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We have a culture where men are more embarrassed about paying for sex than having sex with women who are too drunk to consent.
–  Cathy Reisenwitz

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Funny how many cops who are willing to pay prefer underage girls:

Larry Allen Clay…and Kristen Naylor-Legg…were both charged with sex trafficking of a minor [because]…on two separate occasions in June 2020, Clay…the Chief of Police for..Gauley Bridge [West Virginia]…paid $50 to Naylor-Legg to have sex with a 17-year-old girl [who is apparently a migrant because]…ICE [is involved]…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralists love their rats & their subtle dysphemisms:

…researchers…gave adolescent rats free access to a sugar-sweetened beverage [much more concentrated than] those that humans drink and then tested their memories using two methods when the rats became adults…the rats that had consumed [pathologically-]high levels [of] sugary drinks had more difficulty with memory that uses a region of the brain called the hippocampus compared with rats that only drank water…the [excessive]…sugar consumption seems to…[have] change[d]…the gut microbiome…[which in turn seems to] alter the function of a particular region of the brain [in rats]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#851)

“Foreign visitors do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

[UK charity] Oxfam is facing new allegations of…bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following [white saviors’ freakout] th[at some Oxfam employees purchased services from entrepreneurs in] Haiti…The charity has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that allege intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism…[which arose] after…[prohibitionists were disappointed] that…the[re was insufficient hysteria about mundane transactions which brought much-needed]…money…in[to]…Haiti…[politicians bloviated] that the latest allegations strengthened the case for [denying poor countries]…water and sanitation projects [if]…an[yone among]…the emergency [workers has sexual desires]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#991)

It looks as though Boudin is indeed following through with the policies he campaigned on:

Panelists at “Sex Work Decrim 101: Evidence-based approaches to policy”…call[ed] for the complete removal of sex work from the state’s criminal law codes.  One fan of that idea is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin…”I’m a big believer in the decriminalization of sex work, which I think will help us become safer in concrete ways”…Boudin said…”It’s not something I would ever prosecute, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, if it is consensual between adults”…Panelist Maggie McNeill…wanted to impress upon the attendees the importance of the district attorney’s stance…she [also]…explained the distinction [of decriminalization versus legalization] through an analogy to the restaurant business…

Tony Montoya, a gay man who is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, did not respond to a request for comment [on a law forbidding a common pretext for harassing sex workers].

Lipstick on a Pig

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

Two [typical and representative] Texas [cop]s have been indicted fo[r murdering]…a Black man [by] repeatedly…taser[ing him during a pretext]…stop [being] filmed for a [cop glorification] TV show.  Javier Ambler…[was murdered on] March 28, 2019…[during] a…traffic stop…[using the pretext that he] fail[ed] to dim headlights for oncoming traffic…the A&E network show Live PD…was canceled weeks after the killing of George Floyd amid widespread protests over police brutality and racism…Ambler was tasered four times, according to body cam footage of the [murder], despite telling the [pigs] that he suffered from…congestive heart failure…Ambler…can be heard [repeatedly] saying…”I can’t breathe”

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

{sings} One of these things is not like the others

A [New Jersey cop named]…Richard F. Haffner…sexually assault[ed] a girl who worked for him at his…restaurant on numerous occasions starting when she was 15 years old, and then tr[ied] to get her to lie to investigators…Prosecutor[s seem to think it’s important that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…Haffner [w]as…suspended without pay…[because prosecutors also] charged him with…offering an acquaintance money for sex…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against OnlyFans is heating up:

Paul Gosar [a politician from Arizona] sent a[n open] letter…to the Department of Justice demanding that OnlyFans be…prosecuted for “promoting prostitution” under a…Segregation-era law called the “White Slave Traffic Act”…also known as the Mann Act…[apparently because Gosar believes that viewing a picture of a woman taken in a different state is the equivalent of] transport[ing] women across state lines…

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There’s no public safety value in prosecuting these low-level offenses.  –  Marilyn Mosby

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

In a t[oxic] essay for the [carceral] feminist website 4W, Donna M Hughes wrote that the “belief” that a person could change their gender was a “trans-sex fantasy”.  She went on to equate followers of QAnon, [the latest form of the “sex trafficking”] web of lies that [Hughes vigorously supports]…to people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth…Her inflammatory comments were called “beyond the pale” by Annie Russell, the director of the [University of Rhode Island]’s Gender and Sexuality Center…Russell said the diatribe had also angered students at the university, which [also employs Hughes as a tenured professor]…The University…put out a statement distancing itself from Hughes’s comments…In response Hughes said her right to free speech was being trampled [even though she was neither fired, nor censored, nor arrested as she wants others to be]…

For those who don’t recall: Hughes considers herself a political conservative and was the architect of recriminalizing sex work in Rhode Island in 2009.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

I haven’t seen this once-popular fantasy since 2018:

A recent 60 Minutes+ episode cites a dubious claim that “up to 100,000” children are sex-trafficked in the U.S. each year…the inimitable Maggie McNeill once wrote that there are “lies, damn lies and sex trafficking statistics.” Now 60 Minutes+, a streaming version of the venerable news program, is helping to make McNeill’s point by highlighting an oft-debunked sex trafficking factoid…in the show’s March 21 episode, “Taking Facebook to Court”…

Social Distancing (#1025)

When this was announced a year ago, prohibitionists claimed it would be a disaster:

…[When] the coronavirus pandemic hit…State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that [Baltimore] would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus.  And then crime went down in Baltimore.  A lot…This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants…So…Mosby is making her temporary steps permanent …Baltimore…will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car…

Let’s hope this “aggressively reaching out” doesn’t involve surveillance or “diversion”, which is just another form of state control.  But in any case, this is becoming a trend.

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

Everything I read about modern corporate work makes me happier I became a whore:

Amazon delivery drivers nationwide have to sign a “biometric consent” form…that grants the tech behemoth permission to [monitor]…drivers’ location, movement, and biometric data.  If the…drivers…refuse to sign these forms, they lose their jobs.  The…[surveillance includ]es…facial recognition…The company [claims the surveillance is] being used to improve “safety” and the “quality of the delivery experience.”  But…some drivers are quitting their jobs…because…the [surveillance device even records]…when a driver yawns, appears distracted, or isn’t wearing a seatbelt…and monitor[s] drivers’ body and facial movements…

Torture Chamber (#1122)

If only there were a concise word for “systematically forced to have sex”:

The [murder] of a 19-year-old woman [by] Venezuela[n] police [in a] holding cell has revealed that women in the jail were being systematically forced to have sex with [cops]…On March 13, Daniela Geraldine Figueredo Salazar died from [being]…shot [in] the face…by [a cop]…several of her fellow [prisoners] reported [to investigating officials] that they were being [systematically raped]…the…abuse was being coordinated by a [typical and representative cop] who is also currently jailed…This is not the first [time news] of sexual violence [has leaked out of] the country’s [filthy cage stacks]…In 2018, it was reported that women in Venezuelan prisons were being forced to [submit to rape] in order to be released for court hearings…in 2019, a report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights pointed to…various forms of sexual violence [committed by cops, screws and spooks]…

You Were Warned (#1124)

Cathy Reisenwitz examines a power-hungry politician’s lies about the internet:

…The SAFE TECH Act would…hold companies liable for their users’ behavior…[an]d force small websites to spend $1 million or more…to prove to courts that users aren’t causing any one of nine new types of broad, ill-defined harm…Only the wealthiest, most powerful companies would be able to afford setting their own content moderation policies.  Everyone else would run the real risk of being sued into oblivion by wealthy people who don’t like what people are saying about them online…Like SESTA/FOSTA, the SAFE TECH Act would make it easier for those in power to stifle unpopular speech across the web.  It would strip away Section 230 protections for any web service that “has accepted payment to make the speech available.”  While many believe the law applies only to paid advertising, it’s written so broadly that it would apply to all content on any platform where money changes hands, including…all paid web hosting and even nonprofits or activist groups that sell merch or accept donations…

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

While it’s easy to repudiate th[e Atlanta shooter]’s actions as that of a monster, he isn’t alone in his views.  Many Americans feel only disdain toward these businesses, and have little respect for the women who work there…On Piedmont Road in Atlanta, where Long shot customers and workers at Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa, church groups previously gathered to protest this so-called red-light district, demanding the shutdown of the sex shop across the street…many Asian street-based sex workers…in [Red Canary Song’s] outreach said some of the religious anti-trafficking groups…can be even more hurtful than the pedestrians who call them names…[besides] collaborat[ing] with police…[one said] they were “nagging her and wasting her time” when she needed to work…Long’s extreme actions are a consequence of the way we treat all sexuality in society…and…the people who are tasked with undoing the harms are often infected by the same dangerous ideas…

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

…anti-trafficking organizations…have [repeatedly] called for the increased surveillance and policing of massage businesses, and the result has been hundreds of raids across the country which have terrorized and criminalized massage workers.  These systemic forms of violence cannot be divorced from the brutal killings of massage parlor workers in the Atlanta area on March 16…When my colleagues and I talk to Asian massage workers, they often share stories of [cops] entering their workplaces at random under the guise of stopping sex trafficking.  When they don’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, they demand to see massage licenses.  Workers tell us they are frequently arrested if they don’t produce a license, or are hit with building code or public health violations.  Those who are arrested are often funneled through special courts and programs where workers, seen as morally flawed and traumatized victims, are offered programming framed as rehabilitation…[including] everything from religious proselytization to “recovery-focused yoga” to unpaid labor, when what they really need is economic security…

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Upgrade

Some of you may have noticed that the address of this blog has changed; it’s now my own domain instead of a WordPress subdomain.  I’ve owned the domain for a while, but it used to point toward my escort site (whose address is subtly different), and now it points here.  It’s probably a move I should’ve made six or seven years ago, but some of you may have also noticed that I’m pathologically change-averse and rarely do anything like that unless I’m forced to.  Well, I was finally forced to.  Like most internet companies, WordPress employs a small army of programmers, and like most US employers it demands they stay busy; the result is a steady trickle of “improvements” that aren’t.  For several years now, the company has been trying to push its new “block editor”; I took one look and realized it was far less useful than the so-called “classic” editor (take a look at some sample one-star reviews, which outnumber all other reviews of the block editor by a factor of > 2 to 1).  But they kept pushing it, and sometime last year changed the site to default to it.  The “classic” editor was still available, but harder to get to, so I had to create several workarounds to keep going.  Then on the morning of March 17th, I awoke to discover that the company had removed the “classic” editor entirely; Google helped me discover that it was now only availble as a plugin, and plugins only work on upgraded sites, so here we are.  The change introduced some back-end problems (they only affected my view of the site, not readers’) which were solved with the help of WordPress tech support, and one gremlin seemed to have escaped into my android phone via Chrome and had to be exterminated separately.  But as of this writing, things seem fully functional again.

Other than the new, shorter address, another change is coming:  after all these years, I’m going to start taking advertising.  Since I’m now semi-retired and I don’t have nearly as much subscription income as I’d like, I definitely need to monetize the tremendous amount of work I’ve put into this site for over a decade and continue to put in on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing all of my standards out the window; I don’t like blinking, flashing, jumping, moving, distracting or otherwise annoying ads on other sites and I’m not going to allow them on mine if I can help it (that goes double for popups).  But since I’m not at all familiar with how the sytem works, it’s possible that such ads may get in without my permission via whatever delivery system I use, so it’s important y’all let me know if something like that appears (I may add a “report annoying ad” button or the like).  And if anyone wants to buy an ad from me, obviously we can talk.  The change will probably be slow as I feel things out and decide exactly what works for me, but I thought it only fair to let y’all know that it’s on the way.

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Sex workers are a gift to people who stir up fake outrage for a living.  –  Mistress Matisse

Caring Professionals (#138)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this topic addressed so well:

Both…my stylist…and…microblade artist…are care workers.  Their bodies—their hands—are necessary to their labor.  Massage parlors…exist in a similar realm of personal care, like hair salons and permanent-makeup studios.  These are all places where clients can pay for the intimacy of touch, the pleasure that touch affords.  The difference, of course, is that what we call sex work—a kind of care work that is criminalized and socially opprobrious—happens here.  And because it is labor that carries the threat of penalization, the burden of stigma and illegitimacy, the women who do this work become simultaneously more vulnerable, while their essential contributions to society remain invisible, devalued…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

There’s a reason I’ve repeatedly called this cult “dangerous”:

I had been leading an independent lab for nearly 10 years studying various aspects of genital responsiveness, but the death threats first came when I published a study that did not support [the notion of] pornography addiction.  The death threats were thick with misogyny and anti-semitism, which seemed bizarre as they simultaneously bragged that they were liberal bastions for equality.  I went quickly to being physically stalked, moving my home multiple times, and now living in address protection…the Atlanta murder[s]…seemed to manifest the incredible vitriol I have watched grow.  All of this occurred through “pornography addiction” forums on the Internet.  Scientists have started studying these communities…as a part of a new anti-sexuality movement, which includes (1) anti-pornography feminists, (2) Internet porn addiction activists, and (3) religious morality groups…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

I hope Pasco County, Florida is bankrupted by this lawsuit:

…a group of [Pasco] county residents, represented by the Institute for Justice, is suing the county over…years of harass[ment]…by cops…because [a “predictive policing”] system identified them as potential offenders.  When the residents lost patience with the continued police presence in their lives…the red tape of the endless regulatory state [was used] against them to encourage compliance or to simply cause pain…In [one] case, deputies cited [their victim] for tall grass, but failed to notify him of the citation.  Then, when he failed to appear for a hearing that he was never told was happening, they arrested him for failure to appear…The slow torture of tickets, arrests, and disrupted lives drove some to pick up and move out of Pasco County to avoid harassment…

Traffic Jam (#1107)

Mistress Matisse on why even not-quite-prohibitionist sex work documentaries are not quite good:

There are some hard-working sex workers in Hulu and ABC News’ new documentary, Only Fans: Selling Sexy, and I respect them…being in a documentary about doing sex work is a gigantic leap of faith.  We’re rarely treated with respect, and sometimes not even with much humanity…such filmmakers favour drama and controversy, and choose to sensationalise the lived experiences of myself and my sex work peers…Hulu/ABC News did better than most with their documentary – it’s smoothly made, and it only made me wince a few times.  But…in media, anyone who does sex work is deemed not to be a credible witness to their own life, so there are always non-sex workers in these documentaries who serve to confirm (or more often deny) what we say is real.  Irony in 2021 is watching a glossy TV show inspired by a sex work website, which features non-sex working actors saying to the camera, in serious tones, that giving sex workers “all this attention” might make us “go too far”.  Ask yourself: why does that sound a little hypocritical to me?…

You Were Warned (#1112)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

Senator Mark Warner[‘s]…SAFE TECH Act…is one of the worst 230 bills I’ve seen and would effectively end the open internet…Warner doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.  At all…He…doesn’t…understand how 230 works…or how…websites actually handle content moderation …[he keeps] claiming that Section 230 has “turned into a get out of jail free card for large online providers”…Yet…this bill would help Facebook and Google by basically making it close to impossible for new competitors to exist, while leaving the market to those two…many critics have noted that smaller platforms would inevitably be harmed by Warner’s bill…Warner…[claims] he’s open to talking to smaller platforms, which is kind of laughable, considering that his staffers have been going around…lying about people…that have pointed out the problems with his bill…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1114)

The NY Times pretends to be critical of mass surveillance, yet opens this article with copsucking:

Clearview…deploy[ed its software by stealing]…billions of photos from the…internet…After Clearview’s activities came to light, [politicians bloviated for the cameras and passed do-nothing local laws easily circumvented by cops]…It seemed entirely possible [to the hopelessly-naive] that Clearview AI would be sued, legislated or shamed out of existence.  But [of course] that didn’t happen.  With no federal law prohibiting or even regulating the use of facial recognition, Clearview did not…change its practices…it [has] continued to acquire government customers…[and] is valued at nearly $109 million…it [has over]…3,100 [cop shops and other purveyors of organized violence as]…customers [including the military and]…ICE…The legal threats to Clearview have [only just] begun to move through the courts…civil-liberties advocates fear the company will prevail, and they are aghast at the potential consequences…

Predictable Consequences

Two more of my friends have thoughts on this tragedy. Kaytlin Bailey:

There are a over a hundred years of propaganda and policy behind the idea that sex workers and immigrants “infect” communities.  Asian women in particular have been fetishized and demonized, becoming the first targets of anti-prostitution and anti-immigration laws in the United States…In 1875, the Page Act barred Asian women from entering the country, for presumed “lewd and immoral purposes,” and police…began arresting droves of Asian women for prostitution.  US officials openly hoped that by driving out Asian women, they could prevent Asian people from settling and starting families here…

And Liz Brown:

…Blaming women for male lust is an old and all-too-common trope among those who commit or excuse violence against women.  And it’s a trope thoroughly rooted in common cultural messages about sexuality…we may have come a long way from the assumption that all sexy women are “asking for it,” but holding women responsible for men’s sexual urges and actions is still far from a fringe attitude.  And again and again, we see the milder version of this distorted by the minds of self-loathing psychopaths to hold that women deserve to pay for the desire men feel toward them.  Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to this type of misogyny.  Which is why it’s especially clueless and crass for certain media to be blaming sex work in the wake of the Atlanta massage parlor shootings…

But the big news this week is Polaris’ tacit admission of blood on its hands:

…following the attacks…anti-sex work organization Polaris Project deleted multiple pages that made claims about massage parlors as dens of sex trafficking…Polaris removed its page for “human trafficking in illicit massage businesses”…According to an archived snapshot of the site, the…page was up as of March 18, two days after the attacks…by the next day…the page returned a “not found” error.  The [memory-holed] page…featured a series of grainy images of massage parlors overlaid with titles like “Massage parlor trafficking networks and organized crime,” and “Your role in ending massage parlor trafficking”…

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Expungement…is an intentionally fairly hard process.  –  Sasha Naiman

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Ally Deviant Ollam on internet security for sex workers:

End Demand (#586)

A thorough analysis of the awfulness of “end demand” policies from the superlative Savannah Sly:

Combined with fear and ignorance, simple stories can be powerful propaganda vehicles used to justify state oppression…End Demand suggests that cutting off cash flow to the sex trade economy will discourage profiteering exploiters, and force sex workers to find “real” jobs.  However…sex workers…don’t respond to a reduction of business by simply deciding to “quit the industry” and go get full time corporate jobs with a company car and a full benefits package.  The notion that tough times will motivate people who sell sex to simply move on to greener pastures is absurd, privileged, and fails completely to comprehend the reasons why people become sex trade involved in the first place.  In reality, End Demand is a form of economic siege that’s had catastrophic consequences on sex worker welfare.  Ham fisted and reckless, End Demand tactics have increased instability and scarcity in the sex trade, fostering circumstances ripe for exploitation…

It Looks Good On Paper (#746)

This time they actually admit this shit law is designed to put people through hell:

Bipartisan bills about to be introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate would allow [people branded] sex trafficking victims [by the state] to [beg] courts to expunge past crimes even if they had not been convicted of prostitution or related offenses…[bill sponsor] Teresa Fedor [bloviated nonsense about being]…“forced to steal or sell drugs for their trafficking”…and [seems to imagine that]…use of the internet, cell phones, and massage parlors [have only become part of sex work since the last Ohio bloviation about the topic in 2018.  Another bureaucrat]…noted applicants must [somehow] prove they had been trafficked and that the crimes they are seeking to have expunged resulted from that…“Frankly, it’s a fairly heavy burden on the survivor, but [we want them to prove that they are inert dolls without agency rather than bad girls who had bills to pay]”…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

This pro-censorship screed is so larded with dysphemisms barely any escaped my editing:

Bristol is set to become the biggest city in the [UK] to ban lap-dancing clubs in a move [prohibitionists] claim will [magically rewrite the neural pathways in human brains.  Politicians bloviated a lot of tabula rasa nonsense about sex rays causing]…violence against women…Not Buying It, which [publishes revenge porn of sex workers], said councils had a duty to pr[event consensual] sex…

Torture Chamber (#1039)

Your regular reminder that rapist screws are not confined to the US:

Canadian prisons…do…not keep track of employees [who rape prisoners]…The problem is also fueled by the [refusal] to believe prisoners when they [report rapes]…In recent years [only] three guards have been charged with sex crimes a[lthough the actual number of rapes is dramatically higher]…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists’ next target isn’t just Pornhub; it’s all online sex work:

Germany’s most vocal proponent of state censorship, an obscure local bureaucrat named Tobias Schmid who serves as the head of the State Media Authority (LMA) of North Rhine-Westphalia, has announced…his [animosity toward]…OnlyFans…“We are registering that OnlyFans…are [sic] increasingly attracting erotic providers…and we will take care of it,” Schmid ominously warned…Schmid…like…fellow War on Porn crusaders worldwide, claim[s] his campaigns have a purpose to “protect the children,” although with the German twist that he is proudly an obsessive of “Ordnung” (order)…

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

…a California judge ruled that, although the contracts signed by a former [porn] performer were valid, the arbitration agreements that were part of them should be disregarded…Judge Michael Anello denied a motion by porn studios to implement the arbitration clauses in the contracts signed by a Jane Doe for scenes they had distributed…Doe…briefly worked in the adult industry around 2009-2010.  At the time, she alleges, she was represented by someone named Cissy Steele…[whom she apparently was also involved in an abusive] relationship with…[the pro-censorship group Morality in Media is behind the suit, which]…names a number of adult studios and sites active a decade ago…as co-defendants on the basis that they distributed scenes…Doe [contracted with them to distribute]…

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The younger generation…don’t understand at all how the government could ever enter your bedroom and tell you what to do.  –  Mandie Landry

Creating a Monster

There really is nothing new under the sun:

Neither Craigslist’s personals nor…US [censorship of] the sexual commerce they make possible are uncharted territory.  Reading…coverage of…FOSTA–SESTA, gives me a sense of déjà vu.  I have spent the last several years researching how, more than one hundred years before Backpage opened its online classifieds—well before the rise of the internet…lonely hearts [and] sex workers…had access to Parisian “back-page” classifieds.  Then as now, [politicians] scrambled for ways to stop them from using this new, democratizing print technology to “immoral” ends.  The largely unsuccessful, often counter-productive, and oppressive solutions they came up with during the French Third Republic (1870–1940) look strikingly similar to those the US legislature is testing out now…

This article is three years old, but it’s about century-old events anyhow.

Safe Position

This might fly in New Orleans, but it’ll definitely be uphill in the rest of the state:

Sexual acts between consenting adults should remain just that, state Rep. Mandie Landry said, regardless of whether they involve a financial transaction.  She said she will author a bill in the Louisiana Legislature that would do away with the state’s existing laws that outlaw prostitution….“If two people engage in a relationship in their own home, whether they exchange money or not, it’s between them”…Prostitution involving minors will remain illegal because minors cannot give consent, she added…

False Witness (#920)

Texas cops routinely destroy lives with the same method used to create the Satanic panic:

…a vast body of research shows hypnosis does not increase the chance of retrieving accurate memories.  In fact, it may implant imaginary ideas or distort recollections.  At least 21 states ban evidence in court that was gleaned solely through hypnosis.  Yet a Dallas Morning News analysis found Texas law enforcement has used the dubious method nearly 1,800 times over 40 years, sending dozens of people to prison — and some to their deaths.  After one week of training, any Texas [cop]…who passes an exam can attempt to use hypnosis in a criminal investigation.  Hundreds…have been certified to practice it in Texas since 1988…

The Scarlet Letter (#941)

Why do puritans pretend the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to harming people for having sexual urges?

The Alabama House of Representatives…approved legislation that would post pictures of men a[ccus]ed [o]f…solicitation…to shame them…f[or having]…sex[ual needs.  Bill sponsor] Merika Coleman…[bloviated a lot of disgusting sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…an[d]…argued that the state needs to attack the de[sire] for sex…Coleman said [she doesn’t care that]…posting the picture of a person who was arrested…harms those individuals who are not found guilty for the rest of their lives.  [She said it’s OK that] they are not able to get jobs…

Japanese Prostitution (#950)

Japanese attempts to suppress and hide sexuality prior to the Olympics will never be sufficient to please puritanical gaijin:

Social pressure surrounding the upcoming Tokyo Olympics has resulted in distribution troubles for traditional Japanese adult magazines, which have drastically harmed the already dwindling sector…[using the excuse] “that the magazine covers were offensive to women and inappropriate in front of children”…In the years leading up to the games’ original date of Summer 2020, “some of the country’s biggest convenience store chains…said they would stop selling the publications altogether”…Akira Ikoma, editor-in-chief of the porn magazine My Journey…said Japan is “hiding this part of the culture because they’re embarrassed”…

Torture Chamber (#950)

“Packed” = “concentrated”. And the concise word for “tent facility” is “camp”:

Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been [imprisoned] at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough mats…Some [are locked up]…for a week or longer, despite the agency’s three-day limit for detaining [minors]…they…a[r]en’t…allowed to phone their parents or other relatives who may be wondering where they are.  Despite…coronavirus, the[y]…are kept so closely together that they can touch the person next to them…Some have to wait five days or more to shower, and there isn’t always soap available, just shampoo…Biden’s administration denied the lawyers access to the [camp because]…attorney visits to Border Patrol [camp]s [have] revealed severe problems, including dozens of children held at one [camp] without adequate food, water, or soap…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

I love that Trumpists are holding onto the “sex trafficking” narrative like grim death:

On March 8th, the Lifeboat Project had the opportunity to host [politicians] and [profiteers trying] to stop [sex work using propaganda about] human trafficking…it was also a…[photo] opportunity for Ivanka Trump and [a payday for professional]…trafficking survivors…the…Founder of The Lifeboat Project, Jill Bolander Cohen…[introduc]ed the [fantas]y of having a universal signal that could be used world-wide…[instead of other folk magic] such as [wa]ving [red paper birds around like a semaphore flag]…or [activa]ting…[a super-duper anti-pimp tampon found in a public] bathroom…Jill be[lieves the stupid trope that]…victims [are literally “voiceless”]…so…[she proposed] flashing the letters “H” and “T” in American Sign Language…

Winding Down (#1101)

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

…Mexic[an politicians]…approved a bill…to legalize recreational marijuana…The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis…the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.  The measure…would allow adults to [us]e…and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home.  It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop…

You Were Warned (#1119)

Unless some country makes a policy of providing a safe haven, the open internet is doomed:

The Russian government’s internet regulatory agency, Roskomnadzor, has announced it will be slowing down Twitter…in the country, alleging that the platform has “ignored requests to take down material harmful to children,” including adult content.  Regional experts [say]…“that the Twitter slowdown was just the start of a large-scale offensive by authorities to assert control over — and ultimately block — social media”…Like many American crusaders against Section 230…Roskomnadzor claims this attack on free expression [i]s…to “save the children”…

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It’s complete and utter bullshit.  –  former member of OUR

Choke Point (#593) 

Prohibitionists love victim-blaming sex workers:

On March 3rd…Scott Stedman and Aaron Parnas published a hit piece on Forensic News lobbing accusations of fraud, theft, and money laundering at several adult sites…Stedman is rehashing old, baseless accusations for attention…it’s the banks, not the adult sites, which are responsible for sex workers losing access to their funds…Sex workers certainly have their gripes with adult sites…But accusations that [they] are particularly rife with fraud, theft, and money laundering seem to be entirely without merit…the only evidence Stedman and Parnas can point to are Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)…[which] anyone can file…without any proof or evidence.  Banks have claimed that certain adult sites “may be operating in areas where underage children…might be forced to provide services.”  Yet not only did no bank report a single instance of underage activity, their only evidence was the fact that MyFreeCams serves users in “high-risk” areas such as Colombia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, the Philippines, and Russia…In fact, all evidence points to all of these “suspicious” transactions being from adult platforms to content creators abroad…

To Molest and Rape (#869)

The “sex offender” registration is the only serious consequence:

A third Louisville [cop]…has [received a slap on the wrist]…for sexually a[ssault]ing a minor [he groomed via]…the department’s youth Explorer program.  A U.S. District Court judge…[let typical and representative cop] Brad Schuhmann [walk with a mere] six months of home incarceration and two years on probation.  In addition, Schuhmann will have to pay a $2,000 fine and register as a sex offender…The [lenient treatment was in spite of the] victim…calling Schuhmann a “monster” and a “predator” who has ruined her life…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Far too little, far too late:

…four individual civil liberties activists and the groups Mijente and NorCal Resist [have filed suit against] Clearview AI [because it] “engages in the widespread collection of California residents’ images and biometric information without notice or consent”…The plaintiffs argue Clearview AI enhances [cop shops’] efforts to monitor…activists…and [marginalized people]…

Lack of Evidence (#1052) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

[New York’s] “walking while trans” law…was repealed…in [Februar]y…It could prompt other states and cities that have similar laws on the books to follow suit.  California could introduce a bill to repeal a prostitution loitering law this year, and activists in Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans have organized to reverse similar ordinances.  Last summer, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to repeal drug trafficking and prostitution loitering laws…

Working From Home (#1052)

Another step toward a fully-independent demimonde:

…for many sex workers, corporate platforms aren’t revolutionary at all.  Censorship, technology failures and heavy-handed fees are just a few of the drawbacks of using social platforms for sex work.  Rather than rely solely on mainstream services such as OnlyFans, which keeps 20 percent of performers’ earnings, some sex workers use corporate networks only for advertising and conduct their real business on their own websites, which they build and control…

Served Cold (#1100) 

It took almost seven years, but the press has finally caught up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…had arrived in a remote village seeking a missing child, acting on what founder Tim Ballard had promised was a solid tip from a source…But the missing child was nowhere to be found. And then…Ballard produced his source: a psychic medium from Utah…Soon after…the villagers became suspicious and increasingly upset as he began circulating through the village with a camera crew…The villagers began to gather, some of them armed with old shotguns, and…elders soon asked the[m]…to leave.  Several cars followed them out of the village to make sure they’d gone…The day was…indicative of a larger pattern for OUR…People who participated in and witnessed OUR operations overseas recounted blundering missions…that seemed aimed mainly at generating exciting video footage…Experts and advocates for sex workers and trafficking survivors also questioned whether OUR’s ties to a corrupt Thai police agency could lead to repression of pro-democracy activists…one person with extensive experience working overseas with OUR…said…nothing OUR did seemed recognizably informed by professional military or intelligence practice…no meaningful surveillance or identification of targets; no development of assets; no validating that people they sought to rescue had in fact been trafficked, or that people they were targeting were indeed traffickers…“They’d go and just push for pimps to show up with girls.”  If presented with sex workers of legal age, OUR would insist on younger girls…“He was creating demand…They conflate sex work and trafficking…They’re making it worse”…

Safe Position (#1110)

Even columns like this one by Steve Chapman are no longer rare:

Eliza Orlins…could be remembered for…moving the nation toward decriminalizing sex work…If elected, she says, she will “advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work. This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.”  She is finding plenty of allies.  Five other candidates in the eight-person field have taken the same position…Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez is not in favor of full decriminalization, but he has stopped prosecuting sex workers on prostitution charges and recently vacated more than 1,000 warrants…A poll last year found that 52% of Americans think we should “remove criminal penalties for adults to sell and pay for consensual sex”…Among Democrats and voters aged 18 to 44, 2 out of 3 take th[at] view…

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Socializing is not a luxury.  –  Zeynep Tufekci

Maggie in the Media

Torture Chamber 

Even journalists reporting on these abuses insist on referring to them as “correction”:

…a [few days after being] threat[ened by a New Jersey screw]…Darrell Smith was…[savagely beaten] twice by a g[ang] of [screws.  He]…was tortured, beaten, kicked, punched, stomped…choke[d], slammed to the ground, and had his head slammed into a glass door…he was [then] “denied…medical care…[despite] catastrophic injuries that left him in an unresponsive and catatonic state” in a prison cell covered in his own feces, urine and vomit…[after being left in this state for] four days…Smith…was transported to a hospital…his leg was cuffed to the bed [for two days despite being]…declared brain dead…the family…[filed a] lawsuit…[after finally getting ahold of medical records showing that] Smith “sustained a severe catastrophic brain injury…[due to] the brutal beatings”…

The Enlightenment Police (#884)

The obsession with controlling women cannot be stopped by a mere pandemic:

Swiss voters have approved a ban on…facial coverings…in nearly all…publicly accessible places, including on the streets, in public offices, on public transport, in restaurants, shops and in the countryside.  The controversial proposal [was] support[ed by only] 51.21% of voters…The only exceptions include places of worship…[or] if worn for health and safety reasons, because of the weather and in situations where it is considered a “local custom” to do so, such as at carnivals…There will be no…exceptions…for tourists…[from Muslim countries]…The proposal, put forward by several [authoritarian] groups…has been criticized by a number of…religious organizations…human rights and civic groups, as well as the federal government…

Switzerland in October:  Everybody must cover their faces in public.
Switzerland in March:  Wait, not like that!

You Were Warned (#926)

Indian politicians are just as eager to demolish the internet as those in the US, Australia and Europe:

The Indian government’s new Information Technology rules…have been sold to citizens and the world as being of a piece with global efforts to [control]…social media…platforms now have to…giv[e] the government details about the “originator” of content [that it dislikes]…effectively breaking end-to-end encryption…The rules…also cover digital news organisations and video-streaming platforms like Netflix…giving the government much more power to…censor…The government has made massive changes to the way the internet will work in India, but without having to take the matter to Parliament at all, by amending the rules under pre-existing sections of the law…the government…is…unwilling…to engage with the stakeholders that matter…the rules create a bureaucratic super-structure that gives the executive much more power over…the internet…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#1074)

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

A Denton [Texas cop]…has been arrested…for distribution of child pornography.  David Schoolcraft…[fell into a trap set by the FBI] Dec[ember]…2020…he [i]s…of…c[our]se [still on the payroll, because cop]…

Since the “authorities” prefer to hide the identity of this child molester, here’s a picture of his boss until such time as a photo of Schoolcraft becomes available.

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

The Chinese are now using a method of subjugation invented by the Assyrians:

Chinese authorities have loaded large numbers of Uyghur workers onto trains bound for factories thousands of kilometres away as part of a plan to [forcibly] assimilate Muslim minorities into mainstream Chinese culture and thin their populations in Xinjiang…the…Uyghur workers…[are then forced] in[to “re-education”] programs…that mix Mandarin lessons with in[doctrina]tion by police and Communist Party cadres…the…policies…are designed to sever them from their homes and traditional way of life, moulding them into state-approved members of the “Chinese nation”…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Far too many people adore authoritarian public health schemes:

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration…One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation…But…instead, the steady drumbeat of good news…has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism…and claims of impending catastrophe…the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants…and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do…Five key fallacies and pitfalls have…played an outsize role in derailing an effective pandemic response…mistrust and paternalism …toward the public…[arbitrary] rules in place of mechanisms…scolding and shaming…absolutism [instead of harm reduction]…and…a poor balance between knowledge, risk, certainty, and action…

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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Give this man his money.  –  Judge Christine Underwood

Profit from Panic 

A pandemic can’t stop opportunists from wringing every penny they can from this hysteria before it implodes completely:

The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation…hosted its 6th annual Awareness Gala, themed “Rising from the Ashes.” The event centered on raising…funds for [the organizers by exploiting the moral panic around]…sex trafficking…Because of pandemic health guidelines, guests were invited to host in-home parties with only their close circles, family or solo.  SHERO Founder Kimberly Miles hosted the online event from the Stirling Club, with special appearances from Terry Fator, Clint Holmes, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and more…

Disaster (#949)

Australia is joining the US in trying to destroy the internet:

If Australia genuinely wants to minimise online harm, we need to have more nuanced narratives than “won’t somebody please think of the children”.  The federal government’s Online Safety Bill…[will] impede upon our digital rights, harm vulnerable groups, and c[onstrict] the way the majority of Australians experience the internet…part [of the scheme] gives the eSafety Commissioner expanded “take-down powers”…[to] order the removal of…any sexual content…or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”…Sex workers, pornography creators…sex-positive educators and activists are just some who will struggle to work online due to the scheme.  As experience of the controversial SESTA/FOSTA laws in the US…has shown, crackdowns such as these incentivise online platforms to remove or censor sexual content altogether to avoid penalty…this forces sex workers offline and often into unsafe working environments…

A Moral Cancer (#1013)

Crypto-moralists won’t hesitate to add nationalism to “health” rhetoric to advance their anti-pleasure agenda:

British stores could be flooded with “dangerous” bacon and ham from the US, marketed under misleading labels, as the result of a transatlantic trade deal, says the author of a new book based on [statistical illiteracy and militant veganism]…The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it [marginally] increases the [very small] risk of bowel cancer.  But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”…

Robocops

Court declares that cops are too stupid and evil to understand that intentionally burning an innocent person alive is wrong:

…On July 10, 2017, [Gabriel Eduardo] Olivas’ son called 911 to report that his father was threatening to kill himself…[responding cops] found Olivas “leaning against a wall and holding a red gas can”…[one cop] shouted…”If we tase him, he is going to light on fire!”…Olivas [had] poured gasoline over himself…[but pig Jeremias] Guadarrama “fired his taser at the gasoline-soaked man, causing him to burst into flames…The fire spread from Olivas to the walls of the bedroom, and the house eventually burned to the ground”…Olivas…died…the [family]…sued…and…the…court [ruled]…it…”reasonable”…[to set off high-voltage electrical] sparks that could easily ignite gasoline…after a[nother cop] had [already] emphasized it…the 5th Circuit has forthrightly declared that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police from firing Tasers at a suicidal, gasoline-drenched man…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Anti-trans hysteria has shifted from toilets to high-school sports:

A proposed bill introduced in…Georgia…called for banning transgender girls from participating in [organized] sports…a similarly-written law in Idaho…is currently blocked by injunction from a federal court.  So another proposal was introduced…that went even further.  House Bill 372 would redefine gender as “a person’s biological sex at birth” in state law, require state-funded schools and associations to ban participants they deem not “biologically” male or female from sports, and calls for a panel to examine information about the genitalia or chromosomes of any [prospective] participant who petitions otherwise…

I must point out that contrary to some online statements about this buffoonery, it does not call for the panel to inspect students’ genitalia, only “information about” them (presumably derived from a medical exam).  But it’s still akin to the creepy pretense that for students to voluntarily allow other people to examine their genitalia for the purpose of pleasure is a “crime”, but for the same students to be forced by law to allow strangers to examine their genitalia for the purpose of bigotry is “protection”.

The Next Target (#1099)

One day, “professional ‘survivor'” will no longer be a lucrative job:

…[Morality in Media] filed a…[law]suit in Birmingham, Alabama against Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, [exploiting the claims] of two women who alleged illegal videos of themselves were uploaded to the platform by third-party users…The lawsuit alleges that MindGeek “conspired, facilitated and financially benefited, from sex trafficking ventures between [themselves] and others”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they s[tole from] a man’s rental car…Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in…November when he left his room and found police [ransack]ing his car.  Police [claimed] they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash.  They s[tole] both…[and] sent the cash to…CBP [in order to circumvent state restrictions on such robbery].  When Sanders lawyered up…Mooresville [bureaucrats] responded that [they were] no longer in possession of the cash…[Judge Christine] Underwood…found the city in contempt of her order [to refund the money] and…[gave] them seven business days to comply.  She told the city’s attorney…that she was not afraid to jail town commissioners, the police chief, or anybody else responsible for keeping Sanders from getting his money back…

Yet most courts still refuse to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

Civil asset forfeiture…allows police to s[teal] property they [pretend] is connected to crime without arresting…the owner…the practice demolishes due process and undermines property rights, giving cops a license to steal from innocent people who often lack the resources to resist…[pushers] of [the scheme pretend] it deters and incapacitates drug traffickers…[but] in a new study published by the Institute for Justice, Seattle University economist Brian Kelly…analyzed data from five states that use forfeiture extensively:  Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.  He reports no statistically significant relationship between increased forfeiture revenue and lower drug use rates or higher crime clearance rates.  To the contrary, Kelly found that clearance rates for violent crimes tend to fall as forfeiture revenue rises…[because] the lure of…money diverts law enforcement resources from predatory crimes to drug offenses…

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