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Posts Tagged ‘hotels’

Here I stand, I can do no other.  –  Rikki de la Vega

A Broker in Pillage

Unlike other government departments, the IRS doesn’t even bother to accuse people of actual crimes before robbing them blind:

…Institute for Justice client Lyndon McLellan saw the…IRS…reach…into his bank account [to steal] his life savings without warning or cause in 2014.  McLellan [owned] a small convenience store…in Fairmont, North Carolina…he…worked long hours and rarely took vacations…Yet federal agents accused him of violating so-called structuring laws because his business frequently made bank deposits in amounts under $10,000…the[y stole] more than $107,000…”It took me 13 years to save that much money,” he says.  “And it took fewer than 13 seconds for the government to take it away”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

The Manitoba government is tabling a bill…[which] would require hotels and people operating on online accommodation platforms, such as Airbnb, to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses…and…to hand over that information to police…on…demand…without a warrant…[politician Rochelle Squires tried to justify this incredible violation of civil rights by vomiting out the words] “human trafficking”…and “children”…

Feminists and Other Puritans

It’s nice to see someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill writing about this:

…the worst form of prudery and repression is that which comes from those who also claim to be feminists…Women’s rights activists have been divided about sex from the beginning.  In the nineteenth century, the “free love” movement, which promoted birth control and sought to replace traditional male-dominated marriage with consensual unions of equal partners, butted heads with the “social purity” movement obsessed with controlling men’s lust as a way of eradicating such “evils” of prostitution and venereal disease…Those leaning towards the equality pole welcomed and worked with men who agreed with their goals, like Frederick Douglass and John Stuart Mill.  Those on the protectionist side, however, viewed men with skepticism, and demanded that they prove their worth by swearing to be chaste and “chivalrous” towards women…Not far off from contemporary pledges to not use porn or “end demand for sex trafficking”!  If the women who worked for social purity back then sounded like religious zealots, it’s because they were…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Politicians are increasingly convinced that they’re allowed to redefine legal concepts as they wish:

A strange new bill introduced by Oklahoma [politician] Rob Standridge would make it illegal to knowingly give “obscene material” to a “vulnerable person,” explicitly including unhoused people…SB 1522 [also includes] an unconstitutional redefinition of…“obscene material” as “any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse”…Such supposedly obscene materials would include “book, magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, poster, print, picture, figure, image, description, motion picture film, record, recording tape, CD-ROM disk, magnetic disk memory [sic], magnetic tape memory, videotape, computer software, video game,” and other unspecified media to be determined by the authorities.  Despite his seeming concern for the moral hygiene of the unhoused, Standridge recently opposed a new homeless shelter, making statements conflating Oklahoma’s unhoused population with “sex offenders” and calling them “a public safety risk”…

Stalkers in Blue (#987)

Another cop demonstrates what he is:

A Bay Area [cop] has been charged with masturbating in front of a family that called police during a fraught domestic violence call…Matthew Dominguez…“milled around the home…keep[ing] the daughter in view of his Body Worn Camera”…Dominguez [later]…unzipped his pants and began rubbing his crotch…[in full view of the mother and] daughter…Dominguez [kept] follow[ing the daughter]…around…The mother and daughter then went to find…the father…who…[also] “saw…Dominguez…with his erect penis in his left hand”…

Blunt Instrument (#1012)

This would be a much better article if it didn’t pretend that prohibitionism is a solely a phenomenon of the “right wing”:

For the past year, low-income Asian women in Newmarket [Ontario] have been engaged in a fierce battle with [politicians]…working to close down their massage businesses by claiming that the workers are both disreputable criminals and sex trafficking victims…in January…the town council imposed a set of regulations requiring massage businesses to get a new type of licence…[under] threat…[of] fines of $4,000 to $5,000 per day…the town…[is] using a fake anti-trafficking campaign…with zealous support from [the usual suspects]…thanks to centuries of racism and employment segregation in North America, body rubs are associated with crime, sex work, and people of colour…Newmarket town council declared their intention to create new rules that would drive out the businesses that they defined as “appeal[ing] to sexual appetites,” and the “brothels” that town councillors claimed were “hosts for human trafficking.”  Their…plan was to get rid of suspected sex work by tightening the rules so that only businesses whose workers have formal educational certifications from Canada could get the newly [inven]ted Personal Wellness Establishment Licence…[such] certifications can take years…and tuition can cost thousands of dollars…

Repeatedly claiming that prohibition in Canada is “right wing” when Trudeau and his party eagerly promote it is tantamount to pissing on the readers’ legs and telling them it’s raining.

Torture Chamber (#1182)

The government needs to be buried in lawsuits before this will stop:

[Young men] at a South Carolina…[prison are locked in cages] with feces on the floor, mold on the walls, and cockroaches in their food, according to a new lawsuit…the kids — who range in age from 13 to 19 – are [also] subjected to routine violence by [screws and] other [prisoners]…[screws also] use solitary confinement — in cells with no natural light — as a way to “protect” them from violence…some[times for]…months [at a stretch], and there [are] no meaningful educational or mental health services for the[m]…the…[prisoners] are disproportionately Black and from families that live below the federal poverty line…

Once again: it does not help young victims of governmental brutality to infantilize them as “children”.

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The pursuit of sex buyers…functions…[by] targeting people in the sex trade and result[s] in forced evictions, deportations and police harassment.  –  Niina Vuolajärvi

Maggie in the Media

Bound By the Cloak is a new-ish podcast whose tagline is, “Candid conversations about the unspoken”.  Episode 6 is entitled “Grande Horizontale”, so you can probably guess who is interviewed in it.  Give it a listen; I think you’ll enjoy it even if you’ve heard me talk about these topics before.

Sales Pitch

If the Swedish model is so successful, why are they threatening to increase the penalties?

The European Sex Worker Alliance (ESWA) is circulating a petition in solidarity with Swedish sex worker activists fighting a politically motivated attempt to require mandatory jail time for their clients…the…threat…has been Trojan-Horsed into…a series of legal reforms [driven]…by various sex panics fostered by the press…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

On April 8, a [man] and his teenage daughter were at a Dallas Mavericks basketball game…in Dallas.  Just before halftime, the daughter left her seat to use the restroom.  After she didn’t return, the father went to look for her and notified arena security, staff, and Dallas police of her being missing…lawyer Zeke Fortenberry…[claims] the family repeatedly called Dallas police to help find their daughter…[but] Dallas police…didn’t make any efforts to locate the girl…[so] the family reached out to a [rescueindustry group called] the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative…[which claims it] found [her pictures] on a[n escort] website…in Oklahoma City…and…Oklahoma City police…[found her] at an Extended Stay America…on April 18 and several people were arrested…Fortenberry [was quick to point fingers at]…the Dallas Mavericks…the [stadium, and the hotel, using the required “]failed to protect the victim[” language indicating he plans to sue them and]…Dallas police [using the novel legal construction of vicarious liability which has become popular among ambulance-chasers]…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

A pastor [named]…John William Lovelace…in Ayden, North Carolina, was charged…with [various crimes of rape and sexual assault, and]…is also facing two counts of statutory [rape of] a child under the age of 15…

Winding Down (#1179)

It’s too bad Washington only supports self-ownership where drugs are concerned, not sex:

Drug-reform advocates, doctors, and politicians have initiated a ballot measure, Initiative 1922, to remove the penalties for possessing drugs of any kind in the state of Washington, including cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Led by a coalition group called Commit to Change WA, the proposed [measure would also]…dedicat[e] $141 million…each year to substance use treatment and prevention…the funds…would come from cannabis taxes the state is already receiving…Sponsors of the initiative have until July 8 to collect almost 325,000 valid signatures of registered Washington voters to qualify for a spot on the statewide ballot in November…

Creepy Coppers

Your “leaders” apparently also want you to refer to spreading child porn as “correction”:

Tennessee [screw]…Michael Vernon White, has been charged with possession of “hundreds of items” of child porn…[discovered] after an Internet service provider detected and reported multiple uploads of sexual images and videos depicting young girls.  The number associated with the uploads was linked back to White…

The Cop Myth (#1205)

Why are people shocked when men paid and encouraged to behave violently, behave violently?

An…NYPD [cop named]…Kevin Marcial…was suspended…following…his [attempt to shoot his] girlfriend’s husband [after he saw the latter behind him in traffic]…Marcial turned around and fired a shot at the [husband, but missed]…The outraged husband showed up later at a nearby police station and reported the [attack], as well as Marcial and the love triangle.  Cops at first [refused to] believe him, but the husband gave [them] the…license plate number, which they traced back to Marcial.  A shell casing was also found at the scene…police reached out to Marcial, who, with his lawyer, [later] surrendered…An NYPD spokeswoman s[pun this as] Marcial “self-report[ing]” the shooting…

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Scapegoating Gen Z…belies the enduring hold of sex-negativity on our culture.  –  Asa Seresin

To Molest and Rape

It’s gradually becoming slightly less rare for reporters to describe the actions of rapist cops as rape:

A [typical and representative Kansas cop] is facing over two dozen charges…[for] raping a woman while [wearing his magical clown costume]…Jonathan Gardner…[is mostly being] charged with…official misconduct…[because he stalked potential victims using] Kansas [cop shop computer]…systems…

Disaster (#996)

A timid but possibly important challenge to FOSTA from inside Congress, take 2:

…a few members of Congress are…at least willing to consider the possibility that they messed up in passing FOSTA.  To this end, they’re backing legislation that would further study [its] effects…and of the Justice Department’s shutdown of websites—like Backpage and Rentboy—popular for sex worker advertising.  First introduced in 2019, these measures promptly flopped.  Now, their sponsors—Ro Khanna…Barbara Lee…Elizabeth Warren…and Ron Wyden…are trying again…In the findings section of the bill, the [politicians] explain (with a shocking lack of moral panic) how the government’s war on sex work advertising has caused a number of reported harms, and how FOSTA…increased it…Khanna—one of just 25 House members and two senators who voted against FOSTA—[said that]…he hoped getting more data on FOSTA’s effects would be unobjectionable—and useful for eventual repeal…Techdirt editor Mike Masnick…is skeptical. When it comes to sex trafficking, Congress just “wants to pretend to care about these issues so it can get headlines and go on TV to look serious about how it’s ‘solving’ these problems”…

I’m at least as skeptical as Masnick is, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Ron Wyden actually tweet that “Sex workers deserve equal and full labor protection and dignity under the law.

Disaster (#1151)

They’ve chased this ambulance from Austin to Washington and back:

The [US] Supreme Court declined…to settle a question presented by a[n opportunist and her lawyers] looking to [cash in on a novel theory of] Facebook’s [legal] liability in a case where she [claim]s that she was “sex trafficked as a minor” because the social media platform “[allowed her to communicate with someone she now says was] a sex trafficker.”  The case had already gone all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court, although that tribunal’s decision pointed out the issues with trying to determine Section 230 protections, particularly in a case that also invoked FOSTA-SESTA.  [Though] the Supreme Court denied the request to take up the question…Justice Clarence Thomas added a statement opining that “although the case was not appropriate for court review, Congress should revisit the scope of Section 230”…

I Spy (#1166)

It looks as though at least one court is attempting to grow a spine:

[So-called “geofence”] warrants reverse the expectations of probable cause by turning everyone in a[n]…area into a suspect before investigators work backwards from the location data to generate a list of most likely suspects…[cops] have used these for years…[but] courts are paying more attention now…cops were investigating shootings at a motel in Fairfax County [Virginia, and]…had no suspects so they asked Google to generate them a list of people who had been in the area at the time of the shooting…[including] identifying data…the court…reject[ed] this warrant…Probable cause is the baseline and geofence warrants don’t even try to approach that constitutional guideline…Law enforcement either needs to do a whole lot better crafting these so-called warrants or, better yet, go back to the basics and start looking for suspects first, rather than trying to blunder their way into them by sifting through tons of unrelated data.

Why I Wait (#1177)

Somebody whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill is actually applying critical thought to this claim:

…a widely-held belief [holds] that…Gen Z, like the porn-sceptic feminists of the 70s and 80s, is a sex-negative generation.  Evidence routinely cited to support this belief includes the so-called “sex recession”…and the annual intergenerational battles over kink at Pride.  The idea that young people are abstaining from sex has even crystalised into a neologism: the Puriteen…young people who profess to avoid sex [do so] for a number of reasons: because they find it “objectifying”, “dangerous”, “uncomfortable”, “fucked up and scary”; because they are “exceptionally concerned with trauma and consent”; because casual sex makes them feel “used”…such statements have a political history…that risks falling from view when sex-negativity is treated as if Gen Z invented it.  By invoking objectification, instrumentalization, trauma, and consent, these young people – consciously or not – are using terms handed down to them by feminism…While it might seem like a paradox that [even] some young queers are expressing sex-negative views, the historical legacy of lesbian feminism proves that it isn’t paradoxical at all…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

Another cost of America’s sick worship of state-sanctioned violence:

…more than 7,600 [cops’ violent incompetence]…has more than once led to payouts to resolve lawsuits…[the] Washington Post…collected data on nearly 40,000 payments at 25 of the nation’s largest [cop shops] within the past decade, documenting more than $3.2 billion spent to settle claims…The total amounts further confirm the broad costs associated with police misconduct, as reported last year by FiveThirtyEight and the Marshall Project…more than 1,200 off[enders]…had been the subject of at least five payments.  More than 200 had 10 or more.  The repetition is the hidden cost of [police] misconduct: [cops] whose conduct was at issue in more than one payment accounted for more than $1.5 billion, or nearly half of the money spent by the departments to [sweep reports under the rug]…

To Molest and Rape (#1209)

Another specimen of the garbage the state pays to violate kids:

A [cop paid by the state to stalk, harass, and spy on students] at Auburn High School [in New York molested]…a student…William T. Morrissey, III has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child…Auburn [politicians found out about the molestation via]…an anonymous written complaint in the mail…

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I didn’t know anything about building careers. Somehow I still have a career.  –  Sally Kellerman

If you don’t know the name, enjoy this video of the first percussion-driven #1 hit in Billboard history.  The links above it were provided by Jason Kuznicki; Yasmin Nair; Clarissa; Mike SiegelJesse Walker; and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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As shocking as this may be to the fine folks at Marriott:  people have sex in hotels.  –  Jennifer Worrel

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) 

Fortunately, an ever-growing number of people – including a few politicians – are becoming increasingly critical of these medieval laws:

…After an alleged sexting incident in 2012 snowballed into a felony conviction in his southern state, [Jason] was forced to register as a sex offender and barred from using a computer or smartphone.  Over time, the conditions of his probation were reduced to a patchwork of technology-related restrictions: He was allowed to use email, but…not…text[ing].  He could use the internet, but…not…social media account, and all of his time online was [surveill]ed by a probation officer…Jason has become a leader in nonprofit advocacy around criminal legal system reform…Last summer he petitioned the court to have his probation end early…But right now Jason is sitting in prison and will be there until July 2023…[because the probation officer and a prosecutor decided] watching a community prayer livestream…was…accessing social media…

Watershed

When a timid hack like Oliver feels safe supporting sex worker rights, we’re definitely past the watershed:

Signs (#912) 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Several years ago…I booked an overnight at a…convenient…mid-priced hotel…I informed the young woman working at the desk that I had a reservation….[but] she [kept] ask[ing]…annoying…question[s]…It felt like I was being assessed and scrutinized…In hindsight, I wish I would have just left right then and found another hotel.  I had already presented my driver’s license…I had loyalty status showing numerous prior stays at related properties which presumably she could confirm in her system; I had a drivers license with my photo confirming who I was.  The reservation was made via a corporate travel department.  Why was I getting the third-degree?  “Ma’am, we need to make sure women staying in our hotel are doing so for legitimate reasons”…As it turned out, Marriott International had launched an initiative to combat…sex trafficking…By 2019, the company proudly announced an achievement milestone of [indoctrinating] 500,000 hotel workers [in propaganda about]…signs of human trafficking…I suggest that Marriott could make more of a contribution to their mission of “combatting modern day slavery” and “caring about human rights”  if they re-assessed their business presence in China or their treatment of Uyghurs instead of scrutinizing adult American women checking into rural hotels…

The writer is a supporter of sex workers, and the article is well worth reading in its entirety.

To Molest and Rape (#947)

Even rapist cops sometimes get their comeuppance when the victim is a kid:

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was sentenced to…four life sentences without parole [for] aggravated rape…and…aggravated incest…of…five victims, some of them relatives, [who] testified at trial…of looking up to Strain as an older brother or father figure and having their trust betrayed when he molested or raped them in tents, campers, and in his bedroom.  The sexual abuse continued into adulthood in many cases…

Creepy Coppers

The article is pretty vague, but it seems to belong in this tag:

A [typical and representative Georgia cop] is facing a wave of new charges after having already separately been indicted by a federal Grand Jury…for child pornography…Peter Bilardello is facing five charges for the sexual exploitation of children…in [addition to the previous charges]…for the…possession and distribution of child pornography…Bilardello…worked in a sex-offender [gang, and]…was receiving training in sex crimes investigations while…committing online sex crimes against children…

The Cop Myth (#1210)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

…On Aug. 3, 2018, [typical and representative California cop Brad] Wheat took his CHP-issued service weapon and hollow-point ammunition to [murder (by his own later admission) Philip “Trae” Debeaubien, the boyfriend of Wheat’s estranged wife, Mary…Wheat’s colleagues convinced him to surrender his…weapons and they reported it to superiors. Instead of treating this matter with the seriousness it deserved, or showing concern for the dangers that Debeaubien and Mary Wheat faced, CHP…essentially did nothing…it didn’t even inform the…planned [victims]…sent [Wheat] on vacation for two weeks, let him return to work, and returned his firearm and ammunition…Two weeks later, Wheat…shot Debeaubien in the shoulder…shot to death his ex-wife, and then killed himself.  Now CHP says it has no responsibility for this tragic event and that its decisions did not endanger the plaintiff’s life…

To Molest and Rape (#1211)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

An Alabama A&M spokesperson…[thought the most important detail about] the…arrest…for sexual abuse and enticing a child o[f campus copper] Ismael Roldan…was [that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume while committing the assault]…

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I hear that China is unhappy about this conference…Well, I am unhappy there’s a country in 2021 that has concentration camps.  –  Zdeněk Hřib

Above the Law

The rapist gets a respectful title, while his victims are dehumanized as “offenders”:

A [typical and representative Florida] probation officer…has been arrested [for orally raping] two people [he was given coercive power over by the State]…Jeremy Greenidge…also [tried to coerce] a third [victim, who]…report[ed him]…

Dangerous Speech (#1031)

It’s an atrocity that these grossly-unconstitutional robberies weren’t ruled illegal from the beginning:

Staring down the barrel of an expensive retrial triggered by intentional government overreach, defense attorneys in the Lacey/Larkin case are asking federal Judge Diane Humetewa to release a fraction of the millions of dollars in assets illegally s[tolen] by the prosecution in its bid to starve the defendants into submission…The move forced Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants to fight a grotesquely expensive legal war on two fronts…the defense…is requesting that Judge Humetewa…un-freeze four specific categories of funds that should never have been seized because they cannot be traced to any alleged illegal activity.  These assets include…more than $10 million in defense attorneys’ trust accounts…

Working From Home (#1103)

No, these “new regulations” are not “intended to fight child sexual abuse and sex trafficking”. They’re intended to do just what they’re doing:

…creators of adult content were shaken when OnlyFans announced…it would ban adult content…it…reverse[d] its stance only days later after an outcry…[but] creators…are bracing for further disruption.  Groups campaigning against sex [workers]…are pushing credit card companies to impose [increasingly-stringent] requirements for processing payments on behalf of sexually explicit sites, aiming to [choke off sex workers’ income]…But, although [amateurs believe prohibitionist claims that] the policies are aimed at protecting those who might be forced into sex work, [in truth the crusade is directed at harming all sex workers]…The rules…seem innocuous [to amateurs]…but [are]…time-consuming and confusing…creating a bureaucracy that threatens their livelihoods [by consuming time and energy that would otherwise be spent in productive work]…In addition, the new…requirements…are delaying payments…

A Woman’s Point of View (#1114)

A petition to put a decriminalization measure on the ballot in Oregon:

An advocacy group called the Sex Worker Rights Act campaign filed a petition…seek[ing] to repeal Oregon’s prostitution laws and amend other relevant statutes.  The petition also seeks to [bar government from denying employees of sex work businesses status] as “employees” under Oregon law; protect people who are or once were sex workers from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace; and prevent a person’s past or present employment as a sex worker from being held against them in child custody disputes…The petitioners must gather 112,020 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2022 ballot.  Should it qualify, the ballot measure could become a sticking point in the Oregon governor’s race….[because noted prohibitionist] Nicholas Kristof has [announced he is running.  Kristof]… support[s]…a dis[credited and dangerous form of oppressing] sex work[ers] known as the “Nordic Model”—which [officially classifies women as moral inferiors of men]…

The Next Target (#1180)

Lux Alptraum and Erika Moen team up to detail (in cartoon form) how the recent brouhaha over OnlyFans is merely “the latest installment of Visa & Mastercard’s war on porn“.  As they explain, it’s really only the latest in a campaign against free expression that has existed since not very long after the internet became popular.

Quiet Genocide (#1191)

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor“:

The Marriott hotel in Prague [refus]ed to host a conference of activists and leaders from China’s Uyghur diaspora this month, c[laim]ing “political neutrality”…[this] reflects China’s growing ability to extend authoritarian control beyond its borders by making clear to corporations that crossing the party’s red lines will be bad for business…Marriott frequently hosts political fundraisers and events…[and Marriott corporate management said]…hosting the conference would not have violated any “political neutrality” policy…[however] Marriott International issued a profuse apology [for sharing facts Beijing dislikes] in 2018…

Rotting Fruit (#1191)

Now this will set the cat among the pigeons:

Exactly a week before the anticipated start of her sex trafficking trial, Ghislaine Maxwell received permission to call [noted]…memory…expert…Elizabeth Loftus..[who] has questioned the reliability of memory and…[demonstrated that] suggestion can mold it…[Despite the recovered-memory and “sex trafficking” industries’ repeated attempts to portray her as some kind of hired gun for rapists and child molesters]…Judge Alison Nathan granted Maxwell permission to call Loftus—subject to certain limitations that are currently under seal.  The threadbare order states only that the government’s motion to block her testimony is denied in part and granted in part…

If you want to understand exactly why Loftus’ testimony is liable to cause drama, you should watch this and read my academic paper “Mind-Witness Testimony“.

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[Internet censorship] legislation…is not about protecting people.  –  Mariah Grant

Monsters

Violence against trans people is finally starting to get mainstream attention:

Police and LGBTQ+ groups in Charlotte [North Carolina]…say…an unknown person or…person[s] may be targeting transgender women with deadly violence…two…have been killed in recent days…the body of Jaida Peterson…[was found] in a hotel room…on Easter Sunday…the identity of the second person…[was] not immediately available…[but] both victims were shot to death in hotel rooms and…both were [trans] sex workers…

Welcome To Our World (#938)

Female victims of violence are increasingly treated like criminals:

Lawanna Belgard, of [Kansas was abducted by state-employed thugs and locked in a cage for]…a week…[because] prosecutors [knew] she didn’t want to be in court [and decided to force her]…a [so-called] victims advocate [who actually works for] the county attorney’s office…[made excuses for the violent abduction of an innocent person using]…the Sixth Amendment [as an excuse]…the…prosecutor [lied even more outrageously, referring to the violent abduction and caging of a traumatized woman as]…”safety measures to protect the witness”…According to…[actual victim advocates rather than state functionaries pretending to that title], stories like that of Belgard have a chilling effect on the abused — it makes it less likely that someone will report abuse and start a legal proceeding…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…a [typical and representative cop murdered] three people…in…Austin [Texas last] Sunday…[murderer] Stephen Nicholas Broderick…is “armed and dangerous”…A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to his arrest…Broderick…was initially [rewarded with a paid vacation last June for raping] a child…he…resigned from the sheriff’s office [a few days later and]…it is not known if th[e rape] is connected to [the murders other than being committed by the same psychopath]…

Social Distancing (#1063)

Pro-Swedish criminalization politicians will lose their shit over this:

A sex worker denied access to a government business loan because of her occupation is calling for a change in [anti-discrimination] law…Charlotte Edwards applied via Santander for the Bounce Back loan after being unable to work due to the pandemic…The escort’s request was initially declined due to the “nature” of her job but later approved after intervention from a group of MPs…Ms Edwards…said she had been an escort for more than five years, but Covid had prevented her working due to…travel restrictions…She was granted a mortgage payment holiday by her provider, but…had to “survive on Universal Credit” due to her working situation…she said…”I’m trying to have the [Equality Act of 2010] amended…[to include discrimination on the grounds of] occupation”…

The Course of a Disease (#1074)

Sociopaths claim this is what sex workers want:

…the coordinator of the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI)…Kate McGrew said the pandemic, coupled with the impact of the S[wedish criminalization imposed on them in] 2017, is making life very difficult for sex workers here.  Gardaí regularly [steal] condoms, lube and phones at premises from which they suspect sex work is taking place…This “disruption” model of policing has become “par for the course” in the last four years, she added…Very few buyers of sex have been prosecuted since then, but a number of women have been arrested and deported for [so-called] brothel-keeping offences…

Social Distancing (#1118)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

While casinos and other businesses reopened after the…coronavirus shutdown…strip clubs have struggled under [puritanical] state rules that prohibit its core attraction — nude or topless women and lap dances.  Starting May 1, the state ban will be lifted…a Clark County “mitigation plan” would allow for topless dancers, [bu]t would still prohibit lap dances, as entertainers would have to maintain a 6-foot distance from patrons…Some strip clubs are open, operating mainly as bars and restaurants.  Dancers can work onstage but must wear bikinis or pasties [because everyone knows that nipples spray viruses over everything in the area]…

You Were Warned (#1125)

Hey lede writer, the word you’re looking for is “abolish”:

Supporters of the SAFE TECH Act want to further [undermine] Section 230, making companies responsible for policing user speech on online platforms…But sex workers and free speech advocates warn that eliminating these liability protections means greater censorship of online platforms as companies try to reduce the risk of landing in legal trouble as a result of third-party user content…sex worker[s]…could easily be sued for…content on websites, have to attend court, and pay for an attorney…digital rights advocates…[also] warn of broader free speech consequences if the bill were to pass…

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You’re doing this to yourself.  –  “officer” Scott LaPierre, to his victim

Here’s another unusual cover of my favorite Beatles song, because I felt like it.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Lucy Steigerwald, Tim Cushing, Ally Fogg, Rick Horowitz, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Criticising China is the new blasphemy.  –  Nick Cohen

Above the Law

Yet another sociopath with a title:

[UK politician] Charlie Elphicke chased a woman around his kitchen and chanted “I’m a naughty Tory” after sexually assaulting her, a court has heard.  Elphicke talked to the woman about bondage then…groped her breast and tried to kiss her…while his wife Natalie Elphicke was away in 2007…Elphicke [also] sexually assaulted a parliamentary worker in her twenties several years later after he became MP for Dover, telling her: “Oh I’m naughty sometimes aren’t I? I can be so badly behaved but I can’t help it.”  Both women rejected his advances, with the [second] describing a “disgusting slobbery mess” when Elphicke tried to kiss her before groping her.  In a separate incident some time later, Elphicke rubbed his hand up her leg towards her groin…

Watershed (#899)

I’m glad Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem lived long enough to see the magazine she founded publishing pro-sex worker rights articles:

The U.S. Supreme Court…upheld a Bush-era law requiring overseas affiliates of U.S. organizations to adopt an organization-wide policy explicitly opposing prostitution in order to receive federal anti-HIV/AIDS funds…Serra Sippel…of the Center for Health and Gender Equity…[said] “The [anti-prostitution loyalty oath] hurts public health outcomes and it has always been bad policy”…“The Supreme Court upheld the U.S. government’s quest to impose its harmful ideological agenda on U.S. organizations and restrict their right to free speech,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations…According to CHANGE…“publicly opposing sex work while also providing social and health services to sex workers…is hypocritical”…

Against Their Will (#955) 

The Indian rescue industry is being undone by its own pretense that it wants to “help” its victims:

Holding up the fundamental rights of an adult, [an Indian] court ordered the release of four sex workers [abducted by cops under the pretense of] rescue…The women had argued for their right to free mobility and expressed desire to get back to their hometowns…advocate…Rajesh Katore…submitted a Bombay High Court…ruling…[in support.  Natur]ally, the cops had opposed the application filed by the women, [claim]ing that they needed to [keep them locked in a cage to]…conduct an investigation…

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

How China tries to keep the genocide quiet:

Once, blasphemy was damning the faithful’s gods and sacred books.  Now, criticism of the world’s largest dictatorship has become sacrilegious.  You shouldn’t be surprised.  As some of us tried to say in the 1990s and 2000s, the gap between the sacred and the profane was never as wide as religious sentimentalists and liberal multiculturalists believed…Authoritarian politics and authoritarian religion are just two sides of the same debased coin…One of the great crimes of the 21st century is being committed in front of our eyes…if a western country were to display one-tenth, one-hundredth or one-thousandth of the brutality that China is inflicting on Muslims, the global left would be burning with outrage…But the main reasons why Muslims suffer in silence is that the Muslim-majority countries that raged against Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo have decided to stay silent.  They use the idea of Muslim solidarity only when it suits them…Iran, Egypt, Syria and dozens of other countries that could not tolerate a magical realist novel can live with the mass sterilisation of Muslim women.  They will give concentration camps a conniving wink of approval, but draw the line at cartoons in a Danish newspaper…China is now a more active and influential voice at the United Nations because so many countries are benefiting from billions of dollars in Chinese investments through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure programme.  As…Australia found…when it asked for an international inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, those who blaspheme against China face cyber-attacks and sanctions.  Better to take the rewards and avoid the punishments…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#1027) 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are absolutely losing their shit because people aren’t listening to their wanking fantasies during the pandemic:

[Public disinterest in] human trafficking [propaganda] is…alarming [the rescue industry.  In San Antonio, Texas, fetishist]…Chuck Paul [fantasized that] the ability for traffickers to sell a person…was diminished following the COVID-19 outbreak and traffickers began ditching people they had trafficked onto the street…[but] once the state’s restrictions were lifted, traffickers started looking to “re-supply their stock of slaves…There’s a huge population of young people right now that are stuck at home, they haven’t been going to school…the traffickers are working hard on social media to target whichever child they can.”  Paul [made furtive movements in his pants while spouting fantasies that being a teenager]…is…a…sign…of trafficking…[another is] if you’re in a hotel or motel and [a] person walks right past the front desk because they are [already] checked in…[or] has…tattoos…

So according to Paul, it’s “suspicious” if a person doesn’t stay in their hotel room the entire time between checkin and checkout.  What drugs is he on?

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

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

Clearview AI has advised Canadian privacy protection authorities that, in response to their joint investigation, it will cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada.  This…includes the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with the RCMP, which was its last remaining client in Canada…The authorities still plan to issue findings in this matter given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.  An ongoing issue…is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected as well as the cessation of Clearview’s collection of Canadians’ personal information…

Social Distancing (#1055)

“Enlightened” Europe has treated sex workers shamefully during the pandemic:

News that clubs and brothels could reopen in the Netherlands from the start of July took everyone by surprise — including sex workers.  Club owners were warned that the industry would remain in lockdown [using the excuse] of the pandemic until September, months after all other sectors had already reopened.  But the reality is that many sex workers felt forced to work privately and illegally just to survive.  Now, as the industry starts to reopen across Europe, they worry about their earnings and whether they can stay safe…most European governments…paid a percentage of [many] workers’ wages while they were furloughed.  But sex workers rarely qualify…In Germany, the sector remains closed under a government ruling [even though]…most German businesses have now reopened, including gyms, bars and hairdressers…In Britain, the industry remains [officially] shut down…and many…women…have not started working again because they are terrified of contracting the virus and passing it on to their families…

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Sex work is becoming cool again.  –  Maggie McNeill

The Cop Myth

Cops are responsible for more violence than any other social group in the US:

Every time protests erupt after yet another innocent black person is killed by police, “reform” is meekly offered as the solution…The Minneapolis police implemented trainings on implicit bias, mindfulness, de-escalation, and crisis intervention; diversified the department’s leadership; created tighter use-of-force standards; adopted body cameras; initiated a series of police-community dialogues; and enhanced early-warning systems to identify problem officers…None of it worked…because “procedural justice” has nothing to say about the mission or function of policing.  It assumes that the police are neutrally enforcing a set of laws that are automatically beneficial to everyone…[but in reality,] over the last 40 years we have seen a massive expansion of the scope and intensity of policing.  Every social problem in poor and non-white communities has been turned over to the police to manage.  The schools don’t work; let’s create school policing.  Mental health services are decimated; let’s send police.  Overdoses are epidemic; let’s criminalize people who share drugs.  Young people are caught in a cycle of violence and despair; let’s call them superpredators and put them in prison for life.  Police have also become more militarized…The alternative is not more money for police training programs, hardware or oversight.  It is to dramatically shrink their function…

I Spy (#1001)

Violet Blue on protecting yourself from phone-based surveillance at protests:

…our phones are spying on us 24/7.  These little handheld sidekicks are…Big Brother’s most useful asset when it comes to tracking and surveilling anyone…The only way we can completely refuse to be tracked is not to use our apps, or leave our phones at home. But not using apps or going without a phone isn’t a realistic option…Smartphones leak your information and leave a trail of your information by design.  Your info can be discovered and your habits known by any bystanders who know how to look.  Hackers and developers have been trying to raise the alarm about phone security for years, but have gone practically ignored…

You Were Warned (#1007)

Basically the same thing Biden wants; now please tell me more about the “wings”:

Donald Trump [issued an executive order] in response to [Twitter]’s attempt to fact-check his tweets [which] proposes a radical modification of Section 230…The…order…“attempts to circumvent Congress and the courts in directing changes to long-established interpretations of Section 230….orders a review of alleged ‘unfair or deceptive practices’ by Facebook and Twitter”…and calls on the…FCC to “examine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should potentially lead to the firms forfeiting their protections under Section 230″…Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment expert with extensive adult industry experience…[said] “Any order impacting Section 230 immunity will likely be challenged in court…Congress is the only body that can alter the broad protections granted by Section 230 but we are seeing some legislative activity in that realm as well — particularly the EARN IT Act“…

Surplus Women (#1010)

Government never, ever blames itself for the harm it causes:

On May 17, the RCMP charged a 17-year-old [who hacked Ashley Noelle Arzaga]…to death with a machete inside the Crown Spa with first-degree murder – terrorist activity…The parlour owner and another man were also injured in the February attack.  Police allege he carried out the murder in the name of the “incel” movement…but sex worker advocates say that while the RCMP is making a show of the case, the government is evading practical change to protect sex workers – namely, by decriminalizing their occupations.  “Laying a terrorism-related charge here…makes it look like we’re more concerned about sex workers’ deaths,” says international criminal law professor Heidi Matthews. “In reality that’s not true…We still have a whole matrix of criminal laws that make their existence and their work more precarious and less safe”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Far too little, far too late: “Plaintiffs American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”)…Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (“CAASE”), Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago (“SWOP-Chicago”), [et al]…bring this Complaint against Defendant Clearview AI, Inc. (“Clearview”) to put a stop to its unlawful surreptitious capture and storage of millions of Illinoisans’ sensitive biometric identifiers…”  The suit is based on “the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), which [is intended to] protect…people against the surreptitious and nonconsensual capture of their biometric identifiers, including faceprints.”  That’s well and fine, but other states are far less fastidious about how they collect information on unsuspecting citizens.  And as we’ve seen, cops freely and surreptitiously exchange facial recognition data without any permission at all, even lying in reports and committing perjury in court to cover up how they obtained any given data.  So even if this suit succeeds in banning facial recognition technology in Illinois or even destroying Clearview, the facial recognition djinni was released from its bottle years ago, and has no intention of going back in.  I do find it interesting to actually see a sex worker organization involved in a lawsuit like this, though, so kudos to SWOP-Chicago.

Working From Home (#1042)

I’m extensively quoted in this article about everyone suddenly joining OnlyFans:

While, as far as McNeill is concerned, anyone selling their own erotic labor is in fact a sex worker, she acknowledges that as online sex work becomes more popular, “some people [are] claiming the mantle of sex worker who really shouldn’t because they think it’s going to give them cachet…The criticism that those ladies are leveling at the newcomers is a correct one, but at the same time you kind of have to give them the side eye and say, ‘Yeah, honey, you were new at one time too’”…while McNeill agrees that celebrity interest in sex work…will probably “suck money from women who really need it,” she remains hopeful that mainstream exposure from celebrities may eventually have a positive effect on the progress of sex work destigmatization…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

A hotel where many sex workers receive their clients briefly opened its doors…despite the coronavirus regulations forbidding it, because the rules were not clear…Despite hotels being allowed to stay open…the[se were forced by government diktat]…to close their doors as they are mainly used by [human beings whom authoritarians deem “nonessential”]…“a lot of those hotel owners probably think that, based on the measures for hotels, they are also allowed to open again,” [said] Daan Bauwens of UTSOPI, the Belgian union for and by sex workers…“We strongly advise sex workers to…stop working [and live on happy thoughts, sunshine and pixie dust]” said Bauwens…

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