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Posts Tagged ‘cell phones’

How disconnected from reality are [censorious] Senators?  –  Mike Masnick

If Men Were Angels

Is a “small group leader” the same as a “youth pastor”?

…California church leader…Drue Mordecai, a…“small group leader” at New Vintage Church…sexually abused a juvenile…for approximately four to five years…beg[inning] when the victim was 12 years old…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish versions of the “gypsy whores” myth always seem quaint:

[Pogroms against sex workers and their clients are] being prepared [using the popular myth that]…demand for such services [increases] around the time of major sports fixtures and other events…[fact-free propaganda promot]ed by the Garda shows the demand for prostitution increases around major events…[spokespigs oinked a lot of silly nonsense about]…victims…gangs…vast majority…[are] trafficked…[they also lied that] the Garda is not interested in treating [sex workers] as criminals, [despite ample evidence to the contrary]…

Above the Law (#866)  

The fact that the woman reported him tells me this wasn’t a coercion-free offer:

A Florida lawyer [sentenced to probation] in 2019 on charges that he was using female clients in two county jails to make pornographic films has been disbarred…Andrew Bennett Spark…was arrested Dec. 17, 2017, and charged with [minor offenses including]…soliciting for prostitution.  He…now lives in Flushing, New York…Spark went to visit with a woman…in the Pinellas County Jail…[who] had not requested a visit with him, and she was represented by a different lawyer…the…w[oman was an] adult film actress…whose arrest and conviction [had been] widely publicized…Spark…asked…he[r to let him take video of her giving him head]…in exchange for putting money in her jail account…[but when he gave her a measly $10 she] told her family about the unsolicited visit, and her family c[alled the pigs]…

Morality Lessons (#908) 

Utah hasn’t learned from this unconstitutional bill failing in over a dozen states:

…Utah [politicians]…discuss[ed the latest version of a censorship bill]…requiring all “new electronic devices” sold in the state to have pornography filters turned on by default…the…hearing…ended with putting the bill on hold…[following expert testimony] that… “compliance would not be possible…[and] the constitutional problems …are numerous”…

Chris Sevier, the pro-censorship crackpot who wrote this bill and has shopped it to almost half of US states, appears to be keeping a low profile since Elizabeth Smart threatened to sue him for slapping her name on previous versions without her permission.  Or maybe it’s because a federal judge in Utah threw out his lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop.  Or perhaps it’s due to the warrant for his arrest in Tennessee?

Something Rotten in Sweden (#910)

California’s annual anti-whore pogrom did a lot less damage this year:

Riverside County [pigs deceived and abducted] 64 [peaceful citizens] over the course of four days [label]ing [the pogrom] an anti-human trafficking operation…[under the sophomoric name] Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…The statewide operation [destroyed fewer lives this year, down from]…518 [last year, including] 87 [sex workers; this year only 2 sex workers were brutalized]…

Theatrics (#914) 

Fake “sex trafficking” ads dreamed up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid masturbatory fantasies about our lives and work:

A…Swed[ish prohibitionist organization]…has set up a [fake] call girl service…Unsuspecting men [looking for adult consensual sex] dial the [fake] hotline set up by [the “rescue” profiteers called] Talita, only to be…[non-consensually subjected to ugly tragedy porn] stories…Josephine Appelqvist, co-founder of Talita, says: “We wanted them to [violate their consent by tricking them into] hear[ing our disgusting sexual fantasies]”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1056)

Canada pretends to care about privacy, but has plenty of other snooping tools:

Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled…the startup…scrap[ed] social media sites…without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters…Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming [it is above the] law…and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available…The Canadian privacy watchdog…said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not…stop…the collection on Canadians and delet[e] all previously collected images…

Paint By Numbers (#1086)

The dumb “awareness raising” stunt field is being taken over by hack artists:

“Goats are empowering women in the poorest parts of India,” said Rob Canton, founder of Project Goat. “A Goat is essentially an ATM in these communities, keeping them from a life of sex…trafficking.”  That’s how Canton came up with the Global Offensive Against Trafficking also known as Project Goat.  During the months leading up to the Super Bowl…goats, decorated by different artists, were showing up everywhere…“Super Bowls and events like them, World Cups and Olympics, they are the types of events that generate a lot of human trafficking,” [lied] Canton…Canton is now in the process of corralling all these [propaganda] works…They will be part of a large art auction taking place the day before the Super Bowl at Zoo Tampa, with a portion of the proceeds going to [the rescue industry]…

You Were Warned (#1107)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

For the past few months we’ve been seeing a ton of terrible/ ridiculous/awful/unconstitutional bills coming from mostly Republicans to try to wipe out or undermine Section 230.  Most of those were focused on trying to force websites to do less content moderation.  Now that the Democrats are back in power, it appears we’re going to be getting the opposite.  Senator Mark Warner has introduced…the SAFE TECH Act (“Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar), and it is one of the worst Section 230 bills I’ve seen.  It is difficult to explain just how bad this bill is concisely, because it has so many bad ideas crammed into one single bill.  It’s as if none of these three Senators or their staff spoke to anyone who actually understands how the internet works, or how content moderation/trust and safety works.  It’s stunning in the ignorance it displays…Basically, this bill takes nearly every single idea that people who want there to be less speech online have had, and dumped it all into one bill.  There’s a lot in there, and nearly all of it is bad…This bill…does not come from a well meaning place.  The drafters…are either malicious or ignorant…

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My friend Brooke Magnanti has a new project named Body of Work on the new platform Substack, and to call attention to it I’d like to share my favorite of the posts she’s published there so far. It’s both a moving memoir and a powerful rebuke to the sheltered puritans who pretend sex work is “The Worst Thing a Woman Can Do“, which is incidentally the title of this piece.

My dad was mowing strangers’ lawns on the day that he died.

He woke before sunrise – the habit of a blue collar lifetime – with his schedule for the day written out on a piece of college-ruled paper, copied from the app where homeowners booked him for reasonably priced lawn services. He had the rest of the week drawn up as a grid too, with blank spaces for last-minute jobs that might pop up on his newly purchased smartphone.

He loaded the truck with the tools of his trade: edgers and whips, a spade and a rake, a refurbished secondhand push mower, and drove the ride-on mower (also a refurb) onto the small trailer behind his 15-year-old F150. He put a lunchbox with two turkey sandwiches and four bottles of frozen water into the cab. They would melt during the hot Florida spring day, keeping his food cold and providing hydration as he worked in the full sun.

Sometime after 8am, he started having abdominal pains. The worst of his life. My father – no hypochondriac, also the habit of a lifetime – called 911. The hospital did some tests and discharged him by 10am, diagnosis mild constipation, prescription two kinds of laxatives. He didn’t feel better. His last few outgoing texts were to friends letting them know he couldn’t meet up later, he was sick. He went on to complete 3 of the 5 jobs on his schedule.

He died that night. 70 years old, retired not even one day of his life. When we found his phone, most of the missed texts and calls were from the app, set to automatically ping when he didn’t check in online for his agreed jobs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“What, are you too proud to scrub a toilet?”

That was a question I have heard a lot. After coming out as a former sex worker in 2009, I could count on at least one know-it-all standing up to pronounce more or less this exact accusation at every book signing, public speaking event, or festival I appeared at.

The question askers never stuck around to hear, really hear the answer: it’s hard to get a job in the UK as an American student, I couldn’t work more than 15 hours a week, no one was allowed to hire me if any qualified EU applicant was available, and that wouldn’t have made a dent in my bills anyway. ‘Too proud to scrub a toilet’ also seemed to be the takeaway most columnists went with when discussing my writing. According to everyone with a public opinion my problem was not lack of cash but that I was too proud, or precious, or whatever to do real work. I was spoiled.

Thing is, I wasn’t just spitballing about whether or not scrubbing toilets pays the bills. I knew already, from experience, that it would not – because cleaning was the very last job I held before moving to London. I worked for months at a hostel in Aviemore while writing up my PhD thesis. In between changing beds and mopping bathrooms, I collated data on forensic pathology cases and assembled chapters on the processes of human decomposition. Because I also was the hostel’s cook and lived on site, I was able to save almost everything I earned. I thought this would put me in good stead for the autumn, when I planned to submit my PhD back in Sheffield, then move to London to look for work.

Long story short: my calculations of expenses for life in the capital city were way, way off. By the time I paid the extortionate deposit and rent on a sad little room in Kilburn, I was already out of cash. But with my PhD not yet approved I couldn’t apply for science jobs. So I became a call girl. A choice that I thought (also mistakenly as it turned out) would be lucrative, not require a particular visa, and that I could leave behind as soon as I started my “real” career.

That was then.

This is now: I’m scrubbing a toilet in a million dollar house in one of my county’s fanciest neighborhoods. American Standard. The water in the American Southwest is mineral-heavy and leaves rings on everything; I’m not so much scrubbing as chipping away at stalagmites of built up lime.

It’s the first toilet I’ll clean today, the first of four bathrooms in this house, but it’s not the last time I’ll think about those people who imagined I was too proud to scrub a toilet. I’ve been scrub-a-toilet poor before; it’s not that big a deal. No, instead they were telling me the thing they considered to be the last-resort job of choice before “selling your body.” Their deepest fear, the most undignified thing short of being a whore (which as we all know is the worst thing a woman can do).

That’s the calculation according to society. Whore is worst, cleaner is second worst, and no one in their right minds would do either. Let alone both. Yet the jobs persist. Even in a recession. Even in a pandemic. Key workers both. Not the front lines, accumulating accolades and sometimes hazard pay, but the back lines, doing jobs few want to admit always need done.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic it seems cleaning after oneself is still a job for someone else. Lifestyle columnists Sarah Ditum and Janice Turner raised a few eyebrows when they staunchly declared the unavailability of house cleaners in the first wave of covid to be beyond bearable. Not for them picking up the mop, or worse yet, asking one’s husband and children to chip in. No, went the logic, cleaners wanted the work. They loved their clients.

I’ve heard people say things like that before almost word for word. People who are the customers of sex workers. Do I have to tell you women like those are just the sort of people whose husbands I once would have fucked for money? I know it, and I guess they know it too.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you too are in possession of a house and neither the time nor the inclination to clean it, you could book me or someone like me through any number of websites and apps. They all have slick, modern sites, enormous market capitalisations, and most importantly in this buoyant gig economy: they employ none of the people who show up at your door to do the work.

The landing pages show clean, modern homes resplendent in bare wood, white tile and brushed metal fixtures. Homes with six-burner gas ranges and fresh cut peonies in fishbowl vases. The kind of homes that few of the cleaners could ever dream of calling their own. The vibe is upscale, quiet suburb or cool high-rise urban.

And if you don’t mind what happens to your body, to your health, then there are always jobs like this, just not careers. With ubiquitous smartphones and widespread internet services that previously were available mainly to the well-heeled can be booked at the touch of a finger. In many ways the rise of sex workers on the internet when I was an anonymous blogger presaged the way many would soon be working in the 21st century.

My entry into cleaning for apps is straightforward. Sign up, submit a photo of my driver’s license, wait for a background check. Answer a few (very few) questions on my experience as a cleaner. I have a bit, from the aforementioned pre-London days turning over an 80-bed hostel in the Scottish Highlands for a summer, to helping out friends with holiday cottages.

I’m accepted on the platform and my rate is set at $15 per hour. That’s 4 dollars an hour above the nearest city’s minimum wage, more than twice the Federal minimum of $7.25, but well below anything that could result in the “thousands” the app’s ads on Craigslist promised. Up to thousands, I remind myself. Technically that means anything above zero. I’m assured through a short series of videos that work is straightforward and easy to come by, and that any problems I might experience with the app itself are quick to figure out. I’m told if I book 10 jobs this week my rate goes up, maybe as high as $22. I complete the series of Youtube videos that constitute training and log on.

There are no jobs. At all. Not today, and not tomorrow.

There’s one in three days! I click, eager to “claim” before anyone else does (because that must be what’s happening, right? There are no jobs because they’re already taken?) But when I google the location I find it’s in central Colorado – a 330-mile round trip from where I am now. Sure, there’s a $20 “bounty” for picking this one up, should I choose. But I decide to forego it. There is zero chance at this rate I will ever earn more than $15 an hour through the app.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We live in the age of the side hustle. Everyone I’ve met since moving back to the US has one. The fine artists with an Air B&B, the candle maker who cleans for them, the solar installer who is also a part-time fire captain, the fire captains who sell third party phone cases on Amazon. The jiu-jitsu instructor with a window washing business. The college professor who works as a part-time paramedic on ski patrol. The ski patroller who proctors exams at the college.

There is no mystery as to why. None of these people are rich or have any illusions of becoming so. Side hustle as a phrase sounds cool, as if a few hours of your week here and there will make it rain and make the Moet pour. The reality is more prosaic. Life in the land of opportunity is expensive. With a stunted public transport infrastructure, cars are a necessity if you want to get by in most of America. The college degree has more or less taken the place of a high school diploma, sought out even for entry-level customer service, and the expansion of the student loan industry leaves many in debt long beyond their 40’s. Credit rating determines everything from your ability to rent accommodation to even whether or not you get a job, obliging people to spend and keep spending in the name of being a trustworthy consumer. Being a consumer obliges you to work. Once entered, the cycle has no end. Not even retirement, for those (unlike my father) lucky enough to contemplate it: in 1985, 10.8% of people over 65 in America were still working. The number in 2017 was double that, and expected to become still higher when the twilight years of Baby Boomers give way to geriatric Generation X.

It gets worse. A shocking number of America’s personal bankruptcies are due to inability to pay medical bills. From a high of 1.5 million in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act came into law, it declined to 770 thousand in 2016. And yet the problem is not solved: the requirement to buy insurance even on price-capped markets still leaves a lot of room for expenses in the form of deductibles that can be thousands of dollars or more. People still avoid accessing preventive care and instead end up in the emergency room, sometimes not until they are on death’s door. We may be in post-Obamacare America, with many on the left making noises about some form of universal, free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare, but the wolf of sudden medical emergency could turn up and destroy your life anytime. Even in the coronavirus pandemic America did not manage to elect a candidate who promises universal healthcare.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Four-Toilets is not a bad job as these things go. I know that immediately. It isn’t a 330 mile round trip to get there, for starters; only an hour from my house. The place is owned by a couple of about my age, pet- and child-free. They are not hoarders, and while some of it requires elbow grease (the aforementioned hard water in toilets situation) they’ve not left cleaning so long that any of it is out of hand, save a giant walk-in shower I spend about a third of the allotted five hours scrubbing.

The man goes out, and when he comes back, has brought me a sandwich. I don’t have time to eat on the clock of course. The app’s clients feed in the size of the job and the app gives them an estimated finishing time (no breaks). I do the last toilet, vacuum and mop, and am done bang on the hour the app predicted. I can’t help but wonder if there was a box they ticked that said “our house is already pretty clean” (it was) or if, in the future, similarly-sized jobs with less scrupulously tidy clients will be assigned the same five-hour time slot.

I don’t think about that, just sign on to the app to confirm completion of the job, load up my car (you are required to bring all supplies, including mop and vacuum, and more recently, PPE), and accept a shyly-offered $30 tip from the man. They want to book me again, once every fortnight. I say I’ll have a look on the app but I’d like that.

I have no illusions: few jobs will be as straightforward as this. On the drive home, I start making a list of what I need to replenish. Paper towels, microfibre rags, oven cleaner, furniture polish. Pick up some limescale remover! And some drain unclogging liquid. The tip covers my time driving to and from the house, and the gas, just about. It reminds me of being an escort when the client’s tips usually covered my transport.

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This family…didn’t choose…to [allow] Jefferson Parish to look into their home and judge what happens there.  –  Chelsea Cusimano

The big news this week was the death of Eddie Van Halen; I wasn’t really a fan, but this song was recent enough when I was teaching that some of my students used to “innocently” sing it within earshot.  The links above it were provided by Nun YaStephen Lemons, Tim Cushing, Popehat, Scott Greenfield, Cop Crisis, and Thaddeus Russell, in that order.

From the Archives

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Our job as educators is not to create a surveillance environment that teaches students how to better lie, but to foster critical thinking and civic responsibility.  – Zeynep Tufekci

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Christopher McCormack is one of the New York Police Department’s highest-ranking officers…his ascension started three decades earlier…and [all]…along the way, police leaders were privy to an ever-growing list of complaints against McCormack…[most] of [which] were hidden from public view…What stands out…is how often Black and Latino men accused him of [molesting them under he pretext of] invasive, humiliating searches…he pulled down their pants in public, exposing their genitals…[and] used his fingers to [rape] their anal cavities [under the pretext of “searching for drugs”]…McCormack is just one of dozens of high-ranking NYPD officers who have risen [thank to egregious] misconduct in their records.  Eighty-six of the roughly 420 [cops]…who currently hold a rank above captain…have tallied at least one misconduct allegation that was substantiated by the [cops themselves], meaning that [the behavior was too blatant to hide as per standard procedure]…the…substantiated complaints are dwarfed by a far larger list of those that are “unsubstantiated,” meaning [cops were able to pretend they didn’t]…happen…

Scapegoats (#438)

I reckon someone else noticed Arpaio’s obsession with this topic:

…For $30.99, users of Cameo — an app where singers, actors and other public figures record custom video messages for a fee — can request a personalized clip of [disgraced politician Joe Arpaio] saying whatever they want…Most of Arpaio’s Cameo videos appear to be standard fare, such as birthday greetings, thank-you messages, congratulatory comments.  But one…[last week] raised eyebrows. “Hey, good luck organizing the Arizona Furry convention,” Arpaio begins, though he pronounces it “Fury,” suggesting he’s not totally certain…he’s been asked to talk about…Arizona Fur Con, an annual event [for] members of the furry community…the…person who ordered the video [goes by]…Sir Yiffs A Lot.  “Yiff” refers to furry-related sexual content or activity, which made Arpaio’s sign-off all the more cringeworthy…”I’m kind of partial to dogs,” he says after a pause, as if responding to a question included in the video request. “But I love all animals. Thanks”…

Devil’s Advocate (#944) 

Florida politicians are obsessed with child-shaped toasters:

[A pervert politician from Florida] filed legislation in Congress to ban [small] sex dolls [fashioned to resemble children] nationwide…[per-Vern Buchanan] said he will reintroduce the [moronically-named] CREEPER Act…which died in the Senate [in 2018]…Buchanan said he felt the [urge] to reintroduce the legislation after [some creep had a masturbatory fantasy] that a…sex doll was being sold on the Internet…was [somehow] modeled off of a girl in Miami [even though the same model has been sold for years before the girl reached the size and age depicted by the doll]…Florida passed a similar…ban in 2019…[making it] one of only three states, along with Kentucky and Tennessee that has specifically banned [plastic toys made to resemble children]…

Welcome to the Future (#1010)

What “predictive policing” actually looks like on the ground:

Pasco County [Florida] Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a…plan…to create a…system to continuously monitor and harass…residents…the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it c[laims are] likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, un[founded allegations] and arbitrary decisions by [cops]…Then it sends deputies to find and [harass] anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.  They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors.  They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines.  They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.  One former deputy described the directive like this: “Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”  In just five years, Nocco’s signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people…

I Spy (#1010)

The pandemic has been a very useful excuse for expanding the police state:

[Using the excuse of] the pandemic, many universities and colleges around the country are forcing students to download location-tracking apps, sometimes as a condition of enrollment…When students enter a classroom, their phone informs a sensor that’s been installed in the room, or the app checks the Wi-Fi networks nearby to determine the phone’s location.  As a university professor, I’ve seen surveillance like this before.  Many of these apps replicate the tracking system sometimes installed on the phones of student athletes, for whom it is often mandatory.  That system tells us a lot about what we can expect with these apps…Knowing that they are being tracked, some students will no doubt let their phone “sleep” peacefully in their bed while they party elsewhere.  If a few get sick, they may hide it, for fear of having their tech trickery found out…Excessive surveillance often backfires in this way…And broad surveillance can engender a chilling effect among the whole populace…

You Were Warned (#1045)

Exactly the same thing the Democrats want, but please tell me more about the “wings”:

A group of…Republican…[politician]s introduced a new bill…aimed at chipping away some of the protections provided to social media companies through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  The [misnamed] Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act…would strip away the liability protection provided by Section 230 if a platform restricted access to content without providing specific rules that it violated…[after] Trump[‘s]…executive order [doing much the same thing was shown to be impotent, bootlicking politicians] started introducing their own legislation to amend the law…

Finding What Isn’t There (#1070)

This time they didn’t even try to wedge their scam into the “sex trafficking” narrative:

Eight [legal minors] were [taken into custody] in a five-day r[aid series] in the Indianapolis area and one person was arrested on charges including parental kidnapping…The U.S. Marshals [are] now [calling all of the apprehensions in three states “]rescue[” even though few if any of the subjects were in any danger; they are also calling all of the 72 subjects “]missing children[” even though most were not actually children and few were actually “missing” in the usual sense of the term]…The [subjects] are between 6 to 17 years old…and [some may have been arrested by the cops under guise of “rescue”, since the pigrelease claims they were all]…turned over to the Indiana Department of Child Services…and…no further details about the [subjects] or the circumstances were released…the U.S. Marshals Service [also pretended] it found 39 missing children in Georgia…[and] 25…in Ohio…[though no factual details were available in that case, either]…

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I’ve written before about the dark side of characteristics usually viewed as positive, pointing out that every deviation from balance has a cost.  The candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as quickly; of course that means it lasts half as long, but it also means that other candles burn at half speed relative to it.  My thoughts race constantly; I’m usually well ahead of everyone else in figuring things out, and my reflexes are abnormally fast.  But have you ever considered what the world looks like when viewed from within such a nervous system?  Take traffic, for example; many people say I drive too fast, but from my vantage point most other people are driving much too slowly.  Anything slower than freeway speeds seems like crawling to me, and being trapped in a clump of people going below the speed limit makes me feel like I’m having one of those nightmares where you are moving in slow motion, and I get so nervous I can’t endure it for long without trying to find some way out of it.  When I’m doing physical work with other people, they often seem to me to be taking much too long, and with far too many breaks in which they sit still in a way I can’t manage without being sedated.  And then there are automated telephone systems, which to me seem something like this:

Thank.  You.  For.  Calling.  The.  Blank.  Ety.  Blank.  Office.  Lo.  Cated.  At.  The.  Inter.  Section.  Of.  Main.  Street.  And.  First.  Ave.  Nue.  In.  Snail.  Ville.  Wa.  Shing.  Ton.”

{long pause}

If.  This.  Is.  An.  E.  Mer.  Gen.  Cy.  Please.  Hang.  Up.  And.  Call.  Nine.  One.  One.

This.  Line.  Does.  Not.  Handle.  E.  Mer.  Gen.  Cies.

{very long pause}

If.  This.  Is.  Some.  Other.  Thing.  Please.  Call.  Our.  Other.  Line.  At.  Eight.  Zero.  Zero.  Five.  Five.  Five.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.   Exten.  Sion.  Six.  Seven.  Nine.

{pause so long I start saying “Hello?  Hello?”}

For.  The.  Least.  Con.  Ceive.  Ab.  Ly.  Use.  Ful.  Sel.  Ec.  Tion.  Press.  One.

For.  The.  Least.  Con.  Ceive.  Ab.  Ly.  Use.  Ful.  Sel.  Ec.  Tion.  Save.  The.  Pre. Cee.  Ding.  Press.  Two.

For.  Some.  Depart.  Ment.  You.  Never.  Heard.  Of.  Press.  Three.

As you might expect, by this part I’m about to scream and/or jump out of my skin, and I start repeatedly pressing zero, hoping it isn’t one of those systems where the operator is actually reached by pressing five or eight or whatever.  If I know or suspect it’s a voice-actuated system instead, I’m liable to start repeating “Agent. Agent. Agent. Agent.” every time the system starts to say anything, in hopes of getting to talk to someone before my phone runs out of power or I die of boredom, starvation, or old age, whichever comes first.

Anyhow, I think you probably get the picture.  And it may help you to comprehend why navigating bureaucratic systems is like some kind of exotic torture for me, and why it’s best for all involved if I work for myself.

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Gender-specific…violence is not an aberrant corner of law enforcement. It is…a cornerstone of police power.  –  Anne Gray Fischer

I Swear To God

Just in case you thought the US was the only country playing the compelled speech game:

A leading [Irish] sex workers rights group was told it could not access government funding unless it [pretend]ed that “prostitution is inherently exploitative of vulnerable people”.  Sex Workers Alliance Ireland enquired about emergency funding from the Department of Justice after it gave similar funding to the leading “End Demand” advocate organisation in Ireland…The group says “this culturally entrenched position” from the government has “no place in decision-making within the DoJ in regards to policy-making”…A spokesman for the Department of Justice…[responded by vomiting out a lot of nonsense about] “organised crime involved in human trafficking”…

Monsters

It’s good to see the real monsters caged for a change:

A court in El Salvador has sentenced three [typical & representative cops] to 20-year prison sentences for the murder of a transgender woman, the nation’s first convictions in a homicide case involving a trans victim…About 600 LGBT+ people have been murdered in El Salvador since 1993…[Camila] Diaz, a 29-year-old sex worker, had fled El Salvador for the United States following repeated threats on her life from a gang but was deported two years ago [due to racist, anti-sex US laws and violent Trump administration policies.  Then in January 2019]…the three [murder]ers…offered to give Diaz a ride home a[s a pretext to murder her.  They]…handcuffed [her] face-down in their p[igmobile, then]…severely beat…[her] and thr[ew her] out onto a highway…she…died three days later in a hospital…

Business As Usual (#767) 

It’s good to see this getting public attention again:

…Police sexual violence is hidden in plain sight…sexual violence…is endemic to law enforcement, and…women of color..,are especially vulnerable to it.  This violence is possible in part because of the extreme power disparity that exists between targeted women and police, which at once enables such violence and shields officers from consequences.  But police sexual violence is also possible because it is a legally sanctioned tactic of everyday policing.  Women’s bodies are the strategic terrain on which police gain evidence, secure informants, and impose their authority in the name of “public safety” and “border security.”  Indeed, rape is considered a legal and legitimate tool of law enforcement…undercover police routinely entrap women into engaging in sexual acts to gain “evidence” that they are doing sex work.  Because consent is obtained under false pretenses, this practice amounts to legal sexual assault…Sexual “contact” by police officers to enforce morals laws is legal in all fifty states; when lawmakers in Alaska tried to ban police sexual contact, the Anchorage Police Department quashed the bill.  How did we get to the point where sexual assault is considered valid, necessary police work?  The answer lies in the origin story of modern police, and specifically in the history of the discretionary enforcement of public order laws…

I Spy (#904)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

…Anomaly Six LLC…founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps.  An SDK allows the company to obtain the phone’s location if consumers have allowed the app containing the software to access the phone’s GPS coordinates.  App publishers often allow third-party companies, for a fee, to insert SDKs into their apps.  The SDK maker then sells the consumer data harvested from the app, and the app publisher gets a chunk of revenue.  But consumers have no way to know whether SDKs are embedded in apps; most privacy policies don’t disclose that information…Anomaly Six is a federal contractor that provides global-location-data products to branches of the U.S. government and private-sector clients…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#911) 

COVID-19 is almost as versatile an excuse for tyranny as “sex trafficking” is:

…Citing the threat of COVID-19, [the Trump administration has] granted federal agents sweeping powers to almost immediately return anyone at the border, including infants as young as 8 months.  Children are typically entitled to special protections under the law…[but] the administration is not deporting children — a proceeding based on years of established law that requires a formal hearing in immigration court.  It is instead expelling them — without a judge’s ruling…[or] access to…lawyers, sometimes not even their family, while in U.S. custody.  The children are not even granted the primary registration number by which the Department of Homeland Security tracks all immigrants in its [custody], making it “virtually impossible” to find them…almost all children arriving at the border are being rapidly returned.  Between April and June, [CBP thugs and bureaucrats] encountered 3,379 unaccompanied minors at or between ports of entry.  Of those, just 162 were sent to federal shelters for immigrant children…Lisa Frydman…of…Kids in Need of Defense…[said,] “The rest are just gone”…Of the thousands of unaccompanied minors expelled under the health [pretext]…advocacy organizations said that they have only found about three dozen after months of searching across the United States, Mexico and Central America…the administration has detained at least [240] children in three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in El Paso and McAllen, as well as Phoenix, before expelling them…Children reported being held for weeks…with little ability to reach anyone outside…

Blunt Instrument (#986)

It’s great to see Asian sex workers fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative:

…sex work can be a crucial source of income and, in some cases, startup capital, for those denied access to other options.  “I’ve seen a lot of former massage parlor workers start bakeries, laundromats, or new massage parlors of their own,” says [Kate] Zen, a former sex worker and co-founder and co-director of Red Canary Song, a collective of Chinese massage parlor workers in New York City that formed after massage parlor worker Yang Song died [because of] a police raid on a Flushing massage parlor in November 2017…It is the quintessential American story.  Immigrants arrive, often fleeing persecution or other injustice elsewhere.  They find a neighborhood that has at least some of the comforts of home — food, language, culture.  Maybe some family or friends who came before them.  They find work, even if it’s not necessarily the work they’d ever dreamed for themselves.  They save up, and some of them start their own businesses, pay their way through college or get certification for careers they were already trained for…But because of who they are and the kind of work they do, sex workers are seen as nuisances at best and easy targets at worst by those with more power and wealth in the city around them…

I Spy (#1057) 

Pigs are rooting around in people’s social media in order to destroy their lives:

…In early June…the City of Pittsburgh created [a new cop shop called] the Damage Assessment and Accountability Task Force [DAAT] to…charged [as many] people [as possible with]…alleged crimes stemming from the protests.  The charges range from disorderly conduct and failure to disperse to burglary and [so-called] weapons of mass destruction [as though they had nukes or something]…In 21 cases, police used social media in combination with other forms of evidence….including…Analyzing Instagram profiles and Facebook livestreams…facial recognition…surveilling the home of a suspect’s girlfriend…surveillance cameras…[and] using [facial recognition based on] a statewide database of photos…including…driver’s license photos…

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The government has adopted a win-at-all-costs approach and [an attitude] that the ends justify the means.  –  Michael Piccarreta

Elephant in the Parlor

Politician takes bribes, hires whores.  Yawn.

…federal [documents]…suggest…a years-long trail of bribery between City Councilmember Jose Huizar and a Chinese development firm with a megaproject slated for downtown Los Angeles…[real estate broker] George Chiang…started a real estate consulting company in 2014…that directed money, consulting fees, casino chips, flights on private jets, luxury hotel stays, prostitutes and escort services between developers…[politicians] and [bureaucrats]…in exchange for approval of an 80,000-square foot commercial project and other downtown developments…

Dangerous Speech (#958)

The government keeps demonstrating that it doesn’t really care that its war on thought is wholly and incontrovertibly unconstitutional:

fiery motion to dismiss filed in the Lacey/Larkin case on May 1…accuses the U.S. Department of Justice of “outrageous government misconduct,” claiming federal pettifoggers and government agents repeatedly trampled upon the defendants’ attorney-client privileges…despite repeated warnings from defense counsel…and two [court] orders…the government continued to question former Backpage CEO and owner Carl Ferrer concerning confidential legal advice that was subject to joint defense and representation agreements with other defendants…the government grilled Ferrer repeatedly through “seven successive interviews” over the course of 13 months, beginning the day of his plea deal…In doing so…the government engaged in “outrageous” and “unconstitutional” misconduct.  Prosecutors “willfully invaded” Lacey and Larkin’s attorney-client privileges in order to “gain a tactical advantage in the case,” thereby violating the defendants’ Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and their Sixth Amendment right to counsel…Barring outright dismissal, the motion asks for an evidentiary hearing to determine the extent of the harm done to the defendants and possible sanctions against the government, such as the exclusion of Ferrer as a witness, the suppression of other evidence, or the disqualification of the entire prosecution team…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

The human cost of a prohibitionist crusade:

In March 2019 my life was turned upside down…by feminist groups who said I needed saving…Becoming a dancer at Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino was the best thing I’d ever done.  It gave me the confidence I desperately lacked…[but then] Not Buying It sent private [dicks] into our club to buy lap dances and secretly film the women dancing.  They did this to “prove” to Sheffield Council that Spearmint Rhino was in breach of its own code of conduct and should have its licence revoked.  They filmed women naked and without their consent, and this was only the beginning…it traumatised the women …[and] hurt their families, their friends and their children…the ensuing campaign to close our club left me extremely anxious and scared to go to work…I was paranoid that every person who came into the club was another undercover investigator trying to take my job away.  I was always on edge, watching people, checking buttons for cameras, looking in people’s ears to see if they were wearing earpieces.  I was hyper-aware of customers who used their mobile phones and frightened that they were secretly recording me.  It was torture.  Work went from being the place I felt safest to a place I felt judged and under attack…

Business As Usual (#1001)

Every so often one of these sadly-typical stories gets more media attention:

Agents with…DHS…in Arizona have been “fighting” human trafficking by sending federal immigration agents to [rape women they claim to be]…victims…[then] seizing their assets, and telling the press it was these women who were the real predators.  Federal agents [raped] at least 17…”Asian females” working in massage parlors around Mohave County, Arizona, over a five-month period in 2018…the years-long operation yielded three misdemeanor charges…[the] scenario…is far from an isolated incidentnational and mainstream media have been discovering and disapproving of “Operation Asian Touch.”  This is great—so long as nobody mistakes what happened in Mohave County for an atypical investigation.  If you track initial claims about massage parlor-based human trafficking through to their actual conclusions, you’ll almost always find law enforcement simply targeting sex workers, small-business owners, immigrants, and the people who patronize them with harassment, assault, arrest, property seizure, prosecution, detainment, and deportation. And the “victims” they allegedly set out to save frequently wind up facing criminal charges.  There are only two roles women can play in this Homeland Security-led charade: helpless sex slave or conniving human trafficker.  (Both types…are invited to stroke ICE agent penises)…

I Spy (#1006)

But please, tell me more about “wings” and “blue states” and “democracy”:

The U.S. Senate comfortably approved a 2-1/2-year extension of parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)…by 80-16, far more than the 60 votes needed for passage.  The measure must be approved…by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law…

Like Houses (#1031)

All they were waiting for was a strong enough excuse:

In India, the COVID-19 crisis is turning out to be the perfect excuse for the government to consolidate its pre-pandemic surveillance ambitions.  Since May 4, as restrictions began to ease, the government has mandated the installation of its contact-tracing smartphone app for anyone who works…or uses public transport.  Failing to do so is criminal…Unsurprisingly, digital rights and civil society organizations are pushing back on the new di[ktat]…

Reawakening

A high-profile example of the quiet rebellion that’s already started everywhere in the US:

Alameda County [bureaucrats] backed down in their conflict with Elon Musk, reversing their shutdown order and granting provisional approval for Tesla’s Fremont, California plant to reopen.  Musk had already reopened the plant for business in defiance of the lockdown order, tweeting …”If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me“…Musk’s civil disobedience against the COVID lockdown regime is a high-profile instance of a wider trend…

Social Distancing (#1036)

At its core, Australia is still prohibitionist:

…as Australia eases itself out of COVID-19 restrictions…in [a] three-stage framework…strip clubs and brothels were specifically listed “to remain closed” even in stage three…other businesses with…skin-to-skin contact – like waxing, massages, tattoos, bathhouses and saunas – are allowed to open in stage three.  Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim [said]…”We hoped this…outbreak wouldn’t be used as an excuse to turn back…gains made in sex worker legislation, but it’s hard to see this as anything but discrimination, considering similar businesses are allowed”…federal [bureaucrats] recommended brothels and strip club venues should stay shut [indefinitely]…sole operator sex workers…are banned after being classed as “non-essential”

Meanwhile, over in New Zealand:

The national lift to COVID-19 alert level 2 means it’s business as usual for many Kiwis, including sex workers…The New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective (NZPC) released guidelines for sex workers on their website…with a checklist of hygiene practices and safety measures workers, brothels and massage parlours should be implementing…

Torture Chamber (#1038)

No human is truly free while governments claim the “right” to lock people in filthy, disease-ridden cages:

In the vast majority of the world’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons…physical distancing is simply not an option.  In situations where close confinement, shared facilities and spaces and poor hygiene are commonplace…prison[ers]…are living in constant fear of the ticking COVID-19 time bomb…UNAIDS, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are calling on leaders to make detention a last resort, to close drug rehabilitation detention centres and to decriminalize sex work, same-sex sexual relations and drug use.  They are urging countries to release the people who can be released…The Government of Ethiopia…has released more than 30,000 prisoners and has heightened sanitation measures.  Indonesia is releasing more than 50,000…Iran is releasing 40% of its total prison population, 100,000 people, while Chile is set to release around 50,000 people…

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Companies…that made bad bets on the internet…[are] using…the political process to harm the competitors who built the products people actually want.  –  Mike Masnick

Anatomy of a Boondoggle

While some other states are trying to stop cops from raping sex workers, Florida is still paying them to do so:

A..[lying cop]…with the Pembroke Pines [Florida cop shop] used department-issued funds to get [access to women so he could] sexual[ly assault masseuses]…at three massage parlors…the [rapist] arrested] four women, ages 48 to 58, who are from Shanghai, China.  The women…didn’t have…[state permission to touch other humans and] are facing prostitution charges…

Welcome To Our World

People’s lives are just stakes in a game to these sociopaths:

Hillsborough County, Florida [cops pretended to be]…homeowners seeking handymen on social media to do jobs that required licensure.  These unsuspecting handymen would be lured to one of five homes, where [pigs] filmed them performing or agreeing to perform prohibited tasks like painting or installing recess lighting…118 [people in all were victimized by the badge-carrying] con men…Leslie Sammis, a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa…[said] “The real con men that are trying to trick homeowners are usually too experienced to get caught up in one of these types of sting operations.  So the stings tend to catch someone that crosses the line in an unsophisticated way”…[pigs] will hire a handyman on the pretext of performing work that doesn’t need a license, and then during the course of the job ask them to do something that does, like unhooking a toilet or laying some tiles…the [pigs] are [literally] creating a crime that probably wouldn’t occur otherwise…Cops and regulators have conducted similar [violent scams] in New York and California

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false rape accusations:

Prosecutors in California are dropping all charges against a surgeon and his girlfriend who were [wrongly] accused of drugging and raping a number of women…Grant W. Robicheaux…and Cerissa Riley were charged in 2018 with kidnapping, rape by use of drugs, and other crimes…prosecutors [fantasized that] the couple…[would] meet…women in restaurants and bars, spik[e] their drinks, tak[e] them to Robicheaux’s apartment, and sexually assaulting them.  Prosecutors [pretended] they had more than 1,000 videos of…women being sexually abused. But…Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, who was elected after the case was filed, said there were no such videos.  “There is not a single piece of evidence or video or photo that shows an…incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted,” Spitzer said…”Not one”…Spitzer…criticized his predecessor, Tony Rackauckas, for filing the case…[but the] judge [is afraid to drop it because of]…politics…[and] Rackauckas voiced concern that his successor’s decision would [make his false prosecution look bad]…and claimed that…the…case [should be tried in]…the [court of] public [opinion instead of a real court]…

To Molest and Rape

Just another typical and representative cop predating on vulnerable women:

A [typical and representative] El Paso [cop got off with] a [mere] decade of probation [after brutally raping] a woman he met wh[en she reported]…a domestic violence incident.  William Ollie Alexander…will [at least] have to register as a sex offender for life….on…March 10, 2018…he met [the victim after taking her]…domestic violence [report]…and hours later…took her to a dark area…and [raped] her…

The Mote and the Beam (#777)

Some tech companies are willing to destroy the internet to secure a temporary business advantage:

…the narrative being pushed about internet companies and Section 230 was…manufactured…by Hollywood and other old legacy companies jealous of the success of new internet companies…the NY Times has a detailed article on…how a broad coalition of big, old, legacy companies are conspiring to punish Google and Facebook by convincing the media and politicians that Section 230…is bad.  The headline lists three companies: IBM, Marriott, and Disney…Disney and its powerful trade association have fought to stop the law’s spread abroad.  Marriott has asked Congress to amend the law.  IBM has a plan to [castrate] it…Disney, of course, is a stand-in for the MPAA and all of the big Hollywood movie studios…while Disney led the copyright lobbying charge in the 80s and 90s, the company leading the way against the internet…has been Fox.  But…Disney recently bought Fox…Marriott…has been screaming bloody murder about Airbnb for years, because it can’t stand having competition that actually offers better service…IBM…and Oracle…[don’t] rely on Section 230, since they don’t run consumer facing internet services…

Traffic Jam (#877)

The ethically-bankrupt Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz has invented another idiotic “study” designed to find exactly what its funders wanted found:

More than two-thirds of sex [workers labeled by prohibitionists as] trafficking victims in a Hawaii study reported being homeless…[deranged fantasist] Khara Jabola-Carolus [was] co-author of the study [along with her crony Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz]…The [so-called] study [was actually] a…survey [of questionnaires filled out by] 363…clients of state service agencies…[the designation as] sex trafficking victims [was imposed by Carolus and Sepowitz without the consent of the clients…

In 2018, Jabolus cried to cops when Sepowitz claimed she had received a mysterious text message about a supposed plot against Carolus’ job; she claimed the rumor constituted a “threat of physical violence”.  This is the level of fantasy and wild exaggeration that passes for truth in “Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s crowd.  In case you’re wondering why this drama is centered around tiny Hawaii, it’s because there is some support for decriminalization in the state legislature and the prohibitionists want that crushed.

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

Summer Stephan has for years touted her personal animus against whores as “concern”:

[Politicians] in San Diego…are [still persecuting adults for seeking consensual sex, now with] a new mobile app [intended to trick] the public [into ratting their neighbors out to the pigs]…District Attorney Summer Stephan [and other “sex trafficking” fetishists shared their fantasies of]…traffickers…lur[ing]…victims and…[brave hero cops.  Magic]al technology is playing a growing role in the ability of traffickers to…control their victims…Humans Against Trafficking…release[d]…a free mobile app, called Radlee, designed to [frame ordinary events as]…suspicious…the app will allow…parents…to [spy on sex workers online and rat them out to the pigs]…Roger Martin, the group’s CEO…[says “Women are much too stupid to place escort ads themselves, so] there must be some trafficker that’s flipping through profiles on Instagram and based on what he reads or sees, deciding whether or not to [traffick them]”…Martin’s organization…last year received a $100,000 grant from San Diego County…

A Moral Cancer (#978)

Buried lede: “The increase in absolute risk is so small that it is unlikely to be relevant for the individual“:

If you’ve been swayed by recent reports that red and processed meat isn’t harmful to your health, [crypto-moralists want you to ignore the facts and listen to their claims of a]…significant risk of death from any cause tied to eating two servings of processed meat or unprocessed red meat each week…One serving…equaled two slices of bacon, two small sausages or one hot dog…[or] 4 ounces of red meat…The new findings [were designed to contradict]…a…meta-analysis [show]ing there’s no need to reduce your red and processed meat intake for good health…

Crypto-moralists will claim that anything that brings pleasure is “unhealthy”, because it isn’t really about health; it’s about puritanism.  Since puritans believe pleasure is bad, they’re always looking for ways to pretend their primitive ideas about “sin” have some basis in reality.

Subtle Pimping (#979)

Cops watch racist “virtual reality” porn and call it “training”:

Last year, students from Cal Poly created a VR massage parlor [fantasy] to [entert]ain cops [with the misogynistic myth that] many [women] are forced into prostitution…In Houston, Texas, most…vice [pigs]…have spent time [masturbating to] Trapped, a [porn] that [lets them fantasy roleplay] 14-year-old Lisa…More than 2,500 [cops]…have [masturbated to this BDSM fantasy] at [pig] conventions…Billy Joe Cain, CEO of…the VR [porn] company behind Trapped…[also] licenses his…profit[able fantasy game] to high schools and middle schools as a[n indoctrination into anti-sex dogma]…

Across the Pond (#985)

Redbridge has a long history of harassing sex workers while belching up stupid “crime” rhetoric:

…a [gang] of 17 [highly aggressive pigs]…will be [harassing people with]…evening and late-night patrols, seven days a week.  Redbridge Council…set up [the gang with] a £320,000 funding pot…[to harass homeless people, buskers,] street s[ell]ers…drinkers and [sex workers]…the [gang] will also [spy on people in] Ilford Lane [using the favorite cop wanking fantasy of]…pop-up brothels…Mark Glazer, chairman of Redbridge Neighbourhood Watch, described the amount being [thrown away] on the [gang] as “ludicrous” and said resources should to be directed elsewhere…”They have been trying to sort out prostitution in Ilford Lane for years and [sending] police [to harass people] will not help”…

Crying for Nanny (#998)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A new lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages for two [soi-disant] victims claims the owners of nearly two dozen Collier County [Florida] hotels and motels are responsible for sex trafficking on their premises …Sharon Hanlon, an a[mbulance-chasing shyster, filed]…this lawsuit [to profit from hysteria as allowed by FOSTA]…Linda Oberhaus, [a rescue industry profiteer, claims]…“These are the hotels that are allowing human trafficking to exist”…The [ambulance-chasers] said as their [greed] in[creases], they expect to add more hotels and motels to the lawsuit…

Choke Point (#1006) 

Fascism in action, badly covered by a yellow journalist:

…If you want to PayPal or Venmo some cash to someone without any hitches, do not put the word Iran in the memo field…Jewish Currents…tweeted that nine payments to its staff and contributors had been held up by PayPal because the transaction descriptions included the term Iran in reference to a piece that the magazine published…PayPal, along with its subsidiary Venmo, uses a system that automatically flags keywords in the payment memo field that could indicate a violation…So if, say, you try to send a friend money for “drinks at Cuba Libre”, you’ll quickly learn how dense PayPal’s system can be when it comes to context clues…this leaves out a good number of illicit activities that the payment service could be facilitating…I sent my editor dozens of 1 cent transactions with different memo descriptions…PayPal…has a…laissez-faire stance toward weapons, drugs, human and animal trafficking, prostitution, and hate groups…

Not only is this moron spreading fake information based on an idiotic experiment (even PayPal computers know that a 1¢ transaction to a male Slate editor with the memo “blowjob” – yep, he went there – is not a genuine sex work transaction); his puritanical pea brain also considers sex work as in the same category as “Car bomb”, “Kidnapping”, “Nazis”, and “KKK”.  Let’s hope he tries the experiment I suggested to him (sending several hundred bucks to a female friend with “blowjob” in the memo) so his account gets shut down.

To Molest and Rape (#1012)

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

A [typical and representative] Cottage Grove [Minnesota cop] assigned to [terrorize students at] Park High School has been charged with [molesting] seven female students and soliciting one…multiple times for nude photos.  Adam G. Pelton…[managed to rack up this score in only a year ending on] Oct. 4, 2019…Students [reported] that Pelton repeatedly [groped them under cover of non-consensual] hug[ging]…during which he would [grope] their buttocks…Most of these [attacks] occurred in Pelton’s private school office, which lacked video surveillance [because cop]…

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While scandalized men are given second chances galore, women who society says behaved badly are branded for life.  –  Melissa Petro

Think of the Children! (Bits and Pieces)

Melissa Petro was open about her past when she applied to be a teacher; it wasn’t until she was outed that her “sex rays” suddenly became dangerous to children:

Ten years ago, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg…personally asked for me to be removed from my job as a public-school teacher and called for the city to take legal action against me…because I admitted that I’d worked in the sex industry before teaching.  “We’re just not going to have this woman in front of a class,” Bloomberg was quoted as saying…he…and I never met.  He never commented further on my situation.  He decided my fate, and that was that…The press…demonized me.  I was dubbed the “hooker teacher” and made into the butt of jokes.  And yet in the intervening years I was able to turn that exposure into a platform for humanizing sex work…

Under Duress 

I wonder if most cops are even capable of telling the truth?

Just…a…week [after]…[Los Angeles cop Angel Reinosa was arrested because he] fabricated [a] story of [being] shot in the shoulder by a sniper as he walked from his patrol car into the station…another cop in Ohio was arrested for doing the exact same thing.  On January 13, approximately 50 [heavily-armed thugs] from ten different [cop shops invaded] a predominantly black neighborhood looking for a non-existent suspect.  This swarm of cops…detain[ed] innocent people…and [terrorized] an entire community…because Warren [Ohio pig] Noah Linnen falsely claimed he’d been involved in a shootout with a [vaguely-described] black man in a black SUV…Due to the massive police presence…the…lying cop’s story [quickly] began to unravel…After…[terrorizing innocent people for a while], police finally looked at the surveillance footage from nearby properties and never saw an SUV fitting Linnen’s description.  So, the lying cop changed his story…[to claim he had somehow mistaken] a bicycle [for a truck]…In total, this lying cop would change his story four times after each lie he made up was shut down…In the final version of the story…he [simply] fired…at a passing vehicle [because it had] bright headlights…

Shifting the Blame (#327)

It’s difficult to tell if the anti-whore bullshit in this review springs from the film or its reviewer:

…In Lost Girlsthe great documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus…enters the realm of drama as if born to it.  The movie, based on a true story that began in 2010 (it’s adapted from Robert Kolker’s 2013 nonfiction bestseller Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery), is about…Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan), who learns that her oldest daughter, Shannan, who’s around 20 and has been a sex worker living in Jersey City, N.J., has gone missing…police find four dismembered bodies off the side of the highway…Lost Girls is built around an aggrieved mother’s obsession to learn, at any cost, what happened to her child, and it may remind you of other mystery dramas rooted in the squalid dangers of the sex industry…we expect the movie to be…some sort of investigative deep dive into the ugly nuts and bolts of…the druggy, unstable, three-rotating-cell-phones life of a sex worker in the Craigslist era…

Reviewer Owen Gleiberman affects an understanding of the demimonde which is undermined by his misuse of terms, such as “in-call” when he means outcall and “john” to mean client (despite his decrying the dehumanization of sex workers a couple of paragraphs later).  Gleiberman seems unsure if he’s an ally, a puritan, or just a working writer employing the pseudo-intellectual cant of the professional fim critic who likes his comfortable paycheck but isn’t sure what his audience wants to hear; as such, it’s difficult to tell how much of this attitude is derived from the book (whose author spoke to me shortly before release), how much from the film, how much from the reviewer, and how much from the anti-sex dogma 21st century US journalists are expected to parrot.

To Molest and Rape

Another brave hero, protecting and serving:

A [typical and representative] Alabama [screw who was a serial rapist]…pleaded guilty…during…his ongoing trial…Matthew Moore…was arrested in 2018 and implicated by DNA in sexual assaults in George, Alabama and Florida…Moore was sentenced to life in prison with 30 years to serve…In June 2010, Moore [brutally raped] an Atlanta [sex worker at gunpoint]…[after he] left…the victim called 911, and [a rape kit was performed]…On November 17, 2015, Moore [brutally and sadistically raped another sex worker in]…Sandy Springs [Georgia]…and…record[ed] the entire [attack on his cell phone]…The victim was eventually able to escape…and ran…[into] the hallway…Moore [threatened bystanders with a gun to escape]…A year and a half later – in 2017 – the se[cond victim’s rape kit]…revealed…[a] DNA…match…[with the 2010] rape…as well as a 2008 [rape] in Homewood, a 2010 [rape] in Cobb County, and a 2010 [rape] in Birmingham…[when] Moore [was caught]…the video…of the 2015 rape…was still on his phone three years later…In addition to the Georgia and Alabama cases, Moore was implicated in a [rape] of a 64-year-old woman in Jupiter, Florida on March 7, 2018…

The Prudish Giant (#899)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Facebook…[recently released] a long-delayed “Off-Facebook Activity” tracker [which]…shows Facebook and sister apps Instagram and Messenger don’t need a microphone to target you with those eerily specific ads and posts — they’re all up in your business countless other ways.  Even with Facebook closed on my phone…It knows when I [use the Peet’s Coffee or Home Depot apps,] read…Pete Buttigieg[‘s website] or…The Atlantic…or…open the Ring app…The “Off-Facebook Activity” tracker will show you 180 days’ worth of the data Facebook collects about you from the many organizations and advertisers in cahoots with it.  This page, buried behind lots of settings menus (here’s a direct link), is the product of a promise…Zuckerberg made during the height of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal to provide ways we can “clear the history” in our accounts…it doesn’t let you reset your entire relationship with Facebook.  But…it does give you a way to unlink some of its surveillance…Even when your phone is entirely off, businesses can upload information about you making an in-store purchase.  One colleague found 974 apps and websites shared his activity…

Business As Usual (#928)

Oh look, a psychopathic rapist-murderer cop has raped before:

In a lawsuit filed…against [typical and representative vice cop Andrew] Mitchell and the City of Columbus, Mitchell is [reported to have] handcuff[ed] an unnamed woman and rap[ed] her…on…[two separate occasions] in 2017 and…2018….[on both occasions] Mitchell [acted out his typical MO with women he knew were sex workers or]…had…warrants out against her [at some point]…Mitchell…[drove] the woman to a…parking lot in Columbus where he [knew he would not be caught, forced her]…into the back seat…handcuffed her to the vehicle and raped her….[both] time[s]…he…drove off [after raping her], leaving the woman without most of her clothing…

The Widening Gyre (#941)

The “sex traffickers” have spread from Target and Ikea to gas station mini-marts:

Burlington [North Carolina] police are [help]ing [to spread hysteria]…about…human trafficking…after a [woman fantasized she was followed]…at [a crowded] Sheetz [gas station]…in the middle of the day…The [wo]man’s [fantasy]…prompted the Burlington Police Department to post a warning on its Facebook page reminding people to [spy on each other] and report [any brown people] to them…

Welcome to the Future (#977)

As I’ve repeatedly stated, it’s far too late to put this evil djinni back into its bottle:

…implicit bias…is ubiquitous in the workplace, and can hurt not just employees, but also a company’s bottom line…Despite the growing adoption of implicit bias training, some in the field of human resources have raised doubts about its effectiveness in improving diversity and inclusion within organizations.  But what if a smart device, similar to the Amazon Alexa, could tell when your boss inadvertently [made] a female colleague…feel that her perspective wasn’t valued?  This device doesn’t yet exist, but Northeastern associate professors…are preparing to embark on a three-year project that could yield such a gadget…working on…a $1.5 million…grant from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory…

I’m sure the US Army is funding this because it cares so deeply about “diversity and inclusion”.

Watershed (#978)

We’re way past the watershed now:

For the first time, over half of Americans support the decriminalization of sex work, and two-thirds of voters aged 18 to 44 back the initiative.  The statistic comes from…Decriminalizing Survival: Policy Platform and Polling on the Decriminalization of Sex Work, [which] analyzes a Data for Progress and YouGov Blue survey from late November…author Nina Luo…argues…that public discourse is leading voters to have a better understanding of the arguments surrounding decriminalization beyond fearmongering around sex trafficking…Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to support decriminalization, and younger voters generally show stronger support…than older Americans.  Among respondents aged 18 to 29, 65% support decriminalization, compared to 42% among people aged 65 or older.  Overall, only 36% of American voters oppose decriminalization…

All-Purpose Excuse (#978)

Trumpists and anti-Trumpists continue to fight for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

President Trump…attend[ed] a White House summit organized by his daughter Ivanka on [so-called] human trafficking, an issue he frequently invokes…But some of the country’s most prominent…organizations [which label themselves “anti-trafficking”]…won’t be there.  They have decided to boycott the event.  The group includes Polaris, the…[most influential purveyor of anti-sex work propaganda in the US], and the leader of Freedom Network USA, the…largest…coalition [of groups actually concerned with exploitation rather than simply using it as a cover for persecution of sex workers]…They say that although the president frequently invokes human trafficking, his administration is actively endangering a significant portion of [people infantilized as “trafficking victims”]:  immigrants…Ivanka Trump…has embraced the eradication of [sex work] as one of her causes [despite her stepmother’s history of sex work]…she…has advocated anti-[sex work] legislation, including [the internet censorship bill FOSTA]…

The Monsters Are Due (#996)

White van hysteria appears to be broadening:

The driver of a white van described [by cops and Facebook hysterics] as possibly being involved in suspicious activity…is a dog-loving business owner and tourist…[named] Chris Fox…who lives in Salt Lake City…Jackson County [South Dakota cops] posted a photo of Fox’s van and wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that it wanted to learn more about the vehicle because [gullible cops imagined it was] “associated with confirmed criminal activity…[and] appears to use the large antenna visible on the roof to intercept WiFi, stealing credit card information”…[cops harassed him by]…track[ing] down his phone number by running his license plate, which [a busybody had] photographed [while he was peacefully going about his business in his van, which] doesn’t have a big antenna…

Stupor Bowl (#1005)

Though the majority of journalists now insert disclaimers when repeating tall tales of “Super Bowl sex trafficking”, the Miami Herald has apparently decided to go in exactly the opposite direction, publishing the lurid sex fantasies of cops, politicians, and other assorted prohibitionist lowlifes as not only news, but breaking news despite the fact that this same masturbatory fantasy has been spread in conjunction with every major sporting event for well over a decade.  And since we’ve all seen this tragedy porn more times than is healthy for any normal brain, I’m just going to excerpt the high points:

…an underground stream of no-name girls…branded with bar-code tattoos on their inner lower lip, dulled by a diet of drugs, painted with makeup to look older, bruised or burned in discreet spots and living in a state of terror…they are an essential element of the Super Bowl…modern-day slave masters…aiming to make upwards of $1,000 per night per woman under their control…40 million victims caught in the $150 billion sex…trafficking industrysecond only to drug trafficking as the world’s largest criminal industryTheresa Flores [shares her fantasy about being “trafficked” by magical ninja pimps]…You can sell a human being over and over again…[bogus statistics from previous years]…Robert Kraft…Florida ranks third…in human trafficking…hub[s]…the average sex trafficking victim may be forced to have sex 20 times a day…Jeffrey Epstein…hiding in plain sight…SOAP…coerced and brainwashed…Traffickers…spend hours mining social media…mafia…a man…buys a girl the same age as his daughter…piece of property…father figure or a job scam…They pay in cash. At hotels, they keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorcontrol of their minds, bodies and soulssophisticateddating sitesThey deny having a pimp

I Spy (#1006)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

Attorney General William Barr [i]s making a bizarre attack on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act…arguing — without evidence — that 230 might be contributing to “unlawful behavior” online…Section 230 explicitly exempts federal criminal charges from what it applies to, meaning that it literally cannot interfere with any DOJ prosecution…But Barr has continued to push forward with this anti-230 kick, and is going to host a “workshop” about [it] in a few weeks…the DOJ claims that this workshop will have that “diversity of viewpoints”…but it is likely to stack the deck against 230…[as it] has done…with regard to…encryption…the DOJ a[ppears to be] playing this anti-230 card simply as a method of punishing the internet industry for opposing his desire to gut encryption…

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Any gun-rights advocate or pro-choice voter understands that making something illegal doesn’t make it go away, only more dangerous.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

…Mbalaminwe Mwimanzi was watching sports at a friend’s apartment on the evening of January 15, 2019…[when pigs] stormed the apartment with a warrant allowing them to search [the location but not the people] for drugs…[cops] searched Mwimanzi three separate times [anyhow]…[when the first two pigs] found no[thing]…Joshua Wilson, who is being sued by Mwimanzi and the ACLU-DC…[forced] Mwimanzi, who was still handcuffed, to spread his legs…[so he could grope] Mwimanzi’s backside and…[violate his] anus…the[n]…he…fondled [Mwimanzi’s testicles]…Mwimanzi told [the other cops] that Wilson had sexually assaulted him….[and] asked to be taken to a hospital as he was experiencing pain…ACLU-DC has already filed three previous lawsuits over similar [sexual assaults]…

Paint By Numbers

Silly “awareness raising” stunts by crowds of idiots are mostly a thing of the past; now they’re usually marketing gimmicks:

The Greater Dallas Restaurant Association’s 24Hour Dallas initiative introduced an anti-human trafficking program…[which purports to] give…businesses a way to help trafficked persons…“realize they are not free [because they’re very stupid and restaurateurs who have never done sex work know more about their lives than they do] and give them steps to take to escape their captors”…[magic] signs will be placed in public restrooms…on the sex…trafficking superhighway

This is the first time I’ve seen the ludicrous “sex trafficking superhighway” term for I-20 outside of Alabama.

Choke Point (#665) 

Fascism in action:

Following the US government’s assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, PayPal has delayed and blocked numerous small donations to The Grayzone that mentioned this website’s news coverage of Iran.  At the same time…Facebook has censored a The Grayzone video reporting on the US government’s escalation against Iran and its ally Hezbollah.  In 2010, PayPal froze donations to WikiLeaks…Now independent journalism websites…are suffering from blockages imposed by PayPal that appear directly linked to Washington’s aggressive actions in the Middle East…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Anti-vaping lunacy is quickly reaching “sex trafficking” levels of disinformation:

This is not simply wrong, it’s unbelievably wrong…For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding).  For vaping, not so much…even New Jersey’s official site for anti-vaping propaganda admits that there is only a single confirmed case of a Garden State vaper—out of what must be hundreds of thousands if not millions of users—dying from illness related to electronic cigarettes…also…neither of the vaping devices pictured…are the sort that use the black-market THC cartridges that have been most plausibly linked to most serious illnesses, let alone deaths.  But when you’re dealing with propaganda, it’s best not to get too lost in the weeds (perhaps especially when the propaganda is somehow related to weed)…

See also “Unsafe for Human Consumption” for more unbelievably-exaggerated lies about drugs.

Rotting Fruit (#973)

An account of Epstein’s crimes that doesn’t devolve into torture porn:

A lawsuit filed…by the…U.S. Virgin Islands alleges that…Jeffrey Epstein sexually trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private island as recently as 2018 by using a web of shell companies to carry out and conceal his crimes…The allegations…shed new light on the tactics Epstein used to hide his illicit activities.  Epstein…brought girls as young as 11 to his private island, known as Little St. James, and maintained a database to track their availability and movements…Most of the companies were created in 2011 and 2012, soon after Epstein registered as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands following his 2008 guilty plea…[in return for] a…non-prosecution agreement from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta…[which] shelved a federal sex trafficking indictment that could have put Epstein away for life…The lawsuit…is the first…to allege that Epstein continued to commit crimes after 2005…

Little Boxes (#975)

SCOTUS leaves the conflict between the 7th and 10th Circuits unresolved:

The U.S. Supreme Court…will not consider an appeal by three women who were arrested for exposing their breasts at a New Hampshire beach more than three years ago.  The women — who are now part of a global campaign called Free the Nipple — were arrested in 2016…Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro argued in their appeal that the local ordinance that resulted in their arrests and convictions violates their 14th Amendment rights because it applies to women but not men.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld their convictions…ruling that…laws that…criminalize…women but not men [for the same actions somehow don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, because tits]…

Shift in the Wind (#983)

A pro-decrim article by a former sex worker in a conservative-leaning newspaper:

…Time and money spent hunting grown-ups for doing consensual adult things with each other could be used to test rape kits, investigate reports of sexual violence and provide emergency support to victims.  But politicians…throughout the country are trying to increase raids on massage parlors, increase surveillance at hotels and make men like Robert Kraft register as a sex offenders…cracking down on consensual adults in the sex industry won’t make any of us safer…prohibition…creates black markets where career criminals thrive…

I Spy (#1000)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

Attorney General William P. Barr declared…that a [single] shooting [incident outweighs the privacy interests of every single Apple customer because]…terrorism, and he asked Apple…to [break encryption it developed to be unbreakable so the government can snoop in]…two phones used by the gunman…Barr…call[ed] on Apple and other technology companies to find a solution [to the laws of mathematics.  Spooks pretend]…they need access to [Mohammed Saeed] Alshamrani’s phones to see messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp [because he is Muslim]…

With Friends Like These… (#1003)

So helping!  Many respectful!

…Louis Theroux[‘s] documentary, Selling Sex, [exploited three sex workers named] Caroline, Victoria and Ashleigh…Ashleigh and [her best friend] Georgina…published an open letter to the show’s creators and the BBC, describing their disappointment and mistreatment…[by] Theroux and his collaborators…[who] set out to tell a certain narrative on sex work[ers as]…victim[s]…Theroux[‘s]…faux-naive narration…constantly referred to unspecified people finding sex work unsavoury and “unhealthy”..[though] no evidence of this was presented in the programme…Theroux…ask[ed] every woman he interviewed about the…“damage” [he assumed caused them to begin sex work]…There was…no mention of the closure of Backpage…which forced thousands of sex workers further into the fringes…Selling Sex felt lazy and uncontentious, challenging its subjects rather than its viewers…

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