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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Civil forfeiture is an abomination.  –  Travis May

The Red Umbrella

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

…Over four days in May, the same man stalked seven women and sexually assaulted three of them across [Philadelphia] and [its] suburbs….he took [few] steps to evade detection, [even wearing]…the same clothing…[yet cops] from Mississippi to Philadelphia [let Kevin Bennett pull off] a…crime spree staggering in scope, spanning eight states over 50 days, until [they finally managed to arrest him] in late May.  He’s a suspect in at least five rapes, three jewelry-store robberies, and a handful of stalking and assault incidents…

A Broker in Pillage

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

…the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to permanently [steal] the contents of hundreds of safe deposit boxes, including over $85 million in cash and precious metals, jewelry and other valuables worth millions more…the boxes’ owners have not been accused of any crime and have not been told what the government thinks they did wrong.  Now, several of those owners are joining an existing Institute for Justice (IJ) class action lawsuit to stop the government’s forfeiture plans…“This is an $85 million cash grab by the federal government,” said IJ Senior Attorney Robert Frommer.  “The government has no basis to think any of these people have done anything wrong.  It just wants to keep their stuff”…

I first linked to this story in Links #563.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1003) 

The latest chapter in this nasty, twisted saga:

GirlsDoPorn…recruiter and male talent Ruben Andre “Dre” Garcia was sentenced…to 20 years after pleading guilty to sex trafficking charges against him in the case that also involves the site’s fugitive owner, Michael Pratt, and others…

Forward and Backward (#1058)

A good example of why “policies” not anchored in law are no solution:

…Leeds City Council…[ha]s deci[ded] to “step away from what has been a pioneering and compassionate approach to on street sex work” and scrap the Holbeck Managed Approach Zone…almost seven years after [it] was first launched…The zone was officially closed down temporarily last April, [using] the [excuse of the] pandemic…forc[ing women] to work in riskier environments and ma[king] it harder for them to get help in an emergency…[and apparently thepoliticians liked that result and wanted it to continue]…

The Last Shall Be First (#1090)

Puritanism is throttling the entire world:

[Politicians] in Hungary passed [a law] that prohibits sharing with minors any content that portrays being gay or transgender…supporters [of the ban projectile-vomited the word “]pedophilia[” a]t…human rights groups [who] denounced [the new censorship law] as anti-LGBT discrimination…The ruling Fidesz party has a parliamentary majority, and [politicians] from the right-wing Jobbik party also endorsed the measure…All other opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest…Some human rights officials have compared it to the so-called gay “propaganda” law passed by Russia in 2013…[in order] to harass sexual minorities…

Winding Down

You know things are changing when Louisiana eliminates an excuse for caging people:

A bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana…in Louisiana will become law after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the legislation…Although…the bill [doesn’t legalize cannabis]…the penalty would be less than most speeding tickets…[it] would make possession of 14 grams or less…a misdemeanor in all cases and limit the fine to $100 with no jail time.  It takes effect Aug. 1…

Torture Chamber (#1141)

Your regular reminder that rapist screws are not confined to the US:

Cases of sexual assault and prostitution have been [anonymously] reported at a [prison] for unaccompanied migrant minors…in Spain’s Canary Islands…The complaint…also detailed “physical assault and sustained abuse” allegedly committed by workers at the center, as well as deficient sanitary conditions.  According to the complaint, these episodes of “negligence” have been “condoned and encouraged” by members of current and past management teams, who “have done nothing to stop it”…

What kind of sick mind thinks that voluntary “delinquent” behavior is the same as being raped, tortured and locked in filthy cages by brutal armed thugs?

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I will not be intimidated [by a flying dildo].  –  Manuel Gonzales

I must admit I like the ooga-chaka version better, but it was B.J. Thomas who passed away recently, not anyone from Blue Swede.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (x2), Billy Binion, Cop Crisis (x2), Scott Greenfield, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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It was not just that their perspective was discarded. Their perspective wasn’t even heard.  –  Ro Khanna

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

…in…March 2014…19-year-old Nimali Henry was booked [into the St. Bernard parish jail] on charges of simple battery, disturbing the peace and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling…she was living with a rare…blood disorder and…in desperate need of her medication…[but] did not have [it] with her [when arrested and screws made no effort to obtain it for her]…Two days later, other [prisoners tried] to…talk…to the guards on duty about her.  In a…video from March 31, 2014, Nimali [can be] seen stumbling and…barely [able to] walk as…guards [shout “stop faking!” at her].  Later that same day, another video shows her lying on a prison bunk with no mattress covered with what appears to be nothing more than a blanket…[she] died hours later…[as the direct result of] jail…[staff refusing to obtain] her medication and [intentionally leaving her] in excruciating pain for 10 days.  The[y]…never [even] called an ambulance….St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann [called the willful murder a “]shortfall[” and]…declined….to look at the video [because “he does not want to see anyone…die in jail”]…Four jail workers pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges…Andre Dominick…Timothy Williams…Lisa Vacrella and Debra Becnel…

What the story doesn’t tell you:  St. Bernard dramatically expanded its jail around 1990 so it could make money warehousing human beings for other parishes who lacked the room to cram any more people into their own cage stacks.

Don’t Take My Word For It (#541)

When a “study” makes silly claims like this, look for the reasons:

…Some researchers…seem obsessed with the idea of proving that sex work isn’t gendered and that women pay for sexual services in increasing numbers…from men…This…claim [is]…based on the number of profiles on [adult service websites, but]…most of these male-owned accounts have no feedback which suggests that they’re not escorts, but fantasists who set up a profile pretending to be an escort as part of their fantasy.  They’re attracted to the idea of anonymous sex as well as the misguided belief that someone would be interested in pursuing them sexually and even paying for the privilege.  Men who typically pay for sex are turned on by the idea that someone might want them enough to offer them money for it.  The male-owned profiles which do have feedback often have it because they pay for sex, get feedback from sex workers, then switch their profile around so it looks like women have paid for their services….client posing is commonly known amongst sex workers; if sex workers had been consulted on the research, that claim would have been contested…

This is an excellent article which explains a number of other silly “study” claims as well.

Full of Themselves (#831)

Racist persecution of massage parlors is a popular pastime for California “authorities”:

…the [victim of California] officials[‘ crusade against mundane businesses they ludicrously defamed as] “an organized crime sex trafficking ring operating across California” has been sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in state prison…Jing Chiang Huang was also ordered to pay $557,391 in [back taxes] to the California Franchise Tax Board [thus revealing the true motive behind the joint pogrom]…by federal, state and local [cop shops]…More than a dozen [employes] were [arrested and deported] in the process, according to a press release [calling the violence “rescue”]…

Uncommon Sense (#898) 

The Spanish high court says the government has no power to suppress a sex worker union:

Spanish sex workers have the right to form their own union, the Supreme Court ruled…overturning an earlier court decision ordering [its] dissolution…OTRAS…was discretely set up in August 2018 but was [attacked] three months later by…[prohibition]ist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez….and [his Swedish-criminalization cultist followers even though the law clearly states] that sex workers “have the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to form a union”…

Imaginary Victims (#902) 

A celebrity accomplished what do-nothing “safe harbor” laws couldn’t:

…in…April of 2020…Ohio’s governor…grant[ed] the release of a 22-year-old…Alexis Martin…[from prison] after Kim Kardashian visited [her there]…after six years, five months and 13 days…she…wi[ll]…be…track[ed by ankle monitor]…every second…[and] on parole, being [spi]ed on and drug tested until at least 2034.  Her record w[ill] always show a murder conviction, [with] all the limitations [that] bring[s]…

The article has some good information, but you’ll need to pick around the wads of ugly prohibitionist propaganda and chunks of infantilizing, agency-denying language as you would pick around slimy green things in a casserole that’s otherwise edible.

Rough Trade (#923)

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested:

Jessie Campos was found guilty of raping a sex worker in a [New Zealand] brothel in late 2018, and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison…he was made aware on several occasions a condom was legally required and he agreed to use one…but…the[n]…removed [it]…The woman indicated he had acted inappropriately and made him put the condom back on.  Without her knowledge, Campos again removed the condom and ejaculated inside her.  The woman ran to her manager’s office and the police were called…Judge Stephen Harrop…rejected the defence claim that the stealthing was not premeditated and that cultural factors [Campos emigrated from the Philippines] were relevant to the sentencing…

Yes, this is rape.  No, I don’t want to “discuss” it.

Safe Position (#991)

Even journalists are beginning to recognize what a huge backfire FOSTA was:

Sex workers have gained the backing of a small group of Democratic [politicians] after…being [entirely] shut out of the policymaking process [for decades].  The turning point was…FOSTA…also referred to as SESTA…which was [intended] to punish online platforms facilitating [sex work]…Despite the best efforts of sex workers to dissuade [politicians], the bill passed through both chambers easily…in 2018…“until very recently [no politician] wanted to be seen as facilitating…or encouraging sex work,” said Mike Stabile…of…the Free Speech Coalition…[anti-FOSTA politician Ro] Khanna [said]…his colleagues “didn’t even want to take meetings because of the possible images or pictures” with sex workers that could have been taken.  Stigma also hurts [civol rights] organizations’ funding because consumers of pornopgraphy are “embarrassed” to publically back them, says sex worker and writer Cathy Reisenwitz…

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You shouldn’t be able to breathe, you stupid bastard.
–  William Jennette’s murderer

For a number of reasons, novelty songs aren’t really a thing any more, but the 1960s were their heyday; all through that decade, one subgenre was novelty songs recorded by the stars of hit TV shows, often (though not always) in character.  Here’s one example I hadn’t seen before, called to my attention by Franklin Harris; the links above it were provided by Scott Greenfield, Clarissa, Mike Siegel, Mistress Matisse, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s like they have nothing to do but harass families.  –  Charles Twyman

When Mike Siegel recently saw me post a Luna video on Twitter, he shared another unusual cover of a rock classic.  The links above the video were provided by Dan Savage, Billy Binion, Scott Greenfield, Violet Blue, Franklin Harris, Cop Crisis, and Dave Krueger, in that order.

From the Archives

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Eradicating harm—[as now] redefined—may only amount to performance art, in which the semblance of action is all that is needed.  –  Eric Smith

Crying Wolf

This tendency has only worsened over the past decade:

The standard definition of harm has undergone concept creep…Where once the potential for harm existed in contact sports, accidents, physical altercations, traumas and so on, one might now find it while reading a question on an examlistening to a recorded debate in a classroom or encountering an opinion on social media…the broadening meaning of harm…can cause activists to spend so much time on relatively innocuous actions that they have none left for the arduous task of dealing with real societal harms like housing and food insecurity, failed educational institutions, violence in inner cities and disproportionate mortality rates…Defining harm as shallowly as many modern activists do leads them to mistake symbolic gestures for concrete strategies for change…the redefinition of harm [also] infantilizes people of color…I don’t think a world in which people of color give their power away so easily is one any self-respecting person of color would want to see…

Checklist (#986)

Your periodic reminder that Uber encourages its drivers to spy on riders and rat sex workers out to the pigs:

Uber…hire[s former pigs and spooks]…to help police catch suspected [sex worker]s…[by turning over their] uploaded information…[and] account identifiers…to…the…[pigs, referring to sex work as] human trafficking [equal to] carjackings…Uber works with the [rescue industry giant] “Polaris”…[to indoctrinate] Uber drivers [with absurd and overbroad “signs of] human trafficking[“]…

A Moral Cancer (#991)

It’s unusual for prohibitionists to admit they’re openly targeting black people:

[Prohibitionist] groups are applying…pressure on the Biden administration to institute a nationwide ban…o[n] menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products…precisely because of [their] popularity with African Americans…[even if] the law [is only] enforced against sellers…entrepreneurs would still have ready access to both cigarettes and menthol flavoring…[and] combin[ing] the two…[is a fairly simple] process…Unless the federal government attempts to turn menthol itself into a controlled substance, there will surely be many small-time sellers of menthol cigarettes meeting the demand of the millions of Americans who smoke them, including at least 77 percent of black smokers, but possibly as high as 88 percent (and around a quarter of white smokers)…Recall that Eric Garner’s [murderer used]…the petty crime of selling loose cigarettes a[s an excuse, and]…Garner’s mother, Gwendolyn Carr, became a vocal opponent of a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes in New York City [as a result]…in Massachusetts, which banned menthol cigarettes in 2020, at least one [black market]  seller is facing prosecution…the brunt of enforcement [will certainly] be borne by [black] people…

This is, unfortunately, par for the course; “progressive” campaigns to “improve” people against their will always ignore the fact that their moralistic crusades always disproportionately harm minorities, especially black people.

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A woman has sued Reddit [because] ex-boyfriend…repeatedly post[ed nude] images of her as a 16-year-old.  The lawsuit applies controversial measures instituted in 2018 under FOSTA-SESTA…The resulting case will test the limits of platforms’ legal shields amid ongoing efforts to [destroy] the law behind them.  The woman…[claims] that “Reddit knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content polices, including for child pornography”…She’s accusing Reddit of distributing child pornography, failing to report child sexual abuse material, and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act…

The Widening Gyre (#1128)

It’s ironic that the newest target of “sex trafficking” scarelore is Target:

A…Reddit…user…who writes under the username Peeky-Lou…[and is so obsessed with] human trafficking…[fantasies that] she…[carries “]several legal self-defense items[” to go shopping at Target predictably imagined that]…three men…[in the store were] follow[ing her]…“It felt as if I was being surrounded like a wild animal —hunted, even,” she wrote…The…[nitwit spent] an hour…wandering around the store, [scaring herself silly with melodramatic fantasies of]…“darkness in his eyes…an eerie smirk [and]…sinister gaze”…[when] a male employee…walk[ed] her to her car…[she] saw [something that]…”solidif[ied] all of my suspicions…A white windowless van was parked in the lot“…

To Molest and Rape (#1129)

Rapist cops are sometimes treated like other rapists if their victims are prepubescent:

A [typical and representative] Louisiana [cop] has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and sexually assaulting three girls, all less than 11 years old…David Monceaux [was sentenced] to…two life terms and a 50-year sentence consecutively…without probation, parole, or suspension of sentence…his youngest victim was 4 years old…

Predictable Consequences (#1130)

Prohibitionism is an inherently violent belief system:

A mansion owned by Feras Antoon, a Pornhub executive, was torched in an apparent arson last [week].  Police…were initially called to [the Montreal] property…at 11:30 P.M when two people were spotted trespassing…when [they] arrived…shortly thereafter they found…a…fire…so massive that more than 80 firefighters were called in and the neighbours were forced to evacuate…

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The legislation…grossly limits…sex workers from taking steps to protect their health and safety.  –  Justice Phillip Sutherland

Imaginary Evils (#929)

Is there anything the government won’t label “sex trafficking”?

In 2004 [Nicole] Daedone founded a group called OneTaste, disseminating…the practice of what she called orgasmic meditation, or OM.  At its peak, OneTaste was reported to be making $12 million a year; it had centres in nine cities, including New York, San Francisco and London, and was endorsed by no less a personage than…Gwyneth [“jade vagina egg”] Paltrow.  But the organisation has now shut down following accusations by former members of the group, with the FBI reportedly investigating allegations of sex-trafficking, prostitution and violation of labour laws…

Property of the State (#989) 

Pregnant women are uniquely vulnerable to state coercion:

…each new wave of illegal drug panic and crackdowns…has spurred new excuses for monitoring pregnant women, overriding their consent, and applying strict laws against them.  In Alabama, hundreds of pregnant women have been prosecuted for positive drug tests…”A woman can be charged with chemical endangerment from the earliest weeks of pregnancy“…and…face up to 10 years of prison time [if her baby is born perfectly healthy]…and up to 20 years if the child shows signs of exposure.  High courts in…Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina…have affirmed that it’s OK to use general child abuse statutes in the criminal prosecution of pregnant women who test positive for any illegal drug…in…South Carolina…[hospital] staff called the cops on a woman whose child tested positive for [metabolites of THC]…In Louisiana…a woman was charged with child desertion and second-degree cruelty, punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment, for smoking pot while breastfeeding.  In…Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin…drug use during pregnancy can lead to involuntary civil commitment.  At least 23 states [pretend] any drug use during pregnancy is…child abuse…Even in states without this explicit policy, a single positive test can trigger…investigation by child protective services

Sex Rays (#1059)

Another sleaze turns old news into an ad for his business catering to superstitious snobs with more money than cognitive development:

Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion is being demolished in the hopes of [ritually] cleansing the area of [evil spirits].  The waterfront property was purchased…for…$US18 million [by real estate]…developer Todd Michael Glaser…the gated estate is modest for the area, which is largely made up of extravagant holiday homes…occupied only during the summer months, leaving the area eerily quiet during the off-season…

I Spy (#1067)

At least a few politicians’ moral compasses aren’t entirely defective:

A bipartisan group of [politicians] has introduced a bill to stop federal law enforcement from sidestepping citizens’ privacy rights by secretly purchasing our personal data from third-party brokers.  In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled in Carpenter v. United States that the FBI violated a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights by tracking his cellphone without getting a warrant first…[so] federal agencies began…just buy[ing] the information from brokers…And so a group…including Sens. Rand Paul…Ron Wyden…Patrick Leahy…and Mike Lee…has introduced…a…bill [which would]…require fed[s]…to…get a court order [to buy the data] just as they have to do now if they want to force a phone service provider to cough up your information.  It prohibits the use of this data as evidence [unless the spooks simply lie and pretend they obtained the data using a legal method, in a dodge called “parallel construction”]…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill failed in over a dozen states before passing in Utah:

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee held a hearing…on a “copycat bill” of the legislation…passed in Utah [which] aim[s] to force phone and computer manufacturers to install default “porn filters” on devices sold in Alabama.  The bill…[i]s part of a current effort…by [pro-censorship group]…Morality in Media…and other religiously motivated…organizations — to pass state-by-state laws making this requirement…

Winding Down (#1118)

Washington state politicians demonstrate their hypocrisy:

…in February the Washington State Supreme Court…struck down the state’s felony drug possession law…decriminaliz[ing] drugs statewide and suddenly render[ing] tens of thousands of prisoners eligible for reduced sentences.  The Legislature could have seen this ruling…as an opportunity [to end the drug war in]…Washington…But…the provincial, fearful mommies and daddies who run Olympia have made…plans to restart the war on mostly Black drug users.  The only question is how much destruction they want to cause, and for how long…

Whither Canada? (#1126)

Slowly chipping away at a terrible law:

An Ontario Superior Court judge has declared unconstitutional legal provisions that ban sex workers from being able to work safely, including by being able to advertise…hire security, work together and communicate with clients…Justice Phillip Sutherland ruled…that the law breaches the right of sex workers to life, liberty and security of the person…Jenn Clamen, national co-ordinator for the [Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform]…stressed [that] the ruling is just a partial victory [as] it does not address…provisions…banning the purchase of sex and communication for th[at] purpose…this is the second time in Ontario that a judge has partially struck down the [prohibitionist law which imposed] the Nordic model [on Canada.  Crown attorneys whined]…that [it]…would be more difficult [to destroy people’s lives for consensual adult sex]…

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Get on your knees or I will shoot you in the fucking face. – Michael Thalken

Since the beginning of the year I’ve featured a “video of the day” on Twitter, and recently I featured this cover of “Sweet Child O’Mine”; reader Miss Tickle responded with another unusual cover of the song.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis (“incident”, “lie”, and “believe”); Radley Balko (“y’all”); President Dawg (“fascism”); and Walter Olson (“dead”).

From the Archives

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The younger generation…don’t understand at all how the government could ever enter your bedroom and tell you what to do.  –  Mandie Landry

Creating a Monster

There really is nothing new under the sun:

Neither Craigslist’s personals nor…US [censorship of] the sexual commerce they make possible are uncharted territory.  Reading…coverage of…FOSTA–SESTA, gives me a sense of déjà vu.  I have spent the last several years researching how, more than one hundred years before Backpage opened its online classifieds—well before the rise of the internet…lonely hearts [and] sex workers…had access to Parisian “back-page” classifieds.  Then as now, [politicians] scrambled for ways to stop them from using this new, democratizing print technology to “immoral” ends.  The largely unsuccessful, often counter-productive, and oppressive solutions they came up with during the French Third Republic (1870–1940) look strikingly similar to those the US legislature is testing out now…

This article is three years old, but it’s about century-old events anyhow.

Safe Position

This might fly in New Orleans, but it’ll definitely be uphill in the rest of the state:

Sexual acts between consenting adults should remain just that, state Rep. Mandie Landry said, regardless of whether they involve a financial transaction.  She said she will author a bill in the Louisiana Legislature that would do away with the state’s existing laws that outlaw prostitution….“If two people engage in a relationship in their own home, whether they exchange money or not, it’s between them”…Prostitution involving minors will remain illegal because minors cannot give consent, she added…

False Witness (#920)

Texas cops routinely destroy lives with the same method used to create the Satanic panic:

…a vast body of research shows hypnosis does not increase the chance of retrieving accurate memories.  In fact, it may implant imaginary ideas or distort recollections.  At least 21 states ban evidence in court that was gleaned solely through hypnosis.  Yet a Dallas Morning News analysis found Texas law enforcement has used the dubious method nearly 1,800 times over 40 years, sending dozens of people to prison — and some to their deaths.  After one week of training, any Texas [cop]…who passes an exam can attempt to use hypnosis in a criminal investigation.  Hundreds…have been certified to practice it in Texas since 1988…

The Scarlet Letter (#941)

Why do puritans pretend the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to harming people for having sexual urges?

The Alabama House of Representatives…approved legislation that would post pictures of men a[ccus]ed [o]f…solicitation…to shame them…f[or having]…sex[ual needs.  Bill sponsor] Merika Coleman…[bloviated a lot of disgusting sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…an[d]…argued that the state needs to attack the de[sire] for sex…Coleman said [she doesn’t care that]…posting the picture of a person who was arrested…harms those individuals who are not found guilty for the rest of their lives.  [She said it’s OK that] they are not able to get jobs…

Japanese Prostitution (#950)

Japanese attempts to suppress and hide sexuality prior to the Olympics will never be sufficient to please puritanical gaijin:

Social pressure surrounding the upcoming Tokyo Olympics has resulted in distribution troubles for traditional Japanese adult magazines, which have drastically harmed the already dwindling sector…[using the excuse] “that the magazine covers were offensive to women and inappropriate in front of children”…In the years leading up to the games’ original date of Summer 2020, “some of the country’s biggest convenience store chains…said they would stop selling the publications altogether”…Akira Ikoma, editor-in-chief of the porn magazine My Journey…said Japan is “hiding this part of the culture because they’re embarrassed”…

Torture Chamber (#950)

“Packed” = “concentrated”. And the concise word for “tent facility” is “camp”:

Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been [imprisoned] at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough mats…Some [are locked up]…for a week or longer, despite the agency’s three-day limit for detaining [minors]…they…a[r]en’t…allowed to phone their parents or other relatives who may be wondering where they are.  Despite…coronavirus, the[y]…are kept so closely together that they can touch the person next to them…Some have to wait five days or more to shower, and there isn’t always soap available, just shampoo…Biden’s administration denied the lawyers access to the [camp because]…attorney visits to Border Patrol [camp]s [have] revealed severe problems, including dozens of children held at one [camp] without adequate food, water, or soap…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

I love that Trumpists are holding onto the “sex trafficking” narrative like grim death:

On March 8th, the Lifeboat Project had the opportunity to host [politicians] and [profiteers trying] to stop [sex work using propaganda about] human trafficking…it was also a…[photo] opportunity for Ivanka Trump and [a payday for professional]…trafficking survivors…the…Founder of The Lifeboat Project, Jill Bolander Cohen…[introduc]ed the [fantas]y of having a universal signal that could be used world-wide…[instead of other folk magic] such as [wa]ving [red paper birds around like a semaphore flag]…or [activa]ting…[a super-duper anti-pimp tampon found in a public] bathroom…Jill be[lieves the stupid trope that]…victims [are literally “voiceless”]…so…[she proposed] flashing the letters “H” and “T” in American Sign Language…

Winding Down (#1101)

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

…Mexic[an politicians]…approved a bill…to legalize recreational marijuana…The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis…the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.  The measure…would allow adults to [us]e…and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home.  It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop…

You Were Warned (#1119)

Unless some country makes a policy of providing a safe haven, the open internet is doomed:

The Russian government’s internet regulatory agency, Roskomnadzor, has announced it will be slowing down Twitter…in the country, alleging that the platform has “ignored requests to take down material harmful to children,” including adult content.  Regional experts [say]…“that the Twitter slowdown was just the start of a large-scale offensive by authorities to assert control over — and ultimately block — social media”…Like many American crusaders against Section 230…Roskomnadzor claims this attack on free expression [i]s…to “save the children”…

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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