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Posts Tagged ‘propaganda’

 

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Requiring a pinky promise of a court order [i]s woefully insufficient [to prevent surveillance abuse].  –  Ron Wyden

Stalkers in Blue

Just protecting and serving:

The Department of Justice has charged [Adrian O. Pena,] a Deputy U.S. Marshal for…using access to a controversial phone tracking service offered by a company called Securus to track the physical location of people he had personal relationships with as well as their spouses…between September 2016 and October 2017…He did this by uploading fake documents to the Securus platform that he claimed gave him authority to obtain requested location data…Securus is a massive prison and law enforcement contractor that, among many other things, previously offered a service for geolocating nearly all phones in the United States called Location Based Services…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#916) 

All prohibitionism is the same:

According to [fantasists at] the…DEA…teens simply message a sequence of emojis that symbolize the substance they’re after so that their dealer can avoid any kind of digital detection.  The secret codes also help youngsters keep their habits a secret from their parents, who likely have no idea what the emojis actually represent.  Now, the DEA has released a chart titled “Emoji Drug Code: Decoded ” to [spread disinformation] about the [reasons for]…the soaring number of adolescent overdose deaths

Crying for Nanny (#1037)

The only winners are the ambulance-chasers:

A [professional “survivor”] who brought a civil lawsuit seeking [to cash in with a FOSTA-enabled nuisance “]sex trafficking[” lawsuit]…against Craigslist [is out of luck, as he lawyers should’ve told her, because]…the online service is immune from the claims under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act…

Creepy Coppers

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

Maryland [cop] Daniel Morozewicz…has…pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing over 12,000 files of child pornography…on the BitTorrent file sharing network.  Morozewicz also used multiple electronic devices to download and distribute child pornography involving [toddlers] and infants…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1208)

Media stenographers are always happy to indulge cops’ violent fantasies:

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department is [spread]ing [moronic copaganda] about…fentanyl…[an important medicine which, despite a fantasy popular among cops, is not an aerosol and cannot be absorbed through casual] exposure…[a hysterical pig named] Dallas Thompson [suffered a panic attack when he thought he was exposed, and] his [gang wasted] five rounds of Narcan [despite that medicine only being effective vs opiates, not panic attacks.  But] the [prohibitionist gang] is still e[ager to tell tall tales about drugs and brag about what might heroes they supposedly are]…

Hint: if five doses of Narcan doesn’t help, you’re not overdosing on opioids.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1230)

Journalism is slowly dying of gullibility:

The New Yorker…staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote a lengthy feature detailing horrific allegations of child sexual abuse material allegedly uploaded to Pornhub…[and] spend[ing] thousands of words praising #Traffickinghub creator…Laila Mickelwait for [supposedly] helping women…Kolhatkar…describes Mickelwait designating Pornhub a sex-trafficking ring before highlighting her supposed mission: holding Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek “accountable”.  The problem is that despite Mickelwait’s protestations, her goal isn’t to save victims.  It’s to abolish the porn industry…

Goodbye, ACLU; Hello FIRE

Here are FIRE’s first new ads; there are five in all and they’ll play in sequence.

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Asset forfeiture laws imperil people’s rights to property and due process.  –  Elizabeth Patton

Droit du Seigneur

What the people who enforce “sex trafficking” laws are really like:

[Typical and representative Honolulu cop] Mason Jordan [i]s a “hands-on sexual offender of multiple children” who allegedly bullied victims to send him their nude pictures and…[then tried to force them into] prostitution…[with him as] pimp…he…also [liked to fantasy role-play]…as a teenage girl [online] to…stalk…[threaten, and attempt to blackmail] a woman…

A Broker in Pillage

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

…Kansas [cop shops] raked in $21 million through civil asset forfeiture over the past two years, according to a report…by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation…less than one-quarter of the owners have been convicted of a crime…half of all [that stolen loot]…had a value of $3,100 or less, meaning it would be impractical in those cases, if not a net loss, to hire an attorney to try and recover one’s property…the numbers…omit [the federal governent’s cut of the spoils, amounting to] more than $5 million…

Magic Formulae

Remember this next time somebody tells you that “cop checks” actually work:

[At least nine cops in British Columbia] engag[ed] in “disgusting, appalling” behaviour as they went to “extreme lengths” to prove they were not cops…[they] penetrated a colleague using a vegetable, [shat] on [each]…other and exposed their genitalia…[so-called] experts [who somehow didn’t know cops did stuff like this]…are now calling for an immediate overhaul of undercover tactics…[law professor] Kent Roach…expressed concerns over the liberal use of deceptive and even violent tactics which Canadian police are allowed to use in undercover operations…

Property of the State

Most tyranny starts with governments claiming they want to “protect” people:

Poland has officially started recording pregnancies in a digital database when [women] seek medical care…The country…has a near-total abortion ban with narrow exceptions…[which means that] every pregnancy that doesn’t end in a live birth is a potential crime scene [in the authoritarian mind]…the Polish government…[claims] it’s simply trying to protect [women] from X-rays and medicines that could harm the…[fetus and pretends that]…only medical professionals will have access to the data…[but even if true, that hardly seems likely to withstand cop demands]…

If Men Were Angels

“Youth leaders” = “youth pastors” = predatory perverts:

A…youth leader at two South Carolina churches…has been charged with sex crimes involving children…William Pinckney Carpenter III…[molested] victims as young as 7 [between 2016 and 2021]…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops never stop until they’re caged or dead:

A…[typical and representative Georgia cop] pleaded guilty to raping a woman [in]…2019…David Wilborn…[used the pretext of a traffic] stop [to]…block…a car with his p[igmobile].  After…[humiliating the driver], he [raped the passenger at gunpoint.  After]…Wilborn [left]…the victim immediately called police…Wilborn was sentenced to a term of life in prison to serve 25 years without parole, with the balance on probation.  He must also register as a sex offender.  Wilborn was previously a…[cop in] Atlanta…but resigned after…[sexually assaulting a woman in] 2007…

Served Cold (#1156) 

As OUR collapses, expect it to engage in increasingly-petty interference with sex workers’ lives:

The abrupt cancellation…of the Latin American adult industry conference, LALExpo, has been linked to a single press release from controversial, Mormon-led U.S. organization Operation Underground Railroad…As the local religious and conservative campaign attempted to sway local officials into denying LALExpo…permits, OUR issued a press release on June 3…seemingly attempting…to insinuate that the trade show’s sponsors were somehow responsible for “human trafficking”…

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Prison officials like to censor anything…to do with minority anything.  –  Paul Wright

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A…youth pastor who [claimed] he began sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl [because] he mistook her for his wife, [yet] continued abusing her for more than two years, was sentenced…to…more than four years in prison.  David Walker…gasped as…Judge Ashley Kilbane announced the sentence.  Walker also must register as a sex offender…Walker was also a math teacher, baseball and basketball coach at Cleveland Christian Academy at the time…Investigators spoke to several women who were teenagers in the church around the same time as the abuse, and four of them said that David Walker also committed sexually inappropriate behavior with them…

I view shocked reactions in these cases as evidence of severe sociopathy; they really can’t believe they’re actually suffering consequences for their actions.

Damned If You Don’t (#442)

But picket-fence gays say cops aren’t our enemies:

The [cop shop] that [harasses people in] New York City’s main bus terminal has agreed to stop sending [disguised cops]…to [lurk in] its public bathrooms to [frame] people [for supposedly] propositioning strangers for sex, a [creepy] type of sting…aimed at gay men.  Under a legal settlement…the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will…only reinstate the so-called public lewdness patrols…if approved at the highest levels…the charges were [nearly always]…brought by [cops] who targeted men…they perceived…as gay, largely to inflate their arrest statistics.  The two named plaintiffs, Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, [were both victimized by cops] at the bus terminal in 2014…Both [were]…arrested…[for] public…masturbati[on because they were holding their penises in order to urinate]…

As a NY Times reporter phrased it at the time, “the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law [seems] to criminalize the use of public urinals“.

To Molest and Rape

I guess cops are never too old to rape:

An 81-year-old Walker County [Georgia cop named Jerry Glover]…has been arrested and charged with rap[ing a woman while wearing his magical clown suit]…

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

[Prison] officials in…Michigan…ha[ve] banned dictionaries in Spanish and Swahili under claims that books’ contents are a threat to the state’s [cage stacks].  “If certain prisoners all decided to learn a very obscure language, they would be able to then speak freely in front of s[crews]”…said Chris Gautz, the spokes[mor]on for the Michigan Department of [Torturing]…prisoners …If staff is unable to find a translation [of any] book…[it] is placed under the list of banned books – even when these are in Spanish…A 1989 Supreme Court ruling allows prisons to ban any book – as long as [the censors belch out the magic word “]safety[” first]…

Gautz’s moronic definition of “obscure” includes languages spoken by roughly 592 million and 90 million people, respectively.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1022)

I don’t think petitions like this do any good, but they don’t hurt:

We, the Tech Equity Coalition, including members of the former Port of Seattle Biometrics External Advisory Group…write to urge you to post clear and accessible signage in both visual and auditory forms in the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) regarding the collection of biometric data from travelers and the rights available to travelers.  Such signage should be present and discernible prior to an individual’s biometric data being collected.  Since Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not posted such signage themselves, then the Port of Seattle must step up to do so…the…lack of clear and accurate signage violates all seven of the Port of Seattle’s Principles for Public-Facing Biometric Technology, which were adopted in Motion 2019-13.[2]  The Port of Seattle can and should post signage making it clear that CBP intends to collect biometric data from travelers and that U.S. citizens have the right to opt out…

Tissue of Lies (#1231)

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “human trafficking operation”:

ICE…[crowed]…that 70 missing children were recovered following a three-week long operation in Texas.  [In reality, the lugubriously-named] “Operation Lost Souls” [was largely a review of records which dis]covered 70 [legal minors who had been reported] missing…[most of whom had already returned home.  The others were] victims of…physical…and sexual abuse…[whom police captured and returned to their abusers, under the direction of] Homeland Security…El Paso…

Winding Down (#1236)

British Columbia is better on prohibition issues than its neighbor to the south:

British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in North America to decriminalize possession of “hard” drugs such as…heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.  Effective Jan. 31, 2023, British Columbians 18 and older will be able to carry up to a cumulative total of 2.5 grams of these [state-stigmatized] substances without the risk of arrest or criminal charges.  Police are not to [steal] the drugs, and there is no requirement that people found to be in possession seek treatment.  The production, [sale] and exportation of these drugs will remain illegal…The change comes six years after B.C. declared a public health emergency in response to skyrocketing overdose deaths [due directly to the drug war]…Close to 10,000 people have died since 2016 in B.C. alone, and advocates have put pressure on governments to re-examine drug laws [politicians pretend] were intended to minimize harms but have [always] had the opposite effect…

Judging by the number of dysphemisms I needed to edit, the Globe and Mail does not approve.

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In its attempts to target an ever-growing number of people for detention and deportation, ICE has reached into the private homes and lives of almost every person in America.  –  Nina Wang

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Allowing Clearview to continue arming those who claim the “right” to spy on you, violently assault you, and destroy your life, is nothing like a “big win”:

Under a legal settlement filed in court today, Clearview AI…has agreed to a new set of restrictions that ensure the company is in alignment with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…Clearview will be permanently banned from granting paid or free access to its gargantuan face recognition database to private entities [but not to governmental entities, including ICE, CBP, the FBI and local cop shops]…except…in Illinois [and even that restriction is only]…for a [mere] five years…Clearview will maintain an opt-out request form on its website, allowing Illinois residents to [give this unscrupulous business yet another] photo [in exchange for a politician’s promise that]…their faceprints will be blocked from appearing in Clearview’s search results…

Quiet Genocide (#1105)

Here’s another firsthand account of the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people by the Chinese communist regime, told in comic strip form.  Since finally escaping after years of brutalization, Zumrat Dawut has bravely told her story despite attempts by the Chinese government to terrorize her even though she now resides in the US.  Please read her story, edited by Anthony Del Col and illustrated by Fahmida Azim; it is imperative Westerners stop looking away and pretending these atrocities are not happening.

I Spy (#1155)

Nothing infuriates violent, self-important busybodies more than private affairs that are none of their business:

…the European Commission [is] seeking to end encrypted communications…[using the popular excuse] of child sexual abuse imagery…messaging services and web hosts would be required to search for, and report, child abuse material – even in the case of encrypted messaging services…that cannot be scanned in such a way…[politician] Ylva Johansson…[bloviated a lot of self-contradictory nonsense about] “strong safeguards guaranteeing privacy of all”…[while constantly harping on the word] “children”…But the plans [are in reality]…an attack on privacy…Joe Mullin of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)…[pointed out that because what the politicians demand is literally impossible in encrypted messaging…“This would be a massive new surveillance system…[which] would require the infrastructure for detailed analysis of user messages”…It is a similar approach to that proposed…by Apple…Patrick​ ​Breyer, German MEP for the​ ​Pirate​ ​party, called the proposals “fundamental​ ​rights​ ​terrorism​ ​against​ ​trust,​ ​self-determination​ ​and​ ​security​ ​on​ ​the​ internet”…

To Molest and Rape (#1178)

Not even a rapist cop’s own daughters are safe:

A 10-year-old girl called police in March [to report that] her father, a Chicago [cop, had]…sexually abus[ed] her…but when he was [arrested and] charged…it was only for domestic battery, a misdemeanor…

I Spy (#1200)

All federal cop shops and spook houses are part of the police-state blob:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement…has built a vast digital surveillance system that gives it access to the personal details of almost every person in America, a two-year investigation by Georgetown University law center…conclud[ed] that the…organisation has strayed well beyond its [official] duties as an immigration body to become…a domestic surveillance agency…[with] capabilities that allows its agents to “pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time”…includ[ing]…driver’s license data…utility records…[license plate reader data and] facial recognition [data on roughly 75% of US adults]…and…weaponised through the use of powerful algorithmic tools for searching and analysing data…all…[secretly and] in the absence of warrants…

The Implosion Begins (#1211)

The New York Times uses terms like “far-right conspiracy theory” to describe the moral panic they’ve aggressively promoted for 18 years:

Jason Frank…and his [QAnon] group…have been camping out near Sasabe, Ariz., as a self-appointed border force [in an elaborate fantasy roleplay]…of protecting the thousands of migrant children who have been arriving from the evils of sex trafficking — a favorite QAnon theme…wh[ich developed] over the years [from fantasies about]…pedophilia rings [heavily promoted by cops, fanatics, politicians, and journalists – especially the New York Times – since the early Oughts despite mountains of evidence that organized]…sex-trafficking schemes [of the sort featured in these fantasies are highly] unusual…migrant children [and adults are]…overwhelmingly people who paid to be smuggled…

Policing for Profit (#1230)

I reckon Empyreal felt letting this crime boss save face was a cheap way to get their property back:

Empyreal Logistics…has reached a settlement with the San Bernardino County, California, Sheriff’s Department, which had [robbed] more than $1 million from Empyreal’s armored cars.  The Justice Department, which was holding the money pending federal forfeiture, agreed to return all of it last month…Empyreal a[lso agreed to endorse a statement] the sheriff’s department issued on Friday, [absurdly claiming that the sheriff and his henchmen were]…”acting in good faith when the[y conducted pretextual traffic] stops w[ith the specific intent of robbing a corporation conducting business that was 100% legal under California law]”…

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The number of arrests for human trafficking is zero.  –  Gary Edinger

Above the Law (#136)

Well, this is different:

A female [cop] has been jailed for six months after getting caught with a convicted rapist under her supervision.  Rachel Beale…was caught by her boyfriend…in bed with…Marc Few…with whom she was having an intimate affair.  Beale f[irst]…brought [Few] home to her country cottage to do odd jobs for her…[the boyfriend] became suspicious when he woke up one morning to find Beale missing…[so] he went to [Few’s] address…and caught him naked in bed with…Beale…wh[o]…also used her [cop perks]…to make hotel bookings…for…purposes [other than maliciously tricking people]…

Bullies With Badges (#977)

Everyone harmed by “trafficking investigations” needs to keep suing over them:

Many of Jacksonville’s biggest strip clubs have a new deal with city attorneys that is years in the making…[the city is] paying the businesses and dancers [a paltry] $60,000, [but] police also have new restrictions on how they can in[terfere with the normal operations of] these venues…owners filed a lawsuit in 2018…[due to] the city…violating the businesses’ constitutional rights in a number of ways…Wacko’s [lawyer Gary]…Edinger…[fantasies] city [politicians] have [bloviated about] linking clubs with human trafficking.  “Bullshit…the City of Jacksonville has never made a human trafficking arrest in an adult entertainment system, not in the bikini bars and not in the nude clubs”…

Disaster (#1072)

This Bloomberg reporter slurps up propaganda in such a nauseating fashion, the edits were self-defense:

The U.S. government can continue enforcing a law designed to c[ensor the internet and harm sex workers]…after a federal court in Washington [pretende]d that it’s neither overly broad nor unduly vague.  The [court incorrectly claimed]…FOSTA, doesn’t violate the First Amendment because it doesn’t discriminate against speech based on its content…Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Internet Archive, and two individuals who operate websites that…come within FOSTA sued to invalidate it…correctly interpret[ing] the law as…targeting the online promotion…of sex work [which cops, spooks, politicians, and prosecutors often misrepresent as the “sex trafficking” specifically named in the law]…

Still a Child (#1154) 

Japanese politicians appear to understand that infantilizing legally-adult women in matters of sex is nothing like feminism:

As Japan debates lowering the age of legal majority from 20 to 18, a [politician] asked the prime minister to create an exception in the new laws so that 18- and 19-year-old…[women are still considered legal minors] in the a[rea of sex work]…contract…[law]…Ayaka Shiomura…[appears to imagine this constitutes “feminism”, but to her] dismay…[other politicians] declined to create a specific “porn exception for 18- and 19-year-old women” within Japanese contract law.  The legal age for drinking, smoking and gambling, however, will remain at 20…

Creepy Coppers

This one really was a semi-“former” cop:

A former Tampa [cop] was arrested [March 30th] on 100 counts of child pornography after “disturbing evidence” was found on several of his personal devices…Paul Mumford…retired in 2015 as a sergeant and had been serving as a volunteer reserve [cop] ever since…Mumford…worked in the…Sex Crimes Unit from 2008 to 2009…[but boss cops denied] that…[Mumford] obtained any of the images from [work]…

Negative Secondary Effects (#1212)

In the current climate of oppression I’m not optimistic about the lawsuit’s chance of success:

Amidst a relentless U.K. media campaign demonizing sex work, the Edinburgh Council voted…to impose a “nil cap” on all sexual entertainment venues in the Scottish city, effectively banning all strip clubs…Virtually every prominent sex worker rights organization in the U.K. has sounded the alarm about this dangerous decision…which [left over 100 women suddenly jobless]…United Voices of the World, which also represents sex workers, will file for judicial review, according to legal caseworker Danielle Worden[, who said]…“Not only does this violate the the Equality Act 2010, it is an act of cruelty to remove the livelihoods of hundreds of workers as we enter the worst economic crisis since the 1970s”…

Thought Control (#1225)

Idaho politicians are punishing librarians for refusing to obediently submit to censorship:

Idaho [politicians] announced…that they will be forming a “working group” to study [their own propaganda about supposedly]…“explicit” or “pornographic” materials available to minors…[in] the state’s libraries…The House twice de[railed] the proposed budget for the Idaho Commission for Libraries…[with fanciful] claims that the libraries contain “pornographic material”…the library budget was eventually passed…but only after being cut by around…a third…

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Technology is not magic.  –  Andrea O’Sullivan

To Molest and Rape

So many words to downplay a rape:

A Columbia [South Carolina cop]…was arrested…[for raping] an “incapacitated” person…[and] was fired from the department shortly after[ward]…Keith Ryan Williamson [committed the rape]…in October…

“Accomplished sexual battery with the victim and had reason to know that the victim was incapacitated at the time of the assault” is a ridiculously cumbersome way to say “raped a drunk woman”.

To Molest and Rape (#1158)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

An Indianapolis [cop] is [merely] facing misconduct and battery charges…[despite sexually assaulting] a handcuffed man…multiple times before throwing him to the ground…Travis Lewis…[decided to arrest the] man who called police [in the first place, and when resisted beig forced into a pigmobile]…Lewis…grab[bed] the man’s [testicles]…and…twist[ed them violently.  In video the man can be heard screaming]…”My balls are bleeding”…Lewis [then] threw the man to the ground…

Stalkers in Blue (#1167)

Once in a while, there’s evidence of the way cops act toward women:

A…Charleston[, South Carolina cop]…was fired…after a…[woman he tried] to coerce [into sex at] a department store [secretly recorded his harassment with her phone]…Darryl Felkel…made repeated attempts to coerce the woman…at [her work in] a Dillard’s department store…the woman refuse[d]…him…but…he…[just kept on haranguing her for seven] minutes…

Decentralization (#1181)

Bitcoin is a kind of folk devil for economically-illiterate politicians:

Politicians who don’t like bitcoin rarely have one reason.  They have all of the reasons, and will seize on whichever one is most convenient or newsworthy at the time.  Right now, it’s war.  Hillary Clinton was trotted out to wag her finger at crypto exchanges that did not extralegally ban all Russians from their services. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is on the case, “monitoring” cryptocurrency for its capacity to give aid and comfort to the Ruskies…But [Elizabeth] Warren stole the show with fearmongering about…”criminals and cheats” before…direct[ing confused] questions at a representative from…a blockchain forensics company…which…is…routinely able to unmask transactions…Warren, surprised but undeterred, continued with her confused line of questioning, so proud of herself that she put a transcript of the objectively embarrassing exchange on her government webpage…

Scapegoats (#1210)

No rumor is so stupid that some politician won’t believe and repeat it:

Nebraska [politician] Bruce Bostelman…is the latest [fool] to repeat th[e] urban legend [that] “Schoolchildren dress up as animals—cats or dogs—during the school day…And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use.  How is this sanitary?” he said…during a televised debate, before backtracking hours later amid school district denials…similar myths have made the rounds in Iowa, Michigan, and Texas, prompting the same denials from school administrators…these stories…line up perfectly with conservative fears about transgender and non-binary students and…reminiscent of how [politicians] for years insisted that same-sex marriage legalization would lead to people marrying animals…

Thought Control (#1222)

Every so often the difference between upper and lower house becomes visible:

An Idaho bill that would have cr[iminalized]…librarians who provide minors with content [politicians] deemed inappropriate is now dead in the water; it…[will] not get a hearing in the state Senate…the Idaho Senate has also declined to take up the state House’s anti-trans bill

Science! (#1223)

“Sex trafficking” fetishists keep publicizing their creepy fantasies about Ukranian women:

Social media posts from a German sex work support network [were dishonestly]…use[d as propaganda by prohibitionists] falsely claiming the group is “recruiting” Ukrainian refugees to work in brothels.  The group was in fact highlighting support for existing sex workers…Trans*Sexworks is a Berlin-based peer support and mutual aid group primarily for transgender, intersex and non-binary people who do sex work…Wren Oscyth, one of the group’s members…explained…“We have absolutely no connection to brothels or places of employment in Germany.  There currently is not a single member of our group who is employed at a brothel or club since it is very uncommon for those places to hire trans and non-binary workers”…

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One of the titles by which the 20th Century will no doubt be known to future historians is “the Prohibition Era”.  The concept of Prohibition first started to take root in the diseased brains of control freaks in the late 19th century; it was an outgrowth of the broader “Progressive” philosophy which held that ordinary people cannot be trusted with our own lives, and must therefore be ruled by “experts” who decide for everyone how the human race should be “improved”, and enforce their diktats with violent thug armies whose actions cannot easily be reconciled with the concept of civil rights.  The first prohibitionist laws date to the late 19th century, but it was in the 20th that the concept not only reached full flower, but also successfully penetrated the minds of the general public so thoroughly that most took it for granted that for governments to tell people what they could consume, what they could own, and even what thoughts they could have while agreeing to consensual sex, was not only normal, but desirableFull alcohol prohibition lasted barely over a decade, but it left in its wake a patchwork of local prohibitions which have only very gradually eroded (and in some ways worsened again toward the end of the century).  And the failure of this one form of prohibition to thrive probably has a great deal to do with the fact that virtually no other country was willing to follow the American example; in most other cases, prohibitions which started in the US (such as drugs and prostitution) spread like a plague over the rest of the world.

But as the 20th century recedes into the past and the number of adults who can’t even remember it grows with every passing year, what Josephine Butler called “the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force” has gradually become less popular.  The once-global “War on Drugs” is beginning to wind down, and the full or partial criminalization of sex work is increasingly recognized as an abomination by those with healthy minds and respect for human rights.  New South Wales decriminalized “prostitution” in 1995, followed by New Zealand in 2003; many other countries at least loosened their laws on the subject around that same time.  Unfortunately, the prohibitionists recognized the trend before it could snowball, and began a propaganda campaign to convince the world that adult women are universally too weak-minded and spineless to be allowed to run our own sexual affairs, and that phenomena which had previously always been recognized as the pragmatic sexual decisions of individual women were in reality the result of the machinations of a vast cabal of “sex traffickers” abducting hundreds of thousands of “children” into literal slavery.  But moral panics have a very limited lifespan, and this one is already long past its heyday of the early ’10s.  It is now in the process of imploding in a rather spectacular fashion, and opposition to the continued criminalization of sex work has become a safe position even for US politicians.  The temporarily-delayed process of decriminalization got rolling again over the past few years; Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalized near the end of 2019, and Victoria state followed suit just a few weeks ago.  And now the first country outside of Oceania is set to join them:

The official green light has been given to Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne’s proposal to reform Belgium’s sexual criminal law…[by] remov[ing] sex work from the penal code…The Federal Parliament still has to approve the proposal but that is not expected to be more than a formality.  “This is a crucial leap forward. We are finally giving sex workers what they are entitled to: recognition and protection. Something they have been asking for decades,” Van Quickenborne said…Under current regulation, sex work is allowed, but third parties involved with sex workers are committing a crime.  The law [cl]aims to target pimps but in practice impacts other people…from book-keepers and web designers to drivers, landlords and even banks…

The importance of this move is difficult to overstate; the “sex trafficking” myth has provided a convenient cloak for Europen racism, and European chauvinism made decriminalization easy to ignore as long as it was strictly a “Down Under” practice (the same chauvinism has given the toxic “Swedish model” undeserved credibility).  But if Belgium follows through, Europe can no longer dismiss recognition of the sexual rights of adult women as a provincial abberation, and it’s entirely possible others may follow its example.

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As shocking as this may be to the fine folks at Marriott:  people have sex in hotels.  –  Jennifer Worrel

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) 

Fortunately, an ever-growing number of people – including a few politicians – are becoming increasingly critical of these medieval laws:

…After an alleged sexting incident in 2012 snowballed into a felony conviction in his southern state, [Jason] was forced to register as a sex offender and barred from using a computer or smartphone.  Over time, the conditions of his probation were reduced to a patchwork of technology-related restrictions: He was allowed to use email, but…not…text[ing].  He could use the internet, but…not…social media account, and all of his time online was [surveill]ed by a probation officer…Jason has become a leader in nonprofit advocacy around criminal legal system reform…Last summer he petitioned the court to have his probation end early…But right now Jason is sitting in prison and will be there until July 2023…[because the probation officer and a prosecutor decided] watching a community prayer livestream…was…accessing social media…

Watershed

When a timid hack like Oliver feels safe supporting sex worker rights, we’re definitely past the watershed:

Signs (#912) 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Several years ago…I booked an overnight at a…convenient…mid-priced hotel…I informed the young woman working at the desk that I had a reservation….[but] she [kept] ask[ing]…annoying…question[s]…It felt like I was being assessed and scrutinized…In hindsight, I wish I would have just left right then and found another hotel.  I had already presented my driver’s license…I had loyalty status showing numerous prior stays at related properties which presumably she could confirm in her system; I had a drivers license with my photo confirming who I was.  The reservation was made via a corporate travel department.  Why was I getting the third-degree?  “Ma’am, we need to make sure women staying in our hotel are doing so for legitimate reasons”…As it turned out, Marriott International had launched an initiative to combat…sex trafficking…By 2019, the company proudly announced an achievement milestone of [indoctrinating] 500,000 hotel workers [in propaganda about]…signs of human trafficking…I suggest that Marriott could make more of a contribution to their mission of “combatting modern day slavery” and “caring about human rights”  if they re-assessed their business presence in China or their treatment of Uyghurs instead of scrutinizing adult American women checking into rural hotels…

The writer is a supporter of sex workers, and the article is well worth reading in its entirety.

To Molest and Rape (#947)

Even rapist cops sometimes get their comeuppance when the victim is a kid:

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was sentenced to…four life sentences without parole [for] aggravated rape…and…aggravated incest…of…five victims, some of them relatives, [who] testified at trial…of looking up to Strain as an older brother or father figure and having their trust betrayed when he molested or raped them in tents, campers, and in his bedroom.  The sexual abuse continued into adulthood in many cases…

Creepy Coppers

The article is pretty vague, but it seems to belong in this tag:

A [typical and representative Georgia cop] is facing a wave of new charges after having already separately been indicted by a federal Grand Jury…for child pornography…Peter Bilardello is facing five charges for the sexual exploitation of children…in [addition to the previous charges]…for the…possession and distribution of child pornography…Bilardello…worked in a sex-offender [gang, and]…was receiving training in sex crimes investigations while…committing online sex crimes against children…

The Cop Myth (#1210)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

…On Aug. 3, 2018, [typical and representative California cop Brad] Wheat took his CHP-issued service weapon and hollow-point ammunition to [murder (by his own later admission) Philip “Trae” Debeaubien, the boyfriend of Wheat’s estranged wife, Mary…Wheat’s colleagues convinced him to surrender his…weapons and they reported it to superiors. Instead of treating this matter with the seriousness it deserved, or showing concern for the dangers that Debeaubien and Mary Wheat faced, CHP…essentially did nothing…it didn’t even inform the…planned [victims]…sent [Wheat] on vacation for two weeks, let him return to work, and returned his firearm and ammunition…Two weeks later, Wheat…shot Debeaubien in the shoulder…shot to death his ex-wife, and then killed himself.  Now CHP says it has no responsibility for this tragic event and that its decisions did not endanger the plaintiff’s life…

To Molest and Rape (#1211)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

An Alabama A&M spokesperson…[thought the most important detail about] the…arrest…for sexual abuse and enticing a child o[f campus copper] Ismael Roldan…was [that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume while committing the assault]…

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

A Broker in Pillage

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#989)

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

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

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

Something Rotten in Sweden (#1112)

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1142)

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1182)

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

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

Creepy Coppers

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

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

Meanwhile, a few states to the southeast:

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

The Mob Rules (#1209)

Until SCOTUS acts, this will only get worse:

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

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