “]investigation[“.  A spokespig oinked that]…Dely [didn’t have]…official [permission]…to [commit rape]…

Safe Position

Prior to 2018, it wasn’t even safe for a politician to support human rights for sex workers, much less admit to being one:

As I prepared to enter the political world as a candidate, I made promises that I would not leave anyone behind and that I would be honest about my experiences, including my time working as a stripper during college…I was afraid if I told anyone I would be stigmatized.  I feared getting kicked out of school, losing my friendships, and being denied a future in the career I was working toward…After coming forward in the campaign, the soccer club I worked for through this pandemic confronted me about sex work on my campaign’s social media platform.  They asked me to remove my statements while…removing me from both the teams I coached…My story is not unique.  So many examples exist that highlight the stigma and job loss that impact individuals, especially women when their past or current involvement in sex work is revealed

HIV Cure (#920)

Previous cures were accomplished by bone marrow transplant:

A woman in the New York City area appears to have been cured of…HIV…[she] has shown no detectable signs of the…virus in extensive testing since she stopped antiretroviral treatment in October 2020 following a transplant of stem cells with a rare genetic mutation that blocks HIV invasion…The woman, who had a form of leukemia, received a transplant of stem cells from an adult relative and umbilical-cord blood from a newborn to whom she wasn’t related.  The treatment is likely to be suitable for a broader range of people than are the transplants that beat HIV back in three other patients, because cord blood doesn’t have to be a precise genetic match to a recipient patient…

Welcome to the Future (#944)

Conditioning kids to accept constant, intrusive surveillance:

…GoGuardian…[is] a s[urveillance]…tool for monitoring what students do during Zoom classes…it…[euphemizes the atmosphere of distrust this creates] as [a]…”digital learning environment…where every student can thrive”…Defenders of [such] programs [barf up the usual platitudes about “safety”]…but…[the] tools also collect data related to non-life-threatening behavior…most kids probably don’t want school administrators reading their journals…and…if students feel they are being watched, they may be less likely to explore less “acceptable” ideas or to search the internet with questions they are embarrassed to ask in class…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1120)

Even if Clearview itself is brought down, the djinni is already out of the bottle:

Face surveillance is a growing menace…and…one of the worst offenders is Clearview AI, which extracts faceprints from billions of people without their consent and uses these faceprints to help police identify [people they wish to target for]…violence.  Clearview’s faceprinting violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…which requires opt-in consent…Clearview now faces many consolidated BIPA lawsuits in federal court.  It also faces another suit, brought by the ACLU…in state court…the judge in the federal cases rejected Clearview’s First Amendment defense, denied the company’s motion to dismiss, and allowed the lawsuits to move forward.  This is an important victory for our privacy over Clearview’s profits…

Rotting Fruit (#1187)

Oh, oh, my goodness me, who could ever have predicted this outcome?

Prince Andrew and his accuser Virginia Giuffre have settled out of court in the civil sex assault claim filed in the US…the…lawyer[s]…wrote jointly…to say that the parties had “reached a settlement in principle”.  Court documents show the duke will make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”…

Opting Out (#1194) 

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

U.K. government officials confirmed…that social media sites “hosting large amounts of pornographic material, such as Twitter and Reddit” would have to “introduce systems to remove adult material in the U.K., or introduce age checks to determine whether users are over 18″…This is one of the first official confirmations that the measure has as eventual targets not only “pornographic websites”…but also any website that tolerates sexually explicit content.  Eradicating adult content from open platforms has been one of the core objectives of the leading religiously inspired, U.S.-based groups that are at the forefront of the War on Porn, including [Morality in Media] and Exodus Cry and their mouthpieces…

The tagline above was drawn from this article, demonstrating just how much more acceptable censorship has become to the hoi-polloi in only 4 years.

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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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Slang terms come and go; sometimes they enter the vernacular on a more permanent basis, but more often the fade away once their season is done, and using them after that time tends to mark someone as not at all “with it”, to use one example from my youth.  But as you might suspect from someone who was invited to a conference of freethinkers, I don’t much care if young people think it’s funny when I use words like “chick”, “square”, and “dig” without a hint of irony (I’ve even been known to occasionally use “groovy”), just like I didn’t much care if adults disliked it when I used them as a kid.  There’s one term from my youth, though, which has pretty thoroughly vanished from popular use despite being as necessary now as it ever was, and perhaps even more so: “The Establishment”.  It was first used in this sense by British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in The Spectator (September 1955) wrote:  “By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised.”  The Establishment, then, includes politicians, cops, bureaucrats, banks, well-connected corporations, institutions, academia, NGOs, the mainstream press…all the interconnected parts of the fascist regimes which act collectively to corral people into easily-managed herds.  Most people nowadays, especially (but not limited to) those in the chattering classes, like to pretend that these institutions either act separately, or can be cleanly divided into “wings”; those who buy into this fantasy think it’s perfectly reasonable to be against “capitalism” without also being against centralized government, or believe that institutions which mouth popular “woke” jargon are truly against the larger institutions which pay their bills, or imagine that a TV news network which airs propaganda for one of the so-called “wings” is different in some substantive way from one which prefers to air propaganda for the other “wing”.  But as I’ve discussed many times, this is nonsense; the machine of authoritarianism is vast, complex, and has many parts which seem separate or even adverserial to shallow thinkers, but in reality all work together (sometimes by design, but more often by necessity) to either reduce all individuals to soulless parts of that machine, or else crush those who refuse to be used thus into pulp.

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Those in government office a[re] the proper subjects of scrutiny…not those who hold them to account.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Same As It Ever Was

All prohibitionism is the same:

The place of the humble egg in the street food culture of Gujarat…has become the latest flash point in the growing role of religion in everyday life…under [Hindu nationalist] Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who[se]…policies to reshape India…include tightening a ban on alcohol and adding protections against the slaughter of cattle…But even devout Hindus don’t always agree among themselves what practices the faithful should follow, a conflict that also raises issues of income and class.  Hence the bitter disagreement over eggs…[which some high-caste] Hindu…vegetarian[s]…consider…to be meat products.  Citing complaints from Hindus as well as [bogus] health concerns, local officials in Ahmedabad…and at least four other cities in mid-November banned the sale and display of meat, fish and eggs on the street…facing a lawsuit and protests, officials in Ahmedabad relented and allowed sales…to resume for now, though the dispute is being considered by the courts

Stalkers in Blue

Cops regularly demonstrate exactly what they are:

Two [cops, James Delinicolis and Angelo Dellosa,] who regularly [harassed] women while [wearing their magical clown costumes were allowed to skate despite] pleading guilty to misconduct in public office over sex with a 17-year-old schoolgirl…in March 2020.  The…other charges [they faced] were withdrawn, including attempted…sexual assault [at gunpoint] and multiple charges of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent…Judge Peter Berman…[let them off] with…community service…[because they testified they were scared of jail despite the fact that they apparently also] tried to rape a schoolgirl…The two [routinely tried to intimidate] …women [into submitting to]…sex…with the[m]…

I Spy (#990)

Remember this when some useful idiot claims you don’t need anonymity online:

…Customs and Border Protection…routinely use[s] the country’s most sensitive databases to obtain the travel records and financial and personal information of journalists, [bureaucrats, politician]s and their staff, NGO workers and others…includ…ing email addresses, phone numbers and photos from passport applications…Running background checks as a matter of course may be creepy, but it’s difficult to imagine it not becoming standard practice when that information is available at agents’ fingertips…because of the fetishization of national security…an[d]…also because it’s so easy to access information on almost everybody…The number of journalists jailed around the world set another record in 2021…[with] 56 journalists…arrested in the U.S. this year…as many as in 2017-2019 combined….journalism isn’t a status, but rather an activity in which anybody can engage…and…annoying powerful people has become an increasingly dangerous activity even where it was once safe…

Permanent Record (#1018)

An important victory in the fight for sex worker rights:

Magistrate Judge Mustafa T. Kasubhai…in Gililland v. Southwestern Oregon Community College, et al. [ruled] that a nursing student who was discriminated against because she was a former adult film performer is sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX.  This ruling is a historic victory for sex worker rights and will likely be expanded upon in years to come…Gililland asserted the college’s behavior was “gender stereotyping” her…The college…contended that Gililland was not protected by Title IX because…“employment history is not a protected status”…Judge Kasubhai…rejected th[is as bullshit and]…determined the “heart of this analysis” is “the kind of woman…that [the college] perceived [Gililland] to be because of her employment history…an ‘unclassy’ woman unfit to be a nurse”…

Censor Chic (#1046)

I’m sure you’ll extend the same courtesy to authors who aren’t violent, genocidal  megalomaniacs, right Amazon?

Amazon quietly removed criticism of…Xi [Jinping’s propaganda screeds] by scrubbing bad reviews, ratings and comments from its Chinese site…agree[ing] to Beijing’s demand to have anything below a five-star review of…The Governance of China removed from Amazon.cn about two years ago…The move is the latest example of western tech companies willing to [kowtow to] Chinese censors for access to the country’s massive consumer market…

Droit du Seigneur (#1183)

It’s good to see this lurid narrative turned against cops for a change:

A Putnam County [New York cop named]…Wayne Peiffer [has been] charged with protecting [what prosecutors refer to as] a sex trafficking ring…in [exchange for sexual services.  The sex workers were arrested and prosecutors]…are [attempting to threaten them into cooperation by threatening them with deportation to Mexico]…One of the Queens-based s[ex workers escaped]…and is being labeled a fugitive…

As in the Virginia case, it’s tough to tease out reality from fantasy here, but I’ve done my best to extract what appear to be the facts from amongst the dysphemized descriptions, agency denial, and outright lies.

Thought Control (#1197)

There is nothing as contagious as a bad idea:

…Local public libraries in Texas…are fielding a flurry of book challenges from [censorious twatwaffles].  While book challenges are nothing new, there has been a growing number of complaints…in re[sponse to censorship demands from politicians.  In]…October…state Rep. Matt Krause [bloviated nonsense about “pornographic books” in school libraries, and was soon joined by violent prohibitionist]…Gov. Greg Abbott…In the weeks since, school districts across the state have [been forced to waste huge amounts of money and work-hours] review[ing] of their book collections, and state officials have [sp]un in[creasingly-stupid propaganda about]…inappropriate content…In Victoria…Dayna Williams-Capone says the number of [copycat] complaints about books is the most she’s seen in her nearly 13 years…about 40…books f[rom a short list]…that touch on topics of same-sex relationships, sexuality and race.  After Williams-Capone and her staff [turned down] the [censorship demands], the…[would-be censors tried to go over their heads]…to the library’s advisory board…[who] voted…to [trust their] librar[ians’ judgement rather than accede to the demands of prudish ignoramuses]…

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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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