Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘witchcraft’

If you don’t understand why this witch is carrying a sackful of toys, I suggest you consult my column from seven years ago today, which also (not by coincidence) contains links to the columns for the previous four years.  That should give you all the information you need to understand why I’m wishing some of my readers a Merry Christmas, some a Good Epiphany and others a Happy King Day, and welcoming all of you to the Carnival season!

Read Full Post »

My freezer is full of roadkill.  –  Sarah Day

In honor of the death of one of its stars, here’s one of the more spectacular musical numbers from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Dan Savage, Scott Greenfield, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, Jesse Walker, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound…our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color…we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!
–  Endora (Agnes Moorehead)

A couple of years ago I rewatched Bewitched, a show I always enjoyed in my youth but hadn’t seen since the early ’80s.  I’ve always thought Elizabeth Montgomery was an excellent actress, but this time the magic of cannabis (which slows down my hyperactive nervous system so that I can really watch these shows in a way I’ve never been able to before) opened my eyes to just how talented she really was; she could convey so much with just her facial expressions and vocal manner, and her comedic timing was brilliant.  But beyond that, I saw aspects of the show itself that were previously opaque to me.  I’ve always recognized that many of the episodes are veiled commentaries on racism and other forms of bigotry; that was typical of the 1960s, when fantasy and science fiction shows could sneak controversial issues past uptight sponsors and network censors by disguising them as the stuff of alien worlds or magical happenings.  When Samantha angrily denounced ugly witch stereotypes or mortals’ fear of those who are different, the perceptive viewer understood what the show was really saying.  As I grew older, I realized that there was also a more-deeply-buried queer subtext which was too radical even for most contemporary viewers who thought of themselves as liberal:  beside the fact that several of the principals were played by gay men, Samantha had to hide her true nature in order to exist in the judgmental mortal world, and only in the company of other witches could she really be herself.  Furthermore, those mortals were willing to hunt, persecute and even burn those like her merely because they were different.  But queer people weren’t the only sexual minority violently persecuted and actively hunted by 20th-century puritans; while I’m sure it was unintentional, sex workers can also see ourselves reflected in this magic mirror.

When I last watched the show, in my late teens or very early twenties, I naturally identified most with Samantha.  But on this rewatch, I found myself identifying with her mother, Endora, due in part to her age, in part to her unique personal style, and in part to her attitude toward her daughter’s marriage.  I’m old enough to have a daughter in her twenties or early thirties, and I can certainly understand how I’d feel if she married a man I thought wasn’t good enough for her.  But it goes beyond that: the association between sex work and witchcraft is a very old one, and even today many sex workers metaphorically describe our work as “magic” (not to mention the many sex workers who actually do specifically practice witchcraft, though obviously not the fantasy TV variety).  Endora’s chief gripe with her son-in-law isn’t really that he’s mortal; it’s that he wants to rob her beloved daughter of her birthright by forcing her to eschew magic and submit to mortal drudgery.  And every time I heard her say this to Samantha (in quite a few episodes), I imagined how I would feel if my beautiful daughter gave up a successful career in sex work to marry a “dumbo” who demanded she renounce her heritage, shun her whore friends, and work a shitty square job when she could make far more with far less effort by doing what she’s good at instead of letting herself be limited to behavior that doesn’t make dreary, unimaginative authoritarians uncomfortable.

Read Full Post »

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.  Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil.  –  Eric Hoffer

To paraphrase Baudelaire, the loveliest trick of religion is to convince people that the Devil exists.  Humans have never been fond of admitting blame for anything, but when someone is caught red-handed committing some evil and therefore cannot blame any other human, the truly devout buck-passer blames an invisible, intangible, supernatural force.  Authoritarians, too, love their devils; what better way to convince the Great Unwashed to render their obedience and surrender their liberty than to convince them of the existence of super-powerful evil spirits who cannot be stopped except by whatever snake oil those authoritarians are selling?  Over the past couple of centuries, belief in actual anthropomorphic deities of evil has slowly been replaced by belief in more tangible devils such as “criminals”, “terrorists”, “pimps”, and “people who vote differently than I do”, but as we head into a new dark age belief in a literal red guy with horns, hooves, a tail and a pitchfork has once again become popular in the Underdeveloped States of America.  The occult boom of the early ’70s (heralded by movies like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby) paved the way for the Satanic panic of the ’80s and early ’90s, which after an implosion around 1994 soon returned as the “sex trafficking” hysteria; its roots in the older, more openly-religious hysteria are clearly visible in its QAnon branch and in persistent nonsense about the supposed magical powers of “pimps”.  And every so often, people whose entire understanding of how the universe works could be crammed into a chicken’s brain pan and still leave room for a politician’s moral compass, shit all over themselves because some musician employs “Satanic” imagery comparable in sophistication to that in a US television show from the 1950s.  Every society has throwbacks like this; the difference is that in America, we pretend they’re adults and let them decide who’s going to run things.

Read Full Post »

This guy lay in shit and…died in [a] cell that looks like a friggin’ horse stall.  –  unnamed investigator

Imagination Pinned Down

Like seeing pictures in clouds or inkblots:

When the unrecognizable body of Jeannette DePalma…was found atop a…wooded hill…called the Devil’s Teeth in 1972, rumors spread quickly that the [16-year-old] was killed in some sort of satanic rite…Police…[claim]ed…they had found signs they thought might be related to the occult, including crosses made of sticks and branches arranged in a coffin-like outline around her body…But crime scene photographs released for the first time [last month]…debunk those claims, showing that DePalma’s body was simply lying in a dense, brushy area…facedown with an arm draped over a downed tree branch…Jason Coy, a history professor…who researches witchcraft…said he can’t find any sign of the occult or any other symbolism in the jumble of brush and branches.  It suggests that investigators, looking for something sinister, saw patterns that weren’t there…“Everything in th[e police] sketch that was marked out as a cross, in these crime scene photos just looks like a pile of underbrush…it’s a perfect example of how…i[f] someone…[has] the idea that something could be occult, they remember things that way”…

The Naked Anthropologist

Here’s Dr. Laura Agustín with GAATW on the rescue industry:

Torture Chamber 

For a change, this journalist doesn’t refer to torture as “correction”:

…Reginald Wilson spent more than 1,300 days in and out of jail since 1997 for charges often related to his fragile mental health…in December 2018 [Georgia cops abducted and caged him] for a probation violation…[dur]ing a mental health crisis…he was [lock]ed in a padded [cell and given no professional help, even after]…he smeared his own feces on the wall.  “He never slept. He was constantly just up, doing almost like gymnastics when you watched the video,” one [screw admitted to]…investigators…Wilson stopped eating, drinking and refused to take medication…[yet] the jail’s psychiatrist never saw [him].  In[stead,] staff [just repeatedly yelled “stop faking” at]…him…[and cop]s tased him at least tw[ice].  After… eight days…a [screw] found Wilson not breathing…[and] covered in…feces…[he had] died from…dehydration…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a little boy picked a flower”?

[A] 6-year-old…was accused of picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop, his attorney Julie Boyer said, and…was on trial…for injury to real property.  The boy’s attention span was too short to follow the proceedings…[so] Boyer…handed him crayons and a coloring book…she…and others [explain that] children that age don’t have the mental capacity to understand the juvenile justice process and…can’t make informed decisions…[yet at present North Carolina]…expect[s them to]…”Should a child that believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy be making life-altering decisions?” asked…Judge Jay Corpening…[local] advocates…recommend…the age be raised to 12…The National Juvenile Justice Network recommends 14…

End Demand (#893)

It’s good to see a story like this quote at least one knowledgeable person:

Columbus [Ohio politicians] are weighing changes to local solicitation laws that would emphasize pu…shing [propaganda about] those who pay for sex [in addition to propaganda about] those who sell it…[politician] Mitchell Brown [vomited out popular nonsense about]…sex trafficking…chief [copagandist and rape apologist] Jennifer Knight…[salivated about forcing people into “re-education”] sessions…[but actual] researchers like Jennifer Suchland argue “end demand” policies often backfire…“Because there’s now substantial evidence to show that they are, one, not actually reducing the amount of exploitation, and two, they are increasing the precarity of those people who are in the sex trade”…Suchland says…the “end demand” model is based on a faulty assumption…

Knight is the sow charged with making excuses for the Columbus rape gang, and claims the way to “build trust” with women is to hunt, rape and cage them.

Safe Position (#1058)

Don’t be deceived by Katz, a duplicitous proponent of Swedish criminalization:

Queens, New York, District Attorney Melinda Katz moved…to dismiss nearly 700 cases against people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution…[on] the same day…Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed [Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation]…The…law was repealed last month out of concern it too often targeted…people…based solely on their appearance…Katz [followed up by bloviating about]…sex trafficking…

Katz is dismissing these cases because she has to, since the law they were charged under was repealed.  This isn’t some kind of personal move on her part toward sex worker rights, despite claims to the contrary.

Predictable Consequences

Lots of sex workers are quoted in this rebuke of prohibitionist yellow journalism:

The New York Times re[acted to]…the recent slayings of eight persons at three “Asian” spas…by a deranged religious nut…with a self-[indulgent article]…adopting the rhetoric…of…sex work…pro[hibitionists], painting the spas as havens for sex trafficking…without one quote from sex workers or sex worker rights advocates, the Times piece [claim]s that “experts say there are more than 9,000 such businesses” in the U.S. which are “fronts for prostitution,” and that “many of the women working there are being exploited.”  That dubious statistic hails from a particularly odious non-profit, the Polaris Project, which has long conflated consensual adult sex work with sex trafficking and has a history of dealing in fake statistics and urban legends…Massage workers…have no agency, nor any voice, in this scheme or this article…

Read Full Post »

I thought y’all might enjoy this Twitter conversation I recently had, primarily with Matisse and Carol Leigh; it touches on a number of themes that recur frequently in my work.  Twitter conversations tend to branch, but I think I’ve managed to gather the main elements I want to share.

 

 

Read Full Post »

What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

Read Full Post »

I exonerated tons of cases that involved awful conduct.  –  Dan Bodah

Here’s a funny look at something I’ve been pointing out for decades now, provided by Marc Randazza; the links above the video were supplied by Amy Alkon, Thaddeus Russell, Franklin Harris and Jesse Walker, Walter Olson, and Jesse Walker again, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

Moral panics are a natural, if unfortunate, byproduct of the tribal instincts of the great ape called homo sapiens.  They tend to last roughly a generation from start to finish (sometimes, mercifully, a little shorter) and can cause tremendous damage to individuals’ lives and society in general before they’re over.  Clever sociopaths have always found ways to profit from these periodic waves of hysteria; for example, evil opportunists would often hurl accusations of witchcraft at widows whose land they wanted to steal.  But the first major moral panic of the internet era (the Satanic Panic was already moribund by the time AOL began its first major marketing campaign) has created a market for profiting from hysterical propaganda on a scale never before seen in human history.  It’s impossible to even guess how large what Laura Agustín dubbed the “rescue industry” has grown, but when its connections to the garment industry are considered, it’s probably safe to say that it’s comparable in size to its own imaginary claims about “sex trafficking”.  In 2011 the propagandists declared January “National Human Trafficking Awareness Month”, probably due to the increasing popularity of the myth that the Super Bowl, which is held in the first few days of February, is a huge driver of “sex trafficking”, with huge cargoes of “sex slaves” trucked into every host city, unimpeded by the usual logistics of transportation and lodging.  Cops and other police-state organs have taken advantage of the hype as an excuse to present their pogroms and “stings” as “sex trafficking operations”, and as a result every January now produces an avalanche of idiotic propaganda (absurdly referred to as “education” or “raising awareness”) that is shockingly stupid even by the very low standards of “sex trafficking” propaganda.  Take this incredible mass of lies from KAKE in Wichita, Kansas:

…“Back Page [sic] needed to be shut down,” [oinked vice pig] Brent Huhman…“they were exploiting…women”…It was considered a hotbed for human trafficking, which can lead to missing people.  The site’s creators would defend the user-posted advertisements…they were not responsible for [under section 230 of the CDA]…However, [federal propaganda claimed] it…pushed moderators to approve [questionable]…ads [despite ample evidence to the contrary]…

The rest is the usual hodgepodge of local “news” copsucking, yellow journalism, parent-scaring, bogus math, BDSM sexual fantasies, surveillance cheerleading and more.  This article from KDRV in Medford, Oregon is every bit as moronic:

Oregon police report that they encounter 3-5 victims of human trafficking per week; 80% of these victims are women, 50% are children.  “People don’t realize that sex trafficking with children is a silent epidemic in the United States,” said Kirsten Arreguin…of Redemption Ridge…“Portland is the second largest city for forced child prostitution in the United States right after Las Vegas”…Traffickers spend considerable time in areas where children congregate such as parks, malls, youth shelters and on social media in order to carefully lure their victims into sex slavery…

It is a sign of the incredible mathematical illiteracy rampant in the US that nobody questions a “report” which begins with “statistics” that add up to 130% (children cannot be women and vice versa, so the categories cannot overlap).  And the prohibitionist sexual fantasy of “pimps” hanging out at every playground is so sick that one has to wonder how anyone higher on the evolutionary scale than a cop could possibly take it seriously, until one considers that these are the same mouth-breathers who claim there are more “sex trafficking” cases in Oregon alone than in the entire United States (“…jail intelligence suggests approximately 595 minors and 1,191 adults are currently victims of sex trafficking currently in the Portland metro area…“); presumably “jail intelligence” is Copese for “tall tales told by prisoners trying to get on cops’ good sides”, because there aren’t even 500 full-service sex workers in Portland, much less “child sex slaves” (this fantasy claims about 1 “sex slave” per 400 adult men in the area).  Support for sex worker rights is growing all the time, and even some of the usual suspects are beginning to recognize prohibition for what it is.  But cops, politicians and profiteers are going to continue publicly masturbating while riding the gravy train until it finally runs off the rails for good.

Read Full Post »

It seems odd … to make…integrity of…intimate body cavities dependent on who it is that does the…penetrating.  –  Judge John Z. Lee

Where Are the Protests? 

A lot of editing was needed here:

…Portland Police [are]…merging [the] human trafficking [gang]…with its [vice gang.  Prohibitionists]…are concerned the consolidation will result in [fewer pigs raping and persecuting sex workers, but in reality the point is to have more cops harassing women and fewer investigating actual labor exploitation]…

Pride Goeth

We don’t see many good articles about “Straight Pride” events, but the ones we do see are hilarious:

Netflix has threatened the organisers of Boston’s Straight Pride with legal action after they listed the streaming platform as a “prospective corporate sponsor” for their anti-LGBT+ event.  Netflix sent a cease-and-desist order to Super Happy Fun America, the group organising the parade, which has several ties with…white nationalist organisations…Super Happy Fun America were ordered to “immediately” remove the Netflix logo from all materials associated with the event, with the threat of further legal action if this is not done within 24 hours…The parade organisers hit back at Netflix on their website in a post entitled “Netflix hates the straight” which accuses Netflix’s legal team of being staffed by “gay supremacists”…Super Happy Fun America previously tried to use Brad Pitt as their movement’s “mascot,” but were forced to stop following a complaint from Pitt’s representatives…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

Screenshots of a private group chat…show several [screws] at a Florida prison making [vile] remarks about an inmate beating days before a video of that [beating]…was uploaded to YouTube…by inmates using a [hidden] cell phone…the sister of the [beaten] inmate…and a Florida [politician] who interviewed the inmate in person…have [reported that] officials at the institution [are lying]…about what transpired and attempting to cover up the [flagrant] abuse…Otis Miller [is now locked up in a different stack of cages]…The video [clearly] show[s a gang of screws]…punching [Miller] in the head…[even though] he…is [only] five feet tall and weighs 140 pounds…the [screws clearly took] pride in the damage they had inflicted on [a helpless human being, oinking out such pleasantries as]…“That [inmate] looks like beetle juice [sic]”…“I want more lol”…[and] “Fuck him”…Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch responded with [the usual denials and bullshit]…

That Old Black Magic (#442)

Remember that witchcraft charges were once a popular way to persecute sex workers:

Two residents of the city of Gudermes were [arrested by cops in] Chechnya…for practicing…witchcraft…persecution of medicine men and psychics began in Chechnya six years ago, but in recent years has intensified…The detained women may be facing criminal prosecution…Sorcery and magic contradict Islamic dogma…but…the current campaign…is less connected with religious motives, and to a greater extent with comparatively stronger police control…believes Mikhail Roshchin…of…the Russian Academy of Sciences…

Other modern “wars on witchcraft” are taking place in IndonesiaSaudi Arabia (including online censorship), and to a lesser extent the UK (subtitle link).

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#684) 

This is the worst crime I’ve ever seen “sex addiction” used as a defense for:

A…son of a priest blamed a porn overload for him raping and killing a California scientist who vanished from a conference in Crete…Giannis Paraskakis, who confessed to the murder of 59-year-old Suzanne Eaton, [claimed]…watching too much hardcore porn led him to murder…Paraskakis…encountered Eaton on June 2 and…rammed into her twice with his car…he [then] stuffed an unconscious Eaton in the trunk of his vehicle…drove to a remote World War II bunker near Xamoudochori…raped her and left her for dead…Eaton — a molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, Germany — was reported missing by colleagues after she missed several sessions at an Orthodox Academy of Crete conference.  Her [remains were] recovered from inside the bunker July 8 with “many broken ribs and face bones as well as multiple injuries to both hands”…cause of death was ruled asphyxiation…

License to Rape (#836)

US court rules mass sexual assault is legal as long as other wannabe rapists are allowed to watch and learn:

Early one March morning inside an Illinois prison, a tactical unit armed with batons and shields stormed two women’s housing units to round up about 200 handcuffed inmates and march them to a gymnasium…[where] they stood facing the wall for more than an hour…until the guards started taking groups of four to 10 into the adjoining bathroom and beauty shop.  There, they were ordered to strip.  Standing shoulder to shoulder, women on their periods were asked to remove their tampons and pads…They were ordered to lift their breasts and hair, to cough and squat, and then, finally, to bend over and spread open their vaginal and anal cavities…male guards [stared at] the naked prisoners…[throughout] the humiliating mass strip search…[which was pretended to be] a training exercise for incoming cadets. Now, after eight years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has ruled in a divided 2-1 opinion that the entire 2011 episode was legal…

Change a Few Words (#868)

Another good example of why “legalized” sex work is a bad idea:

[Violent thugs] in Southern California have conducted a massive drug bust that includes 14.9 tons of illegally-grown marijuana in one area…[the thugs also stole] 37 guns, multiple dogs and a honey oil lab at the properties in the Perris area, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles…[pigs raided] 48 [private properties]…and have…[locked] 27 [human beings in cages for farming]…

Oh noes, they grew plants without asking “Mother may I?” first!  WHAT MONSTERS!

Welcome To Our World (#888)

Not an attempt to control women’s bodies, no sirree:

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged three women with human trafficking in connection to a surrogacy business after they were arrested and deported from Vietnam…two of them are still pregnant…

Pyrrhic Victory (#915)

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

On [July 18th], Amazon’s [fascist surveillance] partnership with the Orlando Police Department [supposedly] ended, and…city officials [claim] it didn’t work…[because] the city’s technology infrastructure simply wasn’t advanced enough and didn’t have the bandwidth to support the artificial intelligence software on more than one camera at a time…Amazon proposed to outfit the city with more advanced surveillance cameras…since the cameras already installed downtown weren’t proving to be compatible with Rekognition, but the city [suppos]edly declined.  This failure rather neatly illustrates a reality standing in the way of a [fascist] panopticon:  extremely normal technical problems.  If Amazon wants to market a surveillance product to local governments, it will have to deal with the fact that many municipal computer systems run outdated software, that police departments’ cameras aren’t all high-definition, and not all the equipment is neatly networked with a…reliable internet connection.  Amazon appears to be having better luck looking to civilian customers to help it break into the police surveillance market…[by] hand[ing] out free or discounted Ring systems to residents, which allows police to…access footage directly from the…doorbell cameras using Ring’s Neighbors app…cities as big as Dallas, Philadelphia, Birmingham, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City all have joined Ring’s police program, according to a new map from…Fight for the Future…The map also lists smaller cities that have contracts, like Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Maywood, New Jersey…

Elephant in the Parlor (#926) 

Pederast politicians are nearly as common as those who hire adult women:

A businessman who [w]as a key witness in…Robert Mueller’s investigation now faces a charge of child sex trafficking in addition to transporting child pornography…Lebanese-American businessman George Nader…transport[ed] a 14-year-old boy from Europe to Washington, D.C. [for sexual purposes] in February 2000…Nader…[w]as [a] liaison between Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and members of President Donald Trump’s transition team.  Nader also served as an adviser to the United Arab Emirates…Nader was convicted in the Czech Republic…of 10 cases of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a one-year prison term in 2003….[and] also pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting child-pornography images in Virginia in 1991.  The current investigation…began last year when images depicting child pornography and bestiality were found on his phone after it was [seized] under a search warrant connected to the Mueller probe…

Overripe

More from Liz Brown on the Epstein case:

R. Kelly. Jeffrey Epstein. Keith Raniere.  For more than a decade, each of these men escaped largely unscathed as allegations of sexual misconduct — sometimes involving minors — piled up…the recent prosecution of all three on federal sex crime charges…represent all-too-rare instances of “sex trafficking” cases that seem to involve real predatory behavior.  It’s a nice change.  In recent years, sex trafficking charges have largely been lobbed against sex workers and those who work with them.  In both the media and the halls of justice these days, the terms “sex trafficking” and “human trafficking” are often used interchangeably with “prostitution”…“Human trafficking operations” are all too frequently just rebranded stings…The Mann Act is a favorite for federal prosecutors wanting to butt into prostitution stings when there are no minors or evidence of coercion.  That’s because the law prevents driving another person — technically it’s gender neutral, but in practice these cases almost always involve a female sex worker — across state lines for prostitution purposes…In its annual Operation Cross Country, the FBI often ratchets up federal arrest numbers by conducting stings in cities like Kansas City, where driving from one part of the city to another means crossing from Kansas into Missouri…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »