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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

Senator Klobuchar…is deliberately seeking to destroy [the internet].  –  Mike Masnick

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from predatory cops:

A Prairie Village [Kansas cop] was allowed to stay on the job for 19 months after department officials were alerted that he had [pressur]ed a woman for sex after arresting her…Attorney Brandan Davies said he reported to Prairie Village police in March 2020 that…Rolando Swaby had arrested his client in a DUI case and later sent text messages asking her to meet him at a hotel for drinks and sex ahead of a court hearing in her case…Davies…thought the [cop] would be fired…[but he] was allowed to remain on the force for more than a year and a half until he was investigated in an unrelated domestic violence case in October 2021.  He later resigned and lost his Kansas police license…

You Were Warned (#1116)

Monkey see, monkey do:

…a law…[pushed by] Senator Amy Klobuchar and Rep. David Cicilline…[is another] link tax bill, similar to the one written in Australia to appease (and enrich) Rupert Murdoch.  It basically says that publishers can band together, with an antitrust exemption, to demand fees from bigger, more successful internet companies…Klobuchar…is [known for]…pushing bills that fundamentally break the internet…[and her] new version of the JCPA…[does so doubly by] only appl[ying] to smaller news orgs — those with under 1,500 employees …We’re at a time when hedge funds — most notably Alden Capital — have been buying up newspapers and laying off tons of people while trying to squeeze cash out of the remaining husks.  And, this bill basically says “buy up large newspapers and cut them to under 1,500 employees”…here’s Amy Klobuchar saying…“you get free money just as long as you fire enough people first“…But, the much bigger problem is that the bill is trying to break the internet…[by] allow[ing] news orgs to…force internet companies…to pay the journalism organizations for…sending them traffic…This is ludicrous.  News orgs beg these sites for traffic.  They hire SEO people to try to get more traffic.  Now they’re also getting to FORCE the internet companies to PAY them for that traffic too?…

Torture Chamber (#1207)

Give brutal, sexually-aggressive men total power over women, then act surprised when the eminently predictable happens:

A North Carolina [screw]…was fired and arrested for [rap]ing [female prisoners]…Khalim Jovan Battle…[raped at least] two [women powerless to defend themselves from him].  He…anally [raped]…one [and]…oral[ly raped both]…

Opting Out (#1214) 

Authoritarians believe that the people they want to impose their evil upon are either very stupid or very gullible:

…California’s AB 2273, the “Age Appropriate Design Code” bill that the California legislature seems eager to pass…seemed to be getting very little attention, but after a few [Techdirt] posts started to go viral, the backers of the bill ramped up their smear campaigns and lies…and…the “Age Verification Providers Association” decided to show up in the comments to defend themselves and insist that their members can do age verification in a privacy-protective manner.  You just have to let them scan your face with facial recognition technology… they insist it’s not “facial recognition” software because it’s not matching you up to a database of your identity…it’s just using “AI” to guess estimate your age.  What could possibly go wrong?  But, more to the point, they’re basically saying “don’t worry, you’ll just need to scan your face or ID for every website your visit.”  Normalizing facial scans…seems pretty dystopian, frankly…

Thought Control (#1252)

Of course, the politicians have already got what they wanted: positive attention from censorious asshats:

The [obscenity] trial in Virginia Beach, Virginia…of…two books has ended in dismissal.  Neither Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe nor A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas meet the legal definition of obscenity…Two lawsuits…sought to get both books not only removed from schools and libraries, but removed from private sale through bookstores across the state…Th[is] outcome…will help in setting a standard…that books like these…do not meet the legal definition of obscenity [regardless of what pro-censorship fanatics may claim]…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1262)

Fentanyl is being inserted into every popular scare myth:

The…DEA…[is fantasizing about] an “alarming” trend of brightly-colored fentanyl made to look like candy that is being used to attract children…The agency [claims collaborator pigs, in other words the same people who fantasize that casual contact with fentanyl produces instant overdose that exactly mimics the symptoms of a panic attack,] began s[teal]ing brightly colored “rainbow fentanyl” [from its owners last] month…in 18 states so far…“Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst [people who cannot pay for the product, because they’re EEEEEEEEEEVUL!]” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram [bloviated]…

This is, of course, the same old nonsense cops vomit out in the approach to Halloween every year, only with “fentanyl” inserted in place of “marijuana” or other drugs, Mad Libs style.  Given that we’ve also recently seen fentanyl being inserted in place of magic “sex trafficking” drugs in social media scary tales, I’d say it’s safe to declare that fentanyl is now the subject of its own moral panic.

To Molest and Rape (#1268)

“Having inappropriate contact with a minor” is such a nice way of saying “molesting a kid”:

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Denham Springs [cop who molested]…a minor…Joseph Reid Copeland…is believed [to have fled]…the…area…

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Sex workers are collateral damage in th[e “progressive”] quest to build the perfect internet.  –  Evan Greer

The Missing Word (#570)

Notice what nobody calls this?

For almost seven years, two Pennsylvania judges sent hundreds of [teens and] children—some of them as young as 8 years old—to privately run juvenile detention centers in exchange for financial kickbacks…[now] former Judges Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan [have been ordered] to pay over $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages to their victims.  Starting in 2000, the pair sent children into juvenile detention for offenses as innocuous as jaywalking, petty theft, or truancy.  In what became known as the “kids for cash” scandal, the [victims] were sent to two privately run detention centers whose builder and co-owner paid the men $2.8 million…over the course of the scheme…following the plot’s discovery, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court…thr[ew] out 4,000 juvenile convictions…[but] many of the plaintiffs still suffer from mental health problems.  Several…died by suicide or drug overdose in the years after their detention…Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of the plaintiffs will [actually] receive [any] financial compensation…[because] Ciavarella and Conahan are now serving lengthy prison sentences.  Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years…and Conahan…17…though he was released to home confinement in 2020…[due to] COVID-19…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1009)

Another baby step toward recognizing sex work as work:

…a group of former Star Garden [exotic] dancers…filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, through the established actors union Actors’ Equity Assn…If the[y]…succeed, it would be the first time the century-old union that represents actors and stage managers on Broadway and venues such as the Hollywood Pantages Theatre would include strippers in its ranks.  Star Garden would become the first unionized strip club in the U.S. since…the Lusty Lady…closed in 2013…But…most of the strippers seeking representation said they have not worked at Star Garden since mid-March, when they raised safety concerns and were subsequently [fired]…Union lawyers will need to convince the National Labor Relations Board the strippers are Star Garden employees who were unduly terminated in order to be eligible to participate in a union vote and secure a shot at winning…

The Widening Gyre (#1116)

The latest iteration of “sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!” has it all: the roses from the item linked in the subtitle, themselves only one example of the “valuable bait” trope, are loaded with the magic instant-overdose fentanyl of cop fantasies instead of the unidentified magic contact poison of earlier iterations of this myth.  Given that cops have recently started claiming that the magic fentanyl is being intentionally sprinkled onto $1 bills, the convergence is pretty clear; presumably the fentanyl-using “traffickers”, no doubt driving around in white vans, are also dropping the bait bills where cops can find them so as to stop their heroic anti-trafficking pogroms, or something.

A Broker in Pillage (#1147)

Absolutely nothing is “safe” if government actors know where it is:

The FBI [lied] to…a federal magistrate judge…[claiming] that it intended to open hundreds of safe deposit boxes s[tolen] during a March 2021 raid in order to inventory the items inside—but new evidence shows that federal agents were plotting all along to use the operation as an opportunity to [steal] cash and other valuables…the FBI also seems to have ignored limitations imposed by the warrant, including an explicit prohibition against using the…boxes as the basis for further criminal investigations…agents…were instructed to be on the lookout for cash…and to note…anything which [might give the government a pretext to steal it]…Agents [even] arranged to have drug-sniffing dogs present…which doesn’t do anything to help inventory items, of course, but makes more sense if the actual goal is to initiate forfeiture proceedings…

You Were Warned (#1218)

Looks like Reddit is covering its butt as a hedge against more FOSTA-enabled predatory lawsuits:

…adult content creator[s have]…recently found themselves abruptly removed or had their Reddit account limited without warning.  Sex workers have long been subject to deplatforming on most social media platforms…yet even though Reddit has a reputation for being relatively sex-positive compared to other Big Tech sites, sex workers are increasingly finding themselves restricted or even outright permanently banned on the platform, often without notice or…explanation…“The fact that sex workers are reporting an uptick on Reddit is particularly concerning because it has been one of the last places where this type of content is allowed,” says Evan Greer, director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future, citing Twitter as the only other example of a platform that still continues to allow NSFW content…

The Vultures Descend

You can always count on my native state to out-Herod Herod:

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry…successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission…to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for [a dedicated power station for] its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban.  The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans…issued a flood advisory…Even Republican state senator Bret Allain warned that because the sewerage and water board is a state-created agency, he finds it “problematic” to target New Orleans over their abortion stance…

The Last Shall Be First (#1244)

If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention:

After one competitor “outclassed” the rest of the field in a girls’ state-level competition last year, the parents of the competitors who placed second and third lodged a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association calling into question the winner’s gender.  David Spatafore, the UHSAA’s legislative representative…said the association…asked the student’s school to…examine…the students’ enrollment records [going]…“back to kindergarten and she’d always been a female”…Spatafore said the association has received other complaints, some that said “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough”…

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School [cops]…are accountable to nobody.  –  Andrea J. Ritchie

Perquisites

Ladies, it’s probably a bad idea to accept a client’s offer of a job you aren’t qualified for:

A senior research scientist working on advanced propulsion technologies for the U.S. Air Force duped a contractor into hiring an unqualified sex worker…because he thought she was “really hot”…The man then allegedly threatened to kill the sex worker’s supervisor and himself when the scheme fell apart—but not before shifting the bulk of the project’s funding elsewhere to pay for her salary at a different defense firm…a newly unsealed search warrant application…accuses Dr. James Gord…of installing the 32-year-old sex worker on a highly technical research project even though she did not have a college degree or any expertise in the field.  The woman “did not fully understand how to use basic word processing…software,” and “struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails,” the warrant states…No charges had yet been filed against Gord prior to his death last September of unspecified causes.  The woman…has not [yet] been charged with a crime either…but…is…being investigated on charges of prostitution near military and naval establishments, and false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims…

To Molest and Rape (#758)

In the looking-glass world inhabited by people who believe in the virtue of cops, sexual coercion becomes “bribery”:

Pocono Mountain [cop] Steven Mertz detained a woman, drunk at the wheel of her car, then threatened her with a DUI charge if she refused to [submit to rape]…then he blackmailed her with “their secret”—all admitted in testimony—demanding she [submit to rape] again lest he find his notes.  He found them anyway.  This wasn’t rape, jurors unanimously [pretended], but merely taking a bribe—a lesser charge for which he was sentenced to 30 to 60 months in jail.  They agreed with his defense that “his role as her arresting officer did not constitute as an imbalance of power, nor did her impairment preclude her from being able to consent”…Beyond the sexist contempt and cop-worship of almost everyone involved in this, “acquiescing to a threat amounts to bribery that justifies the threat, but not the acceptance of the bribe” is a magnificently batshit legal outcome right up there with America’s worst.

The Widening Gyre (#928)

Cops don’t like it when non-cops falsely accuse innocent people of “crimes” that didn’t happen:

…a Baltimore man…[named] Ryan Dark White, a.k.a. Dr. Jon McGreevey…[who is] a candidate for United States Senate…[told cops] an older adult male was [at an adult bookstore] with a young girl, 10-12 years of age, [and was] forcing the child to perform sexual acts on male customers…a…[three-month] investigation revealed [that]…White [had made the whole thing up, presumably for publicity, so cops]…arrested…White [and] charged [him] with [making] false statements…

Banishment (#970)

This is sick even by the abysmal standards of US “sex offender” laws:

In 2020, an ordinance in Brevard County, Florida, permitted a business to certify itself as a place where children congregate—the moral equivalent of a park—thereby making it a crime for anyone [condemned to] the sex offense registry to venture inside…[despite] hav[ing] no way of knowing which businesses have self-certified themselves as child-gathering places…but if they get too close, they are violating their registration requirements, which could land them in prison…registrants…[wanted] to bring the matter before county commissioners…[but] merely attending a meeting of the county commissioners is impossible…as Brevard’s Government Center is less than 1,000 feet from a high school, making it a crime for [them]…to enter the building…After [a] law[suit by]…the Florida Justice Institute…the commissioners finally modified the code [in March] just enough to permit people on the registry to attend a meeting…

Broken Record (Spot the Loonies)

The once-thriving competition for silliest “sex trafficking magnet” tall tale has been reduced mostly to pathetic reruns of years-old fantasies:

A se[lf-serving] law enforcement [pogrom held in the same month as] the World Games led to dozens of arrests…in Birmingham [Alabama].  The [pogrom]…involved [nearly as many cop shops, spook houses, and other collections of violent thugs than]…the [number of people] arrest[ed: 21 gangs to persecute]…34 [lonely men, 8] of [whom were tricked by the “bait and switch” tactics especially popular with Southern pigs]…15…sex [workers were also arrested] and [forced into a brainwashing scheme]…“Major sporting events like this routinely attract transnational criminal organizations and other bad actors involved in illicit criminal activity such as human exploitation crimes, drug trafficking and the sale of counterfeit merchandise,” S[ow] Katrina W. Berger [oinked]…

“Transnational criminal organizations” selling cheap knock-off T-shirts, because apparently “sex trafficking” is no longer enough to capture enough public attention on its own.

Above the Law (1175)

A prosecutor is just a kind of cop:

A Montgomery County [Ohio] prosecutor…w[ho] rape[d a woman in April 2013] has resigned…John Amos…[was charged with several related] counts…[after his victim came forward] in June 2020…the prosecutor’s office was notified [of Amos’ crime in February 2021, but didn’t fore him because]…the [crime was committed] “outside of the office during non-work hours”…

To Molest and Rape (#1234)

Give aggressive thugs power over teen girls; what could possibly go wrong?

In 2014, [a] Dothan, Alabama [cop named] Lanice Bonds…[raped] a 16-year-old student from Dothan High School, where he w[as assigned to spy on, harass, and intimidate students]…Three years later, at the same school, [his successor]…Adrian Folmar, was arrested for [raping] a 17-year-old student…another victim was [later] found, and…she was 14 years old.  Bonds and Folmar a[re]…part of a wider pattern of school[-haunting pigs] being removed from their positions due to sexual misconduct…at least 440 school children have been sexually abused by [cops] at their school in the last 20 years…and…that i[s]…likely underreported…

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[Men sentenced to “john schools” are] casualt[ies] in a moral panic that is destroying lives in order to save souls.  –  Elle Hardy

If Men Were Angels

It’s striking how much the sexual behavior of “pastors” resembles that of cops:

William C. Robinson, a pastor working for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries in Corpus Christi [Texas], was…charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child…He pleaded not guilty…[but] also…stated he wanted to confess to [molesting a child for five years, starting]…when she was nine…

Monsters (#668)

Though most of the items appearing under this heading describe violence against trans women, trans men are also targets of violence and discrimination:

An O[hio man]…was attacked and beaten while camping because he is transgender.  Noah Ruiz…was using the women’s restroom in a Preble County campground [because the owner of the campground foolishly directed him]…to do [so]…when a…[wo]man [who correctly perceived him as male demanded he leave.  He tried to explain, but]…as he was walking out, three large men…grabbed [him]…choked [him, and threatened to]…kill [him.  The pigs soon arrived and, as usual, made the situation worse by]…arrest[ing] Ruiz for disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.  [A spokespig tried to defend arresting an assault victim by lying]…that Ruiz was highly intoxicated and…becoming belligerent…

End Demand (#788)

Although the reporter makes her opinion of “john schools” quite clear from the beginning (see today’s epigram), I don’t even want to quote any of the nauseating details of either the scam to give sadistic wanker pigs their jollies, or the vile garbage vomited out in the “schools”.  So I’ll just quote this part:

…evangelical…anti-trafficking groups[‘ idea of]…“female empowerment”…is more about affirming the savior than understanding the real needs and lives of those to be “saved”.  It’s also hard to get away from the signs that…the movement interests itself only in a certain type of victim…they’re only ever waiting in carparks outside of strip joints—not helping th[ose]…who have been trafficked into other kinds of work….“anti-trafficking” and “modern slavery” mean more to the people who call it such than to those they’ve selectively identified as its victims.  These are just buzzwords for a certain kind of sexual ethics that has become the stock in trade of today’s Pentecostal movement…

Like Houses (#1090)

Useful idiots never see where “hate speech” laws inevitably lead:

…a [new] Japanese law…strengthens the country’s punishment for “online insults”…to as much as a year in prison and a fine of up to ¥300,000 (about $2,200 USD).  It also extended the statute of limitations from one year to three…the…new law…doesn’t define what is or is not “demeaning,” and since there’s no requirement that the statements be statements of fact, it could mean anything…Seiho Cho, a lawyer in Japan…says…”If someone calls the leader of Japan an idiot…that could be classed as an insult”…

Torture Chamber (#1202)

Funny how often people die mysteriously while cops just happen to be nearby:

Four [human beings condemned to filthy cages in Alabama] died between [July 7th] and [10th]…in addition to two others who have died in just over a week.  The [victims were]…Don Robert Barclay…Joe C. Davis…Lionel Ferado O’Neal…and Jakari Marquez Norris…[the] coroner…said there are no obvious signs of foul play or trauma [but O’Neal was only 45 and Norris only 30]…So far this year, 21 [people]…have died [in the filthy cages, compared to]…26 [over the entirety of 2021]…

Property of the State (#1252)

I was revolted but unsurprised at the number of “pro-life” sleazebags (including the AG of Ohio) who accused the doctor of lying:

A Columbus [Ohio] man has been charged with impregnating a 10-year-old Ohio girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion led to international attention…Gershon Fuentes…was arrested…after…he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions…Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through…her mother on June 22…On June 30, the girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis…DNA from the clinic in Indianapolis is being tested against samples from Fuentes, as well as the child’s siblings, to confirm his paternity…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1253)

Apparently, fentanyl hysteria is contagious:

A [cop’s wife named]…Renee Parsons said she picked up a dollar bill off the ground at [a Tennessee] McDonald’s…and [had a panic attack]…She [experienced a number of symptoms of panic attacks and none of fentanyl overdose] before she [fainted], while he[r cop husband Justin] drove to the closest hospital…Soon after her husband [imagined] side effects as well. “My lips started going numb and my arm broke out in a rash,” Justin said…they [convinced themselves] fentanyl or a similar drug was on the money…[tests found nothing] on the dollar bill [but hysterical cops]…destroyed [it anyway]…Dr. David Edwards at Vanderbilt…[said] simply touching a drug will not cause an overdose…but the [local news media credulously reported the fantasy as if it were true anyhow]…“Your skin is a really good barrier and will likely protect you and you won’t just randomly overdose from just any medicine you are touching for a short period of time,” Dr. Edwards explained…

Note the resemblance to the “things on cars” trope of “sex trafficking” mythology.

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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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