Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

It has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded.  –  Ed Markey

Where Are the Protests? 

I’m sure the “anti-trafficking” crusaders will be going after this any day now:

From industrial-scale scam centers in Southeast Asia, criminal syndicates have spent the pandemic perfecting an intricate romance-meets-investment fraud called Shāzhūpán (pig butchering scams).  Teams of scammers use sophisticated scripts to “fatten up” their targets, grooming individuals…and enticing them into investment schemes increasingly centered on cryptocurrency, before going in for the “slaughter” and stealing their money…the scale of human suffering sustaining pig butchering is unprecedented in the world of online scamming.  Propping up the industry are thousands of people trapped in a cycle of human trafficking, debt, forced labor, and violence; people from across the region lured by fake job adverts to scam centers in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia…the structures underpinning pig butchering…[are] creating a “humanitarian crisis”…[for both] individuals robbed of their life savings and plunged into debt, as well as those on the other side of the screen, imprisoned victims forced to groom others and scam…

If Men Were Angels

This “youth pastor” had an assistant:

A former pastor and his wife [named]…Raymond…and…Sandra Swash, face several historical sexual assault charges involving minors as young as 13 years old when they were members of the Banfield Memorial Church in North York, [Ontario]…Raymond was a youth pastor and youth leader at the church in the late 80s and early 90s…[and] a woman told…police she had repeatedly been sexually assaulted by both suspects when she was 13 years old in 1987, until she was 17 years old in 1990…Another…woman alleged she had been sexually assaulted by Raymond Swash when she was 13 and 14, from 1992 to 1993.  Investigators…believe there may be more victims…

Panopticon (#914)

San Francisco pigs are no longer satisfied with waiting for useful idiots’ consent:

Three years after San Francisco passed a law requiring city departments to get approval for their use of surveillance technology…the SFPD [wants warrantless]…live surveillance when a misdemeanor or a vaguely defined “significant event” is in progress…[via] tap[ping] into private cameras…Under the new policy, the SFPD could live-monitor private cameras across the city, including residents’ Ring doorbell cameras, or those operated by private organizations or businesses…

A Moral Cancer (#1072)

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

Alcohol carries significant health risks and no benefits for young people but some older adults may gain from drinking a small amount, according to…the authors of the Global Burden of Diseases study, a rolling project based at the University of Washington in Seattle…Four years ago the study said that even the occasional drink was harmful to health, and suggested governments should advise people to abstain entirely.  But after [they weren’t publicly humiliated enough for suggesting] a major new [theater in the] global [War on Drugs], the [puritans] behind the study have [been emboldened to make even more ridiculous statements]…

Panopticon (#1089)

No evidence will stop those more concerned about a few burglars than a massive police state:

The Amazon company…confirm[ed] that there have [already] been 11 cases in 2022 where Ring complied with police “emergency” requests…[and] handed over private recordings, including video and audio, without letting users know that police had access to—and potentially downloaded—their data.  This raises many concerns about increased police reliance on private surveillance, a practice that’s long gone unregulated…

Whither Canada? (#1133)

I’m skeptical this will accomplish anything, but it probably can’t hurt:

A sex worker in Nova Scotia is pursuing a claim for non-payment of services in small claims court, in a case she and her advocates hope will help shift the conversation about sex work in Canada…[whose version of the odious Swedish model] prevents sex workers from being able to easily create contracts for their services, as one cannot typically establish a contract in which one party is required to do something illegal…Jessica Rose, a staff lawyer for the Elizabeth Fry Society…who is representing [the sex worker, said]…”Without being able to easily contract for their services…[sex workers a]re really at a disadvantage in terms of getting paid the money that they are owed by their clients…it might be that we could argue that this kind of an illegal contract is still one that should be enforced, and that is what we will be arguing”…

Thought Control (#1253)

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

Residents of a small Iowa town [persecut]ed their library’s LGBTQ staff and their displaying of LGBTQ-related books until most of the staff quit.  Now, the town’s library is closed for the foreseeable future.  After having the same library director for 32 years, the Vinton Public Library can’t seem to keep the position filled anymore…[in the last year] the…library has gone through two permanent directors and an interim director who has served in that role twice…the…issues s[tarted when]…a handful of locals whipped up a controversy first over the library displaying books about prominent Democrats, and later about it displaying LGBTQ books and [not illegally discriminating against] LGBTQ people…[in hiring.  The] attacks…[are] part of a nationwide trend sparked by [wannabe censors equating LGBT materials]…with pedophilia…Iowa has been no exception and public and school libraries have both in these crosshairs…

Read Full Post »

You don’t exist if you can’t use the banking system.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

The Face of Trafficking

Note that even cases of actual coercion don’t look much like the myths:

A married couple was charged with sex trafficking young women into…prostitution…prosecutors [claim]…Kareem…and Sharice Mitchell…pushed at least eight women into prostitution, including at least two who were…[their wards]…none of the women was under 18.  In New York, young people can leave foster care once they reach the age of 18, but they can also choose to stay in care until they turn 21…

Decentralization (#818) 

There’s nothing in this article on sex workers accepting bitcoin that will surprise any sex worker, except the claim that escorts typically charge upwards of $1700/hour.  Unfortunately, even the reporter’s incredibly-naive acceptance of the government’s claims about the intent of FOSTA, Operation Choke Point, and various other anti-whore policies is nothing new.  But what is new is the way most non-local news media (the local ones are way too busy licking cops’ boots to stay up with the rest of their industry) are now treating sex work as normal and sex workers as sympathetic.  Prohibitionists are still winning most of the battles which involve the players in the fascist Establishment, but we’re winning the war.  And in the long run, there’s absolutely nothing the whore-haters can do about it.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1001)

Undermining of civil liberties only starts with “undesirables”; it never stops there:

A tech firm is offering police a capability to identify and pull up information on [homeless] people…[via] facial recognition…“Police [can] use ODIN…to identify even non-verbal or intoxicated individuals,” the [company’s] brochure…reads…a section called “What’s The Problem?” [includes this graphic]:

…after [scann]ing…a person police would be provided with a slew of information on the individual, including their date of birth, prior contacts, labels such as “needles,” “assaultive,” or “registered sex offender,” their warrant status, notification of who their probation officer or parole agent is, contact information for therapists or social workers, their arrest history, and their temporary housing history…

Panopticon (#1012)

Another government scheme to normalize constant surveillance:

[Politicians] in Iowa introduced a bill…that would require cameras to be installed in nearly every K-12 school classroom across the state, allowing parents to s[py on classes in order]…to censor classrooms and intimidate educators …[as part of the “]critical race theory[” witch hunt]…teachers, administrators and other school staff members who fail to keep the cameras active and in working order or who “obstruct” the camera’s views could be fined up to 5 percent of their weekly salary per infraction…Meanwhile…in…Nevada [a pro-censorship group]…recently proposed placing body cameras on teachers to ensure they aren’t teaching critical race theory…[politicians] in Florida introduced a bill similar to the Iowa proposal…that would require cameras in classrooms and require teachers to wear microphones…and…Missouri [politician] Cindy O’Laughlin…[also] called for…teachers to wear body cameras as a way for parents to [spy on them]…

I sincerely doubt teachers’ unions will agree to this kind of Maoist surveillance, but the very fact that it’s being seriously proposed does not bode well for the future.

Negative Secondary Effects (#1122)

It’s rare for an article on sex work in the UK press to be so free of dysphemisms:

Women who work in Bristol’s two s[trip clubs]…have threatened a judicial review against the city council, if it goes ahead with a proposal to close the venues down.  The United Voices of the World trade union, which represents the dancers at Urban Tiger and Central Chambers, has warned Bristol City Council that…the “nil cap” policy…constitute[s]…gender discrimination and [thereb]y break[s] the law…“The [policy would]…prevent…strippers from working in an occupation, city, and venue of their choice.  This…poses a serious threat to the…livelihoods, safety, and health of over 100 individuals”…[especially given] that other venues that host male stripper nights do not [suffer] the same level of regulation and are not included in the fresh attempts to close down their venues…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#1164) 

Victoria has become the world’s fourth jurisdiction to achieve decriminalization:

…This historical move makes the Australian state of Victoria only the fourth jurisdiction in the world to decriminalise sex work…provid[ing] sex workers with access to the same workplace health and safety protections as other Victorians…The…bill…repeal[s] over the next two years criminal laws associated with consensual adult sex work.  This is an important first step in acknowledging sex work as work…Crucially, and uniquely, the bill strengthens anti-discrimination protections available to sex workers…

To Molest and Rape (#1189)

Why are reporters so unable to comprehend that forced sex is still rape when the rapist is a cop?

The detective [rap]ing…the woman he’d just a[bduc]ted in the toilets at Charing Cross Police Station didn’t react when Sue opened the toilet door…During Sue’s time at the Central London station in the 2000s the building’s toilets and cells were often used by some officers for [rape]…“It was a place to go and [commit rape] before they went home to their girlfriends or wives”…[victims] were [usually either] highly intoxicated [or] in vulnerable situations.  Sex workers in the area were [often the victims]…details of an investigation into…a…[cop who raped] a drunk [woman]…revealed other incidents of “abhorrent behaviour”…Text messages between [cops] at the station…discussed raping [other cops], [murder]ing black children and beating up girlfriends, with one [cop] nicknamed “McRapey Raperson“…

Read Full Post »

Please don’t embarrass yourself any further.  –  UnionWatch, to cops

It’s always interesting to me to hear a composer’s own interpretation of his works.  Here’s a recording of Debussy playing “La Soiree dans Grenade” in 1913, contributed by Gustavo Turner (who also supplied “safer”).  The other links above the video were provided by Popehat, Nun Ya, David Ley, Franklin Harris, Cop Crisis, and Dave Krueger, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

When will we begin viewing women as human beings capable of making decisions for themselves?  –  Neha Choudhary

All-Purpose Excuse

In the West, “trafficking” rhetoric is used to block immigration. But in the East

…the government [of Nepal] has introduced a new rule, [requiring] women under 40…to produce consent from the family and permission from the ward office to travel abroad…Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, [said]…“Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection”…Nepalis on social media were quick to slam the move, calling it a regressive rule that deprives women of their agency and curtails their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

In the US, this is now illegal thanks to FOSTA:

Thanks to a $1-million…donation from the Law Foundation of BC and an anonymous donor…sex workers and provincial organisations are building a province-wide “bad date” reporting system….[so] sex workers will be able to report their experiences…in an online database in order to warn others…Going to the police…isn’t an option, given the ongoing stigma and criminalisation of sex workers in Canada…sex workers across British Columbia have typically relied on more localised methods of reporting bad dates.  In Victoria, PEERS…relies on…re[ports]…to staff, who then…share the information with other sex workers in the area.  At SWAN Vancouver…warnings are passed along via text.  But, these methods have their limitations…which is why the launch of the database is so crucial…

A Woman’s Point of View

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one may eventually stick:

Mariah Grant…[of] the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center…[is] hoping Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize sex work statewide…state Rep. Rob Nosse…filed a bill at the request of the Sex Workers Project…[which] would invalidate the state’s prostitution statutes, decriminalizing those engaged in selling sex, their customers, and third parties…Similar bills have been filed in New York and a handful of other Northeastern states in the past few years.  None has passed…[but] the legal sex industry already operates more freely in Oregon that anywhere else, thanks to the state’s…relative lack of an organized religious…lobby…HB 3088 would implement what advocates call “full decriminalization”…not…legalization…or…the “Nordic model”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

[Information] about a [pogrom] against a small chain of massage parlors in [Alabama] has [been suppressed by the police]…The owners, Yuping Tang and her daughter Jiao Liu, had their assets frozen and their string of businesses shut down in April 2019.  But the Alabama Supreme Court [has] ruled…the state failed to carry its burden of proof on [any] part…of its case…the testimony gathered from witnesses and [cops’] victims…conflicted with…the claims [made]…by [cops]…who went into the parlors [to rape the staff.  Woman infantilized by cops and prosecutors as]…human trafficking victims actually testified on behalf of the owners saying they were not kept against their will, and they always had access to their money, passports, and freedom of movement…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Remember when Clearview claimed it would no longer sell to entities that do not claim the “right” to a monopoly on violence?

Clearview AI…has proposed applying its technology to everything from policing to retail to dating, according to a[n August] 2020 patent application…[which] describes ways to apply…facial recognition…to…identify [homeless] people…drug…[users or] “a sex offender”…CEO Hoan Ton-That…has [a habit of publicly sharing his fantasies]…of child sex trafficking…

Devil’s Advocate (#1073) 

The absurdity becomes more obvious when we substitute “toaster” for “sex doll”:

South Dakota [politicians]…are considering criminalizing the selling, making or owning of a [toaster shaped] like a child…[by] a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison…[the psychologically illiterate] bill [declares such toasters]…a “gateway” into [eating] real children…The bill’s proponent, Sen. Jessica Castleberry…said the [toasters] create a market and demand for [cannibalism].  The [devices], which have [a plastic shell and a spring to pop up toast when ready]…make [burning people alive] easier…”It normalizes and desensitizes [cannibalism],” she said…[prohibitionist] Carrie Sanderson…said the [toasters] that look like children allow for inappropriate [cooking and eating] behaviors to fester…Justin Bell, lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said…the bill’s language was too broad and doesn’t have a victim…

Winding Down

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

After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll also veto attempts by [legislators] to give voters what they’ve demanded.  Noem said…at a news conference that she would “not be inclined” to sign a bill legalizing marijuana…just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.  So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers…nor the actual citizens of South Dakota…she’s even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down.  Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she’s trying to…delay it until next year…

Quiet Genocide (#1100)

Fascist corporations are happy to assist in a genocide:

Amazon…faces questions from [politicians] over a reported contract with Dahua, a Chinese security camera company…[whose] facial recognition software [alerts the cops when it] identifies members of the Uighur ethnic group…Dahua product support documents [state]…that suggest the company’s technology can sort passersby by race…[to] track “Uighurs with hidden terrorist inclinations”…Dahua is among the Chinese companies included on the Commerce Department‘s entity list for its ties to “human rights violations and abuses”…The U.S. doesn’t restrict American companies such as Amazon from buying from businesses on the entity list, though it urges caution…Dahua sold 1,500 thermal imaging cameras to Amazon in a deal estimated to be worth close to $10 million…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill has already failed in over a dozen states:

The Iowa House of Representatives’ Commerce subcommittee declined to advance a bill that proposed blocking adult content on electronic devices by default, as well as creating a special $5 tax on adult entertainment to fund initiatives against “human trafficking”…The bill is a version of one recently re-introduced in Utah, part of a “Project Blitz”  campaign by evangelicals to pass “copycat legislation” restricting adult content on a state-by-state basis….representatives of ATT, T-Mobile and CenturyLink pointed out that several content-blocking apps are already available and “the use of those apps is at the discretion of parents…rather than the internet provider”…

Read Full Post »

Whores are pretty relatable when it comes down to it.  –  Andrea Werhun

Here We Go Again

Some things never change:

…in 1913…the San Francisco Bulletin began publishing a series of remarkable essays from a woman using the pen name Alice Smith.  Not yet 30, she’d been working in brothels since she was a teenager, and her first-person account of sex work in California sent shockwaves through the state.  By the time her “A Voice from the Underworld” series ended, the Bulletin had received over 4,000 letters to the editor, many from women in similar situations…[before she started sex work] Alice…worked from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m…Her first [client] paid her $10; she had been making $6 per week as a washerwoman…The Bulletin [later] admitted that it wrote the stories using a ghostwriter, understandable given Alice’s supposed lack of education…[at best] “Alice” was…an amalgamation of stories from several women…[at worst] the Bulletin made the whole thing up, not uncommon for tabloids…

Guest Columnist:  Andrea Werhun

Another peek at Andrea and her book, Modern Whore:

…The overall mission of Modern Whore is to de-stigmatize sex work and make it relatable to civilians.  It’s also to give sex workers visibility and representation, to make sex workers feel a little less alone, a little less isolated and a little less ashamed.  There’s nothing wrong with pleasuring people for money.  It’s a pretty good gig when everyone’s happy and safe and everything is consensual…Hollywood depictions of sex workers enforce stereotypes.  When sex workers are not consulted in the development of those characters, when it’s men creating a fantasy world of how they think sex workers talk to each other, they’re not doing anyone a service.  They’re feeding their own fantasies…

Legislators Gone Wild (#930) 

Nevada politicians accomplish by royal decree what they couldn’t accomplish legally:

Unable to apply for federal loans or state unemployment, Nevada’s sex workers are unemployed with no financial recourse after brothels and strip clubs [were forcibly] shut down [by royal decree] to…clos[e]…all [businesses politicians deem] non-essential…including bars…strip clubs, and…brothels.  The move leaves thousands of workers without any source of income [in hopes of forcing them into poverty and later wage-slavery]…there [a]re 12,000 registered strippers in [Las Vegas] alone…

Unfortunately, Nevada’s “legal” prostitutes have their government names on an official dirty whore list, so they can’t simply lie to get relief as “illegal” sex workers can.

Dutch Threat (#981)

Another painfully-stupid Dutch sex work law:

Dutch sex workers will be…required to stop working and take a break every four hours, even in the middle of a job…[under] new rules following a hard rise in repetitive injury complaints…[due to] Amsterdam and other cities…reduc[ing] their numbers of window brothels…[so] women…[need to] work…extra shifts to meet demand…There are…questions about how the new regulations should be policed.  A recent “mystery shopper” scheme for brothels had no shortage of volunteers but was scrapped after undercover officials were exposed…

Only Dutch bureaucrats could figure out a way to make a good idea like paid breaks for brothel workers into an idiotic exercise in clock-watching monitored by cops.

Fair-Weather Friends (#1009)

The only atypical thing about this is that they’ve been charged:

Yet more Columbus, Ohio, vice cops have been arrested on federal criminal charges…Steven G. Rosser and Whitney R. Lancaster have been charged with conspiring to violate others’ civil rights and conspiring to commit wire fraud…both officers were involved in [the bullshit arrest]…of…Stormy Daniels…in July 2018…That incident is not part of the new federal indictment.  But the duo’s current troubles also stem, in part, from strip club antics and…wrongful arrest…Rosser got in a fight with a patron at Nick’s Cabaret in 2015…had the man “seized and searched without probable cause…and [locked his victim in a cage]…for…five days before the charges against him were ultimately dismissed”…In another incident, this one in April 2018, Rosser, Lancaster, and some of their [accomplices]…stopped and searched the owner of the Dollhouse strip club without probable cause…

Social Distancing (#1025)

Even in a crisis, politicians have to advertise their hate for sex workers:

The federal application for COVID-19-related disaster relief for small businesses…explicitly disqualifies any sex worker or sex oriented business who may derive income from “presenting live performances of a prurient sexual nature” or “through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature”…the USSBA asks potential applicants for economic relief to first check if they do not belong to one of the disqualifying categories, which include “engaging in any illegal activity (as defined by Federal guidelines),” being a deadbeat parent with delinquent child support obligations, legal gambling, lobbying or having a conflict of interest by being a member of Congress or a government entity.  The longest exclusion…[is] deliberately worded to target the largest segment of sex workers and sex-related businesses possible…

If your stage name isn’t clearly tied to your government name and your taxes are filed as a “consultant” or other neutral term, I advise you to lie.  You need this as much as anyone else, and your taxes are paying for it.  Unfortunately, my company is “Maggie McNeill, LLC”, which is pretty obvious to any government stooge with access to Google, but that may not be true for other sex workers reading this.  Fuck these sociopaths for trying to exclude us; take what you need.

Property of the State (#1026) 

This is what happens when you give politicians power to close down businesses:

As more states move to temporarily ban surgical abortions using COVID-19 as an excuse, federal judges have begun to block them.  In three separate rulings [last week], federal judges told state leaders that categorizing abortion as a non-essential medical procedure…was not OK.  The rulings came in response to lawsuits filed after [politicians] in Ohio, Texas, and [Alabama] started declaring that temporary surgical abortion bans were necessary…Iowa, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have seen similar orders…Groups are already suing over the bans in Oklahoma and Iowa

Read Full Post »

I can’t breathe.  –  Jorge Torres Jr.

This video of a little drama queen kitten went viral last week, but this was the only one I found which could be embedded.  The links above it were provided by Mirriam Seddiq, Mama Tush, Furrygirl, Cop Crisis, Scott Greenfield, Alex Andrews, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

[Cops] can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, “See you later. Deal with it.”  –  Leo Lech

Regular readers know that I love unusual song covers; Matt Welch recently pointed me to this surprisingly powerful acoustic German-language cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint in Black” by the late Czech star Karel Gott.  I also recently discovered a Twitter account named Cop Crisis, which provided three of the links above the video (“sirree”, “oinks” and “understand”); the others were contributed by Tim Cushing (“says”), Mark Draughn (“safer”), and Jacob Sullum (“smell”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I understand that…people…think…”this protects my kids”, but what they should be thinking…is “Does this protect my rights?”  –  Mark Yuracheck

Surplus Women

Your government wants this to happen more often:

…[Jamel Alexander]…stomp[ed] a woman to death and le[ft] her body outside an apartment complex in Everett [Washington]…Alexander admitted…that he paid the woman for sex, but [claimed] when he left she was “alive and well”…[cops found] a van near the scene that contained women’s clothing, drops of blood and signs of a struggle. They also found a sports beanie…[which] Alexander [was wearing in]…apartment complex surveillance video…

Torture Chamber 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

A…[prisoner of the st]ate [of Connecticut had a heart attack due to]…being [repeatedly] pepper sprayed and [lock]ed in five-point restraints by [screws.  He]…had rigor mortis in his jaw and upper body by the time [screws bothered to take his corpse]…to Yale-New Haven Hospital…Carl Robert Talbot…struggled with serious mental illness all his life and had been jailed for breach of peace and trespassing…[screws attacked him for] refusing to leave the…shower area.  First they]…pepper spray[ed him three times, then locked him in restraints so he couldn’t breathe and dumped him in solitary confinement to die]…

Down Under (#410)

In the US, his victims would have no recourse:

A Canberra brothel operator…told prospective sex workers they had to perform sex acts with him to prove they could do the job…Bradley Lester Grey, 54, allegedly told the nine women they needed to complete “training” as they were new to the industry and needed to know what clients expected.  Grey went on trial in the ACT Supreme Court…on 16 counts of rape, 10 charges of committing acts of indecency, and one of attempted rape.  He has pleaded not guilty…

Cooties (#827)

UK cops keep desperately trying to draw others into their “sex slave” fantasies:

…police in Bristol have urged anyone who is renting out part or all of their home using sites like Airbnb should make themselves aware of the signs that modern slavery or sexual exploitation could be taking place within their properties…the organised crime bosses who have traditionally run brothels have…realised that they are far less likely to be caught if they can rent a property for a week at a time and set up “pop-up brothels” in someone else’s home…

Counterfeit Comfort (#878)

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

A group of [people condemned to the] sex offender…[registry] in Georgia is suing the Butts County Sheriff’s office for [trespassing and vandalism.  Last year]…Sheriff Gary Long directed deputies to place “Warning! No Trick-or-Treat at this address!!” signs in the front yards of over 200 [people without their permission]…from Oct. 24-Nov. 2.  The sheriff’s office plans to use the same tactic again this year, and three [of the victims] have filed suit…“The law allows the sheriff to put a list of [the] sex offender…[registry] at his office, at the courthouse, on the internet,” [said] the lead attorney for the petitioners, Mark Yurachek…“It does not allow him to go door-to-door telling people you have a sex offender living next door to you…They’re coming onto their property [without permission] and putting the signs on there”…Long [bloviated] that regardless of the Judge’s ruling…he would do [whatever he felt like doing]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#944) 

They actually admit that part of the point is to normalize constant surveillance:

…the technology company Bark…offer[s] schools free, automated, 24-hour-a-day surveillance of what students…writ[e] in their school emails, shared documents and chat messages, and sending alerts to school officials any time the [algorithm] flag[s forbidden thoughts]…Before his school used Bark, [one] principal said, school officials would not know [every single detail of]…a student[‘s life]…unless one of their friends [tattled]…Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students…[and it] doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day…Tech companies are also working with schools to monitor students’ web searches…internet usage…and…public social media accounts…Privacy experts [explain that] pervasive monitoring…hurt[s] children, and may be particularly dangerous for [those with trust issues]…but…proponents…[claim] monitoring in school [years] helps train students for constant surveillance after they graduate…

Believe Them (#952)

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time“:

At least 25 Illinois prison employees participated in online conversations that mocked, demeaned or disclosed personal and medical information about transgender inmates…in two private Facebook groups, each with more than 4,000 members.  The degrading posts were written by [screws of all pay grades and euphemistic titles]…from across the state.  Members…outed LGBT+ inmates and openly discussed private information about them…Many posts reference a then-incarcerated transgender woman, Strawberry Hampton, who was transferred to a women’s facility…The comments emerged amid a series of lawsuits…including a class-action claim brought by six transgender women…[including] Hampton…[for persistent and pervasive] abuse and mistreatment…

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

…to my horror, a female voice that I don’t recognize starts talking to my 18-month-old son.  He looks around the room and then at the ceiling, wondering who’s there…The voice is laughing…she says we have a nice house and encourages the nanny to respond.  She does not.  The voice even jokes that she hopes we don’t change our password…After about five minutes…the voice starts to get agitated at the nanny’s lack of response and then snaps, in a very threatening voice: “I’m [magically] coming [through the camera] for the baby if you don’t answer me, bitch!”…We unplug the cameras and change all passwords…Still helpless, I started doing the only thing I could [think of] do[ing]…I typed “Nest + camera + hacked” and found out that this happens frequently.  Parent after parent relayed stories similar to mine — threatening to steal a baby is shockingly common — and some much worse, such as playing pornography over the microphone to a 3-year-old…

To Molest and Rape (#966)

Cops show you what they are every day; why don’t you believe them?

In 2017, Carroll, Iowa [cop] Jacob Smith [was]…force[d to resign] after [he molested several]…teenaged girls.  The Carroll Times Herald, published by the local Burns family since 1929, [published the news as they were supposed to], including a comment by Smith’s ex-wife accusing the [typical and representative] cop of being a “pedophile” and revealing that Smith’s previous employer, another Iowa police department, had [also] fired him for [molesting]…a teen girl.  Despite the fact that everything the Herald reported was true, Smith (who admitted [molesting teenage girls] “wasn’t right” and “looks like shit”) was still able to launch a ruinous libel suit in retaliation, thanks to Iowa’s failure to enact anti-SLAPP laws to prevent this kind of conduct.  The judge found [in favor of] the Herald…but they still ended up $140,000 in debt for the portion of the legal fees not covered by their insurer.  Now, the paper is on the brink of bankruptcy, and begging for money on Gofundme

Dangerous Speech (#968)

…history’s being rewritten to claim FOSTA took Backpage down, despite that not being the order in which things happened.  The biggest issue, though, is that taking down these sites makes it harder to fight sex trafficking — and the feds know it…Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown…discuss[es] documents she recently obtained in which federal investigators repeatedly acknowledge that Backpage helped them do their job, and wasn’t run by a bunch of criminals…”

Quiet Genocide

Just in case you weren’t horrified enough by China’s “re-education” camps for Uighurs:

[A Uighur woman who escaped China] explained:  “They came to my house at night, put a black sack on my head and brought me to a place that looked like a jail…my husband and children [had already escaped]…to Kazakhstan…I…was ordered to teach Chinese to follow detainees”…Singing of propaganda songs and reciting slogans such as “I love China”, “Thank you to the Communist Party”…and “I love Xi Jingping” are mandatory…Anyone who didn’t follow the rules was punished…Ms Sauytbay…was beaten and deprived of food for two days after she was hugged by a woman who asked her for help…[cops routinely subject] pretty girls…to…gang rape….Ms Sauytbay…saw [other torture victims]…covered in blood and with fingernails removed…

Read Full Post »

Let me out. It’s fucking dark in here.  –  the late Shay Bradley

There just aren’t many good Halloween videos any more, so I’m always happy when someone (in this case Kate D’Adamo) provides one.  The links above it were contributed by Franklin Harris, Grace, Tushy Galore, Mike Siegel, Tim Cushing, and Jesse Walker, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I’ve always been dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary links and other content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, “Tricky Treats“, and “A Trickle of Treats” (because I also love wordplay).  Horror, death or Halloween-themed columns of the past year include “Eros and Thanatos“, “Not Your Costume?“, “Its Own Reward“, “Frozen Smoke“, “The Science of Sin“, and the short story “Wheels“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #433, #435, #445, and #447; and here’s a collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »