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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

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

Imaginary Victims 

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

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

Maggie in the Media

Cathy Reisenwitz interviews me on her podcast:

The Day of the Dead (#44) 

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

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

If Men Were Angels

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

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

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1089) 

India protects rights the West now seems determined to destroy:

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

Permanent Record (#1099)

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

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

The Implosion Begins (#1265)

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

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

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

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Institutions writers could once count on to defend them…now race to see who can kowtow most obsequiously to the censor-morons.
–  “Censorship Ascendant

Until a few years ago, traditional top-down censorship was largely a thing of the past, something I wrote about annually at the beginning of Banned Books Week to remind people that it could happen again.  As recently as 2016, I used the occasion to write,

…top-down state censorship…is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have

Of course, none of that is true any longer.  Top-down censorship has returned with a vengeance, mostly implemented by fascist corporations acting on behalf of governments.  But in the US, politicians in many states have implemented traditional censorship in school libraries, even to the point of threatening librarians with criminal charges.  The “Thought Control” tag, which formerly appeared only once in a while, has had several entries a month since this new book-burning fad took off last November.  Meanwhile, the “cancel culture” censorship which has been growing for years has grown so pervasive that even the somewhat pro-censorship New York Times can no longer endorse it.  I’m honestly unsure where this will end; we’re well into uncharted territory my librarian self would’ve found unbelievable.  So if you haven’t been paying attention, I suggest you peruse the aforementioned “Thought Control” tag, and revisit the columns I’ve quoted from below.  Because there’s only one thing about this situation which is certain: like all authoritarianism, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.  –  “The Convergence of Censors

Every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream.  –  “Suppression

[Many young adults] not only display an ovine passivity in the face of censorship, but actively run to the nanny-state to hide in her skirts lest they see or hear some idea or word, or see some image, that will cause some ripple in the placid lakes of their privileged lives and perhaps actually require them to think rather than merely consuming and regurgitating the dogma they’ve been spoon-fed.  –  “Unwise Monkeys

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  –  “The Censor-Moron

It doesn’t matter whether the excuse is “sin” or “feelings”, or the injured party is conceived of as an individual or collective, or the suppression comes from above or below, or the method is violence or economics; the suppression of thought and speech is evil, tyrannical and socially self-lobotomizing.  –  “Moral Climate

Thinking people must not let themselves be intimidated by…self-appointed guardians of the public morality; we must speak out against all forms of censorship and speech suppression, whether advanced by guns, threats, intimidation or appeals to nebulous “harm”.  –  “Censor Chic

The belief that the state or collective has the right to [censor] is an abomination; it is nothing less than the dogma that the state owns every individual, body and soul, and has the right to torture or maim those individuals as it pleases.  –  “Crippling Thought

The important thing to remember when listening to any demand for censorship is that no matter what excuse the censor presents to attain his goal, he is ultimately lying.  It’s not really about “public safety”, or the “children”, or “community standards”, or whatever else he may claim; it’s about the fact that his leaky mind is unable to keep unwelcome thoughts out, so he demands that society do it for him.  –  “Thought Control

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

Change a Few Words

All prohibitionism is the same:

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

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

I Saw My Brain (#999)

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

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

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

You Were Warned (#1122)

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

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

The Next Target (#1219)

These are the countries authoritarians want the US to ape:

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

The Vultures Descend (#1249)

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

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

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

I Spy (#1268)

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1269)

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

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

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

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from predatory cops:

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

You Were Warned (#1116)

Monkey see, monkey do:

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

Torture Chamber (#1207)

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

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

Opting Out (#1214) 

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

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

Thought Control (#1252)

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

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

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1262)

Fentanyl is being inserted into every popular scare myth:

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1268)

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

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

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

If Men Were Angels 

Oh look, it’s another “youth pastor”:

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

To Molest and Rape

Yet another cop specifically targeting a vulnerable woman:

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

I Spy (#1184)

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

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1259)

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

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

The Crumbling Dam (#1262)

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1264)

Most rapist cops have multiple underage victims:

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

Thought Control (#1265)

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

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

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Sex workers are collateral damage in th[e “progressive”] quest to build the perfect internet.  –  Evan Greer

The Missing Word (#570)

Notice what nobody calls this?

For almost seven years, two Pennsylvania judges sent hundreds of [teens and] children—some of them as young as 8 years old—to privately run juvenile detention centers in exchange for financial kickbacks…[now] former Judges Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan [have been ordered] to pay over $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages to their victims.  Starting in 2000, the pair sent children into juvenile detention for offenses as innocuous as jaywalking, petty theft, or truancy.  In what became known as the “kids for cash” scandal, the [victims] were sent to two privately run detention centers whose builder and co-owner paid the men $2.8 million…over the course of the scheme…following the plot’s discovery, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court…thr[ew] out 4,000 juvenile convictions…[but] many of the plaintiffs still suffer from mental health problems.  Several…died by suicide or drug overdose in the years after their detention…Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of the plaintiffs will [actually] receive [any] financial compensation…[because] Ciavarella and Conahan are now serving lengthy prison sentences.  Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years…and Conahan…17…though he was released to home confinement in 2020…[due to] COVID-19…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1009)

Another baby step toward recognizing sex work as work:

…a group of former Star Garden [exotic] dancers…filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, through the established actors union Actors’ Equity Assn…If the[y]…succeed, it would be the first time the century-old union that represents actors and stage managers on Broadway and venues such as the Hollywood Pantages Theatre would include strippers in its ranks.  Star Garden would become the first unionized strip club in the U.S. since…the Lusty Lady…closed in 2013…But…most of the strippers seeking representation said they have not worked at Star Garden since mid-March, when they raised safety concerns and were subsequently [fired]…Union lawyers will need to convince the National Labor Relations Board the strippers are Star Garden employees who were unduly terminated in order to be eligible to participate in a union vote and secure a shot at winning…

The Widening Gyre (#1116)

The latest iteration of “sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!” has it all: the roses from the item linked in the subtitle, themselves only one example of the “valuable bait” trope, are loaded with the magic instant-overdose fentanyl of cop fantasies instead of the unidentified magic contact poison of earlier iterations of this myth.  Given that cops have recently started claiming that the magic fentanyl is being intentionally sprinkled onto $1 bills, the convergence is pretty clear; presumably the fentanyl-using “traffickers”, no doubt driving around in white vans, are also dropping the bait bills where cops can find them so as to stop their heroic anti-trafficking pogroms, or something.

A Broker in Pillage (#1147)

Absolutely nothing is “safe” if government actors know where it is:

The FBI [lied] to…a federal magistrate judge…[claiming] that it intended to open hundreds of safe deposit boxes s[tolen] during a March 2021 raid in order to inventory the items inside—but new evidence shows that federal agents were plotting all along to use the operation as an opportunity to [steal] cash and other valuables…the FBI also seems to have ignored limitations imposed by the warrant, including an explicit prohibition against using the…boxes as the basis for further criminal investigations…agents…were instructed to be on the lookout for cash…and to note…anything which [might give the government a pretext to steal it]…Agents [even] arranged to have drug-sniffing dogs present…which doesn’t do anything to help inventory items, of course, but makes more sense if the actual goal is to initiate forfeiture proceedings…

You Were Warned (#1218)

Looks like Reddit is covering its butt as a hedge against more FOSTA-enabled predatory lawsuits:

…adult content creator[s have]…recently found themselves abruptly removed or had their Reddit account limited without warning.  Sex workers have long been subject to deplatforming on most social media platforms…yet even though Reddit has a reputation for being relatively sex-positive compared to other Big Tech sites, sex workers are increasingly finding themselves restricted or even outright permanently banned on the platform, often without notice or…explanation…“The fact that sex workers are reporting an uptick on Reddit is particularly concerning because it has been one of the last places where this type of content is allowed,” says Evan Greer, director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future, citing Twitter as the only other example of a platform that still continues to allow NSFW content…

The Vultures Descend

You can always count on my native state to out-Herod Herod:

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry…successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission…to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for [a dedicated power station for] its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban.  The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans…issued a flood advisory…Even Republican state senator Bret Allain warned that because the sewerage and water board is a state-created agency, he finds it “problematic” to target New Orleans over their abortion stance…

The Last Shall Be First (#1244)

If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention:

After one competitor “outclassed” the rest of the field in a girls’ state-level competition last year, the parents of the competitors who placed second and third lodged a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association calling into question the winner’s gender.  David Spatafore, the UHSAA’s legislative representative…said the association…asked the student’s school to…examine…the students’ enrollment records [going]…“back to kindergarten and she’d always been a female”…Spatafore said the association has received other complaints, some that said “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough”…

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I’ve never known anybody to be under the influence of lobster.
–  Bruce Flammey

Lying Down With Dogs (#335)

What other country publicly shames those who engage in sex work?

Police in Bali have arrested yet another pair of creators, charging them with “producing pornographic videos”…The latest in a series of widely publicized arrests under Indonesia’s draconian anti-obscenity laws involves a married couple in their 30s…During the press conference…[cops] held up printouts of screen captures of the couple’s content, as the accused [were forced to stand] behind them wearing prison orange….they…face up to 12 years imprisonment if found guilty…

To Molest and Rape

Cop is a cop is a cop is a cop:

A [typical and representative] Texas [cop]…has reached a plea deal in the [rape] assault of two Houston women…David Lynn Turner…met his victims on social media and dating websites by claiming he wanted to meet women who could communicate with the dead.  He then…[told] them they were going to a haunted house in Shepherd, Texas…once [he] had the[m] women alone and in the dark at the supposed haunted house, he physically intimidated them…

Eternal Vigilance (#940)

Note that this creep was trying to demand sex in addition to rent, not offer to accept voluntary sex in lieu of cash rent:

Allan Rothstein…forced a prospective tenant to sign [a bizarre contract agreeing to sex on demand]…in order to rent a four-bedroom ho[use in]…Las Vegas…The document is titled “Direct Consent for Sexual Intercourse and or (oral sex)”…and…the…terms…are even crazier than the title.  The tenant had to swear she wasn’t signing “under the influence of an incapacitating intoxicant, aphrodisiacs, or psychoactive substances, including but not limited to, alcohol, drugs, oysters, Bremelanotide, truffles, sea cucumber, strawberries, lobster, dark chocolate, Cocaine, LSD, cannabis or any other mind-altering chemical or substance, nor have they been given the same by the INITIATOR/S”…Another paragraph says the tenant swears she “does not currently have a boyfriend/girlfriend/parent who is larger, meaner, and more physically aggressive, owns firearms and/or is more possessive than the INITIATOR/S”…the tenant and her five children were homeless, living from week to week in a residential hotel…[they were] approv[ed]…for Section 8…But…ha[d] to find a residence…covered by the program within…60 days…

The Mob Rules (#1215)

These mob rule laws will continue to metastasize unless SCOTUS acts:

The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected a bid by abortion rights advocates to prevent a near-total ban from taking effect later this month. The criminalization of all abortions will take effect later this month…The ruling would allow potential relatives of an embryo or fetus to sue abortion providers over procedures done after six weeks of gestation, before many people know they are pregnant.  Another ban criminalizing all abortions is set to take effect later this month…While rapists cannot sue under the law, a rapist’s family members would be able to…

To Molest and Rape (#1230)

Most rapist cops have multiple underage victims:

A grand jury indicted a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on charges of sexually assaulting four girls in a case that prosecutors [tried to sweep under the rug] a decade ago…Sean Essex…[raped, molested, and orally raped four girls who] were ages 7 to 13 at the time of the crimes…

Thought Control (#1253)

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

The new District Attorney in [Chattanooga,] Tennessee…said she would consider prosecuting librarians, teachers, and school administrators over books that some parents [want to censor]…Coty Wamp…[also] said she had brought [pro-censorship group] Moms for Liberty in to meet with the sheriff on the issue…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#1261)

It’s always lovely to see them feeding on each other:

Denver [cop] Timothy Hyatt has been arrested for…inter[acting]…with [another cop fantasy role-playing as] a 14-year-old girl…us[ing] multiple social media platforms and a variety of online [alias]es…

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Surveillance always comes with inherent forms of abuse.  –  Evan Greer

If Men Were Angels

“Youth group director” is clearly just as bad as “youth pastor”:

A [typical and representative New Jersey]…church youth group director is facing child pornography charges.  Arnold DiBlasi was arrested…after [cops] found thousands of child porn images on his home computer and cellphone…the FBI…[claims] DiBlasi distributed more than 11,000 photos to 30 different people in an online chat room…

You Were Warned (Subtle Difference)

What the government can’t destroy with criminal law, it wrecks by encouraging nuisance lawsuits against:

[A predatory lawsuit by a professional “survivor”] alleges that Visa, by processing revenue from ads, conspired with Pornhub’s parent firm MindGeek to make money from videos of [what is alleged to be underage sexual] abuse.  Visa had sought to be removed from the case…[correctly] argu[ing] that the “[fact] that Visa recognized MindGeek as an authorized merchant and processed payment to its websites does not suggest that Visa agreed to participate in sex trafficking of any kind”…a commercial relationship alone does not establish a conspiracy.  But [the] Judge…[prefers to fantasize that a major corporation with a long history of nervousness around “reputational damage”] “intended to help MindGeek monetize child porn from the very fact that Visa continued to provide MindGeek the means to [operate]”…

In plain English, the judge is assuming that the plaintiff’s bizarre and censorious conspiracy narrative, intended to further an agenda of criminalizing all adult content on the internet, is not only true, but that Visa somehow knew it to be true and willingly participated despite decades of aversion to dealing with stigmatized businesses.

Stalkers in Blue (#1180)

Another sexual predator specifically targets traumatized women:

A [Sussex cop] sent a naked selfie to a woman after [taking a report from her after] she [was]…sexually assaulted in a pub…he [also] told [her] he wanted to take her home and use his police handcuffs on her and [said] he was so aroused by her he would have sexually assaulted her himself…The [not-remotely] shocking revelations were made at a disciplinary hearing…where the [creepy cop was]…granted anonymity to keep his identity a secret [so he can assault more women in future]…

Thought Control (#1209)

A fine example of ice-pick self-lobotomization:

Voters in Jamestown Township, [Michigan]…rejected renewal…of a millage that would support the Patmos Library.  That vote guts the library’s operating budget in 2023 — 84 percent of the library’s $245,000 budget comes from property taxes…There have been protests at other Michigan public libraries and at school board meetings about books with LGBTQ themes.  But…[this] may be the first time a community voted, in effect, to close its library [because neither the board nor the director would submit to censorship by fanatics challenging books they haven’t read from a widely-circulated hit list]…Library Director Amber McLain resigned this spring…[after] she [was]…harassed online and accused of indoctrinating children.  Interim director Matthew Lawrence resigned later…

Opting Out (#1229) 

The UK’s decade-long campaign to censor the internet continues to be a comedy of errors:

The government’s flagship Online Safety Bill [wa]s…dropped from Commons business…with a view for it to return to the Commons “in the autumn”…[wannabe censors are] oncern[ed]…that it could be [entire]ly scrapped as its return later this year will be dependent on the focus of the new Prime Minister.  The Bill aimed to allow Ofcom to [control] online platforms, mainly [by censor]ing…content that [politicians have arbitrarily declared “harmful”]…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#1231)

It’s always lovely to see them feeding on each other:

A [California cop so representative he]…was named “Detective of the Year”…in 2019 has been charged with sending graphic messages to someone [cops recruited to fantasy role-play online as] a 14-year-old girl…Gregory Beaumarchais…was [rewarded with a paid vacation after the incident, which vaguely occurred] between December 2021 and January 2022…

Welcome to the Future (#1249)

Conditioning kids to accept constant, intrusive surveillance:

When students in the US were forced [by the State] to continue their schooling virtually, many brought home school-issued devices…[packed with malware that can allow teachers to view and control students’ screens, [secretly read their] emails and cloud-based documents, and…[automatically rat them out to the pigs for thoughtcrime].  Now that the majority of American students are finally going back to school in-person, the surveillance [mal]ware that proliferated during the pandemic [is here to] stay…89 percent of teachers [report] that their schools will continue using student-monitoring software…[even though] the overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to new concerns about digital surveillance in states that have [criminalized] abortion care…[and] gender-affirming care

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Give people a load of propaganda about…sex trafficking and voila—awareness has been raised!  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Above the Law

Why does nobody ever recognize the likely outcome of giving guys in hyper-masculine professions power over teenage girls?

…a New York Times investigation…has found that the [Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] program has repeatedly become a place where retired military officers prey on their teenage students.  In the past five years…at least 33 JROTC instructors have been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving students, far higher than the rate of civilian high school teachers…Victims have reported sexual assaults in classrooms and supply closets, during field trips or on late-night rides home, sometimes committed after instructors plied students with alcohol or drugs.  One [victim] said her instructor told her that sexual submission was expected of women in the military.  A[nother]…said her JROTC instructor warned that he had the skills to kill her without a trace if she told anyone about their sexual encounters…[Another] said she was forced to kneel at her instructor’s bedside, blindfolded, with a gun to her head…

To Molest and Rape

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A federal appeals court in Texas has sent a case back down to a lower court after deciding that a…sheriff’s deputy who…forced a woman to expose her genitals to him while he masturbated isn’t entitled to a qualified immunity defense…On Sept. 18, 2018, [Melissa] Tyson’s husband [foolishly] called the Sheriff’s Department of Sabine County, Texas, to request a welfare check on his wife…while [he] was out of town.  [David] Boyd called Melissa Tyson that night…telling her…that he handled welfare checks because he was a preacher, although…[his] “ministerial credentials had actually been revoked eleven years prior because”…[he] had…been sued by church members for [repeat]ed sexual misconduct…

The Mote and the Beam (#900)

I suppose it could have been much worse:

…Overall, the 2022 version of the human trafficking bill is shorter than many earlier iterations and lower on the sort of carceral solutions and surveillance initiatives that defined them…at least isn’t simply throwing more money at cops for prostitution stings.  And a section pressuring hotels to [indoctrinate] staff on spotting human trafficking (an endeavor without a great track record) was removed…But there are…repeated references to “trafficking transmitted through technology”…[censorious asshats and their] lawyers have been trying to broaden the scope of sex trafficking laws to cover not just underage or forced prostitution but also the transmission of certain pornographic images by commercial tech platforms…it will…likely mean going after tech platforms in a way that jeopardizes a wide variety of free speech related to sex…

Guinea Pigs (#1153) 

Stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn picks apart claims that computers can detect “sex trafficking” in ordinary escort ads:

…I’ve obtained a copy of [a]…research paper…[in which researchers] “used machine learning and custom web crawlers to collect and analyze a data set of online ads for escort and sex work services”…you need sex trafficking ads to train an ML system to recognize sex trafficking ads.  I suppose it’s possible in theory: They could have searched police human trafficking case files to find instances where the victims were the subject of online sex ads and then used those ads for training and testing the ML model against ads tied to actual sex trafficking.  The problem…is that actual sex trafficking cases are…too rare to build up a large enough corpus of online ads to train an ML classifier.  So where did the researchers find those ads?  How did they know the ads were for human trafficking victims?  The short answer is that they didn’t.  Instead, they used a manual classification system to deem some of the ads as possibly related to sex trafficking…[using] a list of trafficking indicators from [typical prohibitionist propaganda]…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1255)

Cops want their hysteria to trump reality:

[Flint, Michigan cop] Forrest Bradley…was one of two deputies who [had panic attacks]…after previously [subduing] a…[prisoner] who had overdosed from fentanyl-laced heroin…[the other hysteric was named] Justin Hall…[neither described any of] the [known] effects of a fentanyl overdose [but that didn’t stop local media from gullibly lapping up every word drooled by “authorities” about it]…

A Moral Cancer (#1256)

The claims of crypto-moralists are growing increasingly absurd:

People who consume more than 17 units of alcohol in a week – equal to about five large glasses of wine or eight pints of beer – were found to have “older” DNA…The study…[claims] that consuming alcohol in excess can wreak havoc on DNA by causing damage to telomeres — like protective caps at the ends of a chromosome — which could eventually lead to age-related diseases and the formation of cancer…

Cancer is probably inevitable for anyone who doesn’t die of something else first, but don’t tell that to puritans, who want people to believe they could live forever by simply eliminating every single pleasurable activity from their lives.  Of course, then there’d be little point to an extended lifespan, but one can’t have everything.

Micromanagement (#1258)

Any information you give to the State can and will be used against you:

New Jersey police…use…blood samples taken from babies to in[criminate their parents]…the practice came to light after a case in which [cops]…subpoenaed a…lab for a blood sample drawn from a child.  Police then performed DNA analysis on the…sample that [suppos]edly linked the child’s father to a crime committed more than 25 years ago…a…lawsuit…filed jointly by the [Office of the Public Defender] and the New Jersey Monitor, now seeks to compel the state…to disclose…the full extent of the practice.  All babies born in the state of New Jersey are required to have a blood sample drawn within 48 hours as part of a mandatory [disease] testing program…if police are able to…obtain the samples through subpoena, then…the…screening…is entering all babies…into a DNA database with no ability to opt out…

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After the government does something especially awful, there is usually an avalanche of horror stories illustrating exactly what reasonable people warned would happen after the awful government act.  The overturn of Roe v Wade is no exception; if I had included these stories in my normal news columns, they would’ve completely dominated most of the late July installments.  So instead, I opted to collect them all together here; future updates to these stories will appear in regular news columns under the appropriate tags.

One of the strongest reasons to oppose authoritarian laws of any kind is that they inevitably harm people the politicians insist they weren’t trying to target:

A sexual assault survivor chooses sterilization so that if she is ever attacked again, she won’t be forced to give birth to a rapist’s baby.  An obstetrician delays inducing a miscarriage until a woman with severe pregnancy complications seems “sick enough.”  A lupus patient must stop taking medication that controls her illness because it can also cause miscarriages.  Abortion restrictions in a number of states and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade are having profound repercussions in reproductive medicine as well as in other areas of medical care…Even in medical emergencies, doctors are sometimes declining immediate treatment. In the past week, an Ohio abortion clinic received calls from two women with ectopic pregnancies…who[se] doctors wouldn’t treat them…

More about the aforementioned lupus drug many women are now being denied:

Methotrexate is a cheap, common drug prescribed to millions of Americans…[for] rheumatic illnesses…inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or cancer…[but because] it is used off-label to end ectopic pregnancies…it could be restricted by doctors or pharmacists even in states…that do not ban abortion…in low doses, it has proved to be one of the safest, least expensive and most effective treatments for roughly a dozen autoimmune conditions, from juvenile idiopathic arthritis to Crohn’s disease…“I have gotten some reports where children have been denied methotrexate for their juvenile arthritis until they’ve proven they’re not pregnant,” said Dr. Cuoghi Edens…a rheumatology expert…“The majority of rheumatic diseases affect females at substantially higher rates than males…The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in women to men is 3 to 1.  For lupus it’s 10 to 1.  And so rheumatology is a very female-predominant patient population”…some doctors have already stopped prescribing methotrexate rather than risk [persecution]…Many pharmacists have likewise refused to fill methotrexate prescriptions, or have demanded additional proof before dispensing the medication to patients they believe could get pregnant…

And it’s not just a few fundamentalist asshat pharmacists, either:

…the largest pharmacy chain in the country sent explicit instructions to its pharmacists informing them that new checks would be implemented to confirm the reason a doctor prescribes a drug before filling routine medications for patients…CVS headquarters sent a memo to pharmacies in [Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas]…review[ing] diagnosis codes that are deemed acceptable for dispensation, which include miscarriage…If they find abortion is the intended use, they “must refuse to fill the prescription”…

Some of the tyrannies forced-birth fetishists are trying to impose are blatantly unconstitutional:

South Carolina [politician]s introduced legislation that would make it illegal to “aid, abet or conspire with someone” to obtain an abortion…Provisions would outlaw providing information over the internet or phone about how to obtain an abortion.  It would also make it illegal to host a website or “[provide] an internet service” with information that is “reasonably likely to be used for an abortion”…the proposal is…modeled off a blueprint created by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), an antiabortion group, and designed to be replicated by [politician]s across the country…

Other FOSTA-inspired laws which encourage nuisance lawsuits have unfortunately not yet been declared unconstitutional:

Nearly four years after a woman ended an unwanted pregnancy with abortion pills obtained at a Phoenix clinic, she finds herself mired in an ongoing lawsuit [after]…A judge allowed the woman’s ex-husband to establish an estate for the embryo, which had been aborted in its seventh week of development.  The ex-husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic and its doctors in 2020, alleging that…[he has the right to make decisions for his ex-wife]…

Naturally, this new extension of the police state will be enabled by the same fascist surveillance tactics as the War on Whores:

Many of the states rushing to ban abortion are also the biggest users of a surveillance tool that [cops] could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from people’s phones…states across the country are already using this kind of data for other [surveillance and harassment].  And a POLITICO analysis found that many of the states that have criminalized abortion have relied increasingly on location data in recent years…Figures from Google…show that the company received 5,764 “geofence” warrants between 2018 and 2020 from police in the 10 states that have banned abortion as of July 5…

Of course, sex workers know all about most of these oppressions, because they’re tested on us first before being extended to amateurs:

Madolline Gourley, a Brisbane resident…was treated like a criminal during her transit through Los Angeles on 30 June, where she was detained at the border due to suspicions about her intention to house- and cat-sit in exchange for accommodation while holidaying in Canada.  Gourley was held in a detention room, interrogated twice, patted down, fingerprinted and photographed…At one point a US b[ureaucrat] asked Gourley, who was wearing a loose-fitting dress, whether she was pregnant.  The same question was repeated as she was moved between rooms.  When she again [replied that]…she was not pregnant, Gourley was asked whether she had had an abortion…

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