CauseACTION Logo

Activists hope to stop first US sex robot brothel from opening in Texas

A Canadian company plans to open the first U.S. sex robot brothel in Houston next week. But a local nonprofit organization hopes to slam the brakes on the owner’s plans, KTRK-TV reported.

Elijah’s Rising, a Houston-based 501(c)(3) organization that’s trying to end sex trafficking, is outraged that the Toronto-based company plans to open up shop in Houston.

“We were absolutely horrified,” Micah Gamboa of Elijah’s Rising told KTRK.

Yuval Gavriel, the owner of KinkySdolls, told the Washington Examiner that there’s a big market for sex robots.

“The States is a bigger market, and a healthier market and God bless Trump,” Gavriel told the Examiner.

Gavriel opened his first shop in Canada last year and hopes to open 10 U.S. locations by 2020.

Elijah’s Rising believes the robot brothel will set back any progress being made against sex trafficking, Gamboa told KTRK.

“Our biggest concern is that this sex brothel with robots is gonna train men to become rapists,” Gamboa told KTRK. “What’s next? Is it child robots? Where’s the line? Where is the boundary?”

What is a robot sex brothel?

Customers would be able to rent or purchase a sex robot. The realistic, life-sized robots have different features and their own names.

“We feel just like the real thing,” the website touts.

The dolls can be rented at $80 for 30 minutes or $120 for an hour.

A room is provided where renters can “play and have fun,” according to the website.

The dolls are also available for purchase from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000.

Is this even legal?

According to legal experts, it doesn’t appear to be illegal in Texas.

“As disgusting as some people may find it, I think under the law, it’s legal,” lawyer Steve Shellist told KTRK.

Shellist said a state law that would have banned this type of business was ruled unconstitutional 10 years ago.

Gavriel told the Examiner that he and his coalition of four investors hired an attorney to determine whether there were laws that would prevent him from opening his business.

“He went through all the laws and all of the regulations and currently there are no regulations for this kind of service,” the owner said.

What else does Elijah’s Rising say?

Elijah’s Rising said it disagrees with the people who believe sex robots could help stop men from purchasing sex from prostitutes.

“It will create an expansion of the already dehumanized act of sex buying. Sex robots will not decrease sex trafficking in Houston, it will only train more men to become sex buyers,” according to a news release on its website.

The group also says robot sex brothels will not reduce violence against women.

“[T]he notion of sex robots reducing prostitution is as ridiculous as saying the advent of blow up dolls could deter rape. As long as we further reduce the female body as an object for masturbation free from the ‘inconvenience’ of consent, women will not be seen as equals,” the release continued.

The organization believes religious groups need to actively fight against the sex robot industry.

“The rise in pornography use among Christians is staggering, and it leads to the hidden issue of abuse within our congregations. If we stand idly by as Houston is named the first in the nation to receive one of these robot brothels, what will we tolerate next? The issues in the realm of hypersexual culture are not so far removed from what God is calling us to stand for,” the organization said.

Elijah’s Rising has started an online petition in hopes of stopping the brothel from opening.

“We can’t allow these kind of public masturbation businesses to operate in our city,” Gamboa said.

‘I’d die for his family’: Homeless man grieves over death of deputy who arrested, then helped him

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Stasyuk was killed in the line of duty Monday. As the community mourned the loss, a homeless man who was arrested — then helped — by the fallen officer came forward to share his grief.

What are the details?

Josh Nordquist is a convicted felon whom Stasyuk once arrested. But after the arrest, Nordquist says the officer would continue to check in on him at homeless encampments, offering him food and assisting him in getting services.

“It’s just, the dude had a real heart. He was an awesome man,” Nordquist told KOVR-TV of Stasyuk. “It breaks my heart. I’d die for his family. I had heard a little while ago he just got married, it’s just so sad.”

“The man was just a real man, you know,” Nordquist continued, “he had a heart and he understood I was in a tight spot.”

What happened to the deputy?

Stasyuk and fellow Deputy Julie Robertson responded to a routine call over a dispute between a customer and an employee at a Pep Boys store in Rancho Cordova.

“As soon as they arrived and engaged the subject, he turned as if to run or flee and then immediately turned around and started firing without warning,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told The Associated Press.

Stasyuk was shot in the upper body and later died at the hospital. A bystander was wounded but survived, and Robertson was hit in the arm but returned fire as the suspect fled. After a second shootout with police, Anton Lemon Moore — also known as Anton Paris — was apprehended.

Moore was also wounded in the shootout but is expected to survive. He is a former security guard with a lengthy criminal history and was already on probation for a 2016 conviction when he reportedly shot up Pep Boys.

KOVR reported that Moore also represents himself on social media as rapper Mista Flow.

What else?

Stasyuk had been with the department 4 1/2 years. He is survived by his mother, father, sister and wife.

One of his family members told KCRA-TV that the deputy was “madly in love with (his wife). They just got married in March. He loved fishing, (so much!) spending time outdoors, and had big dreams for his new future. He taught (his wife) how to scuba dive, they did that on their honeymoon in Mexico. He loved being a deputy, talked about it all the time. He was a man full of integrity.”

US slaps sanctions on Chinese military over its relationship with Russia

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on China’s military after China purchased military equipment from Russia.

What happened?

On Thursday, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had imposed sanctions “on the Chinese entity Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu” for “engaging in significant transactions” with people on the department’s List of Specified Persons. President Donald Trump then signed an executive order authorizing the sanctions.

The List of Specified Persons is a list of people or entities that the State Department has determined are either part of “or operating for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.” While people on that list are not all necessarily hit with sanctions themselves, anyone that “engages in a significant transaction” with someone mentioned there could be opening themselves up to sanctions.

The EDD and Li have both now been added to this list. In addition, they will be excluded from the U.S. financial system and denied export licenses.

What did China do to earn these sanctions?

China bought S-400 missiles and 10 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, and has refused to join the U.S. and its allies in imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and in U.S. politics. China received these missiles and jets in December and January.

These sanctions are not related to the ongoing trade dispute between the two nations.

Has China responded?

China’s Foreign Ministry asked the U.S. to reconsider the sanctions. In an official statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that “China expresses strong indignation at these unreasonable actions by the U.S.  side and has already lodged stern representations.” He added:

We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct the mistake and rescind the so-called sanctions, otherwise the U.S. side will necessarily bear responsibility for the consequences.

It is unclear at this point what those consequences might be.

What else?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has slammed these sanctions as “yet another act of unfair competition.”

Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, warned that the U.S. was “playing with fire.”

Officers practicing diving drill with mannequin get a whole lot more than they bargained for

A Rhode Island police dive team got quite a surprise when they turned up an actual body during a drill involving a mannequin.

What are the details?

According to the Herald-Tribune, the Warwick Police Department came across a human body while running a search-and-recovery drill with a mannequin in the Pawtuxet River on Wednesday.

Members of the dive team were searching for the mannequin when they discovered the body of a 55-year-old deceased male under a bridge in Pawtuxet Village, Rhode Island.

On Wednesday, Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney told the Providence Journal that law enforcement had tentatively identified the male, but would not release further details until they were able to notify next of kin.

McCartney added that authorities were not treating the man’s death as suspicious.

On Thursday, Warwick Police Capt. Joseph Hopkins told the Providence Journal that they had identified the man as Carl Greenlund of Pawtuxet, and noted that Greenlund’s death was thought to be suicide “by means of drowning.”

The investigation “remains open,” according to Hopkins.

What else?

Kim Cadden, a local resident, told WLNE-TV, “That’s a crazy coincidence but it’s scary. Must’ve been scary for the divers too.”

“They’re not expecting that,” she added. “They’re looking for a dummy and they find the real thing.”

Another resident, Mary Anderson, expressed her shock at the discovery.

“I’ve lived here since 1993, nothing like this has ever happened,” Anderson said. “It’s awful.”

The station reported that police believe that Greenlund’s body was not in the river more than 24 hours before it was discovered.

ABC6 – Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Union leader campaigning for Democrat: ‘Vote early, vote often, whatever you can get away with’

An Illinois union leader campaigning for the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee was caught on video encouraging a crowd to “vote early, vote often, whatever you can get away with.”

Totsy Bailey, president of Local 439 Steamfitters/Pipefitters Union, told those gathered at the Caseyville rally Saturday that they have a “great candidate for governor” in JB Pritzker, KMOV-TV reported. Pritzker is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“He’s gonna win. He’s gonna win big,” Bailey said of Pritzker. “But he won’t win if we do not get out and vote. We need to early vote. Like I say, we can play East St. Louis route … vote early, vote often, whatever you can get away with. I shouldn’t say that, but I really don’t care.”

Laughter was heard in the crowd following his statements.

KMOV said when Bailey was reached for comment, he said he didn’t have one and then abruptly hung up his phone.

Pritzker along with Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois spoke at the rally, but the station said neither addressed Bailey’s comments, citing multiple sources.

How did Pritzker’s campaign react?

KMOV added that it also reached out to Pritzker and Durbin for comment but that only Pritzker’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, responded so far.

“Voting is no joking matter, particularly in an election with so much at stake,” Abudayyeh told the station. “Illinois can’t afford another four years of failure from Bruce Rauner, and JB is proud to be running on real plans to get Illinois back on track. Whether during early voting starting September 27th or on Election Day, JB encourages all Illinoisans who are able to exercise their right to vote.”

Miami mayor calls new restroom for the homeless a ‘beacon of hope’ – complete with needle exchange

Homeless advocates are praising Miami for the installation of the first public restroom in the downtown area – complete with a needle exchange.

“A beacon of hope”

The $300,000 project was spearheaded by the Downtown Development Authority, a “semi-autonomous tax-funded agency.”

“On the one hand, [the bathrooms are] a beacon of hope for those in need,” said Miami mayor Francis Suarez at the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

“On the other,” he added, “it helps maintain a clean and welcoming Downtown for residents and visitors.”

The restroom will be open 12 hours a day, and will have attendants during those hours hired from a Miami homeless shelter.

The city is gearing up to end an agreement to protect the homeless from law enforcement, and the bathroom is one way to manage the homeless population as they pursue the new policy.

The agreement came as a result from a lawsuit by the ACLU that accused police of acting unconstitutionally when arresting homeless people for “life-sustaining” activities like urinating in public or sleeping on a sidewalk.

Miami officials will ask a federal judge to end the agreement next week.

Here’s a local news report about the riveting development: