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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  –  “The Convergence of Censors

The last week of September is “Banned Books Week“; over the 11 years I’ve been writing this blog, my columns on the topic have changed as threats to intellectual freedom have dramatically increased worldwide.  As I said last year,

When I was a librarian, [this] Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech…the censor-morons…are…multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power…

The links are all there for your perusal, but just in case you’ve been asleep for the past three or four years, here are a few stories from the past six months so you can see for yourself that I’m not exaggerating.  There’s still plenty of old-fashioned, bluenosed, school-based censorship conducted in the name of THE CHIIIIIIIIILDREEEEEEN!!!™, but now they’ve learned to pretend ideas they don’t like constitute a “crime” so as to threaten their enemies with police violence.  Furthermore, institutions writers could once count on to defend them, including libraries and publishers, now race to see who can kowtow most obsequiously to the censor-morons, sometimes even volunteering to act as censors themselves, and institutions which need free speech the most are lobotomizing themselves by peddling pro-censorship sophistry and even conducting literal book burnings.  Governments are increasingly claiming the “right” to declare which facts are “correct” and to suppress ideas they declare “disinformation” or “fake news”, and in our increasingly-connected world governments are increasingly able to cause trouble for people who say things they dislike far beyond their own borders (China is the worst offender, but is far from alone).  Soon, ideas the mob, the government, or other violent simian gangs dislike may become impossible to acquire outside of caches of virtual samizdat, at which point the censor-morons will pivot to criminalizing avenues of access to such caches while “intellectuals” cheer and pen screeds about how obedience and conformity are far better for “society” than imagination and critical thinking.

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Oh look, picket-fence queers from groups like GLAAD are beginning to notice that deliberately ignoring sex workers after they reached the Big Table (and in some cases, actually joining the crusade against us) wasn’t such a good idea.  And I must add again: stop your fucking partisan bullshit.  This wasn’t “Trump’s crusade” or “the GOP’s crusade”; Democrats were equal drivers at every step of the process under the usual banners (“The Children!!!” and “exploitation of women“), so you don’t get to smugly point your fingers at other people and pretend you had nothing to do with it.  This was done by people you elected, in fascist collaboration with companies you support (and who pay for your multi-million dollar “Pride” parades). You stood by while other sexual minorities were persecuted, and you were fine with it because it wasn’t you.  Well, now those pigeons are coming home to roost, just as sex workers told you they would.  Just as you should’ve known they would, but were too wrapped up in partisan bullshit to notice.  “Operation Choke Point“, the government’s program telling big businesses that it was not only OK but encouraged to discriminate against sexual minorities, was an Obama program, not a Trump one.  And don’t try whitewashing your direct involvement in the anti-whore crusades, ’cause Maggie has the receipts. (See all those embedded links?  There are plenty more like them.)  So sit the fuck down unless you’re going to own it and help fix the mess you helped make.

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Even though OnlyFans reversed its recent decision to banish sex workers, any company who turns on us so quickly can be counted on to do so again at the slightest provocation.  I’ve never gone the porn route myself, so I know very little about the ecosystem; however, I recently saw a Twitter account called “Dream Girls Fan Club” post this on Twitter.  I asked what name the creators would like me to credit and received no answer, but I’m not going to fail to share it because it seems to me they did a very thorough job, and if there’s anything here that can help sex workers to find a more stable work environment, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass it on.

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Who will be the victims of the government’s next attack on legally protected speech that it wishes to silence? – Michael Lacey & Jim Larkin

Acting and Activism 

Why are so many “celebrities” such hypocritical trash?

[Comedian Bill] Maher [said] during Friday’s Real Time…“OnlyFans is staying in the porn business…because their fans would not take it…if there’s one thing millennials love more than canceling the patriarchy it’s women having sex for money”…So, in Maher’s mind, “women having sex for money” is anti-feminist and a product of the patriarchy.  Women couldn’t possibly be sex workers of their own volition…It’s…strange given how Maher has solicited the services of sex workers in the past…and dated a number of others—including Karine Steffans…who once said of him, “Bill wants someone he can put down in an argument, tell you how ghetto you are, how big your butt is and that you’re an idiot”…

A Whore in Church

Matthew 21:31 seems pretty straightforward to me:

A Christian OnlyFans star…has been [attacked by religious fanatics for] saying “Jesus would have loved sex workers”.  Nita Marie…believes her sexuality is a divine gift, and that God gave her permission to strip…after [she] ask[ed] him directly in prayer – but…so…[called “Christians” who seem poorly acquainted with the Gospels] are calling her a “grifter”, and [some are so] delusional [they imagine] that it “might be Satan”…answering her prayers…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1124)

I have no sympathy for members of the dangerous “porn addiction” cult:

“BlockerX”, a porn [autocensor] application, has failed to protect its Amazon AWS instance…result[ing in]…exposure of its user[s’]…personal details…The owner of the app…Atmana Innovations, responded immediately…but the period of exposure remains unknown.  “BlockerX” is a subscription service that…cost[s] users $7.50 per month or $180 in a single lifetime payment…[and censors anything its algorithms register as] adult content…The…danger for…exposed users…is extortionists who could…threaten…to publish the fact that they [imagine their normal sexual behavior constitutes an “]addiction[“]…

I Spy (#1154) 

Fascism is rapidly making private communications a thing of the past:

A federal court ruled…that…drugs [stolen] by police from a package [th]at [did not belong to them were] not seized unconstitutionally [despite the lack of a warrant]…At the center of the decision is a little-known [fascist pact between FedEx and the cops, which] allow[s pigs to root through]…parcels at the shipping behemoth’s sorting centers…if [they claim] a…dog [gave them permission]…cops…[can then] dress up as FedEx delivery men…[to deceive the victim and] arrest…them…The court d[ecision is based in the legal fiction that an individual’s property no longer belongs to him while in the hands of a third party, such as] FedEx…[thus creating the] con[venient pretense that] it…own[s the packages]…and it can [give them to] the police [without warrant or permission of the actual owner]…The agreement evokes Apple’s recent announcement that it will scan people’s photos [in order to sell them down the river]…the relationship between FedEx and police…has quietly existed for some time, says John Wesley Hall, an expert in Fourth Amendment law…”FedEx…[has] always cooperated…with them—even loans them the truck”…

It’s OK for a company to sell out its customers, because drugs are bad.

Dangerous Speech (#1159)

Michael Lacey & Jim Larkin remind you of what their trial, which began Wednesday, is actually about:

On April 6, 2018, the federal government eradicated an entire classified ads website containing speech that was 100-percent legal…The publication of speech…by users is legally protected; so is “offensive” speech and speech the government does not like.  Numerous federal courts said just that, in cases involving Backpage…whenever any concern arose…our company voluntarily aided law enforcement and government entities such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  This is documented extensively by court records…and the government’s own reports…Since the FBI seized Backpage, adult advertising has, predictably, fled overseas to companies that do not respond to U.S. subpoenas…The culprits here are…self-serving politicians with historical vendettas and overzealous prosecutors who placed their own ambition above the safety and welfare of women…The prosecution has engaged in years of scurrilous tactics, such as destroying evidence, abusing the grand jury process, and seizing all the money we set aside for legal expenses…

If you haven’t been following this tag, I suggest you peruse it today; the various articles I’ve linked will show you exactly the kind of evil, completely-illegal shenanigans the government has pulled over the past three years in its crusade to crucify journalists who wouldn’t make obeisance to its censorious diktats.

To Molest and Rape (#1166)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

[Typical and representative Florida cop] Travis Ryan Pritchard [was sentenced] to 35 years in federal prison for [rap]ing…a 15-year-old [girl and filming it]…Pritchard was also [condemned to the]…sex offender [registry]…From December 2019 through May 2, 2020, Pritchard…had sexually abused [the victim] on a weekly basis…[but finally she had enough and reported him, and another cop role-played her to]…chat…with Pritchard using [a popular] app.  Late in the night of May 1, 2020, and into the early morning hours of the next day, Pritchard [harassed] the [cop he thought was his victim] to sneak out of her home to meet with him…Pritchard’s cellular telephone revealed many [such] conversations…[and a] folder containing numerous…child [porn pics, including one]…of the rape of a prepubescent [girl]…

The Next Target (#1166)

The sex worker rights movement is getting too loud to ignore“:

…It remains to be seen whether [OnlyFans] will be true to its word but to force the hand of such a giant corporation is no small feat…That a platform which built its fortune on the backs of sex workers might, at a moment’s notice, ditch us, is no surprise; it would be the latest in the slow but sure eradication of sex workers from online spaces…Throughout the fiasco, both MasterCard and OnlyFans were keen to separate themselves from the potential destitution of creators and to claim their credentials as non-haters of sex workers…multi-billion dollar companies fall[ing] over themselves to maintain the veneer of corporate virtue is grotesque…Still, in the conflicted responses there is hope…it’s clear that the sex worker rights movement is too loud to ignore…

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How do we know it won’t happen again?  –  Lacy Lennon

I Spy (#930)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Google received more than 20,000 geofence warrants in the US in the last three calendar years…[this fascist surveillance technique allows cops to] carve out a specific area and time period and [demand]…information about the devices that were present during that window.  The information is anonymous…[until cops demand more details, at which time]…Google [happily violates] those users’ [privacy]…In 2018, Google received 982 [such] warrants.  The following year, it rose to 8,396.  Last year, it jumped to 11,554.  In all, Google received 20,932 geofence warrants…since 201[8]…

Business As Usual (#1011)

The media are still downplaying the crimes of this psychopathic rapist-murderer cop:

A federal judge has set a new trial date for a [typical and representative] Columbus…vice [pig who murdered a sex worker when she wouldn’t submit to rape]…Andrew Mitchell is [only being] charged with…federal [conspiracy and perjury-type crimes even though]…he…had [a long history of raping] prostitutes…Mitchell also faces state charges [for shooting 100-pound] Donna Castleberry [eight times at point-blank range] after she [fought back] during an [attempted rape by] Mitchell, who has [described the wanton murder of a woman half his size]…as self-defense…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1012) 

How is this surprising when TikTok is owned by the Chinese?

TikTok has quietly expanded how much information it will collect from its more than 100 million users in the U.S. to include “faceprints and voiceprints.”  In response, [US politicians want a piece of the action]…The U.S. does not have a federal law regulating the tracking of biometric data by technology companies, but…TikTok…is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese [company owned in part by the Chinese government, which also controls 1/3 of its board]…Earlier this year, TikTok paid $92 million to settle dozens of lawsuits [in response to] the app[‘s]…harvesting personal data…including…facial recognition…without user consent.  That data…was [shaed with Beijing] and sold to advertisers in violation of state and federal law.  In 2019, TikTok was fined nearly $6 million by the Federal Trade Commission for [violating] the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires apps to receive parental permission before collecting a minor’s data.  The Trump administration[‘s attempt]…to ban the app was abandoned by the Biden administration in June

Policing for Profit (#1096)

No matter how little their victims have, cops will steal it and fuck up their lives in the process:

The city of Longmont [Colorado] has [finally] paid the $1,592.72…toll bill [the state tried to stick] a [disabled] woman [with after]…a [city cop named Stephen Schulz stole her] license plate…and put [it] on his [disguised pigmobile]…Debra Romero…[was] left…without the use of a vehicle…[because] the [state]…refused to waive the toll charges even after Romero filed a report…declaring her license plate as stolen…the state of Colorado [also] barred her from renewing her registration until the toll bill was paid…the city [didn’t care about Romero’s plight until]…the…situation [made the news]…

The Prudish Giant (#1104)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

A poster for Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s new film Parallel Mothers…was [censored by Facebook-owned] Instagram for depicting a lactating nipple…[after public outcry] Instagram…reverse[d] its censorship…[but] given Instagram’s exception for artistic context, the rationale for the poster’s initial removal remains unclear…

To Molest and Rape (#1165)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Massachusetts [cop] has been arrested on child pornography charges…Francis Hart…[was caught] upload[ing] a file with numerous images of child pornography…

I’m not sure what will happen here; Massachusetts cops who forcibly rape actual children get less than one year per victim, or no penalty at all plus being rewarded with a powerful cop gang position for repeatedly raping children of both sexes for decades.  But Massachuseets puritans are very uptight about porn, so who knows?

The Next Target (#1165)

Those who shift with the wind can be counted on to continue doing so:

OnlyFans says it has suspended a plan to ban sexually explicit content following an outcry from its creators and advocates for sex workers…the planned ban was “no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators”…[however, an authoritarian circle-jerk made up] of over 100…[politicians are still howling for sex workers’ blood, cit]ing the[ir own disgusting fantasies about]…sex…with children

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Media coverage [of prostitution “stings” is]…yet another reminder of just how divorced from reality…U.S…”trafficking” operations have become.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

So Close and Yet So Far

If you can’t support sex workers without condemning consensual sex, you don’t actually support sex workers:

Marsha Scott, the chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid…has made it clear that the charity will not back…proposals [to impose Swedish criminalization on Scotland]…she wrote: “Criminalisation of sex work is a major issue and can cause increased risk for the women involved in it…it’s impossible to criminalise the buyer without…taking away any small bit of choice she has in th[e] awful…dynamic [of women having the power to demand payment for sex]…we want to stop…demand [for consensual sex], but we think we are not in that place yet”…

Little Tin Gods

He literally made himself into a little tin god:

…Escambia County [Florida] Sheriff David Morgan spent thousands of p[illaged] dollars to order a life-size bronze statue of himself last year before the end of his final term in office.  Current Sheriff Chip Simmons called the 6-foot-4-inch statue, which arrived last week at the Sheriff’s Office, a “brash narcissistic waste”…[naturally] Morgan [believes]…it was not that big of a deal…The statue of Morgan was one of two…paid for out of the…general fund at a cost of $75,000 for both…”I have zero intention of placing this thing in front of our building,” Simmons said…Morgan [lied that] he ordered the statues two years ago, but they were delayed because of COVID-19…however…Morgan’s handwritten signature appears on a document specifying the terms of the deal with Randolph Rose Collection Design Studio…Directly next to his signature, Morgan handwrote the date “4/20/2020” and the words, “Good to go!”…

Bronze, in case you didn’t know, is an alloy of copper and tin.

End Demand (#893)

Guys, please do your homework and only call reputable providers:

Puritanism is still alive in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, only now it poses as saving people from human trafficking…this month, five men were charged with “trafficking a person for sexual servitude” after [a huge herd of fantasy role-playing pigs]…posted ads online pretending to be an adult sex worker.  Five men…were [entrapp]ed and face charges for sex trafficking.  If convicted, they’ll be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison without the possibility of parole, plus [condemnation to]…the…Sex Offender Registry.  The [maximum sentence]…includes up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine…

Meanwhile, Massachusetts cops who forcibly rape actual children get less than one year per victim, or no penalty at all plus being rewarded with a powerful cop gang position for repeatedly raping children of both sexes for decades.

Social Distancing (#1046)

I’m sure this guy is motivated entirely by concerns for public health:

Canberra’s largest brothel owner…has w[hi]ned that illegal sex workers [are making money while he’s closed]…Aaron Jones, who operates the Langtrees brothel…said that [independent] sex workers…would not be [collaborating with the pigs to spy on their]…customers.  He has [belched out various dysphemisms at them, including “superspreaders”, “il]legitimate[“, and “]non-essential[“, in addition to leaning heavily on the “dirty whore” myth]…”These independents are…taking four, five, six bookings per night….[with] zero co[ming to me]”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1091)

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

A New Orleans grandfather [was robbed by] the…DEA…[of] his life savings based on [spurious] accusations of drug trafficking and without ever charging him with a crime.  Now he’s fighting to get it back.  Kermit Warren…and his son had gotten laid off from their jobs last year during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and he was trying to turn a side-business as a scrapper into a full-time venture.  To that end, he and his son traveled to Ohio with roughly $28,000 to purchase a tow truck…[but] the…truck was too large for his needs, so he and his son bought a one-way ticket back home.  In the airport, three DEA agents stopped the two men and [harassed] them about the bag of cash…the[n stole] his money [after branding him “suspicious” and claiming]…that a…dog [gave them permission to rob him]…Warren is represented by the Institute for Justice, [which]…has filed several lawsuits on behalf of people who had significant amounts of cash s[tolen] from them at airports [by pigs oinking out the magic word “]trafficking[“]…

To Molest and Rape (#1157)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative cop named Matthew Darren Atkins] who worked for several metro Atlanta police departments during a [checkered] career that [included being sacked for drug abuse in 2014] has been indicted [for]…molesting a 7-year-old girl in Cobb County…Atkins was [first] arrested in March…[then] was arrested a second time in Carroll County…[after] a woman who saw reports of [his] arrest…came forward to report that she had been molested by him as well…several years ago…

The Next Target (#1163)

This was inevitable once “sex trafficking” fetishists extended their pet fantasy to OnlyFans:

OnlyFans…will prohibit users from posting any sexually explicit conduct, starting in October.  Creators will still be allowed to post nude photos and videos, provided they’re consistent with [whatever] policy…banking partners and payment providers [demand]…the company [bloviated about]…“the long-term sustainability of our platform”…[apparently unaware of what happened to Tumblr]…

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Coming together, even in private, is a radical, resistant, and dangerous act for [those] whose very identities are criminalised.  –  Erin Kilbride

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

Sex worker activists are among the most at risk defenders of human rights in the world, facing multiple threats and violent attacks…research…published…by…Front Line Defenders…found that their visibility as sex workers who are advocates for their communities’ rights makes them more vulnerable to the violations routinely suffered by sex workers.  In addition, they face unique, targeted abuse for their human rights work.  Drawing on the experience of 300 individuals in Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, El Salvador and Myanmar, the report focuses on cases of sexual assault, threats from managers and clients, [and police] raids…physical attacks and…surveillance…

Torture Chamber 

A “mistake” during “correction”.  This is not reformable:

A man was brutally beaten by [violently-deranged thugs] and denied medical treatment at the Valencia County [New Mexico] jail…Marvin Silva…was…naked in a holding c[age]…when a [screw rolled up and vomited out the magic word “]contraband[” at Silva’s dentures, thus giving a gang of dangerous cretins an excuse to]…beat Silva…[their cronies pretending to be] medical personnel [then] denied Silva’s [obvious need] for medical care before he was [thrown out] to walk 5 miles toward home…[with] fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, [and] injuries to the spleen…head, neck and abdomen…

Banishment (#848)

How a country treats its prisoners reveals a great deal about it:

For many men…co[nvicted]…of…[so-called] sex offenses in Texas, their prison term never really ends…because they’re [condemned to a different prison pretended to be] a…mental health facility…Civil commitment is the practice of [warehous]ing people…[for years or decades] past their release date, on the [pretense] that they are so dangerous they need therapy…Of course…if the state really…wanted them to have treatment and counseling, they had…20 to 25 years…in an ordinary prison before being civilly committed…For their first year or two…the men are required to wear electronic ankle monitors that they have to pay for…The…only…way…out…[is to] work their way up through four tiers of [shaming and humiliation mislabeled as] treatment…they have to keep a masturbation log…[includ]ing…what they’re masturbating about…so [a so-called therapist can arbitrarily declare] it…deviant…the prison also employs polygraphs and penile plethysmography…When an inmate moves up a tier, which can take a year, he can find himself demoted for [arbitrar]y reasons…One man who had…made it through all four tiers was finally about to get his release hearing.  But…a [screw vindictively] knocked [him] back down to tier 1…He went to his cell and hanged himself…Another man…[treated similarly] castrated himself…Until recently, inmates also had to pay a 33 percent tax on any packages they got, further isolating them from any support system they might have on the outside…

Shame, Shame (#951)

In which a bluenose describes cartoon nudity as “horrifying”:

…a new…website…boasts that it developed…image translation algorithms to “nudify” female bodies, and that the technology is so powerful there is not a woman in the world, regardless of race or nationality, who is safe from being “nudified.”  But it doesn’t work on men…the results are strikingly realistic, often bearing no glitches or visual clues that the photos are deepfakes…The [hysterical reactions of prudes] lays bare the grim and increasingly dangerous reality [that censorship is becoming increasingly popular among sheltered ninnies who can’t conceive of a more harmful use for]…powerful deepfake tools…[than realistic porn cartoons, such as cops manufacturing evidence to frame innocent people and/or excuse brutality and murder]…

The solution to this problem isn’t increasing the censorship powers of the already-bloated police state, as these rabid pearl-clutchers are demanding; it’s fighting the idea that a woman’s body is something to be ashamed of.  But good luck explaining that to people who actually think fake nude pictures are worse than totalitarianism.

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

People keep pretending “politician hires whores” is something more than a yawn:

Hunter Biden claimed…to [have]…lost a total of three computers – the first abandoned at a Delaware computer store and the second seized by federal agents –  each likely to hold…embarrassing pictures, videos and communications…The third laptop…was taken by Russian drug dealers after they partied with [him] in Vegas, he told a prostitute in a conversation caught on camera.  After filming himself having sex with the woman using his laptop in January 2019, Hunter left the camera rolling as he recounted [the] Vegas bender…

The Implosion Begins (#1091)

Everyone who spread “sex trafficking” hysteria contributed to this atrocity:

Matthew Taylor Coleman…kill[ed] his young children…after he said he became “enlightened” by [“sex trafficking” propaganda of the]…QAnon [branch]…Coleman’s…3-year-old son, Kaleo, was found stabbed 17 times at a ranch in Baja California…[his] 10-month-old daughter, Roxy, was stabbed 12 times…Coleman told investigators he used a spear-fishing gun to shoot and kill his children and then moved the spear…stabbing them with it…[because] “he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them…[he] was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife…possessed serpent DNA and had passed it onto his children…he…knew it was wrong, but it was the only…course of action that would save the world”…The QAnon movement evolved out of [the “sex trafficking” hysteria intentionally spread by governments, police agencies, news media and “rescue industry” profiteers for the past 18 years]…

The Next Target (#1160)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” fetishists extended their pet fantasy to OnlyFans:

…Ann Wagner…the religious-right [politician]…who was the original drafter of FOSTA-SESTA, has released a letter to the Justice Department asking for an investigation into OnlyFans, claiming — without…any…evidence [whatsoever] — that the platform has “become a major marketplace for buying and selling Child Sexual Abuse Material…in the United States, as well as soliciting sexual activity with minors.”  Wagner also penned an editorial for congressional news site Roll Call stating her [ill-informed] opinion that all “sex work” (her quotation marks) is “illegal”…Wagner also [fantasized about]…the impact of FOSTA-SESTA…[whose] impact on human trafficking investigations has also been demonstrably the exact opposite of what Wagner claims

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[Tit censorship laws] sexually objectify women rather than treating them as people in their own right.  –  Judge Roger Gregory

To Molest and Rape

Cops constantly demonstrate exactly what they are:

A [typical and representative Pennsylavania cop]…was [riding around] in his p[igmobile] on Aug. 1, 2019, when he signaled to a woman he knew and when she walked over, he exposed himself to her and then grabbed her arm and put her hand on his penis…after the 22-year-old woman pulled away from [him] in [disgust and shock]…he told her, “You better not fucking tell anyone”…[but unfortunately for molester cop William Lance] there was a witness in the victim’s car…[the complaint was buried until June, when a social media post entitled “Officer Lance is a PERV” asked other victims to come forward]…Lance…[w]as [then rewarded with a paid vacation and]…charge[d with]…official misconduct…

Little Boxes (#748)

Puritans claim a law that only applies to women is “non-discriminatory”:

A federal appeals court…refused to strike down an ordinance banning women but not men from going topless on public beaches in Ocean City, Maryland, [prete]nding that the law does not violate the Equal Protections Clause of the Constitution [by belching out the magic words]…“protection of public sensibilities” [and claiming that a gland specifically activated during motherhood is somehow anti-family]…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because you saw a man house-shopping”?

[Out-of-control cops assaulted] a Black man, his teen son and his real estate agent as they were touring a home for sale in a Michigan neighborhood after a white resident falsely accused them of breaking into the house.  Roy Thorne…and his 15-year-old son, Samuel…[were] with Eric Brown, a Realtor who is also Black…Samuel was the first to notice…[cops playing soldier a]round…the ho[use with guns drawn]…Thorne, an Army veteran, told his son and Brown to get down and stay away from the windows…the [cops threatened the]…three…with [loaded weapons and demanded they perform acts of obeisance.  Fortunately]…the [cops weren’t as paranoid as many are]…and…subsequently released [their victims after] about 10 minutes…The [Cop Excuse-making] Department [claimed it was perfectly reasonable for armed thugs to go around threatening to murder ordinary people doing mundane things] and [absurdly claimed] race “played no role” in their [deranged] response…

Panopticon (#1078)

Tell me again how my work is degrading?

…As many workers have shifted to performing their duties at home, some companies are pushing for increasing levels of…staff [surveillance] in an effort to [magnify] the oversight of the office at home…[law professor] Veena Dubal [said]…“the reality is that it’s much more intrusive than surveillance conducted by a boss.”  [Customer service company] Teleperformance spokesman Mark Pfeiffer said…“We are committed to [excusing our dehumanizing practices with a lot of buzzwords]”…However…in March, members of Teleperformance’s global workforce…were sent an eight-page addendum to their existing employment contracts that asked them to agree to new home surveillance rules…[which include] having video cameras installed in their home…pointing at their workspace, to record and monitor [them] in real time…They must also agree to sharing data and images related to any children they have…and to sharing biometric data including fingerprints and photos…Pfeiffer…said that cameras were used for spot checks of the company’s clean desk policy and [belched out the word “]security[” multiple times]…

“Clean desk policy” sounds like the kind of rule nuns imposed on us in grammar school.

End Demand (#1122)

Another good argument against criminalization from my friend Savannah Sly:

…criminalization efforts are like when you’re going after sharks:  You’re going to catch a lot of dolphins in your net…we are the dolphins, and we don’t want to suffer from the laws that should punish only the sharks…We want to stop all traffickers, but we want people who freely choose this work to be treated with respect and not criminalized.  Likewise, we don’t think our clients should be criminalized, because we as sex workers are adults who consent to seeing them.  Criminalizing our clients puts us under economic stress…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1141)

Cops want everyone to share their hysteria:

San Diego [cop]…David Faiivae [had a panic attack]…seconds after [another cop] finished testing a white powder he’d [found while rooting in someone else’s property] was…fentanyl.  The [hysterical cop’s panic attack]…was the subject of a 4-minute video…th[at]…became part of the latest [copaganda campaign against] fentanyl, a [life-saving] drug [that is not an aerosol and is so difficult to absorb through the skin that fentanyl patches for pain treatment rely on patented technology that took years to develop, but]…which [cops keep pretending can] kill [by casual exposure]…the body camera video [of Faiivae’s hysterical reaction] prompted internal discussions about…how [the video] could be used in a p[ropaganda] campaign to [spread] d[isinformation about] fentanyl…

The Next Target (#1142)

Pro-censorship sleazebags are embracing nuisance lawsuits as their latest weapon:

Leading [pro-censorship] crusader Laila Mickelwait — until last year a mouthpiece for the religious ministry Exodus Cry — has completed her rebranding with the full launch of a website called “Justice Defense Fund,” promoting “civil litigation and legislation” against adult content websites…late last year she incorporated herself as “Justice Defense Fund” through a PO Box in a Colorado strip mall…Mickelwait [is] us[ing] her personal Twitter account to direct people who have had issues with online billing to the new website for information on a class action suit…

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A number of readers have asked me why most of the links on my blog now lead to archived copies of web pages rather than the originals.  One reason is that many news sites are now paywalled, and archive sites circumvent 90% of paywalls; another is that so many sites now demand readers agree to be spied upon (“please approve our tracking cookies”) and archives circumvent that as well.  Many sites also feature adblocker-blockers, and since my brain can’t handle being bombarded with ads that blink, flash, jump, drift, pop up, and otherwise assault my vertigo and aggravate my anxiety, an adblocker is non-negotiable for me if I’m to use the internet at all.  But the most important reason of all is the title of this column: link rot, the phenomenon by which once-functional links now lead to nothing because the original page has been abandoned, deleted, censored, subjected to DMCA “takedown”, or memory-holed.  The problem has always existed, but it’s getting worse thanks to many factors including increasingly-aggressive puritanism, fascist systems that increasingly favor big corporations over the small sites that once made up most of the virtual landscape, and the growing popularity of censorship.  Worst of all, not all rotted links are completely dead; some lead to articles which have been bowdlerized, edited to hide inconvenient facts, or otherwise altered from the original.  Embedded YouTube videos have their own special kinds of rot:  videos can be removed, accounts can be cancelled because some corporate bully claimed “copyright violation“, and in the past few months YouTube has suddenly started enlarging embedded videos so they no longer fit properly on the screen (the better to lure the viewer to the main site, where they can be more effectively tracked and bombarded with ads); the only way to fix this is to go into the HTML code of every single stretched video, one at a time, and manually reset the height and width to their original dimensions.  It’s bad enough having to do that with videos; on a blog as extensive as this one, repairing other rotted links is quite impossible.  So the best I can do is to ensure that going forward, readers clicking on the links I embed will be able to see the article I linked to, in the same form as when I linked it.

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Th[is is] not a slippery slope; [i]t’s a fully built system just waiting for…pressure to make the slightest change.  –  India McKinney & Erica Portnoy

Monkey Business

Higher primates understand the concept of “value”:

The long-tailed macaques who roam the [the Uluwatu temple in Bali] are infamous for brazenly robbing unsuspecting tourists and clinging on to their possessions until food is offered as ransom payment.  Researchers have found they are also skilled at judging which items their victims value the most and using this information to maximise their profit…Mobile phones, wallets and prescription glasses are among the high-value possessions the monkeys aim to steal…and…demand better rewards…for higher-valued items…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

[Australian] pastor Brian Houston has been charged for allegedly concealing child sexual abuse by his late father Frank Houston…in the 1970s…Frank Houston, who died in 2004, has been accused of abusing nine boys while a Pentecostal preacher…

A Broker in Pillage (#897)

Yet another government scam to steal Philadelphia citizens’ property:

…relocation towing…is when the police…or a private tow company moves legally parked vehicles to make room for a special event, utility work, or some other [pretext]…they are supposed to relay the new location of each vehicle to police headquarters, so when an owner finds their car missing and call 911, police can tell them where it is.  I[n reality]…drivers have reported spending days or weeks searching for their cars…because neither the [Philadelphia Parking Authority] nor police have any information about the tow.  Many…are recorded…with a pre-Internet system that relies mostly on handwritten notes and fax machines…The PPA [claims] tows from temporary no-parking zones are primarily a police function.  Police [claim] tow companies could be to blame for missing vehicles.  The tow companies [claim] police sometimes lose the information they provide.  Drivers who get sucked into the bureaucratic vortex describe it as city-sanctioned auto theft, often followed up by a shakedown by the PPA if the car was moved to an illegal parking space, then ticketed, towed or booted.  The resulting fees can be difficult or impossible to fight…

To Molest and Rape (#995)

Serial rapist rapes another vulnerable woman:

A [typical and representative] Spokane [cop out on bail]…for…[rap]ing a victim of domestic violence was arrested…[again] after another woman reported he raped her [before he was fired for the previously-reported rape]…Nathan Nash[‘s MO was the same]…in…both [cases; he]…responded to their calls for police assistance and later [raped them during pretended]…“follow-ups”…In the [new] case, Nash [displayed] his gun…then pushed the victim onto the couch, to[re] her clothes off, and raped her…he…[then forc]ed her in[to] the shower…[to wash away evidence]…the victim is disabled and has an apparent minor cognitive disability…

The Widening Gyre (#1057)

Observation: fools waste money.  Conclusion: “sex trafficking”!

Last May, the K-pop…group BTS entered into a partnership with McDonald’s to release a limited-edition promo meal that…almost immediately sold out, and enterprising individuals on social media decided to take advantage of the group’s enormous popularity by selling certain items from the meal online.  One item in particular, a chicken nugget shaped like a “crewmate” from the multiplayer online game Among Us, was auctioned off on eBay for nearly $100,000…[then] last month, [a TikTok idiot] posted a video accusing various eBay sellers peddling the BTS chicken nuggets of…“human trafficking”…The idea that a chicken nugget eBay listing would serve as a front for child trafficking was clearly ridiculous on its face.  Yet many of the commenters appeared to be…[just that ridiculous]…

I Spy (#1155)

The beginning of the end for private communication:

Apple has announced…new “protections for children”…in iCloud and iMessage…this means…Apple is planning to build a backdoor into its…system[s]…Apple’s…appease[ment of] government agencies…is a shocking about-face for users who have relied on the company’s leadership in privacy and security.  There are two main [spyware apps] the company is planning to install in every Apple device.  One…will scan all photos as they get uploaded into iCloud Photos to see if they match a photo in the database…maintained by…NCMEC…the other…scans all iMessage images sent or received by…accounts designated as owned by a minor…and…notifies the parent when…images [an algorithm decides are “sexual”] are sent or received.  All it would take to widen th[is]…backdoor…is an expansion of the…parameters to look for additional types of content…The abuse cases are easy to imagine: governments that outlaw homosexuality might require…[calling the cops on] apparent LGBTQ+ content, or an authoritarian regime might demand the classifier be able to spot popular satirical images or protest flyers…

I Spy (#1158)

Still think this djinni is ever going back into its bottle?

…several high-profile female journalists and activists…have…been targeted and harassed by authoritarian regimes in the Middle East through hack-and-leak attacks using the Pegasus spyware, created by Israeli surveillance technology company NSO Group.  The spyware transforms a phone into a surveillance device, activating microphones and cameras and exporting files without a user knowing…a key part of the harassment…is the use of private photos…[which would be] tame by Western standards…[but] are considered scandalous in…societies like Saudi Arabia and were…used to publicly shame these women and smear their reputations…Pegasus spyware is linked to human rights violations around the world…including the [murder] of Jamal Khashoggi…by Saudi agents…

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