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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

Whether we like it or not, the 1st Amendment protects both vaccine misinformation and hate speech.  –  Mike Masnick

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

In which the UN throws away what little credibility it had left:

The Chinese government’s violent oppression of the…Uyghur[s]…is no longer a secret…[its] actions…have been…[properly identified as] genocide…[b]y…the human rights community…[yet] the United Nations, the very institution created to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” is assisting China in its violent efforts to wipe out the Uyghurs by helping the CCP cover its tracks…UN human rights officer-turned whistleblower Emma Reilly…[report]s that prior to every UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in recent years, China has requested the names of Uyghur and other Chinese dissidents who were scheduled to speak.  And despite this being explicitly forbidden by the UN’s own rules, the UN…has [betrayed them so]…Chinese authorities…[can] use [the information] to harass the dissidents’ families who are still based in China…Reilly…first discovered the practice in 2013…when [her] superior, Eric Tistounet…advis[ed] staffers t[o obey because he was scared of China]…But while the UN has at times acknowledged this indefensible practice, it has simultaneously provided contradictory statements denying it.  When asked about the allegations in March 2017, Tistounet…[barfed out the magic word] “wing” [as though it constituted an excuse]…

Tissue of Lies (#1109)

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

Five…teenage [runaways were arrested in New Orleans and] their families [alerted.  In an unrelated record review] 30 [people condemned to the “]sex offender[” registry were also arrested] after…U.S. Marshals [accused them] of violating their…registration requirements…One of the [ar]res[t]ed teens was a 16-year-old girl…suspected of stealing a relative’s car and handgun…[three others appear to have been engaging in survival sex work, and the fifth] was…a[ccused of “]felony human trafficking[“]…

These “operations” were innovated in Georgia after the pandemic made actual “stings” much more difficult, and have since become popular with cop shops all over the US.

Lack of Evidence (#1120) 

Only a prohibitionist could claim banning armed thugs from attacking women for merely existing in public is a “thorny issue”.  And the writer of this piece of trash is definitely a prohibitionist; her assumptions are lurid and puritanical, her heavy use of moronic dysphemisms cringeworthy, and her attempts to prejudice the reader so transparent it’s difficult to believe she thought anyone would fail to see what she was doing (“who are just past their teenage years but looked young enough to be on their way to a high school dance” is used to mean “youthful-looking twentysomethings”).  Most nauseating of all is that the LA Times has such a low opinion of its readers’ intelligence that they believe a pretense of objectivity can be maintained while printing straight-up anti-sex propaganda from people who sound as though they’re making furtive movements in their pants while sharing their ugly masturbatory fantasies with this delusional parrot.

The Widening Gyre (#1136)

More innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons:

“Child luring incident!” read the warning that appeared last Friday on several Teaneck, New Jersey, social media pages.  “A man in a car pulled up and tried to get a child in around 11 am on 12/31/21…[in reality, the “child”]…was…the…14-year-old [son of Debra Passner], who wanted to leave [a family gathering] early (as 14-year-olds often do).  He started walking home, with his parents’ blessing.  Later, when they were driving home themselves, they saw him on the street and slowed down to offer him a ride.  “My son, being a wiseass, says, ‘I don’t take rides from strangers,'” Debra Passner recalls. So she leaned over and called out, “Don’t you like candy? We have candy!”  When their son shook his head, his father said, “Okay, then I’ll follow you.”  But moments later, they drove on.  Once the Passners saw this online, they immediately called the police…[who still felt compelled to invade the family’s privacy before they] issued a press release stating…no attempted luring [of a young man] had occurred…

You Were Warned (#1156)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

…both [US ruling parties]…want to control the internet in a manner that helps “their team.”  But both approaches involve unconstitutional desires to interfere with 1st Amendment rights.  For Republicans, it’s often the compelled hosting of speech, and for Democrats, it’s often the compelled deletion of speech.  Both…are unconstitutional.  On the Republican side, we’ve already seen states like Florida and Texas [enact] content moderation bills — and both have been blocked for being wholly unconstitutional…some other Republican-controlled states have shelved plans for similar bills, [but]…it looks like the message has not made its way to Democratic-controlled states.  California has been toying with unconstitutional content moderation bills, and now NY has one as well.  Senator Brad Hoylman…has proudly introduced a hellishly unconstitutional social media bill….[to] “hold tech companies accountable for promoting vaccine misinformation and hate speech”…[but] it is unconstitutional to punish anyone for that speech, and it’s even more ridiculous to punish websites that host that content, but had nothing to do with the creation of it.  Believe it or not, the actual details of the bill are even worse than Hoylman’s description of it…

Panopticon (#1171)

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

[Cop shops] throughout San Diego County continue to spend thousands of dollars every year on technology that tracks the location of people’s cars, even though the information collected most often has nothing to do with solving crime or protecting the public…five [of these] have been violating state law by sharing this information with agencies all over the United States…that don’t have a…right to access it…including Border Patrol and [ICE]…

To Molest and Rape (#1202) 

Hey, female cops; how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

A female Pittsburgh [cop was raped by a fellow cop after]…a cookout at the station…she was too drunk to drive home, so [the rapist] drove her to her house…[and] raped her…he later [tried to get her]…not t[o report him, and though]…she [did report him]…no charges were filed…[internal affairs] ultimately recommended the [rapist] be fired…[but] instead [he was given]…a…three day [vacat]ion and [the result was called “public safety”]…

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Tyrants never fight harder than when they know they’re losing, in order to destroy the lives of as many of their chosen victims as possible while they still can.  –  “NYE 2020

It has been ten years since I first predicted how “sex trafficking” mythology would implode…

…and though I was correct in general I underestimated how hard the government and fascist profiteers would work to extend it, resulting in my prediction being too optimistic by about three or four years.  Government funding for anti-sex hate groups is still flowing like a river of toxic vomit despite most people having found a new topic to panic about, but the “true believers” have expanded the core myth cycle to include even more bizarre elements (including techno-vampirism and colonies on Mars) that apparently are too much for the same outlets that breathlessly parroted wild sexual fantasies about millions of pubescent girls chained to radiators while being raped 100 times a day…

A few years ago, a few journalists whose critical faculties had not entirely atrophied due to disuse began to realize just how disgusting and morally-repellent the copaganda and torture porn they had served up to their readers actually was, and began casting about for some means of distancing themselves and their outlets from it; ironically, the solution was provided by their favorite target of scorn, Donald Trump, or rather his deranged worshipers.  Some outlets (including the paper that launched the panic in 2004), relied upon the American public’s infantile attention span to avoid backsplash, boldly debunking their own lies while pretending that the newest version of their favorite clickbait fantasy was something new and uniquely Trumpian. This recent and much-ballyhooed article from The Atlantic is a perfect example; it largely pretends that “sex trafficking” hysteria started in 2017 (safely within Trump’s term of office), even going so far as to state, “the last moral panic centered on widespread physical dangers to America’s children began in the early 1980s…“, as though there were a wide, clear gap between the Satanic Panic and “sex trafficking” hysteria (which there isn’t).  The only exception the author mentions is Operation Underground Railroad, whose formerly-sterling reputation with US media has been degenerating for years due to the bizarre antics of its founder, and which conveniently embraced QAnon two years ago.

And then there’s the Washington Post, which despite featuring this debunking by yours truly eight years ago (thanks to longtime foe of tyranny Radley Balko), has been happy to spread mathematically-illiterate fantasies with all the others; in this recent article, it represents the specific “Wayfair” craziness as an isolated urban legend tied only to OUR, “Pizzagate” and QAnon, when in actuality it’s no different from the other hysterical nonsense I’ve chronicled in “The Widening Gyre” for ten years.  And then there’s this George Will column, also in the Post, which condemns the depredations committed by police using one high-profile case of “a nonexistent Somali immigrant crime ring” while coyly avoiding mention of the fact that the imaginary “crime” was “sex trafficking”, a fantasy Will himself embraced.

Look, I’m happy to see this moral panic imploding, as I predicted it would a decade ago.  Government and corporate funding for anti-sex worker hate groups isn’t drying up yet, but funding from individuals has already decreased enough that they’ve switched tactics to focus much more on porn, and supporting decriminalization is no longer politically radioactive in the US, the country driving the hysteria.  But if you think I’m going to let the people who aided and abetted the most violent and widespread campaign of persecution against sex workers in American history get away with pretending they were on the side of truth all along, you must not have read very much of my work.

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I’m not entirely sure why society collectively agreed that sex traffickers operate in a similar fashion to Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner.  –  Jessica Dean

Droit du Seigneur

It’s good to see this lurid narrative turned against cops for a change:

A woman who…filed a lawsuit in…Virginia…alleges that in 2010…[when] she travel[led] to the U.S. to work as an…escort…she was…[somehow unaware that the job involved] sex…and…[that] her new boss, Hazel Marie Sanchez Cerdas…[used threats to force her into unsafe and exploitative situations, and stole] all of [her income]…local [cops]…protect[ed] the [abusive pimps] in exchange for sexual services [for which the escorts were not compensated]…In April 2015, the plaintiff [got fed up with the exploitative arrangment]…and went to [the cops].  In 2019, Sanchez was charged with—and eventually pleaded guilty to—felony charges related to sex trafficking and was sentenced to 30 months in prison…

Unfortunately, the reporter is a “sex trafficking” fetishist who credulously parrots lots of copaganda in the article, but I’ve extracted what appears to be the important information from amongst the dysphemized descriptions, agency denial, and outright fantasies.

Big Dick Energy

“Even reasonably intelligent, sophisticated men seem to believe deep down that their phalluses…have the ability to damage women’s bodies and destroy our souls.”  Just in case some of you thought that was an exaggeration, please allow me to present this recent screenshot from Twitter, which also illustrates the concept of “science worship” as diagrammed here.  Compare to the bizarre claims of “sex trafficking” fetishists and other prohibitionists, and I think you’ll admit my point that both feminists and denizens of the “manosphere” are part of the same continuum of wackadoo.

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Anything that demonstrates the absurdity of internet censorship is good:

Vienna’s tourism board has started an account on OnlyFans – the only social network that permits depictions of nudity – in protest against [other] platforms’ ongoing censorship of its art museums and galleries.  In July, the Albertina Museum’s new TikTok account was suspended and then blocked for showing works by the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki…This followed a similar incident in 2019, when Instagram [censored] a painting by Peter Paul Rubens…In 2018, the Natural History Museum’s photograph of the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf figurine was deemed pornographic by Facebook and [censored]…The Leopold Museum has likewise struggled to promote its collection of nudes by the expressionist Egon Schiele, with [its ads censored by bureaucrats] in Germany, the UK and US…A short video featuring the painting Liebespaar by Koloman Moser, made to mark the Leopold Museum’s 20th anniversary this year, was rejected by Facebook and Instagram as “potentially pornographic”…the Albertina’s current exhibition, by the Italian portrait artist Amedeo Modigliani, [is also terrifying to puritans]…

See the city’s YouTube ad below.

Checklist (#927)

A whore-snitching app that skips the middlerat:

Police Scotland [has] adopt[ed] a simple [way to criminalize more sex workers]…by using the Unseen App.  The app, which is hosted by the [government]…has been downloaded to [cop]s’ mobile devices to …[give them various excuses they can claim are] signs of…exploitation [so as to arrest sex workers while calling it “rescue”]…the app will provide [cops] with [legally-admissible excuses for the harassment]…Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton [shared some of her favorite BDSM masturbatory fantasies about passive, doll-like sex workers]…

Eavesdropping (#1069)

Remember, Amazon eagerly hands data from internet-connected devices to cops:

A woman…requested all the information Amazon has on her through her two Amazon Dot devices and one Amazon Echo device as well as smart phones.  Several Zip files came through and when she clicked on the audio file she says she discovered…3,534 audio files in a single Zip file alone…Amazon [also] has a copy of all her phone contacts…

The Widening Gyre (#1116)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore has expanded to include things near cars:

“So have you ever seen this type of car seat just out of nowhere?” the woman in the TikTok video asks…pointing to a photo of an abandoned baby car seat in a parking lot…“that’s not an ordinary car seat…[it’s a] sex trafficking car seat”…placed as bait by sex traffickers to kidnap and enslave unsuspecting victims…The woman who posted the video is…a TikTok creator with 122,000 followers who bills herself as a “spiritual gardener” who offers Tarot intuitive readings on social media.  [She has the typical] lack of credentials [of those billing themselves] sex trafficking expert[s, so as usual] her video has gone massively viral…the Wilkesboro [North Carolina] Police Department…[has so much spare time it actually] investigated this incident and…deemed…[it non-]criminal…but…Parker appears to be doubling down…[saying] “I still feel that there is something going on in our society”…

Uncommon Sense (#1143) 

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

[Spanish] Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez…pledged [once again] to “abolish” prostitution in the country, [even though no such prohibitionist campaign has ever done anything but increase]…violence a[gainst]…women…Sanchez took office [again] in January 2020 as head of a minority coalition government after his Socialist Party won two inconclusive national elections in 2019…

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I’ve mentioned my friend, Dr. David Ley, in this blog many times before, and he wrote a guest essay for me back in ’14.  I recently saw him tweeting about this, and upon my request he expanded those thoughts into this new guest essay.

In 2020, the world saw a tragedy unfold in Atlanta, Georgia, as Robert Aaron Long committed multiple murders at massage parlors.  Long later identified himself as a “sex addict” and claimed that he engaged in these crimes in order to rid himself of temptations.  When arrested, Long was allegedly also on his way to Tampa, Florida, in order to commit similar violent attacks targeted at aspects of the adult film industry.  Long pled guilty to some charges, but still faces trial in Atlanta for other murders.  In September, 2021, a former Marine burst into a Florida family’s home, executing and torturing the family of four.  The assailant identified to police that he believed the family held a kidnapped, sex-trafficked female child, and he was intending to rescue her.  In August 2021, Instagram influencer and former stripper Mercedes Morr was slain by an obsessed male fan, apparently enraged by the idea she had betrayed him to be with another man.  In December, 2016, a North Carolina man fired multiple shots into a Washington, DC pizza restaurant, having come to the restaurant in order to rescue children that he believed were held there for sexual-trafficking and exploitation.  This theory had abounded in conservative media, connecting Democratic politicians and public figures to conspiracy theories alleging rings of pedophiles hid throughout society and government, secretly abusing and exploiting children.

Sexual anxiety and fear is a favorite target of media hyperbole, as it serves as an easy means to create uncertainty and interest in potential consumers.  Suggesting to an audience that their spouse may be unfaithful, or even that the viewer/reader is not a skilled lover, are guaranteed ways to hook an audience, and keep them reading, watching or clicking.  Claims of sex-trafficking, and cries to “save the kids” are remarkably effective ploys to raise money, has been demonstrated numerous times with groups such as Operation Underground Railroad, where daring raids to save children are staged to raise donations, though the activities achieve little and may actually promote children being put at risk.  Unfortunately, while these tactics trigger donations, salacious interest or mild insecurity in many, these tactics can trigger intense panic, even delusions, in persons with severe underlying mental illness.  In the 1990’s, media sex panic over Satanic ritual abuse sex cults led to countless individuals developing false memories that they themselves had been sexually abused by secret cults of brainwashing Satan-worshiping doctors, daycare providers and neighbors.

Earlier this year, I appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, where a woman was interviewed who held beliefs that she had been sex-trafficked, raped, and brainwashed by a host of assailants, ranging from Beto O’Rourke to Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, and even her adult son.  My role on the show was to gently try to invite her to consider that her beliefs might be inaccurate, and less important than her desire to re-establish a relationship with her son.  During the recovered memory movement and the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic, families were destroyed as people developed false memories.  Many later recanted these memories, and had to try to restore their relationships, though sadly, many did not and families remained sundered on the basis of these delusional beliefs.  I found it fascinating how this woman’s beliefs in the men who had abused her reflected the names and headlines of sex scandals, suggesting how these names and stories had infiltrated her vulnerable thinking.

Media sex panics do far more than just sell books and commercials. They destroy lives, families, careers.  They affect the thinking of vulnerable individuals, who act based on those panics, and the degree to which those hyperbolic claims infiltrate their disturbed thinking.  Sadly, some of those individuals act in dangerous, violent ways.  We must begin to discuss ways to hold the media at large responsible for the consequences of their exploitation of sexual anxiety.  Perhaps then we can invite the media to temper their clickbait driven reporting with an understanding of the potential impact of their words on vulnerable minds, and people who become innocent targets of their sensationalism.

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

Monkey Business

Higher primates understand the concept of “value”:

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

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

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

A Broker in Pillage (#897)

Yet another government scam to steal Philadelphia citizens’ property:

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

To Molest and Rape (#995)

Serial rapist rapes another vulnerable woman:

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

The Widening Gyre (#1057)

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

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

I Spy (#1155)

The beginning of the end for private communication:

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

I Spy (#1158)

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

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

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All moral panics blend real societal problems with the cartoon version.  –  Michael Hobbes

The Widening Gyre (#792) 

Trying to prop up the “Facebook pimps” myth with bogus “studies”:

…re[scue industry profiteers pompously branding themselves]…the Human Trafficking Institute [claimed] “The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and…Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims”…[a bogus government] report showed that 30 percent of all victims identified in federal sex trafficking cases in the past two decades – since 2000 – were recruited online…and 65 percent of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook…

Blunt Instrument (#998)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a civil lawsuit against an [Asian] massage business…in St. Louis County.  The lawsuit [is based in the “evidence” that] Royal Day Spa…has its front windows covered and that it’s open late…[cops made pretextual] traffic stops…[of] three [men, threatening them with nuisance charges to get them to parrot] Schmitt’s [racist claims]…about the…Spa.  Schmitt [masturbated furiously while vomiting out moronic phrases such as]…dark underworld…modern-day slavery…and…human trafficking in illicit massage businesses…[he also shared his shockingly-racist sex fantasies about how all Asian women are stupid and ignorant and need white men to “rescue” and deport them]…

The End of the Beginning (#1015) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

The S.C. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled the state’s lifetime sex offender registration requirement is unconstitutional and people who demonstrate a low risk of reoffending should be able to petition a judge to have their names purged…[until now] South Carolina [has] provide[d victims ofthe law]…no recourse to seek relief from a judge…Brooke Burris…a…Human Trafficking [fetishist, vomited out a lot of ugly nonsense about the so-called]…victims [of public urination or consensual teen sex]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1038)

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

In February…almost eight years after the state of Indiana s[tole] Tyson Timbs’ brand-new Land Rover over a drug crime, prosecutors argued that…the government should…be free to take everything you’re worth.  [Last week], the state’s highest court categorically rejected that…Chief Justice Loretta Rush likened the government’s chutzpah to “Captain Ahab’s chase of the white whale Moby Dick”…[But] Indiana p[oliticians haven’t yet learned their lesson]…also in February…the Indiana Senate passed a bill to [rob] people [cops accuse] of [attending] “unlawful”…protests…

The Implosion Begins (#1075)

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…the women who share…pastel, mom-washed #savethechildren posts [don’t c]are that they [a]re spreading Q propaganda…The statistics [they] share…have been repeatedly and publicly debunked by NGOs…[and] researchers…But [they think that]…doesn’t matter…They [also follow]…Tim Ballard…of the Utah…rescue [industry] group Operation Underground Railroad…[who] has [prom]oted…the child sex trafficking panic [even in its most unhinged aspects].  As the Wayfair h[ysteria] took off [last] July, he released a video…claiming that “children are sold that way” and that “law enforcement will get to the bottom of it.”  Since then, the organization has publicly [distanced itself from] QAnon…But, at the time, Ballard [continues to claim] child sex trafficking is a growing global crisis…

See also “Served Cold” below.

The Cop Myth (#1118)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

A Garda…sexual assault[ed his girlfriend], threaten[ed] to kill [her] and [exercised] coercive control…in a “grand scheme” to control her life…He was charged with 35 offences…includ[ing] four counts of assault…two [of] sexual assault…10 [of] criminal damage…a threat to kill, endangerment of life, four thefts, coercion…[and] harassment…the woman…was punched in the face, grabbed by the neck, held against the floor and…choke[d]…he pulled her hair out by the roots and kicked her on the ground…the…harassment…[included] 65,000 phone messages…a number of [which included] a threat to kill…her…

Served Cold (#1138) 

The schadenfreude is so very sweet:

[Prohibitionist actor] Jim Caviezel appeared [at a conference] in Oklahoma…to promote his newest role, in which he plays Tim Ballard, the founder…of the [rescue industry] group Operation Underground Railroad, [with “sex trafficking” fetishist Mira Sorvino as his wife]…there…he…[also] promoted…the…QAnon [branch]…of [“sex trafficking” hysteria, which]…was awkward at best for OUR, which has spent the better part of a year insisting that it…is not affiliated with…QAnon…[despite] Ballard…[himself endorsing the belief last summer]…After years of success…OUR[‘s]…carefully-crafted image is coming undone…several people have been interviewed about their dealings with OUR not just by [a Utah prosecutor], but by the FBI…IRS and Homeland Security…among the matters being looked into are whether OUR operators have [raped people they branded] human trafficking victims…and whether OUR has committed human trafficking itself…

QAnon weirdness is not especially extreme from an organization which gets “tips” from psychics and has claimed that “pimps” use magic padlocks to trap doll-like girls in cages.

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More work spaces are needed in the Netherlands, not fewer.  –  The PIC

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Laws are for the peasantry, not the rulers:

…Oregon [politician]…Dave Hunt was cited by Portland police in a…[prostitution] sting…in April…Hunt was one of numerous sponsors of a bill [redefin]ing [sex work as] sex trafficking in 2007.  In 2011, he also voted for…a…bill creat[ing a new] crime of commercial sexual solicitation, the crime for which he was arrested…The Portland [cop shop] issued a [lot of confused oinking on] May 1, [apparently referr]ing [to ordinary advertising websites as “]known human trafficking websites…”

Guinea Pigs (#938) 

Don’t be fooled by talk of “human trafficking”, “pimps”, and “dangerous societal problems”; what they’re actually targeting are ordinary escort ads:

Researchers at McGill University and Carnegie Mellon University…have designed an algorithm that [they pretend] detects organized human trafficking activity in online escort advertisements…[the computer geeks fantasize about passive, vegetable-like] victims…[who] have no input into the wording used in the advertisements posted for them by their pimp, who [magic]ally controls over 4 to 6 victims, [pants] Reihaneh Rabbany [while making furtive movementsin his pants]…this[, rather than the ordinary copycat marketing behavior which occurs in every industry,] leads to similar phrasing and duplication among listings which can be used to detect organized activity.  The proposed algorithm, called InfoShield, can put millions of advertisements together and highlight the common parts…[to] help [the pigs] identify [sex workers for harassment and arrest]…

Law of the Instrument (#954)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

…actress Esmé Bianco…was one of the many women, including actress Evan Rachel Wood, who spoke out against…shock rocker…Marilyn Manson…back in February…the…actress filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles federal court where she claimed [he] raped and sexually battered her…in or around May 2011…According to the lawsuit, [Manson] also…committ[ed] human trafficking when he “employed fraud” in bringing Bianco to the United States to appear in a music video for his song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” and a never-made horror film based on the works of Lewis Carroll called Phantasmagoria

Are rape and domestic violence no longer considered sufficiently serious crimes?

The Missing Word (#989)

And yet, that word is still nowhere to be found:

A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes [his victim] more than $500,000…Bobby Paul Edwards…is serving a [mere] 10-year prison sentence for [enslav]ing John Christopher Smith…[he] was originally ordered [by an asleep-at-the-wheel judge] to pay Smith [a mere] $273,000, which covered minimum wages and overtime compensation…Federal prosecutors appealed this decision, arguing that Smith should be owed more money because of the delay in receiving pay…an appeals court agreed, and ruled…Smith should be awarded…double the pay and overtime…

To Molest and Rape (#1022)

Your government calls this “border protection”:

Mesa [Arizona] police said they arrested a [typical and representative] Border Patrol agent…[as] a serial rapist who a[ttacked eight women]…from [July] 1999 through [October] 2001.  John Daly III…was…”the East Valley Rapist”…[in] cases…connected by similar suspect behavior and…DNA…[Daly’s victims were all] white women between 21 and 41 years old [whose homes he invaded] through open doors and windows…DNA [evidence has already] linked Daly to two of the [rapes]…

The Widening Gyre (#1102)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

A…[Karen] who went viral in December when she accused a Latino couple of attempting to kidnap her children at a local craft store has been charged with two counts of giving false information to police…Katie Sorensen…post[ed] two videos…to her Instagram account @motherhoodessentials…[in order to] gain…about 4.5 million views…Sadie and Eddie Martinez…were “very happy with the news” of charges filed against Sorensen…

Dutch Threat (#1110)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

A sex show, bars, 100 small rooms…5,000 square metres of space [plus hovering bureacrats] will [be part of] Amsterdam’s new erotic centre…[to be built in one of] nine possible locations [on] the edge of…Amsterdam…It is part of a plan…to [Disnify] Amsterdam’s red light district by relocating sex work elsewhere.  Mayor Femke Halsema has also stressed that the erotic centre needs to “improve [surveillance] of sex workers” and do more to [infantilize and control them]…The complex will include space for services offering care, as well as…a…[cop] shop…

Lipstick on a Pig (#1127)

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

…[Gary Watsky] is now suing [Williamson] county [Texas] officials, including former Sheriff Robert Chody, over a SWAT team home invasion that was [staged for the TV] show…Live PD…Watsky’s son, Asher, [had] appeared in court just hours before the…raid…[bu]t Chody [had] “created a culture of indifference to the use of excessive force and disregard for civil liberties” and rewarded the bad behavior of his deputies with gift cards and appearances on the show…this policy…led to an “unlawful no-knock home invasion” that injured him and destroyed his property…”Chody set up a false narrative…that Asher was dangerous…to justify the SWAT team’s terror tactics”…sheriff’s officials [have admitted to] removing the [new] warrant from the system so no one would see it on the day of his court appearance…

I Spy (#1133)

The word for such “partnerships” to further tyranny is “fascism”:

The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to [spy on] Americans online, a…[fascist scheme] that would expand the government’s ability to gather intelligence but [violate Constitutional] …limit[s]…on…federal authorities…The [scheme]…would…allow the [DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA and other federal cop shops and spook houses] to circumvent those limits…by [warp]ing [them beyond recognition]…the Biden administration w[ants]…to…find…ways to…[utilize] the January 6 attack on the US Capitol [to expand its surveillance and other powers]…

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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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A lot of…urban legends [are] old wine in new bottles. – Benjamin Radford

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

Go on, keep giving governments more excuses and powers to literally rob people.  I’m sure you’ll never regret it:

South Korean prosecutors have sold bitcoin…[stolen from people they branded] criminals…turn[ing] a profit of around 12.3 billion won (around US$10.9 million)…the [excuse used for the robbery was that the victim was]…”the operator of [an] illegal pornography site”…While the U.S. government has been auctioning [stolen] bitcoin since 2014, Korean prosecutors have held on to the [stolen] bitcoin for the past four years…[until] March 25, the exact day when the country’s [politicians]…classifie[d] crypto as “virtual assets”…

The Notorious Badge (#976)

Twitter’s connection to movies exploiting sex workers isn’t usually so direct:

After receiving rave reviews at last year’s Sundance festival, the full trailer for Janicza Bravo’s Twitter-storm dramedy Zola is finally here…the film follows Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress who strikes up a friendship with a customer named Stefani (Riley Keough). Together, they head to Florida to earn some money stripping at a club where Stefani has heard dancer tips are excellent.  As the trip progresses, Stefani puts Zola and herself in more insane and dangerous situations, including run-ins with a nameless pimp and some Tampa gangsters…Zola is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King…detail[ing] a weekend of debauchery that quickly descends into a hellish whirlwind of sex, murder, and near-suicide…

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

Since their “bathroom bills” kept getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by controlling doctors:

Arkansas [politician]s passed a bill…that would flatly prohibit medical professionals from providing any sort of gender transition treatments to minors…the…act…forbids the prescribing of puberty blockers to suppress hormones, bans genital reassignment surgeries, and bars any medical treatment that would “alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics or features for the individual’s biological sex” or “instill or create physiological or anatomical characteristics that resemble a sex different from the individual’s biological sex”…[it] further forbids medical professionals from referring minors to any doctor who could provide the forbidden treatments…says that public funds may not be granted to any entity that provides trans treatments to minors, declares that medical transition treatment procedures are not tax-deductible forms of health care coverage (regardless of age), and prohibits the state’s Medicaid program from providing coverage for these treatments for minors.  Medical professionals who defy the law could lose their licenses to practice in the state…

It’s impossible to miss the resemblance of this strategy to that of imposing arbitrary restrictions on abortion providers.

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

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

…a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a defense petition that the court order federal Judge Susan Brnovich’s recusal from the Lacey/Larkin case…due to an “appearance of partiality” created by prejudicial statements made by the judge’s husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, concerning…Backpage…The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 23

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” scarelore invaded TikTok:

“OK, so I saw this TikTok that Target is the new sex trafficking hub”…Makenzie Jade says in her video.  She then tells a story about being followed by a man…in…her local Target, then being circled by two additional men with nothing in their shopping carts…Over the past week…there have been dozens of [similar] videos, some with millions of views, in which young women from all over the country describe being followed by strange men or women in Target in what they [fantasize is] an attempted trafficking operation…what[ever] that…means…experts are highly skeptical of these reports.  “I have never heard a case of anyone being abducted from Target in my 20 years in this field,” says Jean Bruggeman…of Freedom Network USA, [the largest coalition of groups actually concerned with exploitation rather than simply using it as a cover for persecution of sex workers]…the TikTok rumors…adhere to a familiar pattern of…urban legends intended to spread hysteria…Dubious rumors purporting to raise awareness about the “realities” of sex trafficking are nothing new…

In a sign that the hysteria is dying, note that even the perennially-clueless Rolling Stone bluntly calls this what it is (“hoax”) rather than deferentially referring to it as a “mistake” or the like.

Predictable Consequences

Oh look, somebody at Washington Post realized how tone-deaf their initial coverage was:

[When cops raided] three massage businesses…they [branded with the moralistic epithet “]illicit[“, they vomited out a lot of filth about]…“human trafficking and child exploitation” [to]…cover [up the fact that the disguised cops raped sex]…workers, then arrested them…local media outlets…[then abetted the outrage by outing the cops’ victims, complete with names and] photos of their mug shots on the evening news…[barfing up the magic word “]illicit[” has for decades given disguised, lying thugs a court-approved pretext for raping]…spa workers…[none of whom were inter]viewed by The Post…[but after decades of these repeated atrocities, a few politicians] are [finally] beginning to propose new limits on [rape] by police, which [any person with a functional moral compass should understand] serves to dehumanize — and [deepl]ly traumatize — the very women the raids are [claimed by psychopaths] to help.  The…[rapists in] law enforcement, experts said, [nearly always] go unpunished…

As you can see, the article is still replete with copsucking, but some editor appears to have at least some inkling that maybe they’re on the wrong side.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

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

A…facial recognition tool designed [to give government even more power over individual lives] has been quietly deployed across the [US] with little to no public oversight…more than 7,000 individuals from nearly 2,000 [government] agencies nationwide have used Clearview AI to search through millions of Americans’ faces, looking for p[otential victims]…BuzzFeed News has developed a searchable table of 1,803 publicly funded agencies whose employees…used…the [surveillance] tool before February 2020.  These include local and state police, [ICE], the Air Force, state healthcare [bureaucracies], [politicians’] offices…and even public schools.  In many cases, [bureaucrats] at these agencies [claimed to be] unaware that employees were using the tool; five [lied]…in response to questions about it…210 organizations denied any use…1,161 [others ignored] questions about whether they had used it…Hoan Ton-That, the company’s cofounder and CEO, [expressed glee that his invention has done so much to undermine privacy and empower cop shops]…

What makes it worse is, cops just keep blatantly lying about it:

Despite statements from the NYPD in early 2020 stating that it had no relationship with…Clearview AI, documents…reveal that the company was an acknowledged vendor to the department from as early as 2018, and that it continue[s] to enjoy a congenial relationship…that [has] included in-person meetings and customer support from Ton-That [himself]…

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DHS…is spending its time knowingly policing paid sex acts between consenting adults (even though prostitution is not a federal crime).  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Japanese Prostitution

A modern descendant of the walled districts of feudal times:

…In its prime from the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s, Japanese civil servants, policemen, and salarymen from the nearest main island would take a 3-minute boat ride to [Watakano]…where a quarter of its 270 residents were sex workers…girls…could each make as much as two million yen ($19,000), or the equivalent of $26,000 today, every month.  Residents who weren’t sex workers ran grocery stores, cafes, and apartment complexes.  Hidden yet prosperous, Watakano Island enjoyed decades of economic wealth.  But when Japan’s economic bubble burst in 1992…high spenders stopped visiting…the[n]…In 1998, Japan legalized [outcall] escort services…

Rooted in Racism

Anti-sex laws are deeply rooted in racism all over the world:

…law enforcement uses sex-negative legislation to enable harm against marginalized communities…Laws targeting sex work and pornography “have sexist, racist, and classist origins”…and those underlying roots continue to manifest themselves to this day.  For example, “anti-trafficking” organization Polaris works with [cops] and ICE to arrest and deport…sex workers with a special emphasis on Asian sex workers.  Between 2012 and 2016, arrests of Asian people in New York City for “unauthorized practice of a profession” and prostitution rose 2,700 percent.  In 2018 Polaris launched a campaign to close “illicit” massage parlors…thousands of Asian women have lost their businesses and their livelihoods…Laws against loitering for purposes of prostitution…empower police to profile, harass and arrest women for existing in public spaces…[using excuses] such as “wearing a skirt” and “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand” as justification

Think of the Children! (#571) 

No doubt the children were contaminated by sex rays!

A Sacramento [woman’s] three young kids were expelled from a Catholic school because she sells sexy videos online.  The principal…[wo]n’t even [let the children] pick up their things left in class.  Crystal Jackson…is making up to $150,000 a month selling access to photos and videos on her Only Fans account.  [Only] some of the pictures include nudity.  But…a [busybody caught her husband looking at]…her site and started a campaign [with her busybody friends] to get her three kids [expelled by sending poison pen letters including screenshots]…to the diocese and school principal…

I’m sure Jesus would approve of punishing children for the sins of their parents.

Lack of Evidence (#897) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Twelve people have been arrested after…police [staged a pogrom] in Woolwich and Kent…[in order] to…exploit…sex workers [to further racist propaganda]…police st[aged an American-style raid]…on…February 16, by battering down the door and smashing glass as they [chased their terrified middle-aged Chinese victims] down [like animals]…This [pogrom resulted in] the arrest of a 44-year-old woman…a 52-year-old man…a 37-year-old…man…a 59-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman.  Another woman was arrested for immigration offences….and two [other] women were…safeguarded…to [be deported] at a later date.  [Two spokespigs oinked a lot of filthy wanking fantasies about]…modern slavery…organised…crime…and money laundering…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1026)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

…the Guardian and the Observer [have] launched…a two-year reporting project [advertised as] investigating and exposing human rights abuses around the world…[but is in actuality sponsored] by Humanity United…[it] builds on [previously-published propaganda and yellow journalism]…on human trafficking…modern slavery…[and] sex trafficking…

Click on the subtitle link for Gustavo Turner’s previous reporting on the previously-published content mentioned above, which includes “articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn…slant“, including providing “a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…Humanity United…[is] a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…[founded by] a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

Social Distancing (#1084)

While India allows deranged prohibitionists to dictate public health policy:

Bangladesh has started inoculating older sex workers at the country’s biggest brothel…to protect the most vulnerable in the pandemic…“If I don’t reach them, they may not come…It’s important to encourage groups…who are disadvantaged,” said Dr Asif Mahmud of the Goalanda district where the brothel is…Bangladesh…launched a vaccination drive in the first week of February and has since vaccinated nearly 2.5 million people…

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

Hysterical fantasies about normal events seem most common in the South:

Savannah [Georgia] is [becom]ing [a hotspot for fantasies about]…human trafficking.  In one incident, a woman claim[ed] a man…was attempting to distract her at a…gas station so that he could take her children…[in reality, the man she intended to inflict cop violence upon] was actually a gas station employee who was attempting to tell [her] that the pump she was at was inoperable.  The second…post [claimed] an unmarked black car with a blue dome light in the dash attempted to pull [her] over…[she] further [lied that she] called 911 and learned the black car and a blue truck have been involved in local human trafficking incidents.  Police [den]y [that there was any such call or any such]…incidents…[in reality] the post[er]…had [simply] been involved in a confrontation in traffic with the other vehicle…

Loose Cannons (#1109)

Too bad the settlement won’t come out of prosecutors’ and sheriffs’ personal assets:

…one of the…[victims of the 2019 pogroms which entrapped Robert Kraft] has filed a federal civil lawsuit to see that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.  Keith Taig is seeking to obtain class-action status for himself and anyone who was [illegal]ly filmed while visiting the…East Spa…and subsequently slapped with criminal charges…While prosecutors [were eventually forced to] drop…all cases against the men who were surveilled, publicly humiliated, and used to make claims of a sham trafficking bust, the women…[are still being] prosecuted [despite being]…the very people police [pretend]ed…they were in this to save.  Four…have already pleaded guilty to prostitution.  Two…are still staring down serious charges…Some local press continues to report that [Lanyun] Ma stands accused of “human trafficking,” although no such charges exist…and…Prosecutors are still planning to use the [illegal] surveillance footage…

Winding Down (#1114)

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

Efforts to thwart voter-approved marijuana legalization…are evidence of a “playbook” that reflects new legal strategies and greater willingness among [politicians] to [disregard] election results…In Idaho, some [politicians] are…trying to preemptively ban marijuana legalization through an amendment to the state constitution…Utah [politicians] enacted a much more narrow medical cannabis program than was called for by a voter-approved citizen initiative…[and] the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the governor and Legislature were within their legal rights to [ignore the voters because they know better]…The Nebraska Supreme Court shot down a medical marijuana initiative before Nov. 3, saying it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot measures…South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem [used a similar rule] to [ignore] that state’s voter-approved…initiative…and now…backe[rs of liberty are] preparing to appeal to the state Supreme Court…In Mississippi, a constitutional challenge to voter-approved medical marijuana…is based on a signature-collection technicality that would nullify “every initiative in the past two decades”…Montana, which also has faced [authoritarian] legal challenges to its voter-approved recreational marijuana initiative, [is in better shape due to]…having a governor committed to upholding the vote…

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