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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

It was just heartbreaking to me…to see what we had become.
–  Morgan Davis

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

…Conner “Jesse” Penny…was arrested April 5…for…sexual assault of a child…[for repeatedly molesting] a girl…between 2015 and 2018.  Police did not say how old the girl was at the time or now…Since his arrest…more victims have come forward [about being]…abuse[d] by Penny between 2013 and 2021…Penny was…a youth pastor at Inspiration Church…in Mesquite, [Texas, but he has a long history of following his bliss]…as a teacher’s aide and a [youth] counselor…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1103)

Liz Brown takes a very detailed look at the current US pro-censorship cult:

…it’s a financially precarious, and perhaps even dangerous, time to be in the business of online porn…a constellation of activist groups, rooted in deeply conservative opposition to virtually any depiction of sexuality…have put considerable pressure on the middlemen who keep online porn in business.  In some cases, that pressure has led to the creation of onerous new laws; in others, it has been aided by support from powerful figures in business and government.  These groups have repeatedly sought to conflate…commercial sex…with…sexual exploitation, often with lurid statistics about exploited minors that don’t stand up to scrutiny.  Although these groups [pretend] their aim is merely to rid the web of abuse, it’s clear that their true goal is to eliminate the vast majority of adult sexual content…through a combination of legal pressure tactics, lobbying for new laws, and political intimidation…Rather than help vulnerable women, these efforts threaten to make life worse for the very people they claim to want to help—while simultaneously stifling internet expression more broadly…

The Widening Gyre (#1136)

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

…In a two-part Instagram video…[Katie] Sorensen spun a [hysterical] tale about a “[not] clean-cut” man and woman who nearly succeeded in kidnapping her two young children…In reality, her frantic [fantasy] succeeded only in shining a spotlight on herself.  Sorensen’s video gained her a flood of new Instagram followers, an interview with the local news, and an outpouring of online support from terrified moms.  But police said an investigation into the incident produced no evidence that a crime had taken place.  Now Sorensen herself is scheduled to be on trial in May.  Instead of nearly being one of the extremely rare stranger abductions in the U.S. every year, the truth…[is] something less surprising: a white woman painting herself as the victim, when she is actually the aggressor…

Sorensen’s intended victims, Sadie Vega-Martinez and her husband Eddie, wisely went public as soon as they realized Sorenson was defaming them online, exposing her lies as the attention-seeking nonsense they were.  And Elle‘s article quoted above is yet another sign that the implosion of the moral panic which spawned this attempt to destroy an innocent family’s lives is well underway.

Policing for Profit (#1207)

Does anyone still believe that this is about anything other than profit?

The federal government has agreed to return more than $1 million that California sheriff’s deputies stole from an armored-car company that serves state-licensed marijuana businesses…Empyreal Logistics…[was robbed by] Sheriff Shannon Dicus’ [henchmen]…three times in November, December, and January, making off with about $700,000 the first time and about $350,000 the second time.  During the third stop, they came away empty-handed because the van was carrying rolls of coins that had nothing to do with the cannabis industry.  Since…marijuana businesses…are legal in California, Dicus handed the loot over to the FBI, hoping to ultimately keep up to 80 percent of the money through…the Justice Department’s “equitable sharing” program.  That “adoption” fell through after Empyreal sued the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration…As part of the settlement, Empyreal dropped the federal defendants from its lawsuit.  It is still suing Dicus, and the settlement does not address a separate [robbery] of $165,000 by Kansas sheriff’s deputies, who targeted an Empyreal van carrying money from state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Kansas City, Missouri, last May…

The Last Shall Be First (#1216) 

It’s good to see a few government employees with both spines and principles:

While the [Texas] attorney general’s office has gone to great lengths to defend the governor’s [jihad against trans youth] in court, the agency responsible for carrying out the investigations has been roiled by resistance and resignations…More than half a dozen child abuse investigators told [reporters]…that they either have resigned or are actively job hunting as a result of the directive…The employees, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity…said they [were]…unwilling to undertake…discriminatory investigations…but haunted by what a mass exodus of experienced child abuse investigators would mean for the state’s most vulnerable children…

Disaster (#1220)

They’ve chased the ambulance back to Texas again:

Three Texas judges for the state’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals denied…Facebook’s appeal to dismiss a lawsuit in which [ambulance-chasers representing professional “survivors”] argued the platform “facilitated the sex trafficking of minors” and is not protected from liability by Section 230.  Facebook had asked the [court]…to decide if Texas had jurisdiction over the case…The Texas Supreme Court…ruled [last] June…that Facebook was protected from several of the claims by Section 230…but also decided that some of the [fantastical] claims…could proceed [because pro-censorship fanatics like Morality in Media claim to believe them]…

To Molest and Rape (#1222)

So many rapist cops, so many underage victims:

A Los Angeles Co[p named]…Sean Jerome Essex…was arrested for [molesting a girl]…under 14-years-old, and for[cing her to blow him]…

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America[ns]…associate sin or indulgence with desserts.  –  Oona Hanson

Sisters in Arms

I’m repurposing this disused tag to highlight sex worker activism of this type:

Sex workers around the world, and many of the platforms they use, have spent the last week rallying support for their colleagues stranded on the ground in Ukraine…[sex workers] have developed a strong track record in recent years of mobilising for victims of disasters and ensuring they see the money that has been raised for them…even the platforms Ukrainian sex workers depend on to make a living have made serious efforts to make their support known.  OnlyFans made a donation of 500 Ethereum, equivalent to about $US1.5 million, to UkraineDAO on Saturday, one of a legion of crypto organisations raising millions of dollars…for Ukraine…payment app…Paxum…is currently working…to connect workers with transport at Ukraine’s border with Romania, where they would then be offered free accommodation…On Twitter, sex workers can regularly be seen urging their clients and fans to donate to individual causes that are as narrowly targeted as a life-saving surgery, or as broad as a global campaign to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of bushfires, as was seen in Australia in 2020

The Widening Gyre (#698) 

Long-time readers may recall that I called this a hoax as soon as the story broke:

Sherri Papini, the California [woman] who disappeared for weeks in 2016 and claimed she’d been kidnapped at gunpoint, made up the story and had been staying with an ex-boyfriend…Papini…was arrested for…lying to investigators in 2020 when presented with evidence the kidnapping was faked and of defrauding California out of more than $30,000 in victim assistance money…Papini…[re]appear[ed]…on…Interstate 5 in rural Yolo County, with a chain around her waist and a “brand” on her shoulder she [pretended] was inflicted by her captors…[but] were [in reality] self-inflicted [with a wood-burning tool.  Papini, who had a history of posting on white nationalist sites, pretended]…two [armed] Hispanic women…kept her captive…[but] in 2020, DNA found on Papini’s clothes…led investigators to her ex-boyfriend…[who] told [them] that Papini asked him for help and needed to get away, that he agreed to drive to pick her up in Redding, and that she stayed at his home in Costa Mesa in the Los Angeles area the whole time…eventually she asked to be driven back to Northern California…

Working From Home

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targets for creeps:

A 20-year-old man…hid…in the attic of a [New Hampshire] woman he [followed] online through…OnlyFans…Mauricio Damian-Guerrero…[ha]s [been] charged with…burglary…for…br[eaking] into [her] home multiple times and t[aking] video of the woman’s private areas while she slept…he admitted [to cops that] he [also planned] to tape [a tracking device] to…he[r]…car…he…appeared to have been in the attic for a period of time, as [the woman] found food, a cup with urine in it, and a pair of headphones [in her attic.  He tricked her into giving him]…her address b[y claiming] he wanted to buy her a TV and fireplace…he [also]…admitted…that before breaking into the [house], which is…he[r mother’s] home, he had broken into her Dover, New Hampshire, apartment multiple times…

You Were Warned (#1134)

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

A [cabal] of [ambulance-chasers] currently appealing a dismissed lawsuit against Reddit…[have] renew[ed] their claim that Section 230 protections should not shield the social media platform…from allegations of “profiting off of child pornography” over user-generated content…through an…increasingly…[popular but still legally] novel doctrine of “constructive knowledge,” as opposed to actual knowledge…

Their Own Petard

When we agreed to trick other people into cages with face-eating leopards, we didn’t know the leopards would eat our faces!

Marissa Sanchez [and the other plaintiffs]…in an ongoing lawsuit…against the [Houston, Texas] Constables’ Office…and [several of its boss cops]…They [agreed to participate in an elaborate scam]…in which [cops fantasy role-played as]…partygoers…[and] prostitutes…[in an attempt to ruin the lives of] sex workers [and their partners and friends]…Instead of capturing [imaginary “]traffickers[“]…they were subjected to [the same] sexual harassment…molestation…and sexual ridicule…that [they were happy to inflict on other women who never did them any harm]…

Thou Shalt Not (#1206)

Crypto-moralism rots people’s brains:

Girl Scouts, and the women who lead their troops and volunteer with them during cookie season, say that the…tradition of face-to-face sales is increasingly accompanied by…angry tirades from adults who want to lecture them about [those adult’s beliefs about] healthy eating…or rant about the group’s rumored (and false) link to Planned Parenthood…”I feel like in the last 10 years, and maybe especially since the pandemic, that people are getting even more aggressive”…[said] Oona Hanson, a Scouting parent in Los Angeles…she’s seen [oafs] make comments about weight gain, tell girls they can’t trust themselves to have Thin Mints in the house, or even yell at girls for “poisoning” people…Other [cretins]…have…harassed [girls] for…the use of palm oil in the cookies.  Widely used in commercial baked goods, the oil [has become] controversial [among people who think of themselves as environmentalists] because its production can lead to deforestation and disrupt the habitat of endangered species…a…[rumor started in] 2004…[by] the leader of an anti-abortion group in Waco, Texas…has stuck…among…anti-abortion [fanatics, who act out by] harassing [girls too young to even know]…what an abortion is…

The Cop Myth (#1217)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives; some don’t stop with mere beating:

[Typical and representative Georgia cop] Michael Perrault was found guilty on all counts…in…the Feb. 2020 [murder] of [his wife] Amanda Perrault…he…[was] sentenced to life in prison without parole…Perrault was initially arrested on Jan. 28, 2020 [for] battery on his wife…[and] was released on…bond…Days later…Michael claimed she killed herself in front of him…[but] there…[was] a long history of domestic abuse…[and Sheriff Howard] Sills testified it was obvious [to him] from the jump that Perrault had killed his wife and tried to stage it based on details at the scene.  A neighbor who gave Amanda refuge in their home also testified saying she told them, “If anything happened, she didn’t kill herself”…

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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 movements in 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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