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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

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

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

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

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

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I can’t breathe.  –  Darren Boykin

I’ve always been fond of this song, and even though I’m not all that fond of Bananarama, I do like this video (in a sort of over-the-top cheesy ’80s kind of way).  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Conner Habib, Nun Ya, and Cop Crisis (x3).

From the Archives

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Prosecutors are not allowed to just randomly tie defendants to heinous crimes they’re not on trial for…and yet here we are.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

To Molest and Rape (#941)

Rapist cop is still a rapist cop:

A Border Patrol [cop named Steven Holmes] who was released from jail after being charged in multiple [violent rapes]…two years ago is…now being held without bond​ in [Tucson]…He is being [protected] from other inmates due to his [being a cop]…Holmes was p[reviously…released [on bond]…with a GPS tracking device…[but a woman he has been fucking] for the past 3 months…[reported that] on Aug. 26, they were having sex [when]…”something changed” and…Holmes…[suddenly started strangling her until she] los[t]…consciousness…Holmes [then] continued [raping]…her after she had asked him to stop…She managed to leave and…called the [local] police…the[y now admit the]re may be more potential victims out there…

Panopticon (#986)

Cops will continue to do this until there are criminal penalties for it:

…the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission has [sued]…the Oakland Police Department…[for] violat[ing] the city’s surveillance technology vetting ordinance, the city charter and multiple state laws…[by] retaining data for two years [when they’re allowed only 6 months, and by]…giving the FBI “unfettered access” to the license plate data…the police department [has] fail[ed] to audit the use of its surveillance technology…and [refused to] provid[e] information…requested under the state’s public records act…the police department has [also] used surveillance technology such as drones without a search warrant or prior approval…

I Spy (#1098)

Encryption won’t protect you if providers are willing to hand metadata to the cops:

ProtonMail is a well-known and well-regarded mail service…[which] was recently forced to cooperate with Swiss authorities in providing user data (date of account creation), which was subsequently handed over to American security authorities…That ProtonMail made its home in Switzerland has previously been a point of praise for the mail service.  However…the country is by no means a bastion of digital privacy…due in no small part to new laws passed in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris…

Dangerous Speech (#1159)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

[In] the federal trial of Backpage.com’s founders and former executives…prosecutor Reggie Jones misrepresented Backpage ads and the law, while harping on specific crimes of which the defendants aren’t even accused.  Defense lawyers are already calling for a mistrial…the…motion [states]…”The opening…consisted of inflammatory, unproven, and unprovable assertions that fail in any event to address what the government must prove to convict any defendant”…

I Spy (#1167)

“Delayed” isn’t good enough:

Apple has delayed plans to roll out its [new surveillance]…technology …citing [criticism] from customers and policy groups…The Electronic Frontier Foundation…amassed more than 25,000 signatures…[and] close to 100 policy and rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, also called on Apple to abandon plans to roll out the technology.  In…[reply], Apple [bloviated about how allowing governments to spy on everyone is]…”critically important”…Apple’s so-called NeuralHash technology…could [easily] be abused by…governments…to implicate innocent victims or [enforce criminalization of thought]…researchers…were [even] able to…trick…the system into thinking two entirely different images were the same…

A Broker in Pillage (#1170)

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

Ameal Woods was driving near Houston in May 2019 when he was pulled over by a Harris County [cop using the common pretext that he was suppos]edly…driving too close to a semi-truck.  The [cop used this an excuse to rob]…Woods’ and his wife’s life savings…$43,200 in cash…that Woods and Davis say they planned on using to…purchase a tractor-trailer for Woods’ trucking business…Now Woods and his wife, Jordan Davis, are the lead plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit…against Harris County…by the Institute for Justice…Harris County prosecutors have a pattern of seeking civil forfeitures based on boilerplate [fantasies] written by [cops] who were not…the[re]…at least 113 forfeiture petitions since 2016…used stock language and identical phrases…[which] led to errors…such as contradictory dates and incorrectly stating what property was s[tolen by the cops]…Harris County’s forfeiture practices fail to provide owners with prompt hearings to challenge property seizures, require owners to prove their own innocence, and create perverse profit incentives for law enforcement, all of which violates the Texas constitution…

To Molest and Rape (#1170)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A Mohave County (Arizona) [cop] is facing a felony charge of s[tatutory rape]…after he was arrested on…Aug[ust 31]…when Kingman police…[discovered] Andrew Jacob Sundberg…[had intentionally gotten] a 15-year-old girl [drunk so as to seduce her]…

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For years now, I’ve been warning about the government’s intentional dismantling of every established safeguard in the criminal justice system.  The first step was to enact a host of laws turning ordinary, consensual, victimless acts into “crimes” and then slowly eroding civil rights so as to make it easier for the State to arrest, charge, and convict people for these imaginary “crimes”.  Once there were far too many “criminal” cases for the courts to possibly keep up with, the scene was set for transferring control of the courts from the judicial to the executive branch via “plea bargaining”; some 97% of federal cases and 94% of state cases are now never heard by a jury, and the US cages 5x as many people per capita as more civilized countries do.  But still that isn’t enough to satisfy the carceral lust of America’s ruling fascist establishment, so the process of eliminating the presumption of innocence began; when that proved too slow a process, politicians hit upon the idea of persecuting individuals they wish to destroy with civil suits rather than prosecuting them in criminal courts, because civil suits have a lower burden of proof and may even allow the persecutors to make a profit.  The people most often attacked by this sleazy, unconstitutional end-run around due process were of course sex workers, but the tactic still required too much attention from prosecutors and others of their morally-diseased ilk to create the level of carnage desired by authoritarians until some especially-psychopathic individual realized about 4 years ago that a law encouraging any random busybody to file suit for the supposed “offense” would truly open the floodgates.  The tactic was incorporated into the awful FOSTA, and the damage that has caused gave authoritarian monsters everywhere paroxysms of joy.  So naturally, politicians are already starting to widen the net, and still SCOTUS will do nothing to stop it:

In a 5–4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block enforcement of an extreme new abortion restriction in Texas.  Notably, it did not rule on the law’s constitutionality.  If it had, we would likely not be seeing this ban take effect…[because] “S.B. 8 is plainly inconsistent with what the Court has said about constitutional limits on abortion regulations“…The reason the Court declined to temporarily block the law is complicated…[but basically boils down to, it’s] because it’s not the state tasked with enforcing the law but private citizens in civil court suits…The Court saying that it can’t stay a likely unconstitutional law if it’s to be enforced by private actors and civil lawsuits could pave the way for all sorts of nutty new legislation…

As I regularly point out, the greatest danger posed by evil laws is often their terrible precedent:

…According to Texas, this…scheme means that the state cannot be hauled into federal court to account for its own law because it has handed over the law’s enforcement to private parties…if the Texas scheme actually succeeds in the long run, what’s to stop an anti-gun state legislature from banning handguns in the home, in clear violation of SCOTUS precedent, and then placing state officials beyond the reach of federal judicial review by outsourcing the ban’s enforcement to an army of private-sector gun control activists?  Most gun shops would probably go bankrupt overnight when faced with the wave of private-sector civil suits that such a state law would unleash…

Of course, useful idiots are completely unable to comprehend this simple concept, which means that unless SCOTUS wakes up and does its damned job, we’re at the dawn of a surveil-and-snitch state that will make East Germany look like a model of privacy in comparison.

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

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

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

Torture Chamber 

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

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

Banishment (#848)

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

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

Shame, Shame (#951)

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

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

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

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

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

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

The Implosion Begins (#1091)

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

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

The Next Target (#1160)

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

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

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I can’t breathe!  –  Nekia Trigg

This one’s been going through my head since I selected the illustration for my July 4th column, so here it is.  The links above it were provided by Franklin Harris, Clarissa, Cop Crisis, Radley Balko, The Onion, Stephen Lemons, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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I can’t even breathe.  –  Kyle Vinson

The subject of this week’s obit was a member of that very exclusive club: people who had songs written about them.  So here it is.  The links above the video were provided by Dan Savage, Franklin Harris, Clarissa, Jesse Walker, Lenore Skenazy, Mike Siegel, and Cop Crisis, in that order.

From the Archives

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I’m 300 percent sure that’s illegal money.  –  example of typical cop math

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

Chets Creek…Southern Baptist megachurch in Florida, [distanced itself from]…former Southside campus pastor Jeff Bedwell [when he] was recently arrested for…sexually molesting a young girl from the age of 12 until…17…Senior Pastor Spike Hogan [bloviated a lot of excuses and added some copsucking for good measure]…Bedwell served as a youth pastor…before his [promotion] in…2018…

Policing for Profit (#645)

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

A New Mexico man [was robbed at gunpoint by] Oklahoma sheriff’s deputies [of] more than $140,000…[using the bogus excuse] of drug trafficking, [but] a local news outlet found the records to [show the cops were lying]…Thai Nang…and a business partner were traveling to buy a piece of land when they were pulled over.  Sheriff’s deputies [rooted through] the car and [stole] the money…[claiming moronically], “I’m 300 percent sure that’s illegal money”…but…[reporters] obtained the bill of sale and interviewed the owner from whom Nang was intending to purchase the property…Nang also [reported that] the amount the sheriff’s office reported s[teal]ing is roughly $10,000 short of the actual amount.  The Institute for Justice…[says] Canadian County, Oklahoma is [notorious for this kind of]…abuse…

Lack of Evidence (#861) 

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

A raid on a Maryland adult bookstore in May resulted in…unconstitutional arrests of three men for violating the state’s [unconstitutional] sodomy law…nine people [were arrested, but]…only three…were charged with perverted sexual practice.  Another four were charged with indecent exposure…and one…was arrested for solicitation of…a…[sow fantasy role-playing a sex worker]…NIMBY complaints appear to have motivated the…raid…

Checklist (#1059) 

Airlines:  are you sure you want to keep accepting liability for employees racially profiling passengers due to the government propaganda you keep feeding them?

A Black Colorado woman…[was harass]ed and [interrogated] by [armed government thugs who accused her of “]human trafficking[” her] adoptive four-year-old sister…Olivia, [who is white]…Lakeyjanay Bailey…was [harass]ed by [cops] after their flight touched down at…DFW…[because] Frontier Airlines [air hostesses decided it was OK to sic dangerous thugs on the sisters because a white busybody] on the flight had [sexual fantasies about them]…

To Molest and Rape (#1092)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A [typical and representative] Progreso [Texas cop] will spend the next 30 years in federal prison for sexually assaulting two [young men] he arrested in 2019, [one] a minor…Matthew Lee Sepulveda…[arrested both] after minor traffic stops, then [abducted] them back to a jail that otherwise stood empty due to the late hour.  Both testified [that] Sepulveda asked them questions regarding their sexual activity and masturbation before…[assaulting] them…The jury also unanimously found that Sepulveda had committed bodily injury, aggravated sexual abuse…and…kidnapp[ing]…

Safe Position (#1111)

Why “policies” not backed up by law reform are worthless:

P[igs deceived and brutalized adults seeking consensual sex] in…Brooklyn…following [recent prohibitionist yellow journalism.  Most of the arrests]…targeted men [simply] driving [through a] four-block…stretch…the NYPD [vomited out a lot of disgusting propaganda and bragged about sows spicing up their pathetic sex lives by fantasy-roleplaying as sex workers]…The [pogrom] came [despite]…the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez [claiming it was] moving away from prosecuting prostitution cases…a DA spokesman said the arrests were for solicitation…an[d bragged about how its “]Sex Trafficking Unit[” indirectly victimizes women by]…vigorously prosecut[ing their friends, associates, and family members and trying to deprive them of income so they’ll end up homeless]…

I Spy (#1156)

Amazon only likes fascist surveillance schemes it owns and controls:

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has shut down infrastructure and accounts linked to Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group that sells spyware Pegasus…[after] Amnesty International…[shamed them by] report[ing on how]…Pegasus spyware…[is used by repressive governments] across the world, including India where around 300 mobile numbers were snooped using the spyware.  Pegasus is…installed by sending a malicious link to a target device, and…is [difficult]…to…identif[y] by the person using the targeted device…

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Contact[ing] Facebook…[i]s useless.  –  Elizabeth Licata

Rough Trade

Gee, I wonder why she “stopped cooperating”?

Florida [cops] have arrested a man seemingly living a “normal life”…for allegedly being the “Woodline rapist” nearly 20 years after the brutal attacks…Dwight Arthur Harris…was…link[ed]…to the rapes…us[ing] genetic genealogy…the…rap[es occured]…on February 1, 2002…and…July 10, 2002…[but in]…another 2011 case…a known sex worker…was able to provide authorities with the tag number…and…description of the vehicle that helped them identify Harris as a possible suspect in the case before she stopped cooperating…

See No Evil (#798)

This is absurd even by the low standards of bluenoses:

Pornhub…is reportedly facing [a nuisance lawsuit] from the Louvre museum in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence after debuting a new interactive website and app, “Show Me the Nudes,” that features porn actors re-envisioning classic works of art as jumping off points for sexually explicit content…the…museums are [apparently convinced they can win damages for “]infringement[” of rights they do not possess] and [somehow force] the website to take down the content…

Apparently nobody has explained to these would-be censors that they don’t own the images in question, which are all in the public domain in every country, merely because they own the original works; furthermore, even if the works were still under copyright, satire is fair use in most places, and I’m unaware of any special weirdness in the laws of Luxembourg, where Porhub is domiciled, which would make this lawsuit anything other than 100% spurious.

Opting Out (#803)

When will people learn that “artificial intelligence” isn’t?

Facebook’s censors[hip algorithms] are…flagging the word “hoe” in a western New York gardening group because they apparently confused the tool for a disparaging term for women.  A group called WNY Gardeners has been repeatedly flagged…for “violating community standards,” when its more than 7,500 members discussed the long-handled bladed implement, which is spelled with[out] a…[“w” or “r”] unlike the [slur]…Facebook representative[s claim]…an actual person will…supposedly [check] posts [flagged by algorithms] in the future before the group is sanctioned or deleted…[other] post[s] in the group [have] be[en] automatically [censored] because of “possible violence…or hate”…[against aphids] and…Japanese beetles…

Quiet Genocide (#1050)

An analysis of what China absurdly claims are “schools”:

BuzzFeed News calculated the floor areas of 347 compounds bearing the hallmarks of prisons and internment camps in [Xinjiang] and compared them to China’s own prison and detention construction standards, which lay out how much space is needed for each…prisone[r].  Earlier estimates…have suggested that a total of more than a million Muslims have been detained or imprisoned over the last five years…Our…analysis…show[s] that China has built space to lock up at least 1.01 million people in Xinjiang at the same time.  That’s enough space to detain or incarcerate more than 1 in every 25 residents of Xinjiang simultaneously — a figure seven times higher than the criminal detention capacity of the United States, the country with the highest official incarceration rate in the world.   Even this extraordinary capacity is very likely an underestimate, for a simple reason:  It does not take into account the suffocating overcrowding that many former Xinjiang [prisoners] have described in interviews…

You Were Warned (#1112)

The bipartisan war on the internet is past even trying to look reasonable:

Two Democratic U.S. senators…will add to the stack of bills [attacking] Section 230 – [the] law that [makes the open internet possible]…by [trying to] mak[e] such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation…and [giving government bureaucrats the power to define]…what constitutes health misinformation…

Giving the government the power to define what information is “correct” and then making “incorrect” information punishable?  What could possibly go wrong?

A Moral Cancer (#1115)

The increase in absolute risk is so small that it is unlikely to be relevant for the individual“:

Eating beef, lamb, pork and processed meats will increase your risk of coronary heart disease later in life, according to a new meta-analysis of studies on over 1.4 million people who were followed for 30 years…The risk…increased as the amount of meat increased…This is in line with what has been found for bowel cancer

To Molest and Rape (#1156)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

[A Texas cop] was arrested…on charges of sex assault of a minor…Miguel Velasco-Hererra…was [rewarded for the rape with a paid vacation, but decided to resign instead]…

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I’m going to fuck you up.  –  unidentified terrorist

I’m not really fond of westerns, but I am fond of Henry Mancini; I discovered this one on a 1970s tape marketing a quadrophonic sound system, and it popped into my head again recently.  The links above it were provided by Franklin Harris, Jesse Walker, Scott Greenfield, Walter Olson, and Cop Crisis (x3), in that order.

From the Archives

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